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Perfect

Stacy scrubbed at the Formica countertop as steaming water poured into the bathtub behind her. A thin film of condensation coated the mirror, streaking the perfect glass. Looking up, she frowned at her muted reflection for a moment before turning back to her task.

Perfect. Everything has to be perfect.

She ground at the infinitesimally small spot until she was sure it was gone. Glancing around the bathroom, she tried to tell herself it was spotless and as perfect as she could make it.

After checking the water level in the tub, she stepped out of the bathroom and went from room to room, assuring herself everything was in perfect order. The wood gleamed, the windows sparkled, the carpet was soft and freshly vacuumed. Pausing to align the magazines on the coffee table, she made her way into the kitchen. She gasped when she saw one of the roses he had bought her had dropped a petal onto the immaculate counter. With a swift motion, she whisked it into her hand and into the trash.

"I'm sorry, Stacy. I didn't mean to hurt you. You know I only ever want to help you."

He'd been so sweet the night before. So perfect. He was tall, handsome, had a good job... Stacy was lucky to have married such a wonderful man. She tried to convince herself she deserved him and if he got angry with her from time to time, well, it really was her fault wasn't it? He didn't ask very much from her. She didn't have to work, all he asked was a clean house and one meal a day. She strove to go the extra mile for him, show him how much she loved him.

She fought down the memory of the argument they'd had. It had been so silly. She'd forgotten to do something he'd asked her to do (she still couldn't remember what it was) and he'd told her she was useless and never did anything right. He'd hurt her. Badly. For Stacy, the rest of the night was a blur. The next day, he'd gone to work, not waking her in the morning to say goodbye as he usually did.

She'd woken up, cold and alone, still hurting terribly. Knowing she had errands to run, she thanked all the years she'd spent in the Fashion Club in high school, learning makeup tricks to hide her puffy eyes.

When he'd come home, he'd brought her roses and a sincere apology. He hadn't meant to be so cruel. She knew that.

Back in the bathroom, she carefully undressed, making sure her clothes were sorted by lights and darks into the appropriate hamper. Testing the water with one hand, she shut off the faucet. She sank slowly into the warmth, feeling all her worries melt away. Everything was perfect. The house was in order, the errands were done, and the kitchen was stocked. She took a deep breath, trying not to remember how badly her last attempt at this had gone. No, this time she'd planned it out much better.

"Good God, Stacy! What have you done? Look at this mess! Get up, you've thrown up all over. After a long day at work I come home to this? It's probably not even worth taking you to the emergency room. Get in the tub and sleep it off. And don't think I'm cleaning this up. Jesus. Useless, that's what you are. Utterly useless."

Stacy forced the memory out of her head, watching as bright red swirled into the warm, clear bathwater. No, this time she'd planned it much better. She smiled as she sank into oblivion, not a single drop of water marring the glossy shine of the highly polished bathroom floor.