A/N: Um hi, this is kind of depressing and shitty. Inspired by Eminem because Love The Way You Lie probably is one of his best songs to date.
She falls to her knees. And it's an easy thing, to break. She can keep going forever, just keep bending and breaking, bending and breaking, dying yet living and wishing she could actually die. But she remains. Bending, breaking. Bending, breaking. Bleeding black onto the carpet, a wound no one can see or heal, bruises underneath her skin. No one sees them. No one hears her.
She can close her eyes and pretend it's alright. She's good at that. Perfect family, perfect family. Of course they are. Wonderful marriage, beautiful child, loving husband; that's all they are. From the outside looking in, that's all they are.
Blood stains, but bleach fixes it all, and she can scrub forever but the memories are still stained in the carpet. There isn't bleach strong enough, water hot enough, to erase what happens there. She can pretend, though. She can step over those spots on the carpet, invisible, yet still there.
They aren't there.
Keep bending, keep breaking. Keep going. Keep living.
She's a beautiful disaster. She's a terrible wreck.
He tries to help, but there's nothing he can do, except hate, and hate, and hate. Hate her husband, hate himself, hate everything. And the phone whispers his name, begging him to dial the three numbers that could help. It would only take a moment, to dial them. And it could fix everything.
But he remains. And he doesn't get up, and he doesn't dial those three numbers, because he's...
What is he? A man, a boy? A mouse? He must be nothing short of a coward. But he doesn't dial those numbers, still. He fakes. It's what he's good at, faking. And she's good at it, too, such a wonderful liar, such a practiced optimist.
"Your cheek." He makes a comment on the new bruise, the new mark on her tender skin, the new evidence of the trouble at home. He wants to touch it, to reach out and help, but it would do no good, and so he does nothing. "What happened?"
She flushes pink in the mirror. "I..." She fumbles for an answer. "You know I bruise easily, Nate."
She bruises too easily.
Keep bending, keep breaking. Bend, and break, and bend, and break. Smile and lie and breathe and pretend it's all alright. She can do it all. She can press her face into the feathery blonde hair of her son, his breathing slowing as he drifts to sleep, his hands curled into tiny fists around her neck.
"Careful, baby." She can rock him gently in her arms, sway him in rhythm to a song she can't hear. "Mommy's very sore." And her son won't answer, her son won't even know, and he'd continue to sleep, to nuzzle his face into her neck and release tiny sighs of contentment. It's her only salvation. She can hold him and love him and it's all the love she needs.
Sometimes she wonders what would happen if she just did it, just picked up the phone and dialed for help. She wonders what would happen if she looked herself in the mirror, admitted the truth to her reflection, and stopped pretending.
If she just packed her bags and took their baby and - left.
Where would she go?
It's a gradual thing. He's able to handle the bruises in small doses; he's able to grind his teeth and clench his fists and pretend they aren't there. But it's only when he sees a cut this time - a slice across her upper cheek bone - that he snaps. And it happens too quickly.
"You're coming home with me," he tells her, in public so she doesn't make a scene, daintily taking bites of her food. "Bring Jonathan. I want you away from him." He means it this time. He's not going to be a coward anymore.
She looks up from her plate. "I can't do that, Nate." She sounds so calm, so without a doubt that she wants to stay. But there's a tremor in her voice, a hesitation; something more than what she's saying.
She doesn't look up this time.
For the first time in months, she sleeps easy that night. She curls herself onto his couch and presses her face into the smooth fabric. There's no blood stains and there's no more worry, there's just a warm place to sleep and a home to live in and a person to care. And she wants to cry. She wants to stop pretending.
She can bend until she breaks.
But she broke far too long ago.
"Don't ever touch her again."
It's a taste of his own medicine. It's a punishment he deserves (nothing is too much for him).
And maybe he'll pretend, just like she did, that there's no bruises on his skin and there's no cuts on his brow, and there's no blood staining the carpet. He can practice lying to everyone just like she did. And maybe he'll listen, for once.
"Or I will kill you."
It's a promise he's willing to keep.