At first everything was great. Tony was quite the charmer, and had almost literally swept Christine off her feet. He said all the right things, called her every night, brought her presents. She thought she would die a happy woman if anything should happen to her at that moment in her life. She'd never met a guy so charming (with the possible exception of Harry Stone), so sweet, so tender. She didn't give herself to just anyone, but she had given herself to Tony almost right away. It was hard not to get carried away by his affections and pet names he'd given her. Cupcake was her favorite one.
She had told everyone how happy she was, how wonderful things with Tony were, how she swore she had found the man she would marry. In the back of her mind she knew that she was hurting Harry, but it wasn't as if he had come out and declared his feelings for her. No, their ships had sailed, and now she was moving on. If he was happy for her, he hadn't said, but still greeted her with a joke and a friendly smile every time he saw her.
The first time was the worst. She'd been caught off guard when, after going out of her way to make a fancy meal for Tony, he shocked her by calling it worse than army gruel, and threw his plate on the floor, shattering her Princess Diana wedding day collection duplicate to the floor. She was devastated. He had to know how much she adored Princess Diana, and those collectables were getting harder and harder to come by.
She was hurt at first, angry, then she realized she was to blame. Maybe if she was a better cook, this wouldn't have happened to her. She had tried so hard to please Tony, but apparently she hadn't. So she would try harder next time.
She started going to the library, checking out cookbooks. Sometimes he would nod his head of approval, other times he would simply walk away telling her he was going to McDonald's. Christine knew she wasn't the best of cooks, but she couldn't understand why he was treating her this way.
She wanted to talk to Harry about it, but for some reason Christine felt like she couldn't. In the back of her mind she knew that Harry would blame Tony, and he wouldn't see that it was all her fault. Maybe if she'd paid closer attention in home ec this wouldn't have happened. She would just try harder, that was all.
There was the night she cooked what she thought was the perfect dinner. She even put flowers on the table, and surely Tony would be pleased at what length she'd gone to to make him happy. But if he was hungry he didn't act like it. He told her he was in the mood, and she knew what that meant. To be honest, she wasn't feeling it after slaving all day on a meal that was to go unserved, but something about Tony's mood struck her strangely. She had a feeling that there would be hell to pay if she didn't go along with his request, so she did, closing her eyes and pretending she were somewhere else the entire time.
The next day she wasn't in a very good mood. Harry tried and tried to make her laugh, but his charms failed to work on her. She did her job, but just barely. She wound up asking Harry if he wanted to go out for breakfast, but he said that he was too tired, could they take a rain check? In a way she was glad he said no, for if Tony found out that she had had a meal with another man, he wouldn't be happy. At first the jealousy was cute. She felt desirable and cared about. But now it got to the point if another man even looked at her, he would fly into a fit of rage. He would blame her, calling her all sorts of names. In the back of her mind she felt like she didn't deserve this. She would never cheat on Tony. But that didn't matter. All that mattered was that she gave her undivided attention to Tony.
It wasn't as if the affections were returned. Sometimes when she started to speak about something important to her, like one of her cats, Tony would interrupt her or tell her to shut up. She didn't understand why he acted like this. At first he had hung on her every word. Now she was beginning to feel stupid or like she was crazy when she spoke, so now usually Christine waited for Tony to initiate the conversations.
This was all too much, all too soon. In the back of her mind she'd seen many abusers and controllers, but for some reason she couldn't process what was happening to her. All she knew was that she wanted to keep Tony happy at all costs, and if it meant trying a little harder to be perfect, then she would.
Sometimes, at night, especially after one of their many fights, Christine would think to herself that Harry would never treat her like Tony did. But then she would close her eyes, and pray that it would be soon time for work.