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Price of Perfection
Lireil apologized again, but it wasn't enough. Her boyfriend, Mike, hit her again. She was used to it by now. She took it and submitted. She had threatened to break up a couple times, but he always said he would do better. She couldn't do anything.
It had been something so small, so stupid, that he was hurting her over. Anger welled in her. How could he treat her like this? Why didn't she do something? No. This was the last time. She was so angry, so hurt. Instead of bowing her head and moving on, she raised it, glaring.
“That is it. I refuse to keep this up anymore. You can find yourself a new victim. I'm out.” she watched the hurt, regret, and sorrow sweep his face. It was a lie, she knew it.
“I’m so sorry! Please, I didn't mean it, I lost control! Please don't!” Mike pleaded
“No. I've heard it before. Save it.” Lireil shouted.
“Please! I’ll do better!” he pleaded once more
“No, you won't,” she said sadly and turned, walking out to her car to drive home. In the safety of her vehicle she gave into the sobs that racked her body. Lireil sped down the highway. She had enough of her boyfriend, Mike, hurting her but a deer ran in front of the road and she swerved, sending her car flying off the road and into a tree. There was glass and blood then there was darkness and everything faded.
She woke up in her car somehow, she was turning into his driveway. She smiled and got out, running to the door.
“Mike? Why are you smiling.” Lireil questioned.
“Hi, sweetheart!” he leaned down and kissed her forehead. “Come on, I have a surprise for you.”
”We're inside, now what is it?” she asked excitedly.
He knelt on one knee and opened a box. Inside, a diamond glittered on a gold band in the shape of a heart.
”Lireil Arilyn Thyme, you are everything to me. Will you marry me?” he spoke slowly, enunciating each syllable yet unable to prevent a wide, nervous grin spreading across his face.
Lireil was speechless, her eyes filled with tears and she simply nodded and the biggest smile swept onto Mike’s face as he slipped the ring on her finger and hugged her like he would never let go.
“I… Mike.” Lireil was lost for words and he simply kissed her cheek and took her hand leading her to the car.
“Come on. I've got more stuff lined up.” Mike said.
He drove her to a picnic, then an amusement park, and finally a fancy dinner. When they got home they were both exhausted but they had the best day of their lives, together.
“I wish this day would never end.” Lireil said as she closed her eyes and rested her head on his shoulder.
She woke to him hitting her. Over and over again. Why?
“Stop!” She yelled as she woke to her head back on his shoulder and the look of concern on his face.
“What’s wrong,” Mike asked and as Lireil tried to find hate in his eyes but all she found was concern.
“Nothing, just a bad dream,” Lireil half lied and half told the truth.
She rested her head back on his shoulder and went back to sleep. The next morning she woke up and drove to Mike's house, excited to work out the details of their wedding.
“Mike!” she smiled at him as she opened the door.
“Hi, sweetheart.” she smiled, but was having deja vu. He said it in the exact way he had earlier. He kissed her forehead again.
“Come on, I have a surprise for you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Uh, nothing… so, about-”
“Wait a sec, i want to show you something first.”
“Ok.” he took out a black ring box again and repeated his speech.
“What? But, you asked me to marry you yesterday.” he smiled nervously and laughed, but in a very worried way.
“Oh, that's hilarious, honey. Will you marry me?” Mike asked again.
“I already said yes…” she stared at him as he slipped the ring on her finger… where she realized she didn't have any other ring.
Days turned into weeks and Lireil was having nightmares more often and they often contained an abusive boyfriend. Everytime she woke she always found a concerned Mike looking at her, not the mean hateful look she saw in her dreams.
“This makes no sense, I keep having nightmares of someone who clearly isn’t Mike or doesn’t act like him anyway.” Lireil muttered.
”What did you say sweetheart.” Mike asked.
”Nothing.” Lireil lied.
”Okay but just tell if that changes.” Mike said and kissed her forehead then walked away.
Lireil thought for a second, maybe her nightmares were real at some point but she shook the thought away because the only way that was possible was if she was dreaming or in a coma so that couldn’t be in. Could it?
”Neither one of those could possibly be true, I’m sure it’s just bad dreams.’’ Lireil decided finally.
A month had passed and Lireil knew something was up. Everyday ended perfectly, no bad things ever happened and she was still having nightmares every night. Then she saw something, there was glass and blood then sirens but she soon came back to where she really was, head on Mike’s shoulder and him asleep.
’’What just happened?’’ Lireil wondered out loud.
’’What was what?’’ Mike asked.
’’Nothing just go back to sleep.’’ Lireil replied.
The next day ended like it always did, Mike proposed and they went out and had fun then went on a fancy dinner. At first she thought he was just playing around with her but she soon shook that thought away. He was sick, he had to be but at the doctor they said he was fine and that she was going crazy but after another day of the same thing she thought it was time to get some answers.
’’Mike, why do you keep proposing to me when you already did that the day before?’’ Lireil questioned.
’’What do you mean? I think you just need to rest.’’ Mike said.
’’No, I’m done! I am going to find out the truth myself!’’ Lireil shouted.
She left and went to the one place she always loved, the beach. She stepped into the water and right when the current was about to take her she was back on the shore. Now she knew for sure that something was wrong. Then suddenly something filled her mind, she was at the hospital and her mother and father were standing over a girl. It was her, she was in a coma and then she saw Mike and he was hitting her. She heard the sound of shattering glass and saw blood, heard the sirens. Now she was back at Mike’s house and he looked at her concerned.
’’You need to calm down, we can live here forever, together.’’ Mike stated but she heard enough, he wasn’t real, this wasn’t real, she wasn’t real.
She heard voices, some said wake up in a sob and others were pleading for forgiveness. She heard a car brake and saw a deer in the road, a tree, the hospital and the beeping monitor, she saw and heard it all.
’’I have to wake up.’’ Lireil assured herself but she was already in bed the day starting over. ’’No! Not again, I’m going home.’’
She got in her car and sped away as voices called her back and others said wake up.
’’Lireill, come back!’’ Lireil’s mom sobbed.
Then she woke up, she was free, she was in the hospital bed with her parents beside her, the look of relief on their faces as she woke up.
“Hey, baby. I want to get married. I want to live a perfect life with you, it won't even feel like real life, and it wont have all the pain real life has.” she sat up and punched him in the face. He fell, and the ring flew out and rolled across the floor. She did want to live away from the pain… but not like this. Right? It was too late now. She had burned it down. Except… she hadn't. She still had infinite perfect tomorrows. But what about in real life? She had real people who needed her. She took the ring and walked slowly to the kitchen. She took out a hammer, and brought it down with everything she had. Once. it did nothing. Twice, the ring cracked. She screamed as the world around her cracked into blackness. No, she had to do this.
Crack. The diamond split in two and she was thrown into darkness. She slowly opened her eyes and saw a hospital room. A doctor stood over her, excitedly reading her vitals.
“Call the family, she's waking up.”
“What?” Liriel tried to say but couldn't around the thing giving her air.
“Ms thyme, you were in a coma. Welcome back. Your boyfriend is coming.”
“Numph!” she mumbled. Frustrated, she shook her head. “Dumph leph hssss neph muh!”
“I'm sorry, I can't understand you. You don't want to see your boyfriend?” she nodded vigorously.
“Easy, you don't have the energy. Your mother is also on her way,” she nodded.
“Welcome back, Lireil.”