I wasn’t going to listen to this. I got up and started walking out of the kitchen.
Ted grabbed my hand back violently. My tea collapsed to the floor shattering the cup and spilling in front of me.
“What are you doing?” I demanded.
“I’m getting me some respect,” Ted replied. “I will have respect in my own house, you got me? I want you to fix me something to eat.”
“I’m busy,” I said. “I worked all morning. Fix yourself something or eat what Joseph made.”
I started to walk away and Ted grabbed my arm again. He was jerking me around hard, his nails digging into my flesh.
“What are you doing? You are hurting me!”
“You bitch. I haven’t begun to hurt you. I bet you did it, didn’t you?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You turned them all against me. I know you have power and influence. What’s to stop you from using it to buy off all the investors so they won’t buy into my company? I wouldn’t put it past you. You did it, didn’t you?”
“Are you crazy? Listen to what you’re saying.”
“Answer my question!”
“Of course not! That’s insane!”
“You are nothing but a piece of trash,” Ted growled. “You think you are so much better than me. Well, I’ll have you know that you aren’t worth the dump I took this morning!”
“I hate you,” I said.
I started to go back upstairs. The kids were probably awake by now with Ted’s yelling, the bastard.
“Where are you going?” Ted roared at me. “We are having a conversation!”
I laughed. “Really? That’s what you call it? You are beyond hope.”
I was almost to the top when I felt Ted’s hands on the back of my head. He grabbed a handful of my hair and lifted me up until my feet almost left the ground and I just dangled by my tiptoes.
The pain was excruciating pulsating through my skull and pounding in the top of my spine.
“I’m going to teach you the meaning of the word respect!” Ted grunted in my ear.
He dragged me by the hair of my head down the hall, jerking and pulling me along violently. My feet slipped, skidded, bumped, and clanged along the floor as I tried to keep my footing. I tried to resist but it was only making the pain hurt worse. What was he going to do to me? I’d never seen him this enraged. He’d lost it and he was going to hurt me seriously. I’d seen it coming for months, but somehow I never really let myself believe that it would happen. But here it was. I can’t remember a time when I have ever been so scared.
I was going to die that day. There was no doubt in my mind.
The door to the nursery slammed open with a huge shove from Ted. He pulled hard on my hair and put his whole weight behind it as he flung me across the room where I slammed into the wall. I saw stars for a moment. The pain in my head scattered all over my skull echoing from the roots and branching outward. A pit of nausea rose within my gut and I wanted to vomit all over the floor, but somehow I held it back. I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction.
“You think you are better than me!” Ted yelled. “I’m sick and tired of being disrespected by you. With everything I do for you and our family, this is how I’m repaid. My own wife decides she is going to sabotage me. You have to get up pretty early in the day to pull the wool over my eyes.”
I stumbled and staggered up to my feet. Hearing his insane tirade stirred up an anger and a rage in me that had been boiling for a long time. I was over it. I didn’t care how much money I had to give him to make him go away or what I had to do to get away from him, I was going to do it.
“You are crazy,” I said. “I want you out of my house. If you don’t leave or you lay one more finger on me then I will call the police and have you punished to the fullest letter of the law. Just try to see if I’m joking.”
Ted just looked at me. His face was calm and peaceful. It was almost serene. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought he was happy and content. But I could feel the tension in the air. I began to feel encapsulated in fear. I broke out in a cold sweat. It dripped from my forehead into my eyes and I wiped it away.
I was proud of myself for standing up to him. It was like awakening from some sort of coma and remembering who I really was. I’d let this man take away my identity and it would never happen again.