She couldn't believe the image in the mirror as tears poured down her face.
"Careful now or you'd ruin your make up" The stylist advised touched by his client's reaction.
"I never knew I could look this beautiful...look at my brows, my skin so..." She broke down again making her masacara run.
"Pull yourself together sweetheart cos at this rate you'd ruin your hair and your new clothes"
She turned to look at him dabbing at her eyes with the cotton handkerchief he had just handed her.
"Clothes?" Her money didn't cover for clothes. She'd only paid for facials, hair and make up.
"Yes dear, clothes with compliments from the style team-promotional stuff you know; please don't cry again."
She watched as his assistant wheeled in a cloth hanger with two different outfits. Willing herself to maintain her composure, she got up to feel the fabrics.
"Thank you so much" She kept saying over and over again.
"It's ok dear. Let's get you dressed."
She stepped out of the beauty house that afternoon, feeling alive and with a new sense of purpose-a feeling she hadn't experienced in so long. Her tears threatened to drop but she couldn't let them right now. They would simply ruin her make up which would in turn ruin the effect she hoped to have on Cookie. It was his birthday and she had been planning this surprise for over a year now and nothing was going to spoil it.
Just then, a car pulled up infront of her.
"Can I give you a ride princess?" It was a dashing young man poking his head out the window.
"No but thank you" she said sincerely. He was the third man so far to gush over the new her and while it made her feel incredibly great she knew her beauty was for Cookie and Cookie alone.
"You're beautiful" he said as he drove off. The smile of delight on her face couldn't be helped.
Just as she made to hail a cab, a woman, obviously in a rush, ran up to her.
"I've been watching you from the store over there and I think you may make us a great model. I'm kinda in a rush but here's my card. Give me a call."
She stood speechless as she turned the card in her hand, she was sure she'd died and gone to heaven. A modelling agency card? All in one day? This couldn't be happening.
It was an excited woman that got into a cab and headed home. Cookie was going to love the new her and she couldn't wait for him to see her. Now, she was sure he would love her like never before. He'd cherish her and fill her ears with sweet nothings just like he had done when they were still dating. She was so sure of it she smiled smugly.
She paid the cabbie who winked at her before driving off. With eager steps she ran up to the front door and let herself in with her key. It was 6 pm and Cookie would be at the back yard smoking his cigarettes.
She found him easily.
"Hi love!" Her voice wasn't as low as it used to be which shocked Cookie as he turned to look at her.
She waited, holding her breathe while his eyes swept over her. She knew he was coming to give her a kiss when he walked over to her and pulled her close to him. Eyes closed, she reached for him when the slap across her face threw her back.
Her hand flew to her mouth where she found she was bleeding. The strange ring he always wore had wreaked havoc on her face again.
"Who gave you the permission to do this huh? Who?!" His voice thundered.
"I thought you'd like it" She explained stepping back from him. "It's supposed to be a surprise tonight for your birthday, I thought you'd..." He didn't allow her finish as he pulled her by the hair, dragged her into the kitchen and pushed her against the counter where he tore off the skirt and the sexy underwear she had just been given by the beauty house.
"I hate surprises and you know it or is this supposed to make me want you more? Make me love you tenderly tonight? You think this can change the way you look?"
He pushed her legs apart as he undid his jeans and let it fall down his legs.
"I can love you passionately baby, hard and passionate. That's what you want right?"
He took her right there, against the counter, ramming her back into its cold marble edge, cussing as he moved.
"You are worthless and ugly and will always be. Without me you are nothing. You need me. You need me! Say it you bitch! Say it!"
Unshed tears burned in her throat as his frenzied thrusts pushed the sharp edge of the counter into her back, tearing her skin.
"I need you" Came her weak response.
"Louder!" He ordered as he came. "Louder bitch louder!" His fingers dug into her scalp, inflicting what they knew best to.
"I need you!" She had learned to obey him; the cost of disobedience was way too high.
"Good girl" He cooed as he slipped out of her. "What do you say?" He grabbed her face and drew it close to his.
"I love you" She whimpered.
"Kiss me now" He ordered, his voice like steel and she did like the obedient dog that she was.
"Would you leave me ever?"
She shook her head vehemently.
"I want to hear you say it"
"No, never, never!"
"Why?" He'd unbuttoned her blouse now, staring at her new bra. "Why?!"
"Because you'd kill me if I do"
"Good bitch" He pushed her aside and made for the door where he paused. She looked up at him with fear in her eyes, waiting for the worse.
"I hate that hair do, take it off and the damn bra too."
With that, he let the door slam hard and made his way to the yard where he was going to resume smoking his cigarettes.
Her tall lean frame shook as she crouched in a corner by the counter. Voices clashed in her head as her body shook with unshed tears.
"You're a beautiful woman, let me buy you lunch...Can I give you a ride?...Wow! Gorgeous! You'd make a great model..."
She touched her swollen lip, then picked up her torn skirt. Anger shot through her and she shook like a leaf.
"Liars! All of them liars!"
Picking herself from the floor, she realized it was almost 7. She had to make Cookie's birthday dinner before it got too late.
PS: Inspired by a message by Pastor Adefarasin at House on the Rock Church in Abuja yesterday and Photo gotten from aloofar without permission. Sue me! lol!