Running Free

Ana is about to get married to the man who abuses her, and she can't see a way out. She doesn't want to upset her parents or lose her friends - but does that really matter?

(I don't know why some words are on new lines, and I can't seem to fix it :/)

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2. Decisions

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Maria’s voice pulled Ana out of her daydream.

“No,” she said firmly, once again wiping a tear from her eye. This time she didn’t take any care and smudged her makeup so a black mark was left on her hand and across her face. “I’m not marrying Jay,”

 

Those four words slipped off her tongue, the sweetest thing it had ever tasted. A flood of relief passed through her, making her feel a stone lighter. It was like she had pierced a balloon, with all the pressure being let out at once.

Then she felt fear.

 

What if this was the wrong thing to do? What if it didn’t work? If Jay tracked her down… She couldn’t even think of what he would do to her. She felt herself breathe more heavily, the pressure returning to the balloon like someone had hit rewind. She collapsed into a chair looking up at Maria for some kind of advice. Her friend laughed.

 

“Don’t be silly! As soon as you see him at the top of the aisle you’ll feel fine,” she said. Ana thought about how she hurt when Jay beat her. It didn’t feel fine.

“This isn’t just nerves Maria,” she sighed. “He’s an evil man,” The look on the bridesmaid’s face had gone from a happy, joking one to one of genuine concern. He doesn’t, like, hit you, does he?” she asked, confused.

“All the time,”

“Badly?”

“He broke my nose once,”

“What? You said you fell!” Maria was confused at her friend’s sudden revelation. Although when she thought about it, it did make sense. “I’m so stupid. I should’ve realised…”

“I should’ve told someone. I shouldn’t let him do it!” Ana was crying now, wailing. She caught sight of herself in the mirror, her tears carrying mascara in a stream down her face. “What do I do Maria?”

 

Maria stood Ana up, holding on to her. She wasn’t sure if it was to comfort her or steady her shaking body. Maria led Ana over to the mirror and wiped her face gently, cleaning her up. She sat her back down on a different chair and smoothed out the lace of her dress. She took Ana’s veil and placed it on the table, then helped her take her heels off.

 

“First, we need to calm you down. Then we need to run,”

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