Not a Fighter

Shay Sheridan


"Please," Fraser said.

"You son of a bitch!" Her fists came up again, battering against his chest, his chin. He didn't move, didn't resist her. "How could you? How could you do this? You bastard!"

She pummeled him, her face red with fury, her fists clenched so tightly her knuckles stretched white. Her fists were small, like she was, fine-boned and delicate, but it hurt to have her hit him again and again. He knew he'd have bruises tomorrow, not large nor dangerous to him, but they'd pain him for some time.

Perhaps he deserved it.

She hit him again, both fists against his chest. And yet he did not offer any resistance, didn't block her blows, kept his arms at his sides, just let her keep hitting him over and over. "I'm sorry," he said, his voice barely audible.

She paused at his words, panting, her beautiful face screwed up by anger into something ugly. He could not look at her. "You're not sorry!" she barked at him. "You'd do it again, wouldn't you?"

"Yes," he said.

"Why?"

"There is no other choice."

"I want you to hurt, I want you to die, do you hear me, you bastard!" She struck him again, with more force, a blow against his chin that made him step back to keep his balance. "You deserve to die for what you've done! What you've done to me--"

"This isn't about you."

With a scream she shoved him with all her strength, and he lost his footing and tripped back and slid down the wall. Instantly she was in his face, close enough for him to see the black of her irises, feel her breath on his face. "It's not about me? Fine, Fraser, I'll try to remember that when my friends laugh at me, that my husband ran off with another man—"

"He's your ex-husband, and he's his own man—"

She slapped him stingingly across the face. 'No he's not, is he? He's yours. Christ, you pervert, you betrayed his trust, you ruined him, you made him like you are!"

"No."

The voice came from the doorway, and both of them turned to look. Ray stood there, holding a bag of groceries. He stared at the two of them a moment, then walked calmly to the table and put them down. "I came on to him," he said, very quietly. "I knew I wanted him from the first day I met him." A vein was standing out on Ray's forehead and Fraser knew it was from the effort of keeping control. "Now get out of our apartment."

"This is a mistake, Ray, you'll find out it's a mistake—"

"Shut up. Shut up, Stella, or I swear to God I'll hit you."

Her mouth closed with a snap. She spun on her heel, grabbed her coat, and went out, slamming the door.

Ray walked over to where Fraser still sat on the floor and offered a hand to help pull him up. He narrowed his gaze and peered at Fraser's face. "You'll have a shiner tomorrow. She's small, but she packs a wallop."

"Ray," Fraser said, his voice raw.

"What?"

"Do you ever. . .regret. . ."

"No," Ray said, sharply. "Jeez, what a question!"

"Sorry."

"Don't worry, I won't hit you," Ray said, his hand snaking behind Benton's neck, pulling him in. "I'm a lover, not a fighter."


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