The door slammed, jolting Hannah to her feet. Her hand jerked, knocking over the coffee mug. She gasped as coffee splattered everywhere. Her eyes darted to the doorway between the kitchen and the living room, then back to the mess in the kitchen. She took two steps to greet her husband, then quickly turned back, grabbed a towel, and flung it over the pool of coffee.
Keith bellowed from the other room. “Wife, why didn’t you greet me? I worked hard all day and you can’t even get off your fat bum to fetch me a beer?”
Hannah twisted her hair around her fingers, and then she yanked out a clump and watched wordlessly as it drifted to the floor. Swallowing hard, she shuffled to the swinging door just as Keith, from the other side, shoved it open, smashing the door into her face. Her hands flew to her nose in a feeble attempt to stop the gushing blood.
He balled his hand into a fist. “You stupid cow! What are doing, spying on me?” He kicked violently and the door splintered into pieces.
Hannah crouched on the floor, covering her face with her hands. “I’m sorry...I... I tried to … to…” She tipped her chin into her chest, hunched her shoulders, and sobbed.
Keith jerked her arm, yanking her to her feet. “Look at this place; it’s disgusting! Do you do anything but watch TV?” He pointed to the one under the cupboard. “You never would’ve gotten that if I’d known you’d do nothing but sit here, guzzle coffee, and watch talk shows instead of doing the cooking and cleaning.” He reached over and pulled the TV off the wall and threw it to the floor. “Clean it up and get my dinner ready now! A woman’s place is in the kitchen and the bedroom and don’t you forget it!”
Pastor Dave picked up the remote and clicked pause, freezing the atrocity on the screen. He turned to face the young couple on the couch. “So, tell me your thoughts.”
Paul took a deep breath and snorted through his nose. “We come here fer pre-marrin’ counselin', not to be ambushed. The Bible says the wife should submit to her husband in every way. Dude went easy on that whore. I’m gonna rule with an iron fist. Kelsey’s gonna do what she be told. I’ve heard your panty-waist sermons about love and bein’ helpmates to each other. Seems to me, you need some brushin’ up on God’s Word.” He reached over and yanked Kelsey's arm and started to pull her up.
Holding up his hand, Pastor Dave managed a slight smile. “Slow down, don’t get upset, Paul. I just want to make sure everyone is on the same page.” He pivoted and looked Kelsey directly in the eye. “What do you think?”
Kelsey nibbled on her fingernails and tapped her foot repeatedly. “Like Paul said, he knows best and I should leave the thinking to him--no matter what.”
Pastor Dave massaged his temple. “Kelsey, I’ve known you for years and you’re smart. What about your dream of becoming a surgeon?”
She started to speak, but Paul quickly muffled her by pressing his hand over her mouth. “She can practice her cutting in the kitchen by choppin’ up food fer my dinner. It's the man's job to provide.”
Picking up the remote, Pastor Dave leaned closer. “Please, just watch the rest of the video.”
Paul flung his arms up. “Fine, but some hokey movie ain’t gonna change nothin'.”
Pastor Dave looked directly into Kelsey’s eyes. “Just so you know, these are real people, not actors. Hannah’s parents were worried about her safety so they hid a camera in the kitchen.” Pastor Dave pushed play and the couple on the screen came back to life.
Keith punched a hole in the wall. “I’ll teach you to have dinner ready.” He stomped out of the kitchen.
Choking back tears, Hannah ran after her husband. “Keith, I’m sorry. I’ll work harder; I promise.”
Paul crossed his arms and jerked his head toward the TV. “Is it over? C’mon let’s go.”
Pastor Dave, once again, held up his hand. “Wait, listen for it.”
Suddenly, the undeniable crack of a shotgun echoed in the room, followed by a soft thump. Pastor Dave flipped off the power. “Kelsey, are you sure you want to get married?”
Kelsey buried her head in her hands, shrugged her shoulders, and whispered, “I don’t know.”
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