Jessica Lyons was twenty-three years old, but she had lived a thousand lifetimes. She'd been tossed around like a rag doll throughout her entire life. When she was four years old, her parents died. She never knew how, or why. No one ever told her. She and her two brothers were split up into foster care. She spent the next thirteen years being bounced between homes. She had never been lucky enough to stay at a good one for very long. She grew up with bruises blossoming fair skin and ribs poking through too-thin shirts. Consequently, she had to learn to protect herself at any cost. She knew how to use weapons. She knew how to beat a man until he left her alone. She knew how to attack, how to hurt. She was not, by any stretch of the imagination, innocent. She was harsh and sharp and angry and mean. She was made up of angles and edges and blades and walls, all brick and concrete and anger.

Until she met Geoffrey Rembrandt at the age of eighteen - he was twenty-two. He pursued her, and after months, she let him in. They began dating; he broke down her walls. Over the course of two years, he manipulated her into loving him and then getting married - something she'd sworn never to do.

Then things changed.

He became meaner. When she met him, he didn't much like liquor. But by the time she was twenty-one, he was an alcoholic. And a mean one. He would insult her, he would force her into sex. It wasn't that she was a virgin; she wasn't. But there was a difference between sex and rape. He raped her, over and over.

Eventually, it got worse. He began hitting her. It was terribly cliché, really. She hated how obvious it was, despised how idiotic she'd been, for falling into that trap. Mostly, though, she hated how familiar it was - she'd grown up with abusive men, and now she'd fooled herself into thinking she loved one.

So now, at the age of twenty-three, Jessica looked her drunk husband directly in the eye, and she raised her gun. She knew she held power in her hands. It was heavy, and she liked it.

"You motherfucker," she whispered. "Do you know what you've done to me?"

He laughed. "You'd never," he slurred.

Jessica shook her head. "You just don't get it. You think you beat me? That just because I've taken your shit this long, I won't stop it?"

Geoffrey took a swig of beer and then threw his emptied can at her. "Get me another one, bitch. And shut the hell up, I didn't marry you to listen to you talking."

"Your aim is shit," she spat as the can clattered to the floor three feet away from her. Then, without another word, she lifted the gun and pulled the trigger.

a/n: that's it. it's intentionally ambiguous at the end. maybe she shot him, maybe she shot herself. guess it's up to you, lol. i can see the whole story in my mind... i know what happened. this is just a glimpse into Jessica's world. so hope you enjoyed. :)

a/n 2: it's a different writing style for me, by the way. usually i write first person. although here and with Shaken, I didn't/haven't.