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In some cultures, what I do is considered normal.
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Evelyn shrank back as Staffan yelled at her. Every instinct she possessed screamed at her to keep as still as possible, to not do anything that would upset him further. Maybe if she didn’t offer any resistance she could just let him yell himself out. Then things would be okay.

Despite her best intentions, she couldn’t keep herself from crying out as he hammered her leg with another kick.

Oh God, this wasn’t working. Not moving wasn’t helping! Her thigh burned and throbbed as shivers of pain worked through the muscle. If she lived through this, if Staf suddenly snapped to and let her go, the there would be a hell of a bruise tomorrow. Oh God. If? *If* she lived through this?

When Staffan lunged, Evelyn let out a terrified shriek. “Staf! Stop! God, don’t!” She pushed at him as he straddled her, his weight and powerful legs pinning her to the ground. Frantic at the restraint, she tried arching her back in a futile attempt to dislodge the far larger man. “Stop, Staf, stop!”

Her cries abruptly stopped as Staffan reached down and grabbed her chin, his fingers cruelly digging into the soft skin of her jaw. Knowing it would only be worse if she fought him, Evelyn allowed him to turn her head.

"See...no big hero going to save you. No one to give a damn about you dying."

She knew he could feel her trembling. Her lower lip quavered as she realized he was enjoying this. He was actually enjoying doing this to her. What had she ever done that made Staffan hate her so? Afraid to look at him, a single tear tracked down her temple as she squeezed her eyes closed.

"Very wrong brother. Very very wrong."

Her eyes flew open at the sound of Nik’s voice. She could hardly believe her eyes as Nik struck Staffan with his gun, knocking Staffan off of her. She was scrambling to her feet even as Nik was bellowing for her to move.

Evelyn glanced at Nik, her words of thanks dying on her lips. She has seen Nik in a variety of emotional states. Proud when the hockey team had performed well, excited over some new piece of music he wanted to share with her. Embarrassed when he adorably mangled some English word. Frustrated when dealing with homework. But she had never seen this look on his face. He looked enraged. He looked ready to kill.

Her eyes dropped to the gun in Nik’s hand. She knew that he knew how to use a gun. He’d gone hunting with his billet father, Paul. If she didn't do something, in his rage, he would shoot Staffan. It would be so easy to let Nik shoot Staf. Then Staf’s reign of terror would be over. But even though Staf had terrorized her, as much as she *wanted* for someone to shoot him, to punish him, she couldn’t let Nik do it. If Nik shot Staffan for her, it would destroy him. He loved his brother. She couldn’t let him do it.

Without hesitation, she lunged for her boyfriend. She had to stop him before he did something he would regret forever. “Nik, don’t!” Her voice was shrill, a combination of the residual fear from Staffan’s attack on her and her concern for her boyfriend. “You can’t!”
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