See the collection it's in for more explanation.
This does have a TRIGGER WARNING. There will be talk of abuse, non-graphic actions taken, mild descriptions of injuries.
Dakota Fanning as Millie Larson
Carlos Pena Jr. as David Rodriguez
Nicholas Hoult as Peter Evans (I'm sorry to anyone that likes him. I adore Nicholas as well, it was just the luck of the draw when I picked the abusive boyfriend.)
Anna Kendrick as Lexi Waters
"Goddamn it, what did I tell you?! Be careful while you put away the dishes! Jesus, how many plates did you break?"
"Ju-just two. I'm sorry."
Millie cowered in the corner of her boyfriend, Peter's kitchen. She had been cleaning the dishes as he had told her to, reaching up on the tip of her toes to put the plates she had just dried away. Water from the sink had made its way to the floor and she slipped, taking the plates with her. Peter didn't bother to check if she was alright after she had hit her head on the counter, only furious about the dishes that had shattered when they reached the floor.
"You're SORRY?! That's money out of my pocket because of your stupidity!"
"I said I was sorry!" Millie snapped, instantly regretting it.
She didn't have to look at him to know he was raising his hand in a balled fist, she just prepared herself for the blows.
One to her eye, one to her jaw. Two plates, two hits.
"Jesus, Millie, what happened to your face?"
"Gee, thanks, David. You always know how to make a girl feel special."
She rolled her eyes and turned her face slightly in the opposite direction of her concerned friend.
"Seriously, Mill, what happened to you?" Lexi, her roommate and best friend, pushed on.
"Nothing, I just fell." It was partially the truth. She had fell to begin with, breaking the plates and the bruises on her face were just the aftermath.
"Uh huh, you fell and just happened to bash your eye and jaw?" David looked skeptical to his friend's lie.
"Did Pe- I mean, did he- oh, um..." Lexi didn't know how to say it. She was vaguely aware that Millie's boyfriend, Peter, had hurt her more than once. She had begged Millie to end things but the only response she got was "He loves me."
"Wait, wait, wait! Did Peter do this to you?"
David's eyes held a fire of fury like no other. The idea that the blonde in front of him, the one who seemed completely oblivious to his years of love for her, was being beaten by her boyfriend angered him. No, 'angered' was an incredible understatement.
"No, he didn't, I fell-"
"Millicent Anne Larson, don't give me that bull! Did Peter do this to you? And you better give me an honest answer!"
"I-I screwed up. I deserved it..."
"YOU DESERVED IT?! IS THAT WHAT HE TOLD YOU?! THAT YOU DESERVED IT?!"
Both women jumped at the young man's outburst.
"I fell and dropped some plates and he got mad. I-it was my fault. I snapped at him and he-he-"
"How long has this been going on?" David asked quietly, almost inaudible.
"How long is 'a while'?"
"A few months..."
David stood up and moved to crouch in front of Millie, looking her straight in the eyes
"Why do you stay with that scum?" He spat out the word 'scum', the venom behind the words apparent.
"He loves me. I just- I screw up and he doesn't like it."
"Millie, that is NOT love."
"Peter loves me!" Millie sobbed.
"Damn it, Millie, you call that love?! That isn't love! Love isn't about using the other person as a personal punching bag! Love is being there for someone and adoring them endlessly, despite their flaws. What he's doing to you- that's not love. That's abuse."
"I-I have to go!"
"Millie!" Lexi cried out as her roommate retreated from their apartment. A moment of silence passed between the two remaining figures in the room before David couldn't hold back on the question any longer.
"Did you know?"
The tears that poured from the female's eyes told him all he needed to know before she spoke.
"She- she told me she knew what she was doing, that he loved her. I-I thought she would know when enough was enough. I-I'm so s-sorry."
He stepped forward to embrace the sobbing girl and held her there for a moment before she whispered, "We-we should go after her. She'll pr-probably is going to see him."
The fire inside returned as his eyes narrowed at the thought, the feeling that the bastard would probably hurt her again.
She used the key to his house to get in, running past Peter as he demanded to know why she was crying. She locked the door to the bathroom behind her, ignoring him as he pounded on the door, yelling at her to open the door.
Millie stood in front of the mirror over the bathroom sink before she slowly peeled her shirt up, flinching at what she saw. Various stages of bruising covered her torso, her pale skin a wild contrast to her black cotton bra. Putting her shirt back down, she leaned closer to the mirror and gingerly touched the bruise around her eye.
This wasn't love...
The sound of the lock to the door being picked caused her to turn around. The door swung open a second later to reveal an irritated Peter.
"What was that about?"
"Do you love me?" The question escaped her lips without a second thought.
"What?" He raised his eyebrows in surprise and confusion at her abrupt question.
"Do you love me?" She repeated, her voice stronger than the first time she asked.
"Of course, I do, baby. You know I do." Peter tried to move closer to her, HIS Millie.
"Then why do you do this to me?"
"You screw up and I get angry. But that doesn't mean I don't love you, babe."
David's words from earlier echoed in her head.
"That isn't love."
"What did you just say to me?" His voice was dangerously low, precise.
"I said," she said louder, "THIS isn't love. If you love me, you wouldn't hurt me like this. You wouldn't tell me how stupid I am and how I screw up all the time. You would love me, despite my flaws-"
Her words, David's words, hit her like a ton of bricks. David. David loved her. A memory replayed itself in her mind. Her tripping over an uneven part of the sidewalk, her falling to the cement but laughing all the while. David pulling her back up and saying she always had her head in the clouds but he loved her all the same. Millie had thought it was just him being her friend, a joking endearment. Looking back at their time together over the past few years, the last year of junior high until now, she realized that he loved her. Not Peter's twisted version of "love" but really loved her.
Peter's voice brought her back to the present, "You don't know what you're talking about, Mill."
"Oh, I think I do. I'm leaving, Peter, and I'm never coming back here, back to you."
As she tried to brush past him, he grabbed her shoulder roughly.
"You're not going anywhere."
Blow by blow rained down on her face, her arms, her torso, her legs...
I might die, she vaguely thought as she weakly fought back, too worn out to fight more effectively. I might die and I never got the chance to tell David that I love him too...
"Millie!" Lexi's frantic voice cut in as the front door hit the wall, thundering footsteps racing towards the bathroom. Suddenly, the blows stopped, Peter no longer in front of her. Instead, he was held up against the wall by an enraged David.
"Man, get off me!" Peter choked out.
"I should kill you," David growled, "I should kill you for everything you've did to her."
Lexi scurried over to Millie as they both looked at the men.
"Do it then," Peter laughed, "come on, Rodriguez. Be a man!"
David stayed quiet for a minute, staring down the twisted creature in front of him.
"I'm not you," David finally spoke, "and YOU are no man."
David released him before raising his knee to the spot between Peter's legs. Peter groaned and sunk to the ground.
"If you ever touch her, talk to her, or even come near her ever again, I'll be the least of your worries. Harold J. Larson, Chief of Police, might not appreciate what you've done to his daughter."
Peter paled as Lexi helped a stunned Millie to her feet. David glared down at Peter one last time before turning to the woman he adored, who he loved.
"You okay?" He said quietly, affectionately.
"Yeah..." She whispered back, a small smile gracing her lips, "I'm okay."
"I'll go start the car." Lexi chirped with a coy smile, leaving her little lovebird friends to themselves- with the exception to the scumbag groaning on the floor, who she made sure to give a swift kick as she walked by.
"Come on," David said, stepping forward hesitantly and gently grabbing her wrist, "let's go back to your place and get you cleaned up."
They took a few steps towards the door before she pulled her wrist from his grip. David panicked inside for a moment, fearing he did something wrong before Millie surprised him. She reached out and took his hand with her own, intertwining their fingers before giving him a shy smile. He grinned back at her and squeezed her hand before carrying on.
"So, David, I was thinking, if you're not doing anything next Friday..."