Be Advised: This book has possible triggers of attempted sexual assualt, kidnapping, and stalking
Six months ago…
When you’re raised in the lifestyle I was, you realize that there’s life and then there’s death. Once you’re dead, you’re dead, there’s no coming back; but, on that day, I realized that you can experience death and rebirth at the same time.
That’s what it was like for me today. I had just dropped her brother back off at his truck so he could pick her up after school, and by the time I circled around to pull off, she was out, moving from one car to the other joining him. And I was struck. My heart stopped. And then I saw her smile and it began to beat again in a different rhythm, a rhythm only for her.
She looked like an angel, creamy skin and red hair glowing in the sun. She looked free of sin, moral wrong, and evil…unlike me. Her beauty was incomparable to all others, but surely because she didn’t realize it. Her innocence gave me hope. It made me feel like there was a reason to make things different in the world for once…instead of encouraging the chaos.
Life had come pretty easy to me so far. Things came to me easily. When I wanted them. And if they didn’t, my brothers and I were taught from a young age how to make it happen. We didn’t have love and hugs, but we had a strong knowledge of how to survive and stay on top. How to thrive in a harsh world. How to make money. Lots of it.
Danny and I carried out this drop as we did all the others. I’d follow him to this side of town after his work at the golf course was done, to supervise his runs, in his piece of shit truck rather than my Lambo of course. Then he’d drop me back at my car well before it was time to get his sister from school or work. That was the deal. She was never to know. And I had no problem with that until today.
My role in the family business didn’t require me to make runs with our pawns, but now that I’d seen her, I never wanted to stop. But I knew it would only be for glimpses…little peaks into her life. Because she deserved better than me, someone gentle, upstanding, easy…and none of the things my life brought with it.
I press the pedal down hard, revving the engine, and pull out with barely enough time to beat the oncoming traffic. The drive back to James Island is a haze until I'm finally back where I belong. Darkness coats the long stretch of road, lined by the aged mossy oaks and marsh, and no amount of blaring music can keep her image from dancing in my mind, coaxing me to turn around…see her…fuck her. So I respond in anger, pressing the pedal harder each time, daring to end it all for myself if I even surmise troubling her with my tethered soul.
I jerk my car to a halt in my driveway and climb the cobblestone steps to my house, stomping straight to the kitchen, switching on my lights, and finding the decanter of whiskey on the counter. I grab a glass from the cabinet and pour a hefty serving, slamming it down my throat and then I pour another, taking it down and letting the burn coat all my frustrations.
I look at my Rolex and it’s late. But not too late.
I dial her number, “come over.” I don’t ask. “I’ll have the car pick you up.”
The doorbell rings twenty minutes later and I announce for her to come in.
She shuts the door behind her.
"Here," I call out from the couch and she appears in the entryway from the foyer.
Her dark brown hair is tied back in a high ponytail the way I like and her long black coat is tied around her waist. Her hands rest on the tie, knowing what's coming.
She pulls the tie loose and her coat falls open. She elegantly moves her shoulders so the fabric easily falls down her arms exposing the flesh that peeks out of her lingerie. Her black bra is see-through and her barely there bottoms to match. Leaving only her long legs trailing down to shiny black heels.
I lean back, stretching my arms on the couch around me and she takes her cue. She lands between my legs, kneeling, and unbuttons my slacks. My jaw clenches as I breathe in heavily watching. My cock has been ready for over an hour…ever since I saw the angel. The brunette frees my throbbing appendage without moving much of my clothing and meets my gaze. I nod in approval and her mouth meets my flesh.
I push my hips up forcing more of me into her mouth and when she hesitates to go further I grab her ponytail and pull it, lowering her head more, listening to her adjust to me as she takes me in.
Her tongue goes to work coating my skin as her head begins to bob and I pull her hair tighter, dropping my head back on the couch and closing my eyes.
All I see is red. Beautiful porcelain skin, a sweet smile, her hair blowing in the wind as she runs through a field of tall green grass. She’s running from me playfully, knowing that when I catch her, I’ll worship every inch of her body.
The brunette moans as my cock grows even stiffer in her mouth and I yank her head up. Her weak eyes search mine.
“Fuck me!” I pull her up in a hurry and she straddles me as I push her tiny fabric to the side. Her channel takes me in and our mouths drop.
I close my eyes again and feel the angel on top of me. Her dainty body lowering onto me, taking away all my sins, teaching me a new way, showing me what love is.
My eyes open seeing the brunette grinding on my lap and I close them again, retreating to my happy place. I'm close and I place my hands on top of the woman’s shoulders pushing her down so that she has no choice but to roll into my cock. Her moans entice me to push deeper.
Red…that’s all I see…red…and I explode into her sweet little palace.
My growl fills the room and my stomach clenches in pain directly afterward knowing it wasn't really her. It won't be her, ever.
I pick the brunette up and put her beside me as we recover and I tuck myself back inside my pants.
“You can go now. Your ride is still out there.” I don’t look at her but I feel her eyes sear through me with fire, knowing she was used.
She’s used whenever I desire. She wants more, but she’ll never be more. My heart never belonged to anyone…unable to be tamed…until now.
The door clicks and silence fills my home again until a welcome call breaks it.
“What’s up,” I huff out leaning my head back again.
“Dad is cutting a deal with the Compano’s. Family meeting.”
“As soon as we all get there.”
I peel myself off of the couch and head over.
Reeves and Preston are already in the study when I get there, speaking with our father.
Figures. The pricks are always together. They’re probably behind this fiasco.
“What’s all this about working with the Compano’s pop? How in the world does that seem like a good idea?”
“Settle down son,” his statuesque presence goes unwavered at my dismay.
"He's got a point, Jax," Reeves argues.
“Point about what?” I hissed joining them at the desk. “Father, this makes us look like we can’t handle our own town. Are we pussies now?” I slam my fist on his desk.
“Watch yourself son. Know your place.” His eyes ignited. “I am the ruler of this kingdom,” he leans his face a mere inch from mine, challenging me.
“One day you and your brothers will make the decisions but for now you will listen to me.” He walks away and props himself on the edge of his desk. “And I’ve decided the risk of being at war with the Compano’s is far worse than doing business with them.”
“Keep your friends close, your enemies closer eh?” Preston offers with a shit-eating grin.
“Don’t worry Jax, once you grow up you’ll learn these things.” My body burns with a need to punch something at Preston’s words.
“I’ve lived plenty more than you for twenty-one.”
“That’s enough!” My father’s voice raises. “We can keep a better eye on them this way, letting them think they have accomplished something in this town, yet we will hold all the cards.”
It’s funny how you go about each day thinking it’s going to be more of the same and then all of a sudden, it’s just not. It becomes something different…unimaginable. Something that will change the course of everything you knew and you have no chance of ever going back to who or what you were.
The summer had been going pretty good so far. Danny graduated high school and planned on attending the local technical college in the fall. I think he really wanted to go to a University but he didn’t want to leave me. It didn’t matter how much I encouraged him, he insisted he didn’t need more than a trade school degree to live a decent life. While I felt bad, I was grateful.
We both had been working our butts off so we could save enough money to get our own apartment. Danny had been working at the golf course since the middle of his senior year and was able to pick up more hours now that it was summer. I just got my job at the diner about a month ago.
Dad didn’t know it yet, but we were leaving and it couldn’t come fast enough. By the end of the summer, with both of us working, we’d have enough to get our place, and it wouldn’t take much to be better than where we are now.
I throw on my light blue t-shirt displaying rather obnoxiously that I work at Big Joe's Diner and pull on my jeans I've worn way too many times this week, but I just haven't had time to go to the laundromat yet. I pull on the dark blue converse that I found at Goodwill last year, which are actually very comfortable, and match perfectly, and head to the bathroom. A high ponytail tops off the look so my hair doesn't get in the way with the busy Friday crowd.
I sling my purse over across my shoulder and get ready to head to the bus stop since Danny had to go in to work early; and dad was most likely off doing something involving a needle or pipe. I didn't mind that dad was gone though, and welcomed the lone environment. I was beginning to hate being alone with him. Whoever he was when mom was alive was long gone now.
My feet scatter, playing hopscotch as I tiptoe over the trash and dirty clothes and head down the tiny wood stairs. I walk carefully so I don't kick up the dirt and ruin my only decent pair of sneakers.
I occupy my time for the three-block walk by scanning my phone settings to see how much data Danny and I have left on our plan. Luckily, there’s still a week before payment is due and plenty of data. Then, I scroll through my texts and respond to Alyssa.
Me: Yes ma’am, taking the bus today. Be there in about 30.
Alyssa: Yay, I need my bestie with me tonight!
Alyssa: Oh, and there’s a party tonight at Justin’s. You wanna come?
Me: Probably, I’ll have to check with my brother.
Thank God for Alyssa. Between my limited friends at school and this job, she's been a saving grace. She is the reason I even have this job because normally people don't quit Joe's unless they are leaving town. Everyone knows the best place to get tips in Cane Bay is at the diner.
Since my dad wasn’t the best of providers, I’d been finding odd jobs since I was 13 years old to get anything extra I might need. Now that I was about to be a senior though, and Danny and I were moving, I had to find something steady. When I mentioned it to Alyssa she put in a good word for me and begged Joe, who is her 3rd cousin, to fit me in the schedule…which he did.
I almost make it out of the trailer park when whistles reach me from the side of the road drawing my attention to the three creeps sitting in metal fold-out chairs around a piece of junk car with the hood open.
Ugh, my dad’s friends.
I scowl their way as my stomach clenches a bit.
They started early today. I thought I’d be able to walk in peace. Guess I was wrong.
Obscenities fly my way from each of them along with tongues wagging in the air and kissy faces displaying their rotten or brown teeth and I look away gritting my teeth and picking up the pace.
“Come here girl, daddy approves.”
My head jerks back over my shoulder wondering what in the hell they are talking about and I see my dad walking down the deck, looking at me, listening to their cat calls, and doing nothing about it.
Chills run down my spine and I break into a jog. I don’t slow down until I get to the bus stop, still looking over my shoulder from time to time, wondering if they’ve shut the hood of the car and caught up to me in the junker.
They didn't though. I'm safe. And the bus is already in sight, inching along to the traffic light. I don't even have time to catch my breath but I don't mind, I just want on that bus and out of here. Once I find a seat, I pull the headphones out of my purse that Danny got me for Christmas, untangle the wired buds, and put on some music. Finally, a smile comes back to my face as I daydream about our new life, in a new home. A better one. A safe one.
The bus stops less than a block away from Joe’s and I skip down the steps with renewed thoughts and hopes. Every minute I spend here brings me closer to getting out of there. The little square brick building is already loaded with cars but that’s pretty normal for a summer afternoon.
I run to the side of the building, yanking the door open that leads straight to the locker room, and Alyssa just happens to be getting something out of her own.
“Bout time you got here,” she flashes a smile as she smacks her gum.
I blow out a sigh and grin back, “I see it’s a typical Friday already.”
“Yup. So get your apron on and get your booty out there.”
“What section is mine today?”
“Sweet!” I love that section because the big booths bring larger parties.
I would have taken a job with Danny at the golf course but you had to be eighteen to work there, and I had just turned seventeen in April. So Joe’s it was. But I didn’t mind working here. You could even say I liked it. This place was a cash cow because it doubled as a hangout for the Cane Bay High kids, as well as everyone else in town. And my best friend being here was just a bonus.
That didn’t stop me from dreaming though. I had hopes of getting a job with Danny once I turned eighteen. It sounded so exotic, and he usually came home with loads of stories about snooty people who spent thousands like they were twenty-dollar bills. And famous people that would come through from time to time. Not to mention the pay was steady. Sometimes, we’d stay up late imagining we lived like that, fantasizing about all the ways we’d spend our riches, the cars we’d have, the homes we’d buy.
The first few hours were steady but the real surge would pick up soon now that the sun was down. I took a short break, checking in with Danny and talking to Alyssa about the party. I decided not to text him about it and just ask him in person when he gets me later because he’s pretty protective over me since mom passed. If he says no, I could give him my best sad face.
Danny’s been way more of a dad than my actual father and I just go along with it. I guess technically, I could do what I wanted, but I kind of liked having someone look after me. It felt good to be loved.
When I head back in, Jody passes by informing me she just seated an eight-top at one of my tables and I get a rush of happiness from the tips I'll make on this one. I readjust my apron and peek over the bar to take a look, and my smile falls drastically.
This is not a table I want to wait on. I turn to look for Alyssa and think of asking her to switch tables with me but she's already made it to her new four-top and another family just got seated next to that.
I’m stuck with the girls.
I take a deep breath, tighten my ponytail, and head to the booth.
All eight striking Cane Bay cheerleaders occupy the booth and I nervously greet them, “Hey there, what can I get you to drink?”
I see Jolie and Holly to my right, nudging each other's shoulders as they giggle and I try to ignore it, staring at my notepad, ready to write. The other six girls all tell me their drinks and then I get to Jolie. My eyes fall on her perfect creamy skin and her blue eyes glimmer with anticipation…for what I'm not sure yet. She's the prettiest one in my opinion with perfect dimples on each cheek, long blonde hair, and not a blemish in sight.
“I’ll take some of that mud water, you know from your trailer park,” she stares right through me as I look at her frozen, dying to say something so nasty back but too scared to make a scene or compromise my job.
The girls around her all laugh and my cheeks burn with embarrassment.
I’m not sure exactly when Jolie decided to hate me or why but it’s been like this ever since ninth grade. For some reason, her calling out my many flaws made her feel good. On a bad day, I’d say something back, but most of the time I just looked the other way. All the things she said were right anyways. My mom was dead, my dad was a deadbeat, and my house was a shack. And then there was my appearance. My red hair wasn’t near as soft and shiny as hers, my breast not near as big, and my eyes a dull blue in contrast to her shiny pair.
She finally gives me her drink order and I stomp off.
I just have to get through this last hour.
I tell myself that over and over convincing myself the rest of the night will be gravy. And really I'm the one getting the last laugh. Since she's in a party of eight, the gratuity will be included in the check so they can't just stiff me with a penny tip.
I get in and out as gracefully as possible, taking on a couple more dirty looks as I deliver the drinks and take the food orders, but I have to take a breather with Jan on her smoke break to collect myself. I almost think of grabbing a drag of her cigarette, but I refrain, and with a deep breath I head back in and check on their orders. They’re already almost up since most of them only ordered a salad, but I stay hidden at the corner of the bar while I wait.
I can't help but watch them. I admire what it must be like to be them. All beautiful, admired, and wealthy. I bet they even had moms and dads who loved them.
They all talk and giggle without a care in the world, and then, like a set of dominoes, one nudges the other and then the next and the next as little gasps escape them. One by one they turn and look out the big glass window and I stretch my neck out to see why.
A few of the other tables around them even hear the commotion and whisper as they point and stare out the windows too. Doesn’t take much to wow this little town.
I squint as if that will help me see into the dimly lit parking lot and there is a bright yellow Lamborghini parked out there. The tail lights are still lit up so it must have just pulled in and that certainly is something to talk about.
Now that something new and shiny is here, I can stop hiding and crawl out of my corner. I scooch out a bit and try to see who is getting out of the car. The kitchen bell rings with the girls’ plates and it’s the perfect opportunity to get a closer look. I load up a few plates for my first trip and head over. They don’t pay me much attention thank God and I set the plates down, squinting again.
A man gets out of the driver's side with black dress slacks and a sleek black fitted shirt. I take a deep breath struck by his beauty. Then the passenger door opens and another man steps out. My eyes widen as the passenger turns around in a much more casual outfit. It's Danny.
“A fly is gonna get in there ya know?” Jolie’s voice taunts me and I realize my mouth is hanging open.
I close it promptly and head back to get the rest of the plates.
Who is that person Danny is with and why is he with him? Where is his car?
I pack my arms with the remaining plates and unload them as fast as possible so that I can catch up with Danny.
I can feel Jolie burning her eyes right through me and I know I've got another thing coming.
"I hope you didn't drool out of that mouth since you like to leave it hanging like that," she scrunches her face and makes a disgusted noise, and a few of the girls join in.
"No-, no of course not," that one stung for some reason, and my feet stayed planted begging me to stand up to this witch but I didn’t have to...because he does.
"Jolie, you wouldn't happen to be talking to my sister like that, would you? Because that wouldn't be nice," my brother's arm wraps over my shoulders and I'm graced with his warm smile and tousled brown curls.
Jolie straightens herself in the seat quickly and loses her grin fast, “oh, no of course not.” She nudges Holly, “I was talking to Holly, duh.” They both laugh nervously.
Next year is going to be hell now that Danny won’t be there. He was pretty much the only thing that kept the creeps away from me. He was a well-respected athlete…totally opposite of me.
I've always wondered how we were related. He has brown hair. I have red. He's outgoing, funny, and good at any sport he plays. Me on the other hand…I'm quiet, shy, and uncoordinated. Naturally, we hung with different crowds and one of the guys in his crew was Jolie's big brother. She'd had an obvious crush on my brother for years now but he paid her no attention. He always said he couldn't stand a girl with no class and by class he meant couth.
Danny’s arm stays planted on my shoulders and guides me to the booth behind the girls, “come on take a break with us.” He breaks free and plops down in the booth as I join and the mysterious Lamborghini guy joins him.
“I can’t,” I stutter as my eyes drift to the stranger’s and everything around us starts to move in slow motion.
Electricity shocks through me at the connection and I gulp down the immediate lump in my throat. The man is a God and is very out of place here, but none of the looks and whispers seem to bother him.
“Come on, take a break. We won’t bite,” Danny nods at his friend again, “Will we Jax?”
Jax's chocolate eyes imprint on me again and Jolie clears her throat from the table behind us…clearly at me. The sound breaks my trance and I blink myself back to reality.
Danny turns with a scowl on his face and warns her again as I stand back up at the end of his table.
“Um, where’s your car?” I stutter.
“Oh, it got a flat and then the spare was flat too, so I needed a ride. Luckily Jax was still at the golf course so he offered to give me a ride.”
“Here?” I whisper before I can think and Jax chuckles a little.
His jaw clenched as he grins and I can’t help but notice. I think he’s laughing at me and I wouldn’t be surprised. I don’t really seem to impress people like him.
“Yeah, here.” He leans further back on the seat and props an arm up on top.
“How are we supposed to get home?” I lean in and whisper to Danny.
"That's why we came here…to get you. And go back and get Jax's on-call mechanic to put a tire on."
“Yup,” Jax answers, sounding slightly over the conversation. “After we eat.”
“Well, um you’re in my section so I guess I need your drink orders,” my words are quiet and full of nerves, not at all how I served all my earlier tables.
“Water,” Jax speaks up first and I nod, fluttering my eyes.
“Tea is fine kiddo.”
I get to the drink station and fill their cups and Alyssa attacks me with questions, “Hey! So who’s the hottie?”
“I turn around with a filled glass in each hand and gaze in wonder with her, “my brother’s friend I guess. From work.”
“Geez,” she fans herself, admiring him. “He looks more like he owns the place, not works at it.”
A light bulb clicks and I don’t know why I didn’t think of that. What if he does own the place? Butterflies fill my stomach, as I wince at the remembrance of him walking in on me being made a fool of, and then my incredibly awkward curb appeal at the table. I’m such a dope.
“Did you ask your brother about the party yet?”
“Oh! I’ve got to do that.”
I deliver the drinks and grab my notepad to take their orders.
“You’re off in a few minutes aren’t you kiddo?”
I nod, “but actually, Alyssa and I were thinking about going to this party Justin is having tonight.”
“Justin?” Danny scoffs.
“A party huh?” Jax kicks his feet out on his bench catching me off guard.
“Um, yeah you know Justin,” my brother played football with him so I know he does.
“Yeah I know Justin,” Danny looks me up and down with eyebrows pushed together in thought, “You and Alyssa gonna stick together?”
I nod, “she said I can ride with her over there.”
“Well I guess that would give us time to get the tire on and then I can pick you up after a while.,” he looks at Jax for approval and Jax nods quietly. “Just call me when you’re ready.”
I catch Alyssa out of the corner of my eye and turn to her shaking my head, yes and a huge smile takes over her face.
"Ugh, I should have brought a different shirt," I speak up over the rattling of Alyssa's hand-me-down car.
“I already gotcha covered girl. You didn’t think I was lettin’ ya go to a party with me looking like that did ya?” she flashes a smile at me and we laugh, turning the music up and jamming.
She pulls down the long driveway to her home and I admire it all the way. It’s a mobile home but it's one of those that are built into the ground, so it looks fancier. Nothing like mine.
“Come on!” She hops out full of energy and leads me into her room, which is girly and sweet with twinkle lights and posters on the wall. It’s not the first time I’ve seen it, but something about it hits me differently tonight.
We were finally so close to being out of our dump and into our own place. I had no doubt that it may not be perfect and fancy but it would be clean and safe. And I would decorate my room with all the things too.
“Here, try this on,” she tosses a few shirts on the bed and I turn around pulling my shirt off and trying on the light blue one first since it will match my shoes. I pull it down and look in the mirror and it fits me well. The V-neck is a little low for my taste but it's a far cry from the baggy t-shirts I normally wear.
“Well now, don’t you clean up nice,” she gawks and changes her shirt stripping right in front of me.
She lets me borrow some makeup but I only use the mascara and she talks me into leaving my hair down, which we have to straighten since there’s a lump in it from the ponytail.
Once we make it to Justin’s house, it’s already packed. Any and everyone you could imagine from Cane Bay high and more showed up. Apparently, his parents set the place up for him…like a graduation party. They had plenty of room for it since their house was situated on a huge chunk of land way back off of the road. Tiki torches were scattered outside and the inside was lined with decorative lights and balloons. A DJ was set up outside near the in-ground pool and had the whole place thumping.
I did see that Jolie and her crew were there but luckily it was busy enough to keep a distance. The place was crazy. People were drinking and dancing everywhere, doing keg stands and swimming…which made us the minority, but since Alyssa had to drive home she couldn’t drink and I wasn’t touching the stuff. My brother would have killed me.
We danced for a while and hung out with a few different people but it became a little too much too fast. We wandered to a back corner of the big yard and found a hammock that we both crawled into.
“Look at those stars. So pretty out here.”
"Yeah, they are,” I agree.
We swing a bit without saying a word, just the music in the background and the stars in sight and it’s so peaceful.
“I think I’m gonna leave soon?” I turn to Alyssa.
“Why? What’s wrong?”
“I’m just tired. It’s been a long day and I have a lunch shift tomorrow.”
Alyssa pokes out her bottom lip giving me puppy dog eyes and I slap her arm playfully, “stop it,” I chuckle.
“Alright, alright, I guess if you have to.”
“You leaving too?”
“I guess. I am working with you tomorrow.”
“Oh, then consider me a good influence,” I smile proudly as I climb out of the hammock.
“I just have to call my brother. Can we go to your car so we can actually hear each other?”
She nods her head climbing out as well and we find her car mixed in the rows of cars parked along the side of the road.
I dial my brother’s number and it rings a few times and then goes straight to voicemail. We get in Alyssa's little sedan and I dial again. Straight to voicemail this time.
“Ugh,” my head falls back on the seat.
“Can’t get him?”
I shake my head, “and I’m so tired.”
“Think he’s out partying with his new friend?”
“Give it a few more minutes. If he doesn’t pick up, I don’t mind taking you home.”
She smiles and nods.
We wait about ten more minutes and I make one more unanswered call, so we decide to head on. I text my brother, letting him know and then I remember the eerie look in my dad’s eyes this afternoon when his friends were calling out to me.
My stomach clenches a bit as I stare out the window. I dread the idea of being home alone with him. I meant to say something to Danny about it but I completely forgot and there’s no way I’d share something embarrassing like that with Alyssa.
We pull into the trailer park and my stomach turns in knots again as we travel the bumpy dirt road. When my trailer finally comes into sight I see a few low lights illuminating the windows in the living room and the room at the far end of the house. He's there.
I clamp my eyes for a second and blow out a sigh as Alyssa pulls up to my house.
“See ya in the morning?”
“Mm-hm” I purse my lips together and nod.
She pulls off as I climb the wood steps and for a brief moment my whole body tenses. I peer over my shoulder considering waving Alyssa down to take me somewhere, anywhere until my brother can get me, but she’s already too far gone.
I squeeze the doorknob, turning it slowly and stepping inside. I shut it as quietly as possible, moving it slowly and intentionally and turning the handle again so it doesn't pop. The tiny place reeks of the smell of booze and smoke and I swallow the cough trying to come up.
I just need to avoid him. Stay quiet and get to bed. I’m so tired.
The little lamp provides enough light for me to find my way through the mess and into my bedroom. I make sure to step delicately, and deliberately and I finally reach my bedroom door, twisting the knob and pushing it open. It creaks and I wince.
He heard me.
A thump followed by a few extra crashes comes from the opposite end of the house and I get the rest of the way in my room fast, shutting the door behind me. It doesn’t lock so I push the folding chair by my bed under the doorknob to hold it.
I'm not sure why he was calling me but I'm pretty sure I don't want to find out. He's been off lately. Something has changed…gotten worse. I don't think he's in there anymore. He drinks from sunup till sundown and then some and takes any pill or pipe that is passed his way.
“Chalene!” his crackling voice yells again as his scattered stomps trail closer and closer to my door.
I jump on my twin bed, curling my legs into my chest shivering.
Why did I come straight home? I should have waited on Danny.
Banging rattles my flimsy wood door but I don’t answer him.
“Chalene! I know you’re in there. I smell that pretty little peach perfume you been wearing lately.”
A shutter runs down my spine and the door seems to rattle around its hinges as he bangs harder.
I finally give in, in a burst of fear, "Go away, daddy! I need some privacy."
“Privacy for what little girl?” the words sear me.
“Just please let me go to bed!” I yell.
“Oh, I'm gonna put ya to bed you sweet little thing.”
The words make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I say the first thing that comes to mind to scare him, make him back off, “Danny’s gonna be here any minute.”
“No, he's not. It's Friday night and we both know he stays out late." His words slur as he bangs harder and harder on the door. It's going to give way any minute and I rock on my bed trying to figure out what to do.
I reach to the flimsy pane and try to unlock it but the darn thing has been rusted for years. I keep trying though until the thin wood of the door cracks around the knob and it gives way.
Smoke and alcohol immediately fill the room as the man who looks like my dad but has been replaced with a monster shoves his way in. It doesn’t take long to reach me and I feel his dirty hands grab my shoulders.
I scream as he pushes me flat to my bed and begins to mount me.
“Stop it daddy!” my hands push on his shoulders and my legs and feet scramble in all directions trying to throw him off of me.
He's strong, entirely too strong for a drunk person and I can't get him off. He mounts my hips and pins me, laughing like a madman as his hands tear my t-shirt open.
“Pretty little bra for daddy huh?”
I scream as loud as I can and I feel a hot sting across my cheek as he slaps me. It knocks the wind out of me and the tears come barreling out of my eyes begging him to stop. He’s in between my legs now, wearing only boxer shorts and he’s pulling them down. He fumbles to remove my pants as I continue to fight him and another crash comes from the living room.
Two roaring animals come flying into my room jerking my father off of me as I roll to my side crying and closing my shirt.
One of the voices growls deeply as I hear my father getting pummeled over and over.
"Okay! Okay, man! We gotta stop, we’ll kill him!” I heard my brother this time.
I make my way to the door to check on Danny and see him holding my father as Jax drives his fists into him. Jax doesn’t stop though and my dad’s groans have gone silent.
“Stop it!” I yell and Jax finally responds, turning to me, piercing me with his dark eyes. His face is contorted in a devilish shape, and growls are still coming from his chest. He doesn’t say a word. He just stares at me telling me I am safe now.
I fall onto Danny, wrapping my arms around his neck and sobbing.
“Shhh, it’s okay. We’re here now. I’ve got you.”
Jax climbs off of my father’s limp body.
“Is he dead?” I sniff.
Danny looks down at the lifeless body assessing him and then over to Jax who’s still seething with rage.
Danny’s hands land on my face making me only see him “he’s fine okay. We’re getting out of here. Pack a bag,” he looks over at Jax communicating without a word, and Jax nods. “We’re going to Jax’s house and we’re never coming back here.”
“Where will we go?”
I don’t know yet, but not here. Never here again,” he grabs my hand pulling me into the room and shoving items in a bag of his own and I follow suit.
I shield my eyes as I pass my father’s bloody and beaten body on the couch. I didn’t have much time to examine him further nor did I really want to. Whatever father he ever was, was long gone. A monster lay on that couch. A monster I never wanted to see again.
We leave the tethered old trailer with only a couple of bags on our shoulders and Jax opens the car door pulling the seat up for me to get in the back.
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