Authors: M.S. Brannon
By: M.S. Brannon
Copyright © 2014 M.S. Brannon. All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any written, electronic, recording, or photocopying without written permission from the author. The exception would be in case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews or pages where permission is specifically granted by the author.
This book is a work of fiction and the events surrounding this book are fictitious. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any similarity to actual events, locations, organizations, or persons live or dead, is entirely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Cover Design: Robin Ludwig Designs
Editing and Formatting: C&D Editing
If I could find assurance to leave you behind
I know my better half would fade
I’ll follow you down.
~ I’ll Follow You Down, “
Jake ~ Age 9
“Jake, get the hell in here, you little shit!” my mother screams from the living room, and I instantly plod down the hallway to see what the hell I’ve done now.
momentarily. Hearing the ice in her voice only means one thing, I’m getting beaten. For what? I don’t know. My mother always finds reasons to smack us across the face, but at the tender age of nine, I could care less. She has driven me so far away from her that I don’t think I could ever go back.
She’s never once loved any of us, especially me
. The moment I realized that, I had no problem letting her know it. I had to protect the one person I was responsible for, myself. I decided to forget she ever gave birth to me. The only one she shows any appreciation for is Reggie—her golden child. The son of the man who abandoned her along with all hope she’s ever going to have. Now, nine years later, she is paying for her mistakes with Reggie’s dad by smoking out of her glass pipe and exercising her pain on me and my younger brothers.
Reggie’s been gone
, training for MMA, and the three of us get beaten constantly. I love my older brother, even though he’s our mother’s favorite. He’s also the only reason any of us are alive. Along with training, he makes sure we’re all fed, get to school and takes care of us when we’re sick. I’ve never known any different. When Drake moved in, it was like Reggie became a father that day. He was a kid himself, but he couldn’t stand the thought of leaving a three-year-old deserted in an old parking lot, which his mom threaten to do before my mother finally gave in and took him in.
’s one of three people in my life I do respect. Not my own mother or my waste of a father.
As I make my way toward the living room, four strangers are sitting on the couch. Needles, spoons and white powder are littered all over the surface of the coffee table
along with bills of money. It’s just another normal day in the Evans’ household. When my eyes connect with my mother’s she’s livid, and I can tell by the look on her face she’s itching to beat me. Again, it’s just another normal day in my house.
” I ask with a little disdain laced in my voice.
“Did you do this?” She’s pointing to the stain on the couch. Drake spilled his orange
soda this morning and we tried everything to get the stain out, but we’re just kids. We have no clue.
“Yes. It was an accident
,” I answer.
I refuse to let my younger brother take the rap for this
. He’s only seven and can’t handle the beatings like I can. Neither can Jeremy. I always take the beatings for my brothers. Why? Because I hate my mother. She’s a waste of human skin and I don’t think I could ever respect her, let alone love her.
, hard slap connects with my cheek. “You’re a fucking worthless piece of shit!” Her breathing is heavy and her eyes are filled with anger.
I can feel the blood pouring down the side of my face and it
’s then that I realize she was holding her glass pipe in her hand when she slapped me. The jagged shards crumble from her hand onto the carpet. I can’t stand this woman and I wish her dead every night when I close my eyes.
I raise my head and look her direc
tly in the eyes, the blood soaking my cheek. I’ve had all that I can take as my small fists tightly ball up at my side—knuckle bones threaten to pierce through my skin.
“Takes one to know one,
Mom.” It’s the last thing I remember before everything goes black.
Delilah ~ Age 9
, my darling; it’s time to go,” my mother says from the bottom of the stairs.
I pull my dance bag over my shoulder and head down. Waiting at the bottom, my father and mother are standing hand in hand with giant smiles on their faces
, however I don’t want to smile. Because of my mother’s stupidity and this stupid dance rehearsal, I’m missing my best friend’s sleepover and it hurts my feelings.
, darling, no more frowns,” my mother says as she touches the tip of my nose. “No one wants to marry a wrinkled face grump, now do they?”
I shake my head no and
then wipe the scowl off my face. My mother sweeps my bangs from my eyes and shines a big smile in my direction. “That’s better, love. Now we need to get to the studio and practice for your big performance on Sunday.”
Without another word,
I file out of the door and climb into my father’s Mercedes. I can hear the boring hospital talk my parents tend to have when we are riding in a car. To drown them out and wallow in private, I pull on my headphones and listen to the radio. The noise is welcoming as I stew about missing my best friend’s first sleepover.
Presley doesn’t have many friends
, and it took me forever to convince her it was okay to like other people. When she finally started opening up, her parents thought it would be a good idea to have a slumber party. I, of course, was invited, but my mother said I wasn’t allowed to spend the night in a lower class home. She was ranting about bed bugs and cockroaches. I tried so hard to explain it’s not like that at her home—Presley’s parents are clean—but she cut me off, the vein in her forehead bulging slightly.
“Her father is a
gardener, Delilah. They deal with dirt and filth all day. If that doesn’t scream bugs, I don’t know what does. Now, I’ve allowed you to be friends with this girl out of pity, but I will not allow you to socialize at her house. I don’t want you to catch anything. Besides, it looks bad for our family.”
The matter was closed after that. One thing I’ve learned is to never argue with my mother. Only when I’m desperate do I speak my mind,
however that usually involves my father interceding in the conversation, which he will rarely does.
My daddy is an amazing man. I just wish I got to see him as much as his patients do. He’s always at the hospital doing great things
. Again, I’d protest, but it would get me nowhere.
We pull up to the curb of the dance studio and I step from my car. Allen Michaels is standing
a block away, messing with his backpack straps when he notices me. Allen is a nice boy who’s always around and likes to get me milk during lunch. He is kind and sweet, and I think he has a crush on me. Although I find boys gross, I’d never tell him that. It would hurt his feelings, and I just don’t have it in me to be mean to him.
Allen comes running down
the street, flashing his big smile and waving like a fool. He looks ridiculous, but it makes me laugh. “Hey, Delilah, are you dancing in there?” he asks while motioning toward the glass door. He tosses his backpack over his shoulder and kicks his foot across the pavement.
“Yeah, I’ve got to practice for Sunday’s recital. What are you doing down here?” It’s no secret Allen comes from a poor family. He dresses in thrift store clothing and sometimes doesn’t
bathe on a regular basis, yet that never stops me from being nice to him. Like Presley, he is one of a handful of kids allowed to come to our school as part of an outreach program. I’m not really sure what an outreach program is, but whatever it is, it brought Presley to my school, and that makes me happy.
“Delilah!” My mother’s shrill voice snaps me out of my conversation with Allen
as she comes storming out of the door. “Get inside, now.” She grabs me by the arm and pulls me into the studio as I wave politely to Allen. “What in the world were you thinking? Haven’t we talked about this?” I nod my head as she continues to lecture me. “Boys like that will amount to nothing. They are worthless and will do anything to take advantage of a rich girl like you. Now what did I tell you about boys? Do you remember?”
nod my head yes and then my mother twirls her finger in a circular motion, wanting me to speak back to her what she’s said. “Boys who have class and money will only marry girls who are responsible and respect themselves. If I’m not the perfect lady, I can never find the perfect husband.”
“And why is it important to find the perfect husband?” She is digging her glassy, blue eyes into mine.
“Because that’s what women like me dream of becoming,” I say unemotionally.
“That’s right. I know you’re tired of hearing this, but it’s for your own good
, darling. The women of our class are responsible for finding and caring for a husband like your daddy. A man who works hard, supports his family and is affluent in the community. Men like your daddy will not marry tramps who talk to anyone with a beating heart.” She fixes my leotard then bends at the waist, meeting my gaze. “Now, I know you’re young, but this will all make sense some day. You want to be happy when you’re older, don’t you?”
I nod knowing that’s all I want. “Then you follow my rules
, and I assure you, you will find a man who will make you happy.”
I’m circling the table
, studying every possible angle. There are only two balls left and then my pockets will be five hundred bucks fatter. Locating the perfect angle, I lean forward, pull back and plow the seven ball into the side pocket. One down, one to go. My unwavering concentration drowns out the bar noise in the background.
I study the table again, locating the perfect spot to sink the last ball.
“Eight ball, corner pocket.” I smack the tip of my stick above the pocket, lean forward and line up my shot. This sorry fucker has no idea what he got himself into thirty minutes ago, and now I’m about to take this week’s salary.
s challenged me numerous times, and it always has the same outcome. I’m several hundred dollars richer, and he’s pissing and moaning over his mug of beer.
I draw my arm back and connect the cue ball with the black eight ball. The velocity of the shot sinks with a snap
, leaving the cue spinning against the felt. Killed it! I look up to my opponent and smirk as he pulls a wad of sweaty cash from his pocket and tosses it to the table. I start to laugh. What a fucking pansy.
“Maybe next time, dude.”
The music is blasting
Welcome to the Jungle
by Guns N’ Roses. Yeah, that’s right, asshole; you’ve just walked into my jungle and I brought you down. Ha!
I put my stick in the holder and
head over to the bar for a victory shot, and later, that sweet piece of ass who’s been eyeing me for the last hour. Yeah, I think she will do just fine.
is packed tonight, but it’s the typical crowd for a Thursday night. Mostly it’s working stiffs looking to blow off some steam before the last working day of the week. This place is my home away from home. I spend more hours here than I do anywhere else. In a sense, I’ve grown up here. Once Reggie bought the place when I was sixteen, we’ve been hanging down here almost every weekend. You would think I’d get a job bartending, but what’s the fun in that? I come here to hang out with my family. As a bonus, I make money in the process and nail hot, slutty chicks in the back room.
Hustling is a way of life in Sulfur Heights
, and I’m so glad it is. It’s a talent I discovered young and have been perfecting ever since. It’s no secret to anyone who comes to
; I hustle to get money and my women. I cash in on poker games, darts, drag races—to name a few—but pool is where I excel. Many of the sorry fuckers that come in here try their damnedest to take me down, although it never works. Their loss, my gain. Women, on the other hand, well, there’s not much hustling to it. I smile, they come—literally.
Pushing through the crowd
, I make my way up to the bar where Reggie is busting hard to get drinks made and cash exchanged. I walk to the side and stand at the opening to get behind the bar, waiting for him to pour me my victory shot. The hot girl is sitting at the other end, perched up and giving me her best come-fuck-me eyes. It’s her lucky day; I plan on doing that just as soon as I toss back my shot of Jack Daniels.
Reggie makes his way over to me. He’s still pouring drinks and handling money when he asks, “The usual?”
“Yeah, and make it a double.” I flash the hot girl at the end my signature panty-dropping smile before downing the whiskey Reggie lays down in front of me. It burns when the amber liquid travels down my throat, but God does it tastes good. “When’s Darcie coming down?”
“She should be here soon. She went home to meet Presley’s friend who’s staying with us thi
s summer. Dianna, Dana… or something like that.” Reggie moves to the register, changing a twenty then handing the change back to the customer.
“Come again?” I ask.
“I told you about this, man. Her friend is doing something for school and will be staying at our house for the summer. I swear to Christ you never listen to anything I say.” He’s visibly irritated when he glares at me while pulling his hair back in a rubber band.
“I assure you, I would remember if you told me a chick will be staying at our house for the summer. I call bullshit on that.”
Reggie and I always have little bets going on, which is why I think he’s messing with me. I know for a fact that I would remember if I’ve been told a girl would be living with us this summer. The reason I know this is because I would ask extremely important questions, such as: Is she hot? Does she like fast cars? More importantly, does she get down with PDF—public displays of fucking?