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I do

This is the post excerpt.

I pride myself on being a MS paint Goddess, but I’m also a writer. I’ve been writing fan-fiction for years. I wrote a novel. I want to be the next 50 Shades of Grey- but not for the reason you expect.

Like E.L James I wrote a book that started out as a fan-fiction. What started as the story of Space marines from the inspiring series Red vs Blue  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCII0hP2Ycmhh5j8lS4cexBQ

Became the story of North Dakota.

Dakota Sons (82,136 words) is the story of two lives intertwining over the span of three years. 15 year old Sean Foster has struggled with Cystic Fibrosis all his life. With his body in constant pain all he ever wanted was to feel normal in his own skin.

Diego Quinto is a disabled military veteran, who has a strained relationship with his daughter, Jen. When Sean and Jen start dating, both men experience a sense of hope. Sean makes Jen happy, encouraging her to improve her relationship with her father. And Jen teaches Sean how to live life to the fullest despite his illness.

Jen becomes pregnant, she is sent away to live with her grandma, unaware that her father came to his decision to protect Jen from her mother who would have insisted on an abortion. As Diego’s marriage falls apart Sean finds a trail of evidence that suggests Diego’s wife is physically abusive. When fate reunites Sean and Jen in California Sean must help Jen reconnect with her father before it’s too late.

 

 

“When I think of heaven
Deliver me in a black-winged bird
I think of flying down into a sea of pens and feathers
And all other instruments of faith and sex and God
In the belly of a black-winged bird.”- Rain King by Counting Crows

 

 

 

Wet (Flash Fiction)

I turn on the shower. The water caresses my face, my chest, down my abs. I shudder.

I turn on the shower. The water caresses my face, my chest, down my abs. I shudder.

It’s been years since Lisa forced herself on my unconscious body. Sometimes I wish she had cut my dick off. Any stimulation resulted in flashbacks; memories of waking up on the bathroom floor bleeding from my head.

But tonight is different. I went on a date with Jen, a girl I met in support group.

Her story was so much worse than mine, her ex had pimped her out, beating her when she didn’t comply. Yet on our date, she held my hand, touching my self-harm scars. “…mantenerte fuerte.” Her lips met mine.

If Jen could be brave, maybe I could too. My hands moved to my penis. At first, I flinch. I close my eyes, focusing on Jen. I see her face. I can feel her kiss.

Your soft pouty lips, your caramel colored skin.

I picture her naked in bed, her fingers between her legs. Her breasts as she arches her back.

Jen, I would never make you touch me…

I grip the shower rod, steadying my body.

Your sexy curves, your luscious mouth- I want you so bad.

Survivor

This post was inspired by a certain youtube star who went on a reality show and choose to leave. I always hate when people make the choice to leave a competition reality show. Ink Master, Big Brother, etc, unless you have an injury – it pisses me off- why? Because I lived through Air Force basic training, despite the fact  I suck at life.

Week 0- Welcome to Hell.

Girls from all over the country are flown into San Antonio. As a 23-year-old with a worthless art degree, I had never even been to Texas. This was already a win. We were herded into a room where we sat on the floor awaiting our squadron assignments.

Once we got them there was not one but four DI’s yelling at us to get to our quarters and unpack. I knew this was what I signed up for and growing up I was always yelled at by my parents, so – what ever.

But week 0 broke one girl. A short Asian girl who for whatever reason wore mascara to her first day of basic. She got yelled at. and hours later she claimed to have slipped in the shower, breaking her ankle. Everyone from the popular girls with boyfriends back home, to the socially awkward nerds, called BS.

Week 1- Every building had 2 floors, so we had a ‘brother’ squadron below us. This was their tale of insanity and why they lost phone privileges.

We had to go to clinic where anyone who wore glasses would receive their BCG (birth control glasses- since they were so ugly- but they were durable and would last through BT. ) The story, as our brothers told it- one guy started screaming- while waiting in line. He was shouting random profanity as if only now realizing what he signed up for.

This was the clinic! We hadn’t even been issued our uniforms yet! He was taken to the side to calm down but when he returned he tried to make a break for it.

Because of his insanity, his entire squadron was punished by having to watch us girls use the pay phones to call our families.

Week 2, 3

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I sucked. I suck as marching, at running. Hell, I even sucked at eating. We are supposed to eat as fast as possible. But here is a tip – never ask the Cafeteria lady for only a protein. It was so lovely to get called anorexic for trying to shave a few minutes off my meal time.

Our squadron LEADER was a gymnast-thin nineteen-year-old divorced mom. So the one good that came out of the DI’s assuming I had an eating disorder was that both of us got an extra five minutes to eat.

Week 4- Hell week.

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We had to go to a part of the base made to look like Iraq. The DI’s stayed behind leaving the mean girls in charge. I was one of only three who failed the shooting test (luckily that is not an automatic discharge). Every day that week the mean girls got to assign the door guard schedule.

First shift gets to sleep around midnight. Second shift has to get woken up at midnight and only gets to go back to sleep around four am. Third shift just wakes up early.

GUESS WHAT I ALWAYS GOT! And on one day, with my sleeping bag over my head, I awoke to the following-

“Do you think we should wake her?”

“…everyone’s already dressed. ”

“Do you think we’ll get in trouble?”

“If she gets kicked out, it WILL fall to you.”

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Week 5-

The tests. Also the return of one mean girl who’s appendix ruptured during hell week. She had spent two days in the hospital. She returned with tales of girls who claimed to be in unbearable pain all in an effort to secure a ticket home. If one girl said her knee hurt, suddenly every girl in the ward had pain in their knee.  Her stories got a laugh. Our squadron was still mean girls vs nerd girls but at least her team acknowledged that although we were ‘losers’ at least weren’t cowards.

Fitness test- I pass the run, I pass the push ups. Both of which I practiced every night before bed in lieu of writing letters. Then came the sit ups. 50 in 60 seconds. This caused five people to not graduate on time- but not me. 50 in 60 seconds exactly! My sit up partner and I cried genuine tears- we were going to graduate!

I dominated the written tests.  95%, 97%- Putting me in the top 3 for both. Suck it, mean girls!

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Week 6 (dating myself since after I graduated  AF BT is now 8 weeks) was graduation. We got to go to the arcade, use the internet, but most importantly we got visitors.

My dad was my only visitor. What’s messed up is you have to send out graduation invites week 2. So the idea hangs over your head. ‘I cannot fail because the people who believe in me paid a lot of money to see my graduate.’ Which was why I only sent out one- to my parents.

The last day of basic we were paired off to watch over the next gen. Me and one of my best friends,  Puerto Rican native who got a perfect on the rifle test, watched over a week 0 team.

Around midnight as we struggled to fend off sleep she said to me “We did it, no one thought we could but we did!”

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So yeah, my hero team-

-The Purto Rican beauty who spoke little English- she got an early promotion.

-The nerd girl who was a wife and mother, using her instinct to help us losers achieve success. (She was a co-winner of the squadron grand prize medal.)

-My best friend who resembled the pro-wrestler Lita, she was the one who stood up for me during hell week. She’s currently working as a firefighter.

I graduated. I headed to Mississippi.

That began a whole new series of regret. But I never gave up. I got married and stationed in Germany where I got to see parts of the world I never thought I would experience.
In the end, I left the Air Force because they kicked me out for Thyroid cancer. And even then I appealed the decision to the fullest extent, resulting in a nice disability payout.

Never give up, it is better to be fired than to quit. But even if you are forced to leave you can walk away knowing you gave it 100%.

Team (a retail story)

 

Twin’s not dead. He’s just missing or late, how ever you might choose to view the situation. My co-worker, a fellow janitor, went on LOA. He had been gone for two weeks, he was supposed to be back today. But he called out, the reason (I learned via my favorite manager- all of the other managers would have kept to themselves)- family emergency. One could say Twin was just ‘still on gone’ but to me, it felt like he was ‘more gone.’

I never asked where he was going. Warrior, a man in his fifties went home to the Philippines every year, this year he went for cancer surgery. Kid, a cool teen who shared my love of Nintendo went to Los Angels for nine days, for a comic-con, with a few days allocated for further travel to San Deigo. Where was Twin? I saw him on the computer the week before he left- why didn’t I ask?

Allow me to explain. Twin is my other half, the yang to my yin. He’s everything I’m not. His birthday is even one day after mine as if God said: “Oh crap, I made a neurotic girl, now I need to fix this my making the most strong confident boy in the history of the universe.” Funny story last year the corporate calendar on the wall in HR, once again posted a list of B-days, with no actual dates. So I took it upon my self to make a little drawing of a cart. Because in addition to cleaning restrooms, checking supplies, emptying hangers, and escorting customers to their cars, answering general calls we janitors are also supposed to bring in carts. All- freaking – day. So if you ever go to a Target and the parking lot is covered in trash?- that’s why.

I placed the cart between the 8 and the 9 because on some deep psychological level I thought ‘there is no way my birthday comes before his.’ It wasn’t due to my memory, I genuinely felt ‘There is no way I get honored before he does.’ When the HR rep said, I was not allowed to post the drawing, and days later she posted actual birth dates, I had the stupidity to go up to Twin and ask “Was your birthday always on the 10th?” As usual, he was calm and sweet. “Yes.” Not even pointing out the moronic nature of my question.

I miss him mainly because of his style of helping people. If I had three different tasks that I was stressing out about my first instinct would be “Which one do you want?”

But his instinct would always be, “Let’s do A, then B, then C.” Because working together is always better than working alone.

Twin is not scheduled for another two days. Oh well. What’s meant to happen will happen.

Today was my day off.

I felt like walking to grab some coffee. I literally could have gone any number of directions, but I choose to cut across the parking lot of  Target. My Target.

There he was, emptying the first-floor outdoor trash cans. From about twenty feet away he turned and saw me.

We started to walk towards each other, both of us with the biggest smiles on our faces. The moment felt more magical than it had any right to be.

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“Hey, Janitorgirl.”

“Hey, Twin. It’s been a while. ”

“I was in Hong Kong. Are you off today?”

How was your trip? Where did you go in Hong Kong? Did you visit family? I have family in Hong Kong. Did you go any of the arcades?

“Yeah, just headed to Starbucks. I missed you on Monday.”

“I had to call out: a family emergency.”

What kind of family emergency? Were you stuck in Hong Kong? Did you miss your flight?

“See you Saturday?”

“Yeah, I’ll see you Saturday.”

“We live in cities you’ll never see on screen
Not very pretty, but we sure know how to run things
Living in ruins of a palace within my dreams
And you know, we’re on each other’s team”

– Team, by Lorde.

 

 

Fate (excerpt)

I lay on the bed while Johnny lifted my scarred leg, bending my knee with slow even pressure. “Who are you to my sister? And before you answer I want you to know, you can stop with the whole ‘just a friend’ act.”

Johnny laughed. “She told me she’s not your sister. Would you like to tell me the story of how you came to be part of Sara’s family?”

“I would like you to piss off.”

I groaned, as I lay in my bed. “I don’t want him anywhere near me. Why do I need a nurse? I have Sara.” I was still upset. I would gladly take spending time with my sister over having to be polite to Johnny.

“Although there will come a day when this will cease to be the case Sara is not recognized as a licensed healthcare provider,” Johnny pointed out. He would visit six days a week for eight hours a day, note book in hand, to report back to my medical team.

I lay on the bed while Johnny lifted my scarred leg, bending my knee with slow even pressure. “Who are you to my sister? And before you answer I want you to know, you can stop with the whole ‘just a friend’ act.”

Johnny laughed. “She told me she’s not your sister. Would you like to tell me the story of how you came to be part of Sara’s family?”

“I would like you to piss off.”

Johnny switched to rotating my bent leg, to put pressure on the joint of my hip. “What are you willing to tell me about yourself?”

I winced in pain. “I am a waste of life. And this was a waste of time, why can’t I just be in a wheelchair?”

Johnny shook his head. “We are God’s children, and he let you come back for a reason.”

“I would love to know what that reason was,” I said trying to fight through the pain. “I was an athlete; and I am not smart enough to go to college, I have nothing to live for.”

“You could go to college,” Johnny said, trying to comfort me. “Maybe not UCLA but there are collages for all kinds of people.

I glared at him. “Fine- I don’t want to go to college, because I have no idea what to do with my life!” A searing pain shot through my knee. “STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING TO MY LEG!”

“I’m going to get a heating pad; I want to try to relax the pain away before resorting to the injections,” Johnny said.

“Why?” I cried out in agony.

Johnny put his hand on my shoulder. “Your body needs to build strength.”

I wanted the needle- the immediate relief. “My body needs to give up. My legs, my lungs, and my heart: everything needs to give up- I have nothing!”

“You have Sara, and you have me. You will walk again, and you will make it to California!” Johnny noticed a UPS package on my nightstand. “And you have a care package…”

Mother had placed it there earlier in the day.

I rolled over. “It’s anonymous, probably from the hospital staff.”

When Johnny left for the day I opened it. The gift was from Jen’s father Diego.

“Dear Sean, Sara mentioned you had a fondness for candy, I hope these will help lift your spirits. I will keep you and your family in my prayers, your friend Diego Quinto.” Inside was a box of cake flavored truffles. I flipped over the box to read what was inside. Some were chocolate fudge, others were strawberry cheesecake, and there was even a lemon meringue flavor. It felt a little awkward to receive a box of chocolates from another man, but Diego’s heart was in the right place.

I also knew why he sent them anonymously. If mother had seen his name my candy would have likely gone in the trash.

I hugged the box as I fell asleep.

I awoke to the sound of Sara’s voice. “Who sent you candy?”

“Jen’s dad, your third best friend,” I muttered. “Come to think of it where exactly do I rank? I’m not smart like Diego or Johnny.”

“Sean, you will always be my number one. Now let me have a truffle.”

“Say something embarrassing about Johnny, and I will let you have a truffle.”

Sara laughed, “Johnny’s parents refused to buy him a car because he failed his driving test five times. Then when he got his paramedic license he had to retest and he passed because as a paramedic he has to drive with a sense of urgency. Point being- he’s more psychotic behind the wheel then you are.”

I laughed. “You get one truffle.”

“Fine, I’ll just get my own box the next time I visit Diego at the hospital.”

“These are from the hospital?” I asked.

“Yeah, but not our hospital: I’ve only seen them in the gift shop at the veteran’s hospital.”

“Is Diego in the hospital?”

“He goes to the hospital every week for physical therapy. I’ve been accompanying him to the pain clinic.”

“Sara, are you crying?”

She wiped her eyes. “I forgot you’ve never seen his back.”

“Is his back worse than my legs?” I asked.

The look on Sara’s face made me feel an immediate sense of shame. “Sean, don’t…Just don’t.”

I had no right to compare my pain to his. “I’m sorry, Sara. What does Diego do at the pain clinic?”

“Usually just acupuncture to stimulate the nerves. He’ll lie on the table and depending on the therapist sometimes he’ll be allowed to hold my hand. When he’s finished we’d go out for smoothies. Except on days when I take him to the chiropractor. He’s usually in too much pain to do much of anything, so we just go back to his place and watch movies.”

I found it odd that Sara had taken it upon herself to be responsible for Diego’s medical care. “How do you get to his house when you don’t have a car?”

“Johnny drops me off, sometimes I take a cab.”

“So what happened?”

Something had to have changed, to make her so upset.

“About a month ago Diego and his wife were arguing. He ‘lost his footing’ and fell down a flight of stairs. He messed his shoulder up really bad and he suffered a herniated disk in his neck.”

“That’s horrible, did he get the police involved?”

“Of course not, I’m just thankful his wife was willing to dial 911 for him. The last time she hurt him he had to drive himself to the emergency room.”

“She’s done this multiple times?”

Sara suddenly pulled out a drawer full of makeup. “I don’t want to talk about it. I have to get dressed. Johnny’s taking me out to dinner.”

“You’re leaving me?”

“For like an hour.”

“I bet you wouldn’t leave Diego alone for an hour,” I muttered.

“What?”

“Nothing, have fun on your date.”

I didn’t trust Johnny. I could tell Johnny was only there for Sara. Johnny made her laugh. Johnny was who she talked to about her academic goals. Johnny drew little pictures for her that she pinned to the wall by her desk. Despite what Sara said, I knew in my heart Johnny was replacing me as her best friend.

* * *

On the second day of my physical therapy Sara made sure to stay with Johnny as moral support, since I was refusing to get out of bed. Johnny took my blood pressure, and temperature, and then attempted to get me to practice with my crutches.

“You just want me out of this bed so you can have sex with my sister!” I shouted, hurling the metal crutches at the wall.

Sara screamed, “Sean!”

“Sean, I can have sex with my girlfriend wherever and whenever I damn well please,” Johnny said as he got up to leave.

I sat up and hurled a nearby water glass at the boy’s head, narrowly missing as Johnny slammed the door behind him.

Sara glared. “What is your problem, Sean? I understand you’re frustrated but you are acting like a child. Johnny’s only trying to help you.”

I pulled the blankets over my body. “Go to him, you know you want to.”

Sara shook her head. “I want to go to UCLA! I want to be with you that’s what I want!” She made sure to slam the door hard as she left.

I was shivering, my legs were in agony but I needed to hear her reaction. I need to know she loved me. I snuck down to the kitchen hiding in nearby closet.

Johnny was in the kitchen with a glass of water.

“What the hell was up with you in there?” Sara shouted.

Johnny slammed his fist into the table. “Me? He’s the idiot who thinks I’m only here to hook up with you.”

Sara slapped him in the face. “Do not call my brother an idiot- ever! Second, I do not need you destroying my relationship with Sean. He has been through so much- he doesn’t deserve your level of disrespect!”

I smiled.

Johnny walked away. “Well you can do his physical therapy for today, I’m leaving!” Johnny took his notebook and called his dad to pick him up.

I chuckled to myself, “Loser.”

Sara headed back to our room.

Oh crap.

With my crutches, there was no way I could beat her back to the room, so I did the next best thing. I collapsed in the hallway.

Sara ran to my aid. “Sean?”

I forced myself to cry. The last thing I needed was for her to think I was spying on her. “I wanted some orange juice. I thought I could make it to the kitchen.”

“Let’s get you back to bed.”

Sara helped me back to the room and tucked me into bed.

“Is he gone?” I asked.

“For today, but please let him help you. Johnny is a good person.”

On the third visit I did not say a single word to Johnny, I simply took orders; sit up, stand, lay down, etc. After an hour Johnny went to the kitchen for a break. Sara was waiting for him. “At least he’s calmer today.” I knew she hated seeing me so weak and hopeless.

Johnny looked over his notes. “I’m becoming emotionally exhausted here. Sean has lost the will to live; he needs something to cling to.”

Sara wiped tears from her eyes. “We just need to try and bring it back to him. I believe in you. Trust that God will show us the way.”

On his fourth visit there was a note taped to the front door-

Dear Johnny,

Mom and I are out grocery shopping. Sean is asleep. Help yourself to a snack.

Much love,

Sara

Johnny let himself in the house with the spare key mother had given him.

But I was not asleep. At the sight of the note I was sobbing.

“Sean, are you alright?” Johnny shouted as he entered. He ran straight to the room.

My face was buried in my pillow. “Where’s Sara?”

Johnny approached cautiously. “She’s not here.”

“Please get Sara,” I begged.

Johnny could tell I was in pain- this was more than physical pain. “Sean, talk to me, what’s wrong?” As he got a better look at my body, in bed under the white blanket, the answer became glaringly obvious.

I was supposed to practice with my crutches. But my legs hurt so badly, I would beg Sara to let my stay in bed. She would bring my meals and bring my crutches to the bedside when I needed to use the restroom.

That morning I needed to use the restroom. I needed to take a piss so badly I was in physical pain, but my crutches were too far away. I would have had to get out of bed and crawl across the room on my inflamed joints. The prospect was too much, so my body took matters on to itself.

I wet the bed.

Johnny placed his hand on my shoulder. “Let’s get you cleaned up.” He went to the bathroom to draw a bath. I was sick with fever and it had been days since I last bathed. He put my arm over his shoulder. “I got you.” Since I slept in only sweat pants it was not difficult to get me undressed. He would make sure to examine my legs to be sure none of the scar tissue had become infected.

I had no choice but to trust him. Johnny let me put my weight on him as he helped me into the bathtub. He lowered my body into the warm water allowing me to slowly straighten my legs. “Take your time, just lean on me.” I was having difficulty straightening my knees. Johnny reached under the water and gently massaged my legs working from the joint downward.

“Does that feel okay?” Johnny asked.

I looked at his face, it was the face of the paramedic who pulled me from the wreckage and asked to hold my hand. He was the boy who prayed for me on the way to the hospital. I was so upset at myself. Even if Sara left me, Johnny was the man she deserved.

“Johnny,” I said, exhausted, the day’s the events, combined with the symptoms of cystic fibrosis left me desperate for sleep. “I’m sorry about the way I’ve treated you, It just…I’m so afraid.”

“Its fine Sean, you’ve been through a lot.”

I closed my eyes. “I can’t lose Sara.”

Johnny soaked a washcloth before applying the soap. “I’m not taking Sara from you.”

“Do you love her?” I asked.

Johnny brushed my hair to the side as he washed my arms and back. “I love her, but she loved you first.”

I felt myself falling asleep in the warm water. “Thanks, man.”

Sara saw the aftermath; it was not the first time I wet the bed when I was too sick to make it to the toilet. Although all of the instances she witnessed were before the age of ten. She stripped the blankets and sheets and headed to the laundry room. When she came back I was in the bathtub talking to Johnny as he massaged my shoulders.

Johnny and I made a connection. I could truly feel he wanted to see me succeed. Then he had to go and mention my ex. “Tell me about Jen.”

I felt uncomfortable, but not enough to ruin the moment. “Sara told you about Jen?”

“When you get to California, do you think you’ll try to find her?” Johnny asked.

I shook my head. “I don’t know. What if she doesn’t want me; what if that’s why she left?” Thinking about Jen hurt worse than anything.

“How about today, instead of physical therapy we play some video games,” Johnny suggested.

“No, I think I want to practice with my crutches,” I said confidently. “I want to work my way towards walking again.”

“Good for you, “Johnny replied. He would go on to wash my hair, all while talking to me about all I had to live for. He helped me get dressed and support myself on my crutches.

Sara left us alone for the rest of Johnny’s shift. “Have a good day?” she asked as Johnny was getting ready to leave.

Johnny nodded. He couldn’t stop smiling. “I think we made a connection. Working with Sean was a lot like breaking in a horse. The horse is never going to be the same again, but you just have to make that feel acceptable.”

“I can hear you!” I shouted from the bedroom.

Sara kissed his cheek. “Thank you for never giving up on him.”

Johnny put his notebook away. “By the way I mentioned Jen.”

Sara was frozen in place. “You mentioned Jen?” She ran straight to the bedroom.

I was lying in bed, trying to sleep. Sara crawled into bed with me. I woke up and turned to look at her. She needed to choose her next words carefully.

“Why did Johnny mention Jen?” I asked.

“I told him about Jen,” Sara said.

“And why would you do that?”

“Because he’s my friend, we talk about a lot of things.”

“Ok, tell me something personal about him.”

“His last name is not Phoenix.”

“I knew that.”

“He has a tattoo on his wrist that says ‘mystical’.”

“I knew that too.”

“He has a horse named Polly who was born when his grandmother died.”

Okay, that is too painfully cute.

I abruptly changed the subject. “Johnny said he loves you.”

Sara kissed my cheek. “Johnny’s sweet.”

“Do you love him?” I asked

Sara touched my hair, tracing her hand down my forehead, near my eyes, trying to coax my back to sleep. “Not the way I love you. I’m going to California with you. What I did with Johnny shouldn’t matter.”

“I trust you,” I said, closing my eyes.

My eyes shot back open. “What do you mean by that?”

Sara rolled off the bed.

I sat up, my heart was pounding. “WHAT DID YOU DO WITH JOHNNY?”

“Exactly what you think I did. Now get some sleep, Sean.”

I screamed into my pillow.

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Fatherhood (excerpt)

Jen arrived at LAX with Shauna in a stroller. She wore a loose knee length sun dress with a paint splatter print. Her hair was longer, pulled back into a braid. Our eyes met at about twenty feet away. Jen abandoned the stroller at the sight of me, running towards me, leaping into my arms.
Wearing only a tank top and board shorts, in the triple digit heat, I had been feeling sick and my legs were in incredible pain, but in that moment I felt immortal. I lifted her off the ground. I held her close kissing her. This was the kiss I had dreamed of since the day she left. I caressed her face; her cheeks were fuller, her sweet brown eyes sparkled with her tears of pure joy. Jen touched my face, suddenly noticing the scarring on my blind eye.
Her smile faded. “Something horrible happened to you?”
I nodded. “Now’s not the time to talk about it.” As we held each other my legs were becoming unsteady.
We gradually moved to a bench where she straddled my lap. Through the thin fabric of her dress she could feel the scarring on my legs. Her hands moved to my thigh.
I was waiting for a comment, but instead Jen cupped my face, looking into my eyes. “I love you, Sean, and I never meant to leave you.”
Sara and Johnny were staring at the abandoned stroller. “I think we should go get the kid,” Johnny suggested.
They walked to the stroller containing a little girl as perfect as they imagined. “Hi,” Sara said to Shauna. “I’m your Auntie Sara.”
“Hi!” Shauna was going on two-years old so she knew quite a few words. “I want up!” she loudly demanded.
Jen, she has your personality.
Sara unbuckled the seat belt. “This is Johnny.”
The baby giggled. “Johnny has pretty hair.”
Johnny laughed. “Wait until you see your daddy’s hair.”
Sara held Shauna while Johnny carried the folded stroller.
“My Dada,” Shauna squealed upon seeing my face.
I was already crying at the sight of Jen, but as Sara put my daughter in my arms I felt truly blessed. Shauna had my light eyes, Jen’s dark hair (but wavy like mine,) and skin that was just tan enough to look like she came from the beach. Her little mouth looked like a heart.
There was a lump in my throat.
Jen stood up, sobbing. “I showed her your picture every day. I wanted her to know your face. I always knew you would find your way back to me, to us.”
I touched the baby’s soft cheek. She giggled.
“You are my perfect little angel.” When I heard mother’s stories of how she felt when she first held me, never knew what she meant until that moment. The little girl in my arms was the most precious person in the entire world. I wanted to devote my life to making all of her dreams come true.
Then she coughed.
Sara patted the baby’s back. “Aw, does the little cutie have a cold?”
I frantically handed the baby to Jen. “Is she sick?”
The sudden shift caused Shauna to cry.
Johnny placed his hand on my shoulder. “Relax Sean; it was just a little cough.”
My focus was on Jen. “Please tell me- is she sick like me?”
“Sean, think about that question. Cystic Fibrosis patients cannot be in the same room without wearing surgical masks. Do you think I would actually put your life and the life of our child in danger?”
“Sorry, in the moment that kind of slipped my mind.”
“Majorly,” Johnny laughed.
I glared at him. “Shut up, vocational school nurse.”
“I was just playing,” Johnny said in a baby voice as he squeezed Shauna’s cheek. “You have your special little girl, and one day I will have my degree.”
Jen returned the baby to my arms.
I held my daughter close, rocking her against my shoulder. “I’m so sorry Shauna. I didn’t mean to make you cry.”
She turned her little face, looking into my eyes. “You’re my Dada.”
“And you’re my baby, you’re my daughter. I want your life to be filled with nothing but happiness and joy. I want to be your hero.”
Shauna smiled, she had Jen’s smile. “Dada is my hero.”
My heart was filled with happiness, then suddenly with fear.
What if she got sick? What if she hurt herself? Or God forbid someone was hurting her. And what about when my illness gets worse- Will I live to see her graduate high school? I defiantly would not live to walk her down the aisle.
I held my baby close as tears streamed down my cheeks. I made sure to fake a smile so the rest of the group could assume they were tears of joy. But my mind went to one final horrific place. I might not make it to her wedding, but the innocent child I held in my arms would be at my funeral.
Shauna clapped her hands as she sang a little song, “Hero! My Dada is my hero!”
Johnny kissed the baby’s cheek. “Your daddy is a hero to all of us.”
Jen turned to Johnny. “I’m sorry, how rude of me- I’m Jen, you must be Johnny.”
He shook her hand. “Hello, Miss Jen, nice to finally meet you.”
“Are you from California?” she asked.
Sara stepped in-between them “Johnny’s from Haven, just outside of Indigo.” Haven had a population of twenty-three residents. “He’s my boyfriend.” Sara felt Johnny’s arms around her.
Jen held her hand up for a high-five. “Way to go Sara.” Looking at the couple they were the very definition of opposites attract; Sara was book smart, neat and organized, while Johnny looked like a sexy Jesus. “How did you meet?”
“We met at the hospital; I was a paramedic,” Johnny explained. He looked to me for approval to continue.
I shook my head- it was not a story for Johnny to tell. “You know what? Let’s get out of here. I’m crying the least so I’m driving.”selkie_edit_by_dourdan-dbf0lzv

Machismo (excerpt)

Jen had dated Richie Cross for only two months but in that time he managed to make her life a living hell. The day she met Richie, he approached her at her locker.
“Hey beautiful, you smell like strawberries,” he whispered in her ear.
Jen was blushing. “It’s just my shampoo.”

Jen had dated Richie Cross for only two months but in that time he managed to make her life a living hell. The day she met Richie, he approached her at her locker.
“Hey beautiful, you smell like strawberries,” he whispered in her ear.
Jen was blushing. “It’s just my shampoo.”
By her reaction, he knew he found his prey. “Name’s Richie Cross, pretty sure you’ve heard of me.” His name carried to power by virtue of his parents. He inherited his ego (and his green eyes) from his father Nathan Cross, a billionaire cattle baron. But he got his looks from his mother, Alicia, an African American University professor.
She turned around, looking into his enchanting eyes. “Richie? Like Richie Rich?”
“What your name?” he asked. She had a beautiful smile to go with her gorgeous body.
“Jenny-Q; like a question, a riddle wrapped in an enigma,” Jen said in a voice that made her sound confident and cool.
Richie kissed her neck. “I just want to eat you up,” he whispered. “I want to devour you whole.” He sucked her neck, Jen was moaning. Tall, handsome, athletic; he was everything Jen thought she wanted.
Then she met me, sick, beautiful and fragile. She thought I was funny and the way I stood up to my attackers took courage. But it was already too late. She was in Richie’s clutches. After she had tried to help me Richie dragged her to a janitor closet and forced himself on her. When she tried to scream he would choke her. By the end of the day, she was covered in bruises.
The next day he was waiting for her. She tried to walk past him but he grabbed her arm, he pulled her close and kissed her. “Sorry about the other day, I can play a little rough sometimes.” Richie wasn’t going to let go. Jen would be trapped until the day of the video.
When the video was released Richie suddenly stopped harassing her. She assumed it was because the whole school thought of her as a slut and since he was headed off to college there was no reason to keep the ‘relationship’ going.
Then she found out about the payout: a lump sum given to her parents in lieu of pressing charges. What Jen didn’t know at the time was her mother took the payout, not her father.
Diego had seen the bruises, but he had no idea how to approach the situation.
“You have a boyfriend?” he asked. His voice was deep and masculine but that moment he was trying to be friendly.
Jen looked up at him, “Yeah. Richie Cross, he’s a senior” She needed his help, she needed his courage.
Diego needed to meet the bastard who was beating his little girl. “Maybe you can bring him over to the house sometime?”
When Richie came to the house he was groping Jen in front of her parents. He was making crude remarks, using inappropriate language. And when he noticed how angry Diego was becoming Richie gave the ultimate one liner. “Chill, man: don’t make me call immigration.”
“Get the hell out of my house,” he shouted.
Richie grabbed Jen by the wrist. Jen looked to her father for help. Diego’s face was so enraged, but he only watched as Richie dragged her out the door.
“Our daughter has great taste in men,” Jen’s mother Suzanna said with a laugh. She was a fair skinned woman with light brown hair. After her son’s death, she had become emotionally numb, to the point of being down right cruel.
The night of the party Diego had begged Jen to stay home. But she snuck out, Diego knew why. She did it out of fear. Richie’s car would be outside waiting for her, if she didn’t go with him there was no telling what he would do. And clearly, her father didn’t have the courage to protect her.
Diego waited up all night for her to come home. At around two in the morning, he heard Richie’s Car. Richie’s friends dragged Jen’s unconscious body to the front lawn and left her there.
“You got some trash on your lawn!” Richie shouted. He saw the lights were on, he knew Diego was awake.
Diego threw open the door as Richie sped off. Suzanna woke up and upon seeing her daughter passed out on the lawn she rolled her eyes. “Let’s get her inside the house before the neighbors see.”
“I’m taking her to the hospital!” Diego shouted. He carried Jen to his car, a silver Honda, laying her body in the back seat. He drove as fast as he could, sobbing. He pulled into the emergency room. “Please help me. My daughter’s been assaulted.”
“Sir, you believe your daughter has been raped?” asked the nurse behind the desk. For a rape case, the police would have to be involved. She notified security and called for a gurney for Diego to lay Jen’s body.
He watched as they performed a rape kit, and when he heard the results Diego’s machismo finally kicked in. He went home to grab his wooden baseball bat. It was almost six in the morning; the students of White Creek would be starting to arrive at school in the next few hours.
He drove to the school, waiting for Richie’s car. As soon as he spotted the bright red BMV he got out. He walked to the driver’s side window and he smashed it with every ounce of his strength.
Richie got out. “You’re paying for that!”
Diego struck him in the face. “I took her to the hospital, they did a rape kit, when they test the blood on this bat you will never see the light of day.” He would go straight to the police station and speak to the officer assigned to the case he didn’t care if he got booked for assault.
“Do you know who my father is?” Richie asked as he spat blood on Diego’s face. His wealthy father could easily make the issue go away.
Diego hit him again knocking the boy to the ground. “I know who he is but he’s not here to stop me from breaking every bone in your body.” Diego grabbed the boy by the neck. “If you ever come near my daughter again I swear to God I will kill you.”
Jen woke up in the hospital alone. She was questioned by police. She gave her statement. Richie Cross was pulled out of class, the police asked for his side of the story. He told the police the sex had been consensual and Jen took drugs with him willingly. There was not enough evidence to press charges. Then Richie got cocky. He started sending the video to his friends. It was quickly uploaded to a well-known porn site. Now there was a case.
Jen was still in the hospital and even though it pained him Diego had to fly to Wyoming for business. Richie’s father Nathan called Suzanna to meet with him and his lawyer. They drew up a contract; no charges would be brought on Richie in exchange for a six figure payout. Suzanna agreed since the deal also included a clause promising no charges would be brought on her husband for his brutal attack.
Diego returned home days later. When he found out what she had done he was furious. “I should have killed that kid!” His daughter had been tortured for weeks she deserved justice. “I would have gladly gone to prison!” Richie would be free to go to college, live out his life, while Jen would never be the same again.
“I don’t know why you even care. She snuck out of the house to go to that party,” Suzanna said.
He could not believe the words coming out of his wife’s mouth. He grabbed her by the wrist he raised his hand to strike her. But as he looked around the room all he could see were images of his dead son. Diego shook his head. He left the house driving straight to Nathan Cross’s estate. It wasn’t hard to find, the multi-millionaire lived in one of the largest Mansions in the area. He took the crow bar from his trunk and smashed in the key pad to the front gate. “Come out and face me you, coward!” Security was called but Nathan still made an appearance.
The old cowboy strutted up to the gate. “I don’t know how you do things down in Mexico, but here in the Dakotas we play smart.”
Nathan Cross was a con-artist. He gave his ex-wife a quick divorce in return for no spousal support and even managed to get full custody of his son to avoid paying child support. Money was power and he had a lot of it.
“Open this gate,” Diego demanded.
Nathan only laughed. “No, you, my friend, you’ve lost. I hope you and your lovely family enjoy the money. Maybe use it to send your little slut to college.” Nathan was about to light a cigar when out of nowhere Diego flung the crowbar at his head. One of the guards shot Diego with a Taser.
Diego spent the next six hours in a holding cell.
“I can’t believe you,” Suzanna said when she finally came for him. “You’re lucky Nathan Cross is not pressing charges.”
Diego sprang up. “You sold our daughter’s dignity!”
“Jen is out of control!”
When they got home Jen was in her room lying in bed. Diego opened the door. The air reeked of alcohol and cigarettes. She had cut off her hair and was quietly crying in her sleep. Diego touched her bare shoulder.
Jen started screaming. “Richie no, please stop it hurts! Oh God, please let me die!”
Diego left the room he fell to knees sobbing. the_sorcerer_and_the_princess_by_dourdan-dawj9bn