I had the pleasure of being a part of an awesome anthology, along with a host of other talented authors. All of us sharing our own unique stories to create awareness for Domestic Violence. All proceeds go to charity to help people who are victims of domestic violence, so pre-order, buy, and join our release event. All for a good cause.
Continue to the end to catch a first look at my story entry for the anthology, Sleepless.
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I understand the meaning of consequences and that even my smallest actions have a price, but how could a simple order of chili have such a big impact. How could being a polite customer lead me into a blind hell with no escape, and strip away everything I loved?
I may never understand it or how a perky little waitress stole my life—stole my spirit, and when there was nothing left she demanded more.
The most damaging thing I did was refuse to admit I was a victim, or that she owned me. I mean guys don't fall victim to abuse, at least not by the hand of five foot nothing pudgy woman with a big mouth. But I was a victim. Lost like so many other victims of domestic violence—trapped in a relationship I never wanted to begin with. I was swept up in my grief and before I knew it Jenna had me by the balls.
Abusers take. They weasel and worm—manipulating people without a hint of shame or an ounce of regret. Then after every last inch of will is stripped away, they take more...They will always take more, but what else do I have left to give?
If only I knew the answer to that question before things went too far.
“Chase. . .Chase,” Jenna's annoying voice called up the stairs.
It was the first moment in the last twenty-six hours I had the chance to lay down. No sooner did my eyes close then my girlfriend, Jenna, was yelling for me. If there was some kind of higher power she would trip and fall down the stairs, and somehow injure her throat so she couldn't speak for a month. Please, please, please.
I'm evil, wishing my girlfriend would hurt herself, but honestly I needed sleep. Even if only a few hours. Minutes even. I would take minutes, something—anything. Why was that so hard for her to understand.
“What,” I yelled back from the bed.
My body was beyond tired, exhaustion was something I passed ten hours ago. My senses dull and sluggish, thank god I was off tonight. I couldn't stay awake for another twelve hours. Then, again the time away from the house would be nice.
There was no answer from downstairs, and without realizing it I drifted off to sleep.
“Chase,” Jenna growled with a sharp whip to my name.
My reply came out shorter than I meant it too, her rough voice jolting me from the thin veil of sleep. Patience was not something I had right now, and it was as foreign of concept to Jenna as self-control.
“Don't be nasty.”
If anyone was being nasty it was her.
I opened my eyes to see Jenna standing at the end of the bed with her arms crossed, and one hip popped out to the side in full attitude stance. An annoyed scowl fixed on her pudgy face.
Fuck, things were about to get ugly.
“What is it, babe,” I asked this time with a softer tone, trying to ease her anger. The last thing I wanted was to set her off, she would be impossible for days.
“I thought you were going to work on the yard. It's a mess out there and the party's in two days.”
“Just taking a break, I'll finish tomorrow morning, babe. I promise.”
I made sure to use Jenna's favorite pet-name to sooth her anger, if I could get away with just some light ranting this would end up a good day.
“No,” she barked. “Tomorrow we have a full day. There's a million things to get done so the wall needs to be finished tonight and—”
Her rant trailed off as I groaned and rolled over. Man, this bed never felt so damn good before. Even with the monster pile of unfolded clothes taking up half the mattress.
Sleep came fast, all I had to do was close my eyes and Jenna's voice drifted away. Her list of chores forgotten as I slipped under the hold of exhaustion. Yes, glorious sleep.
My name crashing through the peace. Something big, probably a pillow, belted me in the head as Jenna yelled again.
“Get you're lazy ass up and help out a little. I can't do this all myself.”
Maybe it was the lack of sleep that was making her all the more annoying, or the fact this stupid party was all her idea, but I was ready to fight now. Her wrath be damned.
“Cancel the damn party,” I yelled turning to catch her reaction.
The look she gave me could freeze Niagara Falls in place, suspending the water in mid-air it was that icy. Watch out Elsa, Jenna Conner was coming to take the crown. (The only reason I know who Elsa is, is because Jenna's daughter watches nothing but Disney movies. I’m not someone that goes around watching that kid of stuff.) I didn't care, the lack of sleep was making me brave where normally I would roll over and do what she wanted.
What did I find attractive about her again, did I ever find her attractive?
Jenna was short, five foot nothing and often wore ridiculous heels to gain a few inches. She hated being labeled as short, especially since she gained some weight. Not even her plump ass was a turn-on anymore, and her hair. It was as ridiculous as her heels. Long thin locks that she tried to thicken with smelly hair products and bleached too often. The color for this month was a base of dark brown and tons of blond highlights. I didn't get it.
When we first met she reminded me of my fiancée, the one who broke my heart, but now Jenna had changed. Everything from her physical appearance to her attitude was different than when we first met. None of which I found appealing, and the maintenance bills on her. Good lord, everything was a problem. Everything was a fight, and everything was a struggle. Jenna was not worth the fraction of the trouble she caused me.
Last month I came close to kicking her out, the woman was wearing on my every last nerve leaving me raw. When my father pointed out how having Jenna around was changing me, I was more than ready to let her go. Then she got pregnant.
One night, too much alcohol, and the worst judgment I displayed since high school, and she was knocked up. Now I was stuck with her for at least the next eighteen years, but I would make it work. The last thing I wanted was my kid growing up in a broken home, that wasn't acceptable where we lived. Too many old fashioned people, and I'm sure Jenna wasn't all that bad. It was my pride and stubborn nature that made the situation and Jenna seem worse.
Yeah, that's what it was. It was all me.
You made your bed, now lay in it you asshole.
“What's wrong with you,” her glare crumbling my rebellion. “You never want to do anything with the family. Family is all we have Chase, and I want this house to be full of family memories. So we are having this party.”
How did she always manage to make me feel like an ass.
“I'm sorry babe. I'm really tired and didn't mean it.” I apologized, I always apologized. “Let me grab a quick nap and I'll finish the wall, and whatever else you need.”
I was using the sweetest voice I could in hopes it would get me at least an hour of rest.
“Seriously?! Why can't you finish it now, it won't take that long. I swear you're so lazy since you took this job. You know Gary built that deck of his in one weekend, and it's taking you two weeks to finish some light landscaping...What the hell, Chase.”
First, off that asshole doesn't work and has a big trust fund. He also bought the thing half assembled. Second, the design Jenna had me working on in the backyard was anything but simple. What started as leveling out a place for the new grill had turned into a massive overhaul. One third of the yard was torn up while Jenna went through idea after idea of how she wanted it to look. She finally settled on a three tear setup with rock walls, river-stone gravel, a little pond, and a fire pit. All needing to be done before the party two days from now, and she wasn't any help.
Suck it up Chase, you snapped at her first.
Jenna went on for twenty minutes about Gary, his new projects and how we didn't have the money for the cotton candy machine rental because I took last night off. Lot of good that did because she still had me up at the crack of dawn yesterday to get a load of gravel before running around town all day on errands. Followed, by a full night of making party favors for the kids coming to this impromptu party. I still had no idea why were having this party other than Jenna wanted to have one.
I went silent but that didn't matter to her, Jenna kept going until I slide off the bed, pulled my dirty sneakers on, and walked out of the bedroom.
“Where the hell are you going, you lazy son of bitch?”
Could there be anymore venom in her voice, and what was with the name calling lately?
“To finish your damn wall,” I replied with a fraction of the aggravation boiling inside.
Fighting back wasn't worth it, not anymore.
Also catch Manipulated by award winning author, Angel L. Woodz, and more on October 1st.