Sample Sunday: Let Him Cheat In Peace

Gossip_Queens2The following excerpt if from my upcoming book, Gossip Queens, which is scheduled for release December 2, 2017

**Explicit language** 

“Yeah, I know Chyna lies a lot, but I don’t think she is about this. But at this point, I almost don’t even care anymore. But if I do find out he’s fucking some hoe up here, I’ma beat her ass.”

“If you don’t care, why you trying to fight her?” Shonda smirked.

“Because it’s trifling as hell, that’s why. Everybody up here knows I’m with Dre.”

Shonda gave another nonchalant shrug. “True, but if you ask me, it’s stupid fighting over a nigga who you already know is cheating on you every chance he gets. You let him do it, so why get mad? Let that man cheat in peace, hell.”

“Excuse me?! Cheat in peace? What you mean by that?” Brittany looked at Shonda as if she hadn’t heard her correctly.

“I was watching this reality show the other night and this group of ladies were talking about checking your man’s phone and all that if you think he’s cheating and one of them said something like ‘unless you’re going to kick his ass to the curb there’s no point in getting mad, because you’re apparently comfortable with being cheated on; so stop bothering him, checking his phone, and Facebook stalking and trying to fight other bitches over him, ‘cause you ain’t going no damn where anyway.’”

“I said I was getting tired of Dre cheating on me.”

“That’s what your mouth said, but what did you do when you walked in your apartment the other day and he was laid up with another chick? Or how about the time you caught him in bed with a bitch and he made you get in bed with them and have a threesome? You didn’t say a damn thing, so it doesn’t sound like you’re too tired,” Shonda said flippantly as she took another sip of Coke. She was sick and tired of listening to Brittany bitching about Dre.

“What’s with your attitude?” Brittany asked defensively. “You’re being extra rude right now.”

“I’m not being rude, I’m being real. Dre does that shit to you because he knows you’re weak and he can get over on you.”

“Oh so now I’m weak? You know what, I’m getting real sick and tired of you getting all slick out the mouth every time I talk to you about Dre. Hell, sometimes you act like you’re fucking him,” Brittany shot back.

“Girl, please,” Shonda scoffed. “You know what, since my mouth is so slick, how about you find someone else to cry to the next time Dre cheats on you, because I’m tired of hearing it,” Shonda said as she stood and gathered her belongings. “You really are a weak bitch,” she spat as she exited the break room.

***

Shonda

Shonda knew she was being unnecessarily rude to Brittany, but the girl got on her last damn nerve and hearing that Dre had been busted with another girl only made her attitude worse. She should have just went ahead and admitted to Brittany that she was fucking Dre, but Brittany just might have been crazy enough to try and fight her and she wasn’t trying to lose her job, especially over some dick.

And besides, Shonda wasn’t in any position to be fighting anyway. She had been throwing up a lot lately, having to use the bathroom a lot more frequently, and she’d been eating more than usual…all signs of pregnancy. It wasn’t until she missed her period a month ago that she decided to take a pregnancy test. As expected, the two lines that appeared on the stick confirmed that she was pregnant.

Shonda knew the baby was Dre’s because he was the only man she let hit it raw even though she’d been sleeping with two other guys on the regular. Hearing that Brittany was also pregnant bothered her at first until Brittany said she wasn’t planning on keeping the baby, and Shonda hoped she wouldn’t. If Brittany had Dre’s baby, Shonda would never get Dre to leave Brittany. Despite the fact that Dre cheated on Brittany and beat her ass on the regular, Shonda knew he had strong feelings for Brittany…he’d told her so last week when she demanded Dre leave Brittany for her for the twentieth time.

“Man, Brittany is good people, yo, and I can’t up and leave her,” Dre had said as they lay in her bed smoking a blunt after they’d finished fucking.

“Why not?” Shonda snapped.

“I just said she good people.”

“And?! That’s the only reason why you staying…because she good people?”

“Yeah. I mean, I know I ain’t got my shit together right now, but if I was ever going settle down, it would be with her. She’s my ride-or-die for real.”

“And what the fuck am I?”

“Yo, you better watch that mouth. And what’s up with the attitude?”

“You laying in my bed after you just finished getting your dick wet talking about settling down with another bitch, that’s why I got an attitude.”

Dre shrugged his shoulder’s. “You asked.”

“Well if she your ride-or-die, why you over here?”

“Cause I wanna be, now stop asking dumb questions and go get a nigga something to eat. I got the munchies like a mug.”

Shonda had started to tell him to go fuck himself, but she also didn’t want Dre to leave. It pissed her off to know that Dre really loved Brittany, but she was determined to change all that. Shonda had yet to tell Dre that she was pregnant but she was going to tell him soon. She only hoped Brittany went ahead and got rid of her baby like she said she would. Her and Dre’s future depended on it.

 

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Sample Sunday: Woman to Woman

Excerpt from Extracurricular Activity  **Coming Soon. Oh, and don’t get too excited while reading this because my characters  have a tendency to change their minds and who knows what might happen between now and publication. This is subject to change, but for now, enjoy!**

Stock photo of African-American woman talking on cellphone looking depressed.Not wanting to accept that she’d meant absolutely nothing to Kevin, she picked up her cell phone and called him. When the call connected, she was happy that he wasn’t still ignoring her, however, her happiness was short-lived. “Hello?” A female voice answered the phone, and it sounded like the same female that had came to the door earlier.

Joi hadn’t expected for a woman to answer the phone. Caught off guard, she hung up. Not even a minute later, her cell phone rang. Seeing Kevin’s number, she quickly answered, thinking it was him calling her.

“Hello?”

“Joi, this is Natasha, Kevin’s girlfriend. And I know that was you who just called and hung up. Kevin has told me all about you. I know you two used to date or whatever, and I also know y’all slept together a few weeks ago, but we’re back together. He’s my man now, so you might as well stop calling him. I’m pregnant with his baby and we’re going to get married, so don’t waste your time, okay.”

Who the hell does this chick think she is? “I’ll stop calling when Kevin tells me not to call him again. Now, can I speak to him, please?”

Natasha laughed. “Sweetheart, you were just a rebound…something to do while we were working on our issues. Accept that and move on. And Kevin is lying right here beside me, rubbing my belly and singing to his baby. Get a life and stop calling, because he won’t answer.” And with that, she hung up the phone in Joi’s face.

Joi sat numbly on the bed, completely shell-shocked after the phone call- which had a Hello-Barbara-this-is-Shirley vibe to it- ended. In all of their conversations, Kevin had never mentioned a girlfriend, let alone the fact that he was about to become a father. And marriage? He’d just told her that he wasn’t ready to settle down with anybody. Had Natasha said that just to throw her off? Or could it be that the Kevin she’d once dated was a different man. It had been close to ten years since they’d last been together, but she couldn’t imagine that he’d change for the worse. While he’d always been a flirt, he was faithful to her when they had dated, and he always cared about her feelings. Now, he was acting all cold towards her-nothing at all like the guy who’d showered her with compliments and praise two weeks ago.

Joi laid in bed and thought back over every aspect of her conversations with Kevin, trying to remember if she had somehow missed something he’d said that would show her that he was the heartless guy he’d shown himself to be earlier. Nothing came to mind. As usual, Kevin had made her feel special, beautiful, and desirable. He’d made her laugh and smile more than Richard ever had. And despite the amount of time that had passed, she could still be herself around him. They had such an undeniable chemistry and it hurt her to even think that all of that had been fake.

Joi had been dumped before, but she’d never had a man curve her to the left as hard as Kevin had. They hadn’t even been dating, yet she felt like she’d just broken up with the love of her life. Tears sprang to her eyes as she remembered how Kevin had acted towards her when she’d gone to his house. His ignoring her had been bad enough, but hearing Natasha say that she was pregnant by him was like pouring salt on an already open wound. And the coup de gras happened when Kevin coolly closed the door in her face, completely dismissing her and her feelings. She had never been punched in the gut before, but now she knew what it must feel like, and it hurt like hell.

Before she knew it, Joi was seriously balling her eyes out. She felt stupid for crying over a man who wasn’t her husband and who she’d only slept with one time in ten years, but maybe that was because somewhere in her subconscious, she realized that she had deeper feelings for Kevin than she thought she had. That was the only logical explanation as to why she was so hurt by his actions.

While she had herself to blame for falling for Kevin so fast, he knew when he’d pursued her that he had no intentions of actually staying in her life. If all he’d wanted was sex, he should have just been upfront about that from the beginning and left all of the talk about making her his girl if she wasn’t married talk out of it. They were both grown and there was no need to play childish games, then ignore afterwards her like some immature, wannabe player.

Soon, Joi’s hurt turned to anger. Who the hell did Kevin think he was to treat her like that? She thought about calling Kevin again to go off on him, but knowing that Natasha was at his house stopped her. As mad as she was, she was a married woman, and it wouldn’t be a good look for her to get into a fight with another woman over a man who wasn’t her husband. She had no choice but to wash her hands of Kevin and move on.

Sample Sunday: High Definition Rendezvous

**Coming soon…sample may change before publication**

Kindle_cover.jpgShanice

“I’m coming,” I yelled as I tripped over a box while trying to run to the front door. I pulled the door open and found myself staring into a pair of hazel eyes. Damn, I thought to myself. The cable guy is kind of fine. 

“Good morning, ma’am. Are you Shanice Cannon?” hazel eyes asked.

“Y-yes,” I said once I was able to speak. I glanced at his name badge. His name was Eddie and he was with the satellite television company. My husband, Quinton, and I had just moved into town two weeks earlier, and being the t.v. junkie that I was, the very first thing I did was call the company so I could have my television service.

Quinton was an emergency room doctor and he often worked long and late hours, leaving me at home to entertain myself. We didn’t have any children yet, although we had been trying to have one. I had my own business as a photographer, but when I wasn’t taking family, baby, and wedding photos, I was often home…alone…with nothing but the television to keep me company.

“I’m Edward Harris, but mostly everyone calls me Eddie. I’m here to install your satellite dishes and connect your service.” He looked down at the clipboard he was carrying. “It says here that you’ll be getting two receivers- one in the living room and one in the bedroom?”

I shook my head. “Umm, yes; that’s correct.”

“Perfect. I’ll do what I need to do outside first, then I’ll come inside and work my magic. That cool?”

My eyes did a quick scan up and down Eddie’s body. I’ll bet you can work some magic. I tried, unsuccessfully, not to notice the bulging biceps peeking from underneath his short sleeved uniform shirt. With his smooth, dark chocolate skin, low cut faded haircut, and goatee, Eddie had all the right ingredients to make any woman suddenly melt quicker than a cube of ice on the sidewalk in the middle of August. Even though it was a cool March morning, a surge of heat suddenly snaked through my body and came to a rest between my thighs.

“That’s fine,” I said. I watched him turn and walk to his van to gather his work equipment. Even in the uniform slacks he was wearing, I could tell that Eddie had a nice, round ass. I mentally tapped myself on the hand and chastised myself for lusting after that man. Lord forgive me, for the sinful thoughts I’m having, I silently prayed as I closed the door.

While Eddie was outside, I went into the living room and began unpacking some of the boxes. I never realized I had so much stuff until it came time to move it. I removed some of my Swarovski crystal figurines from the pieces of newspaper I’d wrapped them in to protect them during the move, and began strategically placing them in the black corner curio cabinet. Quinton had given me a crystal ballerina when we’d first started dating over six years ago, and I have been collecting them ever since.

I had just placed a few figurines in the curio, when the doorbell rang. I ran over to the door and peeked through the peephole. Seeing that it was my fine ass cable guy, I held the door open for him as he carried his equipment in the living room.

“Nice place,” he said looking around.

“Thanks. Maybe it will be once I get everything unpacked.”

I went back to unpacking and tried to distract myself from watching Eddie’s ass and arm muscles as he began his work over by the entertainment system. After I finished carefully arranging the figurines inside the curio cabinet, I set up a ladder and grabbed a hammer so I could hang a round, Herringbone framed mirror over the fireplace mantel. I climbed onto the very top of the ladder and pondered exactly where I wanted it, then marked the spot with a pencil. I had leaned the mirror against the wall and once I knew where I wanted to hang the it, I reached down for the hammer and nails, but noticed the nails were still on the floor. I groaned inwardly, as I realized I would have to climb back down to retrieve them.

Maybe it was a sense of déjà vu from when I fell off of a ladder when I was in art class in the eighth grade in front of everybody-a fall which not only embarrassed the hell out of me, but also resulted in me going to the emergency room with a fractured wrist and a nasty bruise on my forehead from when I hit the floor, or it could have been the fact that I had been having really bad headaches and dizzy spells lately, but whatever the reason, I became light-headed. Before I could steady myself on the top rung of the ladder, I felt myself falling backwards. I squeezed my eyes shut tight in anticipation of hitting the floor, but a pair of strong arms broke my fall before my body slammed into the hard floor.

“Whoa, are you okay?” Eddie asked as he cradled me in his arms, a look of concern on his face.

I was dizzy, but not from the headache. Whatever cologne Eddie was wearing was intoxicating and made me even more lightheaded than I already had been a minute earlier. “Uh…y-yes; I’m okay. I’ve been having dizzy spells lately and I just lost my balance.”

“It’s a good thing I was here to protect you; that fall would have knocked you out cold and given you a concussion for sure.”

Eddie’s face was inches away from mine. Both of us were breathing hard, although I was sure it was for different reasons. “Yep, it’s a good thing you were here; but I’m fine now.”

“Yes, you are,” Eddie said staring into my eyes.

“So…you can put me down now.”

“Oh! I’m sorry,” Eddie said setting me down. “You sure you’re okay?” he asked as I stumbled forward a little. He grabbed my shoulders to steady me, as if he was worried that I might fall again.

“Really, I’m fine.”

“Here, why don’t I hang that mirror for you before you break it.”

Eddie climbed the ladder and I handed him the nails. He found the pencil mark I had made, indicating the spot where I wanted it, then he took the nail from me and hung the mirror.

“Thank you,” I said as I stood back and admired his handiwork.

“No problem. So, I’ve got the receiver hooked up in here; if you’ll show me to your bedroom, I can get started in there.”

“Cool. Follow me.”

***

Eddie

I followed Shanice up the staircase. She was a petite little thing, probably no taller than 5’2, but she had curves in all the right places. I watched her ass as she climbed the stairs. I wonder is it’s as soft as it looks.

“It’s right in there,” Shanice said turning around suddenly.

I had been staring at her butt so hard, I walked right into her when she suddenly stopped and turned around. “Oh, sorry. I-I uh…guess I wasn’t paying attention.”

When Shanice smiled at me, I noticed the deep dimples she had in her cheeks. Damn, she’s fine, I thought to myself. Her husband should consider himself one lucky man to get to cuddle up with her fine ass every night.

Shanice unpacked a few boxes while I worked on hooking up the high definition receiver. Regardless of how professional I am, none of my female customers trusted me enough to leave a strange man alone in their bedrooms, and Shanice was no exception. She busied herself with hanging some wall art, while I did my job, or at least I tried to. I was having a hard time keeping my eyes off of her.

“So, what’s Mr. Cannon do?” I asked, making small talk. The silence in the room, as well as the obvious mutual attraction between us, was kind of awkward.

“He’s a doctor at St. Marks Hospital,” she said, looking over her shoulder for a minute.

“Really? Small world; my wife works there too, as an admitting clerk. I wonder if they know each other?”

If I didn’t know any better, I would think that Shanice looked a little upset upon hearing me say I had a wife. I read people well, especially women. The eyes never lied, and she was definitely feeling me. Rather than answer my question, she shrugged her shoulders and went back to hanging pictures on the wall.

“Wow…a doctor, huh?” I said after Shanice ignored my question. “That must be nice.” I looked up at Shanice, who was leaned over removing some items from a box. I admired her perfectly ass. She had an onion booty for sure, and in the tribal print leggings she was wearing, it was real noticeable. She was in the perfect position for me to walk up behind her, pull those leggings down, and slide my dick in between her plump cheeks. You have got to chill your horny ass out, Ed. She’s married and so are you.

“Sometimes. It gets kind of lonely, though,” Shanice said suddenly, snapping me out of my lustful daydream. “Quinton mainly works the emergency room, so he’s gone most of the time. Sometimes, I think he prefers it that way.”

I shook my head in disagreement. “I’m sure you’re imagining things,” I told her. “As sexy as you are, no man in his right mind would want to be away from you for too long.”

Shanice blushed and bit her lower lip nervously. I could tell it had been a long time since a man had given her a compliment. “Thank you.”

We stared at each other for a few intense seconds. She licked her lips nervously again, then looked away. Yeah, she wants me. She couldn’t even look me in the face, for fear that I’d be able to read her mind and know what she was thinking. And no, I’m not cocky or arrogant…well, maybe a little; but this has nothing to do with arrogance, and everything to do with body language.

Watching Shanice flick her tongue across her bottom lip caused the bulge between my legs to swell as the rapid flow of blood shot from the head on my shoulders to the head of my dick, causing me to get a stiff erection. Because several weeks had gone by since I’d had sex with my wife, Jessica, I knew that at least part of the reason why I’d been immediately attracted to Shanice was due to the fact that I was horny as hell.

Jessica worked long hours at the hospital, and I tried to take that into consideration. But lately she never seemed interested in having much to do with me, sexually or otherwise when she was home. Our wedding was only a little over a year ago, and I had hoped that maybe once all the wedding hoopla was over and done with, we could finally rekindle our old flame as we settled into marriage. However, we seemed to be growing further apart, rather than closer as man and wife, and my patience was wearing thin.

“Well, I guess I’m done here,” I said about fifteen minutes later. “You can watch all the high definition television you want now. Do you need me to show you show you all the features on the remote, or you think you can manage?”

“I think I can manage,” she said.

I tried to focus on her face, but her erect nipples pushing through the white t-shirt she was wearing had my full attention at the moment. Before I did something stupid, I removed a business card from my shirt pocket and walked over to hand it to her. My erection was getting bigger, and I didn’t want her to notice it. “Okay well, if you start having any problems with the receivers or just questions in general, feel free to call me on my direct line.”

Shanice took the card from my hand and glanced at it. “I’ll do that,” she said. I followed behind her when she turned and left the room. When we made it to the front door, she held it open for me as I grabbed the rest of my equipment from the living room floor.

“Oh, no more climbing up on ladders,” I told her before I walked outside.

She smiled shyly and nodded her head in agreement. “No more climbing ladders.”

I walked to my truck and got inside, but I didn’t leave right away. Part of me wanted to go back inside and give her exactly what I know she wanted. I saw how she was looking at me. Had I made a move, she wouldn’t have stopped me. The old me would have done just that, but since I was married and a one-woman man now, I simply started my van, and drove off, before I did something I’d regret later.

***

My Current W.I.P.

I have been slacking and procrastinating so much over the past few months, but I’m back on the writing grind now. My current work in progress, Extracurricular Activity is coming along nicely. I’ve tried stepping outside my literary box and trying some different things with character, plot twists, and story lines, so it’s taking me longer to write and finish this, but it’s almost complete. Stay tuned!

 

bookcoverpreview-26

Sample Sunday: Damaged Goods

sadblackgirl**Unedited and subject to change**

Desiree-

I sat impatiently across from the psychologist who had been sent in to speak to me and determine if I am competent enough to stand trial in a few weeks and smirked while puffing on a Newport as I watched her vigorously write notes on the legal pad she’d removed from her briefcase.

I silently analyzed the white woman sitting in front of me. Her nervous demeanor, rosy cheeks, black wide-rimmed glasses, and that cheap wool plaid suit she has on makes her the most unlikeliest person to choose to work in a maximum security prison, treating murderers, sexual predators, and white collar criminals for a living.

“So, are we gonna do this or what, Doc? You’ve been writing on that pad for five minutes now, and I’ve got things to do,” I said.

She looked up at me and pushed her glasses higher up on her nose before she spoke. “Exactly what kinds of things am I keeping you from doing, Ms. Robinson?” she asked as a kind, yet slightly condescending smile spread across her face.

Touché, bitch, I thought as I caught the obvious sarcasm in her statement and smirked again. Maybe this nerdy-looking white girl- Dr. Beverly Grayson, her name tag read- isn’t as timid and mousy as I pegged her to be.

“Oh, you know- I’m on kitchen duty so I don’t think the other ladies will appreciate me leaving my share of the work for them to do; I definitely don’t want to miss the one hour they give us to go outside in the actual sunlight and fresh air; and I’d prefer to get the daily sexual abuse I’ve gotten from C.O. Monroe over sooner rather than later. Lord knows I hate when he pulls me out of my cell in the middle of the night while I’m trying to get my beauty rest to give him his routine oral transaction before his shift ends at 6 a.m. and he goes home to his naïve wife and kids. So yeah, I’m booked…and I’ve got more important things to do than sit here and watch you fidgeting with your glasses and writing on that notepad.”

I laughed out loud when Dr. Grayson’s eyes widened in horror after I finished answering her question.

“Is that really happening to you in here?”

“Well, in case you haven’t noticed, this is prison, not Disneyland. If you think what I just said is shocking, you really wouldn’t be able to handle the other stories I could tell you, that’s for sure.”

She nervously cleared her throat and scribbled something else on her notepad before looking up at me again. “So, where do you want to start, Ms. Robinson?”

“No need to be so formal…you can call me Desiree; and you’re the professional, so you tell me. I’ve never talked to a head doctor before, so this is kind of new to me.”

“Okay, then; I’ll ask questions and you answer them.”

“Cool. So, what’s your first question?”

“Where were you raised? Did you grow up with both parents?”

I reached for my cancer stick and took a couple of puffs before I laughed and shook my head. “Come on, Doc; that’s not what you really wanna ask me. You want to know the juicy stuff…like what in the world would drive an eighteen year old girl to murder four men, right?”

Dr. Grayson cleared her throat again and looked down at her notes briefly, then back up at me again. “Well, yes; we’ll get to that…eventually. I thought you might want to discuss some of your history first, so I can get a better understanding of what led you to…do what you did.”

I smirked and rolled my eyes at the fact that she appeared to be reluctant and uncomfortable with saying the word, murder. I shrugged my shoulders. “Like I said, you’re the professional.”

“Okay, then. Where were you raised? Did you grow up with both parents?” she asked again.

I sighed heavily, ready to get this over with. “I was born and raised in Athens, Georgia. And no, I didn’t grow up with both parents in my life. As a matter of fact, neither one of my parents wanted me. My biological sperm donor dipped out the moment my mama said she was pregnant, and my mama found another drug dealer to occupy her time soon after I was born, so she dropped me off at my grandma’s house one night- along with a couple of trash bags full of my clothes- and she chunked me the deuces, too.”

“So, it was just you and your grandmother, then?”

“Yep, and Grandpa Lewis…until he died.”

“How did he die?”

“Two thugs decided to rob him one night as he came out of a gas station. All he had on him was ten bucks and the pack of squares he’d just bought; so they took that before they shot him and left him on the sidewalk to bleed and die slowly.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Dr. Grayson mumbled.

“Yeah, me too.”

“So, what was your relationship like with your grandparents?”

I smiled as distant memories of my grandpa flooded my mind. “Grandpa Lewis was cool as hell. He always had some funny story to tell us. Most of the time he was lying his ass off, but they were still funny stories. Like the time he told me that he taught Michael Jackson how to do the moonwalk. Then, he said he could have married Dorothy Dandridge, but my grandma got pregnant on purpose so that he would stay with her. He was a real character, but he was real smart too. The kindest man you could ever know and he would give anybody his last dime if they needed it,” I said, trying to avoid tearing up as I talked about the only man who’d ever shown me real love.

“Sounds like you were very fond of him. What about your grandmother; what was your relationship like with her?”

The smile instantly dropped from my face at the mention of my Grandma Alice. Unlike my grandpa, there is absolutely no love lost between me and Grandma Alice. I don’t have very many fond memories of that woman. She made my life hell almost from day one. I shrugged as I realized that Dr. Grayson was waiting for me to answer her question.

“There’s not a whole lot to say about her. She raised me from birth and she was the only mother I’ve ever known.”

“But, the two of you didn’t get along,” Dr. Grayson said as both a question and a statement.

“Hell no! I hated that woman and she hated me…right up until the day she died.”

“Why do you think she hated you?”

“Because she told me she did,” I said, matter-of-factly.

“Why don’t we talk about what happened between the two of you that caused her to say she hated the grandchild that she raised.”

“My grandma was just a hateful, miserable woman. I could have gone to college and managed to become the first Black female president of the United States and that still wouldn’t have made her proud of me. Nothing I ever did was good enough for her.”

“You obviously have built up anger and hostility towards your grandmother. Did you two ever have a good relationship? Was it just normal arguments that mothers and daughters have about things like curfews and boyfriends, or were there deeper issues between the two of you?”

I reached for my box of cigarettes, took one out, lit it, and took several puffs before I answered. “My grandma was a Jehovah’s Witness…one of those real religious, Bible-thumping types of people. They don’t believe in doing anything remotely fun or exciting, let them tell it. I hated going to that church, but grandma was one of those ‘as-long-as-you-live-in-my-house-you-do-what-I-say’ type of people, so I had no choice but to attend. I hated all those phony ass, so-called Christians. They like to walk around with their Bibles and literature and look down their noses at everybody else, but the people in that congregation are some of the most crooked, conniving, phoniest people I’ve ever had to be around, my grandma included. We had many arguments over the fact that I didn’t want to go there, nor did I pretend to like being forced to go.”

“Okay, so you didn’t share her religious beliefs. What else did you two argue about?”

“She wanted to control my life. She and my grandpa only had one child- a daughter named Marilyn. Marilyn was her pride and joy. She could do no wrong in grandma’s eyes. Even when Marilyn would sneak out of the house in the middle of the night to go lay up with older men and not return for days at a time, grandma still put her on a pedestal and worshiped the ground she walked on. Even when Marilyn popped up pregnant at the age of thirteen, Grandma Alice still loved her to death. She let Marilyn get away with any and everything, until she ran off with this older man she’d been messing around with in the middle of the night and never came back home. After her golden child left, I really caught hell.”

“How so?”

“Grandma was mad and upset at the world after that. She took all of her anger and frustration that she had built up for Marilyn out on me. I wasn’t allowed to have any kind of a social life. I couldn’t have friends over, I couldn’t go anywhere, other than to church. I used to sit in my room and dream of the day that I graduated from high school and got the hell out of her house. At first, I tried so hard to please her. I was always on the honor roll, I got an after-school job when I turned sixteen and made my own money, so I wouldn’t have ask her and Grandpa Lewis for much, and as hard as it was, I tried to remain a virgin until after I graduated. All of my friends around me were proudly having sex and losing their virginity, but I was determined to wait. I think Grandma thought that if she let me out of the house, I would end up like Marilyn and get knocked up and run off with some man, so she felt like she had to keep a tight leash around my neck.”

“So, it sounds like you were a good kid.”

“I tried to be…I really did. It was hard though, not giving in to peer pressure. There were a couple of boys I wouldn’t have minded giving it up to, but I really wanted to make grandma happy. I realize now that nothing I did was ever going to make her happy, all because I didn’t want to be like her and be a Jehovah’s Witness.”

“So, you honestly believe that’s the reason why she didn’t like you?”

“I know it is. Well, that’s not the only reason, but it’s part of it. I remember when I first went to her and told her that I wanted to get a job after school. The first thing she said was, “No; an after-school job will take away from you going to the Kingdom Hall…,’ That’s what Jehovah’s Witnesses call church. They don’t call it church, they say the Kingdom Hall. I begged her to let me get a job but at first, she wouldn’t budge on her stance. Then, I think she realized that if I had a job, that would mean more money coming into the house, or rather, into her hands. My grandma was a real money-hungry type of woman. She would do anything to get money. She even let some strange man move into Marilyn’s room after she ran away so that he could pay her rent. I think she eventually realized that me having a job would mean more money in her pocket, so she let me get the job…and made me pay her rent every two weeks when I got paid. I became her tenant, not her child anymore. And no matter how many or how few hours I worked, she had her hand out and wanted her cut every pay day, or she was going off on me. I remember her telling me, “If going to work is more important to you than going to the Kingdom Hall, fine…that’s your soul that’s gonna burn come judgment day; but if you’re going to work and stay here, you got to pay me.”

“But in spite of all of that, you still tried to make her proud of you?!”

“Yes…I tried to. I went to school everyday, then work immediately after. I wasn’t having sex, I was a straight A and B student. What parent wouldn’t be happy about that? I’ll tell you who wasn’t…mine. She resented the hell out of me for not wanting to follow in her footsteps and be baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness. After I stopped going altogether, she became real distant and even more mean to me for no reason. I could never go to her and talk to her about boys or things that most teenagers go through…she didn’t want to hear it. If I even mentioned anything about boys or having sex before marriage, she’d get to rantin’ and ravin’ about how ‘the Bible says it’s a sin to engage in pre-marital sex.’ Anything I wanted to do, she acted like it meant that I’d be banished to hell forever. When I got my feelings hurt and my heart broken for the first time by a guy I really liked, all she had to say was, “That’s what you get for choosing not to serve the Lord. You should have got one of the good, Christian boys from the Kingdom Hall and not those old heathens that be cheesin’ and grinning’ up in your fast ass face…then you wouldn’t have to worry about it.” No matter how many times I told her that I hadn’t even lost my virginity yet, she never believed me. And when I got raped, she felt no pity for me and blamed me for it. “That’s what happens to sinners, she told me.”

“I’m very sorry to hear that. So, let’s talk about the rape, since that’s the reason why we’re both here.”

“Grandpa Lewis had died and it was just me and her. I had a hard time dealing with his death. I became depressed and I cried a lot, because I missed him so much. He was a stern man, but he was never as strict and hateful to me as grandma was. She really started her psycho-christian babble after he died. Grandpa Lewis wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness like she was. Had she met him after she became a member, she wouldn’t have been allowed to marry him, because her religion only permits members to marry other members. But she and Grandpa Lewis were already married before she began going there. She used to always try to persuade him to go with her, but he only went a few times. After he died, she said he was going to hell because he didn’t serve the Lord. My grandpa wasn’t a religious man. He prayed and believed in God, but he wasn’t one to attend church every Sunday. She always hated that about him.”

“So, there was animosity between your grandparents too, then?”

“Sometimes. Grandpa would often tell her to ease up on me a little bit…stop breathing down my neck so much and let me just be a teenager and enjoy life. She hated that he rarely ever took her side whenever she was going off on me for whatever reason. When he died, and I didn’t have him there to stick up for me anymore, she really became difficult to live with. I was only six months shy of gradation at that point, so I tried to just stay out of her way by working as much as possible and spending as much time away from home as I could until then. The night that I was raped, I had just gotten off work and was walking home.”

“Before you start, I need to turn the recorder on. Your statement can be used in court.”

I shrugged. “Whatever.”

I waited until after she placed a small digital recorder on the table and pressed the record button before I continued to talk.

“Okay, you may continue.”

“So, I had just gotten off work and was walking home,” I said, picking up where I’d left off. “I remember regretting not wearing a jacket with a hood on it, because it started to rain as soon as I walked out of the restaurant. I only lived a few blocks from the fast food restaurant where I worked and I usually walked home unless the weather was real bad, then grandma came and picked me up. I hadn’t made it far when a car pulled up beside me. I recognized the boys in the car as three of my classmates. They asked me if I wanted a ride. I said no at first. Grandma Alice had always preached to me to never accept rides from men or boys, and I’d always heeded her warning. But just as I was about to say, “No, thanks,” lightning flashed across the sky, followed by a loud boom of thunder, then it started pouring down raining. I wasn’t trying to walk home in the rain, so I got in the back seat of the car.”

“So, did they take you straight home?”

“If they had, we wouldn’t be sitting here, Doc. No, they didn’t take me straight home. They convinced me to go to this house party that they were on their way to. At first, I told them I couldn’t go. Grandma would have killed me if I’d gone to a party rather than straight home after work. They started teasing me, calling me a goody-too-shoes- something that I absolutely hated. Because I was one of the few virgins left at school and I rarely ever got in trouble or did anything remotely fun, most of my classmates thought I acted stuck-up or like I was better than them. For once, I wanted to prove that I wasn’t stuck up…that I wasn’t the Ms. Goody-Too-Shoes everybody thought I was, so I told them I’d go to the party with them. Biggest mistake of my life.”

I paused before I continued talking, as I thought back to that night…the night that changed my life forever…