2. Spark

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Of all the men Ray brought home, Trenton was the worst. Outside of the often visible and audible PDA they engaged in, he never seemed to leave. Reagan, now 15, usually ignored her mother’s company, since they never stuck around long anyway.

Reagan stood in the bathroom, snapping pictures of herself in the new striped shirt she’d purchased with her first paycheck. She’d felt him creep past a few times, but ignored him. If he was hovering for the bathroom, he could wait; this was HER house.

The last time he walked by, he lingered in the doorway. Even though he was obviously homeless, his clothes and shoes were always brand new. “Don’t you think those shorts are too short?” he said. Reagan turned to see his eyes snap back upward to her face.
“What?” she said. Normally, she’d answer respectfully, since he was an adult, but she didn’t take kindly to her mother’s company talking to her. At all.
“You got…a lot going on. I don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea about you,” he said. By now, he was obviously looking at her body with more than concern. Reagan reached the handle and slammed the door in his face.
 
She remained there for the rest of the afternoon. Alma marched up the stairs and banged on the door with all the strength her palm could muster. “Reagan Mae Dobson, you better get the hell out my bathroom before I tear this door off the frame!”

Reagan opened the door, now clad in her grandmother’s robe. “I thought you had somewhere to be. Why are you in my robe?” Reagan tried to open her mouth and tell her grandmother what happened but she closed it. The only thing she felt was shame and couldn’t handle whatever her grandmother would say. She crossed the hall into her bedroom and shut the door.

Alma was on her heels, joining her in the room before the latch could catch in the doorframe. “Reagan, talk to me,” Alma said. She knew something was wrong with her granddaughter and she feared the worst.
“Trenton told me my shorts were too short.”
“Well, who the hell is he? If I bought them, they’re okay.”
“No. It’s not that,” Reagan said, folding her arms across her chest. She couldn’t shake the disgust that snaked up her spine. Alma sat on the bed next to her granddaughter, patient as she waited for her reply.
“It was the way he…looked at me. Like he does when he follows Mah into another room.”
“Lust,” Alma sighed. Beneath the surface of her smooth cocoa skin, she was fuming.
“Talking about he didn’t ‘want anyone to get the wrong idea about me’,” Reagan said. She roughly wiped away the tears that had begun to fall, annoyed she’d become this emotional again. Alma pulled the girl into her chest and held her. “You didn’t do anything wrong, Reagan. You’re a good girl, you always have been and I promise that it will never happen again, as long as you are under this roof and there is breath in my body.”

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COMPLICATED {4}

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“Keep talking,” Liam said, planting a damp kiss on the inside of her thigh. Elise’s head was swimming, mostly from holding her breath for, what seemed like, ever. Liam had been waiting for her at her front door when she came home from her unimpressive date, a cocky move, even for him. He hadn’t even considered the idea that she would bring the guy home.
“I-I was just stressing about the wedding but…” Elise gasped. Liam had buried his tongue into her once more, drinking her in a beastly fashion.
“‘But’?” He stopped again to ask. He continued planting wet kisses on her thighs.
“I just hate rushing. I feel like everything is going to go wrong,” Elise said, slipping from her peaceful state.
“Hmm.”
“What?”
“Good thing you don’t have to worry about that right now.” Continue reading

COMPLICATED {2}

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Elise stood in the triple mirrors and willed the dress down over her stomach. “Everything ok in there?” the clerk asked for the 3rd time. Elise growled and gave up, recognizing the dress wasn’t as “flowy” as she described.
“It doesn’t fit,” she said, yanking the flimsy material back over her head. As she redressed, she felt a short moment of embarrassment and shame. If she’d stuck with the keto diet, it may have worked. She yanked the curtains open and stepped back out into the showroom. The clerk, petite and brunette, made a face before taking back the dress. “This is the largest size we have,” she turned to announce to the rest of the wedding party. Emerald, Elise’s older sister and the bride, stood and smiled slightly.
“We’ll look somewhere else,” she said before leading the bridal party out of the store.
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The Trouble With Diamonds: Seven

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Her body shook as she pulled herself up on the bar. “Come on, I need five more, Noelle,” he said, his voice gruff below her. “I can’t!” she yelled as her scrawny arms gave out and she swung from the bar. “CAN’T isn’t in our vocabulary,” he barked. Noelle dropped down onto the floor and stuck her acrylic fingernail in his face. “No, it’s in YOUR vocabulary. This is some bullshit, I’m gone,” she said as she grabbed her bag. “Noelle,” Kyle yelled after her, his hands on his hips. “I don’t know why I have to do this crap. I told you, I don’t need a dad!”
“So what, you expect to go back out there and do what? Keep grifting at the grocery store? Go to juvy? Get lost in the system?”
Noelle adjusted the bag on her shoulder and bit her lip. “If you want to do this, you need to do it RIGHT. I’m offering more than these lessons…” he trailed off. His own daughter would be a little younger than Noelle and he was constantly reminded of her when Noelle was around. He felt like it was a second chance and he needed to do it right. “Do you wanna go grab some dinner?”

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Mom, Dad, Let’s Talk Sex

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“Sexgate” was 6 days ago.

We don’t discuss it. Dad has been giving me awkward looks and Mom is her usual bubbly self, seeming unaware of how psychologically damaged I have become. I’ve heard them three more times since the original incident. I have been camping out in my car whenever they get started. Continue reading

Mom, Dad, Let’s Talk House Rules

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The air got a little thinner in my Malibu. Was I having a panic attack? I rested my head on the steering wheel and took a few deep breaths. “You can do this, Erica,” I repeated to myself, not entirely convinced. Moving back home was a HUGE step backwards. I had already jumped feet first into life when I decided against all the Michigan universities, unlike my high school peers. I applied to the private Windsor University, which was 45 minutes south of Chicago, and was accepted with an almost full ride. 5 years, my diploma and $5,500 in loans later, I moved to Chicago in hopes of becoming the next hotshot protegé. Continue reading

Mom, Dad, Let’s Talk Unemployment

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I graduated from Windsor University two years ago with my Bachelors in Interpersonal Communication with a minor in Marketing. Somehow, Malcolm Henderson Jr. High School thought I was more than qualified to serve as their guidance counselor, a cushier job than I expected fresh from college. I didn’t realize the reason behind my hiring was the fact that the school was nearly broke and they could only afford a “guidance counselor” who didn’t think to go into negotiation concerning salary. So when we received the mass memo that the school would not be reopening for the 2015-2016 school year, my jaw hit the floor. Continue reading