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Chapter 1.3

November 13, 2007

Evan Phillips had a secret crush on Trudy Meadows, who regarded him as a wimp and wouldn’t give him the time of day, but he still persisted in the matter even when Shane had told him he was hopeless. He was a portly mannish boy of twenty-three with the softest brown skin with an almost reddish hue. She thought he had a beautiful smile and if he toned up he would be very handsome.

            They were good friends and he was always there for her. They would be graduating together from college just like they did from high school. He was finishing off his Bachelors in Communication. He wanted to become a journalist on television, but was opting to work at The Detroit Free for extra money. His parents had left him the house he lived in and decided to travel all over the world on their retirement so he was pretty much alone, just as she was.

            “You could move in with me,” he suggested the next day as they walked to work. His beat up old Ford Maverick was in the shop. He was spending all his extra money getting the vehicle revamped and equipped.

            Until that time, they would be walking in the snow because she couldn’t afford a car yet. It was Bethany’s goal to keep her just over broke at all times.

            “You know I can’t. What would Trudy think?” Shane teased.

            He chortled at the claim and shrugged. “It was just a thought. Your peace of mind is important.”

            “And if I can come to Bethany with fifty grand or more just in case she gets in the mood to negotiate, then I’ll at least have something to come at her with.” She sighed tiredly because she had sat up all night trying to find a solution to her problem, but short of selling herself, she had come up with nothing.

            Shane told Evan her suggestion and he laughed. “Being a mistress is a lot of work, you know.”

            “How would you know?” she asked.

            “I just know these things,” he said arrogantly. “I read this book about this lady who was a mistress for this man who was married. He paid for everything.”

            The idea of being a man’s mistress, while he was married to someone was a rather depressing thought and she knew she couldn’t do something like that. Now if this man were not married, she would highly consider it, although the thought of allowing a complete stranger to touch her was rather frightening.

            The thought of being a mistress was altogether silly and she knew she could never imagine the thought of a man even looking at her in an attractive manner.

            “You could pull it off,” Evan said off handedly.

            “What?” she asked.

            “You could actually pull it off. I mean you don’t fool me, Shane. I know you have the body for it. You wear those big old clothes to cover up everything, but I’m a guy and even though I know I know wouldn’t take advantage of our friendship, I can see it because I’m close to you all the time.”

            Shane blushed profusely at his compliment. “Shut up, Evan and I don’t have it like that.”

            “Yes, you do. You’ve had it since sixteen, trust me.” He laughed, as she blushed even more. Her deep rich caramel complexion started mixing with a reddish tone. “You shouldn’t have to be embarrassed about your body, Shane. It’s fine for your height.”

            Shane was about five feet six, yet she felt that her chest was overly large for her height and weight. At size fourteen, she was thickly put together, but not obese, yet the clothes she wore from Trudy’s hand me downs were a size twenty-two or large and made Shane look frumpy. Even her McDonald’s uniform was too big for her and didn’t curve to her sensual full hips. Most men didn’t look twice at her except when she laughed or smiled at them, if something amused her about them because she had an open smile and an attractive laugh.

            “But I know how you feel about intimacy, Shane, and with that outlook, I don’t think you’re going to get very far as anyone’s mistress if you hate being touched,” Evan pointed out.

            “It’s not that, Evan. It’s just that I don’t feel comfortable. You know that.”

            “With your Uncle Bud around, I’d feel uncomfortable too. You’ll let me know if I have to bring my bat over and take care of him, won’t you?”

            “You’ll be the first to know,” she promised.

            When she got home that night, she went down to the basement where she slept. They had given her room to Trudy at twelve, because they said that Trudy needed her space all by herself. Of course, Shane didn’t complained. She looked at the positive side of this.  Her bed was near the furnace and she stayed pretty warm. Bud had made a half bathroom in the basement, so she rarely had to come upstairs except to eat or if the reception on her black and white thirteen-inch television was bad and she really wanted to watch television on the thirty-six inch screen in the living room. All the other rooms in the house were prohibited to her, but she never told Aldridge this. Bethany had her idiosyncrasies and Shane didn’t want to feel like a burden to anyone despite the fact that all of it was really hers.

            After changing into a nightgown, she crawled in her cot and turned on the lamp that was attached to her bed. She took out her schoolwork and read through a couple of pages, but in the back of her mind, she was still thinking about how to get the Meadows out of her home.

            At six in the morning, she went to make herself a cup of coffee like she always did. Today, she didn’t have to work and had bravely decided to address the subject of the Meadows departure with Bethany.

            Getting in the kitchen, she was surprised Bethany was up, but Shane surmised that Bethany knew about the trip to Southfield last week.

            “Good morning, Aunt Bethany,” she said politely, ready to do battle with her relative.

            Unlike Lila’s warm brown eyes, Bethany had these cold dull brown eyes, with thick brows. She was skinny as if she were malnutrition with coarse dark brown hair that barely touched her ears. She was about Shane’s height, with a narrowed face, long skinny fingers and a dreary coffee complexion with bad complexion of pimples and dark spots, along with hair growing under her chin and some on her chest above a flat breast line.

            “If that is what you want to call it, then it’s a free country, but this house doesn’t fall under any laws that the outside world has. Do you understand what I mean, Shane?” Bethany said tightly.

            Shane had noticed the older she became, the more tyrannical her aunt had become. Bethany knew the control she had on Shane was becoming weaker by the days, but she insisted on holding on to her niece. If Shane had a choice in the matter, she would have rather had the state take guardianship over her.

            “Are you referring to my trip to Aldridge’s office?” Shane inquired innocently, as she made some coffee.

            Taking the business card Aldridge had given her that was probably dug out after looking through Shane’s items, Bethany narrowed her eyes at Shane. “You getting smart with me, chit?”

            “I wouldn’t ever want to do that, Aunt Bethany,” she said respectively, carefully avoiding eye contact knoing her eyes spoke volumes when her lips refused to utter a word.

            “You know going to Southfield by yourself is strictly prohibited, don’t you? Not without me or Bud.”

            “Yes ma’am,” Shane answered, still keeping her eyes averted.

            “So why did you do it and think I wouldn’t find out about it? The receptionist that works there is a personal friend of mine. When I talked with her yesterday she told me she saw you there last week alone,” Bethany stated.

            “I had some free time ands wanted to just say hit to Mr. Tate. I hadn’t seen him since he came back from vacation. Plus, I wanted to let him know I’d be graduating soon.” She poured her cup of coffee in her travel mug and put her lunch in her backpack. “Is that all, Aunt Bethany?”

            “Is that all?” Bethany asked, mimicking Shane coming around the table that was between them. “You think you’re going to cut me off, don’t you? You think you c an just take my money and get the hell out of here? You’ve got another thing coming.”

            “Whatever do you mean, Aunt Bethany?” she asked, feigning innocent with humor in her eyes seeing her aunt’s true greediness.

            “I’ll make sure you never leave, if I have to, Shane. Don’t try me,” Bethany threatened.

            Shane furrowed her brow deep in thought. Maybe this would be a good time to bring up the subject. “We could do this the hard way or the easy way. I for one would prefer the easy road. You are my only blood relative. My only family for that matter and I don’t think my mother would like us to be on bad terms with each other. How much would it take for you to leave?” Letting her aunt throw out a number first seemed like the better choice since whatever she would say, Bethany would probably try to triple.

            Bethany search Shane’s deep brown eyes, almost similar to her own. This was the only likeness that they possess. Bethany was statuesque at five foot ten. Even though Shane had to look up into her aunt’s eyes, she showed no fear. Not like when she was a little girl.

            “How much are you willing to give is the real question? How bad to you want me gone?” Bethany taunted.

            “Twenty thousand,” Shane suggested a low number.

            Bethany cackled. That’s pocket change and you know it, little girl. Give me something I can use.”

            “Like a car?” Shane spat out.

            The strike against Shane’s right eye was quick and unexpected. Bethany had a temper and she usually used her fist to handle anything with Shane, but this had been the first time she had ever hit Shane in the face. If Aldridge saw this he would freak.

            Bethany screamed for Bud, while Shane stood shocked at what her aunt had done. It had been a while since Bethany had put her hands on Shane, but she had never hit her in the face.

            “Get her down to the basement and make sure she stays there!” Bethany ordered Bud who’s big fat body filled the kitchen doorway sleepily.

            “No!” Shane cried, hurling her coffee at Bud, but he avoided it and grabbed her. “I’m not a child! I not a child! Don’t!”

            He was six feet and weighed over three hundred pounds. Fighting him off was useless as he practically dragged her back down to her room and locked her in there. The walls were strong enough to keep her imprisoned and there was no way to get out because her room had no window. She was trapped and there was a lock on the outside of her door so she couldn’t get out.

            She clawed and screamed, but she knew no one would hear her. Collapsing against the door in misery, she prayed they wouldn’t keep her for long. Shane hadn’t been locked in her room since tenth grade when she threatened to run away.  Bethany had locked her in there for almost a month and told everyone Shane had the chickenpox.

            Bethany was getting desperate. Shane just knew it or the woman was losing her mind.

            ‘I’m a grown woman! Dammit! She can’t do this to me!!’ her mind screamed.

            With two months until graduation, Shane could not afford to be locked anywhere or miss that much of school or work. She needed her job and she desperately wanted her education. It was just another stepping-stone to being on her own and being able to support herself.

            ‘Education is key,’ her mother use to say all the time. ‘Get all you can, Sha-sha.”

            About an hour passed and no one came to her aide. She knew it was an hour because the television played quietly. She barely watched it listening for any noise from upstairs, but when Bud had built this room and insulated the basement, he made sure it was sound proof.

            She heard muffled noises between Bethany and Bud. They were talking loud enough to be arguing, but Shane couldn’t make out what was being said. Checking her eye, it had begun to swell.

            Three more hours passed and Shane wanted to scream until she couldn’t scream anymore as frustrated as she was. What were they going to do to her? Was this that subconscious fear that she had always had coming to the surface Many times she had walked in on Bud and Bethany when they were discussing money matters and what to do with the niece that was in the way. Many times, Shane had creepy feeling that Bethany would love to have Shane out the way so she could get her hands on the money.

            Yet, she never told Aldridge. She never told anyone except Evan. She trusted him. When two more hours passed, she heard rattling of keys and moved to the farthest wall in her room and sat on the cold cement floor.

            Bethany stood in the doorway holding the keys and looking angrier than usual.

Shane felt like she was fourteen again and not use to Bethany’s ire, she had opened up her mouth and said too much.

“You and your stupid fat mouth got you in this trouble, you little chit.”

‘Just to get out of here,’ Shane told herself repeated. ‘Say whatever you have to say to get out of here.’ Nodding her head in docility, Shane said, “I’m sorry Aunt Bethany. I really am.” She tried to sound as earnest as possible.

“Then if anyone asks you about that, you tell them you fell,” Bethany ordered.

“Yes, ma’am,” Shane said obediently.

Bethany stood there for another moment before she said, “If I find out anything different, don’t think you’ll make it another day on this earth, missy.”

“W-What did you and Bud talk about?”

“Fifty thousand,” Bethany stated. “No less ands we’ll be out your life forever in less than a month from the date you give us the money.”

“Would you be willing to sign a statement Aldridge can draw up?” she asked hesitantly.

“Of course.” Bethany smiled a deceitful grin. “You have my word.”

Shane didn’t trust that at all, but she kept this opinion to herself as she nodded and watched as Bethany walked away without closing the door. Breathing a sigh of relief, she grabbed her pack from the stairs where it had dropped and ran out of the door. She ran until she couldn’t run anymore stopping at a bus terminal and buckling down on the seat because her legs were so sore. Covering her hands over her eyes, she cried miserably.

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From → Chapter 1

One Comment
  1. Tori permalink

    I really hope Shane grow a back bone soon. I just want to knock her aunt out. Good Job!

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