Well, here I am, back again with another sample of my upcoming novel, "War Angel." Enjoy and as always, feel free to leave comments and feedback.
by Keith Kareem Williams
Chapter 2 - …Hearts Don’t Grieve
t never took long for Jahaira to stop being mad at her dad. Just before she walked out of the store, she had glanced over her shoulder and caught a glimpse of his sad smile that always softened her heart. She knew that he prayed for the survival of her happiness and did whatever he could to shield her from the horrible things he feared could happen to her but never spoke of. The world is filled with more monsters than you would believe, he would whisper to her in quiet moments when she had stumbled on him at home on the couch, alone, tipsy, somewhere half-asleep and deep in thoughts he never shared. In the whole world, she might have been the only female that he loved in the purest way. For a long time she struggled to understand how that could be because of the way he seemed to view women as a species. From what she’d seen from him as a man, he was a womanizer and lusted for every woman in the world. As a father he was different. She was his only child and in her entire life she had never seen him express any desire to have any more. Although she hated her parent’s relationship, Mr. Caesar Ruiz always made sure that Jahaira knew that she was precious and treasured by him above everything else in his life.
“Did you see your father?” Mrs. Carmen Ruiz asked her daughter as Jahaira walked through the front door of their house, wet and already annoyed.
“Of course I did. It was all soggy by the time I got there but he got his lunch,” Jahaira answered, shivering as she took off her jacket.
“Was he alone?” Carmen asked, her eyes never leaving the enormous flat-screen television on the wall.
“Hector was there too, as usual,” Jahaira answered dryly as she walked across the living room as quickly as she could. Recently, she found that she purposely avoided eye-contact with her mother. It often felt as if they both harbored some secret shame that they feared would be revealed if they looked at each other for more than a few moments at a time.
“No, I mean…was he alone? You know what I mean.” There was always a split second when she asked that question where her heart beat pounded hard enough to reach the brink of breaking. Deep down she knew that if her daughter ever decided to be cruel enough to tell the truth, those words would pierce her like bullets.
“Every time you send me to the store, I come home and you ask me the same thing. Why don’t you ask Papi later? Whenever he decides to come home that is. Ask him what he was doing at the store when, and IF he even comes upstairs to your bed instead of sleeping on the couch,” Jahaira answered as she started to walk upstairs. She wanted to get to her bedroom and shut the door before she ended up in a heated argument.
“Forget it. Forget I even asked. You’re always defending your father little girl.”
“I’m not defending him. I just don’t care anymore. He does what YOU let him do and you’ve been letting him do it for years!” Jahaira snarled. Her knuckles turned white as she gripped the bannister tight enough to make the wood creak.
“What do you know about it?” her mother asked calmly, dipping a chocolate chip cookie in her glass of milk with her eyes still safely fixed on the television.
“Nothing!” Jahiara answered sharply. “I don’t know anything about it and I never will.”
“That’s what you think sweetie,” Carmen told her. She didn’t like that her brat of a child had the audacity to judge her. “You’re young and there’s a lot you don’t understand,” she scolded, her voice still even and calm which drove Jahaira to lose her composure.
“Like what? Like letting my husband cheat on me with every money-hungry girl that he sees” Jahaira asked, practically spitting venom. Her words were hurtful but Carmen’s expression remained unchanged. A very long time ago, she had learned to hide her love and hate behind a mask of indifference.
“One day you’ll understand. You think you’re going to be the prettiest girl your man has ever seen forever? No sweetie, that position is only temporary,” Carmen coldly warned her.
Hater! Jahaira thought as she stormed up the stairs, her footfalls louder than an elephant’s despite the plush carpet beneath her feet. The pictures on the wall shook on the nails they hung from when she slammed her bedroom door behind her. In a rage, she sucked in her belly and opened the top button of her jeans. They were slightly tighter than they had been a week before and she’d been telling herself that she needed to shed a few pounds. Her mother’s words felt heavier as she unbuttoned her blouse which was also a little tighter than when she had worn it last. She flung it across the room, jumped onto the bed and screamed into her pillow. Her mother always managed to effortlessly frustrate her to the point of madness. There was something deliberately foul about the way she smoothly passed passive aggressive comments with perfect timing to inflict mental harm. As soon as Jahaira stopped using her pillow as a silencer, she sat up and violently slapped all of the stuffed animals off of her bed. Every time she’d put them away, her mother would come into her room, call it cleaning up and put them back.
After she once again had her bed all to herself, she lay on her back rubbing her chunky tummy and realized that her bedroom looked like a grenade had gone off, sending fuzzy, colorful creatures in every direction. She climbed out of bed and started cleaning up. She crammed the stuffed animals into the closet, right in with the dresses her mother insisted on buying that either made her look twelve or sixty-five. She hadn’t worn anything that even closely resembled those outfits since the sixth grade but Carmen continued to consistently waste money on things that her daughter would never wear. It was her way of protesting Jahaira’s fashion choices which she felt were too revealing at times. All of her efforts were in vain of course. To Jahaira, her mother thought she was just a doll to be dressed up and played with, not even a real person at all. That was how it had been her entire life. It showed even in the way her mother usually talked at her and never really to her. She had made up her mind not to live in the fantasyland that her mother had tried to create for her. As it was, she believed that too many delusions dominated Carmen’s reality and it broke her heart as she helplessly watched the woman who was supposed to be her role model, allow life toblow her wherever it would as if she was a feather trapped in a perpetual breeze. She had never met another human being who seemed so eager to accept, ignore or casually brush off every bad thing that happened to her. A million times she’d told herself that she would never be that way.
Jahaira growled as she punched a pink bunny in the face and slammed it down on top of a gigantic stuffed elephant. A doll’s head at her feet got knocked off when she forced the over-stuffed closet door shut. She giggled then kicked it under the bed where, as a kid, she believed that monsters lived. The notion seemed silly as she sighed, sat on the edge of her mattress and smoothed her long, dark hair out of her face. Eventually she relaxed when she thought about where she was going to be later on that night and who she was going to be with. She reached under the bed for one of the suitcases where she kept her real clothes stashed. She only had a few hours to get pretty. She didn’t know what her mother was talking about because her man looked at her like he had just seen her for the first time, EVERY time he looked at her.
I hope you enjoyed the latest sample. I have a few more to share before the book is released so follow the blog to keep up with the updates. Thanks for reading. You can find out more about my books here: Amazon Author Page for Keith Kareem Williams