Authors: DM Sharp
Tags: #Romance, #Abuse, #Contemporary
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Copyright © 2013 DM Sharp
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Cover Designed by Telemachus Press, LLC
Published by Telemachus Press, LLC
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ISBN: 978-1-939927-70-5 (eBook)
Table of Contents
Thank you to KVS for being my best friend and always believing in me.
Thank you to AMS and SMS for being the lights in my life and reminding me just how important wobbly teeth are.
Thank you to Hels (Helen), Sarah (Sazz), Emma ( Ems), Jayne and Smeets (Smita) for being the best friends a person could have. I will always be grateful for the gift of true friendship.
Thank you to Joanne Lewis for being in the right place at the right time, for your caring and insightful responses to my e-rants and for caring and understanding.
Thank you to Karen Lieberman for being an efficient, helpful and kind editor. I hope to give you more grey hair in the future!
Thank you to the rest of Telemachus Press Team without whom this would have been a lonely journey.
Thank you to Olivia Carter and people that I come across every day who inspire me.
Most of all, thank you to the wonderful people who read my books.
Much love to you all
DM Sharp x
“For anything which has happened once in time is repeated ceaselessly through all eternity.”
Three Versions of Judas
—Jorge Luis Borges
George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, that’s it, Olivia, keep going. I can do it, I know every U.S. president in chronological order. Frothy spittle hits me in the eye, throwing me off track, making me lose which president is next in line.
There’s a song playing somewhere in the background. I need to think about the song that’s playing. Who sings it? Ah yes, Estelle,
Thrown off track again as I feel all one hundred eighty pounds of Upper East Side Prep school boxing champ slam into me. Something tears. He’s stealing my body.
Searing pains shoot up the back of my spine as the friction burns with every thrust. Back to the presidents … James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams.
I don’t even feel him pull out of me and get up. How long have I been here? Any feeling in my legs evaporated when he rammed his knee between them, bone hitting bone to force my legs apart.
There is a digital clock beside his bed that seems so out of place, just like me. The numbers glare blood red at me: 3:30. Heavy Curtains obscure if it’s morning or afternoon. If it’s the afternoon, I have only been here for an hour.
He’s combing the black hair that slickly sits on the top of his head. I don’t know why but I think of a rattlesnake. His cheeks are flushed a deep pink and his breathing is fast. I guess he must be finished with me now.
“Thanks, Olivia, that was great,” he says, signaling to the door. “I’m going out now. I’ll tell Mason to drive you home.”
He’s the son of one of my family’s oldest friends; his father is our family lawyer.
Out of the corner of my eye, I watch as Lucien Borgia abandons me, slamming the heavy bedroom door behind him. The shock of what has just happened sinking in like blue ink on a white tablecloth. I bring my legs up to my chest, wrapping my arms tightly around them, locking myself in a hug. A solitary tear drops from my face onto my knee, rolling down my leg until I can’t see it anymore.
It’s hard to breathe with every intake causing a stabbing pain in my chest, just above my ribs. One of his punches must have landed there. I try to swallow past what feels like a large stone that is stuck at the base of my throat, but it’s too difficult and saliva starts to pool in my mouth.
Pain infiltrates me everywhere, my head, in my chest, my legs, and my back. In between my legs.
I try to blink but my eyelashes are clumped together making them all sticky. A pale image of my face looks back at me as I glance at the bedside mirror, my mascara in thick black triangles around bloodshot eyes. Somehow, I manage to will the back of my hand to wipe them, flinching as my hand brushes against the side of my cheek where he slapped me when I fought him off.
Maybe I should just keep my eyes closed. Forever. No. Don’t think like that. Get up. I can do it. I have to do it.
James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Adam Jackson …
Uncurling myself from the fetal position that my body automatically formed on the bed after Lucien left the room, I manage to sit upright. The sound of rain lashing down on the windows disturbs my thoughts; the sky is the gloomiest shade of grey.
The warm, salty taste of fresh blood from where my teeth have bitten through the soft flesh of my bottom lip makes me gag, reminding me of old copper cents. There’s blood all over my thighs. The sheets are stained, bloody, and forever changed from the way they were before.
I am here but I am gone.
I can’t remember going to the bathroom to clean myself up, or even getting into the car waiting to take me home. Mason, the driver, came up to me and tried to say something but then stepped back when I didn’t respond.
The longer the car journey takes, the more I feel like I’m perched on the top of a very tall mountain where the air’s so thin, I can’t seem to get enough oxygen. The car jerks to a stop suddenly, throwing my
body forward into the seat in front of me, stimulating me to take a large gasp of air in before stumbling out of the cab, dazed, my eyes wincing at how bright the sunshine is.
Mason stands watching me. “Promise me, Miss Olivia, that you will take care of yourself.”
One leg moves in front of the other, propelling me through the lobby of the condominium that the Carters own on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Keeping my head straight in front of me, avoiding the concierge’s eye
As the lift smoothly glides upwards, the pounding in my chest is so violent that I know my heart is going to burst right through my rib cage. Spots start dancing in front of my eyes every time I blink. I catch the sight of my knuckles, which are white, all blood drained from them, from me, as I hold onto the railing in the lift for support. I can recall Uncle Preston’s voice saying, “You are responsible for the things that happen in your life, both positive and negative.” He’s away in Cayman on business so I can’t ask him about today. What did I do that was wrong today?
The lift door opens and I see the hall where I live, the baby grand piano with gilt framed pictures of all the Carters laid out beautifully on top of its polished brown wood, reaching out to me.
I hear the click-clack of Oreo, my golden retriever cross’s paws on the marble floor. He takes one look at me and skitters away, whining. Even Oreo doesn’t want to know me now.
I stagger into the hall, my legs giving way like a newborn colt attempting to stand and walk. Collapsing into a heap, the crack of my knee bone hitting the polished marbled tile floor echoes through the expansive lobby.
Annie, the Carter housekeeper rushes forward, dropping her black feather duster, the whites of her eyes pronounced with shock and concern.
“Miss Olivia, what’s wrong? Are you unwell?”
“Oh Annie, Annie. Thank God, it’s you.”
The comforting vanilla-chocolate smell of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter that always signals that Annie is around, soothes
me. Annie has been the Carter housekeeper for more years than I have existed, has known me since I arrived here. When I would trip clumsily, skinning my knees, it was her I would run to and cry. She would gently pick me up, making everything better. Moments later I would be outside again running, forgetting that I had even ever fallen.
I wish I could still forget that easily now.
If I ever got sick, it would be Annie that would take me to the doctor.
Doctors can sew up wounds, fix broken bones, and help the sick, but I’ve got a wound that all the doctors in the world cannot fix. I’ve been raped and it must be all my fault.
My mouth opens to talk to her but again no voice comes out. Instead heavy tears start to fall from my eyes one by one, dripping on her soft, plump arm, the dark skin glistening from the cocoa butter and providing a barrier against my hot salty tears. Annie puts a finger to my mouth signaling for me that it’s okay to stay quiet.
Exhaustion like I have never felt before overwhelms me. Sapped of any energy, I feel spread thin like translucent tracing paper. Tired like I’d never smile again, like I’d never be able to move again, just crumpled there, pasted limply to the cold black and white check marble floor.
“Let’s get you upstairs, Miss Olivia. I’ll run you a bath.”
I nod and feel myself being lifted up effortlessly by her strong arms and walked up the sweeping staircase. The piping hot temperature of the water makes me flinch as I gingerly put one foot into the bath, but it soon feels comforting against my aching, tender body. I see Annie’s eyes, reflected in the mirror, as they flick over my body. Purple fingerprints appearing at the tops of both of my arms, blood staining the top of my thighs and a large red welt across my right cheek where Lucien had slapped me to stop me from screaming, stunning me into silence. Oreo is standing in the doorway, his head cocked to one side. When he had been found dumped and tied to the railings of the Manhattan Animal Care Centre, Lucien Borgia helped me rescue him, even though Uncle Preston had said no. It had finally put a stop to my questions to Uncle Preston and Aunt Victoria about what ‘half breed’ meant, after I had overheard Victoria’s friends whispering about me. Victoria said that Oreo was a cross between two different pedigrees and was the most beautiful dog she had ever seen.
Annie strokes my hair and doesn’t say anything, coaxing me gently into the bath until my whole body is submerged. A single swirl of steam rises above me disappearing into the ceiling.
My eyes shut as I lie back in the bath, but I suddenly jolt awake again, my airways feeling like they were closing off; it’s like his hand is still on my throat making it difficult to breathe again. I can just picture Aunt Victoria eating her Palm Beach shrimp salad at Fred’s in Barney’s with the genteel ladies when they all find out that Lucien Borgia raped me. I can see them all getting up, one by one, not even bothering to finish chewing their food, wiping their mouths before throwing their napkins on their plates. Doors would slam shut in Victoria’s face in all directions. No one would believe me. The ‘half breed’ whose mother had never been forgiven for stealing one of the most eligible bachelors from their Upper East Side grasp. They all adored Lucien. I could never do that to her. She gave up trying to have children after I arrived in her life. All she has are her multiple charities and Upper East Side friends. I know what it’s like to be excluded. It’s painful. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I know I’m going to have to keep quiet about it and get over it.
Annie comes back into the bathroom and helps me out of the bath, wrapping a large white fluffy towel around me. She still doesn’t say anything to me. Annie’s eyes have seen all sorts of goings on in the Carter household over the years and she knows that I will come to her when I’m ready. This is different though. I can’t tell anyone what has just happened.
“I just want to go to bed for a few hours.” I put my hand up to my eyes, trying to rub away the blinding headache. A metallic tightness in my chest and stomach makes me want to curl up and hug my knees, an insistent squeeze compressing my temples and my heart.
I haul on a pristine white t-shirt and cotton pants that have been perfectly laundered and placed in my drawer. Climbing tentatively into the four-poster bed, the sheets icy cold against my skin, the rising goose bumps put to rest by the heaviness of the bedcovers. My eyes close and I drift into the first of many vividly realistic, disturbing nightmares that are to become my daily tormentors.