Authors: Katie Silver
by Katie Silver
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Copyright 2015 Katie Silver
All Rights Reserved
Katie Silver, identified as author of this Work, hereby asserts her rights in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, copied in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise transmitted without written permission from the publisher.
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Book and Cover Design By Katie Silver
“You know what you did.”
My father stared down his long, thin nose at me the same way he did when I was six years old and left my toys scattered in the yard. Then again, he gave me the same disapproving look almost every week for failing in some way or another. I took a deep breath and squared my small shoulders, making sure to look contrite. I tried so hard to be perfect, but I would never be good enough to live up to my father’s exacting standards. My mother stood rigidly next to my father, silent as usual, her plump face a perfect mask of calm. My mother didn't really do emotions. She deferred to my father in all things and spent her energy on proper womanly pursuits like cooking, cleaning, and organizing church events.
It was a hot summer day and we stood in the sweltering living room of my parents’ home. The room was perfectly clean and tidy with decorative pillows arranged artfully on every couch and chair, although the drapes were faded and the carpet was worn. We weren't well off, but my parents still liked to present the image of respectability. We were part of good society here in Mercy River, even if we couldn’t afford air conditioning. After all, very few people around here could.
I felt a strong hand on my shoulder and couldn't help a small smile that played at the edges of my lips. At least Daniel was there for me. He was my rock in all things. Daniel and I had been dating since freshman year of high school when he had offered me a rose and asked me to the church formal. I knew he would help me figure out whatever it was that I had done to upset my father and he would help talk me through it, pointing to relevant bible passages and showing me the path to goodness and obedience. He always did.
I looked back to see his encouraging smile. He nodded at me, looking so perfectly clean-cut with his short brown hair, blue polo shirt, and pressed khakis. He belonged in a television show or commercial from the fifties with his big, toothy smile and hair combed perfectly to the side. I was always trying so hard to live up to his example and present a perfect image to my parents and to the town.
“I'm sorry for my failures, father,” I recited quietly, raising my eyes to his stern face. I was so used to the words that they just tumbled over my tongue effortlessly without me even having to stop and compose them or think about their meaning. “Please explain my mistake to me so I can make amends and improve in the future.”
I took another deep breath, filling my lungs with the thick, sticky summer air and wracked my brain, trying to think what I had done wrong. The last time we had had such a serious talk it was because I had been researching secular colleges. Nothing radical or far away, of course, but just the idea of going off somewhere further, learning about the world...it brought a light into my heart. I thought that light must have been from the lord. But my father knew otherwise. He told me I was being tempted by the devils of secular society. He was right. I went to the local Christian college, Mercy River College for Christians, with Daniel and now I was protected from the devil's influence.
“Daniel, it is almost time for you to take my place as Grace's guide.” He was referring to marriage, of course. Daniel and I were not formally engaged yet. He was saving up for a small, modest ring. But we would be soon. I glanced over at him and smiled.
“So why don't you explain her sins to her.”
I looked at Daniel again, this time confused. He knew what my father was talking about?
“Grace,” Daniel said in his calming voice.
I turned around and he took my hands in his, staring into my eyes with a small smile.
“I want you to understand that I am not doing this to embarrass you. I had to discuss what you did last week with your parents and Pastor Rick because it is important that all of us know the temptations that you are facing and find some way to help safeguard your purity until our marriage.”
For a second, I was confused. What on earth was he talking about? And then I realized what he meant and my heart dropped to my stomach. My cheeks burned bright red from anger and embarrassment and I dropped his hands.
“You told them about that!?” I glared at him accusingly. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest and it took everything in me not to yell or scream. How could I trust him if he was willing to break my trust and tell my parents about our most intimate moments? And how could he live with his hypocrisy? I had only tried to make him happy and give him what I thought he wanted.
I lived at home with my parents and commuted to college, but Daniel had a dorm on campus. Sometimes I would go spend time with him there and we would spend a lot of time making out and whispering about our dreams of a future together.
Last week, when Daniel had run out to get us sodas, I had stripped down to my bra and panties and posed on his bed. I didn't want to break my vow of chastity. I just wanted him to appreciate my body, to maybe touch my breasts or do something more than just kissing. It wasn't so wrong if we were pretty much already engaged, right?
To my disappointment and embarrassment, Daniel had stood angrily in the doorway upon his return and told me that I was being corrupted and to put my clothes back on. He didn't realize that I had seen the bulge in his pants get bigger when he saw me like that. And he also didn't realize that the only reason that I had entertained the idea in the first place was that I had found porn on his laptop's history when I was doing research for a paper while he was out.
At first, I had been disgusted, slamming the computer shut. But my curiosity had won out. I slowly opened the computer again, and watched dubiously as the video played. A busty young woman in lacey black lingerie was kneeling in front of an older man. The man’s large penis was dangling in front of her face and she bounced happily, grabbing it between her large lips as if it were some delicious treat. I watched as she sucked, groaned, and slobbered all over the man’s erect penis until he exploded, spurting white liquid all over the young woman’s smiling face.
I glared at Daniel now. I was tempted to blurt out that he was a hypocrite and a pervert and let my parents know that he had watched porn. But I kept my lips shut and just nodded as both he and my father droned on and on about the temptations of the flesh and the value of a young woman's chastity. The worst part was that he had told Pastor Rick, although he couldn’t possibly know why that would hurt me so much. That was my one big secret from Daniel and the rest of the world.
“So that is why we think you should take a year off of college to stay at home and study the bible and learn how to be a good wife for Daniel when he graduates.”
I finally snapped back to attention, my mouth hanging open. They were going to make me drop out of college. And Daniel was just agreeing to go along with it. I knew he wanted me to be a good wife and stay at home with our future children, but he knew how important my education was to me and how much I wanted to experience working, even if just for a little while.
“Fine!” I heard myself spit out. “I can't force you to pay for college, but you can't force me to stay here. I'm finding a job and leaving.”
I turned and stormed out the front door in a fit of anger before realizing I had nowhere to go. My best friend Mary would only tell me to return home and apologize to my father for my disobedience. She was always there for me, but she could never understand my desire to rebel. But I was not going to apologize. I was done apologizing for everything. I had been so good, done everything everyone else had told me to do, and now it was time for me to live my life on my terms.
I walked along the dusty dirt road that led from my parent's house to the center of town, holding up the bottom of my long, modest dress so it didn't drag in the dirt. The road was flat and straight, like everything in Mercy River. The first thing I needed to do was find a job somewhere far away from this little town. I resolved to leave Mercy River and not look back.
I decided the best thing to do would be to go to the library and check the newspaper's classified section. I wasn't exactly sure what skills or training I had that would be relevant to any jobs, but I was eager to do anything different. I wanted to learn about the world, support myself, and finally feel like I was valuable and needed for more than just my quiet obedience.
I imagined myself as a high-powered CEO as I walked down the dusty road. In my mind, I was wearing a black skirt suit with my hair in a tight bun as I ran around with a clipboard. I walked tall, my head held high and my stilettos clicking on the marble floor.
I shook my head to clear it of the unrealistic image. I didn't even have my degree from my podunk Mercy River Christian College. I would probably need to set my sights lower to start. I could work as a nanny or a housekeeper, but those were the type of jobs my parents would approve of, women's work, work that would prepare me for my role as Daniel's wife. I wanted to try something different. I could be a secretary or an assistant, I
The warm spring air had turned heavy and oppressive by the time I reached the library. I was covered in a layer of sweat under my long dress and a few tendrils of hair were plastered to the side of my face. Even the air in Mercy River was oppressive.
I pulled the heavy door to the library open and sucked in the cold air as it hit my face. I had spent many summers hiding away in the library as a child just to have relief from the heat and humidity that lingered for months. My quest for a break from the summer heat had turned into a love of knowledge and reading as I had quickly read my way through the small library’s collection of books. I felt the hunger for adventure bloom inside me as I read the tales of Odysseus and Gulliver. I realized that the world was much bigger than Mercy River and that there was still so much more for me to learn.
Luckily, the library was empty, except for the old librarian napping at her desk. I smiled as she snored quietly, her thick glasses askew as she slept on a pile of books. I ran my fingers over the spines of the old books as I walked down the aisle, remembering when and where I had read each one. So far, books had been my biggest escape. Now it was time for me to move on and have a real life adventure.
I reached the table where the newspapers were kept, folded neatly and arranged by date and type. I passed over the local papers and looked for the big city papers. I pulled out five and then found a seat at the long table so I could pour over the classifieds. The first paper contained almost nothing useful. There were many job postings, but all of them were very specific and technical, calling for multiple years of experience. I set that paper aside and turned to the second one. The first few ads didn’t interest me, but then my eyes fell on one small ad at the bottom.
“Seeking intelligent assistant for temporary live-in work for successful businessman. No experience necessary. Impress me,” I read, already feeling the excitement coursing through me. This was it. This was the job for me. I quickly grabbed the paper and ran over to the old communal computer in the corner. I had an old, used laptop at home, but I wanted to send out the email as soon as possible.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to apply for the live-in assistant position you advertised. I do not have much work experience, but I am eager to learn. I’ve always been a quick learner, teaching myself about history and literature from books at my local library. I’ve outgrown my small town and I am willing to work hard and do whatever is required of me so I can learn more about how to succeed in business. Please let me prove myself.