In the Stars

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter One: Venus

Submitted: July 11, 2019

Reads: 76

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Submitted: July 11, 2019

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Chapter One: Venus  

Roman goddess of love, sex, beauty, and fertility. 

Venus (Planet in Astrology) A feminine energy that rules both Taurus and Libra. 

Heavenly planet of Love and Money. 

 

Dani my love, it’s time to wake up now.” 

I groaned at the honey-like sound of my mother’s voice, forcing my eyes to open and focus on the woman leaning over me. She was beautiful, like a goddess from some long forgotten abandoned realm of warriors and magic. She watched down at me with eyes dark and piercing, a mirage of blacks and browns cooking in a boiling cauldron. Long black unruly hair, a tangle of waves and curls hung around her heart shaped face and down her back to her waist. In her hair was woven beads of ebony and Bali turquoise and they made soothing clinking noises when her head moved. Her wrists, slim and delicate, were decorated in bracelets of hematite and black tourmaline, making her golden skin glow. The flowy pink floral dress she wore only served to make her seem more like a modern-day goddess and I couldn’t help but smile.  

She smiled back and ran her heavily ringed fingers over my hair, her smile the brightest thing in the whole room. “Jesse is downstairs already my love, you’ll both be late if you don’t hurry.” 

It took me a second to understand what my mother was saying but when it finally registered, panic rushed through my blood. “Oh my god!”  My mother chuckled and stepped aside as I threw off my covers, launching myself off the bed and in the direction of my bathroom.  

Quickly as possible, I yanked my nightgown over my head and jumped into the shower shrieking when I turned it on, and the still cold water assaulted me. I washed my hair and body at sonic speed before bolting out of the shower and drying myself off. I brushed my hair, opting out on blow drying it as I was short on time and exited the bathroom, crossing to the chair I had laid my clothes out on the night before. I dressed and then strode over to my full-length mirror, turning this way and that to survey myself.  

As always, I had carefully planned out every article of clothing and the specific positioning of each article the night before, ensuring the perfect outfit for the perfect occasion. Not that today was all that special, but I had to pretend it was. Usually I wore jeans, a wicked top, and a shawl but today I opted for my second favorite outfit in the whole world. It was a gray sleeveless cotton top laced in the front loosely so that it was both modest and sexy. I matched it with a shredded skirt that looked witchy/ apocalyptic with black tights under. I had also chosen a sleeveless gauze hooded cape/shawl and black high heel boots military and fashionable styled.  As always, I wore my many rings, each with a different stone and my black onyx stone on a sterling silver chain around my neck. Today I chose to wear a black metal chain earring that went from my helix piercing to my upper and lower lobe piercings. It was a chain that connected a bundle of stars to a string of moons and pearls that dripped from my ear.  

Satisfied, I turned to grab my bag and met my own eyes in the mirror, pools of gold and green lined in thick black lashes that stood out starkly against the gold of my skin. My hair fell around my face in black and blue waves, not as long as mom’s, but long enough to reach mid-back.  

I was beautiful, or at least that’s what I had been told a million times before by a million different people. I was naturally and tragically beautiful, they said, enough so to be a model if I wanted to. I never wanted to be such a thing, yes, I might be beautiful but so was my mother and that’s what left her 16 and pregnant, thrown out on the street by her rotten old-money family. I didn’t mind being attractive, but I resolved to be more than just a pretty face, I would be successful and strong, and pay back my mother for everything she had done for me.  

“Dani, babe, it’s time to go!” 

The sound of Jesse’s sultry seductive voice made my blood both boil and freeze, causing me to quickly grab my bag and rush out of my room. I pounded down the stairs and into the kitchen, finding Jesse wrapping his knuckles against the table and my mother at the counter grinding herbs. 

“Your mom made you tea,” he said as he beckoned to where a black and silver lined mug sat steaming on the table. For a second I just watched his large hands continue their rhythmic tapping on the hard wood of the table-contemplating them-but just as quickly looked away.  

I shot him an award-winning smile and grabbed up the mug, throwing back the contents with a grimace. I didn’t really know what was in mom’s tea, but I did know the taste never got better. I glanced down into the cup and twirled the leaves around in the small puddle of liquid on the bottom, trying to make out a shape the way mom did with her more believing of customers. All I saw was slush, and so heaved a sigh before setting it back down onto the table.  

With a few strides, I made it to my mother's side and wrapped my arms around her in a hug, burying my nose into her long hair and breathing in her scent of herbs and oils. She turned to engulf me in her arms as well before pulling away and pushing me in the direction of the door, her usual mischievous smile on her face. 

“Love you mom,” I called over my shoulder, poking Jesse and motioning towards the door to signal we had to leave. His chair scraping against the wood floors drowned out my mother's reply but I knew she had answered back as she usually did, “Love you to Venus and back.”  

I locked the door behind Jesse and me, tucking my keys into my bag afterwards and followed him. He unlocked the car and we both climbed in, my movements a little jerkier than I would have liked. Once seated and buckled up, Jesse started the car and I closed my eyes in anticipation for the relatively silent car ride. 

 Instead of car movement though I felt his soft lips press into mine and his hands come up to cup my face. I could feel the callouses on his hands lightly brush my face and his breath fan across my lips as he pulled back slightly to take another. He tasted like syrup and strawberries. He smelled like cologne and cigarettes.  

He looked like an angel; his wavy brown hair pushed back but still managing to fall into his tantalizing emerald green eyes, now closed. He looked like an angel, but he felt so wrong. With as much strength as possible I gripped the back of his hoodie and pulled him back and away from me.  

Hurt flashed across his face but I ignored it, instead pulling down the visor to check my now smudged lipstick. Swallowing I glanced over at him, barely holding back a wince upon seeing his jaw set in anger.  Ideas raced through my head, ways to diffuse his anger, and chose the simplest explanation, the one I’d been using for the past 3 years.  

“I just did my makeup, can’t mess it up so early in the morning.” 

He seemed to accept the excuse-if not a bit hesitantly- turning back to face the front and pulling out of the driveway. He took my hand in one of his and laid it on his leg, letting his thumb swipe over my knuckles. My attention should have been there, to the small sign of affection, but was too busy trying to stare straight ahead and not at the large and poorly covered up hickeys along his collarbone. 

Hickeys I knew for a fact, I hadn’t put there.  Happy 3rd Anniversary to us.  

 

 

It started six months after we started dating. I had met Jesse our last year of middle school, in 8th grade already halfway through the year. He and I had both changed our elective classes to a First Aid class. I had done it because of my newly founded interest in the medical field while he did it to get out of having a class with his ex. The minute we met he had started flirting, hard, but not in the way I was used to. Instead of commenting on my looks or using cheesy outdated pickup lines he showed interest in my brain. He never seemed intimidated by my fierce personality or the immense amount of knowledge I’d acquired from reading so much as a child. He liked me because I was smart, and I liked him because he didn’t treat me as just another pretty face. 

We started dating and spent most of our summer break at my house where my mother could watch over us. I fell in love with him over that period -when he was with me and my mother- he treated her with more respect than anyone else ever had.  Most people treated her like trash due to her line of work, an intelligent and dedicated psychic. He didn’t ever treat her like a fake, instead holding conversations with her and showing interest.  

In middle school we had separately been popular, me because of my willingness to stand up against bullies and discriminators and him because of his natural charisma. In high school we became popular because of our chemistry, voted the most likely to remain a couple after high school our freshman year. It was around that time that Jesse started to sneak around behind my back, saying he was hanging with his friends or his father needed him to stay in and help with the car. That first year, the car “blew a tire” over twenty times. 

It was two weeks until the end of freshman year when I finally caught Jesse in the act, very in the act. I had gone over to check up on him since he said he had been sick for the past day and a half only to find him home alone with one of his best friends' girlfriend, wrapped in each other’s arms on the couch. I had blown up and broken up with him on the spot, telling him to never talk to me again.  

That was the start, the day I found him and Layla, that the distance between us grew and my heart hardened. I began to hate him, but also loved him. He begged me after that day, repeatably until I gave in and took him back. Physically, yes, and in name, but not really. In public he was my boyfriend and I pretended that I loved him despite the millions of rumors floating around about him constantly cheating, but in private I was cold. I always led him to believe that I cared about him, that the rumors didn’t bother me, but they did.  

For my mother's sake and my public image, I could live knowing I was dating a cheater and liar. Now it had been three years, we were now in our junior year, and still Jesse slept around thinking I didn’t know about how Layla wasn’t the first or last. Which was funny considering how poorly he covered up hickeys, how poorly he hid.  

“Dani, Dani we’re here.” 

I sat forward suddenly, awakened by the sound of Jesse’s voice, I hadn’t even realized I’d fallen asleep. I slowly blinked my eyes, wincing at the harsh sunlight streaming in through the window and stretching my tense muscles. Once I could see again properly, I turned towards Jesse where he sat behind the wheel, gazing at me with what an amateur would describe as love. I knew well it wasn’t, that it was his own pride and narcissism gazing out at me as he patted himself on the back for being able to keep me despite all his filthy deeds. How pathetic I seemed in his eyes, not knowing I was the one playing him 

We made our way out of the car and into the doors of the school, my arm through his and a big warm smile on my face. We went to my classes as regular, I met him in the halls and let him run his hands down me while his friends and enemies watched. I smiled and laughed and let everyone think that we were still the couple most likely to survive, none of them knowing that the moment I left for college he would be simply a pawn I abandoned in favor of a more interesting game.  

It was fifth period when I got the call. It was from Jesse’s dad, Jereniah Colton. He had always been incredibly sweet to my mother and I, acting like a father to me since I didn’t know mine. I always felt that it was mostly because he had the hots for my mom, but I didn’t really mind.  

I pretended to need to go to the bathroom so that I could answer my phone, and when I did, Jereniah’s words made my blood run cold. “Danika, I’ve already called the police. I dropped by for a visit and found her...well, I think it’s best if you come home immediately.” 

Quickly as possible I hung up, my hands shaking as I lowered them down to my side. My chest felt heavy and it was difficult to breath. Why would Jesse’s dad tell me to come home suddenly? He always insisted that my schooling was the most important thing in the world, and that it wasn’t to be skipped under any circumstance. What could have happened?  

I rushed out of the bathroom and ran down the hall, my feet squeaking as the soles slid against the floor. I burst out the front doors of the school, about to call an uber, when I smacked straight into Jesse’s broad muscular back. 

“Dani, love, my dad called me and told me to meet you here. What’s going on?” 

My hands shook as I grabbed onto the front of Jesse’s hoodie, pulling him down the front steps of the school and through the parking lot towards his car. “My mom, something happened to mom!” 

We rushed into the car, Jesse muttering under his breath and I bouncing my leg up and down in panic. As we pulled out of the school a burning pain spread from where my heart was to all over the rest of my body, the feeling like boiling oil tossed into water. I huddled over my knees and wheezed in breaths as it got harder to breath. I didn’t know what was happening, but it hurt, so much so that tears streamed down my face and sobs rocked my body.  

Faintly I could hear Jesse’s pleading voice, but all his words sounded muffled, except for one, “home.” I forced my eyes to focus on the landscape outside the window and was relieved to see my house looming over the car.  

I opened the car door and stumbled towards the front door, a fresh wave of pain rushing through me the moment my hand landed on the doorknob. Fighting it, I pushed open the door and stumbled inside, calling out for my mother as I moved through the house.  

I found her in her study. I remember it as if it was just yesterday, the smell and sounds, the exact way the colors melded together. It was too dark, that was the first thing off about the room. Mom promoted light, saying it brought upon us positive energy; always kept the blinds and curtains open in order to allow natural sunlight to brighten all the rooms of the house. Then there was the smell, instead of mom's herbs and incense, there was the smell of smoke and salt. The air tasted like ash, and it hung in the air so heavily that I couldn’t see mother clearly. I could see her figure slumped in the chair she did readings in, but something was odd about the shape. 

It was once the ash started to clear, when Jesse came in and the door allowed a breeze in, that I could see what it had hidden from me. It was mom’s body propped in her chair, the front of her dress bloody and her chest a gaping hole, her heart missing from the chest cavity. Her head was missing as well, the stump at the top of her body scooped out and filled with salt and bright yellow flowers.  

Her head, or what was left of it, was resting on top of the table next to her where a large stake sat in the center of a circle of rocks, ash filling it. Mom’s head was driven onto the stake, the point driven through the mouth and out the left eye socket, charred beyond further recognition.  

Agony, pure terror and sorrow ripped through me and collapsed, Jesse catching me in his arms. He kneeled on the ground with me in his arms, shoulder blocking the carnage in the room beyond.  

He whispered words of comfort to me, though I could hear the tears in his voice and feel his body shake under me as well. I didn’t care then about how much pain he felt, didn’t care that at least if he didn’t love me, he had loved my mom. No, all I felt was a great drowning sorrow and a bright burning hatred. What monster could do such a thing to Margaux Eleta Pax, the sweetest gentlest woman on the all of planet Earth? Who could do such a thing to a living human being? 

Through my tears and anger, through the rising anger within me, I sensed another person in the room behind me and turned my head slightly to meet the eyes of Jereniah. I stared deep into his forest green eyes, so like Jesse’s, and found unreadable emotion in them but if I had to guess it was a sadness unlike mine. Whether he loved her or not, I wasn’t quite sure but right then I knew there was something more than I had originally thought. If only I could place it. 

 

 


© Copyright 2019 A.S. Silver. All rights reserved.

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