Chapter 2:

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 149
Comments: 5

“You gonna go get my beer or what?” Julio asked as I walked into the livingroom, handing him his sandwich. “I’m thirsty. I don’t want no juice. I’m thirsty!”
“I don’t have any money, baby,” I said, trying to keep him calm. I didn’t want him to be upset. He had already given me a busted lip; I didn’t need a black eye to go along with it. “What do you want me to do? I think Monica has some wine down the street if that’s what you want.”
He looked at me, and then he narrowed his eyes, a vein thumping in his neck. Why was he always so angry? As a matter of fact, why was he always so mad at me? Everything I did seemed to upset him. There was nothing I could do right and just the mere sight of me made him angry. I was a nuisance.
“I just said I wanted beer,” he said slowly. “What the hell makes you think I want fucking wine? If I wanted wine I would have told you! We have wine in the fucking refrigerator! Use your damn brain, pendeja!”
He slammed his fist down on the TV tray in front of him, causing the plate in front of him to jump up. He scared me and I jumped back. I didn’t want to find myself in front of his fist again. I had a job interview Monday. I needed my lip to go down. “J-Julio, calm down, baby,” I said, putting my hands in front of my face as if he had always reared up at me. “I’m sorry.”
“You’re right, you are sorry,” he said, shaking his head. “I pay the bills, buy the food, put gas in the car, give you money to fix yourself up, and you can’t even get me some beer? A la verga contigo.”
I looked down at my nails, my shoes, the clothes I was wearing. My French acrylic manicure hadn’t been filled in for six weeks and the pain was chipping. My black flats were leaning to the side, my skinny jeans had a hole in the back, and my shirt had been stretched more than it should have been. The only thing that looked good about me was my skin and my hair and that was only because of genetics. I didn’t look good and Julio didn’t want me to look good. He knew that he didn’t give me enough money to get anything done.
He shook his head and picked up the sandwich, biting it as if it tasted like wood. “And no mayonnaise either. Wow.”
I was surprised he hadn’t hit me yet.
“If you give me some money I’ll go walk to the store and get you some,” I said.
“I don’t have any money, estupida, don’t you understand?” he said, getting up and standing in front of me. He moved so fast, almost like lightening. I didn’t have any time to run or he would just grab me by my hair. I hated when he grabbed my hair. My hair was the one thing I could depend on that I knew he wouldn’t destroy. He could pound my face, my body, and bleach my clothes, but he couldn’t take away my hair.
I stared into his eyes, then his Adam’s apple which was bobbing up and down everytime he swallowed his spit. He thumped my temples softly. “We don’t have any money,” he said softly, almost like he was sad, but I knew he wouldn’t be sad for long. His melancholy would just turn to anger within seconds. “All those bills I paid last week were from those drops Roscoe told me to make. We’re broke. Get it? Tenemos nada.”
“You won’t let me work,” I said, looking down at my feet. “If you let me work, we’d have something.”
“You don’t need to work, me entiendes? I’m a man, why should my woman have to work?”
You’re a man? Why should your woman have to work? A real man doesn’t beat his woman like a dog, make her drop out of highschool and stop talking to all her family and friends and move her a hundred miles away. A real man doesn’t ignore his woman and treat her like a slave and use her for sex. That’s not what a real man does.
“If you still want your beer, I’ll go get it,” I sighed, backing up. I tried to speak as slowly, calm, and sweet as I could. I could see the anger welling up in him. He was bound to explode at any minute. It always happened like this. In order to get out the house and away from him, I would have to stay calm and assure him I would get him what he wanted. “Sit down, baby. I’m gonna go get your beer. Just sit down and eat and in ten minutes, I’ll be back with your beer.”
He looked at me with cold, dark eyes and ran his hand through his long black hair. He nodded and then sat down. “It’s dark,” he said. “I’ll go with you.”
“Are you sure?” I asked before I even knew it. I slammed my hand over my mouth. He hated when I questioned him. “I mean, you relax yourself and eat. I’ll be back.”
“No, I’m going with you,”
He didn’t care about it being dark and me going by myself. He knew that the guys hung out at the corner store at night and he didn’t want anyone talking to me. No, forget talking to me. He didn’t want anyone looking at me too hard. That’s just what kind of guy Julio was. He didn’t want to take care of me and treat me right, but of course he wasn’t gonna let anyone else do the job right.
He put on his black Nike RT1’s and we headed out the front door. He didn’t even bother locking the door behind him. There was nothing to steal. And no one in our neighborhood fucked with Julio. They knew he was a crazy guy; that he’d mess you up if you bothered him or anything that belonged to him. Including me.
He slipped his arm tightly around my waist and I know I looked dumb as we passed everyone sitting on their front porches or leaning against their fences. Everyone heard him beating on me the night before. Everyone heard my cries, his curses in Spanish, and when I went to check the mail earlier that morning, everyone saw my busted lip. Of course, no one said anything. It was none of their business and what went on in Julio’s house stayed in his house.
“Hey, Dani,” Minnie Lopez, a short, crazy Mexican thug said as we walked past her and her boyfriend’s house. She drank from a 40, her curly hair tied up in a bun, a blue bandana around her head. “Wassup, girl?”
I looked at Julio, who obviously didn’t mind me talking to her. She pretended to be my friend, along with Tiny Gonzalez, but I knew they just kept a watch on me. If I went to the mall or to run any errand in Julio’s car, they always jumped in, claiming they wanted to buy something or they needed to pay a bill for their man. Of course, they never bought anything and never paid any bills. They just watched me when Julio couldn’t. “Hi.”
“Why didn’t you come to my party last week? I was looking forward to you,” she said, tagging along behind Julio and I. His grip tightened and I rolled my eyes. I felt sick to my stomach. I just wanted to throw up all over the sidewalk. “Martin asked about you.”
I stopped in my tracks and turned around, not even bothering to look at Julio. I already knew he was upset. Why the hell would she say some shit like that, especially in front of Julio? “You tell Martin that I already have someone. Didn’t I just reject him ten times last week?”
“Yeah,” she smiled a crooked grin. “You did, mami.”
“Exactly,” I rolled my eyes and kept on walking.
When we had gotten down the street, Julio turned me to him. “Who the fuck is Martin?”
“Martin Luna, some kid from the 118th barrio,” I said, the Spanish word sounding weird coming off my tongue. After living with a Mexican stepfather for seventeen years and taking off with his nephew a day after my eighteenth birthday, I’d picked up on Spanish. I understood it, but I never really spoke it. When I did, it came as a shock to both Julio and I. Of course, the last thing he was worried about was me speaking Spanish when Minnie had brought up some guy trying to get with me. “You know Minnie is just jealous that you and I are together. She’s been jealous ever since she heard about it. Don’t even pay attention to her, baby.”
We neared the store and everyone was already looking at us. He was about to put on a show. “Kiss me,” he said. “Now.”
Everyone stared at us, guys from all hoods, and girls from all hoods. A few distant cousins from my mother’s side were even there. I looked up at him, his lips were dry and cracked, but I knew what was best. I poked my lips, his dry lips felt like they were cutting mine. He slipped his tongue in my mouth, his hands on the back of my head, fingers running through my hair. It was rough, it hurt.
“Tell me you love me,” he said in the kiss.
He released me and we walked forward towards the group of people hanging outside of the corner store. “I love you, baby,” I said loudly, walking past everyone. He squeezed my ass and we walked into the store.
Neither one of us had money. Mr. Chang, the old Chinese man who ran the store, was watching us like a hawk watches a chicken. His little black eyes were cold and hard. I understood why he hated us, why he hated the blacks and Mexicans. I understood completely. He faced hell from these two races every day. Guns pointed in his face, making sure people didn’t steal, being threatened. I just know he had to have felt scared, coming to his store which he couldn’t even control. Too bad he thought I was like everyone else.
Julio stood by the front door, tall and muscular, beige skin, long wavy ponytail, charcoal black eyes. He was intimidating with his tattoos running up and down his body, all over his neck, arms, back, and chest. He even had two tears tattooed below his eye. And the long scar running down the left side of his face made him even more intimidating.
I’d never stolen for Julio before because we’d never been doing that bad, but I knew how to steal. I knew how to steal to save my face, definitely. I walked slowly to the back of the store while Julio asked Mr. Chang about some Marlboros that he didn’t even want or need.
“I tell you last week, no cheap, get out now!” Mr. Chang screamed, his Chinese accent gobbling up the English words he was struggling to say. “Go, go! You no be here.”
I grabbed the two cans of Bud light beer and put them in my black hoodie. To play it off, I grabbed a Twinkie, which I actually could afford to pay for. I walked to the front of the store where Julio stood, staring at me, no longer bothering to distract Mr. Chang when he saw that I had gotten what I wanted.
I put the Twinkie on the counter and pulled the two quarters out of my back pocket. “Get out. Go.”
I took the cake and walked out the store. There was no way Mr. Chang didn’t hear the beer bottles clanking together in my hoodie, but it seemed like he was weak, like he just didn’t care. I handed Julio the beer cans, careful not to walk ahead of him. “Thank you.”
I looked at him, shocked. “You’re welcome.”
He popped open the first beer can and drank from it thirstily. He finished the two cans before we even got back to the house. That’s how thirsty he was for nasty ass beer? I couldn’t believe it, but then again, I could. It was Julio.
When we got back into the livingroom, Julio sat down on the couch and turned the channel to ESPN. That’s all he wanted to do lately when he wasn’t making his runs. Watch ESPN, drink beer. I couldn’t believe he was still muscular and toned. I wanted to complain almost. I wanted some kind of attention. Even if it was sex, sex where he only cared about his own satisfaction, sex that only lasted a few minutes, sex that sometimes hurt, I made him feel good and he was paying some kind of attention to me. However, while he was watching ESPN, he was just ignoring me. He wasn’t hitting me, using me for sex, asking me to get something for me, he was just ignoring me. To him, I wasn’t alive.
Fortunately, the phone rang and that was enough to distract me. I skipped to it and picked it up on the third ring. “Hello?” I said into the phone.
“Dani,” a familiar, female voice said. “This is your mother.”
“I know, Mama,” I sighed. I was glad to hear from her. “How are you?”
“Good, except for the fact that my second born doesn’t call me and took off a year ago,”
I was silent for a few seconds. “What have you been up to?”
“I was going to ask you the same thing,” she said. I could hear her in the kitchen. She was cooking, probably preparing dinner for the next day. Sunday dinner. “How you doing with that boy?”
“Julio’s fine,” I said.
I wasn’t shocked when I looked at him to see him staring back. He shook his head from side to side. Of course, I wouldn’t sit there and tell my mother that her husband’s twenty year old nephew beat on me, sexed me up, and had me miserable every day of my life. No, that was the last thing I wanted to tell her.
“Well, I miss my daughter and I wish she would come back home,” she said after a few more seconds of awkward silence. “Come back, Dani. Come get your GED and you can stay with me and your stepfather. We even got your room prepared for you. Just come back, Dani.”
“Ma,” I said, my voice cracking. “I’m happy and-” Julio was standing behind me. “I hope you’re happy too.”
I hung up the phone and stood in my place for a few seconds, breathing and looking down at my feet. Before I knew it, the hot tears had fallen down my face, staining my cheeks. My breathing increased as Julio placed his hands on my shoulders. He turned me around gently, lifting my chin up. “You happy?”
I couldn’t lie. I knew he wanted me to lie. Julio had a problem. A major problem.
“Don’t tell your mother you’re happy, tell me,” he said. “Tell me. Estas feliz?”
“I…” I began. “I want to see my mother. I miss her. I miss my family.”
“What about my mother, huh?”
His voice was trembling, but I knew he wasn’t going to cry. Julio didn’t know how to cry, but he knew how to ball up his fist. I backed up as he took steps forward. “Julio, I’m sorry about your mother,” I said, looking around for something, anything I could hide behind. “I just want to see mine.”
“I can’t see my mother at all, eh? Why should you have yours?”
“I’m sorry, Julio,” I said, a ball forming in my throat that I couldn’t swallow. “I don’t have to go see her. I don’t need to. I just miss her, that’s all.”
“No,” he shook his head, coming closer to me. “You’re not happy with me? I ain’t doing nothing for you?”
“Please, just don’t do this t-to me t-tonight,” I said. “I g-got a job interview in a couple days. Please.”
He laughed. “You miss your family, huh?”
If I nodded my head, he would hit me. If I shook my head, he would hit me. If I stood there without saying anything, he would hit me. There was no way out for me. My mouth had gotten me in trouble just like it always had with Julio. Everything I said pissed him off. Why didn’t I just keep my mouth shut? As a matter of fact, why didn’t I just ignore the phone when it rang? I should have just gone to the back room and gone to sleep.
I saw him raise his fist but I just wasn’t fast enough. Just as I was turning to run, he grabbed me by my hair, pulled me to him, and punched my square in the nose. Hot blood gushed from my face as I yelled out, “Stop! Please!”
“I’m your family! I’m all you need!”
He threw me down to the ground and got on top of me, one hand on my neck, one hand pinning my wrists together. “You don’t need anyone else. You hear me? I’m all you need.”
Those were the scariest words I’d ever felt in my life. Being under someone so much bigger than you that had so much power over you, telling you that you’ll be stuck with them. The worst thing in the world is feeling trapped and not having anyone to turn to. The scariest feeling in the world.
Close your eyes.

When I woke up, I was on the livingroom couch. It was morning time. The excruciating pain in my head made me want to throw up and the plan in-between my legs was equal. I groaned and touched my face, feeling the dry crusty blood. Suddenly, I could recall what had happened.
I managed to get up, wobbling to the bathroom. I washed myself, trying to scrub all the dirtiness and pain away, but it was still there. The hot water just wasn’t hot enough to remove my pain.
When I got out of the shower, I tied my hair into a bun; put on some sweat pants, a t-shirt, and a pair of pink Nikes that had seen better days. I went to the kitchen and fixed myself an egg sandwich and sat at the kitchen table. I cried as I chewed the bread. God, I hated life. If there was any time that I wanted to die, it was then. There was no point of living a life where I was controlled by an abusive guy. There was no point in me being alive.
“I wonder how much a gun costs,” I said out loud, finishing the egg sandwich.
I stared at the empty plate in front of me, bread crumbs decorating the chipped green dish. I looked all around. The tiles in the kitchen were cracked and rising, there was water damage on the ceiling, the walls were thin and hollow, and there were numerous holes in them around the house. The carpet in all the other rooms was stained and the hot water in the bathroom didn’t last longer than ten minutes. We lived in a dump. A fucking dump. I went from a nice two story house to a rat hole for a guy who claimed to love me.

Julio and I met when I was young. I was six and he was nine. Hector, who had married my mom a few months after my biological father denied me, brought Julio over to the house. His mother was in jail again, his father was somewhere selling drugs, and Julio had been left in the house for a whole week to fend for himself. He was scrawny, the same height as me, with big round eyes like a bug. He didn’t speak much, and when he did, his words were almost inaudible. He didn’t smile and he cried a lot. My mother always had to hug him and hold him.
“Why are you such a cry baby?” I asked when he cried about losing his favorite green marble. “We can just go to the store and buy another one?”
“It was especial to me!” he yelled, snot running out of his nose. “Lo necesito. I can’t be without it.”
I hated when Julio lived with us. He would cry and always throw a temper tantrum. The littlest things would scare him, and he ate everything even though he was no bigger than sixty pounds. However, when Julio’s mom got out of jail six months later, he went back with her and we didn’t have to worry about him living with us anymore. He would come over often over the years and we would always fight. We’d even gotten into fist fights and exchanged some nasty words to each other. We were like water and oil. That’s how much we got along. However, in the years to come, his father was shot and killed and his mother went missing. He was living with Hector’s older brother, Alvaro, but he started coming over to our house more and more. By then, he was sixteen and no longer resembled the little cry baby boy I once knew. He had tattoos and his clothes weren’t too big for him. He always had on a wife beater and always had a blue bandana. Whether it was tied around his head or hanging out of his pocket, he always had it with him. He had a new scar on his face too. Long and pink. It was ugly. It was scary. It was intriguing.
Sobrino,” Hector said as me, Mama, Julio, and him sat at the kitchen table. “What are you doing with yourself? What is a gang going to do for you? Don’t you see how your father ended up?” Dead. “And your mother, what about her?” Missing. Probably dead.
“Hector, stop it. Let the boy eat,” Mama said, even though she did care about Julio’s new friends and hobbies.
“No, Miss Julia,” Julio said, smiling at my mother. “It’s cool. My own tio thinks I’m a fuck up. I understand. My parents didn’t think shit about me. I still loved em. I still love you too, tio.
“I love you, my nephew, my sobrino, that’s why I want you to take it off. Take that bandana off when you’re in this house,” Hector said. For some reason, he looked at me. I didn’t know why, but he looked at me long and hard and shook his head.
“I didn’t do anything!” I said defensively.
I was thirteen and I was just learning about talking back. Hector was my favorite to talk back to. I always bit my tongue when it came to Mama. “I didn’t say anything about you, mija, eat your food,” he said, looking back at Julio. “Why is your hair so long, eh? It’s in your back, and then you wear it pulled back in that ponytail. Que malo. You want to be a man, but you look like a girl, and the bandana,” he paused dramatically. “Take it off, Julio,”
I looked up from my green beans and stared at Julio. Suddenly, he was so attractive to me. I’d never been attracted to Julio. I always hated him, but by then, with my hormones jumping and Julio growing into a sexy guy, I was attracted to him like a bee to honey. Anyways, Julio reluctantly removed to bandana, stuffing it in his pocket, and then stuffing his mouth with my mother’s delicious mashed potatoes.
Since Mama and Hector always had to break Julio and I up from fighting, they’d never suspected that what happened that night was going to happen. After I got out of the bath tub, I put on my pink shorts and my purple tanktop. I brushed my long black hair into two pig tails and sprayed myself with some of Mama’s Victoria’s Secret perfume that my bestfriend at the time, Maya, told me would attract all the boys to me.
I walked past Mama and Hector’s bedroom door. The TV was on and Hector’s snoring, along with Mama’s slight whistle was audible. I knew both of them were sleep.
I slipped down the stairs to see Julio on the couch, his long black hair which was almost as long as mine, was out of the ponytail and hanging on his shoulders. His shirt and jeans were on the floor. All he had on was basketball shorts. He bobbed his head to the rap video he was watching on the TV, and suddenly, he turned to a blunt. He lit it and started smoking it, thick white smoke coming out of his mouth. I stared at him, long and hard. I was staring at him so hard that he had finally caught me looking at him. He laughed. “Why you staring at me so hard, ugly?”
“I…um….hi,” I said. “What you doing? Que haces?”
“I’m smoking mota, what you think?” he spat sarcastically.
The smoke stank awfully. “Well,” I crossed my arms. “You better put it up before Mama and Hector wakes up. He will kick your butt and you’ll have to walk back to Alvaro’s house in the middle of the night.”
“Little girl, my tio can’t beat my ass now, I’ve got older, shit, I know how to knock niggas out twice my size,” he said, toking the thick blunt again.
“Well, still. And what’s so special about your bandana? And what are all those tattoos?”
The more questions I asked, the closer to him I got. I asked so many questions that I ended sitting Indian-style on the sofa beside him. “You’re so childish, changita,” he laughed. “I got this bandana because it represents my family. The Surenos. I’m a Sureno.” He thumped my forehead. “And my tattoos, shit, they’re art. You like em?”
“They look good,” I said, almost wanting to touch the snake on his right bicep. “I want one.”
“You’re a baby, shut up,” he said.
He took one last toke and put the blunt out, putting it under the couch. For him to think he was so grown, he surely was dumb. I shook my head and looked at him long and hard. “Just because I’m thirteen doesn’t mean I’m childish,” I said, rolling my neck. “I’m almost grown.”
“You ain’t,”
“I am!”
“Shut up, babosa, you’re gonna wake them up,” he said, putting his hand over my mouth. I stared at him, my eyes wide and probably confused. He stared at me, long and hard. I’d never been stared at like that before. No one ever looked at me like they…like they saw me naked. He went from my face to my chest, to my flat stomach, to my hips, to my slender thighs, then back up to my face. He smiled. “You grown?”
“Almost,” I said, pushing his hand away.
“Show me what you know, then,” he smiled, sitting back. I was confused. I know I sat there with a perplexed expression on my face. He laughed again. “Show me what you got.”
That was when it hit me. He wanted to do the nasty with me! Maya had always told me about the nasty and how good it was, but I never wanted to do it…except with Julio. I got up and stood in front of him. I was nervous, looking down at my feet, and my heart jumped into my throat when I looked up to see him biting his bottom lip, his eyes narrowed, staring me down. Slowly, I pulled my tanktop over my heart, my b-cup breasts sitting up high and perky.
Then, my shorts and frilly panties. I stood butt naked in the cold living room floor in front of Julio. “Turn around,” he said slowly. And slowly, I did. A few seconds later, I could feel Julio behind me. His hard on was pressed against my behind. He turned me around by my shoulders and leaned down. He had shot up a foot since I was six. When he leaned down, he pressed his lips against mine. Soft and wet. He slipped his tongue in my mouth, moving it around this way and that. I didn’t know what to do, so I just followed his lead.
“Kiss softer, you’re doing it too hard,” he said into the kiss. So I softened my lips and tongue, and I started to enjoy it. Moments later, I was on my back, and he was on top of, humping the life out of me. Hot tears streamed down my face as I struggled to catch my breath and get the pain out of my mind. He was huge, and what he was doing hurt me more than ever. I couldn’t keep up with him. His kisses were so sweet, but his sex was not. How could Maya possibly enjoy this? The nasty was nowhere near as good as she said it was. “I thought you said you were grown,” he said, slowing down. He stared at me and wiped the tears from my eyes. “Don’t lie about being grown, changita, it can hurt you.”
He finished a few seconds later, and then he put his boxers and basketball shorts back on. He took me upstairs and helped me washed the blood from in between my legs. I looked up at him, still sniffling. “I’m hurting,”
“I’m hurting too, changita, I’m hurting too.”

“Dani!” Julio screamed. “Dani! Listen to me!”
I snapped out of my flashback and looked up at Julio, standing above me at the kitchen table. “Yes?”
“What the fuck are you doing?”
“I’m…I was thinking,” I said, looking down and then grabbing the plate. I got up and walked over to the sink, and then I started scrubbing the plate nervously. “I’m sorry. Do you want something?”
“I think I’m gonna make a few runs today,” he said, sitting down at the table. “And I want some eggs, tortillas, and chorizo.”
“Okay,” I said, clearing my throat. “What time are you going out?”
“Don’t worry about that, just know I’m gonna bring some money home when I get back,” he said sharply.
I stood silent for a moment, staring out of the window that sat above the kitchen sink. It was bright outside. It was Sunday. Everyone was out. When I say everyone, I mean everyone. Everyone was in the street, on the sidewalk, or on their front porch sipping from 40s and Cokes, smoking weed, play fighting, laughing, and chilling. Sundays were more chill than Saturdays in our neighborhood. Everyone sat out and chilled. Everyone had a good time before they got their weeks started. While everyone was having fun with their family, friends, and significant other, I was in the kitchen contemplating suicide and fixing my abusive boyfriend breakfast. I felt like a grounded child watching other children have fun in the middle of the street.
I suppressed my sigh and walked to the refrigerator, pulling out the eggs and sausage. “How do you want your eggs?”
I always had to ask. If I scrambled them, he wanted sunny side up. If I made them sunny side up, he wanted them scrambled. If I made an omelet, he wanted them poached. I learned to ask him how he wanted his eggs after a few busted lips.
He got up and walked towards me. I flinched and braced myself for a hit, but he didn’t hit me. He turned me around by my waist and stood in front of me, his abs pressed against my stomach. I didn’t look into his face. I just stared at his gray wife beater. “You still going to that job interview tomorrow?” I nodded. “Well you don’t need that fat lip. It looks awful.” I wanted to tell him it was his artwork, but I held my tongue. I watched as he pulled a large safety pin out of his pocket. He grabbed my chin and tilted my head up. “Now this is gonna hurt, but we need the money. You gotta get a job.” A real man isn’t supposed to make his woman work, right?  Such a hypocrite. He probably wasn’t even sober when he said that to me. He stuck the safety pin slowly in my bottom lip. God, it stung, but I didn’t let out any screams or cries or tears. I sat there and took it. Besides, it wasn’t the worst pain Julio had ever given me.
Blood dribbled down my lip and I put my face over the sink, watching the red drops fall on to the steel. I wet a paper towel and placed it to my lip. The bleeding didn’t stop for about five minutes, but when I went to the bathroom to see that it had stopped, my lip had gone down about seventy percent. It would probably be completely gone by the next day. I walked back into the kitchen and thanked Julio quietly for taking away the busted lip he had given me.
Julio wasn’t always abusive. He didn’t always beat me and curse me out and call me stupid. Sometimes he had really caring instincts. Sometimes he could be a decent guy. Sometimes he’d let me drive his blue Toyota MR2 that he loved so much. Sometimes he’d bring me home a Cheese Danish, my favorite treat. Sometimes he’d go slow, kiss me soft, and run his fingers through my hair. Sometimes he’d make me feel…human. He treated me that way all the time when we first ran off, but after about six months of living with Julio, he changed. It started when he began staring at me. Yeah, those stares. That’s what started it all.

“Hey,” I said, walking into the house after hanging out with Minnie at the corner store. I handed Julio a 40 and a pack of menthols. “Wassup, baby?”
He didn’t say anything to me. He just stared at me. He stared long and hard, as if he were reading words all over my face. I mean, I did look really pretty that day with my eyebrows arched, my hair freshly curled, and my silver hoop earrings shining brighter than ever. I thought that was why he was staring. You know, I looked hot. I knew it too, because I skipped over to him like a little bunny and plopped down on the couch beside him. I placed my hand on his crotch, kissing his neck, but he pushed me away. “You smell like weed.”
“I know,” I giggled. “Minnie and I lit up at her house when we came back from the corner store.”
“You was smoking without me?”
“Um…” I nodded my head. “Yeah?”
He turned to me and narrowed his eyes. “Was you fucking around?”
“What!” I exclaimed, jumping up. “NO! Why would I cheat on you? You’re my man.”
“That don’t mean shit,” he said, standing up and towering above me. He shoved me backwards and I had to keep myself from falling. “You could still be fucking around. Imma call Minnie right now and I swear if she tells me you were fucking around…” He walked towards the back room where he had probably left his cellphone.
“She can’t tell you that because I wasn’t,” I said, following behind me. I grabbed his arms and held on to him. “Calm down, Julio. What are you so mad about?”
“Don’t touch me!” he shouted.
“Stop it!” I screamed back. “That shit isn’t cool. I was with Minnie and now you’re thinking I was sleeping around with some other guy. Stop fucking tripping.”
Before I knew it, the back of his hand slid across my cheek like a razor. I grabbed my cheek and looked up at him, utterly shocked. I couldn’t believe it. Had he really hit me? Never before had he slapped me and I just couldn’t believe my eyes, and the stinging feeling on my cheek. My eyes watered up. I mean, I’d been slapped before plenty of times by Mama, but never before by a man, a man full of testosterone. I didn’t say anything else that night. I just went to sleep, shocked. And when he felt like getting in the next morning, I lay under him like a rock. I had no emotion. Of course, that little slap should have been the least of my worries. Julio was only bound to get worse.

After I finished cooking Julio’s food, I took a shower and dressed in gray jeans, a white t-shirt, and white Nikes. I tied my hair into a bun and put on my silver hoops. Julio had just given me thirty dollars to get groceries. Any excuse I had to get out of the house with him would be used happily.
“Is there anything in particular you want?” I asked, standing at the front door with his keys in my hand.
He shook his head slowly, looking me up and down. “Just go,” he said. “Get out before I change my mind and take the money back.” He didn’t have to tell me twice. Happily, I skipped out of the house and walked to his car. When I got in and the smell of stale weed and alcohol hit me, it finally hit me. I watched as Aracely Perez walked down the street towards our house in a skin tight tank top and tight booty shorts. Aracely was the neighborhood puta. Everyone knew she’d do anything for twenty dollars. 
I put the car in reverse and pulled out of the yard, cruising down the street slowly so I could see where she was headed. She chewed her gum as if it was the only thing she had to eat, but at the same time, she had a slick smirk on her face. I stared at her as I passed her with the car, and as if she knew I was staring, she flipped her bouncy brown hair over her shoulders. I wanted to stop the car, get out, and beat her ass. This bitch was taunting me. I knew she was! She was going to fuck Julio and there was nothing I could do or say to stop it.
Even though Julio wasn’t treating me right and he never told me he loved me and he was always cursing me out and beating my ass, I still felt like I could call him mine. Knowing he was cheating on me was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. I stopped the car and waited at the end of the street, looking in the rearview mirror at Aracely walked onto our front porch. Tears burned the back of my eyes as I tried my best not to turn around, run into the house, and slice her face up. All I’d done for Julio. Given him my virginity, cooked and clean for him, abandoned my family and friends, took his bullshit, dedicated my whole entire life for him, and he was throwing all those thoughts to the side. He didn’t care. He didn’t give a damn. He didn’t care about me. He cared more about some cheap whore than me.
“I ain’t coming back,” I said to myself, shaking my head. “Not any time soon.”
I wasn’t going to spend thirty dollars on cheap groceries; I wasn’t going to do what Julio said. I needed some time for myself. I needed a real meal and a fill in on my French acrylic nails. Why couldn’t I spend some money on me sometime?
I blinked the hot tears that were brewing in the back of my head back and pulled away from the neighborhood.
The drive to Waffle House wasn’t long. It seemed as if I floated there. Before I knew it, I was sitting in a booth, telling the skinny blonde what I wanted to eat. “I’ll take three scrambled eggs with cheese, two strips of bacon, two sausage patties, one pecan waffle, and a vanilla coke,” I said.
“Alright, hun, I’ll have it right up,” she said.
I looked down at my feet. Then I looked around at everyone in the restaurant. If people weren’t with their friends, family, or special someone, then they weren’t there. I was the only person sitting at a booth by myself, feeling as lonely and pathetic as I looked.


Submitted: November 07, 2012

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Comments

olarocks98

That was amazing, I can't wait to know what happened next........

Thu, November 8th, 2012 2:49am

Author
Reply

Thanks!

Mon, November 12th, 2012 10:54am

Spyguy

I like the story... Don't understand how it relates with the introduction, but I'm enjoying it... Is this a real-life experiance you're embellishing or just an idea that you have about a poor girls difficult life?

Wed, November 14th, 2012 8:41am

Author
Reply

The introduction was my attempt at suspense. I was hoping it would capture the readers into reading the story. This is fiction by the way.

Wed, November 14th, 2012 11:32am

RawriXoXo

I love it! this was really good! Can't wait for the next chapter!

Fri, November 16th, 2012 12:44am

Author
Reply

Thanks :)

Mon, November 19th, 2012 11:39am

PossiblyMine

I like it. I can't wait for next chapter! Love how Dani is like screw this, imma go do something for me asshole. :)

Sun, November 25th, 2012 5:01am

Author
Reply

Thanks :)

Mon, November 26th, 2012 10:49am

MrV

Damn, that Julio is a disgusting, adulterous, hypocrite, selfish asshole! He does have a tragic backstory, but I cannot feel sympathy for him, his flaws are too powerful. That makes him an effective antagonist, kudos on the achievement. :)

Makes me wonder what Dani saw in an oppressive macho like him to ever want to hook up. It was clear she was probably desperate or horny when she ran off with him from her step-father's, but still. I must bring up one of the main reasons I dislike Twilight is that Bella Swan like Dani gave up her future and family for one guy. Unlike Twilight, your story feels closer to home and I am actually rooting for Dani to escape purgatory. Julio's tear tattoos reminded me of contemporary gangs such as the Zetas, Maras, etc.

I only found a small typo: After Julio says "'A la verga contigo,'" and you describe Dani's nails you wrote: "My French acrylic manicure hadn't been filled in for six weeks and the PAIN was chipping." In uppercase I show you're missing the letter t in paint.

Overall, your story is a neat change from the stereotypical romance and I am enjoying reading about more diverse ethnic groups. It was getting annoying to always read about the irrealistic and childish troubles of the typical middle-classed Anglo-American teenager and her homogenous circle of acquaintances. The story you present here is far more realistic and has effective pathos. There is a constant genuine sense of danger and it is easy to relate to the protagonist (sadly in every family there is a Julio).

Your portrayal of domestic violence and the dreadful addictive dependance of the victim was very convincing too. In a way victims tend to be drawn back to the abuser as if their life depended on it, sadly very few get away until it is too late.

Wed, November 28th, 2012 4:26pm

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