Authors: Marian Tee
By: Marian Tee
Copyright © 2014 Rascal Hearts
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
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This book is dedicated to God.
This book would not have been possible if not for the wonderful support of my street team and readers.
Thank you for giving me the chance to live my dream.
If you have been my reader for quite some time – or at least as far back as when Nick and Lilac was first released, then I thank you for your patience. The story of Jason and Keanne has long been overdue, but it’s finally here and I really hope you will enjoy their love story, however tumultuous it may be.
I’ve seen a lot of authors sharing their playlists for their books, but I never really thought of doing the same for my books. I do listen to music when I write, but it’s just really my favorite songs over and over – nothing that was actually chosen specifically to fit the story. Or at least it was so until
For Jason and Keanne, there were only two songs that I listened to, and I invite you to listen to them while reading this book.
Ben Howard – Promise
Binocular – Deep
They aren’t the sweetest of love songs. Actually, they’re not the kind of songs you’d hear being played often over the radio, but…there’s just something about these two that remind me of Jason and Keanne. Maybe you’d feel the same. Maybe you can tell me why it’s so. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Until the next BBF story!
Four Years Ago
I met a man today.
He came to me while I was all alone at the patio, seated at the last of the steps that led away from our new house and onto the expansive grounds.
“You seem so down,
The sound of his voice had my body tensing. It was dark and Greek --- all the gods and heroes that I loved reading about coming to life with that voice. If I had to choose who he could be, I would have said his voice reminded me of Helios.
Even his words could have been easily spoken by the sun god. It was as if he was asking me
why was I still so lonely when he was already shining brightly down on me?
His shadow fell over me, lending the impression of someone remarkably tall. I stiffened even more at his nearness, my bare toes curling against the stony sun-baked ground. He felt…
so much that I wondered if my mind had finally broken down and started playing tricks on me. He was
the sun god to feel this hot.
But somehow the heat of his presence persisted, making my skin prickle. I didn’t understand it, but at the same time I was drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. It beckoned me to stay, to bask in his brightness.
And yet…a small part of me resisted, urging me to move away. I probably would have if I wasn’t all too sure it would make me seem afraid, which I didn’t want. I was tired of being afraid. So, so tired.
He didn’t speak for a long time, and his silence turned into something forbidden and inevitable. Reluctantly, I found myself twisting my head up, Eve taking the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, me needing to know just who it was that had invaded my world.
And so I looked, I saw, and…he conquered.
was all I could think with a gulp.
Now I knew, and now I was cursed.
Everything about him made me wish he had remained a stranger without a face. He
the sun god, blazing with life, his perfection the kind that would magnify your every flaw if you were next to him.
This close to him, I could only flinch at what the others would see. They would look at him and see a god. And then they would look at me and see how even gods could create the worst mistakes - the straggly blond hair, the bushy brows, the dirt gray eyes, the acne-prone skin, the overweight body – oh, if this stranger was Helios come to life, I was the mistake better off dead.
The stranger lowered himself to sit on the last step, one knee up while the other denim-encased leg was stretched out. I moved up a step but it didn’t matter, his sheer height making me feel ridiculously small.
He had a powerful build and an even more powerful presence. He really could pass as Helios, if the sun god had been reborn with black hair and the most incredible blue eyes. But everything else – the olive skin, the vibrant smile, that sense of authority – oh, he truly was Mr. Sunshine, all right, and he made me want to scurry back to the darkness where I belonged.
“Who are you?” I almost spat, mostly to distract him because I was looking at him more closely now, trying to figure out his age. He looked but did not feel young, making age seem like a useless number. I should know – I was and wasn’t fourteen.
The stranger didn’t answer my question. Instead, he only smiled and said, “I’m sorry if I disturbed you.” He sounded like he did and didn’t mean it, as if he was apologizing for two things at once.
I frowned, and it was not for a single reason either. His tone confused me, but worse than that the sound of his voice mesmerized me even more this second time around.
I couldn’t help throwing him a scornful glance at the way he insisted on calling me. “I’m not little and you know it.”
Instead of denying the truth with a gallant lie like I expected him to, the stranger bestowed another smile upon me, making me fidget. It was as if he could see something in me that I did not want
to see. To hide my nervousness, I demanded again, this time more aggressively, “Who are you, really?” I wasn’t asking out of fear. My mother Amie had guards all over the property – only people whom she was acquainted with could have gotten this far without having guns drawn on them.
He answered easily, “Your new neighbor.” Before I could ask another question, and I meant to, he added more slowly, “I’m also the son of a close friend of your mother’s.”
And then he gazed at me patiently, saying nothing else, waiting.
It hit me a moment after and my heart crashed down. I twisted my head to the opposite side. “
I wanted to squeeze myself into a ball and scratch my face out. I wanted to just scratch and scratch until the only thing left would be an unrecognizable mass of flesh.
He knew, and because he knew, I remembered, and everything – every shameful thing about that day came flooding back, gouging old wounds open inside my brain.
“Your mother and mine…they thought I could help with you with it.” There was another pause, delicate but respectful and introspective, before he spoke again. “I’d like to hear the story from you.”
My body started to shake and in a sharp, bitter voice, I spat in French, “
You already know.
He answered with a flawless accent, “
Oui. Je sais.
I shot back, “Then what is the point of me telling you?” I wrapped my arms around my own body, trying to keep it from shaking with hapless rage – not at him, not even at the world, but at me. Everything was
fault, and I wasn’t such a coward to not accept the truth.
The stranger frowned as he took my stance. When he spoke again, his voice had turned deliberately coaxing. “Let’s walk.”
But he took my hand nevertheless, pulling me up with him. I tried to wriggle away but he held fast. I called desperately for security but none came.
“It is just a walk, ma petite. Your mother knows so they have been told to…stand down.” His lips curved into an arrogant smile at the words. It was as if he was saying even if they had not been told to stand down, our many guards would not be able to stop him.
Helios come to life,
I thought numbly. He even had the arrogance to pull it off.
He said cajolingly, “It will be good,
Trust me.” He glanced up at the afternoon sky. “See, the sun is shining down on us. It’s a good omen.”
The words made me flinch, and I hated how I was letting myself be so easily affected. He was
the sun god, not even if he was suddenly talking about the stupid sun.
I tried one last time to yank my hand away, but it was futile, his grip too firm. We started to walk, with the stranger having to drag me the first few steps before I finally fell into a wary tread next to him.
A profound sense of quiet enveloped us as we started on the trellised path that zigzagged around Amie’s pride and joy, her own version of the Secret Garden. As we went deeper into the garden, so did the silence between us deepen, the tall flowery trees bordering the path effectively foiling the noises of the outside world. Even the chirping melodies of nearby birds were muted, and the loudest sound that reached my ears was my…sobs.
With my free hand, I touched my face, and its wetness confirmed the incredulous thought. I was crying and I didn’t even know. The sobs came fast and furious then and my body started to shake anew.
When the stranger started to speak again, I struggled to hold my tears back as I waited for him to talk about what happened eight days ago.
But he did not.
“When I was young, I spent my weekends in my father’s home. He and my mother were separated. My father took custody of my twin – older than me by minutes – while I went to my mother’s care. During one of those weekends, my stepmother came into my room. I woke up with my dick in her mouth, and she told me to keep quiet or my father would kill me. I was twelve then and I believed her not because I was young. I believed her because it was true.”
He spoke the words dispassionately, but even so they made me trip all over my feet. He was quick to help me up, his other arm going around my waist. We no longer walked and I remained in his arms, feeling like I would drift the moment he let me go. It didn’t make sense – the words he had just said did not spell the kind of reality I knew. People like me were the ones who were supposed to get hurt.
people like the one in front of me…
sun gods like him.
But his next words told me I was wrong.
“It continued. There wasn’t ever a night I wouldn’t wake up with her hands or her mouth around my dick. She would always make me come and I hated it. She took my virginity of course, and she warned me that if I ever had a girlfriend, she would turn her attention on my brother. I knew, without my twin telling me, that my father liked beating him all the time as a way of expressing his anger for my mother leaving him. I didn’t want my brother to suffer any more.
“And so I became her slave. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for her because…there was nothing else I could do for my brother. I remember…there was a time she made me eat her pussy under the study table while my father was across the room, talking to her from the couch – when she came in my mouth after my father left, I threw up right after, not just out of fear. It was mostly just self-hatred then. I hated how weak I was.”
I could see that with every word he spoke, he bled a little, the way the gouging wounds in my own brain still hurt. I asked hoarsely, “Why are you telling me this? Why?” It hurt to speak because with his every word he made me think I wasn’t as brave as I thought I was.
But again, he didn’t answer me directly.
“A day I will never forget was when I was your age…my father had come home in a drunken rage. It would only be years after his death that we found out that he had been foiled in his attempt to take over my inheritance and my brother’s. It pissed him off that night, and my brother told me to hide in my father’s own study closet. He told me that he would never ever forgive me if I left that place. And God help me, but I didn’t – not even when my father, furious at not being able to find me, started beating my brother – so fucking hard I heard – I
bones snapping. And after that, when my father left, my stepmother came in and she was
turned on –
she was fucking turned on by his pain that she made my brother…”
He struggled to breathe. “I couldn’t protect him. I was so fucking afraid that night. But it changed me. The next day, my brother was so relieved to see I was fine – that I was taking everything so fucking well. He was…like your mom is now.”
My body jerked hard at his last words, the truth dawning on me a little too late as I realized where all this was going. “No…”
“When your mom told Mother and me that you were finally getting back to normal, that you were smiling again and acting very happy, I knew you were planning to kill yourself---”
I tried to wrench away.
“---just like I wanted to kill myself that day.” This time, his voice was as hard as his manacle-like grip around my wrist.
“NO.” I couldn’t let him stop me. Death was the only way to end everyone’s misery – all the sadness I had caused would end if I died. I tried my damnedest to pull away, not caring any longer if I broke my wrist by doing so. I
to die. I
“You have it all wrong in your mind,
just like I did.
You do not deserve to die.”