I am setting the publish date! The book is edited and ready to go. The cover is in the final stages of being designed (so I can’t reveal it yet). And I am chomping at the bit to share The Road to Hope with you! For now, how about another teaser?
~ Chapter Four ~
Not Our Little Girl
Maddie ducked her head down under the pressure of the officer’s hand, giving up all efforts of the fight she’d had in her just moments before. What was the point? They had her. At least she’d have a warm place to sleep tonight.
She could have killed Jordan, even as she understood why he took off and let her bear the full brunt of his scheme. It had all seemed so simple when he had relayed the plan. Who would suspect a pregnant girl to do anything against the law? Despite her growing belly and disheveled hair, she still possessed the look of a girl who came from a good home. With her wide brown eyes and effortless smile, she had the face of innocence.
But inside, she held the rage of a girl who had been turned out by her parents once the pregnancy test came back positive…
One month earlier in Gallup, New Mexico.
“But where am I supposed to go?” Maddie cried.
“Why don’t you go find that low-life boyfriend of yours and tell him you’re his problem now,” her father said. He stood firm, his military background shining through as he looked at his daughter without any hint of sympathy. Even though it had been years since he’d retired from the Army, he still sported the close cropped hair and muscular build. And Maddie, she was expected to be his little soldier, standing in line and only doing as told.
“Bill, please,” her mother said, placing her hand on her husband’s arm. As large and intimidating as Maddie’s father was, her mother was the exact opposite. Petite in every sense of the word, her mother took to sweaters and pearls, her light brown hair always combed and pulled back. She aimed for perfection, volunteered for the PTA, and attended bible studies in the middle of the week. Maddie’s mom was firm in her beliefs, and consistent in her appearance. But she always stood down when it came to Maddie’s dad. So when her mom tried to stop him with the touch of her hand, Maddie wasn’t surprised to see him shake her off and turn his glare toward her.
“Not now, Carol. Maddie needs to learn she can’t just go around life doing whatever she damn well pleases with no repercussions whatsoever,” he said.
“But she’s pregnant. We can’t just throw her out,” her mother pleaded.
“She should have thought about that before sleeping around. We’ve raised our children.”
“But this will be our grandchild!” her mom argued.
Maddie’s dad was silent for a moment as he regarded his wife. For a moment, Maddie thought he might reconsider. But when her father returned his cold gaze to her, Maddie’s heart fell.
“No it won’t,” her father said. “Because I don’t have a daughter.”
The words struck Maddie, taking her breath away. She could feel the tears hovering in her eyes, but she willed them to stay back. She closed her mouth, setting it into a firm line as she worked to mirror the icy stare of her father.
“Fine,” she said. She turned on her heel and went to walk toward her bedroom.
“Where do you think you’re going, young lady?” her father called behind her.
“I’m going to get my things,” she muttered through clenched teeth.
“I’m going to get my things!” she yelled, turning to face him with her hands on her hips. Her father only glared at her.
“You don’t have any things,” he told her.
“Yes I do!” she yelled. She could feel her chest burning as her fury erupted in the hallway. Her father remained calm.
“No, you don’t,” he said. “I bought all those things. They’re mine.”
“You didn’t buy everything!” Maddie yelled. “What about all of my Christmas presents? And what the hell are you going to do with all my clothing, my stuffed animals, and the pictures of all my friends?” she demanded.
“Whatever the hell I want,” he replied with narrowed eyes.
Maddie took several deep breaths as she faced her father, every muscle in her body clenched. She waited for him to back down, to tell her he’d give her another chance, to let her know he was only teaching her a lesson, and the lesson was now over. But he never did. Instead, he moved to the side and pointed toward the door as if she were a mere dog being ordered outside.
She thought of all the things in her room she was leaving behind. Her pillow, the one she’d both laughed and cried into. Her favorite sweatshirt, the light pink one with the hood. The teddy bear she’d had since the day she was born. The dozens of photos that lined her mirror, reminding her of friends she had once been close to before she met Jordan. Her journal that detailed every single one of her thoughts, including thoughts she never wanted her parents to know.
“You don’t own my journal,” she said. “I’m getting my journal.”
Her father regarded her for a moment, then nodded his head toward her bedroom.
“Fine,” he said. “But you have two minutes, or I’ll come in there and throw you out myself.”
Maddie didn’t hesitate. She turned on her heel and rushed into her room. She opened the drawer next to her bed and pulled out the journal and a pen. She also grabbed the small stash of money she’d been putting aside for a rainy day, stuffing the dollars in her pocket. She looked around the room, searching for anything else she could grab. After a moment’s thought, she took her pink sweatshirt out of her drawer and slipped it on. Then she grabbed her backpack and began stuffing whatever clothes she could find that would accommodate her soon-to-be-growing body.
“No!” her father yelled, standing in the doorway. “Drop the bag and get out.” He strode forward, and Maddie clutched the bag to her chest, ready to fight him if she had to.
“No, Bill,” her mother said, determination in her voice. She held on to his arm tight, and didn’t let go when he tried to shake her off. “It’s bad enough that she has to leave. The least we can do is to let her go with a few things.”
“The least we could do was everything we already did—raise her with proper ideals, a roof over her head, and with all that we worked hard for so that she could live a good life,” he hissed. But he didn’t fight his wife, allowing Maddie the time to pull her backpack on and grab her journal off the bed. Eyeing her dad, she also grabbed the teddy bear off of her pillow. Without a word, she dared him to stop her. He didn’t.
Maddie looked at her mom. Tears were now streaming from her mother’s eyes down her cheeks. She rushed forward and grabbed Maddie into a bear hug.
“I’m so sorry, honey,” she said. She pushed something into Maddie’s hand away from the hovering eyes of her husband. Maddie recognized the familiar texture of dollar bills, and she quickly stuffed them into her pocket with the rest of her money. She knew this wasn’t her mother’s decision for her to go. Still, she kept her emotions from spilling over. Her mom could stop all of this from happening. She could put her foot down. But she didn’t this time, just like she never stood up to Maddie’s dad every other time he laid down the law. She was just letting her daughter go without any fight at all.
It was Maddie who pulled away from the embrace first, and her mom put her hand over her mouth with a sob. Without saying a word, Maddie strode past her parents and out of the room, down the hall and through the front door for the very last time. It wasn’t until she’d hit the sidewalk when the sound of her mother’s sobbing stopped following her. And still, she knew that sound would haunt her for a very long time.
The countdown is on! The Road to Hope will be available for purchase on October 15, 2014.