Tossing my long dark hair over my shoulder, I step inside the small coffee shop. My shift began thirty minutes ago. But, thanks to my daily routine of vomiting in the toilet, here I am. Late. Again.
The intense aroma of fresh coffee assaults my taste buds and my eyes clash with deep blue. “Good morning, Paula!”
The owner of Fresh Beans raises a brow, “Morning, Anna girl. Do we need to permanently adjust the schedule? This marks three days in a row now.”
“No, ma’am. It won’t happen again.” Lie. I didn’t dare to let my hand dip down to caress the small bump that was growing against my midsection, it was getting nearly impossible to continue to hide. I step behind the counter, noting the only people in the coffee shop- a young couple talking quietly by the front window. I yank a very used apron off of a hook and pull it over my head as Paula mumbles something about today’s generation of kids under her breath. .
And that’s how my day starts, all simple and busy as the coffee shop eventually picks up around 2pm. I’ve been working at Fresh Beans for about six months now. Ever since he happened.
Memories of bright flashing lights, loud music, and my best friend’s laughter fill my head as I think back on the night I met Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome. The culprit of my current… ah, how do I put it? Situation. Yeah, that’s about right.
Six Months Ago - Insidious Club
Alexis, my best friend since the sixth grade, jumps up and down next to me. She’s nearly bursting with excitement as we near the entrance to one of West Virginia’s most famous nightclubs, Insidious. “God, I can’t believe we’re actually doing this, Anna!” She screams.
I frown at her comment. She’s lucky I even agreed to tag along. I hate the fact that we are 400 miles from the nearest town. Insidious may be well known, but it is quite literally in the middle of nowhere. The only thing next to it is a motel and a worn down gas station. People call this area the Dark Landing. Yeah, six fucking hours in a car to get here with a plan to drive back in the morning while we are most likely hjungover isn’t ideal. Not to mention, Alexis forced me into a scrap of red fabric that barely covers my ass and threatens to spill my tits with every step I take. It’s by far the most scandalous outfit I’ve ever worn, I don’t normally show off my body like this.
“Ew, Anna, you have that nervous look on your face, again. You need to relax. You look HOT.”
I give her a tight smile, “Yes, I know. I’ll be fine, Alex.” She squeals in delight, clapping her hands in the process as we become the almost next-in-line to enter the club.
Two blonde-haired chicks in front of us turned their heads at the sound of our commotion, and for a moment, I could have sworn that their eyes flashed a dark red. But, it was gone within seconds. I shake my head. Great. I’m imagining shit now.
Once the blondies flash their ID’s and smile brightly at the buff bouncer, they enter through the black door and just like that, it’s our turn. Alexis reaches over to squeeze my hand as the bouncer looks down at us and practically growls,
I fish mine out of a handbag I borrowed from Alex, which obviously matches my skimpy dress. My excited best friend does the same and with a nod, the door clicks open and we’re met with a dark space, extremely loud music, loud voices, flashing lights, and the smell of sweat mixed with alcohol.
Alex whistles lowly and we enter the club side by side. Almost instantly, as the door shuts behind us, a feeling of euphoria erupts from within me. I suddenly can’t think, can’t feel, and the music that blasts from wherever, utterly consumes me.
I feel like I’m in a trance as Alex and I are approached by two males. We’re dragged to the bar and the next thing I know, I’m downing shot after shot while laughing my ass as some brown haired hunk of a man lays down joke after joke.
I don’t know how much time has passed. Maybe, forever…
But, as soon as the brown haired man reaches to offer me another drink, he freezes and I’m angry that he stops.
“Wha the fuccckkk?” I slur. I can’t tell where Alex is, and to be honest, that’s the last thing on my mind.
The man says something completely unintelligible and I’m lost when he leaps forward, grabs my hands and forces me to stand. He begins to drag me in the opposite direction of the bar where we were seated, towards the dance floor. We weave in and out of sweaty bodies and I trip so many times that the man is now half carrying me.
He pauses, the beat changes to a more sexy and slow rhythm, and I’m pulled against his chest. I stumble as he swirls me around to where my ass is against his crotch. He begins to lead my hips in a gentle sway, nestling his jaw on the nape of my neck, and starts to kiss upwards. My breath catches, I let out a moan and toss my head backwards, and match his pace in dancing.
Everything that happens afterwards, and the rest of the night, is a blur.
Cold. Fucking cold.
My eyes shoot open and I’m met with the blinding sunlight streaming thrown the red curtains across the roo-
I’m naked! Fucking naked! Where are my clothes? Where am I? What the hell happened?
Oohhh my God!
I fly upwards, frantic to get out of bed. And that’s when I notice the scrap of red fabric on the disgustingly stained carpet floor. My undergarments lie next to it, and I whimper as a sudden soreness graces itself between my legs.
No. I’m a virgin. Wait, that’s now wrong, I was a virgin. Where…? How…?
My mind wanders in a million different directions as it scrambles and twists itself around to try and conjure up the lost memories of last night. As I take in my surroundings, noting that I’m in a horrible worn down motel room, I make note of the empty bed. The only trace that there was another human here, is the tangled sheets and broken lamp that lies on the floor across the room by the door. Whatever happened last night was obviously a heat of the moment. And super dumb.
Tears swell up in my eyes and I remember my hand bag with my cell in it. I look back to the floor and find it next to my dress. I pick it up.
57 missed calls and seventy-three text messages from ‘Bestie’.
I instantly hit redial and slam the phone up against my ear. This headache that I’m experiencing isn’t worth whatever happened last night with the handsome man I met in the club. A real prick, might I add.
Alex answers on the second ring,
“ANNA! Oh my GOD, are you okay?! Where the hell are you?! What happened?” She bursts into tears and my own tears pick up their pace.
“I-I don’t k-know…” I manage to tell her the events and details of everything that’s happened within the last twenty-four hours and she convinces me to put back on the red dress and step outside of the motel room, where she’ll look out for me. Shockingly, her story is similar to mine, but she remembers more of the sexy-time parts.
We hang up and I do as she says. I’m eager to head back to town- to my one bedroom apartment that I’ve been living in since the moment I was discarded from the Foster Care System.
Little did I know, a month and a half later, two dark pink lines would change my life forever.
The last customer left with her steaming honey-lavender latte and Paula eagerly shut the shop’s doors behind her. I wipe my brow with my forearm, letting the air flow out of my chest. It’s been a long day, honestly. The farther along in my pregnancy, the more difficult it becomes to even breathe. I feel like an absolute whale.
“Don’t bother coming in until eight tomorrow, Anna girl.”
What? “You’ll be too busy to be by yourself, Ms. Paula. It’ll be Monday.” Everyone knows she’s only ever hired one person at a time to work in her small coffee shop with her because she simply doesn’t trust people. I knew the moment I met Paula that I would like her and we were similar in that way.
“Girl, I’ve been working at this shop by myself for years before I even considered bringing in a helping hand. And when were you going to tell me that you’re expecting? I’ve been waiting for you to bring it up.”
The plate I was washing fell out of my hands as my entire body froze at her statement.
“I-I… how did you know?”
I turn to meet Paula’s comforting gaze and she crosses her arms over her plump chest saying, “You gave it away about five months ago when you repeatedly kept refusing your favorite iced mocha latte. It’s been quite the adventure listening to your excuses on why you’ve been late to work. But, it’s the morning sickness no doubt.”
Yep, there it is. The embarrassment. I can feel my face burning.
I open my mouth to say God knows what, but Paula merely interrupts me by waving her hand in the air,
“Shoo, girl. It doesn’t matter. You’ll give me the details whenever you’re ready. Go home. It’s been a long Sunday for the both of us. I’ll see you tomorrow. At eight.”
And with her simple dismal, she practically flies into the backroom to sort today’s receipts, most likely.
I’m stunned, really. I didn’t want people knowing that I’m pregnant. Well, not a lot of people that is. The only person to know is Alex and she is as supportive as she can be… for a busy college freshman. After Insidious, Alex left a state away to continue her education at Pinesdale University. She’ll stay there four years, studying to be a forensic nurse. She has ambitions to be a great person. I did too, until I became pregnant with a stranger’s baby.
I gather my things and silently leave the shop, shivering at the harsh autumn air’s greeting. The streets are quiet and it’s a solid twenty minute walk to my apartment. My feet crunch on dead leaves and I hug myself, tucking my chin into my chest. I hate being alone. But, it’s how I’ve always been.
I don’t remember much of my life before the Foster System. Counselor after counselor reported that I have repressed memories of the traumatic incident that took my parent’s life. But, truthfully, I don’t believe I do. I truly remember nothing from their death. And I was eleven at the time.
I recall my mother’s sleek black hair, her laughter, and the way my father caressed her face before we got into the car. I recall my mother placing her hands over her swollen stomach: about to pop with my baby brother. But, that was it. That’s all. I don’t remember the crash and I don’t remember anything afterwards but waking up in the hospital and being told my parents were dead, there was no left of kin to care for me, and I was being admitted into State’s Custody.
From then on, my life has been lonely and simplistic.
The sound of laughter interrupts my thoughts and I jerk my head upwards. My steps start to slow as I notice the group of five males walking towards me. Fuck, fuck, fuck…
I freeze as they notice me as well. The smiles slide off their faces and the biggest one with a shaved head and terrifying dark eyes stops five feet away from me. I can’t move. I’m paralyzied with fear. Subconsciously, my hand instantly falls to my stomach.
Baldie let’s out a laugh. Creepo.
The male next to him, slightly rounder with a green mohawk, let out a low whistle, “Hey there pretty mama, where are you headed this late?”
I fidget with the hem of my jacket, “I’m headed home. To my boyfriend.” An easy lie.
Baldie laughs again, “Home?? Let us escort you, then. Looks like you and your boyfriend could use some friends.”
The two males on the right shift their bodies and I don’t fail to notice the flash of silver as they reach inside their pockets. Fuck. Me.
How the hell am I going to get out of this situation? It’s one and a half against five. I take a deep breath, “I think I’m good.” and attempt to side-step the group.
Not a good move. They immediately match my move, cutting me off.
“Get out of my way, dickhead.”
Baldie clicks his tongue, “Ah, ah, ah… that’s not how you talk to strangers, pretty mama.”
And before I can so much as move, he lunges forward and grabs both of my forearms.
I let out a surprised yelp, then a full on scream as they tug me towards a small side street. I twist my arms, trying to pull away from his lethal death grip. He doesn’t budge.
“God, I love her ass. Dibs on getting seconds.”
“I don’t think so, Hawk. This one is mine.”
WHAT THE HELL?! I buck my hips, “GET THE FUCK OFF OF ME!” I try to twist around again, but his grip tightens and I’m shoved forward. A sob escapes me as I trip on my own feet and land harshly on my left side. The pain is instant, but I ignore it.
One of the males pry my hands away from my body, holding them upwards as Baldie hovers above me. He leans down and pushes me all the way on my back, fire erupts on my left ribs, “Get away! Get off of me! P-please! I’ll do anything!” I’m sobbing so much that everything is blurry.
None of the pigs listen. Instead, my jacket is literally cut off of me. And I’m left shivering in my black t-shirt. I give a half hearted attempt to shove my ankle upwards into Baldie’s crotch, but the catches it and curses at me,
“Bitch. You’ll get a good beating for that when I’m done here.”
He reaches for my pants, I cry out again and squeeze my eyes shut. This can’t be happening. Not again. Not like this. Please, please, please, if someone can hear my prayers…
And suddenly, my pants stop sliding down my legs, the pressure on my wrists is released, and I’m met with the brisk autumn air, once again.
My eyes fly open, and a gasp escapes me as I see what has to be God’s perfect creation, the hottest man I’ve ever laid eyes on, standing above me… but that’s not what causes the darkness to consume me…
It’s the fact that all five of the gang banger’s bodies are on the ground… with their heads in a pile on the opposite side. The smell of rust and the sight of dark red overwhelms me. I barely manage to turn my head and whimper before puking all over myself and I feel my body go limp as the light fades from my vision and I’m met with nothing but pure blackness.
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