I sat flipping through my recent book boyfriend “Accepting Eva” by Becca Van. I work at a bakery and I was having a slow day and had decided to indulge myself with a nice book. I was literally swooning as I read about Quinn, Pierson, and Gray, they seemed so perfect. I cringed when I heard the bell of the store jingle indicating I had a customer, I could feel a cold sweat form on the back of my neck.
I was never good with people I had a bad stutter and really bad anxiety whenever I got nervous. Working at a bakery never did help my anxiety but it’s the one job I loved. Baking was one of the only things that could make me happy. I lifted my head to see who it was today and I mentally cringed when I saw it was Daniel the town sheriff, who also happened to be my adoptive dad. He never let me call him dad and every time I slipped up as a child I’d get backhanded for it and I soon learned not to address him as such.
He was a fairly tall man approximately 5’11 with cold grey eyes and dirty blond hair that seemed to be thinning quite rapidly. He had a bit of a gut and was stout in nature. He turned his steely gaze on me and I felt dread seep through me. His mouth turned up into a malicious sneer. He stomped towards the counter where I was seated and I gulped knowing somehow I’d done something to annoy him. He was breathing heavily and his nostrils flared when he stopped right in front of me. He grabbed my wrist and pulled me towards him harshly. I bit back a wince and cry of pain when he did so but I knew it was better not to aggravate him more. I gulped feeling myself start to hyperventilate. I was short at 5’2 and had to strain my neck to look at him.
“We’re having guests tonight to celebrate Gavin’s return home and you better get your pathetic fat ass home by 5 o'clock so you can help Kelly prepare dinner. And you better not try to embarrass me or so help me God I will beat you so hard you’ll.”He was interrupted by the dinging of the bell on the door indicating I had a customer. He let go of my wrist and turned to face the customer placing a fake smile on his face. I thanked my lucky stars for the interruption as I rubbed at my wrist trying to ease away the discomfort.
“Oh, sheriff nice to see you, checking in on your daughter I see,” said Mrs. Anderson. She was a nice elderly lady who stopped by every day to buy croissants for her and her husband Wilbur .”Yes, Mrs. Anderson, I came to pay Evie here a visit and remind her today’s Gavin’s return home party/dinner.”He said giving her a charming smile.”Oh yes, such a nice man that Gavin is. How’s he adjusting to civilian life these days? ”She asked as she sat down in one of the booths near the window.”He’s managing fine but I should be going now” He said as he headed towards the exit. “Oh and Evie, remember what I said” He muttered sweetly for Mrs. Anderson’s benefit but I could detect the dark undertone. I simply nodded my head and breathed a sigh of relief when he was out of sight.
“H...Hi...Mrs... A...Ann.Anderson...t...Th...The usual I presume?”I stuttered and I could feel my cheeks heat up in embarrassment. She simply smiled and nodded as she stood and walked towards the counter. I quickly picked out two blueberry croissants for her and wrapped them for an in a to-go box. She patted my hand gently when I tried to hand her the box.”No need to be nervous Evie “she said sweetly and I gave her a shy smile as I nodded in agreement. She paid for the croissants before leaving with a wave.
I slumped back on the stool I was previously seating on and could feel my hands shaking. I tried counting backward from 10 but it wasn’t helping I shakily reached for my purse as I stumbled to remove my anxiolytics. I quickly popped the cap open before popping a pill in my mouth and swallowing it dry. After a few minutes, I could feel myself start to calm down. Tears stung my eyes and I hated how weak I was seeing Daniel always did that to me but seeing Gavin was something I dreaded more. When he left for the army I was happy and I often wished he would never come back but every time he came back I would hurt. I often think I must have been a bad person in my past life to have such rotten luck in life.
Gavin enjoyed tormenting me every chance he got. He enjoyed making fun of my weight; calling me all sorts of names they were never creative to the say the least. The name-calling I could handle without batting an eye but the abuse was something I could never take. When I first moved in with Daniel and Kelly I was scared and excited at the same time thinking finally I’d have a family that actually wanted me and loved me. I was six years old at the time and so full of hope and meaningless dreams of a perfect family. Gavin had been 14 years old at the time.
I was ecstatic thinking I’d have a big brother, one who would protect and love me, teach me how to ride a bike and maybe even play dolls with me. I was however sadly mistaken, he never liked me from the start and it started with little things; pulling my hair, tripping me, and then began the name-calling, followed by the physical abuse a few punches here and then. But when I turned 10 years old the punches began to get harder and the kicks followed suit. I remember telling Kelly about it and she flipped out she took his phone away and grounded him for it but when Daniel found out she ended up getting a black eye and a fractured wrist.
Daniel had tried to beat me too but Kelly protected me and she still does her best to protect me from him till today. Once Gavin found out I told on him he got so mad he beat me up pretty badly and threw me down the stairs of their townhome. Kelly rushed me to hospital and I was informed I had suffered significant head trauma that caused me to have sensorineural hearing loss in both my ears. I now have to wear hearing aids which make me more vulnerable to Gavin and Daniel .whenever I have my hearing aids off I can never hear when there lurking coming for me.
The rest of the day passed seemingly too fast for my taste and when 4:30 came around I dreaded leaving to head home but I sucked it up knowing that mama (Kelly) would be there with me. I quickly closed up the bakery and put on my coat before heading out in the chilly weather. I removed my hearing aids as I walked the 20 minutes back to the townhouse, kicking pebbles along the way. I enjoyed the silence when I was alone, it gave me time to daydream wishing for a better life. I was nineteen years old and I couldn’t leave my pathetic life since Daniel practically owned me.
I gripped my recent read tighter to my chest as I daydreamed about a perfect stranger who would take me and Kelly away from them. Someone who wouldn’t make fun of my curvy figure and wouldn’t degrade me because I had extra fluff or that I stuttered when I got nervous, and wouldn’t even raise their hand against me. When I saw that I had reached the townhouse, I quickly put my hearing aids back on and walked up the steps dreading every moment.