Jasper: Were you sleeping?
Me: Not really. You?
Jasper: Just thinking of a certain someone.
Me:I’m jealous of that person.
Jasper: Oh, you don’t have a reason to be jealous, baby. If you have to know, I was thinking of you. J
Me: Very. J So whassup?
Jasper: I was wondering...
Jasper typed, and then his typing stalled. I kept staring at the screen for so long, it was crazy. He was keeping me hanging on purpose.
Me: What is it?
I saw the three dots appear at the end of the chat, indicating that Jasper was typing.
Jasper: I was wondering if you’re free next weekend so I could take you out for dinner and a movie or anything else that you like.
I kept staring at the screen. He was asking me out on a date! A real date!
Jasper: Hey, Kiara?
I realized I hadn’t responded for a couple of seconds, and maybe he started to wonder why I wasn’t responding when I was online.
Me: Yeah, that sounds nice. I’d love to go.
Jasper: Perfect! Wear the same red lingerie you wore today.
I laughed. What was with this guy? He could be serious one minute and be flipping funny the next. I decided to tease him back.
Me: So you want me to go out with you wearing only lingerie? Other men are going to look.
Jasper: I meant underneath a dress, sweetheart. ;)
Don’t get too cocky with me.
Me: Or what, Mr. Lockhart?
Jasper: I don’t want to scare you.
I started to respond but stopped when I saw he was typing.
Jasper: But you will find out soon.
Me: Nothing you’ll say will scare me, honey.
Try me! ;)
Jasper: Will it scare you if I say that I want to rip your clothes to shreds and fuck you within an inch to your death? ;) You want that, baby?
I was probably too shocked to respond. I knew Jasper was a little eccentric; he could be sweet and gentlemanly but could speak in a way that made you wonder about his dark humor. I knew he was only joking, but that didn’t stop the chill running down my spine, and didn’t prepare me for what he was going to say next.
Jasper is typing...
My heart began beating faster.
Jasper: I plan on fucking you, then skinning you next and then adding your head to my ever-growing collection of heads in my basement.
When I didn’t respond, he continued.
Jasper: Did I scare you enough, or do you want to hear more of my date ideas?
I didn’t know what to say to that.
Jasper: Are you mad at me?
Oh come on, baby!
I was just saying what Ted Bundy must have said to his dates. I’m totally kidding, love :(
* * *
“Kiara!” Kathy snapped her fingers, and that brought me back to reality.
The glass was already filled with the soda to the brim and was spilling out of the cup. “Oh. Um, I’m sorry. I was just...”
“Thinking of the tall, dark, and handsome guy? Yeah, I get it,” she said, folding her arms across her chest. “Ron told me how your prince charming came in the VIP room and swooped you away and forbade you from working for him, which is a shame, considering the fact that you could have made a lot of money.”
“I wasn’t comfortable with that job anyway, Kathy!” I replied. “I don’t have it inside me to strip it down in front of a bunch of strangers.”
“Oh right, I forgot. You’re Miss Perfect. Stripping is just for sluts like me. That’s what you thought, right?”
“Oh, come on, Kathy. I never said that.”
Jeff’s head bobbed from the kitchen counter and glared at the two of us. “You two there, stop arguing and get to work!”
I began wiping off the excess drink that had spilled on the counter. Kathy huffed beside me, dropped what she was doing, and walked out of the restaurant. I realized Kathy was hurt about me bailing on her that day even though I’d promised to be an exotic dancer for only one night. Why that would even bother her was still beyond me. Just when I was done cleaning the mess, my phone began vibrating in my apron pocket. I retrieved the phone and saw the words “Mom” flashing on it. I noticed that Jeff was busy flipping the burgers on a grill, so I made an excuse of using the bathroom and made my way inside one cubicle and shut the door.
Mom was being hysterical on the other end, and I couldn’t hear a thing. “Mom! I can’t hear what you’re saying. Just calm down first.”
She said something else, and then there was a loud shriek followed by a bang. “What’s happening there? Mom?” The phone suddenly went dead on the other end.
I burst out of the bathroom and made my way to the lockers. I stuffed everything inside my bag, not even bothering to change out of my work clothes. I went to the kitchen to find Jeff and told him that my mother was in trouble, and that I needed to be there with her. Surprisingly, Jeff didn’t protest as he let me go. I suspected it was because he’d seen the agitation on my face.
I hailed down a cab, and told the driver to drive as fast as he could. The man was reluctant at first but then managed to navigate out of the traffic with ease. I reached home in about fifteen minutes. When I stepped out of the cab, I saw the lights in my house were switched on, and I could hear my father’s loud voice booming through the door.
Afraid, I took a step back and almost hightailed back to the restaurant. But I couldn’t leave, not when my dad was here causing a commotion. The door was likely left open, so I didn’t bother to knock. When I entered the living area, it was littered with beer cans, and the stale smell of smoke permeated the air. I had to press my hand on my mouth to stop myself from gagging.
My mother lay on the kitchen floor, sobbing, while my dad threw a string of curses at her. He was still bellowing when I walked in. His gaze rested to me. His lips curled in an ugly sneer. “Princess is home,” he slurred. “I expected you to be back home earlier, sweetheart, but that’s fine, as long as you have what I want.”
I just stood there, shaking with fear. It was like all those childhood memories came flooding back. Mom had just given him our monthly savings last month, and now he was back again to ask for more. He’d asked for forgiveness, and Mom said that Dad was trying, but here we are, back to square one.
A vicious drop of alcohol, and he would forget all the promises that he’d made. Not that I’d expected him to magically become a good father and a husband. Why couldn’t he just walk away from our lives? Why couldn’t he just leave us the heck alone?
Everyone in this town knew Sean Reeves’ many shenanigans; how he would spend every single penny of our hard-earned money in drinking and clubs; how he would get into trouble with the wrong people in those places and get arrested. Yet Mom would still be there to bail him out. All that was needed was his sorry excuse of an apology, some croc tears, and viola, he had the woman back in his arms. The entire town saw how he’d abused his wife and neglected his child all those miserable years. My mom could’ve walked away when she had the chance, but I was starting to wonder if she was really blind. Either that or Dad possessed a magic wand that I wasn’t aware of.
And me, I’d been stupid enough to hold on to the few nice childhood memories that I had of him. He took me to parks, to movies, or the zoo, and then things escalated. Our life was enveloped by the dark cloud of my father’s addiction; him being the storyteller of our doomed fate.
This time I was going to stand my ground.
This time I wouldn’t let him take the money.
His dark eyes, much like my own, watched me. He dug his hands in his pockets. “You already know what I’m here for, sweetie. Now stop wasting my time, and give me the money.”
I started to move towards Mom to help her up, but he pushed me back and placed his filthy boot to her thigh. “Didn’t you hear what I said? I’m sure you made some good tips at the fancy restaurant you work at.” He raised his hand towards me, palm up. “Hand it over like the sweet little girl that you are. Don’t make Daddy hurt your Mommy. Come on, be a good girl now.”
He spoke to me like I was still five.
“Let Mom go, and I will give you the money,” I said.
I heard Mom sob loudly, and she looked at me through her tear-stricken eyes. “Baby, just leave,” she whispered.
I went upstairs to my room and pulled out all my savings from the little savings box in my wardrobe. I didn’t want to give him any more money, but I’d run out of choices. I couldn’t refuse him when he had my mother under his boot. He had every power to hurt her if I didn’t give him what he wanted.
When I reached the landing, the two were tangled in a wrestling match on the floor. Mom had a swollen eye; Dad had caught her by the roots of her hair and was dragging her off his body while she continued to hit him with failed attempts because Dad was stronger.
“Stop it! Stop it, both of you!” I shrieked at them. “I have your money. Take it and get out of my home!”
He practically smacked Mom away from his body with such a force that she collided with a wooden chair. He snatched the money out of my hands as I rushed to help Mom. He counted the money and pocketed it. Dad’s furious gaze leveled with mine. “Is this some kind of a joke? Where is the rest of my fucking cash? This isn’t enough.”
“That’s all I’ve got!”
“I will be back tomorrow to collect the remaining cash. I don’t care how you get it, do you understand?” he said, and started making his way out of the door. “If I don’t get it by tomorrow evening, I’ll walk away from your life, Julie. Mark my words. Your husband will be better off with a whore than a sorry excuse of a wife and a good-for-nothing daughter.”
That was hilarious, coming from someone like him, and even funnier was how it broke my mother’s heart. Even though she was beaten and her clothes torn, she said, “No, Sean, please...”
He reached the bottom step, and I knew I’d see him again tomorrow; hurting us, hitting Mom like he’d done today. The cycle of torment was never-ending. Every fiber in my body was filled with rage. It was such a powerful emotion. My mind blurred, and I saw red. All I could think of was being done with this situation. We didn’t need him in our lives. I didn’t think twice before I reached for two empty beer bottles and smashed them into his head. When I came back to my senses, it was already too late.
His body lay still on the ground; a thick pool of blood spreading around his head. “Daddy?” I tried to wake him up.
I didn’t mean to kill him.
I silenced him for life.
I could hear my mom screaming, and even though my father had tormented us all our lives, she was crouched there beside him, sobbing. “Sean, wake up, please.”
My mother was vain, wasn’t she? She still loved him in her own twisted way.
“What have I done?” I whispered to myself.
Just as the reality of the situation sunk in, Mom’s eyes became vacant as she climbed to her feet. She gathered the money scattered on the floor. Then she disappeared into the kitchen, and I heard some shuffling. She walked out with more money. Her expressions were unreadable as she handed me the envelope containing the money. “I never let your father take all our savings; I saved up quite a lot.” It turned out she was smarter than she’d led me to believe. “Take the money and leave, Kiara.”
“Where would I go?” I cried.
“Away from here,” she said.
“He’s dead.” The pain was quite evident in her voice. “It was an accident. Okay, honey?” She took my hand in hers. “It was a simple act of self-defense. It wasn’t your fault.”
I could see the pain in her eyes as she hugged me fiercely. “I will sort it out, baby. Until then, you need to hide. When things go back to normal, you can come back home.”
“I can’t leave you alone!”
“Don’t worry about me! Frankie will help me out.” She assured me.
Frankie was my mother’s old friend who stopped by every once in a while. I’d first suspected him of having an affair with Mom, but that was beside the case. They were just friends, but I knew Frankie had feelings for her and cared deeply about us, something that my father should have done.
I didn’t think it was a good idea to flee the scene, but Mom insisted that I should leave, and that she would take care of the situation. I wasn’t left with any other choice but to pack some stuff. That night, I took shelter in a dull, grimy motel just a few kilometers away from home. I’d decided to stay low for a few days until I figured out what to do next. I survived on cheap hot dogs and packets of chips for two days. The money wasn’t going to sustain me even for a week. I couldn’t even go to my previous job. My phone had over a dozen missed calls and texts from Kathy and Jeff. The last text was from Jasper.
A gust of cool breeze assaulted my face as cars zoomed by. The eerie silence was filled with the roar of the wind. I’d walked a long way, and now I had no idea where I was. When I found a little joggers park, I settled down on the bench under a tree.
Kathy: Hey Ki, I know I’ve acted like a total bitch. I’m really sorry bae (>.<) Please forgive me. Let’s go out for tacos tomorrow. My treat <3
Kathy: Heyyy! Are you really that pissed? I’ve been calling you. Why didn’t you answer your phone? Reply to me. Luv ya :-*
Jeff: Kiara, it’s been two days and you haven’t been to work. Are you sick? Call me asap.
Kathy: Babeeee, it’s been four days! Why aren’t you replying??? Jeff is going nuts. I’m worried.
Jasper: Hey. You haven’t replied to my texts, and you don’t answer my calls anymore. I was just joking the other day, you know how I am. I swear, it was just a joke. Miss you, sweetheart. Call me.
I wiped the tears that had trickled down my face as I read the texts. There were people who cared about me, and yet I felt so utterly lonely. I could ask Kathy if I could stay at her place, but I knew better than to call her. I didn’t want to put her in any trouble since she wasn’t doing that great financially. So asking for her help was not an option. I knew I couldn’t go back home either, and that left me with only one other option.
But how could I contact Jasper and ask him for another favor? He’d done enough for me. As if on cue, my phone started vibrating. It was an unknown number. I realized it must be the police who’d successfully tracked down my number. I didn’t have any other choice anymore.
I answered the call. “Hello.”
There was a momentary silence on the other end. “Kiara?”
I recognized that deep husky voice. “Jasper?”
“Sweetheart, your mother told me everything.” I could hear the hesitation laced with concern in his voice. “About your father.”
That’s when I couldn’t control the floodgates that opened up deep inside me. “Jasper.” I choked a sob. “I’m so lonely. I don’t know what to do...”
“Let me help you, Kiara.”
End of Sample chapters. This is NOT the complete book.
Psycho Billionaire is now published on Amazon.
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