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2. Frozen

2. Frozen

A Chapter by Kianna
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Maybe sleep will erase my delusion, but even as I slept, those feral eyes haunted my dreams and I tossed and turned another night.

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I plopped down at a lone table by the window, exhaustion weighing heavy all over my body. The thick smell of bread and coffee lingered over my head like a cloud of dust as more people crowded into the café. I wiped the sweat from my forehead and then stretched my arms over the table, taking in a deep breath.  My feet ached so much I wanted to pop these shoes off, but I knew Richard would be here soon. I reached in the pocket that lay across my apron and pulled out a tablet with a half drawn vine of flowers. I didn’t get much of a break to finish this. I wanted a vine of different flowers: a rose, carnation, daffodil, couple of poppies clustered in one spot, and a daisy. I used to hang out in my mom’s garden all the time, watching her and hoping one day I could have my own, but that dream withered away as Hanna and I moved from apartment to apartment. Every move gave me a breath of fresh air and helped me move on a little more. I pulled out a pencil and began finishing the petals of the carnations, sketching in the dark lines. As I began drawing and focused, the world around me became quiet. I didn’t hear Richard softly calling my name. A tap on my shoulder took me out of my zone and I looked up and met Richard’s hazel eyes, brightening as he smiled. Grin lines appeared on his handsome face. “You look tired,” he said, concern in his silvery voice.

I stuffed my pencil and pad in the pocket and stood, feet hurting again. “That’s because I am tired.” I followed Richard outside where a waft of city smog hit my nostrils. Car horns, cuss words, and jack hammers slice through the afternoon, autumn air. How I hated working in the city. . I had planned on telling Richard the truth today, but as I sat exhausted and annoyed I began to reconsider. Thoughts of Richard’s big house in the suburbs came to my head like a sanctuary. I internally shook my head. It had to be today before too much time passed and things got too deep. I had to tell him, but when was the proper time to decline a marriage proposal? What if Natalie was right? What if I should just be happy and accept this man wanting to take care of me? A few breezes whipped past me and I hugged myself even though my muscles ached. Richard wrapped his small hand around mine as we strolled to his car.

“Busy day?”

“You bet.”

“Don’t worry, sweetheart.” He stopped me and looked down at me. “When we’re married, you won’t have to lift a finger.” This was the perfect moment, but instead I found myself noticing how attractive he looked today. He wore a grey business suit with a dark blue tie and dark brown hair slicked back. As he moved in to kiss me, I smelled cologne and aftershave. His lips tasted like Starbursts, his favorite candy. Once he pulled away, he gazed lovingly into my eyes. “I love you so much, Cassie. I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together.” He hugged me close to him as I tried to smile underneath the weight of his intensity. “Somehow I knew you would be a special lady in my life the day I met you like love at first sight.” I melted as his words touched me. I hadn’t heard such endearing words since Adam died. I mashed my lips together and decided to push down my anxieties. Here was a man who deeply loved me. He treated me like a princess and I did love him for that. Maybe it would be enough to last us forever. A trashcan flipped over making me jump. I turned my head only to see a raccoon come from behind it. A small feeling of apprehension gripped my body. I felt someone glaring at me, but there was only a raccoon. “What’s wrong, Cassie?”

“Um, nothing.” I wanted to leave this parking lot. I glanced at my watch. “We should hurry or we’ll be late.”

Richard nodded. We got into the car and he drove in the direction of Hanna’s school. Richard turned up the radio playing classical music songs from his phone.  We rode to Hanna’s school in silence, like always. I tried to think about things to say, but couldn’t think of anything. It wasn’t like sitting in Natalie’s car who was my best friend. Whenever we hung out, I had tons to say, but let it be Richard, my overbearing family, or strangers I become quiet as a mouse. Richard liked that I didn’t talk much around him. He often said sometimes the strongest bonds were those that could be felt even amidst silence.  He liked that he could just be when he’s with me. It’s nice that I didn’t feel pressured to entertain him and I guess I liked that I could just be with him too. Mama had always expressed concern that our many differences would lead us to not being able to connect very well. He was thirty eight and I was thirty. He liked sports, classical music, and his work. I liked drawing, dancing, and spending time with my family. The only thing we had in common was that we were two lonely hearts looking for company that would never leave. Would that be enough to hold us forever though? No, I pushed away those anxieties already.

The red bricked middle school appeared in the distance with the faint sound of a bell ringing. Hanna stood against the wall that held the gate to the school with a book in her hands, alone and isolated from everyone.  She turned a page before noticing the car. Hanna adjusted her backpack and climbed into the backseat. I smiled at her. “Hey, honey, how was school?”

“Good.”

“Hey sport,” Richard said.

“Hi.” Hanna pulled out her headphones just as I was about to ask if she had any homework. I sighed. So much had changed when Adam died. She really took it hard and I could imagine why. Hanna and Adam were so close. We were all so close. No, I couldn’t think like that. I would just end up crying again. My eyes shifted to the rearview mirror and I saw a small black car behind us. As Richard turned the corner so did the car. The windows were tinted. Apprehension returned and I tried to ignore the little car, but it crept into the mirror every time I checked. I opened my mouth to speak, but then the car turned left. I shook my head, my brown hangs brushing against my forehead. That was strange.

Richard dropped us off. I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “Thanks babe.”

“Anytime. Love you. Hey don’t forget about the family dinner coming up. I’ll call you tomorrow about it ok?”

“Love you too.”   

Hanna and I faced the beige paneled building with dirty white doors. A crowded bunch of guys sat by the stairs smoking, drinking, and watching. I knew what they did around here and I hated walking past them every time. Don’t worry Hanna, we’ll soon be far away from a place like this, I caught myself thinking. Hanna and I walked up the stairs and down the balcony to our room. I had to jangle the door knob a bit to get it to open. I filed a maintenance report two weeks ago, but nobody came yet. Finally, we got inside. “Alright, you have any homework?” I asked, bolting the door.

“No,” she replied, dropping her bag by the couch and slipping off her shoes. She pulled out that same book. She recently picked up a love for fantasy novels. Sometimes I wondered when her green eyes looked dreamy and the teachers would complain about her daydreaming in class if she ran away to her own little world.  

“Ok, guess I’ll get started on dinner.” After catching a shower and putting on a pink gown that fell to my knees and I got out the brown rice and whole beans after removing the meat I left to thaw in the sink.  Soon, the aroma of baked chicken filled the tiny apartment. When I finished, I called Hanna to the table and we sat in silence. I was sick of silence. “No earphones at the table, dear.” Hanna twisted her lips and slowly removed the earbuds. “Talk to me. What did u do at school today? Join any clubs? Made any new friends?”

“No.”

It sounded like a whisper. She looked down at her plate, raking her rice with her fork. “What?”

“I said no, I haven’t joined any clubs or made any friends,” she said a little louder. “I feel like an outcast at that school.”  The last part she murmured, but I heard her and inwardly, I smiled. She hadn’t opened up to me like that in a while.

“Oh honey, the first few weeks of middle school always feel awkward I’m sure.” Hanna chewed some of the chicken and swallowed. “It’ll get easier as the days go by.”

“I hope so.”

“Soo, any crushes yet?”

Hanna blushed. “Mom!”  

“Must be really cute then.” I laughed. Hanna looked down again but I saw the corners of her mouth twitch into a tiny smile.

The rest of the conversation centered on her telling me how she loved the library, English class, and the current book she was reading. I nodded and smiled at her passion for reading. I felt grateful she was talking this much. When she finished the rest of her food, I picked up her plate and mine. I washed the dishes and Hanna resumed reading her book on the couch. I mopped the kitchen and cleaned the counters before I sat on the couch and began finishing up that drawing I started at work. I placed the pad on my knees with my back resting on the arm of the couch. I finished up the poppies and felt proud of my work. How I loved drawing. It allowed me to take a blank space and make something out of it and gave me an empowering feeling.  Drawing flowers was the closest thing to gardening I had. Adam and I had never lived in a house for me to start one of my own. I set the pad down and glanced at the clock hanging over the front door. Almost ten. I nudged my foot against Hanna who sat upright with her book. She gave me a funny look. “Ew Mom.”

I giggled. “It’s time for bed.” She groaned, but she closed her book, took a shower, and prepared for bed.

 I brushed my teeth, washed my face, and took my time getting ready. I braided my hair into a thick French braid that fell against my back bones. I wondered how I would wear my hair when I met with Richard's parents. My stomach knotted at the thought of sitting around the expensive dining table, listening to Richard's mom ramble about business affairs that often made me feel like an outsider. His dad hardly talked, just nodded and said an occasional yes dear. Sometimes, he said a sentence. His mom would ask about me, but somehow every time I opened up she found every way to make her replies seem condescending. I knew his parents secretly wondered how on earth a rich bachelor found interest in a cook with a kid. They liked Hanna and Richard's mom always found a way to encourage her to be smart in school. His dad gave Hanna a peppermint every time he saw her. When, I walked out of the bathroom, I saw Hanna in the bed, holding a picture frame in her hands. I stood at the arch and watched her hug it. I knew it was that picture where Adam, she, and I had gone to a waterpark. She never failed to hug that picture every night before bed. “Hanna, we need to talk,” I heard myself say. I had to tell her about Richard.

 “Yeah, what about?” She set the picture frame back on the stand beside her.

I twisted my ring and swallowed. “Well, it’s about Richard.”

Suddenly, her eyes grew cold and her fingers clenched the sheets. “You’re marrying him aren’t you?”

“Yes, honey,” I said in a defeated tone.

“I’m not calling him Dad. I never will.” She replied quickly as she turned away toward the picture of our old family on the nightstand.

“I don’t expect you to.” I rushed over to the bed and pulled Hanna into a warm hug. “No one will ever take Adam’s place. Ever.” My night gown grew wet above my left breast. I let her cry and adjusted myself so that her head rested on my lap and I strummed my fingers through her long hair until she fell asleep. I laid her comfortably on the pillow next to mine. I covered her up and kissed her forehead. I stared at her for a while, uncertainty about this whole situation in my heart like a sharp stone. I stood from the bed and walked to the window that gave me a view of the bayou that lay next to the apartment complex. A few stars twinkled in the sky.  I glanced at the picture on the nightstand. Adam’s round green eyes stood there, frozen. I missed him. He had such a vibrant personality that lit up a room. Now there just seemed to be a hole there in my life too big to be filled. The familiar chill ran down my spine. I hugged myself and looked down outside the window. In the middle of an open field, I saw a black wolf. We met eyes and it was if I saw a human intelligence in those feral, yellow eyes. I closed the curtains and tried not to feel alarmed. There was no way a wolf was going to get in here. I peeked through the curtains and it was still there. I gasped closed the curtains again. I took a deep breath and decided to get some sleep. Maybe sleep will erase my delusion, but even as I slept, those feral eyes haunted my dreams and I tossed and turned another night. 




© 2015 Kianna



Author's Note

Kianna
Dear Reader,

Please excuse the poor grammar. Focus mainly on the idea and characterization. Thanks for reading.

Sincerely JazzSoulKeke,

God bless

My Review

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Featured Review

Hi
I enjoyed it. So many things can happen...in every character there's a thread dangling around ..not knowing where it will be tide to, makes it intriguing. The dark side of the story... I love it. I think it has so much potential, it will be enjoyed by many

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I liked this chapter - you captured the anxty pre-tern girl very well. Meeting Richard was also handled well he's obviously everything she needs while simultaneously having nothing she wants. This is a very real conflict I've seen many people grapple with, and you're capturing the dammed if she does, dammed if she doesn't dilemma perfectly.

At the same time, though, I can't help wonder why they haven't moved into that house yet? She agreed to Richard's proposal 6 months ago. She has cockroaches in her home! I wish there was a line or two explaining this. It's also kind of distracting every time you drop a brand name. You do this three times in this chapter: Toyota Camry, Kingdom Hearts, and The Hobbit. Are these labels so important to her that she would include them in her narration? One other thing I caught was they seem to teleport into bed between when Hanna begins to cry and when she falls asleep. I would try to clean up that transition.

Very well done! Even though they weren't in the first chapter, Richard and Hanna were almost exclusively talked about in dialogue and narration. Meeting them immediately in the second chapter was a great transition.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This comment has been deleted by the poster.
Kianna

2 Years Ago

So thank you for pointing out that assumption! I just realized I had an issue with the seasons. If i.. read more
Alex

2 Years Ago

Cool! Glad I could help you out with that!
Hi
I enjoyed it. So many things can happen...in every character there's a thread dangling around ..not knowing where it will be tide to, makes it intriguing. The dark side of the story... I love it. I think it has so much potential, it will be enjoyed by many

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Hi. I think this has the potential to be a very good story. I like your characters and the dilemma you create for your main character- marry Richard to provide for Hanna and give her security even though she diesn't love him? I also see that you've ainted Richard as 'too good to be true' which makes me wonder about any dark undercurrents that we might see in his character as it develops. Is the wolf intended as a premonition- a symbol of the darker side of the character that we have not yet seen?

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Kianna

2 Years Ago

Yes and thanks for reviewing!

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Added on June 8, 2015
Last Updated on August 12, 2015
Tags: Kianna, Taylor, Kianna Taylor, darkness, fantasy, urban fantasy, epic fantasy, adventure, action, mom


Author

Kianna
Kianna

Houston, TX



About
Hello. Hmm, about me. I am a pre-nursing student hoping to become a psychiatric nurse and work with mental health patients all day. Eventually, I want to establish my own clinic. Besides writing fanta.. more..

Writing
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A Poem by Kianna