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Not now, please, she thought as she felt the beginning of fresh tears, not with the bus almost here. It was 3:15 p.m., and her 7-year old daughter, Angelica, was due home any minute. Jessica removed her sunglasses to wipe her tear stained face. “Hello, Jessica,” Rose’s voice reached her as always before Rose came into sight. Rose was out of breath as she topped the hill. Jessica hurriedly put her glasses back on. It wouldn’t do to let Rose see the tears or the bruises. “Hi, Rose,” she responded hoping her neighbor wouldn’t hear the tremor in her voice. “How are you?” “Oh, I’m fine. I didn’t think I’d make it up that hill. The twins are so active,” she laughed, patting her enormous belly. “How are you?” “I’m fine,” Jessica replied as the bus topped the hill. They both turned to look. Angelica, as usual, was the first off the bus. “Look, Mommy!” she yelled waving a brightly colored paper above her head. “I drawled a picture for you.” “Drew a picture,” corrected Jessica. “Let’s take a look!” As she looked at the picture, her eyes started to water again. Not realizing that Rose still stood there with her 6-year-old son Billy, Jessica asked, “What is in your picture, honey?” “Oh, Mommy, it’s you, me, the trees, and the sun!” Angelica exclaimed. “But, honey, why am I all different colors?” she asked. And before her daughter could answer, Jessica felt a feeling of dread in her stomach. “Because, Mommy, that’s what you look like after Daddy hits you!” Angelica explained. “Oh, My!” Rose gasped, making Jessica jump. She thought Rose had left. “Why didn’t you tell us? Maybe we could have helped.” “No, Rose. It was only an accident. Paul didn’t mean to.” Jessica prayed Rose would believe her. Grabbing her daughter’s hand in hers, she turned to leave. “Let’s go honey! See you later, Rose.” Jessica started down her drive slow enough for Angelica to keep up, but fast enough to get there quickly. Hopefully before he woke up. It hadn’t always been like this, Jessica sighed as she remembered. She was 18, fresh out of high school and Paul was 23 and worked in his father’s auto shop. When he asked her out, she was surprised. They dated for eight months, decided they were in love and married. Two years later, they had Angelica. It went downhill from there. “Mommy, Mommy, what’s wrong? I’ve been talking and you won’t listen to me.” Jessica realized her daughter was speaking to her. “I’m sorry, honey. I was thinking. What did you say?” Jessica asked. As they walked the rest of the way, she listened and laughed with her precious daughter. “JESSICA.... JESSICA.... WHERE ARE YOU?” She heard someone shout. Oh, no he’s up, Jessica thought. “I’M COMING!” she yelled, hurrying toward the house. “Come on, Angelica, we have to hurry!” Paul was on the porch. His clothes disheveled, his eyes bloodshot and his hair standing on end. “Where the hell have you been? I’ve called you over and over for ten minutes,” he yelled. “Paul, please not with Angelica here.” Jessica pleaded. “Honey, please change your school clothes and start your homework. I’ll stop later to see you before dinner.” As Angelica went into the house, Paul grabbed her arm. “You baby her to much,” he snarled. “Do you want her to end up like you? A sniveling, good for nothing bitch?” Letting go of her arm and pushing her in the door he said, “Fix me something to eat. I’m hungry!’ As he went into the living room, she went towards the kitchen rubbing her arm that was already bruising. With tears in her eyes, she started Paul’s dinner. As the steak sizzled, she checked the potatoes baking in the oven. 5 more minutes and dinner will be ready, she thought, if I can make it one more hour, I’ll be okay. Putting the finishing touches on the salad, she checked the table. All seemed to be ready. Walking into the living room, she waited for a commercial to come on. Paul was in his recliner with a beer in his hand. “Paul,” she said softly, “your food is ready.” Yelling in the house was forbidden unless it was Paul doing it. As he lurched to his feet, the strong smell of alcohol hit her in the face. As she followed him to the table, she breathed a sigh of relief. So far so good. “Bring me another beer and sit your ass down.” When Jessica returned to the table with his beer, she noticed she’d forgotten the steak knife. As she poured her drink, she got the knife. Returning to the table, she tried to slip the knife on the table unnoticed. WHAM-his fist hit her squarely on the side of her face. “YOU STUPID BITCH!” he yelled. “DID YOU ACTUALLY THINK I WOULDN’T NOTICE?” Tipping the table over, he came after her. “No, Paul, please don’t,” she pleaded. “It won’t happen again. I promise.” She sobbed trying desperately to back away from him on the floor where she’d landed. Continuing to hit her, he yelled obscenities at her. The last thing she saw was Paul’s foot coming toward her face. When Jessica came to, she felt something cool on her face. Opening her eyes, she saw the worried look of her daughter. “Mommy, are you okay?” Angelica asked. “You’ve been asleep forever. I was so worried.” “I’ll be okay, honey. Help me up.” she replied and then jumped when she heard another voice. “No ma’am. I’ve called an ambulance.” Jessica noticed a police officer. “I’m Officer John Lange. Try not to move.” “I don’t need a ambulance,” Jessica insisted. “I’m fine.” Trying to get up, she lost her balance. Officer Lange reached for her. “We need to see if anything’s broken. Who did this to you?” he asked. Angelica answered at the same time she did. “My Daddy did.” “I fell. I’m so clumsy. Officer Lange looked from her face to her daughters. Something was really wrong here. “Angelica, do not say that,” Jessica pleaded. “It was an accident!” “But, Mommy,” Angelica sobbed, “he’s always hurting you.” “Ma’am, excuse me but I need to know how this happened.” “I told you, Officer. It was an accident,” Jessica explained. “Mommy, why are you lying?” sobbed Angelica. “You told me to never lie.” As Jessica sat on the floor surrounded by the remains of dinner and broken dishes, she realized a lot of things. She started to see her situation as others did. For as long as she could remember, she’d been covering for Paul, taking the abuse and believing that somehow it was all her fault. “Officer Lange,” she said holding out her hands “Would you please help me up off this floor?” After setting a chair back on all four legs, he did just that. Jessica settled into the chair with the glass of water he’d thoughtfully handed her. Just when Jessica decided it was time to come clean, Paul rushed into the room. Clean, fresh and dressed in a business suit, he looked truly alarmed at finding the kitchen a wreck and his wife bruised and bleeding. Running to her chair, he exclaimed, “My God, honey, what happened? Are you okay?” Kneeling next to her chair, he gently took her hands into his. And at that moment, Jessica knew she had to keep her mouth shut. Even though his tone and touch were gentle- his eyes were deadly. With a feeling of doom, Jessica turned to look at Officer Lange. “Thank you for your help,” she said, “you may go now. My husband is here to help me.” ............PREVIEW 2................... Breakfast was a peaceful affair. Each caught up in their thoughts; they enjoyed each other’s silence. Just as they finished eating, the kids ran down the stairs. “Mom, we’re hungry!” Angelica exclaimed, coming to a complete stop when she saw her father. “Good morning, princess,” Paul said. “Hello, Billy. Did you sleep well?” As Angelica stuttered for an answer, Billy answered. “Just fine. Can we have ice cream?” he asked Jessica with an imploring look. “Morning, Daddy,” Angelica finally stammered. “No, silly, we can’t have ice cream for breakfast. Cereal, please, Mommy.” Laughing, Jessica got down two bowls, the cereal and set the milk on the table. Rising from his chair, Paul kissed Angelica on the head and ruffled Billy’s hair. Kissing Jessica, he said, “I’ll be home later. Have a great day.” Smiling at his retreating back, Jessica fed both children. After chores, there wasn’t too much to do. She asked the children what they wanted to do. “Go to the zoo, please, Mommy,” Angelica pleaded. “Yeah!” yelled Billy. “ZOO, ZOO, ZOO!” Jessica’s body was healing nicely but she still had bruises. It was too hot to wear long sleeves and jeans so she convinced them to go swimming in the creek on the property. After lunch, they all changed into suits. Jessica grabbed towels and blankets while Angelica got Rustys’ leash and collar. It took only ten minutes to walk to the creek. Jessica couldn’t believe how beautiful the land was. And Paul and she owned it! As she spread the blanket on the ground as the children raced for the water with Rusty running circles around them. Splashing and yelling, they chased each other. Jessica laughed so hard, she almost cried. “Mommy, come on in!” Angelica yelled. “This feels great!” “Okay, I’m coming!” Stripping off her shorts and t-shirt, Jessica kicked off her shoes and ran for the water. She tried to ignore the looks she was getting from both children as she jumped in the water. She knew she looked bad with all the bruises and cuts. She hoped that Billy would forget what he saw. She didn’t want him telling his parents. After splashing with the children for a while, Jessica finally swam further down the creek. Floating on her back, she relaxed. Thank you, God, she thought; it looks like things may have finally calmed down. “Mom, can we eat? I’m starved.” Angelica interrupted her thoughts. “Sure, come on. Billy, grab a towel.” After drying off, Jessica wrapped the towel around her body. “Oh, Mom! I forgot to bring Rusty’s food and he’s hungry too.” Jessica realized Angelica would probably forget, but she hadn’t. “It’s okay, honey. Look!” and she pulled a can of Rusty’s food out of the picnic basket. “Cool! Thanks, Mom!” laughed Angelica, “you’re the best.” After hugging her mom, Angelica grabbed the food and called for Rusty. Jessica proceeded to set out the food. Opening containers and pouring out drinks, Jessica’s mind started to wander. She realized how peaceful it was and prayed it would last. It was getting late so she called the children to eat. After stuffing themselves on fried chicken, potato salad, baked beans and an array of fruit, Jessica leaned up against a tree with a huge sigh. “Can we swim?” Angelica and Billy interrupted her thoughts. “No way! You know the rules. Thirty minutes. No less.” “Ah, Mom, but I didn’t eat that much,” protested Angelica. “Oh, no,” laughed Jessica. “Just three pieces of chicken, two biscuits, half the potato salad and all the strawberries. Thirty minutes. No arguing.” With a sigh of defeat, Angelica flounced off to find Billy and Rusty. With a contented sigh, Jessica sat back and closed her eyes. It was so nice here. Listening to the birds in the trees and the water running in the nearby creek, Jessica’s eyes started drooping. Soon she was fast asleep. So relaxed was she that she never saw or heard Angelica and Billy when they came to check the time. She never heard Rusty finish the chicken. When Jessica awoke it was to raindrops. Big ones that were falling on her face. With a yelp she jumped to her feet. Calling for the children, she grabbed up the dishes and shoved them in the basket. “ANGELICA...BILLY...COME ON! LET’S GO!” she yelled. “Coming, mom!” Angelica answered. “Come on, Billy. Hurry! Rusty, let’s go!” she called for her dog. Laughing they ran for the house. Slipping and sliding in the mud, they were soaked to the skin before they got halfway home. As they rounded the corner of the house, they ran into Paul. He was just coming out of the house with a large umbrella. “Hey, I was just coming to look for you,” he said calmly. “Rose is okay and Jim wants Billy to come home.” “I’ll walk him, Paul. Could I have the umbrella?” Jessica asked. “No, that’s okay. You need to change out of those wet clothes. I’ll do it.” And Paul walked away. Jessica started to shiver and she wasn’t cold. It was the look in Paul’s eyes. The peace was over. “Hurry, Angelica! Let’s get changed. I need to start dinner,” she pleaded. She raced upstairs, changed as quickly as she could and raced downstairs. Grabbing open the cabinets, she tried to figure out what was fast and easy. Putting water on to boil, she felt Paul’s presence behind her. The fact that he was being very quiet was a bad sign. As she turned to look at him, she was scared. He was angry and there was a mark on his face that looked like scratches. As she opened her mouth to ask if all was okay, he slapped her. Raising her hand to her face, she started to back up. Unfortunately there was nowhere to go. The stove was behind her. As she tried to move, her arm caught the handle of the hot pan of water. Before she could stop it, it fell... splashing water on her, the floor, stove and mostly on Paul. “Damn, you stupid bitch!” Slapping her again, Paul reached for the pan. Instinctively knowing what was about to happen, Jessica tried to duck. The pan caught her on the side of the head above her ear. Cussing her, he swung again and again. Striking her repeatedly he hit her wherever there was an opening. Sickened by the pain and the sound of the pan hitting her, Jessica mercifully passed out. When Jessica awoke it was dark and she was on her bed. Paul was nowhere to be seen, Gingerly getting up, she made her way slowly down the hall. At Angelica’s door she paused and listened. Hearing no sounds within, she slowly opened the door and entered the room. Seeing a form on Angelica’s bed, she released the breath she was holding. At least, she was safe. Tucking in her daughter, she kissed her on the cheek and adjusted the covers. As she turned to leave the room, she was scared to find Paul standing there. He was drunk and holding a bottle of whiskey. Taking a long drink, he lurched towards her. “Hi, baby. I’ve been waiting for you to wake up.” “Paul, come on. Let’s go to the living room,” she said trying to steer him out of Angelica’s room. “I need a glass if you want me to drink with you.” Looking closely at him, she prayed he’d listen. It was obvious he’d had a lot to drink while she was out. Paul took another drink and then turned around. As he was walking down the hall, he tripped. Jessica tried to catch him before he went all the way down. But she was no match for his weight and it didn’t help that she was behind him. The whiskey bottle flew out of his hand and shattered on the wall. Whiskey and pieces of glass sprayed everywhere. But Jessica couldn’t worry about that now. Paul was getting to his feet slowly and he was mad. Whipping around, he grabbed her by the neck. “You dumb broad. You think I don’t know you tripped me. You think I’m stupid?” He tightened his grip. “Paul, stop please,” Jessica begged. “I can’t breathe.” “You think you are so smart tripping me, don’t you? Well, when I get finished with you maybe you will think twice about trying it again.” He was strangling her with both hands. She was so close to passing out. All of a sudden, Paul released her and fell to the floor. Stunned, Jessica could only stand there and stare, gasping for breath. For Angelica stood there with a vase of flowers. Not realizing at first what happened, Jessica sat down where she stood. “Mommy, are you okay?” she heard her daughter ask. It sounded like she was far away. As Jessica’s breathing regulated and her ears stopped ringing she realized three things. One... Paul was still out cold. Two… there was glass, whiskey and blood everywhere and three... Angelica probably had just saved her life by hitting her father over the head with the vase of flowers. “Oh my God!” Jessica exclaimed. Getting to her feet as fast as she could she went to Angelica. Her daughter hadn’t moved from where she stood still holding the vase. Gathering her close, Jessica gently pried her fingers apart. Sitting the vase on the floor, she held her only child as they both sobbed. “Honey, go to your room and get a few of your things together. I need to check your father,” she gently pushed Angelica towards her room. As she watched her daughter she realized things had gone to far. Checking Paul’s breathing and pulse she realized he’d be okay. But she needed to be gone when he woke up. Going to their bedroom, she grabbed clothes not looking at them just throwing them into suitcases. Just as she was leaving the room she saw Paul’s wallet. She needed money. How would she survive? Opening it she grabbed the cash, stuffing it in her pocket. As an afterthought she took the ATM card. “Mommy,” whispered Angelica. Jessica turned when she heard the terror in Angelica’s voice. “He’s waking up. Please hurry!”
My book, though fiction, incorporates the very real issue of domestic violence. Heart Aches & Rainy Days is a story that will enrage you, make you cry, and at the same time keep you on the edge of your seat. It is not for the faint of heart. Trapped in a terrifying and vicious circle of abuse from her husband, Jessica finds inventing ways to protect herself difficult, more often impossible. Yet, her greatest fear is not for herself but for their daughter. When Paul suddenly announces they are going to have another baby, Jessica panics. She can barely protect one child; she worries about how she will be able to protect another child, especially a small baby. Will Jessica ever have the life she so desperately wants and deserves? Can she escape her abusive husband, or will he find her, as before and bring her back? Watch the story unfold as Jessica tries to survive physical, sexual, mental, and emotional abuse at the hands of her once gentle and loving husband, Paul. Experience Jessica's fictitious life as a victim of domestic violence, as she tries to understand what she could have possibly done wrong to make her husband hurt her in such degrading and unbelievable ways. "Heart Aches & Rainy Days" Hidden from the world, what seemed to be the perfect family in reality was not even close. A marriage that started in the gentle beauty of love and laughter quickly became Jessica Westfall's living nightmare. Emotional and mental abuse by her husband, Paul, escalated to the degrading act of physical and sexual abuse. Isolated from the world, Jessica dreams of living a life free of this silent anguish. Suffering the consequences after trying to escape once before, she shudders at the thought of what he is capable. And yet she wonders, would she be forced to forever wander this path tribulation? A staggering number of domestic violence cases are reported each day; unfortunately, there are also as many unreported cases. Domestic violence is not restricted to the female gender. Women who find themselves in abusive situations are not an exclusive target of domestic violence; men are also victims of abuse. Being the victim of domestic violence is a demoralizing and tragic experience, as well as a painful life-altering event. It is also a very painful suject for victims to discuss. Victims of domestic violence must understand that the abuse they suffer is NOT their fault. No one deserves to be abused--ever! It does not matter who you are or where you are from; everyone is entitled to a life free of abuse. If you are being physically, emotionally, mentally, or sexually abused--or are suspicious of someone who may be in this situation--please step forward and speak to someone. You could save yourself or help someone else out of a possible fatal situation. God Bless You. This novel is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and events used in this book are the product of my imagination. Any resemblances to actual persons living or deceased, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. you may view my website at www.jackiortiz.com
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