Delaney and Jake

This page is updated ALL THE TIME as I find time to edit and receive feedback from fans. Don’t hesitate to email me if you have suggestions. I am NOT an editor nor am I a grammar Nazi. And yes, I already know 1) I switch between ‘tenses’ and 2) I don’t format my paragraphs correctly. A little grace, will ya?

Chapter 1…

The sun was just peeking out from its slumber when the alarm started chirping. I reached over to shut it off, missing it entirely, holding my head as it banged against the cold, hardwood floor. The night before had been rough. Too much whiskey. Too little food. I hated myself every morning after a night like this. I heard a groan from the other side of the bed and turned my head slowly to see a man I vaguely remembered from the night before. Ugh. Not again.

I retrieved the alarm clock from the floor and shut it off. Reaching over, I poked my mistake until he moved slightly. “Wha?” he mumbled.

“Get dressed. Leave.” I sat up slowly, spying a pair of cut-off shorts on the floor along with the shirt I think I had on last night. Grabbing them both, I stumbled my way into the bathroom to pee, hoping he would be gone by the time I finished.

On the toilet, I sat there holding my head in my hands. I willed myself not to throw up what little I had eaten the night before. Delaney, I thought to myself, This has got to stop. In the back of my mind, I know I am too old for this shit, but for some reason, it just kept happening.

I finished, washed my hands, and looked through my medicine cabinet for the Tylenol. Washing four white pills down with a handful of tap water, I opened the bathroom door to see whatever-his-name-was still laying in bed. 

“Hey!” I spoke louder this time. “I told you to leave.”

“Damn, Girl. Do you need to be so loud?” he said, holding his head. I judged him to be in his late twenties. Hopefully. 

“Apparently, yeah. Yeah, I do need to be so loud”, I said, walking to the window and raising the shade a bit. The sun streamed in, shining across his bare ass in the process. “I have shit to do, and you are in the way.”

“You could at least make me breakfast for the services rendered last night, you know”; he smiled at me and lifted his eyebrow, his too-long brown hair falling over his eye in the process. I just looked at him, not even trying to hide my annoyance.

“The services, as you put it, were not that good. Get up. Get dressed. Go home.” I walked out and made my way to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee, trying to remember any of the so-called services he had rendered, my mind drawing a blank.

As I banged through my kitchen cabinets, praying I still had coffee, I heard the front door open and then shut. I let out a sigh of relief. Yes. This really needs to stop.

I heard a loud and impatient meow behind me. Turning around, I spotted Marcella, my rather large but adorable brown tabby cat. She hopped up on the counter, reminding me of the empty bowl at my feet rather rudely. 

“You gonna give me shit too, ‘Cella?” I said as I stroked her head and scratched her behind the ears. “At least this one was old enough to vote, you know,” I added, “I think.”

I prepared her food dish with the fancy but rather foul-smelling, wet food, trying not to vomit again. I sure do love whiskey, I thought to myself. Too bad it doesn’t love me.

Not waiting for the coffeemaker to complete the process of providing a whole pot, I impatiently grabbed my favorite coffee mug, the black one with white letters that read “Never trust a journalist,” and filled it with the dark elixir of life. Sitting down at the small, dated table in the kitchen, I start going through the mail that had piled up over the week.

I thumbed through the stack, ignoring my adult responsibilities one by one. Macy’s credit card bill. Sho-Me Electric bill. Wells Fargo Dealer Services. Amazon Store card. Global Life. Coupons for Blue Apron. State of Missouri, Department of Justice.

Whoa. What?

My throat went dry, and I felt all the blood drain from my face. Instantly, my hands started trembling, and I was grateful I was sitting down because I was sure my knees would not have held me up in the place I had been standing earlier.

I knew this day was coming. I just didn’t want to think about it. I slowly opened the letter as though any quick movements would evoke his presence immediately. The words “Notice of Hearing” were printed at the top of the corresponding page in bold, Times New Roman eighteen-point font, right below the official address and state seal.

“Dear Ms. Rossiter,

You are at this moment notified of a hearing date set for July 28, 2022, at 11:15 a.m. at the Potosi Correctional Center for inmate Michael David Rossiter. Inmate Rossiter is eligible for parole at this time, and you are listed as next of kin…”

I stopped reading. Next of kin that he tried to kill, you mean. I can’t stop my head from thumping as I continue to read the notice. The words started to blur on the page, and I faintly heard my cell phone ring. I picked it up.

“Where the fuck have you been? I’ve been trying to reach you for days.” My sister blurted out without any sort of warm greeting.

“Um…out…I guess. I’ve been…been out.” I managed to squeak the words.

“Did you hear about Michael?” 

“I just found out.”

“What are you going to do?” she said with concern in her voice.

“I, uh, I really don’t know. I, uh, maybe start packing?” I respond, trying to be witty but actually thinking that this could be a good action plan.

“You don’t really think they’d be crazy enough to grant that sociopath parole, do you?” she said worriedly.

“Becky, it’s Missouri. Who the fuck knows.” I sighed.

 “He tried to kill you, for fuck’s sake!” Her voice was louder than I could take at the moment.

“I was there, Bec, remember?” I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose. Taking a deep breath in, I asked her, “Can I call you back? I, literally, just woke up and haven’t even finished my first cup of coffee. I can’t really think straight right now.”

“Yes. But if you don’t call me back in the next two hours, I’m driving my ass over there.” she ranted.

“Well, I wouldn’t want that to happen. I will call you back. I will. I just need time to process this.” I hung up without saying goodbye. My gaze caught the bird feeder outside the window where two blackbirds looked as though they were going to tear each other apart for the measly amount of seed left in the dish. I sighed again as I gripped the edge of the counter. This was supposed to be a nice day.