I fasten the last button on my favorite dress. I adore the scarlet velvet trim around the square neckline, sleeves and skirt hem. The tie around my waist knotted into a bow makes me feel like a princess. I’ve managed to not stain the cream-colored fabric- probably because I save the dress for special days.
Today begins a new year; a new phase in my life; new responsibilities. I smooth the skirt and survey my appearance in the mirror. Mama won’t let me wear makeup yet, but I could use some lipstick to add a year or two of confidence. I settle for gloss instead.
I tiptoe down the stairs and halt at the front door. Mama’s in the next room. “I’m going for a walk. Be back soon!”
I hear Mama’s voice, but click the door behind me, pretending that I don’t.
In ten minutes, I find myself on Derek’s porch, waiting after my third sharp knock on the door. Sasha, his third wife, answers.
“May I speak to Derek, please?”
She eyes me suspiciously before closing the door. A minute later, Derek steps onto the porch, latching the door behind him. He folds his arms across his chest.
“I’m sorry for how I’ve acted. I want to start over since I know Mama’s secret.”
He raises an eyebrow. “She told you?”
“Why wouldn’t she?”
Derek laughs. It’s not a pleasant sound. “You’re just like your mother.”
I don’t know the meaning behind his insult. “Well, uh… I should go.”
I stifle my urge to run as I reach the dirt path that leads home. My mind retreats into the conversation. I don’t know Mama’s secret yet, but I will get Derek to trust me.
“What are you trying to do?”
The clipped words forced through clenched teeth pelt me like hail on a tin roof. The angry fireworks flicker in his eyes and radiate through my skin where his fingers grasp my arm.
I’ve never feared him. Until now.
This is part nine of Ellie’s story and it takes place on New Year’s Day (the last part left off right before Thanksgiving). I appreciate everyone who has been following this story- thank you! If you didn’t catch the previous parts, check out the links below. Each one is less than 333 words, so it won’t take long to catch up!
This is also my entry into the Trifecta weekly writing challenge. This week, the challenge is to write a 33 to 333 word response (mine comes in at 331 words) using the definition of the word given below:
Fireworks (noun, plural): a: display of temper or intense conflict; b : a spectacular display <the fireworks of autumn leaves>
If you want to try your hand at the challenge, you can find the complete guidelines on the Trifecta site by clicking the tricycle picture.