Welcome to me stop in EMPTY CUP by Suzanne Costigan Blog Tour hosted by Chapter By Chapter. Today on my stop we have an Excerpt + an awesome Tour-Wide Giveaway!!
Published: November 3rd, 2015
Published: November 3rd, 2015
Mom’s new boyfriend is creepy.
On the night of her seventeenth birthday, Raven finds out he isn’t just creepy, he’s dangerous. He leaves Raven broken and bleeding, but Mom blames her for what happened. She kicks Raven out of the house with nothing but a blanket to protect her from a frigid winter night.
As Raven struggles with the aftermath of the ultimate betrayal, she seeks solace in her imagination and a teacher who seems to understand her situation. She ultimately discovers that her world won’t change if she relies upon someone else to do it. Real change begins within.
I smudge a pencil line with my finger, creating a shadow under the horse’s mane. He’s white. Pure. Exactly the kind of horse—
Mom. I sigh.
I roll onto my back and hug the sketchbook to my chest. I study the stippled ceiling for the pictures I found in it yesterday: the Man in the Moon, a brave knight’s sword. My bedroom isn’t anything exciting with its yellow, wood-panelled walls and shabby decor, but when I close the door, I leave the rest of the world behind. This is the one place where I can just breathe.
My stomach growls.
When I finally set down my drawing pad, the pencil rolls off my bed and bumps across the cold tile floor. I pick it up and inspect the lead, hoping it isn’t broken.
Mom and Trevor are already at the table when I sit down to a plate with four fish sticks and a lump of mushy fries. Mom’s eyes don’t leave her food. She uses the side of her fork to cut a piece of fish. Then she shoves it into her mouth, clenching her jaw as she chews.
Trevor sits right across from me, watching. I look back at the food and poke at the fries with my fork.
“Don’t be so picky. Show some appreciation,” Mom says.
I swallow a tough, overcooked mouthful of fish, while Mom scrapes her plate with her fork and Trevor chomps. I gingerly cut my fish and chew slowly, trying to be silent. Unseen.
My runners are on the floor beside me, next to the front door. I’d like to charge through that door and disappear from this place forever.
Trevor’s food mashing gets on my nerves. I glance up. His eyes are still boring into me. I drop my head and steal a glance at Mom out of the corner of my eye. She’s glaring at Trevor. Then me. I pretend not to notice as her lips tighten into a thin line.
She drops her fork on her plate with a loud clatter and pushes her unfinished food towards me. “Make yourself useful, Raven. Clear the dishes.”
I put my fork down and stand.
“Be nice, Heather,” Trevor says. “It’s her birthday.” Then he looks back at me. “Sit. Finish eating,” he says softly.
I sit down.
Trevor picks up his own plate and holds his hand out for Mom’s.
Mom hesitates for a moment and then snatches the plate from Trevor’s hands. She picks up her own plate and marches around him to drop the dishes into the sink with a loud clatter. Her shoulders stiffen.
Trevor wheels around in his chair. “Heather, what’s the problem?”
Mom’s elbow pumps back and forth as she scrubs the dishes. With all the clanking and water-sloshing, she must want to throw them.
I shovel in another fish stick to satisfy the rumbling in my stomach and ignore Trevor. He’s staring at me again. While I focus on the brown bouquet of flowers stamped in the middle of my plate, wondering what seventies store Mom got them from, Trevor pushes his chair away from the table. I push mine away too, ready to escape, but he’s too fast. He’s behind my chair, pressing me against the table. I’m stuck.
“You finished?” he asks, stroking my hair with his spidery fingers.
“Yeah.” I cringe.
He leans in to pick up my plate and whispers in my ear. “Happy Birthday.”
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