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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 7

In music class, Janet is awarded the lead on their new song. The teacher assigns them to come up with parts for the accompaniment.Brand New Day cover

“This gets better and better! We’re going to blow them away! Tomorrow, have your parts decided and tab written so we can put the pieces together.”

“Tomorrow? Mr. C.!” The students complained.

“Okay, by Friday.”

More groans.

“Okay, Tuesday.”

That got a more enthusiastic response. The bell rang and they headed toward the door. Diego caught up with the girls outside the door.

“I didn’t know you could sing like that,” he said to Janet. “That was so cool.”

“Thanks. I love to sing.”

“Me too. Sets me free,” he said quietly with a shy grin.

Janet swallowed hard, blinking back the sudden flood of tears that overwhelmed her. That was exactly what she thought too.

“You should come over today, and I can show you how to tab your vocals,” Diego told her and Bunny.

“I can’t. I have to watch my little sister,” Janet said. “But you and Ramona can come over for dinner and we can. Trina and Bunny too, if you want.”

“I’m working tonight,” Trina said. “Maybe this weekend?”

“Yeah, we could do that. Bunny?”

“Can’t. Already have homework in algebra, can you believe? It’s gonna take me hours.”

“We can come,” Diego said, raising an eyebrow at Ramona.

“Yeah, if we can take some time so genius girl can help me with my biology homework.”

“Of course. I told you I’d help. Sorry I can’t help with algebra, Bun. Not my thing.”

“I know. I’ll figure it out eventually.”

“What time should we come over?” Ramona asked.

“Six. I have to go to the store and shop for groceries before Sookie gets home.”

“I’ll give you a ride. We can drop by and get groceries on the way home, and just hang out.”

“Really? That would help so much. Thanks.”

Diego’s friends were irritated that they had to hitch rides with others, but took it in good grace, because it was his sister. When they saw Janet, they understood even more clearly. A great many lustful thoughts walked out the door that afternoon.

They made a quick stop at the grocery store and Janet bought the things she needed for the next few days. She’d taken over cooking when she was twelve. Her mother wasn’t a very good cook, her meals often inedible. Janet had a talent for it and enjoyed planning meals. Sookie was forced to clean up, something she hated, but their mother had, for once, sided with Janet.

Sookie rode home with their neighbor who had a son her age. He rode with Janet’s mom in the morning. They were just pulling into the driveway when Janet arrived.

“Hi, Mrs. Thompson. We had to stop at the store.”

“No problem. I picked the kids up and took them for an ice cream. I hope that’s okay.”

“That’s great. Thanks.” She turned to her sister. “Did you remember to thank Mrs. Thompson?”

“Yes, duh!” She smiled at Mrs. Thompson. “Thanks again, Mrs. T. The ice cream was delicious.”

“Bye, Sookie. See you tomorrow, sweetie.” She pulled out of the driveway and headed three doors down.

“Who are you?” Sookie demanded of Diego. “You her boyfriend?”

“I’m Ramona’s brother,” he replied, smiling. He held out his hand to shake hers. “I’ve heard a lot about you, Sookie.”

The little girl eyed his hand distastefully. “Yeah. I bet. She lies a lot.” She tossed her dark braids over her shoulder and went in the house.

“That’s your sister?” Diego couldn’t get over the difference between the two girls.

“Unfortunately. Oh, and I wouldn’t hold out your hand near her again. She bites.”

Diego shoved his hands in his pockets. He went to the trunk of the car and lifted out the groceries. He got all but two bags. The girls took those and followed him in the kitchen.

“What’s for supper?” Ramona asked. “Your fabulous spaghetti? Lasagna?”

“Scarborough Fair Casserole.”

“Yeah! I love that!”

“Why you call it that?” Diego asked.

“I use parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme to season it.”

“Fun.” He smiled as he unpacked the bags. “Can I help?”

“Can you peel potatoes?”

“Give me something hard, huh? Of course I can.”

She handed him a peeler, knife and potatoes. He set about peeling and cutting them setting them up for mashed potatoes. Ramona browned the hamburger meat and Janet combined the other ingredients. When everything was ready, she topped it with mashed potatoes and cheese before popping it in the oven.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books https://www.amazon.com/Dellani-Oakes/e/B007ZQCW3A/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 6

Diego admits to Mr. Franks that he’s got a crush on Janet.Brand New Day cover

“And you’re finding it hard to think of her as a sister now.”

“Yeah. I’m sorry about daydreaming.”

“Show her to me some time. I’ll tell you if you deserve detention for it.” The older man laughed, nudging him. He wrote a note for Diego and sent him to class.

Diego’s final class of the day was chorus. He’d been singing since he was a child. He sang in the church choir and he and his buddies were putting together a band with him at the head. He took his usual seat in the tenor section, dropping his books under the chair.

The door opened and a group of girls entered. A bubbling laugh rose above the others, filling the room with a joyful sound. Diego recognized that laugh. Janet had just walked in the room with his sister and Bunny.

Giggling and talking, they went to the soprano section and sat down. None of them noticed him until Trina walked in and waved at him and then at them. Ramona waved at her brother. He smirked, saluting.

“Nice you noticed me, mi hermana.”

“I didn’t know you’d be in here,” she complained.

He chuckled, nodding. “Yeah, that’s a good excuse. Don’t embarrass me.”

Ramona stuck her tongue out at him. Trina giggled and sat in the alto section with some of her friends. The bell rang and the teacher came out of his office. He looked at the students on risers and smiled.

“Welcome, everyone. I’m Mr. Carter, chorus teacher. Shall we begin?” He gestured to one of the girls who took her place at the piano.

The girl played a chord and each section took their pitch. They began their vocal warm-up, going higher and higher until it was out of the range of most of the chorus. Only Ramona, Janet and Bunny could hit the notes. Mr. Carter nodded to the pianist, encouraging her to go on. Moments later, only one voice hit the high note—Janet.

Blushing, she hid her face as she realized that only she was singing. The entire class burst into applause, cheering for her.

“Wow!” Mr. Carter said with a huge grin. “That was amazing! What’s your name, young lady?”

Janet cleared her throat and told him in a soft voice.

Mr. Carter leaned forward. “Sorry?”

“Janet Yarkowsky,” she said loudly.

“And you other girls?” He nodded to Ramona and Bunny.

They introduced themselves.

“Have I got a song for you!” He laughed, clapping his hands excitedly. “We’ve got a competition coming up in October and it calls for three sopranos. Minimal music, just drums, and guitar, the rest is the vocals. I need one lead, two on harmony and the rest of the chorus behind.” He handed the pianist a piece of sheet music.

Her eyes brightened. “You’re kidding. For real?”

“What is it, Melanie?” Trina asked.

Instead of answering, the girl started to play. Janet immediately recognized it. She burst into song without thinking about it. It came as naturally to her as breathing. The music filled the hollow, empty places in her. She poured her heart into it, singing Killing Me Softly by Roberta Flack.

One of the boys sidled over the the drum set and the men in the bass section improvised a bass line to go with her vocal. Her friends joined her on harmony. The rest sat in awe until they finished. For a moment, the room was silent, then it exploded with applause, cheers and feet pounding the risers.

Janet blushed again, realizing what she’d done. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry.”

She hid her face in her hands until Mr. Carter came over to her. He took her hands, helping her stand.

“I don’t think we need to hold auditions for a vocalist, do you?” he appealed to the class.

The entire chorus clapped and cheered again.

“Way to go, Janet!” Trina yelled.

The rest of the room took up the call. Mr. Carter held her hand, encouraging her to take her bow. She did so shyly.

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t stop it. I love that song,” she said to him. “I didn’t mean to mess up auditions.”

“You would have gotten it anyway,” he said quietly. “You have a beautiful voice.”

“Thanks.”

Finally, he let her sit down. The rest of class was spent discussing how they could take the song and blow the minds of the judges. Mr. Carter liked the bass section singing instead of using a guitar. He assigned each section the task of adding something new and interesting to the performance.

Diego raised his hand, calling Mr. Carter to the tenor section.

“I had an idea. If the bass section does their thing, we should have the tenors do percussion.”

The boys demonstrated, sounding like snare drums, cymbals and bongos. Mr. Carter’s eyes lit up.

“Impressive! I like it! Altos, my sweet ladies, what will you be doing?”

“Strings, guitar….” Trina said with a smile.

The sopranos decided on woodwinds. They also demonstrated. Mr. Carter was thrilled.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books https://www.amazon.com/Dellani-Oakes/e/B007ZQCW3A/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 5

Brand New Day coverThe girls spend lunch with Diego and his friends. Raul’s girlfriend, Trina, befriends Janet, walking to Drama with her.

“What’s with you? All through lunch, you hardly said a word and you sent off what’s-her-tits. You’ve been trying to get in that girl’s panties forever.”

“She insulted my sister. That disrespects me.” He picked up his books, shoving past his friend.

“I never seen such a weird face on you, man,” Raul said. “You’re looking after my woman funny.”

“No. Shit, no! I swear, man, not Trina.”

Raul glanced over his shoulder. Trina was introducing Janet to people outside the Drama room across the commons.

“That Janet girl?” He laughed, punching his friend. “Man, she’s not your style. Besides, she’s a baby.”

“She’s no baby,” Diego said with a muted sigh. “But she’s sure a babe. How you mean she’s not my style?”

“Cause that girl will never let you in, bro. Face it, she’s virgin pussy, and you’re an old tomcat.”

Diego sighed again, this time more heavily. He swallowed hard, nodding as he took the stairs two at a time, heading to senior English.

“Are we boring you, Mr. Hernandez?” Mr. Franks, the English teacher said.

Diego blinked, sitting up straighter. “Uh, no sir.”

“Perhaps you can tell me what we’ve been discussing.”

“Yeah, sure.” He thought a moment. “You’re discussing the syllabus and you just mentioned Julius Caesar.”

The class laughed. That was exactly what they’d been talking about—five minutes ago. Mr. Franks smirked.

“You’ll stop with me after class, Mr. Hernandez.”

“Yes, sir,” he mumbled, slumping in his chair once more.

After class, Mr. Franks took him aside. He was a man in his late forties. Not unkind, but very strict. “Want to tell me what’s on your mind? You’re usually more focused. This is one of your best subjects.”

“Nothing. It’s not a big thing….”

“Diego, I’ve known you forever. You’ve been my student for two years already. I know when you’re distracted by something.”

Diego shrugged. He wouldn’t meet Mr. Franks’ eyes.

“What’s her name?” Mr. Franks asked pointedly. He waited expectantly for Diego to answer.

“That obvious, huh? What an actor I am.” He chuckled, shaking his head. “I’m gonna be late to class.”

“I’ll write you a note. Who?”

“She’s new, you wouldn’t know her. She’s a friend of my sister’s.”

“Got it bad for her, huh? She tell you no?”

Diego laughed loudly. “I haven’t asked her anything. She’s my little sister’s best friend. I’ve known her since she was seven.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 4

Brand New Day coverAt school, the girls are having a typical first day. When they get to lunch, Diego invites them to sit with him and his friends. One of the girls gets mad.

“Well, sorry,” the girl said in a snotty tone. “I’m supposed to know?”

“They look just alike,” Diego’s best friend, Raul, said. “Pay some attention, bruja.”

The girl raised her hand to hit him, but Diego grabbed her wrist.

“I don’t think so. Take your stuff. Go.” He nodded toward a different table. “Any you others got a problem with my girls sitting here?”

The other women smile pleasantly. “No problem, Diego,” one girl said with a grin. “I’ve been wanting to meet you, Ramona,” she said sweetly. “D. talks about you all the time. I’m Trina.” She held out her hand.

They shook hands and Ramona introduced the others. Once Trina had introduced herself, the others followed. She seemed to be the female leader. She wasn’t with Diego, she sat next to Raul. His arm hung around her shoulders, fingers teasingly close to her breast. Based on the hickeys on their necks, they weren’t just friends.

“What classes do you have after lunch?” Trina asked.

“Math,” Bunny said, wrinkling her nose.

“Biology,” Ramona added.

“I’m in Drama class,” Janet said with a grin. “I can’t wait. The Drama coach came to the junior high last year and taught a class. It was so much fun.”

“I’m in there too,” Trina said. “Mom Frost is awesome, isn’t she?”

“Mom?”

Trina giggled, waving it away. “Tell you later. It’s a story just us Drama kids know. I’ll take you over and introduce you. I’ve got rehearsal for the one acts at the speech meet next month. I’m a student director.”

“Is it too late to try out?”

“Oh, we decided the cast at the end of last year. The season starts so soon, it’s hard to take new people. But, there’s all kinds of other things you can do for speech meets. Mom will talk about that today.”

It was almost time for the bell, so they gathered their trays. The other girls befriended Ramona and Bunny, taking the younger girls to class. Diego watched as Janet and Trina walked off together. Raul punched him to get his attention.

“We’ll be late for class, moron. Come on.”

“Yeah. Coming.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 3

Brand New Day coverJanet, Ramona and Bunny ride the bus together, meeting Ramona’s brother, Diego, at the bus loop.

All Diego’s friends were under strict rules, they couldn’t touch the girls. Flirting was okay, hitting on was acceptable, to an extent, but no touching. They touched, they got the hell beaten out of them. Diego had a reputation of being the toughest guy in school. He wasn’t all that huge, there were guys plenty bigger, who were terrified of him. But he was a swimmer, a boxer and a wrestler. He’d worked hard all his life, and had muscles most guys were jealous of and girls drooled over.

Janet had heard some older women commenting about him once and one lady said he was an Adonis. Janet didn’t know the word, but she went home and looked it up. She had to agree with the description. He was very handsome, almost godlike, with his dusky Latin looks.

Older girls watched as Diego and his buddies walked Ramona and the others to the auditorium for the opening assembly. Here, all their names would be read off by the assistant principal, and they’d go to their first class. In that home room, they would get their class schedules.

“You gotta sit in the sophomore section,” Diego told them, pointing to the right of center. “We sit in the senior section.” He and his friends whooped, doing complicated handshakes.

The girls found seats together and sat down. Janet watched as Diego and his buddies walked to the front row of the center section and made the boys there move so they could sit down. That would be their spot the rest of the year. No one would take it now that he’d claimed it.

“No guy is gonna want to ask me out,” Ramona whined. “Why does he have to be like that? I’ve got the right to date who I want.”

“I think it’s sweet,” Bunny said, gazing at Diego. “And he’s so dreamy….”

“Stop that!” Ramona socked her. “He’s my brother! You just keep those Betty Thoughts to yourself.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“She means don’t be thinking you’re going to seduce Diego,” Janet said with a toss of her head. “Because he won’t look at you twice. You’re like his little sister.” She voiced what she was thinking about herself. She hadn’t realized until today how fond she was of Ramona’s older brother. She was off limits, his baby sister’s best friend. She didn’t have a chance.

The principal walked on the stage to polite applause. He gave his usual first day speech. Mr. Harper was a pretty cool guy. He was nice and he was fair. Most of the students got along well with him, unless they got on his bad side.

Mr. Patrick, the assistant principal, was the opposite. He was mean and rude, especially to the Mexican and Indian kids. He was also kind of dumb. He always mispronounced a bunch of student names when he read them off. He made mistakes with class assignments too, so the counselors would be busy for the next week, fixing his errors.

Ramona’s name was read as “Ramon A. Hernandez.” She’d been assigned boy’s PE as her first class. Mortified, she went to the office to wait her turn to get that changed to girl’s PE.

Bunny Mason was called Benny and sent to health class. Finally, it was Janet’s turn.

“Janet Yarsky,” he said, butchering her last name.

At least he hadn’t sent her somewhere embarrassing. She had to admit that Yarkowsky wasn’t the easiest name and he hadn’t done too badly. She followed her teacher to English class. That was her favorite subject. In fact, she hoped one day to be an English teacher.

The young male teacher leading the group looked like he’d be fun. He was dressed in the weirdest combination of clothing she’d ever seen. His pants were wide stripes of mustard yellow and maroon. His pullover sweater was an ugly green that reminded Janet of pond scum. The shirt was pale blue and his tie was several shades of brown. His chestnut hair was in kind of a shaggy, Beatles cut and his blue eyes sparkled with happy enthusiasm. They got to the classroom and found seats. Fortunately, some of her friends were in the class.

“Hi, I’m Mr. Whitmore and this is Tenth Grade English. In here, we’ll study literature and writing. I’m the debate coach, so we’ll be giving that a try too. Maybe some of you will find out you’d like to argue.”

“I love to argue,” one big guy up front said with a grin. He waved his fists around.

Mr. Whitmore laughed. “Not that kind of arguing. Organized debate is more civilized.”

The big guy snorted, shrugging.

“It’s easy to cut a man down with your fists,” Mr. Whitmore said quietly. “It’s a lot harder to take him down with your words. In here, you’ll learn to verbally spar.”

The rest of the morning went pretty well. Janet had a couple of classes with Ramona and Bunny, then it was lunch time. In the cafeteria, the students had unofficial areas they sat in. The geeks and nerds sat in the corner talking about chess club and speaking in Latin. The stoners took their food to the parking lot where they ate and got smoked up before going back to class. Other groups were scattered around the cafeteria, all of them occupying most of the tables.

The girls stood there with their trays wondering where to sit. A piercing whistle got their attention. Standing on a bench, Diego waved to them. Blushing, they walked over to the table. His big friends made room and the girls sat down. There were other girls there, girlfriends and wanna be’s. Some frowned at Ramona, Janet and Bunny.

“What makes you think you can sit with us?” one girl in a tight white sweater said.

Diego had his arm around her shoulders, nibbling at her ear until she spoke. His arm left her shoulders and he shoved her away. “Since it’s my baby sister and her friends, chica. You be polite to my sister.”

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 2

Brand New Day coverIt’s 1975—early morning, the first day of school, and already Janet’s in a bad mood, thanks to her mother and sister.

Janet wanted to cry, but with Sookie and Mama both glaring at her, she wouldn’t let the tears come. She dressed in a fury. Angry, hurt tears burned in her eyes. She didn’t say goodbye, just grabbed her lunch she’d made the night before, and left. She slammed the door behind her, starling some birds in the trees next door.

Sookie didn’t come to the bus stop. She hadn’t expected her to. Mama didn’t want her baby girl on the bus with all the big kids, afraid she’d get hurt. It was okay that Janet had ridden the bus since kindergarten, big kids or not. The bus wasn’t good enough for Miss Sookie. It was just as well. Janet didn’t want people to know they were related.

Janet’s friends were waiting for her, all dressed in their new clothing. Janet had saved her money from her job at the A&W Drive-In, to buy her things. She looked just as fresh and nice as they did.

Her pink T-shirt had big, fuchsia rhinestone lips on the front. Her hot pants were denim. Her long, tanned legs made the other girls jealous, as did her full lips and black, curly hair.

They didn’t know the Secret Janet carried inside her. If they did, she wondered how they’d act. She told everyone there was Indian blood way back, but that wasn’t it. Her daddy was half black, but didn’t look it. He’d passed for years as a white man. Wasn’t until Janet was born, a nice cafe au lait, with kinky curls, that her mama suspected.

That was how it started. Her Southern born mama couldn’t forgive him for being black. When Janet was five, he left them. They moved from Texas to Nebraska. Mama hooked up with some guy, and Sookie was born about a year later.

Mama had kin in Nebraska, which was why they’d moved there. Kin that didn’t know she’d married a black man. She could hide her shame away, forget about him. Only every day, Janet was a reminder.

The bus pulled up and stopped. There was the usual tussle to see who got on first. Today, as always, the big boys won. They hopped on and took seats at the back. The girls let the little kids go on before them. Mr. Prost, the driver, told them thank you.

“I believe you girls have all grown at least three inches apiece,” he said after greeting them each by name. “High school now. My, my.”

Mr. Prost had been their bus driver as long as Janet could remember. He was a nice, grandfatherly type. Janet loved Mr. Prost, and wished he was her granddaddy. Mama’s father was a mean old cuss who smoked and drank too much. She’d never met her father’s father. He was the black sheep and kept well hidden.

Bunny, her friend since second grade, bounced in the seat beside her. “I can’t wait to get to high school! Betty says the boys are real cute!”

Betty was Bunny’s older sister. Janet suspected she was boy crazy and had told Bunny often enough.

“Not the ones we know,” she said, cutting her eyes at the back of the bus.

“Those are sophomore boys!” Betty rolled her eyes. “I mean juniors and seniors.”

“What are those older boys gonna want with us?” Janet asked. “We’re little kids compared to them.”

“I know! They’re men!” Bunny said with a dreamy sigh.

Janet made a disgusted noise. Come to think, Bunny was as boy crazy as her sister. The difference was, Bunny didn’t sleep around like Betty did…. Yet. She was a little afraid her friend was going to follow in her sister’s footsteps.

“Junior high is behind us now,” Bunny continued. “We’re not around boys anymore. We’re gonna be seeing real men every day.”

“They’re no more men than that bunch back there,” Janet said.

“They aren’t men until they’re eighteen,” Ramona said. “That’s what my father says.”

“Betty says they’re real men once they make it with a girl,” Bunny contradicted with a toss of her head.

“Well, she’s the expert,” Ramona said dryly.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Bunny demanded.

“Nothing….” Ramona tossed her straight, black hair over her shoulder. “Oh, nothing….”

“Ramona Hernandez, you tell me!” Bunny growled. “What are you saying about my sister?”

“What I heard,” Ramona said, ignoring her. “What I heard was that she’s been through most of the male population. What I heard, is lots of the guys are men now because of Betty.”

“Who told you a lie like that?” Bunny screeched.

Ramona flounced off the bus, ignoring Bunny’s protestations. Janet knew Ramona’s source was her older brother, Diego, who had more experience than just about any guy around. He never talked about it, but the girls did. Many of them had fallen for the dark haired, sloe eyed Mexican man. Janet could see the appeal, he was gorgeous. He’d only ever treated her like a sister, so she figured she didn’t stand a chance. She could admire how good looking he was from a distance.

Diego and his buddies were waiting for them at the bus loop. He drove a car and offered Ramona a ride, but she didn’t want to crowd in the car with his loud, obnoxious friends. Diego wanted it clear to every man at the school that Ramona was his baby sister. He’d taken Bunny and Janet under his protective wing as well, since they had no older brothers. He put his arms possessively around the girls as they walked in the school surrounded by his huge, male friends.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Brand New Day by Dellani Oakes – Part 1

Brand New Day coverBrand New Day is a little different from my usual stories. One thing which makes it unique, is the fact that it takes place in flashbacks. When it opens, the main character is in the hospital. It hops back to her past, as she remembers what brought her to this point in her life. It’s also very sad in places. I’ll try to put a tissue warning on it. And finally, there is one incidence of teenagers having sex (though it is NOT graphic by any means).

I hope you enjoy Brand New Day. I’m not entirely sure where this came from, because I’ve never experienced anything like Janet did. For some reason, the story insisted upon being told.

Lubbock, Texas. 2000

Janet May Yarkowsky lay in bed shivering from withdrawal. Whatever Tex had given her was making her crazy. She had a vague memory of events the night before. The only thing outstanding in her mind was that she’d stood there placidly as he’d threatened to kill her eldest son.

How could I do that? How could I let him threaten Danny? What if next time he didn’t just wave the gun around? What if, somehow, he finds out the truth? That Danny isn’t his. What then?

Another fit of shakes gripped her body as she huddled under the tangled covers. She had to fix this. Had to stop Tex before his hatred and drug augmented paranoia drove him to kill.

She knew Danny wouldn’t leave her like this, not forever. He left her last night because she’d been crazy, too. Standing, frozen, on the porch, staring like a zombie while Tex threatened her boys with a sawed off. Danny did the only thing he could. He took Ricky away. He called his aunt and uncle and they picked the boys up, carrying them to safety.

How did I let it get like this? She asked the wall, but it had no answer. I loved him once, didn’t I? Danny, what would you do if you knew Tex wasn’t your daddy? Would you kill him? Beat the hell out of him like he richly deserves?

She couldn’t tell him and prayed he wouldn’t find out on his own. Another man had her first. A man she loved more than her own life. But it wasn’t meant to be.

“If only….” She whispered to the four walls. “If only….”

Scottsbluff, Nebraska. August 1975

“Janet May, get your lazy butt outta that bed. NOW!”

Sookie, her baby sister, turned on the lights and threw back the covers. Janet had ducked under to get away from the blazing lights. Sookie yanked her hair trying to get the blankets off.

“Mama said get up outta that bed now!” Sookie did everything Mama said. Frequently, that was torturing Janet. “Get up now!”

“Sookie Ann, you leave me be! I still got five minutes.”

“Mama said….”

“Mama didn’t say to scream like a banshee and be a unholy terror.”

“First day of school!” Sookie yelled. “Its the FIRST DAY!”

“I know that!” Janet bellowed, sitting up in bed. “I’m awake, blast it. Leave me be.”

She threw her pillow for emphasis, clipping Sookie on the rear end. Her little sister howled like she was being killed.

“Mama!” Sookie wailed.

Their mother stormed in, on Sookie’s side—as usual.

“I hit her with a pillow,” Janet said before her mother yelled. “She turned on the light, yanked my hair, and nearly snatched me bald. Jerked back the covers like I can’t get up on my own.” Her alarm clock went off. “See? I was gonna give myself five whole minutes. I swear, Mama, y’all treat me like like a baby!”

Janet stormed out of the room and headed to the bathroom for a shower. It was hot and muggy. She wanted to be fresh her first day. She wasn’t in three minutes, hadn’t even soaped her hair, when Sookie banged on the door, yelling.

“Mama says—get out!”

“I will when I’m done!”

“Mama said now!”

“Mama can come her own self and tell me. Go away, Sookie.”

“Janet May!”

“Sookie Ann, swear to God!” She cut off the water.

Dripping and furious, she flung open the door. Sookie stood there looking smug, arms crossed over her flat, ten year old chest.

Janet shoved past her, walking toward the kitchen. “Did you send that little brat to get me?” she demanded of her mother.

“You got to catch the bus….”

“Mama, I know how to get ready. I’m fifteen.”

“First day of high school, I want to see you off.”

“I’m not a baby like Sookie! I been taking care of both of us forever!”

“There’s no need to talk to me like that.”

“There is a need! There’s been a need since Daddy left. But I was too young to know. It’s not my fault he’s gone.”

Her mother stiffened. “You saying it’s mine?”

“You’re the one he argued with, not me. Daddy loved me.”

“He loved you so much he left?”

“He told me—before he left. He told me—Girls belong with their mamas or he’d take me. He told me he loved me and he was sorry, but he had to get away.”

“So, then he just left you, huh? All alone with your mean old mama?” The tone of her voice stung more than her words.

©2020 Dellani Oakes

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Love Takes a Swim by Dellani Oakes is Over

Love Takes a Swim cover small

Love Takes a Swim is over, and I’m a little sad. I’m delighted that Kai and Paisley got together. In fact, I feature them in several other books (not all are published). However, they briefly appear in Conduct Unbecoming, which is available at Amazon, Smashwords, and other e-book sites.

Usually, at this time, I would suggest some other books that I can share. So far, the track record for that is really bad, so I’m going to make an executive decision. I will be sharing something quite different from my usual stories. I’m still not sure what prompted me to write this, but it was a story which wanted to be told.

Brand New Day is unique in the way it presented itself. It begins in the year 2000, in Lubbock, Texas. However, much of the story is told in the main character’s past, leading her to this moment. Below is an excerpt from Part 1, which will begin on Sunday, July 19.

Thank you for the love and support! Dellani

Brand New Day cover

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Brand New Day

Lubbock, Texas. 2000

Janet May Yarkowsky lay in bed shivering from withdrawal. Whatever Tex had given her was making her crazy. She had a vague memory of events the night before. The only thing outstanding in her mind was that she’d stood there placidly as he’d threatened to kill her eldest son.

How could I do that? How could I let him threaten Danny? What if next time he didn’t just wave the gun around? What if, somehow, he finds out the truth? That Danny isn’t his. What then?

Another fit of shakes gripped her body as she huddled under the tangled covers. She had to fix this. Had to stop Tex before his hatred and drug augmented paranoia drove him to kill.

She knew Danny wouldn’t leave her like this, not forever. He left her last night because she’d been crazy, too. Standing, frozen, on the porch, staring like a zombie while Tex threatened her boys with a sawed off. Danny did the only thing he could. He took Ricky away. He called his aunt and uncle and they picked the boys up, carrying them to safety.

How did I let it get like this? She asked the wall, but it had no answer. I loved him once, didn’t I? Danny, what would you do if you knew Tex wasn’t your daddy? Would you kill him? Beat the hell out of him like he richly deserves?

She couldn’t tell him and prayed he wouldn’t find out on his own. Another man had her first. A man she loved more than her own life. But it wasn’t meant to be.

“If only….” She whispered to the four walls. “If only….”

Scottsbluff, Nebraska. August 1975

“Janet May, get your lazy butt outta that bed. NOW!”

Sookie, her baby sister, turned on the lights and threw back the covers. Janet had ducked under to get away from the blazing lights. Sookie yanked her hair trying to get the blankets off.

“Mama said get up outta that bed now!” Sookie did everything Mama said. Frequently, that was torturing Janet. “Get up now!”

“Sookie Ann, you leave me be! I still got five minutes.”

“Mama said….”

“Mama didn’t say to scream like a banshee and be a unholy terror.”

“First day of school!” Sookie yelled. “Its the FIRST DAY!”

“I know that!” Janet bellowed, sitting up in bed. “I’m awake, blast it. Leave me be.”

She threw her pillow for emphasis, clipping Sookie on the rear end. Her little sister howled like she was being killed.

“Mama!” Sookie wailed.

Their mother stormed in, on Sookie’s side—as usual.

“I hit her with a pillow,” Janet said before her mother yelled. “She turned on the light, yanked my hair, and nearly snatched me bald. Jerked back the covers like I can’t get up on my own.” Her alarm clock went off. “See? I was gonna give myself five whole minutes. I swear, Mama, y’all treat me like like a baby!”

Janet stormed out of the room and headed to the bathroom for a shower. It was hot and muggy. She wanted to be fresh her first day. She wasn’t in three minutes, hadn’t even soaped her hair, when Sookie banged on the door, yelling.

“Mama says—get out!”

“I will when I’m done!”

“Mama said now!”

“Mama can come her own self and tell me. Go away, Sookie.”

“Janet May!”

“Sookie Ann, swear to God!” She cut off the water.

Dripping and furious, she flung open the door. Sookie stood there looking smug, arms crossed over her flat, ten year old chest.

Janet shoved past her, walking toward the kitchen. “Did you send that little brat to get me?” she demanded of her mother.

“You got to catch the bus….”

“Mama, I know how to get ready. I’m fifteen.”

“First day of high school, I want to see you off.”

“I’m not a baby like Sookie! I been taking care of both of us forever!”

“There’s no need to talk to me like that.”

“There is a need! There’s been a need since Daddy left. But I was too young to know. It’s not my fault he’s gone.”

Her mother stiffened. “You saying it’s mine?”

“You’re the one he argued with, not me. Daddy loved me.”

“He loved you so much he left?”

“He told me—before he left. He told me—Girls belong with their mamas or he’d take me. He told me he loved me and he was sorry, but he had to get away.”

“So, then he just left you, huh? All alone with your mean old mama?” The tone of her voice stung more than her words.

©2020 Dellani Oakes