Breaking Free

As always, a huge thank you to my editing team: Girlinthemoon, Norafares, Hal, Pixel the Cat, and GeorgeAnderson. My team is the best in the business. Harddaysknight is my mentor and gives me peer review. I’m very grateful. It’s like having Steph Curry give you shooting advice. Sbrookes103x also gives me a pre-post read and I’m very grateful. Hope you enjoy, Randi

*****

My father was an asshole. There’s no nice way to put it. He wasn’t so bad when he was sober, but when I was a kid he was seldom sober. He was distant when sober, and when he got drunk he liked to knock us around. By us, I mean my mother, me and my sister. I remember when I left home. I was sixteen and he came home drunk one day. I was in my room listening to music and doing my homework. He never liked the music I listened to. He called it “hippie crap,” and I guess it was. I liked classic rock and he liked whiny country. I mean the old crying in your beer type of stuff. He came in my room and told me to turn it down. I asked him if it would just be okay if I closed the door. That set him off and he hit me on the side of the head. My eardrum broke and blood was running down the side of my face. Danni, my little sister, came running in and jumped on his back, trying to get him off me. He was beating the shit out of me and he threw her off, slamming her against the wall and breaking her wrist. Mom was screaming at him and he slapped her so hard her glasses broke.

I’d had enough. I’d never tried to fight back, but with the two girls I loved the most lying on the ground crying, I got up and punched him in the gut as hard as I could. I played football and wrestled and I spent a lot of time in the weight room. I was benching around 300 and I weighed 190. When I hit him he went all white in the face and fell to his knees with his mouth open. I broke his jaw with a knee and he collapsed to the floor. Mom was screaming and crying. I got him up and helped him to the car. I got Danni and Mom and we went to the hospital.

They put a cast on Danni’s arm and fixed Dad up, too. When we got home I packed my stuff. Mom and Danni were pleading with me the whole time but I wasn’t going to stay another minute. I went into Dad’s bedroom and shook him awake.

“Listen, you rat bastard,” I told him. “I’m leaving. I won’t live with a piece of shit like you another second. I’m checking into a motel until I can find a place to rent. I’ve got a job and plenty of money. I’m coming back here once a week to check on Mom and Danni. If I find out that you’ve laid a hand on them I’m going to do everything to you that you did to them. If I find a bruise on them I’m going to put two on you. If you so much as even look at them crossways, I’m going to beat the shit out of you. You got that?”

He sat up and started to bluster. I hit him in the liver and he puked in his bed. I made him clean it up, got my stuff and left. I hated Mom and Danni being there, but Danni was twelve and Mom wouldn’t leave him. She had one of those “it must be my fault” kinds of things going on. I understood her a little.

They got married when she was sixteen. He was twenty-two, and he had gotten her pregnant. She never finished high school and she’d never had a job. Dad was a pipe-fitter for GM and he made good money. She was trapped in the situation and couldn’t see a way out.

It was tough for me for a while. I met a guy at the gym where I worked out who was a kick boxer. He got me interested and I got pretty good. When the mixed martial arts thing really kicked off I got in with one of the promotions. I won a few fights on the under-card and got a shot at the champ. He kicked my ass and it took two years to get another shot. I had been training hard, and that time I knew what to expect. He was better than me at the standup game and I was better on the ground. He ran and punched me for three rounds. I was losing the fight and we both knew it. At the start of the fourth round I went for a shot and got the takedown. It was over then. I got a mount and beat the shit out of him until he gave me his back to protect his face. I got him in a rear naked choke and put his lights out. I was twenty-two and the light heavyweight champion. I got several deals to make commercials, won two more big fights and I was setting pretty.

I kept my word all that time about checking up on Mom and Danni. He didn’t touch them for two years. Then Mom called me and told me Danni was in the hospital with a broken collar bone. I drove straight to their house and Dad was running out the back door when I pulled up. He ran down the alley and I caught him just before he got to the street. I tackled him from behind and broke his arm with an arm-bar. I kneed him twice in the ribs and heard them break. I left him lying there in the dirt and drove to the hospital.

When Danni got out, she came and lived with me. Mom was an emotional wreck. She cried all the time and the situation was becoming intolerable. When Danni was eighteen, Mom asked us over for Christmas Dinner. Dad wasn’t’ happy about that, and casino oyna as the day wore on he got drunk and started talking shit to Mom. She couldn’t do anything right. The blackberry cobbler wasn’t sweet enough, she should have cooked a turkey instead of ham, the potatoes were lumpy. He kept at it until I told him to shut up. Mom was the best cook I ever sat down to dinner with. Everything was perfect and I was tired of it.

He snarled at me about telling him what to do in his own house. Mom started crying and went into the kitchen. He got up and followed her and I heard a dish break. When I got in there she was backed up against the refrigerator and she was covering up one side of her face.

“What happened,” I asked her.

“The clumsy bitch dropped a plate,” Dad snarled.

I looked a question at Mom. “Yes,” she said. “It was slippery.”

I pulled her hand away from her face and there was a big red hand print on her cheek. I turned and hit him in the gut. He dropped to his knees and I kicked him in the same place. He went down on the floor on his belly. I took him by the hair and his belt and dragged him through the living room to the front door. Danni was crying hysterically at the dining room table, and I made her come and hold the door open. I threw him out in the front yard. I climbed the stairs to their room and got suitcases out of the closet. It took three to pack all his stuff. I took them downstairs and out into the yard. He was just getting to his hands and knees.

“Take your shit and leave,” I told him. “You’ve beat around on Mom for the last time. Get in your truck and drive away. If I ever see you again I’m going to kill you. If you ever contact Mom or Danni again, I’m going to hunt you down and kill you.”

He blustered up about it being his house and how he’d call the police. I explained how that would be a mistake. He’d just hit Mom, all three of us had a history of broken bones and injuries. He’d been arrested a dozen times for domestic violence but Mom wouldn’t ever press charges. I told him I was going to press charges. He’d given Danni a detached retina a few years back and I was going to make her press charges. If he disappeared he’d be a free man. I told him he was going to file for divorce from Mom. He was going to give her the house, her car and half their money. If he didn’t, I was going to hunt him down and kill him. There wasn’t a jury on earth that would convict me of anything when they heard the record. He mouthed me for a while, then got his stuff and drove away. We never saw him again. He did exactly what I told him to do. I heard he got caught drinking on the job three times and GM fired him. I don’t know what ever happened to him, and I don’t give a damn.

I went back inside and Danni and Mom were hugging each other and crying on the sofa. I told them what I had done. Danni was ecstatic and Mom wept uncontrollably. “I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she sobbed. “How will I live?”

“Mom,” I told her, “you’re 38-years-old. You’re smart, gorgeous, sexy and sweet. You’re going to be fine. You’re going to go and get your GED. You’re going to enroll at the community college. When you get done there, you’re going to transfer to the university and graduate from college. You can be anything you want to be. Your life can be anything you want it to be.”

“How can I do that?” she sobbed. “I don’t have any money. I’ll have to get a job and I can’t do anything. I’ll have to be a waitress or something and I won’t have time to go to school.”

“First, there’s nothing wrong with being a waitress, but you’re not going to be one,” I told her. “You have about twenty-thousand dollars in the bank. You own your house and your car. I have enough money for all three of us for a long time. I’m going to take care of you and Danni. I’m going to pay all your bills and I’m going to put money in your accounts. I’ll put as much in there as you need. You took care of me for sixteen years, and I’m going to take care of you now. That’s what family does, and there won’t be anyone around to beat on you anymore.”

She was very sad for two days and Danni and I stayed with her. Danni told me she was going to move back in with Mom.

“I hate to lose you, baby,” I told her. “I’ve loved having you with me, but I understand. You belong with Mom. I just couldn’t risk you getting hurt anymore. I was afraid he was going to kill you. I couldn’t live with that.”

She hugged me and cried. “I’m going to miss you so much, Landon,” she said. “Can’t you move back here, too?”

“No, Danni, I’ve got my own house. I’ll come over all the time, though. I’ll take you out every Friday night and you can stay the night with me. How would that be?”

She brightened up at that, and that’s the way things were for a while. Mom got her GED and started college. She smiled and laughed a lot more. She started working out and shed the extra twenty pounds she had put on in the last few years. She got a haircut and started wearing makeup. The transformation was amazing. Danni told me canlı casino that several men had asked her out, but she wasn’t interested. That worried me and I talked to her about it.

“I don’t want to go out with them,” she said. “I’ve never been out with anyone except your father. Look how that turned out! I don’t want anything to do with men. Besides, I’ve got you.”

She was snuggled up against me on the sofa and she smiled up at me. Her long blonde hair floated around her in a soft mane and I realized that she was beautiful. She had the most amazing green eyes. They had these amber flecks in them and they just glowed when she was happy. She had a little button nose with a sprinkling of freckles across it, full puffy red lips, high cheekbones and a little pointed chin. I kissed the top of her head.

“I know you have me,” I told her. “You’re a young woman, Mom. Are you going to be single the rest of your life?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “I think so. I don’t need anyone but you and Danni. I’m afraid of other people, especially men. I don’t want to get involved.”

“Just go out on a date,” I told her. “See how you like it. All men aren’t assholes.”

“No, I know,” she said. “You’re not.”

I laughed. “Tell that to my next opponent. Maybe he’ll take it easy on me.”

“I don’t like you fighting,” she said. “I don’t like people hitting you.”

“I try to keep them from it,” I told her. “I try to hit them so they can’t hit me. I’m not going to do it long. I’ll probably retire in a couple of years. Then I can spend more time with you and Danni.”

“I can hardly wait,” she said.

Danni wasn’t happy with Mom. She thought she should have a romantic interest in her life and she bugged her about it. She bugged me, too. She wanted me to put pressure on Mom to go out on dates, but I wouldn’t do it.

“She’s had a wretched experience with men, Danni. Give her some time,” I told her. “Let her spread her wings a little. She’s still stuck where she was at sixteen when she married Dad. Let her grow up a little. Besides, you don’t go out on dates either.”

“No, I’ve had the same experience with men she did, Landon. I wasn’t married to him, but what if I have a boyfriend and he turns out like Dad?”

“You’ve just got to make good choices,” I told her. “Don’t you know any nice guys?”

“Yes, there’s one,” she said.

“Why don’t you go out with him,” I asked her.

“He doesn’t notice me,” she said. “He doesn’t think about me like that.”

“You should forget about him then,” I told her. “He’s an idiot. God, look at you. You’re gorgeous. He’s definitely an idiot.” She was gorgeous, too. She was a strawberry blonde with huge blue eyes and a neat, tight little body. She was a little on the skinny side, but she had been filling out nicely the last couple of years, and she was hot.

“I have an idea,” she said. “Why don’t you take Mom out on a date? Show her a good time and make her feel special. Take her to a nice restaurant and then take her dancing. Show her that she’s desirable and how much fun it can be.”

That sounded like a good idea to me, so I did it. I called her up Thursday. When she answered, I acted like I was just another guy, calling her up for a date.

“Rachael,” I said, “would you go out on a date with me Saturday?”

“Landon; is that you? What are you doing?”

“I’m asking you out on a date. Just me and you, a nice dinner, go to a club, have a few drinks and have a good time. How long has it been since you went on a date? We’ll pretend that it’s the first time. Will you do it?”

She laughed. “I’ve never really been on a date, Landon. Your father and I went to the drive-in movie once. That’s when… that’s… well, you were born nine months later. What should I wear?”

She was going to go! I could hardly believe it. “I’ll get you an outfit,” I told her. “I’ll pick you up at six, Saturday.”

I got her a silver Scala mini cocktail dress. It was long sleeved and covered with sequins. There was a clutch to match and I got her a pair of nice black heels. Danni made her go and get her hair done on Saturday, and when I got there she was ready to go. This was a Mom I had never seen before. The dress hugged every curve of her very curvy body. Her hair was a curly mane, sweeping her shoulders and she looked long and elegant. When she came down the stairs she was blushing. Danni was herding her along and it was plain to see that she was reluctant.

I just stared, I’m sure my mouth was open and it just made her more embarrassed.

“I can’t go out like this,” she was objecting. “I feel naked! Let me wear something to cover up a little.”

“You look perfect, Rachael,” I told her. “God, do you ever look perfect. I’m going to be the envy of every man who sees you. I’ve got a great night planned.”

I offered her my arm and walked her to the car. I told Danni not to wait up for us, I wasn’t sure we’d be back that night.

Mom blushed furiously and I opened the door for her. I have one of the new Corvette kaçak casino ZO6’s. It’s yellow and black and Mom had never seen it before. She fell in love right away. We had traded her Impala for a new Cadillac CTS V a few months back, so she was used to performance cars, but this was something special. Her street curved a bit and I let the Vette flex its muscles through the curves. Mom’s eyes were shining and she had a smile fixed on her face. I fed it the accelerator when we hit the entrance ramp for the interstate. I took her to Restaurant Eugene and she was a hit. Every eye in the place was on her. She was very shy at first, but after a while I think she started enjoying the attention.

It was a very expensive and nice place. We enjoyed the meal and we drank a couple of glasses of wine. We talked a lot and I continued to call her by her name instead of Mom. She got caught up in the spirit of the thing and enjoyed playing along. I asked her all about herself and I even learned some new things. I don’t think we had ever really talked about her.

After dinner I took her to the Opera Nightclub. It was tough to get in, but being the light heavyweight champion and having a face that was seen on TV had some perks. We stood in line and I signed a few autographs before the doorman noticed. He came back and got us and took us right in. They gave us a table in the VIP section and we ordered drinks. I drank black Russians and Mom got a vodka gimlet. We drank and talked a while, and I asked her to dance.

“I really don’t know how to dance, Landon,” she said. “I’ve never been dancing before.”

“You just follow me and you’ll be fine,” I told her. “Dancing is just about moving your feet and not worrying about looking like a fool. Come on, you’ll be a star.”

She let me pull her out on the floor, and she was a natural. All that teenaged girl she never got to experience came flooding out, and she looked amazing. The band played a couple of up tempo numbers, and we stayed out for the third. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes were sparkling. They started a slow, sweet number and I held out my hand. She took it a little hesitantly, and I pulled her up against me. She shivered a little when I put my other hand on her back just above her butt, and we moved together. She put her cheek against my chest and she felt amazing in my arms.

Her breasts were pressed against my chest, and I could feel that her nipples were erect. I moved one leg between her thighs and slid my hand down to her butt, pulling her against me. She pressed herself against my leg for a moment then she looked up at me. There were tears in her eyes, and I couldn’t help myself. I bent my head and kissed those luscious lips. They parted under mine and I teased them with my tongue. I heard a soft moan and then she pushed me away. She just stood there looking at me for a minute and I offered her my hand. She hesitated for a moment then took it and I pulled her close again.

“Landon, what’s going on?” she said in a low voice by my ear.

“We’re dancing,” I told her. “I have this absolutely gorgeous girl named Rachael in my arms. We’re on our first date, and I’m loving it. I wonder how she feels.”

“She feels confused,” she told me. “I love everything we’ve done, Landon. This has been the best night of my life. I just don’t know where this is going.”

“Do you care?” I asked her. “Just let it happen, Rachael. This is your night. This is for all the nights like this you never had. Just love me and let me love you. Dance with me, let me hold you, let me make this special for you.”

I could see the doubt and confusion in her eyes. She danced with me, searching my face. It seemed like she made up her mind and she raised her lips to be kissed. I didn’t hesitate. She felt too amazing in my arms. I never intended for any of this to happen; I was just playing a game. I don’t know at what point it became a real date with a real woman I wanted to be with, but it was. That she was my beautiful mom made it just that much more exciting. I was going to make this real if she would let me.

We went back to our table after the song ended and finished our drinks. I danced once more with her and took her to my car. When I pulled up in front of my house I could see her start to get cold feet.

“I… I need to go home, Landon,” she told me.

“Come in with me and let me show you something,” I told her. “I have a present for you. Actually, I have two presents.”

When I opened her door she let me lead her inside. I sat her on the sofa and went into the den to get her presents. She laughed when she pulled the fluffy, fat white unicorn out of its bag. “You know I love unicorns,” she said. “I’ll put him on the shelf over my bed.”

She tore the paper off of the second package and there was a series of progressively smaller boxes inside. She laughed as she opened each one. “There’s really nothing in here, is there?” She giggled.

“You’ll just have to see,” I said.

When she opened the last little box there was another, blue velvet box inside. She opened it and gasped. There was a big blue sapphire pendent lying on the velvet. It was surrounded by diamonds and had a platinum chain. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes.

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