I didn't sign up for Weekend Writing Warriors this week because I knew I was going to run way over on my sentence limit, but since this is the last snippet I'm sharing from Shades of Blue, I couldn't help it. (You can catch up on the earlier excerpts here.) I'm skipping ahead quite a bit, but I wanted to end with this part.
After Sam's mom finds out that Russ is molesting her step-daughter Britney in addition to hitting her, she's finally promised Sam that she'll quit drinking and taking pills so they can get away from Russ. This scene takes place when JoJo and Britney have an unexpected talk in the back yard. JoJo has been trying to be nicer to her because of her abuse, but they still can't stand each other at this point. This is Britney's response when JoJo asks her why she lied about Sam groping her and got him beaten for it.
“I knew the old man was gonna blow his top when I told him I was tired of getting groped, but I didn’t care. Probably because I was still pissed that somebody at school that day had decorated my locker with a bunch of rubbers blown up like balloons, but I just wasn’t in the mood to take it from him that night. I knew he’d hit me for saying it, but getting hit ain’t so bad compared to getting felt up by your old man, you know?”
I was glad she didn’t wait long enough for an answer from me, because I didn’t have a clue what to say to that.
“Anyway,” she said, “Sam must’ve heard us and knew I was about to get my ass whipped, because he comes busting into my room yelling for me to stop lying to get him in trouble for something he didn’t even do. The old man bought the whole thing and beat the shit outta Sam, even with me screaming that he never touched me.”
I had no problem believing Sam would do something like that. And if I’d had any doubt before that he was the best person I’d ever know, I knew it for sure then. But that didn’t keep me from being furious with him for doing it, and he was gonna get an earful from me the next time I saw him.
“Okay, I believe you,” I said. “I can see Sam doing that. And now that I think about it, he never actually told me you said that about him. He knew what I’d think and just let me think it, same as he did with Russ.”
“Yeah, he’s pretty slick,” she said. “I asked him later why he did it, and all he said at first was that it wasn’t a big deal and I had to learn not to talk back to the old man. But after I kept pestering him about why he did it, he said he only did what brothers are supposed to do.”
She closed her eyes, and big tears squeezed out from the corners and ran down her cheeks.
“Nobody’s ever done anything for me like that before," she said. "Hell, nobody’s done nothing for me at all unless I gave ‘em something for it first. So as much as I hate having a sorry asshole like Russell Hart for an old man, I gotta be kinda glad about it since it means I get to have Sam for a brother.”
I changed my mind then. I wasn’t gonna yell at Sam for what he’d done when I saw him, but I was sure gonna kiss him for it.
“Look, Britney,” I said. “You don’t deserve to get treated the way you do, by Russ or by anybody else. I’m sorry for being such a bitch to you before, and I hope we can get along from now on. You know, since you’re Sam’s sister and all.”
She looked up at me, and I could see a smile fighting with the tears that were leaving tracks in the dirt on her cheeks.
Maybe it's just me, but I think I see a budding friendship sprouting here. ;-) And I'm sorry to leave you hanging like this, but you'll just have to buy your own copy of Shades of Blue here to find out how they all get away from Russ and uncover the truth about Sam's real dad. Please also check out the other Snippet Sunday folks. Something for everyone among these talented writers!
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