First Chapter of FORGET ME NOT by Valerie Maarten
PROLOGUE (unedited version)
Violet DeGrace bounded up the stairs to her bedroom, unable to believe what had just occurred between her and her mother. Her heart raced as she tore through her room like a cyclone, removing clothes from hangers and dumping undergarments on the bed.
A myriad of emotions coursed through her veins, but most prevalent was hatred. Hatred of the man that had come between her and her mother…her stepfather. But anger at her mother ran a close second, making her disappointment acute.
Never, in a million years, did she envision that the conversation she needed to have with her mother would erode into a knock-down, drag-out war. What she did expect was for her mother to feel just as appalled and betrayed as she did.
Violet plopped down heavily on the bed, listening but not hearing the argument that continued downstairs. Their words were muffled, but the anger and rage in their tones was clear. Yet, it was an anger that was unjustly aimed towards her. She was the victim here. So, why did she feel so wretched?
Violet reached for the suitcase in the back ofher closet and tossed it on her bed. She was not staying in this place another moment. Although she had nowhere to go, she’d rather sleep on the street like a homeless urchin than to sleep under the same roof with that vile man. If you could call him that. He was more like a…a predator,” she thought to herself.
Soon, the arguing downstairs died down to an eerie hush that shrouded the house. The silence put a cold shiver up Violet’s spine. Then she could hear it…footsteps. They were light and tentative. She knew, without seeing, that it was her mother.
A soft rap on the door drew her attention back to her packing. She did not want to talk anymore. All she had wanted to do was leave and NEVER return. The knocking came again, harder and more insistent this time.
“Violet…it’s me. Open the door,” her mother called from the other side of the door.
“Go away!” Violet yelled from the other side. “I don’t want to talk to you.”
She could hear her take in a deep, impatient breath. “Open this door this instant!” she yelled back. “I’ve had just about enough of your wild accusations and your foolishness to try and come between me and my husband. Now, open this door, or so help me, I’ll rip it from the hinges.”
Violet stared at the closed door for a long while, still not believing her mother’s harsh words from their argument earlier. “Wild accusations?” Did she not understand what she was trying to tell her? Just the thought of it enraged her further. Renewed anger propelled her to the door. She was prepared to do battle, once and for all. If she never saw her mother again in her lifetime, she would know what she meant to her before she left.
Violet snatched the door open with such violent force her mother was stunned into silence for a moment, but quickly collected her wits. She clearly had come to do battle, as well.
Bonnie Willis was no shrinking violet and neither was her daughter. She had raised her to be tough and strong. A trait she thought would be useful when Violet became a woman and married. She had prepared her to defend herself and accept nothing less than the best for herself. But that characteristic was supposed to be reserved for a wandering husband that would leave her for a much younger woman and start a new family, as if the life he had previously never existed. She never thought in all her life that her own daughter would turn it on her.
Bonnie brushed past Violet and entered the bedroom. She did not require an invitation in her own home. Her eyes fell to the disarray Violet caused in the short time she stormed from the argument downstairs and slammed the door in a fierce temper. It was havoc. Clothes were snatched from the hangers in the closet and her undergarments were strewn haphazardly across her bed, the drawer tossed aside on the floor.
She let her eyes take in the scene around her. Her face pinched together in a pensive scowl. “Well, if she thinks she could do better on her own, let her leave,” she thought to herself. “She will be back, begging for their forgiveness within the week.”
“Going somewhere?” Bonnie asked. She still never looked at her daughter. She continued to survey the room, inch by inch. She was determined that she would not be the one to give in. This was too important. She had to stand firm…hold her ground or Violet would ruin her only chance at finding love again.
Violet stubbornly didn’t answer. She knew that her silence would speak volumes. And though she and her mother rarely had a disagreement, she could not back down now. And if she couldn’t make her understand and see what was going on right under her nose, then there was nothing left to say. She tossed her jeans and shirts in the suitcase, her mind reeling from the cruel words that were spoken earlier, the hateful words that had already begun to sear her heart.
Bonnie became impatient with Violet’s attitude and grabbed her by the shoulders and spun her around to face her. The look she gave her cut Bonnie to her soul, but she knew she was doing the right thing. She could not let her daughter's petty jealousy of her relationship with her new husband ruin her chance at happiness.
“Where do you think you’re going, huh? To your father?” she let out a sarcastic, scoffing sound. “When he divorced me, he divorced you. Or have you forgotten?” She stepped closer to Violet, crowding her space and making her scotch back a few paces. “When was the last time he called you?” she poked her in the chest. “When was the last time he did anything for you? It’s like you no longer exist to him.”
Violet flinched at her mother’s words. They were true. When he left them five years ago, he never looked back. It was like he never had a wife and daughter. And now…now he had a new wife and family. She could never go to him for help. He would only turn her away and say that his precious wife wanted time for them and their new daughter to become acquainted first. Her mother was right about that, but she would not…could not stay here.
"It’s no longer any of your concern what I do, mother,” she said angrily. Disdain and venom dripped from her words. “You’ve clearly made your choice and you’re no different than my father in that regard.”
Before the words left her lips, her mother delivered her a stinging slap that made her head snap back and a loud ringing sound droned in her ears. Tears did sting behind her eyes this time, more from shock than from the pain. Her mother had never struck her before…until she married that disgusting man.
“Don’t you dare say that to me!” Bonnie yelled. Her temper had reached its boiling point with her flippant, teenage daughter’s antics. She had had enough. “When your father left us, I was the one that struggled to keep a roof over your head and food in your belly. Who do you think bought those clothes you’re packing? I did!”
Violet slammed the pants that she was holding into the suitcase. She didn’t care if she had to strip naked, she was not staying here. “Fine! Youcan keep your damned clothes. I don’t need them. And I don’t need you!”
Bonnie stepped aside as Violet pushed past her and stormed from the room, leaving her mother looking on, bewildered and shocked. Her motherly instinct told her to stop her from leaving…to apologize and hope that things would go back to the way they had been before this discourse. But she didn’t want to it the way it was. She didn’t want to be alone for the rest of her life. And if her daughter couldn’t see that…understand that, then she could just go. She was not going to stop her.
Yet, the sight of her daughter’s retreating back as she walked from the room and down the stairs fueled an anger she would regret for the rest of her life. Her next words were surely going to seal their fates. But she had given her no other choice. She had forced her to have to choose between a thick-headed daughter and her new husband. Violet was 16 years old and would be leaving off to college in a year. So why should she give up on her life and her marriage? She loved her husband.
Bonnie ran to the top of the stairs as Violet rushed towards the door. “Go! Get out!” she yelled at Violet’retreating back. “And do not EVER come back. Do you hear me? You’re no longer my daughter and you’re not welcomed in my…our,” referring to her husband, “…home. From this day forward, I don’t have a daughter.”
Her biting words made Violet stop in her tracks, her trembling hands hovered over the doorknob. She did not look back as she spoke. Tears filled her eyes and she did not want her mother to know that she had hurt her so deeply. Her instinct was to strike back. “And I no longer have a mother. You are dead to me. And when your husband breaks your heart, do not come looking for me to help you put your pathetic life back together.”
“Get out of my house!” Bonnie yelled again. Her body shook from the intensity of her rage. She held her stomach, as if to ward off the pain her words had caused. “Go!” Bonnie continued to scream, her shrills bouncing off the walls andf ollowed Violet as she closed the door behind her. The price of remaining with her husband had cost her the dearest person in the world. But it was too late to take back all that she had said. In a fit of anguish and raw pain, Bonnie screamed as she slid to the floor and began to sob for her loss.
Copyright © 2011 Valerie Maarten
Parmesan Spinach Balls
- 1 pound package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 5 eggs
- 1 large onion, minced
- 10 tablespoons margarine, melted
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 3/4 cups Italian-style bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Squeeze the excess water from the spinach and put it in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well by hand.* Form the mixture into 1-inch balls, either by hand or with a small ice cream scoop. Place the balls closely together on a baking sheet.
- Cook in the top half of the oven until firm to the touch, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, and then transfer to a platter and serve immediately.
* Cook's Note: Wearing latex gloves while mixing and forming the balls is suggested.
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