tagNovels and NovellasForced to Change Ch. 00

Forced to Change Ch. 00

bySimoneLisbon©

Prologue

Mommy was on the cell phone with one the aunties. I have no idea which one but I was still waiting to see if what Daddy said was true. One day Mommy was going to talk her ear off. I wanted to see it. Where would the ear go? I'd tugged on my ears, they seemed pretty stuck on there to me. But every time one of my aunties came over to the house, they still had both ears. Don't worry, I'm going to figure this one out, just give me time.

Mommy was standing at the stove making breakfast. I'd just finished coloring the picture of the tiger purple and was looking for the black crayon to do the stripes part. I had to practice, stay in the lines. I hated, I mean strongly disliked that part. There was lots of space on the paper, and I wanted to make rainbows outside the lines. So I was trying to stay in the lines and finish the tiger. When that was done and if Mommy didn't throw it up on the fridge, well, I could always do the rainbow part later on the back of the paper.

Breakfast smelled funny, I think Mommy burned it again lost talking on the phone. Daddy always said smile and eat it anyway. I would eat it too, if I could just get Mommy to give me cereal instead of whatever she was trying to make on the stove.

"Oh girl, did you see that dress? ShayShay needs to lose some weight if she wants to wear that shit. I know, I know." Mommy laughed. I rolled my eyes and wondered where the weight would go, same place as the ears I guessed. I had to figure this out.

I climbed down off the chair and walked over to Mommy. Her shorts were too high, so I hugged the back of her caramel colored leg and asked, "Mommy? Where do the ears go? Where do the weight go?"

"Hang on girl, this child of mine." Mommy cradled the phone between her shoulder and ear. "Go play the quiet game."

I rolled my eyes again, well I started to roll them but Mommy was looking at me this time. I'd been warned more than once not to roll my eyes at her. I had a question though. One look at her face and I started to play the quiet game.

It's really easy to play. All I had to do was sit still and be quiet, dammit. How long I had to play was on how much longer Mommy wanted to talk on the phone to which ever auntie. I went back to the chair and tried to climb up. Mommy helped me and I sat in the seat to finish the stripes part, while she talked bad about Auntie ShayShay.

Something banged in the front room. I jumped in my seat. Mommy snatched me by the back of my nightie and I was in the air. She shoved me in the home of the pots and pans. "Play the quiet game baby. Play the quiet game," she whispered to me and shut the door.

There was something in her voice, it sounded like begging. I was shaking so hard I couldn't do the sit still part yet, but I had the quiet part down. It was important. I was already playing the quiet game before she said it again so I didn't understand. I was confused and I had even more questions. But I could tell, it was so important that I play the quiet game. So I was playing the quiet part of the game. I wrapped my arms around my legs until I could get the sit still part of the game right too.

There was a lot of shouting going on, my Mommy, the loudest of them all with her, "Get the fuck out! If that comes near me you'll lose it, Fucker."

I didn't know the other voices; the only thing I knew for sure was the men in our house weren't uncles. Daddy was going to be mad. Uncles weren't allowed in the house when Daddy wasn't home. These bad guys weren't even uncles. No wonder Mommy was so mad. She was going to be in big trouble when Daddy found out.

Once I could do the sit still part of the game too, I played the quiet game for what felt like forever. I played the quiet game until it sounded like Mommy was playing the quiet game too. I kept playing the quiet game until I fell asleep, my face wet with tears. I played the best quiet game I'd ever played in my life.

***

I hadn't heard the door open because I'd been asleep for how long, I didn't know. "I found her," a not uncle who had skin like the ice cream rapper, Vanilla Ice, said. He was not an uncle. So I continued to play the game.

He was staring at me. He was just looking at me with really pretty blue eyes. I was too scared to do anything other than continue to play the game. I watched the different man, with the funny colored eyes. No uncle I knew had those colored eyes or skin that color. There were a few aunties that had fake eyes close to that color, but not that color. I was willing to bet his eyes weren't fake.

"Oh Sweet Jesus thank God," Daddy said, his voice in another part of the house.

I let out the breath I'd been holding onto so hard my chest hurt. Daddy was home. Daddy was home and everything would be okay. Daddy would say I could stop playing the quiet game. Then I could tell him all about the not uncles including the not uncle staring at me. Daddy would fix it all.

"Where is she?" Daddy said. He had the begging in his voice too. But his voice was closer now.

The not uncle stood up and then there was Daddy. I was so happy to see him I couldn't move. I didn't have to move because he pulled me out of the cupboard, picked me up and hugged me to his chest. I was safe. His heart was beating so fast, I could feel it against my ear. I knew he would fix it all. Daddy can fix anything.

I had to tell him fast about the not uncles. "Mommy made me play the quiet game and they weren't uncles Daddy and I played the game and Mommy said bad words really loud and, but they weren't uncles and so I played the quiet game for as long as I could and they weren't uncles, Daddy. Mommy was mad, but they weren't uncles so it's not her fault." So much stuff to tell him, it was all important. It was so important. I had to let him know it all. He had to know it all, so he could fix it. So I had tried to tell it all to him in one breath.

"Mommy didn't want them in here, Daddy. I promise, she didn't let them in. They were just here." I didn't want Mommy to get in trouble for having not uncles in the house when Daddy wasn't home. He shushed me and hugged me as I spoke into his chest. He crushed me to it. It was all so important.

I calmed down. I didn't think Mommy was going to be in trouble, so I asked the question I was most afraid to ask. "Where's Mommy?"

Daddy's arms tightened around me until I couldn't breathe. I asked again, "Where's Mommy?" It seemed Daddy was going to play the quiet game too.

I turned my head wiping my tears and snot on Daddy's shirt in the process. Oh, there she was, even though all I could see of her was Mommy's leg. I wanted to relax, but something was wrong. Her leg was the wrong color. It was ashy, but not, and there was something else too. There was a lot of not quite black, not quite red liquid around it. Daddy pressed my face to his chest and that's all I saw of Mommy. At least I had an answer.

I relaxed in his arms because Mommy was just playing the quiet game. Maybe Daddy had told her to play it. I didn't know. We left the kitchen, then the house. Daddy buckled me into my car seat in the back of his car. I wanted to ask all my questions, but he started the car and we drove away without Mommy. Daddy was playing the quiet game, so I guessed I was supposed to keep playing too.

I wondered when Daddy was going to fix it all. How long would it take him to fix it? My Daddy can fix anything, so I was just going to have to wait until then. Mommy always says it takes the time it takes, like that's an answer to how long something is going to be.

It was too confusing. I had so many questions I couldn't keep them all bottled up in my head. Daddy occasionally took me for rides that didn't include Mommy but it was to toy stores, or for ice cream. Mommy says he was going to spoil me, and he'd tell her, "So what?" I just wondered what I had in common with milk. Would I smell bad if I spoiled?

When we didn't go back to Mommy I didn't understand why. Since Daddy was playing the quiet game, I tried to play too. As Daddy played the quiet game, I thought hard and didn't understand why it was taking so long to fix it.

Over the next few weeks, whenever I asked, "Where's Mommy?" Daddy always played the quiet game, so I stopped asking for a bit. I didn't like the way he played the game. It was taking him too long to fix it. I never wanted to play the sit still and be quiet, dammit game ever again. By the end of the first month after we left Mommy at the house, I stopped playing it altogether.

The not uncle with the not fake eyes was a new uncle. He came around the new house a lot. He didn't play the quiet game. He said a lot of weird things to me while Daddy was still playing the quiet game. Daddy rarely left his bedroom. Today was the first time in weeks that Daddy was out of his bedroom, so even though I wasn't playing the game, I was quiet.

The new uncle called me over to him to break up the silence. He told me if a man every put his hands on me and I didn't want to be touched by him, I was supposed to kick him below the waist.

Daddy lifted his head up at that and said, "You can't tell her stuff like that."

"Why not? She's smart as a whip. And she needs to learn how to defend herself," Uncle replied.

Daddy rolled his eyes. It was the first time in forever that they sparkled like before we left Mommy. "Because she's too damn literal," Daddy smiled.

"What do you mean?" Uncle Not Fake Blue Eyes asked.

Daddy rubbed a hand over his face. After some thought and trying not to laugh, he said, "Baby girl, pretend he's a man who just put his hands on you and you don't want to be touched."

I thought about it for a second and did as I was told. I kicked Uncle Not Fake Eyes below the waist.

Daddy laughed. Uncle Not Fake eyes grinned at me. They were both smiling, so I was happy too.

"Oh I get it. I think, I meant to say, kick him between the legs, Sweetheart."

I looked at Daddy. He was smiling so bright I didn't want him to stop, but I had a big problem. One time, while playing with Daddy I'd accidental kicked him between the legs. I was almost flying the way he tossed me so fast to Mommy sitting on the opposite couch. She was on the phone talking to an auntie. She watched the whole thing and as Daddy walked away from us in a funny slow way, I still had no idea what I'd done wrong.

"Girl, I'm going to have to call you back. You'll never believe what this child of mine just did." Mommy smiled, holding back laughter until Daddy was finally out of the room. When she got her giggles under control she'd whispered to me to never do that again. Mommy said kicking a man between the legs was extremely painful and she knew I hadn't meant to do it, but I'd hurt Daddy.

I'd been about to say just that, but I knew if I said 'Mommy' that smile would go away from my Daddy's face. I didn't want that to happen. My heart was pounding, and I knew I was about to get in trouble because I was supposed to obey what any uncle or auntie told me to do.

"No," I said.

"Why not?" Uncle Not Fake Eyes asked. I thank God he wasn't mad, he just looked confused. I kept my lips shut tight.

Daddy chimed in, "Something her mother told her after she did it to me."

Relief hit me because Daddy already knew the problem. "Honey, he means from a not uncle. He's telling you that it's okay if it's a not uncle."

"Okay." I climbed on the couch to do as I was told. But Uncle Not Fake Eyes stopped me before I could kick him.

He picked up the cushion from the couch, and leaned it against the side. "Practice kicking that as if it were a not uncle man. One more thing, if it's an uncle and you don't want to be touched, it's okay to kick him between the legs, too."

"Okay," I said. Since he was the only uncle I saw since the bad thing Daddy still hadn't fixed yet happened, that was an easy one to remember. I kicked the cushion for a good twenty minutes. The whole time, Daddy stayed happy while they talked.

"It wasn't your fault," Uncle Not Fake Eyes said.

"I only jumped into that gang because she was pregnant. I needed money. I had to take care of my family," Daddy said.

"I don't think this was gang-related. I'll get on you about that decision another time. So stop blaming yourself," Uncle said softly. "You should have called me sooner, though. I have to confess it was too much like what happened to me. I think, no, I'm certain it was a message meant for me."

Daddy swallowed hard and the smile went away. "What can I do to help you?"

"You're already doing it. Take care of yourself and your daughter," Uncle said.

"I want to do more. Whatever you need me to do," Daddy said.

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