Dessie Harper faces a crossroads in her life. She's lost her cousin and lover, gained a brother, and carries an unborn child. During a tropical getaway to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Dessie meets a captivating man named Daniel-but even the prospect of romance can't deter her from what she needs to do. She reveals her situation to her faithful friends, Vicki, Sharon, and Debra. With their help, she formulates a plan to begin the next phase of her life.
That plan involves quitting her job, moving to New York, and keeping her pregnancy a secret from her mother, Ruthie, who Dessie feels would be ashamed of her daughter. In addition to the trouble of looking for work to support herself, however, Dessie fears for her life. Her lover, Ray, threatened to kill her when she demanded financial support for her child. She'll do anything to protect herself and her baby.
In this sequel to Junie Boy's Funeral, Dessie navigates the many twists and turns that life throws at her as she seeks to improve herself and find love and acceptance.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.46(d)|
Read an Excerpt
After The Pain
By David Caines
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2011 David Caines
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAutumnal 1968
Late autumn, cold, bare trees, hard; the harvest long over. The days are short; the nights are long. So very long! This is not the season of love, and yet, I found you. Was this an omen of how life would be? For in here, this season, we are taught that death must be.
As my end fastly approaches, I've given myself over to this time to tell you that through it all, I've loved you without boundries. The only thing that I would consider a tragedy is the possibility that when this is all over, I won't be allowed in the place where you now reside. Our Lord, don't do that to me!
From the moment that I rested my eyes upon you, I knew that I loved you. Tonight I dreamed of you, and I told you that I loved you and kissed you. I woke up and I thought of the day that I kissed your hand over and over. (You made me do it!) But I was a willing subject! My stomach churns in angst as I remember the terrible feeing of losing you.
I had found a new love even before you left. I don't know why, it was just that way. I wonder if I decided to love someone else, or were the charms so that I could not resist? I have not knowledge of it, but it was a mistake that I still regret. Had things not changed, we would have had the dreams of young love to contend with for more than just one night ... more than just two? Perhaps there would be no need to write this ode.
As I often think, when things have gone awry, that I would lie upon your grave and slowly fade into where you are. I'm hungry for knowing-did you think of me as you left? Did you feel the warmth of my tears, or were they just cold drops of water on the nights of rain? A lifetime of loss and pain will now cease to be; I will cry no more for wanting and loving you. And if our God loves us as he has promised, then to you, I'll always be.
Spring. Rebirth, new life, Love. The blossoming of flowers and trees, and a young man's fancy ... But it couldn't be, because my love was laid to rest beneath the now full trees.
Dessie sat on the beach burying her toes in the sand; the Sea lulling her to a place of peace and stillness. Could all of this be real? She thought to herself, life had not been so cruel. But she knew that it had been. Just over a month ago, she had lost her lover, her cousin, and gained a brother in that exact order. She yearned for any semblance of a normal life that had been hers so many, many days ago. Had it not been for her friends, she feared that she would have soon taken the step that even now she still contemplated. They're pushing her to take a week's vacation to this beautiful island was the best thing that she could have done. Staying at home feeling miserable and unwanted was too depressing.
Soon after Junie Boy's funeral, she realized that staying in her current job would be a mistake; seeing that it would somehow always tie her to Ray. She wanted to be free of him. She gave her two-week's notice just a few days after returning. She felt so beat down that all she wanted to do was stay home in bed. She needed time to think about what it was that she wanted to do about the situation she was now faced with. She had to make up her mind quickly. The baby growing inside of her will swell her belly in a couple of months, and everybody would know. She wished that Junie Boy was still alive. He always had the answers. The one thing that she was certain of though; was that she had to leave Westfield. There was no way that she could stay there and withstand all the stares and the gossip that would surely follow. Ruthie didn't deserve the shame that Dessie was sure she would feel.
When Dessie quit her job, Ruthie asked why, and she couldn't tell her. It should have been the most natural thing in the world for any woman to go to her mother and tell her that she was pregnant, but all Dessie felt like doing was hiding; knowing full well that she wouldn't be able to do it forever. Before she left for Jamaica, Ruthie made her a cream colored pantsuit, and commented on her breast and hip increases.
"I just sit around eating a bunch of junk food Mama," Dessie said, trying to pass it off as nothing to worry about.
"I hope this trip gets you outside and doing some of that exercising stuff that you see on the television when folks go to these fancy places."
"I am Mama," Dessie said, "I'll probably get so much sun, I'll come by here and you won't even recognize me." Dessie said.
"I'll recognize you no matter what," Ruthie told her, "a mama always knows her chillun."
Dessie wouldn't respond to her mother's comment, and was glad that her back was to her when she spoke.
"So, when do you plan to start looking for another job?" Ruthie asked.
"I want to leave my options open for a while. Working in the corporate world is too hectic for me right now," Dessie explained.
"I thought you said you worked for the business," Ruthie said, sounding confused.
"Business' and 'corporate' means the same thing Mama." Dessie explained.
"Well folks needs to settle on one thing and call it that! Do you want me to do your hair before you leave?" Ruthie asked her daughter.
"No Mama. I'm going to get it braided so I won't have to worry about it once I'm there."
"What you gonna do about your place since you ain't working now?"
"I still have a couple of months already paid for," Dessie told her, "I might find another job here and won't have to move anytime soon." Dessie knew that she was just making up things to say to keep Ruthie from finding out the truth.
Ruthie had already seen that Ray was no longer involved with Dessie. Reverend C.L. had announced the previous Sunday that Ray and Barbara Bolland were the new parents of a baby girl. When Ruthie had mentioned it to Dessie over the phone, no emotion came across the phone line, but bitter tears Ruthie couldn't see were falling. All Dessie could think about was that that baby was going to live a privileged, soft life, but this other child needed the same entitlements. They are both of the same blood!
"I'm so glad that you came to your senses and left that man alone. You can find somebody way better than that," Ruthie affirmed to Dessie, who made no comment.
Ray had called Dessie a few days after Junie Boy's funeral to ask if she was still pregnant. She wouldn't tell him anything, and that whatever choice she had made had nothing to do with him. He had sounded nervous and scared, and he needed to be. He wasn't sure if she had gone through with the abortion or not.
"If you ever come near me or my family, I will do any and everything to protect them Dessie!" Ray threatened.
"Ray you don't know what I have on your sorry ass! I regret the day that I met you! The Department of Labor would love to hear how you forced me into a sexual relationship, and when I became pregnant, you gave me two thousand dollars to get rid of it. The doctor that you sent me to, could be summoned to testify at trial. Now do you want to push me Ray?" Dessie demanded. The line was silent for a few seconds. "I didn't think so!" Dessie said, and hung up the phone.
But what she couldn't hang up was her heart. She was hurt by feelings of love that still seemed to plague her; so when these tried to manifest themselves, she forced herself to remember what he had so coldly done to her, and what she had allowed him to do.
"Taking this vacation will do you a lot of good." Ruthie said.
"I hope so Mama. I really do hope so. Since Junie Boy got killed, I really don't have anyone that I feel close to here. Tasha is in medical school. We hardly ever see each other anymore."
"Reverend C.L. and Charlene are coming over this evening to visit. They want to talk to me about keeping Tyquan and the new baby when it gets here. Why don't you come over too? Reverend C.L. would love to see you."
"Mama, I just can't do it right now. I mean, Clanford knew all along that he was Daddy's son. He could have told us. If he was afraid, he could have still told us when daddy died."
"Dessie, I just don't blame it on him. He didn't make his self. It ain't his fault.'" Ruthie pleaded with Dessie.
"But Mama, he was so against Junie Boy who held no secrets, and he walked around with the biggest secret of all!"
"Everybody has to answer for they own selves in judgement," Ruthie said to an unyielding Dessie. "If the church can see all the good he's done, then I'm sure you can see a splinter of that good. Charlene is married to him, and the mother of his children and she didn't know either," Ruthie explained.
"That's just it Mama! He didn't even tell the woman that he's married to! I would like to believe that the one person in the world that should know everything about you; does! But he didn't even tell her! There's too much deceit involved to look at it as something that's private."
"But Dessie, we all have to forgive if we want to be forgiven. You have to think about that."
Dessie didn't feel very comfortable discussing Clanford and changed the subject.
"Have you heard from Aunt Beatrice, Mama?" Dessie inquired.
"Yeah, she calls me when she's so drunk and thinks that everybody is out to get her money. She actually sat out on the porch for three days and nights waiting on the mailman to bring her the check from the insurance company. Now she done started telling me that one of her friends and Wesley has been messing around. Said she played like she was sleep when this woman got there, and instead of her leaving when Wesley told her that she was sleep, he and the woman was out on the sun porch together. She keeps on talking about putting him out, but he ain't going nowhere 'fo that money do."
"Mama I used to think that Junie Boy was crazy to leave Aunt Beatrice all that money, but maybe it was just what she needed to do herself in." Dessie said.
"Don't talk that old foolishness Dessie Lee! Junie Boy loved his Mama; she just ain't never had no time for him. Poor Patrice has to do just about everything, and for everybody! Since that child finished school, she ain't been no morn' a slave for Bea, them twins, and Wesley. She tried to tell me something that night of the wake, but Bea made her get out of the kitchen and walk all the way down to that gas station from where they stays just to get her old drunken friends some ice. I told Bea that she must be outta her mind to send that child down that dark road like that. She told me that that was her child and whatever she told her to do, she'd better not waste no damn time getting it done!"
"That's so unfair," Dessie said softly, "she's going to end up leaving just like Junie Boy did."
"I sort of hope she does," Ruthie said, "God knows she ain't going to get anywhere staying there!" Dessie hugged Ruthie extra tight, telling her that she was glad that it was she who was her mother. Dessie knew that if everything went as she planned, she wouldn't be seeing her mother for quite a while, and it did hurt.
Arriving in Montego Bay was a cultural shock for the four friends. The heat was stifling; getting through customs seemed to take forever. Once they were finally outside, the sights and sounds of this beautiful island amazed them. There seemed to be hundreds of people at the airport. Several guys approached them asking if they needed a cab. They declined their offers by the sheer look of them. They were foreigners, but they weren't stupid. Vicki approached a man she assumed was a police officer dressed in a colorful uniform. Vicki could barely understand what he was saying because of his heavy accent. He signaled to a guy leaning on a car not far from the departure area. She spoke to him for a few seconds telling him where they wanted to go. The taxi guy followed Vicki over to where the others were standing. He automatically started lifting their luggage and placing as much as would fit into the trunk of his car. The two remaining bags were secured on the hood of the car with some rope that he carried with him.
Vicki, Sharon and Debra sat in the back seat, and Dessie got in the passenger seat in the front, and she soon regretted it. The first thing that she noticed was that the steering wheel was on the opposite side of the car from what they were used to. That alone made her not want to drive, but once they got onto the road to take them to the resort, Dessie found out what real fear felt like. The guy had to have been traveling at least eighty miles per hour at his lowest speed! Dessie screamed, covered her face, openly prayed; a look of pure terror on her face.
Dessie was crying and visibly shaken by the time they reached the resort. She started cursing the driver who was already out of the car and getting their luggage.
"Don't you ever come near us again!" Dessie screamed at him; still shaking from the ride and crying while her friends tried to calm her down. "Ya'll don't understand! To see cars coming at you at that speed, and this idiot didn't even try to move over! I didn't come all the way here to die in an accident just because this bastard's ego is in jeopardy!"
"That's why I didn't want to ride in the front seat," Vicki said, "I heard how they drive here."
"You should have at least warned me Vicki!" Dessie said. She started to say something else when her stomach heaved and everything she had for lunch was on the grass. She felt really sick, and it seemed like forever before she stopped throwing up. She was so glad that her friends were there. Without them, she would have been on her knees as weak as she felt. When she stopped heaving and stood up straight, she was surprised to find that it was their driver who had been holding onto her. Dessie squirmed away from him. "You bastard!" Dessie screamed at him, "You could have killed us!"
"Me no kill no one yet!" He said, with a broad smile.
Dessie continued to chastise him, and he and her friends continued to smile.
"Why do ya'll think this is so funny?" Dessie yelled.
"Look pon ya face!" the driver said. Dessie didn't understand. Vicki took her by her hand to the side view mirror of the car where she saw what was causing them to laugh. Her mascara had run down her cheeks, and along with her make-up and lipstick smearing, she looked like a circus clown; which only made her that much madder.
"You're still a bastard!" Dessie said to the driver.
"Me a no such ting! Me mudder and me fodder dey a marry! Me a look pon ya face and tell truth!" Dessie looked to Vicki to decipher what the guy had said.
"He said that his father and mother are married so he can't be a bastard," Vicki interpreted.
"Like hell he ain't!" Dessie hotly replied. Debra and Sharon were busy helping the guy, Danny, retrieve their luggage from the car since he had to get back to the airport to 'run taxi' as he called it. Dessie grabbed her suitcase from Danny the minute he untied it from the luggage rack. Along with her carry on, Dessie struggled on the walkway leading into the resort. She was so weak and queasy she wasn't getting very far. Danny looked on her predicament with an amused smile playing at the corners of his mouth. After a few seconds, he walked over and took the suitcase away from her.
"I can carry my own luggage, thank you!" Dessie said weakly, but still anger tinged.
"Me know ya con; dats why me fi come elp ya!" Dessie was too weak to protest. She followed him absently. Danny placed her suitcase at the counter. As he turned around to leave, he gave Dessie a wide smile and told the others goodbye. He stood in front of Dessie with his dazzlingly white teeth. "Me soon come! We go pon beach to flex!" Dessie got angry all over again.
"Did ya'll hear what that bastard just said to me?" Dessie said with indignation, "He just told me I was going to the beach to have sex with him! That bastard doesn't know me!"
"Take it easy Dessie!" Vicki instructed, "He's just saying that he wants to take you on the beach to relax."
"How do you know what he said Vicki?" Dessie asked.
"There's a lot of West Indians in Brooklyn, and I'm around them a lot, so their dialect and accents are not that foreign to Me.," she explained.
"I still don't want to go to a beach with him." Dessie said, following the others. A resort worker loaded their luggage on a cart as another worker led them to their cottage.
Their cottage was located not too far from the beach. They could stand on the veranda and see the beautiful sea above the lush greenery. The sight was breathtakingly beautiful and serene.
Excerpted from After The Pain by David Caines Copyright © 2011 by David Caines. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The action picks up where the first book in the series left off. Drama abounds and the characters quickly come to life. This is a great selection for book club readers.