by Heather Shere
Growing up a poor kid in a rich town is tough.
Palm Springs, California has its socialites,
but when you're a skater boy from a dusty trailer park,
you're nothing more than a desert rat.
They think that’s a bad thing.
But we embrace who we are and wear that title with pride.
Preston Hart knows what he wants. She is his world.
But he won't ever be the man she deserves.
He doesn't believe he is worthy.
That's his weakness and weaknesses can be exploited.
When he is offered the chance to make something of his life,
he worries the cost might be too high.
But faced with losing everything he holds dear,
he takes the helping hand.
But everything comes at cost and Preston is about to pay dearly.
When I imagine Hell, it's this town in the summer months, good old Palm Springs, California. Hotter than the devil's breath and twice as dry. I couldn't think of anything worse than putting on a suit in this heat, even if I had one. Since I'm not even sure why he called me to his office, I show up in my board shorts and T-shirt. If he wants to see me for some mysterious purpose he wouldn't divulge over the phone, he can take me as I am.
We never have had the money you need to get by in a town like this. My parents came here when they were young, to find work. My father, an airline mechanic, was underpaid and passed away before he could really save anything. We survive, but I wish I could do more. I couldn’t ask for a kinder mother, she looks at everything with a positive eye and sees the beauty of what’s beneath it even if it’s sugarcoated shit. She deserves the best.
The future right now seems bleak, no money for college, my job at the hotel is just enough to keep my mother and me with a roof over our heads and food on the table.
My foot pounding the pavement as I push my skateboard faster through the desert streets reminds me, I can’t even afford a car. I shake my head at the thought, flip my board up and catch it quickly and wipe my hands on my shorts as I go into the building.
Skye is sitting behind the desk and her face goes from miserable to lit up at the sight of me. Fuck, I want her so much. She deserves the best too and that’s more than I can give her. Just look at where she comes from, I can't keep up with that. My mother, an immigrant right off the boat, could never hope to make a decent wage. Graduation is nearing, and I don't know what I'm going to do. I can’t make a life with Skye in my parents trailer, their first and only home that my mom and I still share.
I slyly look around, seeing we’re alone. I sneak around the desk and drop to my knees in front of her.
“Get up! He’ll see you,” she says in an urgent whisper.
I give her my crooked grin, slide my hand up her skirt and rest it on her upper thigh. Her eyes get brighter as she looks around the room, recklessly I put my other hand in her curly hair and pull her head down to mine.
“Kiss me,” I tell her a breath away from her full, succulent lips.
I don’t wait, I take her lips in a hurried kiss. Just as she starts to melt for me, I pull back and love the glazed look that’s in her eyes. I playfully tap her on the nose. “We’ll finish this later,” I tell her, moving my hand up to grasp her panties. She gasps as I pull and the fabric tears easily, leaving me with her panties fisted in my hand. I give her another smile and bring them to my nose as I stand.
“You’re so gross! Give them back.” Her words the complete opposite to the smoldering look she’s giving me.
“Nope, you’ll get them later.” I give her my killer smile.
She shakes her head at me. “Why are you here?” Again she looks around the room waiting for him to appear.
“Don’t worry, he won’t chase me off, he asked me to come in.” I smile at her and puff out my chest as I mimic his voice. “I’d like to meet with you, Kid, about some business.”
Usually when I make fun of him she breaks out into a fit of giggles, not this time, her face falls. “Don’t get mixed up with him, you know he is shady as all hell.”
I grab her by the shoulders, she's showing signs of one of her panic attacks. “Don’t worry, Skye, whatever game he’s playing, I’m sure I can handle it.” She starts shaking her head.
“No Preston, don’t play any of his games, you don’t have the cheat codes.” There's worry written all over her face.
I pull her in close, wrapping my arms around her and look down at her upturned face. I smile, then give her forehead a quick kiss. “It’ll be okay, Detka.” I only use that nickname when I want her to smile, it’s my special name for her. As soon as the word is out, her smile brightens the room.
Someone clears their throat behind us, damn busted. I release her and turn around plastering a smile on my face, only to see he has his everlasting frown of disapproval on his. “Hello, Mr. Divine, nice to see you,” I greet him. I can feel her fist the back of my shirt, and I put a hand behind me to squeeze it, reassuring her.
“Hello, Kid, let’s go in my office.” He glances at Skye then walks into his office before me.
Once he has his back to me, I follow waddling like him and quickly turn back and blow Skye a teasing kiss before shutting the door.
I am suddenly nervous. I know he doesn’t approve of me and I really don’t care, I’ve just heard he’s a crooked player, and I don’t know what he wants with me. I wipe my hands on my shorts again, hoping my nervous gesture will go unnoticed.
“What are your plans for the future?” he begins abruptly.
“Uhhh… like college?” I stutter, running my hand through my hair.
He leans on his desk moving forward slightly. “College? A job? My daughter?”
I open my mouth, attempting to speak and then I close it again. I’ve got nothing. I don’t have any plans for a single one of them, I know I should, but I don’t, so I stare blankly at him.
“That’s what I thought.” He gives me a look of disgust. I should be used to it since he wears it whenever I’m around. Sitting back in his chair he studies me for a minute. “I have a job for you.”
I’m at a loss for words, especially since I know he doesn’t care for me.
“You speak Russian right?” he asks with a calculating gleam in his eyes.
“I have some business I need taken care of in Russia, I need a man on the ground.”
“Trying to get rid of me, Bob?” I know he doesn’t like the fact that his daughter and I are so close.
“No, little asshole, I’m trying to help you become something other than the desert rat you are now.” He pounds the desk with his fist.
He says that like it’s an insult, but when you’re a desert rat, you embrace it, wear the title with pride. I don’t have to listen to this shit, so I get up and without a word, head back towards his office door. But as my hand makes contact with the door handle, his words stop me cold.
“I can promise you enough money to get your mother out of that trailer and keep my daughter happy.” His tone is smug.
I grip the door handle, taking a deep, calming breath. He knew exactly what to say to get me to stop, and I turn to look at him with hope in my eyes.
“That’s what I thought,” he sneers in satisfaction when I do, then motions for me to sit back down.
He has me by the balls right now, how can I refuse? I sit down to listen to what he has to say, I mean shit what do I have to lose?
About the Author:
Heather Shere is a wife of twenty some odd years and wants you to know that you get less for murder. She’s also the mother of two adult shaped kids, who she thinks she messed up just enough to make them highly successful individuals, who are also hilarious.
She has a masters degree in snark and nothing entertains her more than someone who can word battle with her. She considers herself an awesome cook and an expert baker but wants to eat out most days, however nothing is made ‘the right way’ unless she makes it herself.
When she gets bored she likes to tinker with different hobbies like crocheting, scrapbooking, stamping and card making. Her newest and most fulfilling passion is writing and she welcomes you into the deep dark depths of her mind.
Growing up a rich girl in a rich town should be easy.
Some think that money can buy happiness,
but when you’re the daughter of an influential businessman
who traded the silver spoon for his belt buckle
and has everyone in his pocket,
all it really buys is the makeup to hide the bruises.
Skye Divine had found solace in him. He was her world.
But without him, she had a choice: leave everything behind or stay in the desert and die.
She would rather be homeless and starve than ask her family for help.
But when her luck finally runs out, she may be left with no option.
Then two worlds unexpectedly collide and this time the tables have turned.
Faced with another impossible choice, she puts her faith in Preston again.
But he is not the person he used to be. Gone is the trailer park boy,
in his place is a confident, wealthy man who knows what he wants.
He wants her. He's only ever wanted her.
But he wants her to surrender to him completely.
If Skye places herself in his care, can she trust that he will safeguard her?
Or will he commit the ultimate betrayal?