Hey all! I know I don't normally post on the weekend, but I had to share some awesome news. I entered a writing prompt I did a few weeks back in a contest on Scribophile. I didn't think it would amount to anything since it was a short story and I hadn't really edited or had it critiqued.
But I got third honor! And I won some points on the website. And everyone said they loved the piece. So I want to share it with you :) Below is a piece I've titled The Price of Love. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. Maybe I'll turn it into a book someday.
The Price of Love
Hair was stupid. I mean, why did guys prefer certain colors or lengths or styles? And why did girls care? It ruined it for the rest of us who preferred reading online book blogs over drinking beer at the fields. Today was different. I was fifteen years old, an early bloomer maturity wise, according to my mother, and I shouldn’t give two craps what boys thought of me. That was what college was for. I threw my hair into a ponytail, hopped off the school bus and walked into the school with a new attitude.
I never got boys attention—even when I did put in the effort—so when Jayden Smith, school body president of LMHS and senior star running back for our football team, stopped me during my big entrance I choked. He chuckled and slapped my back as I tried to get air into my lungs.
“All right there, sweetheart?”
“Can I walk you to class?”
“Why?” Damn-it. I sounded like a moron, but when I looked up at Jayden, I noticed that his eyes didn’t hold the conceited disgust most humans had when they looked at me. Lower middle class family, straggly brown hair—I wasn’t anything unique in the looks or status department.
“Can’t a man want to walk a pretty girl to class?” I shook my head and hugged my books to my chest. My converse were silent against the light blue and gray tiles. I counted each I stepped on to busy my mind.
“Kendra,” I supplied my name. I refused to look at him.
“Right.” His tone was clipped. “Do you think I could take you out later today? Milkshake? Coffee? What’s a little girl like you into?”
“I, uh, I don’t think so.” This was bizarre. The one day I don’t do my hair or makeup. The one day I decide to screw the system. And this gorgeous dark-haired senior choses to speak to a low-life like me today.
“Please. Let me take you somewhere.” He placed his hand on my forearm. My entire body jolted like I’d been zapped by a taser. I looked down where his hand was on my goosebumped skin, and then up at his dark blue eyes. He cocked his head to the side and pursed his ruby red lips. I wanted to kiss him, my stomach twisting with desire. I’d never felt it before—sure, I was attracted to actors and models, but not a real person. I feel my face heat and I bit the inside of my cheek to hide my smile.
“Okay.” His hand slid off my arm and my entire skin shivered from the loss. “I’ll meet you at the flagpole entrance after school.” He leaned forward and kissed my temple. Right in public—in front of anyone who was looking. I bit harder to stop my insane need to laugh from pure elation. “Goodbye, Kendra.”
He’d taken me to Pizzell’s on our first date. I felt like royalty any time I saw him, whether it be on date, three, six, or eight, in the hallways of the school, or in passing at school functions. He treated me well, yet I felt like I didn’t really know him. Truly know him—not this person he showed the world.
I pumped my legs on the swing as I waited for him at our secret meeting place. It was midnight on a Tuesday. I guessed this counted for date ten. His dark figure emerged from the shadows of the night, a white moon casting the playground in a glow.
“I missed you—” My words were cut off as he backhanded me. I fell backwards, onto the woodchips and cradled my face. I stared up from the ground at his looming figure, his face shielded by a hood and the giant oak tree where we first kissed.
“I need you,” he said as he lifted me up roughly.
“But—I—What?” My cheek throbbed where he had hit me, my eyes clouded with tears I refused to shed. He pulled me, much stronger than I would ever be, and threw me down on the park bench. I lost myself that night—both my body and soul. A piece of who I thought I could be chipped away.
Now that I’ve gotten what I wanted, I need you to leave me alone. I stared at the text from Jayden as my sore body ached in places I never even knew existed. Guilt washed over me as I realized how relieved I was. Jayden was breaking up with me, and I wouldn’t be beaten again.
Two days later, another text came. I miss you, Kenny. Please, meet me at our place. Forgive me. I don’t know what’s going on. The pressure is just getting to me. You're the only thing that makes me happy. Take me back. I’m the only person to love you, remember? His words made my emotions confuse together. I didn’t know what his angle was this time, other than he genuinely cared for him.
I met him at our special spot that was now tainted with hard slaps and angry grunts. I couldn’t look at the bench. I sat on the swing like usual, only it felt different. It was different. I was different.
Jayden beat me again as he took me. Another piece of me broke. I took him back thinking that only I could fix him. He cried as he slapped my ass. His tears drove me to sanity—a grown man crying. At sixteen I had felt more passion and hatred than I deserved. But I liked that he needed me.
Megan from the cheerleading squad wasn’t his girlfriend. Amanda Meyers wasn’t his girlfriend. I was. He wanted me, he dated me, and he took me. I was his and his alone and it made me feel powerful. I held his head on my lap on the bench it all changed and ran my fingers through his dark hair.
We learned how to make it work. Instead of heading off the college, Jayden went to the community one two towns down so he could stay close. He said he’d wait the two years for me to finish high school. He said he couldn’t live without having me close, without having me to make his anger fade away.
He hit me from the neck down, never on my arms. What started as open handed slaps, turned into closed fist jabs and canes and whips. It wasn’t for my pleasure and he never pretended it would be. We weren’t some BDSM couple. He wasn’t a dominant and I wasn’t a submissive.
He just needed an outlet for his anger and I was there to take the brunt. It was better me than some unsuspecting person on the street who looked at him the wrong way. I had genuine purpose at sixteen years old. I knew how things were, and I accepted them. I only ever wanted love, and I had it fully.
“Sweetie, your eyes. They used to be so blue. Now they’re gray, dull. Are you on drugs?” my mother asked. I was forced to live in my parents’ home despite the fact that I had been with Jayden for two years now. Only six more months until I could live with him on our own.
“I’m just tired.” This was my go-to response. It worked for everything, and I had heard a lot. Why’s your face so bruised? Tired. Why are you so frail? So tired lately. “Why don’t you go out anymore? Super tired. “Why do you sleep in class?” Tired. I wasn’t about to say that my boyfriend keeps me up beating me so he can sleep without nightmares. Nobody would understand us.
“We miss you. We love you so much, Kendra. Why don’t you love us anymore?” Love? What a joke. Jayden was right when he said they only wanted to get me out their front door. They didn’t work hard to make a good living for me. They left me on my own to deal with bullies for fifteen years of my life. Jayden saved me from their wrongdoings. It went both ways.
“I only love Jayden. He truly cares about me, unlike you people.”
“What is wrong with you?” My father banged his hands on the kitchen table and pushed up so he loomed over the plates.
“I only love Jayden,” I repeated. I turned so they couldn’t see the single tear stream down my flushed cheek, swollen from last night’s assault. I loved him. I did. I loved Jayden. I did. Love. Loved. He was the one. The only one. I loved him. Yes. I swore that deep down, I did.
© Taylor Lavati 2017
What Readers Have to Say...
"An absolutely heart wrenching read that shows us that at times no matter how much we hope, darkness will find its way to win. "
-Blogger's From Down Under for A Reliant Love
"So this book is the ultimate love story. I like how two ordinary people who is so different and still so alike in so many ways can overcome everything together."
-Angelica Berglund for For The Love of Hockey
"I never thought I would read a "zombie book", much less love one. The Last Legacy really surprised me. Even with the whole people-eating-people thing, it was a fantastic book"
-Melannie S for The Last Legacy
"I could not wait to start book two. If this book was as good as book one, then I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. It wasn't as good as book one...it was better. "
-Keely Retchloff for Finding Sam
"The powers, the love, the excitement, the drama kept me so enthralled. If you are looking for a GREAT series about true love and mythology, look no further... I wish I could rate 10 stars! Definitely recommend this whole series to all my book loving friends!"
-The Book Blog for A Curse Books Trilogy
"For the Love of Ash" by Taylor Lavati was a rare 5-star read for me. I honestly find many typical romances rather dull and predictable. This was not the case at all here; there was nothing average about the romance, overall storyline, and the long list of supporting characters."
-Summer's Book Blog for For The Love of Ash
"Wingless isn't what I would normally pick up and read, but thought I'd try it out and I am so glad I did. The characters and "worlds" she creates are done so well that you can actually picture them and feel like you are there right along with the characters."
-JLH for Wingless
For The Love of Hockey | January 2016
The Price of Love | 2017