Thank God the “A to Z” Challenge is now OVER! @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

Thank God the “A to Z” Challenge is now OVER!

I don’t know about you but I was running on fumes since “V”! 🙂

Congratulations to all those who participated!

If you participated with 1, 10 or all 26 posts, you slayed it! 

And if you managed to participant AND spend time reading other participant post, I salute you!

I’ll be catching on my fellow A to Z Challenge participants over the next month or so while I take a break!

See you on May 7th for the A to Z Reflections post.

Bisous,

M  xoxo

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

 

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The Aftermath of Zen #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #IfMyWoundsWereVisible

I’m all “storied” out!

But I will have a BONUS instalment to tie up loose ends and reveal an “Easter egg” or two that were very tiny and subtle in the story…

If you are on my email list

YES, this is my underhanded, blatant and manipulative way to get you to sign up for my email newsletter.

But at least give me brownie points for being honest!

It wasn’t part of my master plan but a fellow writer suggested it and since I already have your attention, I have nothing to lose, except you deciding to not sign up, right?

Shameless, I know…

So…

But if you liked my A to Z Challenge story, are interested in finding out how Dex really died and how the hidden Epipen was involved, you know what you need to do. 🙂

Not only will I include that BONUS post but once a month, you will receive my latest news and access to freebies, I will soon be looking for beta-readers for this story and “Living To Die

You can sign up by clicking right here.

My next planned upcoming post will be the A to Z Reflections post on May 6.

After that, I’ll be on semi-hiatus from this space for a while to chill out.

Bisous,

M xoxo

“Z” is for “Zen” #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #IfMyWoundsWereVisible

Peaceful, relaxed and zen.

Those were three feelings that I never thought I would ever feel again. And you can’t blame me after everything that happened.

So…what did I tell Gaby and Becky?

Well, I told them exactly what YOU would have told them – that they didn’t kill Dex and that they shouldn’t feel guilty since he was such an awful monster. I convinced them that Dex had brought the entire situation onto himself.

If he hadn’t called Becky, she never would have gone to his apartment. If they hadn’t had that a ferocious argument, Becky would never have forgotten her take-out at his place. And no one had forced Dex to eat take-out that wasn’t even his.

“Ahogado el niño, tapando el pozo.”

Yeah, after a child drowns, they close the well, right? At least I managed to convince them to let sleeping dogs lie and in this case, leave a dead Dex alone and cold in the ground.

But of course, I couldn’t take my own advice and it didn’t help when Dex’s mother called me months later on the eve of his birthday to have dinner with her. I couldn’t refuse Abigail. She had always been a sweetheart to me but Dex had always made her out to be a witch.

I should probably give you a little more context. Dex’s parents were divorced soon after they adopted him, his siblings (the biological children) were much older than him and they lived out of the country and Dex had always complained about being unloved. I assumed that she wanted to have company with someone who was close to him on that day and the closest person was me. I had to suck it up and roll with it. When I asked how she was coping, she said that she was doing okay.

“You know, Dex was always a difficult child growing up. And he became a difficult man to be around. I want to thank you for putting up with him. It couldn’t have been easy for you. And I know that you were special to him because he only brought a few girlfriends to meet our family.”

I was surprised yet not surprised. Maybe all of his other girlfriends had known better to run faster and sooner than me. Unsure of what to say, I deflected the conversation.

“At what age did you realize that Dex had such a severe allergy to nuts?”

Abigail frowned at me as she poured me a glass of wine. “What are you talking about dear?”

“I’m talking about Dex’s allergy to nuts.”

She shook her head as if she was frustrated. “Oh! Don’t tell me that’s what he told you too! I don’t know why that boy keeps… I mean, why he kept telling everyone that.”

“What?! I…I… don’t understand! What are you saying?”

“Cara, I’m saying that Dex isn’t…I mean, he wasn’t allergic to nuts. He didn’t tell you the truth.”

I know what you’re thinking…WTF right?

Well, this is almost the end of getting this all off of my chest but I have to stop here. Maybe, just maybe if I’m online later, I’ll tell you about it.

Cara

Bonus: The Aftermath of Zen” speaks to the BONUS installment I will send email subscribers next week to wrap up a few loose ends in this little story. And yes, this is a shameless plug for building my email list and you can subscribe here.

SHAMELESS. 😉

I’ll tell you more about that bonus installment tomorrow. 🙂

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. Graphic above created with Canva.

No Excuse For Abuse #ifmywoundswerevisible @aprila2z #atozchallenge

As you might have noticed, I fell a little behind with my “Y”. And I just cheated by backdating it as yesterday.

Anyways…

A few days ago, I stumbled across a song on YouTube that perfectly speaks to my “A to Z” theme.

Was it a coincidence?

I don’t think so.

You’ll see what I mean when you watch the video.

If this is the first time you are visiting my blog and want to read the first post of my A to Z challenge, you can start with “A” is for Afflicted.


Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

“Y” is for “Yearning” #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #IfMyWoundsWereVisible

Imagine my shock when I saw Gaby and Becky in my lobby.

It was Gaby who had called out my name and Becky was standing at her side looking as white as a sheet. When Gaby asked if we all speak in private, I nodded to the security guard to let them through.

As the elevator took us up to my floor, we were silent but my thoughts raced.

What were they doing together? Were Gaby and Becky more than just acquaintances? If they were friends, what had Gaby told Becky about me? Had she told her about how we met at the clinic and what I had done? And what did they want to talk to me about? We had nothing in common except for Dex.

Abuela was right about keeping your personal shit to yourself – the world was too small place to take chances with your secrets. I was nervous, really nervous.

Before I knew it, they were both sitting on my living room sofa, in the exact spot that Dex loved. Gaby’s face was extremely tense but Becky looked like she hadn’t slept in a week and was about to jump out of her skin. Gaby saw the worry on my face and she started the conversation ball rolling.

“Yeah, this is about Dex. Becky came to see me a few days ago hysterical about…”

“I heard that you had left town,” I said to Becky and her eyes grew wide.

“Who told you that?!!! Are people talking about me? What are they saying?” Becky was on the verge of being hysterical. That’s when she turned to Gaby. “Maybe we should go to the police or talk to his parents…explain what happened…”

“No Becky. We agreed that we would talk with Cara first before doing anything drastic that could ruin both of our lives…I mean, Dex is already dead…”

Gaby’s tone had such a “no nonsense” tone to it and I couldn’t take it any longer. I needed to know why they had come to see me.

“What’s going on? Why did you want to talk to me? I just came from Dex’s funeral…”

“You actually went after how horrible he was to you?” Becky was floored.

“I didn’t want to but his mother asked me.” Then Becky’s words hit me and my head spun around to Gaby. “You told Becky the details I confided in you?”

Oh. My. God…

Only about how badly he treated you and that car incident you shared with me. Those are the only things I told Becky.” From Gaby’s inflection, I knew that she said nothing about the abortion. “Becky, tell Cara was happened and then I’ll continue, okay?”

Becky nodded, took a deep breath but started crying softly as she spoke in bursts.

“I…I…I was waiting for my order at the vegetarian place…Gaby’s eatery…to get some take-out when Dex called asking me to go over to his place to talk things out. He was being so apologetic…and sweet that like a fool I stupidly agreed. Gaby knew that I had broken up with him so when she overheard my conversation, warned me not to go anywhere near him if I knew what was good for me…which I didn’t. That’s when she told about all the horrible things he said and did to you…all the things I never gave you a chance to tell me because I was being such a bitch to you…I’m so sorry Cara.”

“Did he hurt you when you went to his place?” I couldn’t help but interrupt her, thinking that maybe he had violated her too.

“Physically, no but we did get into a huge argument. He called me horrible names, threatened to spill certain things I told him in confidence and then he accused me of so many things that I had never done…That’s when I knew I deserved better than him. I stormed out his place so fast that I didn’t even realize that I had forgotten my take-out there…”

Then, it got so quiet that you could have heard a pin drop in my livingroom.

You know how in the movies there is a pregnant pause and the camera zooms in on the main character’s face, waiting for the light bulb in their head to go off? Well, that’s the way Becky was looking at me but I had no clue what “realization” I had missed. That’s when Gaby took up where Becky left off.

“Before Becky started dating Dex, she would always order the exact thing but then she stopped because of his peanut allergy. That day when Becky ordered the thai red curry with vegetables, I decided to give her complimentary order of her favorite Spicy Thai Peanut Veggie Burger with a side order of sweet potato fries and some dessert thrown in for a treat.”

Oh….that’s when I quickly started realizing what had happened. When I gasped with the realization, Becky started crying even more.

“I left my take-out at his place and I guess…I guess…Dex ate it and that’s how he went into anaphylactic shock!”

My brain couldn’t handle this information overload from these two women. Visions of Epipens kept dancing in my head.

“What you’re telling me is that Dex ate your burger and…but it was an accident…why would you go to the police?”

I can’t fool you, I was thinking about my own ass at that point.

Becky and Gaby gave each other a long look before looking back at me.

“When Becky came to tell me about his passing, we were honest with each other…very honest. Deep down, I was hoping that if Becky ate that burger and Dex happened to kiss her, he would suffer with a little allergic reaction. You know, get some hives, break out, whatever. But nothing that would kill him but…” Gaby explained.

“And…and when I realized that I had left my food there and that he might eat it being the pig that he always was, I didn’t tell him to not eat it. I could have called or texted to warn him about the burger having tons of peanuts in it…but I didn’t. I’m such a horrible person! I never thought that his allergy was that severe.”

My brain was exploding. “So you came to confess all of this to me? Why? Why me?”

“Because we don’t know what to do or if we should tell what we think happened. I mean, the two of us are partially responsible for his death. If you were in our shoes, what would you do? Would you tell?”

Their tired and stressed faces were yearning for my response. Little did they know that I was the last person to ask for proper advice when it came to Dex.

And little did they know that someone else had also been involved in Dex’s demise…me.

Their involvement had been accidental but my decision to hide his Epipen had been knowingly deliberate. I had sealed Dex’s coffin.

I thought long and hard before opening my mouth…

Becky and Gaby had been open enough to confide in me but could I take the chance of telling them what I had done? That I felt more than just guilty?

I’m seriously asking you to tell me, what you would have done.

Would you have told Gaby and Becky about the Epipen?

Cara

Continuation: Z is for “Zen”

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“X” is for “eX – Files” #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #IfMyWoundsWereVisible

I killed Dex. I hid his Epipen. It’s my fault. I killed Dex.

Like some kind of sick mantra, that’s all I could think about as I sat at the back of the church during his funeral.

I felt so guilty that I couldn’t see straight. Sam had insisted that I stay at her place and I had taken her up on the offer. The walls of my own condo contained way too many memories of Dex and I saw him everywhere – sitting on the couch watching tv with his dirty shoes perched on my antique coffee table just to upset me, standing at the fridge grabbing a beer and inspecting the left-overs in my fridge…

And the last time I had tried to sleep in my bed, I could have sworn that I felt him crawl in next to me…That was the night I called Sam telling her that he was haunting me in my own house. I was totally fucked up by the situation. I was in an episode of the X-Files. No, I was in my own episode of my “eX-Files”.

I know that you are asking yourself why I wasn’t happy that Dex was dead.

Besides being responsible for him dying with no Epipen in sight, there was a tiny sick part of me that still felt something for him. Don’t ask me what that something was. I mean, how was I supposed to feel about the death of the man I thought was the love of my life but never really was because he had made me fall in love with who he was pretending to be? Yeah, that’s a mouthful and still much too for my brain to process.

Of course I hated him. I couldn’t help it. I had wished him dead for so many things. The arguments. The bringing me down. The rape that led me to lay on my back while a doctor sucked life out of me at a clinic across town.

My emotions were all over the place but guilt reigned supreme.

You’re also asking yourself why I would ever go to the funeral of such a monster…

Well, I wasn’t going to attend but Dex’s mother called and personally asked me to. Yeah, she knew that we had broken up months before but she had always been sweet to me so I felt I had no choice. Tell me, what was I going to do? Tell her that her adopted son had violated me in the worst ways possible? No, I wouldn’t do that to a grieving mother. Dex was dead and the details no longer mattered to anyone but me. I would keep my mouth shut until the police realized what I had done. I didn’t want to think about how fast I would crack if they interrogated me about why my fingerprints were all over his Epipen when they eventually found it. Would they look for it? How deep would they dig in a case like his? Would I spend the rest of my day in jail?

I’m getting off topic….let me get back to the part about Sam and I sitting at the back of the church after I politely refused to sit with his parents in the front pew. Yeah, you know that I was staying clear of his casket. The last thing I wanted to do was take a final look at the man I had killed.

“Are you sure that you don’t want to slip out while no one is looking? We still have time to leave,” Sam said.

I shook my head at her. “No, I’ve got some praying to do.” Yeah…praying my own soul.

“You’re a better person that me Cara. Never in a million years would I have come here if I were in your shoes. But I guess that you did love him in the beginning…”

Little did she know that I wasn’t a “better person“.

Just before the service started, a trio of elderly ladies slipped into the pew directly in front of us. But instead of listening to the minister, they spent the entire time commenting and pointing out people they hadn’t seen in a while. Then they started gossiping as old ladies do. Sam and I gave each other looks as the three of them took turns whispering.

“Is his girlfriend sitting up front with the family? I don’t see her.”

My heart immediately flipped until I realized that they were talking about Becky, not me.

“No. That last girlfriend was just a casual thing. I heard that she left town a few days after it happened!”

“I heard that too! Someone told me that she was some kind of weird vegetarian and that he had an allergic reaction to a peanut burger they ate. What the heck is a peanut burger? Young people these days are so odd with this weird food!”

My mind flashed to the first time I met Becky and noticed her chickpea burger order that specifically said “No Nuts” in large writing. Becky would never have made that kind of mistake and besides that, the two of them had broken up.

Or had they?

I gave Sam a look and she raised her eyebrows at me. She was thinking the same thing.

“No wonder Becky left town,” Sam whispered in my ear. “Didn’t she tell you that she would make Dex pay? What if she did?”

My mind raced. Becky wouldn’t have stooped that fatally low…would she? And even if she had, the fact remained that I had hid Dex’s Epipen, not her.

Now it was the third older woman’s turn to gossip.

“Well, I heard that the restaurant gave them the wrong order and that’s how he went into shock.”

“Whoa! No wonder that girl feels bad but if that’s what happened, it’s not her fault. Then again, he might still be alive if she ate normal food like normal people!”

“Aren’t people with severe allergies supposed to have medication on them or something?”

You know what I was thinking…

“Yeah, but his mother said that he didn’t because he was careful about his foods.”

I could have thrown up right then and there as I pictured Dex rushing to the bathroom and not being able to find his Epipen because of me. Sam sensed my discomfort because I felt her hand on mine. I managed to make it through the service but I was out of the church like a bat out of hell the minute it was over. Sam was going to take me to her place but I wanted time alone to process everything and insisted that she take me back to my place.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I need time to think,” I told her. When I walked into my lobby, I was so distracted by the thought of his ghost in my place again that I didn’t realize that someone was calling my name over and over again.

I turned and coming towards me at full speed was a sight that I never expected to see….

Cara

Continuation: Y is for “Yearning”

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All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. Graphic above created with Canva.

“W” is for “Wicked” #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #IfMyWoundsWereVisible

I don’t even know where to begin so I’ll start where it makes sense.

But to be honest, it was such a whirlwind – you may need to get yourself a box of wine and a few bags of chips. That’s what I have with me right now as I type this out…

Remember that girl Gaby, the one who drove me home from the clinic?

Well, from out of the blue, she called asking how I was doing and how I was coping. Since I was at work, I couldn’t talk freely but in a way, that was a good thing. I felt totally weird and embarrassed at how I had unloaded such heavy and personal issues on her that day – a total stranger. After our pleasantries, Gaby asked if I’d had any more issues with Dex. I told her that I hadn’t seen him since the incident and that he even had a new girlfriend. I was shocked when she asked me if his girlfriend was “Becky”. I was even more shocked when she said that Becky was a regular at her eatery and that she had personally witnessed the two of them in a huge public argument at her establishment.

I know what you are thinking. How did Gaby recognize Dex?

Like you, I didn’t remember that I had shown her a photo of Dex when I groggy after the clinic so she did know what he looked like. And when Gaby had left me her card, I had slipped it into my wallet without taking a good look at her credentials. As Gaby told how Becky had gone ballistic on Dex, I quickly fished it out of my wallet and lo and behold, Gaby’s card did list her as the owner of that pretentious vegan hangout I had met Becky at months before.

Was that a coincidence?

I don’t believe in coincidences anymore. No, it was more like fate.

Without even asking, Gaby told me blow by blow how Becky had accused Dex of lying and cheating on her. Then right before slapping him and storming, she had wished him dead. I was speechless. Gaby warned me to be on the lookout for Dex’s return from the dead because men like him were like vampires looking to feed again.

Vampire. That was the word she used, not mine. I never told anyone about my vampire dream. Like I said, no coincidences. Before we hung up, we promised to keep in touch.

I don’t need to tell you that I immediately wanted to tell Sam what I had heard but I couldn’t. She knew nothing about my visit to the clinic or meeting Gaby. I had to keep the information to myself.

But then the next crazy thing happened. A few days later, Becky reached out to me.

Can you imagine that?

At first, she emailed asking if we could meet and I gave her my one word response – NO. Been there, done that.

But she wasn’t taking no for an answer. Since we worked in the same building, she totally ambushed me at my desk so that I couldn’t ignore her. We took ourselves out into the hallway away from curious ears and this time around, I was the unpleasant bitch.

This is how the conversation went:

“What do you want?”

“So…yeah…Dex is cheating on me. Is he back with you?” I folded my arms and refused to dignify her question with an answer. “Uh, yeah…I’ll take that as a no. It’s what I thought.” Then she got quiet for a moment and folded her own arms. “You were right about him. He’s a fucking liar.”

Yeah, maybe Becky had smartened up but I wasn’t about to start commiserating with her. Her entire personality and vibe as a person just wreaked of toxicity.

“If you stay with him, you’ll realize that he’s more than just a liar – if you haven’t figure it out already.” I wasn’t about to say anything more than that. “If that’s all you wanted to say Becky, I have work to do.” I started to walk away and she held me back by my arm.

“Uh…sorry about how I acted… you know…before. But I swear to God, I’m going to make him pay…”

I walked away without accepting her apology and not interested in her dreams about payback. I was done. Done with Dex, done with her, done with anything and anyone associated to his sick world.

But just like Gaby had warned, Dex wasn’t done with me.

Texts from him started blowing up my cell a few days after Becky’s chat with me. It started with a “Hey” to “Hope you are ok” and quickly progressed to “Still thinking of you” to “We loved each other once, we could still at least be civil, can’t we?”…none of which I ever responded to.

I had the “No Contact” rule on full blast and would never slip again. I had finally broken the mirror and left him with seven years of bad luck. Or so I thought…

Dex resorted to calling and eventually left me a voice message that I ignored. I left that message notification hanging on my cell screen for days, not interested enough to even access it for deletion. To be honest, I actually forgot about it until a hysterical and crying Becky called to break the news to me.

“Oh my God Cara! Dex is dead! They found him dead in his apartment!”

All of my breath left my body. The office walls started to close in on me and the room started to spin. Before blackness took over my sight, I managed to ask her how.

And the two words I heard her whisper before I fainted were these:

“Anaphylactic shock…”

Yeah, I know what you were thinking because so was I.

But I swear to God, it wasn’t my fault. It really wasn’t.

Wicked is as wicked does…

Cara

Continuation: X is for “eX-files”

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All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. Graphic above created with Canva.