Inside Out Online - Mandy Hollis

Chapter 1

It was a Friday morning that felt much like every other day. Or, so I thought. However, this Friday would be the one that changed my life forever. If only an angel would have stepped from the sky to wrap her wings around my heart and prevent the hurt from the devastating blow that was about to irrevocably change my world.

I shimmied around on the towel, hoping I’d find a cool spot and feel more comfortable. The heat was scorching and my pasty white ass wasn’t getting tan, just more and more burnt with each passing minute. I plugged my ears with my headphones and turned on some music to pass the time. Mitch would be here in a couple of hours and I wanted to spend the rest of my alone time enjoying the solitude.

Mitch was a ‘grade A asshole’. I’d never understood why I stayed with him. I pictured him pulling up in the truck, honking his horn, and yelling at me for lying around outside in my bikini. Somewhere along the line, someone convinced him that women were made to be slaves. We were meant to please the man, feed the man, and take care of the man. Apparently, I wasn’t living up to his expectations. We fought more times in a day than most couples do in their lifetime together. My knight in shining armor never rode in and saved the day. I was only blessed with bad sex, in the back of Mitch’s truck, on a clay road near the woods. I laughed, realizing my life was even shittier than it sounded.

When I could no longer stand the sting of the sun against my skin, I jumped up, grabbed my towel, and jogged towards the house. I’d spend the rest of my time enjoying popsicles and movies. I flipped the switch on the radio, turning on whatever sounded the most upbeat. My lips curved into a smile when a classic roared through the speakers. I danced around the kitchen pulling out whatever felt cold to the touch from the fridge. I pressed a cool pickle jar against my cheek.

I danced my way to the bedroom, pulling out clothes to slip on over my bathing suit. Mitch would be home and the last thing I wanted was a reason to argue. I felt a tightening in my stomach at the thought of him coming home. No one should live that way, no one should dread the time they spend with another person. I almost blamed my life on my mother, she convinced me true love didn’t exist and that Mitch was as good as it would get. He paid most of the bills since my job at the doctor’s office barely bought groceries and a phone card. I tapped my foot on the floor of my bedroom, piddling around, smelling my perfume, and organizing my makeup bag. I’d have to talk to my boss about picking up more hours, having a day off a week never really made sense to me. As if the weekends weren’t boring enough, I had to endure more time alone on Friday’s.

“Come here, Gizmo.” I whistled to my poodle who was curled up in a ball next to my nightstand. Gizmo lifted his head, acknowledging me once with a faint whimper. “Come here, you lazy old cow,” I demanded. “Damned old lazy dog.” I pouted and turned back around to look in the mirror. I pulled the hair bow from my long blonde hair, letting it fall back onto my shoulders. It had been a long time since I’d had a cut and from the looks of it, it needed it terribly.

More classics blared over the speakers, making movies seem even less interesting. I was far too caught up in the sound of the music and the way it lifted my spirits. “Shit!” I fussed when I noticed the time. Mitch would be here in an hour. “Gizmo?” I tried one last time before leaving the room.

“Left over spaghetti it is.” I grabbed the bowl from the fridge. I sat at our tiny little kitchen table and stuffed my face. I dabbed the corners of my mouth to wipe away the red sauce when I heard my cell phone vibrating across the room.

“Hey, Dad!” I answered.

“Hey… Hey, honey. How are you?” He hesitated speaking for a moment. I could hear in his voice that something was wrong.

“What’s up?” I swallowed back the fear that was rising with just the sound of