I have decided to try writing fiction, and I am scared I will fail. However, I have always told others that you cannot let fear of failure keep you from doing something. So, here is me taking the plunge. . .
Penny looked out her window wondering when her life had become such a disaster. She had excelled in high school earning her an invitation into the National Honor Society for academics, and she was a star on the softball field as well as captain of the cheerleading squad. After high school, she spent four years at the local college earning a business degree. She had plans to open her own advertising business after working for another company to gain real world experience. That was her plan, but she now realized that dream would never happen.
During her senior year of college, she attended a party for one of the sororities. While there, she met Max who had dark, smoldering eyes and a devilish grin. Their connection was instantaneous, and they spent the rest of the night dancing and talking. Over the next several months, the two had a whirlwind romance. Max was everything she dreamed of in a man. He catered to her every need while encouraging her dream of one day owning her own business. So, when Max proposed that spring, Penny enthusiastically said yes.
That summer, Penny got hired on at a small advertising firm outside of Dallas and Max began teaching history at a local high school. By the following summer, the two were married and living in a two-bedroom apartment in the suburbs. Between the two of them, they were able to make a modest income that provided for a few weekend getaways every few months. As a public-school teacher, Max’s salary was several thousands less than Penny’s, and after a few beers, he would begin complaining that he was not paid what he was worth. He often made snide remarks about Penny thinking she wore the pants in the family because she earned more money. To ease the tension, Penny encouraged Max to apply to graduate school to become a principal. She took on more clients to earn more money, and what little extra money they had went toward the cost of graduate school. Max excelled in the program with his charismatic personality and with Penny writing his papers for him. Through those two years, Penny devoted her free time to Max’s success and happiness. Gradually, friends stopped calling, and Penny stopped going out with them. She justified her sacrifices by telling herself that when Max became a principal, life would go back to the way it was after they married.
A year after earning his principal certification, Max had not landed a job. He blamed the school district saying that others were jealous of him and were holding him back. He began stopping at bars after work before coming home an angry drunk. Soon, Max began drinking at work to take the edge off, and by winter break, he spent more days at home drinking than he did at work. When teacher contracts were issued in May for the next school year, the school district notified Max he would not be returning.
The same Friday Max received his news, Penny returned home from work not knowing a storm had been brewing throughout the day. Max was settled into his recliner with a glass of whiskey in his hand. Penny bent down to kiss him on his cheek, “Hey, Baby. I’m glad you’re home. I bought us some steaks for dinner. How’s that sound?”
“Whatever,” Max mumbled as he snapped his feet down to stalk to the kitchen for a refill.
Penny retreated to the bedroom to change out of her work clothes. She hoped that once Max heard her good news, his mood would improve. She was ecstatic about their future, and she would not let Max dampen her mood.
Sitting at the dining room table, Penny eyed Max over her wine glass trying to determine the best opportunity to share her news. She could tell something was distracting him, and after many failed attempts to start a conversation, Penny decided she would go for it.
“Baby, I’m so excited. Today, the president of our company announced they are opening an office in Houston, and they want me to run it.”
Max glared at Penny before snatching his plate up to toss it in the sink. He grabbed his glass of whisky and walked to the kitchen counter to refill it before he said, “Well, aren’t you special. How many guys did you have to sleep with to make it happen?”
Shocked by his words, Penny rose slowly to take her plate to the sink. Determined to not let her mood be ruined, Penny responded, “Baby, don’t joke that way. You know how hard I have worked over the last three years. They are just acknowledging that hard work.”
Max remained silent drinking his whisky at the counter. Penny walked back to the table to get her wine glass for a refill.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for me, for us, for you.” Penny continued.
Max finally turned around to ask with darkness in his voice, “What do you mean an opportunity for me?”
Penny felt the stillness in the air, and she knew she needed to choose her words carefully, “This could be the fresh start you deserve. You can apply for a principal job in a district around Houston where they will appreciate you. But, there won’t be a rush for you to find a job. With the money I will be making from the promotion…”
Penny never saw the glass fly across the room that bashed against the left side of her head. Whisky and blood poured down her face. Max stormed to her grabbing her by the neck and growled, “Do you think I need your money? You work because I allow you to work. We both know they gave you a promotion because of the way you wiggle that behind for them.”
Max thrust her against the wall and began punching out his built-up anger. Penny pulled up her arms in an attempt to protect her face, but she was no match for his brutality. After he spent his anger, Max dragged her by the hair to their bedroom where he threw Penny on the bed and collapsed next to her. He draped his arm around her and whispered in her ear, “Remember, Baby, you’re forever mine.”
Looking out her window the next morning, Penny stared at her reflection which showed the evidence of last night’s storm. After giving herself a few minutes to wallow in self-pity, she began to formulate her plan.