Story Continuation Prompt: Flash Fiction – Judged


Thanks to Wandering Soul for hosting this prompt challenge. This week’s challenge is up to a 500 word piece of writing with the beginning sentence: “The delicious aroma of the freshly baked croissants wafted through the near-empty café.”

——-

The delicious aroma of the freshly baked croissants wafted through the near-empty Cafe. It was Sunday morning around 9:00 am and the majority of people weren’t up this early. Many church services did not begin until 10:00 or 10:30 am. Giselle thought about her home church while eating a buttery croissant and drinking a cappuccino.

She hadn’t been to church in a while. It wasn’t because she stopped believing in God or his son Jesus. It didn’t mean she didn’t have a few Christian friends or that she didn’t miss some of the people she grew up with in church.

Other issues were at work in Giselle’s life and a place which had always felt peaceful and inviting to her, became a place full of judgement. There was no forgiveness to be found in her old church and Giselle felt heavy hearted. People she had fondly thought of as Aunties and Uncles growing up, now gazed upon her with severe disapproval. 

Giselle believed it was God’s right alone to judge a person’s sins. Other Christians in her life could guide her and warn her of where her actions might lead, but she didn’t deserve hatred from them, to be the subject of gossip. Her best friend Ivy especially, had turned on Giselle.

Giselle had read a meme on the internet that read: “Thou Shall Not Judge Because Thou Has F$&#%d Up Too.” It was pertinent. When Giselle admitted to Ivy she had been attacked and raped by a stranger in an alley one night, Ivy had given her a stunned stare. 

“Are you sure?” Ivy had asked, then later told her parents and other church members Ivy ran into. Giselle had told Ivy she was pregnant with the rapist’s child. Rumours and gossip spread. Ivy, her family, and many other church members thought Giselle was having an abortion when she was admitted into hospital. 

The reality was Giselle’s pregnancy had failed; the tiny baby growing within Giselle had died. A doctor informed Giselle there had been complications. She could never have a child again. 

An elderly man at church had told Giselle, “You sew what you reap,” when he had heard the gossip Ivy had spread about Giselle having an abortion.

Giselle was suffering inside and some of her best friends were ‘outing her.’ The only people who knew and believed the truth were Giselle’s family and they were judged harshly for supporting Giselle.

She attended her home church for the last time that Sunday, enduring cat-like behaviour from the women and men who told her she should be ashamed. Shouldn’t they be helping her and ‘lifting her up?’ Did they no longer care about her? 

Giselle thought it ironic her church wondered why Christains were not attending church. Couldn’t they see, the world had become a kinder place than their church? That Jesus’ light was brighter out among strangers? People Giselle had known and trusted all her life had become like ‘a den of vipers.’

Looking up one last time at the cross and steeple of the church Giselle had called home, she left her church for good; Giselle had hope she would find a kinder church someday.

—–

Note: There are great Christian churches with kind and understanding people attending them. They are good neighbours who through God, help people like Giselle heal. This story is fictional and hopefully, a worst case scenario.

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Part 6: Never Again – Finding Peace.


Please read Part 5 of ‘Never Again’ here.

Part 6: Never Again – Finding Peace.

(Three-Months Later).

“Kasia, are you finished packing?” Jolene asked her daughter.

“Yeah, I’m good Mom, but I had to get another suitcase. I did more shopping then I thought.” Kasia was huffing and puffing as she dealt with her suitcases, bringing them outside Chateau Blanc for Luc to load in an SUV.

“I’m not ready to leave Mom. I’ve had such a fantastic time here, seeing Auntie Cathy and hanging out with Damon.” Kasia sighed. ” I can’t believe I didn’t meet him until a month and a half ago . . .and you’re leaving Luc behind too?” Kasia exclaimed with surprise.

“Kasia,” Jolene said. “We have to go back to Ottawa for awhile at least. Auntie Cathy will be moving into a condo close to where we live soon. She only has to finish training her replacement event planner and do a bit of packing.” Jolene cleared her throat reaching for a bottle of water in her purse.

” Luc owns Chateau Blanc but he’s found an experienced caretaker to keep the place running. Luc’s a trained architectural Engineer and he’s taking a job at an Engineering Firm in Ottawa. He’ll have a great deal of input on projects and doing them to LEED standards around the world. You know he is passionate about the environment…” Jolene said shrugging with a smile.

“What about Damon? How will I see him. If I’m supposed to travel around with you and have a tutor for high school, when will I see Damon?” Kasia asked worriedly. “I’ve been saving money to travel. You know, the money I made modelling for La Petite Mademoiselle and a few other shoots, Simon, your agent, could find for plus-sized models in Nice… How will you see Luc if we’re always travelling?” Kasia asked. Jolene smiled as Kasia peppered her with questions. They’d both been extremely occupied the last few weeks.

“There is going to be some changes, Kasia. I’m not going to model anymore. I will have business trips with La Petite Mademoiselle in Europe. I have hired a couple of Presidents for the Canadian and United States chains. Judy thought it was a great idea, she wants to travel more with her husband.” Jolene explained.

” Judy and I will be dealing with our expansion into France and into other select European cities. You will have occasions where you will be able to come to France with me or Luc and see Damon, while you work on Grade Ten material with your tutor. Damon maybe in Grade Twelve, but he also has his last year of high school to get through in Nice.” Jolene reminded Kasia.

“I think, it’s best to keep most of your modelling work for La Petite Mademoiselle, until you are eighteen. I don’t want to overwhelm you when you need to focus on school.  Not to mention, I would like for you to still put a shift in every week in our flagship store in Ottawa when we are home. It will help you to know how our company works on the ground level.” Jolene added. Kasia sighed, not completely happy with her Mom’s solution for Kasia’s schooling and work. Would she get to see Damon enough between work and school? What if Damon forgot about Kasia for some other girl?

“So, if you’re busy overseeing things in Europe, how will you organize your schedule with Luc’s” Kasia asked Jolene.

Jolene’s face lit with a smile. “I have something to tell you… I’m getting married to Luc! He asked me last week. It was so hard for me not to tell you. I wanted to wait for the perfect time, I suppose that’s now.” General shrieking ensued and the details of the proposal were shared.

” Luc will be doing some projects in Europe as well, so all three of us will often be back at the Chateau Blanc and Auntie Cathy is welcome, whenever she wants to come along.” Kasia was taken aback. Everything seemed to be falling into place. Kasia was overjoyed Luc would be her step-dad. Her only Dad, as far as Kasia was concerned. She missed Damon alread, even though he was chatting with Luc. He had come to the Chateau to see Kasia before she went back to Canada. “Damon,” Kasia called. . .

——

An iPhone began ringing and Jolene felt her pocket buzz. Her face went pale when she saw the number on the phone. It was Scott’s work number. Jolene felt sick. She hadn’t heard from Scott since she left Nice over five-years-ago. Jolene wasn’t ready to talk to Scott. But perhaps, she should accept his call and tell Scott once and for all, to leave her alone.

“Hello” Jolene said quietly, walking away from Kasia.

“Hello Jolene,” Scott said.”Nice of you to get in touch with me when you were here.” Jolene said nothing at first.

“Why would I want anything to do with you Scott. I don’t love you anymore and I’m not attracted to you. Our time together is a lifetime away, I’m getting married.” Scott laughed

” So, I heard. It took you a long time. It was difficult getting over me, huh?” Scott said.

” And why is that?” Jolene questioned Scott.

“Because you will always have me in our daughter, Kasia. She looks a lot like me you know. You should have told me about her.” Scott said sounding wounded.

” How did you find out about Kasia? You can’t have her. She’s mine, my daughter — not yours. You wanted me to abort her.” Jolene said furiously.

“Kasia came to visit me a couple months ago. She wanted to meet me. I can’t blame her. She’s a smart girl and tracked me down.” Scott remarked.

“Damn it,” Jolene said, “Auntie Cathy told her everything. I knew we should have kept our mouths shut about you, Scott. You stay away from Kasia, I mean it! I can afford a great lawyer these days so don’t try anything. You are not allowed to see Kasia until she’s eighteen. Then, it is her choice, unfortunately.”Jolene yelled into her phone.

“Relax, Jolene. I don’t want anything from you or Kasia. Kasia wanted to meet me but she doesn’t want a relationship with me. She also told me to stay away from her and you.” Scott said hushing Jolene.

” I don’t need Katrina finding out I have an illegitimate daughter, who might be a threat to the money Katrina brought to our marriage. She wouldn’t like it if Kasia inherited anything. Additionally, having somewhat a relationship with my own daughter Sara and my boys is hard enough.” Scott told Jolene, tiredly.

“So, what are you calling about then?” Jolene seethed.

“I need to apologize,” Scott admitted to Jolene.”It was wrong of me to tell you to get rid of Kasia when she was barely a person. I saw her at my office and I’m so thankful you never got the abortion. She’s a beautiful girl and I have no doubt she will be as successful in life as you Jolene.” Jolene couldn’t believe Scott was apologizing.

“Kasia hates me for trying to have her aborted and that bothers me. I couldn’t stand it if my daughter Sara was as mad at me, as Kasia is mad at me,” Scott admitted. “Kasia is also upset because of what I did to you. I can’t change myself  Jolene. I am who I am.” Scott said.

“But, I regret cheating on you the entire time we were together, when you were off modelling. I was never your ‘one,’ and only guy. I’m no women’s ‘one.’ I’m my own guy. I like to be in control and be with whoever I desire. Katrina understands this, she has had a long-time affair with another man. Kasia believes that guy provides for Katrina, what I should be providing for her, love and attention.” Scott said, his voice scratchy. Admitting his faults was hard for him, Kasia had made him think.

” I’m sorry I met so much to you Jolene. I wish I hadn’t met much to you. I would have broken it off sooner, but I had plans…”

“You are and were selfish Scott,” Jolene shouted.” You never cared about my feelings or what I thought about something. You even tried to tell me I was pretending I wanted a baby — which is why I never told you about Kasia.”

” It wouldn’t have mattered had you told me you had had our baby. My Dad said Katrina was the right wife for me. She is in a sense. . . What I wanted to tell you though is for Kasia: Do not let her end up with a guy like me. I told Kasia ‘boys will be boys’ and that men naturally cheat. She called me on it and I thought about it and she’s right, not all men cheat. My half-brother for instance, is faithful to his wife. He works at the company with me.” Scott said.

” Kasia needs to find a guy like my half-brother. Not like me or her Grandpa. And tell her Scott said he will do his utmost to ensure someone like him does not marry her half-sister Sara.” Jolene pressed the phone to her ear. She was amazed at what Scott told her.

“For real, that’s all you want?” Jolene stuttered. “You want Kasia to end up with a kind and faithful partner? You aren’t trying to get me to sleep with you or have an affair with you? You promise to leave Kasia alone, even though I never told you she was your daughter?” Jolene could barely say anything she was so surprised by Scott’s reason for calling. She heard him sigh on the phone.

” As far as I’m concerned Jolene, you and I are done. I have my life and you have yours. We may be connected by Kasia but I promise, I won’t interfere in your lives. If Kasia in the future, wants to contact me so I can help her get into a prestigious university, I can help her, it’s the least I can do.But I have one request Jolene. . . ” Scott’s voice sounded sad to Jolene. She didn’t remember Scott ever sounding emotional.

“Please send, me a picture of Kasia once in awhile on your phone. Not often, just so I know she’s okay.” Jolene couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She kept her voice neutral.

” I can do that, if Kasia doesn’t mind. I will tell her what you said,” Jolene remarked. “I’ll mention you can get her into a prestigious university, no strings attached. And I will definitely make sure she never falls for a man like you.”

“Great. . . gotta go Jolene. My 3:00 pm is here. Good Luck.” Scott said distractedly. Jolene heard the phone click and knew, Scott had moved on. She couldn’t blame Scott for that. It was time for Jolene and Kasia to move on in life as well.

——

I watch my niece as she finishes walking down the aisle. Beneath her veil, her face is glowing. Her eyes are fixed lovingly on her fiancé, Luc Devereaux.

Luc has a giant grin on his handsome face. He told me earlier, “Aunt Cathy, I can’t believe I get to marry Jolene. I always thought and dreamed about her. She’ll be my wife, and I get a beautiful step-daughter too.”

I carefully patted my new nephews arm. He used to be my boss but now, I am his cherished Auntie.”You’re perfect for Jolene and Kasia. You’re all exactly what the three of you needed, ” I tell Luc.

I see Luc take Jolene’s hand and slide on her wedding band. Jolene does the same for Luc. Beautiful Kasia is her Mom’s maid of honour in a couture pink gown.

But Jolene is simply stunning, channeling Grace Kelly. She is the perfect vintage leading lady in her bridal gown, except for one thing. Jolene’s back reveals a tattoo I never knew she had until I helped her change into her dress this morning.

Jolene’s tattoo is a quote that reads: “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is all you have to be.” 

Jolene’s tattoo demonstrates all that she has come through in life to be at the the altar with her ‘one,’ Luc. It tells me Jolene will be strong whatever she faces in life. But she isn’t alone. She has Kasia, Luc, and as always, her Auntie Cathy who had the pleasure of walking her cherished niece, down the aisle.

Fin

——

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

Part 3: Never Again – Jolene and Scott’s Past.


Please read Part 2 of Never Again here.

Part 3: Never Again – Jolene and Scott’s Past

” Do I look gorgeous Auntie? Do you think he’ll like me?” Jolene asked her Aunt Cathy who had become her guardian after her Mother passed away.

Cathy observed the stunning Jolene. “If only I still looked half as pretty as you look, I’d be married right now.” Jolene grinned.

“You’re beautiful Auntie. Any man would be lucky to have you. I had to get the looks from somewhere and it wasn’t from my Mom. You could be a Cougar.” Jolene joked. ” I’m sure you could find a man ten or fifteen years younger than you, with your timeless looks.” Cathy laughed.

” I had your Uncle Henry before Cancer claimed him. I haven’t had it in my heart to replace Henry. He was my one and only. I wish you could have known him Jolene. He was something in his day.” Cathy mused.

“Scott is my one, Auntie.” Jolene said with a soft sigh as she floated down the stairs in a soft pink skirt and black tank top. Cathy hoped Scott wasn’t  Jolene’s ‘one,’ — she had heard rumours of his sleaziness from some of the other ladies with girls Jolene’s age. But what could Cathy say. Jolene would be heart broken if she couldn’t date Scott after all this time crushing on him. 

A handsome young man in a suit, with brown eyes and dark hair, stood in front of an expensive car waiting for Jolene. Scott had a careless manner about him that made Cathy instantly dislike him.

—–

Jolene was thrilled to be out on a first date with Scott. She had loved him since she was twelve-years-old. Even when her skin was breaking out, when she wore geeky clothes, and had ugly glasses, Jolene adored Scott. It had taken time for Scott to notice Jolene. Jolene knew the affect she had on men these days. At seventeen-years-old, she finally had the boy of her dreams and they were holding hands as he drove them to the movies and then out for some wine.

” You look fabulous, Jolene.” Scott complimented her. Jolene felt herself blush. She never blushed.

“You’re pretty good yourself you know,” she told Scott, trying to be cool. He grinned and said:

“Of course I’m good. I’m hot! Every girl wants me, but you are the only one lucky enough to have me. I have wanted you forever, Jolene. Since I saw your sweet ass walk into Math class in grade ten. We make sense together. We’re the Homecoming King and Queen. I’m the MVP football quarterback and you’re the head cheerleader. Tonight is only the beginning of you and I. You’re so lucky to have me.”

Jolene didn’t think too much about what Scott said to her most of the time. She didn’t notice how the majority of what he said was self-centred and he wasn’t much interested in getting to know Jolene beyond what was skin deep. Jolene pretended to never notice how Scott had planned out their life, and didn’t include her wants or needs in his plans.

Jolene also was blind to Scott’s filandering. She never knew Scott made  plans with other girls. Scott began doing this after Jolene had graduated high school and her Auntie Cathy had allowed Jolene to start modeling full time. Eventually, Jolene wanted to go to fashion school. But Scott thought Jolene would be too busy looking after their children for her to go to school. Maybe she could do that when the kids were older, Scott said. For now he liked having a known model on his arm.

When Jolene turned twenty-one,  Scott and her were still a couple talking about becoming engaged. Jolene modelled all over France and she was away from Scott too often for her liking. Scott was working on finishing his degree in Business Management and he didn’t miss Jolene much when she was travelling on a modelling shoot. Scott worked part-time as a salesman in Marketing for his father’s company. He was kept busy attending classes, working for his Dad, and having trysts when Jolene was away working.

—–

Jolene was nervous to see Scott when she returned from a modelling gig in Paris after Scott had graduated. Jolene had exciting news to tell Scott, but she wasn’t sure he’d be as happy as she was about the good news.” I have a surprise for you,” Jolene told Scott on her cell phone.

” A surprise?” Scott said, “Will I like this surprise? Does it have anything to do with you and me naked, in bed all night.” Jolene giggled.

“It’s a wonderful surprise, I promise. We can celebrate in bed later. Meet me at the beginning of the pathway to the Chateau at 7:00 pm and I’ll tell you.”

Scott arrived later than 7:00 pm, but he walked with Jolene onto the pathway that lead to the Chateau at one end and to a beach at the other end. Scott held Jolene in his arms and kissed the top of her blond hair when they were at the middle of the walkway.

“So, what’s my surprise, chere?” Scott asked Jolene teasing her ear with his lips. Jolene could hear the waves lapping sloppily against the rocks on the side of the path. It was a distraction for Jolene as she tried to tell Scott she was pregnant.

“Well,” Jolene said, turning around in Scott’s arms. “I think this is going to make you happy. It’s the next step in our relationship. I know your Dad wants grandchildren soon.”

“G-G-Grandchildren?” Scott rasped. “What do you mean by that Jolene? Tell me right now.” Scott demanded.

“I’m pregnant, Scott” Jolene shrieked showing him the pregnancy test excitedly.Scott blinked at her.

“Aren’t you thrilled? We’re going to be parents.” Jolene said. Scott stopped her celebrating with a heavy hand on her shoulder, holding Jolene still so he could have a serious talk with her.

“It’s okay Jolene. I know you’re pretending and trying to act like you want this baby. But we’re too young to have kids. I want them someday but not now. It’s too soon and I’ve graduated with my Business Degree only recently. I’m starting my Masters Degree in Business right away. Because I have experience working in my Dad’s company, the University allowed me to start early.” Scott said ignoring Jolene’s eyes which were starting to tear up and looking up at him pleading.”Here, take my credit card. Get this baby taken care of. It’s only a few weeks old right?”

Jolene went absolutely still. “How could you not want a baby, even if it’s only a few weeks old. That’s our child, Scott?”

Scott gave a half-hearted attempt at a comforting smile.”It will be okay Jolene. I can come with you if you want to the clinic and we’ll get you sorted out. It won’t hurt too much. Many girls end up with unwanted babies and receive abortions, it’s safe for the Mothers.Don’t worry, we’ll have kids in the future. Just not when I’m in Grad school. Maybe when I’m higher up in my Dad’s company and when you’re not such a highly desired model in France.”

Jolene was aghast and her crying quickly turned into sobs. She grabbed Scott’s credit card and ran down the pathway to the Chateau, ignoring Scott’s pleas to come back. Scott tried to reach Jolene by phone or by visiting the Chateau many times. When she finally picked up the phone a month later ready to talk to Scott, he only asked about the baby. Jolene lied to Scott and said she had had the baby aborted, that her Aunt had paid for it. Jolene mailed Scott back his credit card.

Two-months later, Scott broke up with Jolene for good. She had been avoiding him because her stomach had begun to show she was pregnant. There relationship had been in shambles ever since she told Scott she was pregnant. 

“It’s for the best Jolene,” Scott said to her over the phone. “You’re away modelling most of the time and I hardly get a chance to see you. We had a good run, but you and I are not meant to be together for life.”

Jolene was angry and spiteful to Scott. She had seen him around with a lovely red-headed girl, who was delicate and acquiescing. “You only broke up with me so you could be with Katrina. She’s not half as pretty as me. You’re only going out with her because I’ve had issues with you lately and Katrina’s family has a mountain full of money. Your Dad likes Katrina because her father is best friends with him.” Scott laughed at Jolene’s spite.

“You’re just jealous Jolene. You’re not half the woman my Katrina is, not half as caring or beautiful,” Scott said meanly. Jolene hung up on Scott and she didn’t talk to him for years. 

Jolene told her Aunt Cathy about the baby. Cathy was sad about the situation between Jolene and Scott but she loved her niece as if Jolene were her own daughter. Jolene gave birth to Kasia eight-months after she last saw Scott on the pathway to the Chateau. Jolene loved her baby with all her heart. She loved Kasia more than she had ever loved anyone else. It made Jolene tear up when she thought about the fact that Scott had wanted her to have an abortion. Kasia was the best thing in Jolene’s young life.

Jolene never told Scott about Kasia but she never stopped loving Scott, despite the fact that Aunt Cathy and Jolene’s few girlfriends, pointed out what a loser Scott had always been. It didn’t lessen Jolene’s feelings for Scott. She loved him the only way she knew how to love a man.

Years went by. When Kasia was three, Jolene was battling Kasia’s sleeping issues. Kasia was having nightmares and refusing to sleep in her own bed. Jolene reassured Kasia her nightmares weren’t reality and sang Kasia to sleep, eventually in Kasia’s own bed. Jolene thought about Scott as her daughter retreated into dreamland. Seeing parts of Scott in her daughter’s appearance, and Kasia’s strong-willed personality, made Jolene feel as if she would always have a piece of Scott with her. At the same time she Jolene detested Scott, who had made contact with Jolene again and occasionally bothered her, wanting to meet up with Jolene.

When Jolene was twenty-eight and Kasia was seven, Jolene had had enough of Scott and his constant interference in her life. Part of Jolene still loved Scott, but a bigger part of her was offended by his mere existence. Scott wanted to have an affair with Jolene. Jolene refused because she still believed Scott was her’ one and only.’ Jolene thought Scott should divorce Katrina and marry her. Scott had thought she was hilarious for demanding such action from him. How could he abandon his daughter Sara, he asked Jolene. Just like you abandoned Kasia, Jolene thought.

Jolene in hindsight, believed Kasia should have been Scott’s true firstborn. Kasia should have been loved and cherished by a loving mother and a father as Sara was. Jolene avoided Scott as much as possible but he always reached out to her.

Feeling as if she was going to lose it, Jolene seized her chance to leave Nice, and the countryside in France where the Chateau was. Jolene left, barely telling her Aunt her plans. Jolene told Cathy the bare minimum (incase Scott contacted Cathy), that Jolene was going to live, work, and go to fashion school in Canada. She had modelling jobs lined up and a scholarship for a post-secondary school in Toronto. The institution had daycare and was near a elementary school.

Jolene packed up her daughter Kasia, taking only what they could fit in two large suitcases and two small carry-ons. Jolene isolated herself and Kasia from her worried Aunt Cathy with sorrow. Eventually, she did reach out to her with a picture of Kasia or the two of them, every now and then.

But she had escaped Scott and that was the best gift Jolene could give her young daughter: A life free from Scott’s selfish narcissism. She would never tell Scott that Kasia, the baby she was supposed to abort, had lived. Although, she knew someday she would have to tell Kasia the truth about her father.Jolene dreaded that day already. 

——-

Presently, Jolene paced the hallways of the Chateau trying to walk off her anger towards Aunt Cathy for telling Kasia who her father was before Jolene was ready. She felt betrayed. Jolene could feel that feeling of familiar dread making her stomach churn. Kasia must never meet Scott. Not until she was thirty at the very least. . . 

I’m having many ideas from the original prompt. So, please stay tuned for a Part 3 in the near future.

——-

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.