Pretty Ugly is the first book in the Mercy Mc Series. It’s King and Carmine’s story. King and Carmine first appear in my Dollhouse Series so if you like their story and like them and want to read more about them you can in my Dollhouse books. You can get that at Amazon.
Pretty Ugly ~ Coming soon!
Chapter One – Ugly
“You’re going to like it here.”
I highly doubted this. I never liked it anywhere. Not even when I’d been home with my mother and brother before the state had rightfully stepped in had I liked being there. And in the handful of homes I’d been dumped in ever since were all the same to me. I hated each and every one with a passion.
They hadn’t been bad places to be, really. The people who’d occupied those places just, well, they kind of sucked. Or, maybe it was me that sucked. Either way, I never lasted long, and in no time at all they were ready to ship me off to the next place. And then the next.
I’d been too quiet. Too withdrawn. Too bitter and too angry. One family had gotten rid of me because they thought I was mentally unstable and feared I might either harm myself or eventually harm the other children in their home.
“Something funny, Carmine?”
I ignored the soft spoken question from the woman with too bright pink lipstick seated at my side. Just as I ignored all of her gentle, well meaning, insufferable prodding. Why the woman still bothered would forever remain a mystery to me.
I had to give it to her though, the lady was insistent. To be honest, it was kind of nice. Having someone give a shit, having someone talk to me, even when she knew I’d never respond. However brief our encounters were, they were the only source of stability I’d had in my life for too long.
Ms. Manning had been with me since my older brother and I had been taken away from our mother. She’d been there to help me pack my meager belongings. She’d dropped me off and been the person to introduce me to my new “family”. She’d also been the one to pick my ungrateful ass up when said family had deemed me unsuitable for their household.
She and I were on our fourth house and the damned woman never seemed to lose her optimism. If she hadn’t been the only constant in my life, the one to always pick me up when everyone else decided they didn’t want me, I might have told her to shove her optimism right up her asshole. I couldn’t do that to her. I needed her too badly to be there to pick me up when no one else wanted me.
“This couple is in their late forty’s and they only take in teenagers. Right now they’ve got two boys and two girls. They’re all a bit older than you are, but I don’t see that being an issue where you’re concerned.”
She droned on and on about my new family. I ignored her words, choosing rather to stare blankly out the passenger window, watching the world as we passed it by. Nothing she said ever really mattered. She didn’t know these people. She only knew what she’d read about them in a folder and she’d only seen the faces that had been put on for her benefit when she’d stopped in for her scheduled visit.
But she did not really know.
Therefore, I never really listened to her.
Already? It seemed this new family lived not too far from the one I’d just left behind. Usually it took longer to get there than this.
I took in my surroundings without a word as she drove on down the dirt lane. Trees as far as the eye could see. The road opened up into a clearing where an old, worn down farm house sat proudly in the center of the clearing. A big, wrap around porch housed a dilapidated bench and a broken down rocking chair.
The place was quiet and seemingly devoid of life.
For whatever insane reason, I loved it.
I could see myself blending in to the quiet scenery. Possibly even becoming forgotten altogether, like the rest of the place seemed to be.
“It’s perfect,” I whispered to myself, shocking not only myself but the woman seated beside me.
And it was.
For the year I stayed on there before being shipped off to the next place it was perfect. But like everything else in my life it didn’t last. Nothing in my life ever really did. Until the next place that is. That place stuck. Only because I worked to make it so. And I only did that because of him.
She was ugly. Except for those goddamn eyes. Jesus. They reminded me of my mother’s eyes. Sweet, brown, big and full to the brim with hope.
How in the fuck she could land in a place like this and have eyes full of hope would forever remain a mystery to me. Too bad before she left this place that beautiful hope would probably bleed out of the corners of her eyes in the shape of tears and trace down her homely face.
No one left this place whole and she would be no different.
This thought made me unbearably sad.
Something uncomfortable stirred in my gut with just one look into those eyes. Uncomfortable because it had been a long time since I’d felt any sort of real emotion towards another human being. Not since my mother had been ripped away from me and my father had bled to death before my very eyes as he tried and failed to save her.
I shut myself off from my emotions after that.
One look into an ugly little girls beautiful brown eyes and a switch had been flipped inside me. One look into those eyes and somehow I knew, this little girl, if I let her in, would end up owning me.
This absolutely terrified me. And yet, for some insane reason, it elated me.
I’d been dead inside for so long just the thought of some part of me coming back to life, suddenly resurrected, hit me in ways I never would have expected. For some reason I wanted to reach out to the brown eyed girl and hug her as a thank you.
I did no such thing and I probably would never ever do so.
To touch her would be to destroy her. My father had taught me that with my mother. She hadn’t been much to look at either, but goddamn did she ever have beautiful eyes. And the eyes were the most important part on a person, the window to a person’s soul.
My old man had taken one look into my mother’s eyes and he’d fallen hard. And then he destroyed her.
I was a lot of things, not all of them were good, but the worst of them all I was my father’s son, through and through. I would be until the day I died. My father had taught me to embrace this and I did, feeling no shame or remorse when I more than probably should have.
Carmine changed all of that.
I knew what kind of life I was destined to live, even at fifteen with this little slip of an ugly girl with beautiful eyes standing before me, I knew. And I also knew that one look into those eyes was all it took for me to fall hard.
Something that also terrified me and the only time I loathed being my father’s son because if I gave into my emotions I’d be her ruin.
So I did something stupid. Something that hurt us both in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I’d take it all back if I could. But that’s the fucked up thing about life, you only got one shot at it and if you failed it’d be your own damn fault.
And I failed.
But it wasn’t just my own life I fucked up. I fucked hers all up too and it wasn’t the place we first met that lead to the hope bleeding out of her eyes. Oh no. It wouldn’t be til years later would I see the loss of hope in those eyes. And just like my father with my mother, I’d be the reason she lost the light in her eyes. Unlike my father I’d do it intentionally.