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Dirty Beasts : Rev
Author: Jasinda Wilder

 


1 Anywhere But Here


Myka

 

 

I’m sitting in my car, chewing on my thumbnail, furiously fighting back tears. I’m in my driveway—or, rather, what used to be my driveway. What used to be my home. The house I spent the past six years turning into a home, all by myself.

It wasn’t large, and when we bought it, it wasn’t very nice, either. Kinda ramshackle, if I’m being honest. But back then, I was eighteen and my husband twenty-two. He wasn’t an attorney then, only a lowly paralegal working his way through his law degree. It was…a fixer-upper back then, and that’s putting it nicely.

A one-story ranch, it had been stuck in the seventies. I’d seen the beauty in the bones of it, though, trained to do so by my father, who is a home builder, renovator, and real estate agent. I’d seen what it could be, and it was all Darren and I could afford, anyway. I’d painted every single wall. I’d personally ripped out and put in all new flooring—assisted by Dad and PopPop and my two brothers, Angus and Jordan. They’d also helped me knock out the wall between the kitchen and living room and put up a load-bearing beam. We’d redone the whole kitchen for less than cost, since I had a family of professional builders helping me on the weekends.

Short of it is, I’d made it my home. Every photo and piece of art was hung by me. Every decoration. Every drawer and cabinet pull, every light fixture. It’s mine and I’m darned proud of it.

And I’m about to drive away from it forever.

In the back of my ten-year-old Wrangler I have four suitcases; a duffel with my makeup and hair stuff; a backpack containing my laptop and various electronics chargers; my yearly planner; my well-worn, floppy, red-leather Bible with my name engraved on the front; and on the seat next to me, the Coach purse I’d scored at a yard sale.

All of my possessions.

In my purse are the divorce papers, signed, sealed, and delivered, adjudicated, and 100% final. With it, my name change documentation, returning my last name to Donovan, rather than keeping my cheating, scumbag, lower-than-dirt ex-husband’s stupid garbage last name—Milch.

Yes, for six years, my name was Myka Milch—pronounced Mike-ah Milk. Yeah. For real.

Now, I’m back to being Myka Donovan again.

There’s that, at least.

But still. Stupid, garbage, lower-than-dirt, cheating ex-husband aside, I don’t want to leave my home.

My phone rings. Through the hot haze of tears, I answer it without looking at the caller ID. “H-hello.”

“Mike.” My sister, Ana. “I felt a disturbance in the Force, so I called you. What’s up, baby girl?”

I sniffle. “I can’t do it, Ana.”

I don’t have to tell her what. “Yes, you can.”

“No, I can’t. I’ve been sitting here in my car in the driveway for ten minutes. I can’t do it, I just can’t. It’s my home, not his. He didn’t do a darn thing to help. I did it all—with ya’ll’s help.”

“Myka, honey.” Her voice is quiet—she’s my eldest sister, and like a second mom to me; not that I need a second mom, since my first and real mom is the best mom ever; Ana is just a natural-born caretaker like that. “You have to. Work with me, okay?”

“Okay.” I sniffled.

“Step one, put the car in reverse.”

I inhale deeply, hold it, and do as I’m told—clunk, the shifter hits the R. “Okay.”

“Check for cars, both ways, and then just back out. Don’t think. Just do it.”

I shake my head. “Can’t.”

“Open your eyes, Mike.”

“I’m crying too hard. I can’t see a thing.”

A pause. “He cheated on you, Myka.” Her voice is hard. “He doesn’t care that you had three miscarriages and a stillbirth in four years. He doesn’t care that you were so depressed you could barely get out of bed for weeks at a time.”

I know what she’s doing, and it’s working.

She’s not done. “You saved yourself for him. You left college for him. You gave him a home. And what did he do? He cheated on you, divorced you, and took the house.”

Anger rifles through me. It clears the tears away—the trade-off is that I’m now shaking with rage. But it lets me function, where my sadness wouldn’t.

I check the road both ways, and then back out, my shaky hand jerking the shifter into Drive, and I hit the gas. Too hard—the tires bark and I’m thrown backward in the seat.

Immediately, I back off and drive the exact speed limit to the stop sign at the end of our road. The house—my home—is in my rearview mirror. “I did it.”

“Good girl, Mike. Now…drive away.”

“Okay. Thanks, Ana.”

That’s my sis—she can feel things. She just knows things, always has. When I broke my ankle chasing after Angus and his friends and I was stuck and crying at the bottom of a ravine, she knew, and she found me.

She breaks seemingly impossible tasks into manageable chunks and talks me through them.

“Call me every day, y’hear?” she says. It’s not a request, though.

“I will. Promise.”

“You promised, and if you make a promise—” she starts.

“You keep it, no matter what,” I finish. It’s one of our family mottos.

“You have all your stuff?”

“Yes. Everything I care about that’ll fit in a car, at least.”

“Cash, hidden in your bags, your purse, and your car?”

“All but a couple grand in the checking account I opened at the big bank across town.”

“And you know where you’re going?”

I laugh, the first laugh in days. “Not the first clue, sis. Anywhere but here, that’s all I know.”

“You need anything, you call. Me, Mom and Dad, any of us. We’ll all drop what we’re doing and come right to you, no matter what.”

“I know, I will. Bye, Ana.”

“Bye, Myka. Be safe.” A pause. “It’ll be okay.”

I know she’s not lying about my family dropping everything for me. I have five siblings—Anastasia (Ana, to everyone), Angus, Jordan, Juniper (we all call her June), and Mallory. I’m the baby. Any of them would drop what they’re doing at the word boo, and find me and do anything I need, come heck or high water. So would Mom and Dad.

It’s a heck of a support system, and honestly, they’re the only reason I’m still here. If not for my family, I don’t think I’d have come through the past year even halfway sane.

But the one thing they can’t do is fix me. They can’t give me my virginity back. They can’t give me the past six years of hell back. They can’t restore my womb or my fertility. They can’t piece my heart back together. They can’t tell me what the heckle-schmeckle I’m going to do with my life, now.

I’m twenty-four, divorced, and I have no college education, no work experience, and a grand total of five thousand dollars to my name, plus a paid-for ten-year-old Jeep Wrangler with a souped-up engine, thirty-five-inch mud tires and black wheels, upgrades courtesy of my brother Jordan, as a birthday gift last year.

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