Casting Stones (Stones Duet #1)By: L. M. Carr
I sometimes find this part the hardest to write because there are so many people I want and need to acknowledge. There are those who have been part of my journey since day one and there are those who are joining me now. Both are equally important.
I shall not name names for you know who you are
You might live down the street or in a place very far
This acknowledgment is for you, my old friends and my new
I am humbled and honored to have met you
So sit back, relax and enjoy as we journey on and struggle through
Just remember in the end, a happily ever after awaits those two.
Thank you for allowing me to create stories to share with you.
“…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
I SIT WITH my chin resting on my bent knees, listening to the sounds which seep through the small space underneath the door. The unmistakable stench infiltrates my nostrils and the meager contents of my stomach threaten to rise. A deep voice bellows with vulgar grunts. Moments later, I hear his victorious shout followed by muffled cries of defeat.
It’s over. I know I will be next.
As the heavy footsteps draw near, life and death are weighed in each hand. The choice is clear; I choose to live.
I lie perfectly still and close my eyes, feeling cowardly and ashamed.
“DAMMIT,” I SWEAR under my breath as I wheel my bike around the mountain of ripped garbage bags piled beside the overflowing dumpster. “Oh God, that smells awful.” I hold my breath and glance around to make sure the rats haven’t come out for their breakfast buffet. I roll past the other dumpster before finally stopping at the dented black door and press the doorbell for the back entrance.
The abrupt sound of the door creaking open startles me, pulling me from mental thoughts convincing, or perhaps, reminding myself of several things. First, it is a sin to use the Lord’s name in vain. Second, the sun will rise and set today. Lastly, no matter what happens it can always be worse. I can only pray it doesn’t get any worse than it did last night.
I meet Jenna’s wide eyes as she holds the door open. I walk along beside my bike before resting it against the door which leads down to the musty, dank basement.
“Uh…you’re a little late!” Jenna comments with a raised eyebrow. “Everything okay?”
I sigh out of frustration and give her a look of warning. “It was a bad night.” I quickly wash my hands in the large stainless steel sink as I absentmindedly read the handwritten sign that reminds employees to wash their hands before returning to work. “Thanks.” I take the paper towel and quickly dry my hands before reaching for the short black apron she holds out for me. “It’s already busy today. You gonna be okay?”
“Do I have a choice?” I laugh humorlessly, slipping the apron on over my uniform and following her through the kitchen into the diner. I stop for a moment to apologize to my boss. “Sorry, Len,” I toss a sympathetic glance at the owner who’s busy manning the grill and the fry-o-lator at the same time.
“Just get out there. We’ll talk later.” He grunts but then smiles softly. “Psst…” I turn back before I exit through the swinging double doors. Lenny’s gruff voice whispers, “You could run this place by yourself. Jenna can’t.” My mouth drops open with mock surprise even though I know it’s true. Lenny and I are like a well-oiled machine. With a quick wink, he manages to put a weak smile on my face. “Gotcha. I got your back, Lenny.”
I scan the restaurant, deciding where to start. The line by the register is ridiculously long with people needing to cash out and get on with their day. The irritated looks on their faces beg for my attention. Quickly, I cash them out and wish them a lovely day as I hand back their change and a couple of Wint-O-Green Lifesavers, courtesy of Lenny. He seems to think it’s the small things in life that make us happy. It’s his little way of paying it forward. He says you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
I hear the bell jingle on the door as new customers come in. Our usual, cheerful greeting falls by the wayside as the morning rush seems never ending. I try to make eye contact and pay attention to the wrinkled old, impatient faces and the young, smiling ones, but they all blur together after a while. I’m sure I couldn’t possibly pick a single one of them out of a lineup. Faces tend to blend into one another, especially when you’ve got the fear of God in you. I’m distracted briefly when I see him stride in and sit at the far end of the counter. His is a face I’d never forget.