Note:

Some character's names are changing from their original denotation.
Crag = Krag
Teej = Tej
This note will be removed when the changes are applied to all entries on this blog.
text marked with italic tags are meant to be in italics and will be so in the final, publishable draft.

Chapter 4

    Dionne wanted to fall on the ground and bawl.  It seemed otherworldly, dark skinned man-things were just the same as the ones in her world… interested in that one thing.  It wasn’t like Dionne was looking for a relationship, gods knew she wasn’t ready for something like that, but someone to treat her with respect, was that too much to ask?
    Dionne buried her face into her pillows.  She wasn’t about to start crying, but her face burned.  Despite his inhuman face she felt attraction to him.  It felt strange even to her.  How could she feel desire someone so obviously not human.

    Dionne turned over in bed and lay face up.  Her breasts still heaved.  This time she resisted the urge to cry successfully.  Her thoughts returned to her children and how this might be confusing for them.  They never met any of her boyfriends in the past so having someone in the guest bedroom, even if it that someone didn’t meet any requirements of boyfriendhood, couldn’t be easy.

~ * ~

    Dionne thought back to her children’s father, Andre Senior.  She got pregnant at 16 with Andre Junior, then three years later with Niya.  Andre was a good father to them and they were planning to get married.
    Andre Senior worked 12 hours a day to make ends meet while Dionne took care of Junior and newborn Niya.  Dionne did what she could to make their one bedroom, first floor apartment a home.  Andre worked his ass off out of love.  Dionne felt that every night when he kissed her tired from his factory job.  He learned his work ethic from a kind foster family who taught him the value of hard work and sacrifice for the people he loved.  His birth parents were out of the picture completely.  He didn’t even know their names.
    The early morning hours before Niya’s first birthday, Andre and Dionne heard someone rustling at their door.  Andre sprang out of bed, grabbing his baseball bat.  He yelled through the door, “Get the hell away from my door sucka or you’ll be eating wood.”
    Gunfire rang out, putting a bullet through the door.  Andre quickly hit the deck and crawled out of the living room.  Dionne was already on the phone to 911 who immediately dispatched the police.
    They heard a knock at the front door.
    Andre went to the door holding his bat nervously.  He looked through the peep hole and saw two white police officers standing, looking annoyed.  Andre opened the door with Dionne standing at the door way between the front room and the bedroom.
    BANG!  BANG!
    Andre staggered back dropping the baseball bat.  He fell to the linoleum floor.  Dionne ran to her husband.  Her right hand clutched the back of his head while her left hand tried to keep the blood from pouring out of his chest wounds.
    She screamed.  “Why did you shoot my husband?  Why did you shoot him?  We called you to help us!  Why did you shoot him!?”
    The police restrained and cuffed her, eventually arresting her for resisting arrest.  She continued screaming at them about getting someone to help her husband, but they stood around talking into their walkie talkies while her husband lay dying.
    Andre Junior ran into the front room after the police gunshots.  He saw his father coughing blood.  Niya screamed in her crib.  Child services came in to take the children, first to the police station, then to Dionne’s parents.

~ * ~

    Despite herself Dionne cried into her pillow.  She couldn’t subject anyone to the kind of injustice her husband had suffered, especially since Crag was only trying to help her when Creepy Toby wanted to chloroform her.
    She sniffled and wiped her eyes.  Yes, this was the right course of action.

~ * ~

    Dionne went to her parents’ home.  Mister and Missus Washington were happy to have their daughter and grandchildren under their roof despite the circumstances.  They gave their daughter space to grieve for her husband.
    For the first month or so after the funeral, Dionne didn’t bother getting out of bed aside from the necessities.  She held her children briefly, but Andre Junior looked too much like his dad and Niya cried a lot.  She just couldn’t handle it.  She had to… get away… do something.
    On the thirty second day after Andre Senior’s death, Dionne woke up.  She sat up.  She got out of bed.  The sun shone bright in the sky.  Her mother tended to Niya who played happily.
    Dionne grabbed a cup of strong, black coffee and sipped carefully.  She looked at her mother.  “Mama, I woke up this morning and came to a realization.  I need to get a job.”
    Mrs. Washington cupped her daughter’s face tenderly.  “You take all the time to grieve you need darlin’.  No one is rushing you out.  Your papa and I can take care of these kids for as long as you need.”
    Dionne kissed her mama’s hand and sipped more coffee.  “I appreciate that and I’ll need your help to watch the kids, but this is something I gotta do.  I gotta be able to show these kids that just because life takes out your heart, it don’t mean you can’t live anymore.  Andre was my heart, but now these kids have to be my heart.  I have to make sure they grow strong.”

~ * ~

    Unfortunately Dionne’s job hunt was largely unsuccessful.  She had too much experience for menial labor and not enough schooling for an office job.  She couldn’t get even factories to hire her on, or if they were willing to hire her, they weren’t paying enough for her to afford groceries for her and the kids.
    She sat exasperated after another failed job interview on a broken bench across town.  The newspaper she held carried black marker Xs all over the classifieds.  One last classified ad lay unscathed in her paper.
    Louie’s Booty Palace – Seeking women of all ages, shapes and sizes for immediate, lucrative work.  In person applications only.  No phone calls.
    The ad had been in the last three papers Dionne purchased.  She avoided it.  Sure, she danced in high school, but this was not ballet by any stretch of the imagination.  She didn’t know if she wanted to be “that kind of woman”.  She also didn’t see any other option.  What would her parents think?
    That night she brought it up to her Mama and Papa.  Mr. Washington stood up quickly and bellowed, “Absolutely not!  No daughter of mine will become a filthy stripper!  Andre would turn in his grave if he knew you were doing that for money.”
    Mrs. Washington shushed her husband.  “Leonard, the girl has looked everywhere for work.  I bet you didn’t know I was a dancer when times were tough for us did you?”
    “What?!”  Leonard Washington said to his wife.  “Delores?”
    Delores looked at her husband in challenge.  “Yes.  When you were laid off and insisted I still go to my sewing circle, I stopped off at Randy’s All American Girl Revue for a half shift to bring in money so we could afford rent.”
    Leonard’s righteous indignation faded almost instantly.  He wasn’t sure how to take this revelation.  Dionne wasn’t sure this was something she wanted to know, but her mother was on her side and that was worth enduring the awkward moment.

~ * ~

    The next day Dionne stepped into Louie’s Booty Palace wearing a too short skirt and a nice, button up top.  Everyone told her she had nice legs.  She wore little make up, preferring to look more natural.  When she interviewed with Louie, a large brown skinned man with an under bite, his eyes immediately gravitated to her breasts, then her legs.  After the interview, they watched her ass as it walked her out the door.
    But she had the job.

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