This Isn't Over, Baby (War & Peace #3) - K. Webster

The Past

“NEXT.”

My father’s bored, gruff tone grates on my nerves and I itch to tug at the knot of my tie. But his shrewd nearly black eyes are on me—always on me—waiting for me to show one tiny sliver of weakness. Weakness is what he feeds on. What he has for breakfast, lunch, and fucking dinner. And he’s been feeding on me since I was ten years old. So instead, I fist my hands and I keep my features relaxed as I wait for his stupid little show to fucking end. He may be hungry, but I won’t be the one feeding his crazy-ass monster tonight. No, one of the shivering, bound, and crying girls standing in front of our fireplace will. As the next girl stumbles into the room, I close my eyes and let my mind flit to the past. Almost eight years ago, my life changed with the whap of a belt against my flesh.

“Your whore mother left us.” That was his only explanation of why Donna Sharpe wasn’t in the living room slurping down one of her signature dirty martinis after school one day. I’d been confused because, quite frankly, at ten, I had no idea what a whore was. When I cried for the loss of the calmer parent in my home, my father changed. His annoyed expression turned into one of rage, and that day he took out every ounce of his fury of her leaving on me. His expensive leather belt on my bare ass tore the skin to shreds.

But that’s not what broke me.

He crushed me later that night. When the house grew silent, and I’d cried myself dry, he stepped into my room and promised to make it all better. That night, he kissed away the pain on my backside, and in the process, twisted my head into a tangled mess of strings that he would go on to pull whenever he wanted.

My father devoured my innocence, and now that he can no longer feed on me, he’s transforming into a starved animal. His need to prey on the weak disgusts me. It only shows he isn’t as strong as he thinks he is. He may traipse around in five thousand dollar suits and drive an expensive sports car, but my dad is a pussy.

It took this past summer for me to come to this conclusion. When he’d come into my room after I’d spent a week at summer camp, something in me snapped. I’d watched other guys my age sneak off with girls at night. Kids all around me were happy. Naïve. Untouched. And I realized that I owed him nothing.

But he owed me everything.

The moment he slurred out my name and dragged the covers off my half-naked body, the fear and revulsion that always made me immobile was no longer present. Instead, rage—a glorious fucking feeling—lit a fire inside of me and I exploded. The fucker put up a good fight for a drunk asshole, but I bashed my fists against my father’s face until he was unmoving. My knuckles were bruised and achy, but my pride was restored.

My father never touched me again.

Instead, he treated me like an annoyance. A burden. A fucking bother. Like nothing ever happened.

But everything happened.

That night, I transformed.

I became someone better.

I became my own monster. A monster dead set on not letting him feed off me ever again. I became invincible as far as he was concerned.

Next month I’ll be graduating from high school, and I’ll go on to college. Away from my father. Away from my hellish past. I’ll make a life and become someone. For once, I’m not the scrawny, lanky kid with the messy hair and quiet disposition. After that night, I began working out—fueled on by the desire to always be stronger than that beast. Eight months later and I had filled out everywhere. My shoulders were broad, I had abs, and I was no longer someone he could intimidate. Girls started to notice me and guys wanted to be my friend.

I was no longer weak.

“They’re all so terrified,” Grant Sharpe’s gravelly voice growls, interrupting my thoughts when the last girl comes to stand beside the three others.

Four girls.

All of them young.

Some my age, some considerably younger.

But one stands out among the others.

A girl with bright blue eyes and messy blonde hair eyes the group in the living room with disgust. Where the other girls are crying and huddling together, this one looks as though she wants to slaughter every