It Happened To Me
by T. A. Beasley
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Mystery
In one weekend, seventeen- year-old Delilah Murphy loses the one person she could count on. She tries to deal with the loss but the one she blames makes it hard. Delilah leans on her best friend for comfort but only for a short period of time. She must face her enemy and try to adjust to not having a support system.
Delilah’s behavior and attitude are out of control as is her non-existing relationship with whom she believes is the cause of her pain. Will Delilah finally come to her senses and learn to forgive? Or will her childish antics lead her down a path she may not be ready to travel?
**Trigger warning: of sexual assault, alcoholism, domestic violence **
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Delilah Murphy slides a Mountain Dew from the refrigerator, taking a quick sip before making her way up the stairs. She hears yelling coming from her parents’ bedroom. She ignores it, entering her bedroom to check her bag and make sure all the items for a weekend with her best friend, Tiffany, are accounted for. She walks over to the full-length mirror on the back of her bedroom door. She smiles at her reflection, running both hands down her custom-made shirt from CJ Marley. She makes sure everything is in place.
“I’m too sexy for myself,” Delilah sings, before blowing a kiss to herself. She looks at her watch, realizing her ride will be there any moment. She drops her bag by the door and takes a quick glance out the window. The Johnsons must be running a little late.
Delilah hears yelling again. It is getting louder, and she doesn’t know if she should interrupt or not. So, she places her ear to the door to eavesdrop, groaning, “Not this crap again.” Her parents’ arguing has been going on for the last couple of months.
She leans closer to the door. “What could possibly be wrong this time?”
“I am sick and tired of you always questioning me, Desmond.” Denise’s voice rises in volume, filling the room.
“I have to question you, Denise, because you’re never home.” Desmond’s face squinches in anguish as he clenches hands at his sides. “For the last five years, you have been completely absent in this household, and I’m tired of it.”
“I do not have to answer to you, and I’m not going to feel guilty for working hard to provide for my family.”
Desmond cannot believe Denise’s attitude and defensive behavior.
“I will be damned before I give up my business to pacify your feelings and ego!” Denise finishes her statement and heads toward the door.
Desmond grabs his wife’s arm forcefully, swinging her around to face him. “Damn it, Denise, don’t walk away from me!”
Looking alarmed, Denise pushes her husband, trying to get him to release her arm.
Delilah continues to listen at the door while sipping her drink. She can tell this argument is worse than the ones in the past. She starts to walk back to her room when she hears a change in her father’s voice. She returns to her parents’ bedroom door, slightly turning the knob before stopping.
“No, I am not getting in the middle of this again.” Delilah remembers the last time she tried to intervene in one of her parent’s arguments.
Delilah had walked into her living room to catch her favorite television show, Law and Order: SVU. She had just placed her drink and chips on the table when she noticed her mother heading towards the front door with her father right on her heels.
“Desmond, I am going to Tennessee. This trip is essential for releasing my clothing line.”
Delilah’s father grabbed his wife by the shoulders, slightly shaking her. “I don’t care. For the last two weeks, you have not spent any time with me or Delilah. We come before that damn boutique.”
When he released her, Denise slapped her husband. “Don’t you ever manhandle me like that again!”
Delilah came out of the living room, running over to stop the situation. “Mom, what are you doing?”
Desmond reacted by swinging to hit Denise, but the open-handed slap sent his daughter reeling backward to the floor instead.
Denise ran over to Delilah to help her. “Damn you, Desmond! Look what you have done!”
Desmond froze, realizing he was out of control. He attempted to comfort her. “Baby girl, I am so sorry.”
Delilah backed away from him. “I’m so tired of you two arguing. I can’t take it!” She ran to her bedroom, slamming the door.
Denise waved her hand, stopping Desmond from touching her. She walked out the door.
Now, the pressure Desmond applies to her arm makes Denise wince. “So help me, God, if you don’t let me go, you’re going to regret it.”
Desmond knows she isn’t playing. Denise’s piercing eyes burn into his soul, causing him to release her and plead his case. “I miss you at home. It seems like Delilah and I don’t fit into your world anymore.”
Denise’s jacket starts to vibrate. She pulls out her cell phone, glances at it, and silences it. “Don’t bring Delilah into this.”
Desmond rubs the top of his head and exclaims, “What else do you want me to do?! She is seventeen years old, and I haven’t seen you spend any time with her.”
Denise rolls her eyes.
“I’m serious, Denise. When was the last time you two went shopping? Or had a mother-and-daughter day?”
Denise can’t answer, because she knows deep down that her husband is right. She has been paying more attention to her business than her family, but she won’t let Desmond know it. She can’t acknowledge that she has missed Delilah’s last four birthdays, their wedding anniversaries, and the holidays because of business conferences, workshops, and fashion shows. She is tired of him always bringing up past issues in every argument. Heck, she’s also tired of the arguing itself.
Her cell phone rings again, displaying her assistant’s number, and this time, she answers it. “Hello, Cherie, how can I help you?” She turns away from her husband for some privacy.
“Mrs. Murphy, your car will pick you up at four o’clock this evening. You will arrive in Evansville at seven. I have arranged for a late check-in at the hotel. The conference is a few miles away.”
“Thank you. Will you be joining me tomorrow before the presentation?” Denise asks.
“Yes. I will be there before lunch, and I will have your presentation materials set up before you go on at one o’clock.”
“Sounds great,” she replies, looking at her husband’s disapproving facial expression. She shrugs and hangs up the phone.
Desmond holds his palms up and out, hoping his wife can feel his defeat. “What the hell?”
“I’m done discussing this with you. My driver will be here to pick me up in two hours, and I don’t want us to say or do anything we will regret.” Denise walks around him, trying to get to the bedroom door.
“Fine, go ahead and run from our marriage and our daughter. I want you to remember one thing, Denise: I’m not always going to be waiting for you when you come back.” Desmond storms out of the room and right into his daughter.
“I’m sorry, Dad,” Delilah apologizes, then looks at her mother, who has appeared in the doorway with her suitcases. Delilah tries to read her father’s expression as he speaks.
“Hey, baby girl, you all ready for your big weekend with Tiffany?”
Delilah stands with one hand on her hip. “I’m not stupid, Dad. What’s going on now? I heard both of you arguing!”
He tries to distract her by pulling her into a hug.
“Dad, don’t ignore me. I know you and Mom were arguing,” she says, pointing at her mother, ready to take her father’s side in the disagreement.
Delilah believes her father can do no wrong. This is mainly because he is there to listen to her and spends time with her. She takes his side in everything.
She can still remember the first time Mother Nature arrived and her mother was not available to take her to the store. Her father, as brave as he could be, made his way to the feminine aisle and helped her pick out supplies. She wasn’t mortified, because her father had a way of making embarrassing moments seem small when he was around.
She smiles, remembering her first encounter with the tooth fairy, whom she believed was her dad. She did not believe the fairy would be able to lift her head to place any money under her pillow. So, her father showed her an alternative with the drawer in the kitchen. They placed her first tooth there, so the fairy could find it. The next morning, her father led her to the drawer, where the fairy had left a dollar.
The drawer became their way of sending each other secret messages. He leaves her notes with cash if he is not going to be home. She always checks the drawer when arriving home.
Desmond sighs. “Your mother and I did have a little disagreement.”
She gives her father a look that says: Here we go again. Delilah has little interaction with her mother, especially after hearing the way she speaks to her father. Delilah realizes it’s happening again, and this is not good. “For reals? You guys have been arguing a lot lately.”
Denise gives her daughter a look that says: No, you didn’t. “Don’t question your father; a child should know their place.”
Delilah glares at her mother, rolling her eyes while showing her the palm of her hand. “Whatever!” She walks away, heading toward her bedroom and slamming the door.
Then, she looks at her bedroom door and whispers, “I wish you would leave for good.”
She picks up a book to browse through on her bed while waiting for her ride. She straightens the black, grey, and teal bedding before sitting down. The black canopy bed sits in the middle of her room, contrasted by the teal walls that surround it. The grey and teal bathroom suite is large enough for Delilah to host her many clothes, shoes, and tote bags. She loves only a few things besides her father: Shopping, books, and spending her parents’ money.
She recently received a couple of books by one of her favorite authors, S.E. Green, a young adult suspense thriller writer who incorporates psychological twists into her stories.
Back in the hallway, Denise turns to her husband, expecting him to correct their daughter. “Are you just going to stand there and let her talk to me like that?”
Desmond smirks. “You brought that on yourself.” He turns away from his wife with no desire to correct Delilah. The way she behaved toward her mother was somewhat his fault. Once, she’d heard him on the phone when Denise left for a business meeting without telling them. She’d heard him yell at her mother that she was being a bitch.
He shakes his head at his wife. He just wants to keep Delilah on his side, in case their marriage comes to an end. He looks at her one more time before descending their cherrywood staircase and walking out the door.
As soon as Desmond shuts the front door, a horn blows and startles Denise. Delilah looks out her window, grabs her bag, and heads toward the door. She stops to take a deep breath before having to deal with her mother since she’d already seen her father get into his car.
“She’d better not say anything to me,” she mumbles to herself while opening her door. Delilah breezes by her mother, looking forward and bumping her mother’s shoulder as if she wasn’t there. She doesn’t give her mother time to say anything before heading down the stairs with her overnight bag in tow. When she reaches the door, Delilah finally hears her mother calling her.
“Delilah, did you not see me standing here?”
She answers without turning around. “I saw you.”
And with that, she walks out of the house, leaving her mother at the top of the stairs.
INTERVIEW WITH T.A. BEASLEY:
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since middle school from journal entries to short stories and now books.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I normally create the main character and then the supporting characters come to right before I start plotting my novel.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I interview people. I go to locations that I may describe. I also search on google and go to the library for materials. I believe the best research is interview people in the profession you are writing about and people who have been through what your character is going through.
Do you see writing as a career?
I most definitely see writing as a career. This has been a dream of mines since high school and now that my first book is coming out, it has pushed me to pursue this full time. I believe it can be done without being signed to a traditional publisher especially if I put the work in.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I am an avid reader. I don’t leave home without a review book or leisure reading book or a self-help book in my tote bag. I basically live and breathe all things bookish.
My favorite genres are mysteries and thrillers. I also read paranormal, fantasy, contemporary fiction and women fiction. I mainly like books that have a mysterious and or suspenseful element to it.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I prefer to write while listening to a business or personal development podcast. It helps me stay focused on what I am trying to achieve and makes me think of what I am doing to improve myself.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
At this point since book one is completed, I have started writing on book two along. I am also outlining and researching a middle grade book and a young adult fantasy book. I do this on separate days.
Pen or type writer or computer?
I outline with pencil and paper and then move to my computer. I mainly plot and outline with pencil and paper then I type it on the computer. After my outline is clear then I work on writing the book on the computer.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
Two of my favorite character is Lane from the Killer Instinct by S. E. Green. She is a teenager who is obsessed with serial killers because she wants to be one. Lane’s character is intelligent, creative, and a bad ass. I also love that she is sneaky and can hide in plain sight.
My second is Mary from Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson. Mary is a character you should fear on any given day. She is very calculating, manipulative and knows when to appear innocent, so you stay on her side. You don’t figure out her dark side until it’s too late. I love her so much.
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ABOUT T.A. BEASLEY –
T.A. Beasley has been a lover of books, reading and writing since she was ten years old, when she encountered the teen department librarian at Central Library in her hometown of Evansville, In. She became a book reviewer and blogger in 2010 as well as a tour host, helping authors, publishers and publicists share books with readers through her blog, Authors & Readers Book Corner. She resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband. It Happened To Me is her debut novel and she is working on her next title.
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