Fiction Outtake: Leaving (Pre-Trevor’s Song Era)


“The problem,” Kerri said, pausing to catch her breath and glare at her brother, “is that she wants me to be Cinderella. But I’m nobody’s servant!”

“Maybe there’s a way…”

“No, Stevie. Do you hear me? No.” She pulled her favorite Steelers sweatshirt off the hanger and folded it carefully, hugging it to her chest. Maybe when she returned, she’d have the upper hand. She’d have some sort of power over that woman, and she wouldn’t have to spend all her time and energy fucking around, the way things had always been, up to this point.

Maybe she’d even be spoken to in a civil manner, just like that woman always insisted on. “What goes around comes around,” Kerri thought as she stuffed the sweatshirt into her bag, refusing to care when it came unfolded. Everything else had come undone. That’s why she was packing.

It was hard to believe she was thinking so clearly. She hadn’t been when she and Jason had been interrupted, down in his basement. Then again, it was hard to think clearly when your clothes were off and your legs were wrapped around someone’s waist and all your thoughts were about how you wished the rubber would stop finding all the dry spots — and then suddenly, there she was, face blank, mouth open like fresh roadkill. As if Kerri could have possibly gotten that lucky. That woman would never be roadkill. She was too fucking mean to die.

Amazing what an hour could do. Kerri had the bus schedule to Riverview, had her duffle bag already full of the things she couldn’t leave behind, and was ready to start in on the things she’d want Stevie to send her later on. The rest…

It would probably get thrown out. Kerri knew that, but owning up to that fact wasn’t so easy.

Yet that was how it was with her. Really, Cinderella wasn’t a stretch, except there was no step to this mother. There weren’t step-sisters, either, who were her rivals. Nope, this was all about Mom and daughter. Not even adopted daughter. Born of the woman who hated her.

Getting out of town would be a relief.

Kerri fantasized about it for a minute. Her own place. All the art she wanted, and classes to make her better. A job, sure, but jobs weren’t so bad. It sort of sucked that she had to leave the garden center now instead of at the end of summer like she’d planned, but these things happened. Maybe she’d even find someone better than Jason, which wouldn’t be too hard since she was pretty much only with Jason for the sex.

“What time do we have to leave?”

Kerri glanced at the door to her bedroom. “The sooner, the better. You know Dad’ll start in soon.”

“Yeah, but …”

Kerri arched an eyebrow at him and reached for her alarm clock.

“He’s not as mean,” Stevie said, ducking his chin to his chest and mumbling. Like this was something he had to be ashamed of.

Well, Kerri thought, not anymore. She was eighteen, she had a partial scholarship to the art school of her choice, and she had enough cash to take a bus to Riverview and find a place to live. A place where she’d be left alone.

A place where she’d finally be able to do something right, for the first time in her life.

This is our first look at Kerri before she moved to Riverview and before she met Mitchell, which happened years after the move. Already, she’s very much the woman she becomes.

Once again, this is my Poetry Train and Weekend Wordsmith rolled into one. Good thing the Poetry Train has no rules; I’d go nuts.

At any rate, this was partially inspired by the Wordsmith prompt, but also partially by the discussion we’ve been having in the comment trail in my BTT: Heroine post, about strong women. I’m still working on ideas of how we can band together, girls. If you’ve got any, drop me a line.



  1. bunnygirl

    March 2, 2008 11:40 pm

    Ooh, is this the start of our “strong women” writing theme? Yay!BR/BR/And yeah, at eighteen, Kerri can easily find another guy for sex. The trouble at that age is finding one who Idoesn’t/I want sex! LOL!

  2. Susan Helene Gottfried

    March 2, 2008 11:41 pm

    I want to do more than have a Strong Women Writing Theme, bunny. I’m just not sure what and how yet.

  3. Robin

    March 3, 2008 4:41 am

    Kerri reminds me of the potential several people (guys and girls) I knew growing up had, but she succeeded in getting out and making something of herself where they just fell apart.

  4. Julia Smith

    March 3, 2008 10:55 am

    I really like this peek into her past, Susan. Sad that she had such a rotten non-relationship with her mother, but if they’d gottten along, she wouldn’t have made her way to Riverview.

  5. Amy Ruttan

    March 3, 2008 2:00 pm

    Very cool backstory insight on Keri. 😀


    March 3, 2008 2:30 pm

    Oooh, good stuff! I like it when you go back and show us a little peek into their past.BR/BR/Happy Monday! 🙂

  7. LittleWing

    March 3, 2008 5:12 pm

    great story… always enjoyed reading stories of strong women…

  8. LN- Nickers and Ink

    March 3, 2008 7:47 pm

    Lovely story! Great theme.

  9. Ann

    March 3, 2008 9:45 pm

    Great post Susan. Kerri certainly knew what she wanted, all right. 🙂

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