I’m super excited for this book to release. It is projected to release at the end of May. Apartment 2B took a different path from my normal writing but I’ve been told by several of my beta readers that this is their favorite story of mine thus far. No worries, I’ll still bring the steam that you know and love. I can’t wait for everyone to read it!
Sidney has a rough life. Her mom is incredible abusive both mentally and physically. One day she’s awarded the escape she’s always wanted and is thrust into a world she barely understands. Each day is a struggle to feel human and not terrified of everything around her.
Sidney has rules. Routines. Structure. It’s the only way she can cope.
When a handsome, yet mysterious stranger inserts himself into her life, Sidney begins to come apart at the seams. She’s having trouble sticking to her habits and it’s threatening to shred any hope of a normal life to pieces.
Will this stranger help her in ways no other person can or will things get worse for her?
He comes with his own set of problems and secrets that he’s unwilling to share. Together will they work through the mess of their pasts or will they get caught up enabling each other? Will their toxic relationship ultimately be destined for demise?
This is the the unedited version of the Prologue of Apartment 2B…..
She approaches me with the glassy, far off look and I cower away from her. There is no escaping her when she goes into one of her moods. When she’s like this, I refer to her as Clean Momma. I plead with my eyes, not daring to voice my prayers. You never speak to her when she has that look in her eyes. Speaking will only make things ten times worse.
“Sidney, baby, are you dirty?” she questions, the sweetness in her voice thick as syrup. I blink a few times to rid the tears that are threatening. Clean Momma hates tears.
Quickly shaking my head from side to side, I once again plead with her, non-verbally, to not go to the inevitable. When she takes a step toward me, I flinch and the corners of her lips turn up into a sickening smile.
Momma is as twisted as they come. Even being a very naïve, sheltered, fifteen year old girl, I know that there is something sick in her brain. Thankfully, she allows me to borrow books from the library. Because of those escapes from hell, I know that I am living in a nightmare that is far from a normal life. As if reading my mind, she glares at me with all the hate she can muster it seems and I nearly vomit. But I choke it back because you certainly do not do that in front of Momma. Only a few times in my life has it happened and I paid dearly for them.
“Sidney, you are a very dirty little girl. When you went to the library today, you were exposed to some nasty things. I can practically seem them crawling on you. Momma needs to wash you clean.”
This time, the tears fell on their own accord and I slowly inch myself away from her. Even though we are nearly evenly matched with our height and weight, she has just enough crazy in her that I will never be able to fight her. Breaking my vow of silence, I finally succumb to begging.
“Momma, please,” I begin in a whimper, “I was so careful not to get dirty. I wore clothing to cover my arms and legs. Plus, I remembered to wear my gloves.” I didn’t really, but I threw it in for good measure, hoping it might work this time.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk…”
I gulp, once again trying to push down the rising bile in my throat. There is no way around this. And since I’ve spoken, it will be brutal.
“Get into the bathroom right away and undress. I’ll get my supplies.”
When I don’t make any moves toward the bathroom, she picks up one of her many switches that are scattered about the house from the end table and cracks it across my upper arm with surprising force for a woman of her size. I howl in pain and pull away from her, hurrying into the bathroom. The last thing I need is a bunch of open lashes while I endure my punishment. My arm stings and without looking, I know she’s broken the skin.
Not wanting to push her any further, I quickly strip out of my clothes as I wait for her. I know the drill. She will bathe me as if I’m a child. Problem is, she will do it in such a sadistic manner that it will take me days to recover. Again, I feel like puking.
I feel her presence before I see or hear her and step out of her way as she comes into the bathroom. She’s in her “uniform”, as she calls it, donning long yellow rubber gloves and goggles. Heaven forbid she gets any bleach on her precious skin. Spinning around so fast that I yelp out in surprise, she glares at me. The woman can sense, even in my mind, when I have the smallest inkling of defiance rolling through me. Her look is enough for me to wash it away immediately.
Stalking over to the tub, she draws what I know from experience is a scalding hot bath. I’m already whimpering as I mentally prepare myself for what’s to come. As it fills, she adds the entire bottle of bleach into the tub. It instantly burns my eyes and nose as it fills the air, mixing with the steam. I try not to choke and take shallow breaths as not to inhale it all and send myself into a coughing fit. Clean Momma is bad, visiting frequently, but Nurse Momma is the worst. A cough would bring her out in a flash and I simply couldn’t deal with Nurse Momma.
“Dirty child, get into the tub. We need to wash the filth from your body. Momma needs to make you clean again.”
I blink the tears from my eyes, which are now a mixture of fear and chemical irritation, and approach the tub hesitantly. Because I must be going too slowly, I am immediately attacked with the switch again across my bottom and wail out in surprise. This, too, has broken the skin and I curse myself for making things worse on me.
Raising my foot over the top of the tub, I try to ease my toes in, testing the temperature of the water. Of course it is beyond scalding, and I whimper as I force my foot into the blistering abyss. Escaping to the mental holes in my mind, I think about anything but the pain that is slowly rising up my leg as I fully submerge it. Once my toes graze the bottom of the tub, I get my footing under control before I pull the other foot into the tub.
Momma calmly watches as I lower myself down, grabbing ahold of either side of the tub. This part always hurts the worst. If I don’t do it in a manner that she views is quick enough, she’ll help me along. I do not like it when she helps me along.
Biting down on my lip, praying to distract myself from the pain, I lower my bottom to the water. I can feel the heat of the water on my sensitive flesh between my legs before it even touches the scorching water. When I hesitate, just a fraction of a second, I know I’ve made the worst possible mistake.
Momma slams her hands onto my shoulders and pushes me into the piping hot water. My screams are otherworldly as the liquid fire lashes at my flesh, especially my fresh branding on my bottom. Tears roll down along with snot as I try not to move a muscle, hoping not to inflict any more pain on untouched skin.
My breaths are coming out shallow and ragged as I throw all of my will power into not hyperventilating. I still have a death grip on the edge of the tub so that she doesn’t fully submerge me if I am caught off guard. Every muscle in my body is tight as I brace myself for what she has plans for next.
From the corner of my eye, I watch with bated breath as she pulls out a bristly scrub brush. Thankfully this one only has plastic bristles. If they ever ran out of the plastic ones at the grocery store, she was in no way opposed to buying metal scouring pads. She carefully pours a little bleach over it and turns to me. Clenching my eyes closed, I hold my breath as she begins her relentless scrubbing.
She burnishes my skin, careful to remove every single perceived contaminant. My skin burns as the bleach and slowly cooling water irritates the raw places. Every single place she can reach, she does her ritualistic cleansing. Thankfully, she never goes above my neck.
“I think we managed to take care of your dirty little problem. Now I suggest you finish up in here and get off to bed. Momma’s tired from all of this hard work,” she says, without any indication that what she has done to me is wrong. No, Momma doesn’t see anything unusual about her behavior which only solidifies how sick in the head she is.
“Yes, Momma,” I agree softly, not looking at her.
“Very well then, goodnight, love.”
Her words are just that—words. She may call me “love” or “baby” but they are empty. There is absolutely no feeling behind them. Momma has deep rooted psychological problems which she’s never received any type of professional help for. In my many trips to the library, I have read through tons of books looking for her disease. There isn’t anything in those books about cleaning your child in bleach because of imagined germs, at least, as far as I could find.
After she exits the bathroom with her supplies, I drain the water and stand up. The cool air washes over my skin, much to my delight. Once the last bit of water disappears, I turn on the shower to the coldest setting I can handle. The spray of icy water cools my burning flesh and washes away the bleach, finally making it easier for me to breathe.
There has to be a way I can escape her sick abuse but I don’t know how. Everything was fine until Daddy left us a few years ago when I was ten. The moment he left, without a word of goodbye, I watched my momma slowly morph into a monster. In the beginning, she just started using the switch on my frequently. Whenever she was upset about missing Daddy or had a bad day at work, she would punish me by beating the stew out of me with her switches. My body was littered with scars over scars from those painful lashings.
The summer after sixth grade is when she upped her level of crazy. She has her own business as a cleaning lady and has many affluent clients. One particular day, a client accused her of stealing and fired her. At dinner that night, she snapped and decided I was dirty. That first bleach bath was horrifying. Now that I was used to them, they were at least not surprising. I eventually learned her patterns and triggers for the next few years, always attempting to stay two steps ahead of her. However, trying to understand a mentally ill person is a fruitless endeavor and I still, like tonight, landed on her radar.
It made me sick the day that she told me I would no longer be going to school and that she would take care of my schooling from home. Until that point, it had been my escape. I still remember crying so hard that I made myself sick and vomited. That was when I met Nurse Momma. The shudder that courses through me brings me back to the present.
Washing my hair, I wince as the shampoo burns my raw skin when it runs down my shoulders and back and quickly rinse it away. I turn off the water and locate the towel on the hook. Ever so softly, I dab the water from by skin. Making my way to the mirror, I swipe it to see my reflection. My blue eyes seem hollow and vacant. Dark circles ring them, an indication of the stressful life I lead. Pouty lips, that look much like Momma’s, frown back at me.
Carefully, I pull the hairbrush through my shoulder-length chocolate colored hair. When I accidentally graze the shoulder of the injured arm, I yelp in pain. I place the hairbrush back down and exit the bathroom—the towel wrapped loosely around me. Glancing nervously down the hallway, I dart into my room and quietly close the door behind me.
My fan is humming above and my body shivers delightfully as the air chills my stinging skin. I drop the towel and open the window to let more cool air inside. Because of her punishments, I am developing my own obsessive tendencies, much to my dismay. For one, the fan always has to be on, and the window open, no matter the temperature. Two, I absolutely will not sleep with anything but a simple sheet draped over my skin. And finally, I sleep naked which is unusual for a fifteen year old girl.
Up until the bleach baths, I was every bit the normal girl who got occasional beatings from her mother. Since the baths started, my skin screamed for relief. It’s absolutely necessary for me, not only to heal from them this way, but also, to have the control over my body that I don’t have when Momma is around.
Sliding in between the sheets, I finally relax in my safe haven. If I knew where to go or if I had money, I would just leave in the middle of the night out of the open window that begs to release me to my own devices. But I am scared. Momma rules the only world I know. Until I can figure out a way to seek help or manage a life on my own, I am tethered to her in ways that I wish I wasn’t. I absolutely hate her and this life I’ve been dealt.
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