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Dante James - down on his luck, gets blind drunk and rapes a teenage girl - Tayla Bradshaw. He doesn't remember. She gets pregnant. She meets Dante ten years later. She plans to expose him. She hangs around him for weeks and when the time comes the only person who stops her is her son Joche and much to her demise, she has fallen dangerously in love.
Tayla was crying and when he looked at her, she could see he was crying as well. She was confused. He wasn't violent towards her and furthermore it seemed as if he made love to her. There were no angry words and he didn't hit her. When he pulled away from her, he tried fixing her clothes and helping her to her feet. He kept saying sorry over and over. When she was standing up steadily, he took her back onto the road and walked her to the nearest street light and left her there. What he didn't know is that she was just a few houses down from her own home.
She stood under the streetlight and watched as the dark figure staggered into the night. She walked slowly and somewhat painfully to her house. How was she going to explain this to her parents, she knew her clothes were dirty and her face was flushed. She pushed the door and as soon as she closed it her father spun her around and slapped her in the face.
"Where have you been you ****? Out in the street with those boys? Look at you, you're filthy."
"I missed........" Another slap.
"Be quiet in my house, no dinner for you, go clean those clothes and get to bed." Her father stepped aside to let her pass and he smacked her behind her head as she did. Tayla refuse to cry all she could think about was the handsome man who invaded her body with his. At this moment she would have rather gone with him than come home to this misery. She was so conflicted. She should hate him but she didn't.
The next few weeks were gruesome, her father was even stricter than before. One evening the bus was late and she got home 5 minutes after 5. He father punched her in the stomach and her mother stood and watched. No dinner for her again.
Five weeks has passed since her incident and she knew she was in trouble. She was late and she knew her parents would throw her out when they found out. At this point all she wanted to do was find the stranger and tell him he was going to be a father. She searched high and low asked everyone she knew. No one seemed to remember or even had seen this man. Giving up she went home and decided to brave the weather. She would not be giving up her baby.
"I knew it you ****, you aren't bringing another mouth to feed in this house, be gone by tonight, you will not sleep another night in this house. Pack all you can carry, you can come back for the rest when you have somewhere to sleep.
"Mom, you have nothing to say? I was raped, I didn't go having with anyone, why don't you believe anything I have ever said to you? Don't the two of you even have a little bit of love for me?"
"No daughter of mine will bring shame to this family, no you heard your father, pack what you can carry and come back for the rest, that's the least we can do."
"Shame? I was a shame the day I was born." Tayla ran to her bedroom and started packing her bags. She took as many things as she could and when she pushed the front door, she didn't even look back.
Tayla walked and walked until her feet were tired. She didn't even realise she had left the neighbourhood completely. She had taken her bag with wheels so she wouldn't have to lift it. When her feet decided they couldn't take it anymore, she looked for a bus bench and sat down and began to cry.
Tayla felt someone touching her and she sat up straight.
"Miss, its cold out here, come inside and get warm, are you waiting for someone?"
"No, I....... my parents threw me out, I have nowhere to go."
"At your age? You're just a wee bit to be on your own. Come my daughter will see to you."
Tayla looked up at the elderly gentleman and hesitated.
"Okay, you stay here I will get her to come for you, if that will make you feel better."
"Yes it will, I'm sorry."
"No need, you are just being cautious. Be back in a few." Sleepy eyed Tayla watched as the old man walked quickly to a house on the opposite side of the street. She hugged herself from the chill and hope he wasn't some freak with a freak for a wife. Sure enough a lady came out running with a blanket. She crossed the road and in no time Tayla was bundled up and she pulled the bag along with her.
"Come sit, Dad put on some hot tea for you. Have you eaten?"
"No, I........" She couldn't hold it anymore. Tayla broke into a fit of tears.
"Ahh child, it's not that bad, come, get something in your tummy and we can see how we can help you out okay?"
Tayla nodded and wiped her face in her dress.
She was given a hot cup of peppermint tea and some rice and peas with salt fish gravy. Tayla polished it off in a hurry.
"Would you like some more little one?" The gentleman asked softly.
Tayla nodded. She finished the second plate and started to cry again.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to eat so much."
"We have plenty to share, it's good to see young people eat. What's your name child?"