Book cover of “Heartbeat“ by Rebecca Robert

Heartbeat

  • Genre: Romance
  • Age: 18+
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Language: English
  • Author: Rebecca Robert
Aella is a 20-year-old girl burdened by the death of her mother. She gets abducted and unwittingly ventures into a world filled with twisted truths and sinister intentions. She falls in love with Ace, the only man ready to die for her. From the moment she watches her father die, Aella realizes that her life is now shrouded in darkness and secrets.... 

Chapter 1

Disclaimer: This book contains scenes that may depict, mention, or discuss self-harm. Reader discretion advised. 

 AELLA

 I hate going to church, I think it is a building filled with judgemental humans who constantly think they are superior beings. The church bell rings again, startling me for the third time in two hours. The bell reminds me of my misfortunes, Mama always made sure I chanted them for hours when I failed to recite a particular scripture or misbehaved. Mama was a religious fanatic.

 I roll my eyes when Mrs. Agatha wails and rolls on the floor. Her daughters kneel beside her and cry too. One could easily mistake them for the deceased family. Her daughters Pearl and Diamond look like dolls today, dressed in a hot red gown and pink heels, I pity people who sacrifice their comfort for fashion. Mrs. Agatha was Mama's favourite human; her daughters to my mama were a perfect example of God's creation. I try to hide my laugh when Mrs. Agatha rolls and hits her head on the hardwood chair, Pastor Jerimiah with his port belly runs to assist her in standing, it is such a funny sight to behold, that serves her right for all her fake crying, Pearl and Diamond half run to their seats embarrassed. 

 "Mary loved and was loved by all, she was an angel on earth, God's special child. She was selfless, she gave even when she had little, prayed even when she was weak and loved even when she was drained". 

 My mama was a selfless woman, she would give all we had to others, but never her children, I sniff when my tears threaten to fall, I refuse to cry for this woman, I refuse to give her that satisfaction even in death. 

 My scars start to itch, the physical ones, Mama never laid her hands on any of us but God, her words were like sharp knives, piercing into my soul. And so, I woke up one morning when I was eleven and decided to hurt myself. It is a weird theory, but I felt better crying over my bleeding finger than Mama's words. She knew I became so addicted, cutting myself at every opportunity that presented itself, but even till death, Mama never cared enough to stop me. 

 I need to feel better, I need to see blood, my blood. There is something satisfying about pointing the tip of a sharp object to my pale white skin, it's exciting, and being able to feel pain ultimately decreases any physical or emotional pain in me. To avoid scratching my thighs to feel better, I busy my hands by carefully picking out the threads on my black gown.

 Pastor Jerimiah continues to sing Mama's praises for what feels like another hour or two, I sigh when we are all instructed to rise for the closing prayers and make our way to the house.

My hell

 "Aella, I will drive you home" I turn, and I see Grace jogging towards me. I have never liked this woman, she has been Mama's lawyer for as long as I can remember, with her perfect face, perfect hair, and perfect skin. I would say part of the reason I hated her was because she was everything I wanted to be.

 "Aella, can I drive you home?" I would prefer to walk than share the same air with her, but I am not stupid, walking home would be a suicide mission. I continue to study her, and she continues to smile, she is so perfect, and it is impossible to see her frowning, her patience is infuriating, I have tested it on several occasions when I knew Mama wasn't watching, and not once has her mask of perfection ever slipped. I nod my head in acceptance, getting into the car. I inwardly prepare my speech of silence because that is what she would get if she dared speak to me. God bless her, she remains perfectly silent till we get to Mama's house. 

 I am presented with another round of fake tears, wailing and speeches about how the world would remain in great chaos because someone as beautiful as Mama was allowed to die. There is a lot of food, I am hardly ever hungry and seeing the endless bowls doesn't make me salivate, they make me want to puke. 

Expensive wines

Expensive food

Expensive designs

 That is Mama for you, using her last penny to make sure the town is fed, I was not surprised when Grace made all these preparations explaining to me that it was the number one request in her will. I wonder if I was her number two, I have been disturbed by that particular thought all day.

 I catch Mrs. Agatha sneaking a bottle of wine into her handbag. Our eyes meet, and I do not stop looking at her until she glances away in shame. These blood-sucking humans are never satisfied with what they get, they always need more...trust me Mama has given her enough.

 I am exhausted. How long does a memorial service take, I sit down nursing a glass of water, Tho I would prefer a bottle of strong liquor. I sniff remembering my four dead brothers, I drink greedily from my cup, pretending it is the drink I desperately crave. I will not cry today, I will not mourn my special brothers on this atrocious day, maybe tomorrow, I will weep for them, and mourn how life was unfair to them.

 I try to keep a straight face when people stop beside me and offer their condolences, Pearl and Diamond take turns hugging me too, offering to spend the night with me if I need company, I am their friend, but I have never considered them mine, I can't stand pretenders. I politely say no, refilling my glass with more water. Soon, they would all leave in an hour or two and I would be alone.

 Grace finds me again, but this time she isn't quiet. "Aella, I need to speak to you." I roll my eyes but make space for her to sit beside me "I am so sorry for your loss, but I want you to know I will always be here for you if you need me. Your mother gave all she had to charity..."

 "Charity like the church, you and Agatha?" I am infuriated, that devil, even in death, is like a thorn in my flesh. 

 Grace frowns for the first time since I have known her, but it quickly slips away, and I do a tiny dance of victory in my mind.

 "Your mother has always concerned herself with others, and no, I don't need your mother's money I have enough on my own." She touches my hair, but quickly removes her hand, if I wasn't paying attention, I would have sworn that I imagined it. "I am sorry it has to be like this."

 For the first time since I saw Mama's dead body I cry, I am not only alone, but I have been left with no inheritance.

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