Love Is A Rose:  Stories    January, 2015

by Tim Heintzman

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Is there anyone special at school?  Irene asked and smoothed the newly washed bedspread underneath her hand.  It was so clean and soft.
Anyone special?  Any new friends?
I'm not fucking anybody if that's what you mean, Grace said without looking up.

The word came out of Grace's mouth malevolent and evil, as if she used the word all the time, under the most innocuous circumstances, with all the bad, handsome boys.  It was a reference point for Irene's arm and hand.  A movement so sudden and vicious Grace did not feel the pain directly, more surprised than anything else when her head bounced from her mother's hand back and against the wall above the bed's headboard.  Her mouth hung open, unbelieving, staring in shock at her mother.