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Unloving Whispers

Unloving Whispers

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Unloving Whispers

Länge:
331 Seiten
4 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Sep 9, 2015
ISBN:
9781311965271
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Hungry for love, Violet Vander hides her secret from everyone.

Its roots are buried in her dysfunctional childhood. She discovers a way to soothe the empty places in her heart. But an unloving demonic spirit uses Vi’s pain to feed her thoughts:

Not good enough. Don’t fit in. You’ll never succeed. God doesn’t care.

She believes these lies about herself and God.

An unexpected love interest emerges with Birch Montgomery, who is also plagued by unloving spirits. Guardian angels Pell and Laine must free them from their bondages and guide them to God’s love and their kingdom destinies. Can Violet and Birch endure arduous spiritual battles to find the way to breakthrough and healing—together?

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Sep 9, 2015
ISBN:
9781311965271
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

Author, speaker, water color painter, friend. Lives in southern California but grew up outside Boston.

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Buchvorschau

Unloving Whispers - Martha Pope Gorris

glory.

Chapter One

Vi smelled it before she saw it. The stench of burning hair.

Mrs. Boditch jumped up, black plastic cape askew, her hysterical words rising over the roar of hair dryers. It’s falling out, you imbecile! My hair is falling out!

Vi dropped the broom. So much for a quiet morning at Très Chic.

Look what you’ve done, Mrs. Boditch shouted. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Mrs. Boditch stamped her feet and waved a clump of frizzled hair for all to see. I gave you my business and look what you’ve done. You fried my hair. You are the worst beautician I’ve ever been to and I’m...

Vi opened her mouth to issue a retort but turned on her heel instead.

"Don’t you dare turn your back on me."

If Vi didn’t retreat, she couldn’t be responsible for what flew out of her mouth. She would love, dearly love to tell the woman off. Instead, she ran into the ladies’ room and locked the door. Streams of tears stung her flaming cheeks. Let André, the owner of Très Chic take care of the witch. She was done dealing with the impossible-to-please woman.

Even behind the closed door, she heard every horrible word the woman screamed about her and at her, like living, breathing curses. Her mind flashed to her fifth-grade teacher—how she’d screamed at Vi and how awful it had made her feel. All because she messed up a science project. And her gym teacher in high school had done the same when she missed a tennis serve.

Vi pressed her forehead against the cool wooden door. Why couldn’t she do anything right? She failed at every job—waitress, preschool aide, and now this. Every time she turned around, she messed up. With her luck, André would probably fire her.

Swiping away the tears, Vi searched her brain. Why was the woman’s hair falling out? She’d mixed the color chemicals properly. At least, she thought she had. Obviously not. Things like this didn’t just happen. There had to be a reason. And the reason was that she’d screwed up. Violet Vander, you’re pathetic.

Wait. The shop quieted. Maybe the woman had keeled over with a heart attack. Ha. Wishful thinking.

She pushed aside the pang of guilt for the hateful thought and blew her nose. Running away was very unprofessional, no matter what names the client called you. André would nail her for that, if nothing else.

Ranzy rapped gently on the door. Open up. You won’t believe it. I wish you could’ve seen him.

Vi cracked the door. Who? André?

"Birch, my client. When the old battle-ax continued the rant, he calmly, quietly rose out of the chair, stood his full six feet, and firmly but respectfully told her off. He said he was sure you would fix the problem and that histrionics would serve no useful purpose. He actually used the word histrionics. "

A burst of warmth filled Vi’s heart. She had no idea what histrionics were, but she didn’t care. No one, especially not a total stranger, had ever stuck up for her like that. She stepped out of the restroom and peeked around the corner into the salon. Then what happened?

Battle-ax calmed down, like a little girl reprimanded by her beloved daddy. André came over, tucked her arm in his, and took her to his station. They’re over there now. Ranzy angled her head toward the far side of the shop where André poured on the French charm.

Vi exhaled slowly. Where is he? Your client. I want to thank him.

He’s gone. After he defended you, he couldn’t get out of here fast enough. Paid and left, lickety-split.

Vi’s heart fell. You land a date with him?

Ranzy’s hands flew to her hips. I was working on it, stalling until he got the hint but no go, thanks to Battle-ax. And I doubt he’ll be back in here again anytime soon. My guess is he’ll grow out his ponytail again after this.

Co-worker Darrell joined them. Too bad, girls. The hottie got away.

Violet? Andrés smooth French accent rang out across the shop. He motioned for Vi to come over.

She let out a groan. Might as well get it over with. Pray for me, you guys. I need this job.

It’s a lot to expect God to get you out of this fix, Darrell said. But good luck.

Chapter Two

Laine, Violet’s guardian angel, put his arm around her and gave her a mighty squeeze. It is written, ‘She who guards her lips guards her life, but she who speaks rashly will come to ruin.’

With slumped shoulders, Violet walked toward André and Mrs. Boditch as though heading to her execution.

Laine frowned at her body language, patted her on the shoulder and bent low to whisper in her ear. Trust in God, dear one. For He will never leave or forsake you.

Violet stood a little straighter and threw her shoulders back.

That’s right, Laine said. Remember, you are a child of the King. And to himself, Despise not small beginnings ...

MRS. BODITCH SAT RAMROD STRAIGHT IN André’s chair, jaw rigid, her eyes following Vi in the mirror.

André stood at her side and spoke in quiet tones.

Mrs. Boditch scowled when Vi came to a stop next to the chair.

Vi opened her mouth to speak.

André waved her words aside and gave her a look that said, Let me handle this. He moved behind the client and placed his hands on her shoulders. He held her gaze in the mirror. Now, Mrs. Boditch, Cherie. I have a few questions to ask you. Would that be all right?

Mrs. Boditch looked up into his wide charming smile and twinkling eyes, all sincerity. Why, of course.

That is good, excellent. I am looking at your hair. He rolled the clumps of hair between his fingers and carefully inspected the frizzled mess. As he studied her scalp, his brows drew together in a puzzled expression.

Vi shifted on her feet. Well, duh. Was this a brilliant way to begin? Her heart thudded in her chest. Usually André was so sharp.

He seemed not to notice Vi’s impatience. It looks quite ... how you say in English? Brittle. Yes. So I am wondering. Did you perhaps have a treatment recently you did not mention to Miss Violet? Say, chemical straightening?

What? Vi blinked. Of course. The perfect explanation. The only explanation. The woman must have straightened her already-processed hair. So when Vi added the color and then the highlights, it was too much for the overtreated hair. And now she tried to blame Vi. She felt two fiery spots pool on her cheekbones like fuel about to be tossed on a bonfire.

The woman blustered and fumbled, trying to avoid answering the question. But André with his smooth charm wasn’t about to let her off the hook. Now, madam, please. Think of us as physicians. Hair physicians. You come for us to diagnose your problem and treat it and expect us to restore your hair to perfect health. In the same way, you must tell us what other treatments you’ve undergone. Otherwise, how can we help you? Is that not correct? He lifted his hands and patted her shoulders soothingly.

If only Mrs. Battle-ax could see the internal struggle revealed in her facial expressions. Her lips pursed into a taut line. As her two brows crinkled together, a deep rosy hue splashed up from her neckline until her cheeks became near purple. She had planned to blame Vi and claim damages, that is, complimentary future treatments.

André simply smiled and waited.

With barely audible words, Battle-ax said, I tried this new product last week. To get rid of the curls. It worked fine. But that didn’t do this. She snapped a wrist toward her frizzy head. She did. Pointing a long red nail at Vi, the woman cast a disgusted look in her direction.

But, madam, André continued, overprocessing most certainly damages the hair follicles and can cause them to fall out. This certainly solves the mystery. André glanced up at Vi and gave her the tiniest of winks.

Battle-ax’s bravado and bluster deflated. Vi’s shoulders relaxed. Her stomach returned to its designated location.

André continued. Now we know what caused the problem, we can try and fix it. How about if ...?

With the briefest nod of his head, André shooed Vi away. He would take it from here.

Vi didn’t hesitate. She turned in an about-face and escaped through the backdoor of the shop.

"YES!" LAINE LEAPED HIGH INTO THE air, rolled his body into a tight tuck as he executed a perfect double backflip, and gracefully landed upright next to Violet. Ta-da. A little sigh of pleasure punctuated his smile. Be encouraged, Violet.

Chapter Three

Vi retreated to a nearby coffee shop, grateful for the reprieve of a free hour before her next client. She kept replaying images of Myrtle Boditch’s disgust. The woman had behaved like a snarling dog infected with rabies. As though some otherworldly thing influenced her. Vi shivered.

The whole episode left her shaky and full of regret. If only she’d stood up to the bully, hadn’t been so wimpy, maybe Mrs. Boditch wouldn’t have seen her as such easy prey. No way could she afford to be fired, not with thousands in beauty school loans and a load of credit card bills. André could be unpredictable. Would he fire her over this?

TEN MINUTES LATER, VIOLET’S CELL PHONE came to life to the tune of a Puerto Rican samba—Ranzy’s ringtone.

Hey, Vi said in greeting.

You at the coffee shop?

Yup. Is she gone? Vi turned away from the line of people.

Not yet. Soon I think. I’ll be right over. Order me an espresso, will you?

Vi ordered Ranzy’s coffee along with half a dozen blueberry scones. She deserved to eat after the morning she’d had. She returned to the quiet table in the corner, set one scone in front of her, and tucked the full bag on the seat. Within minutes Ranzy slipped in across from her.

What a way to start a Thursday, eh? Ranzy took a tentative sip of the hot brew. Nothing like a little excitement to get the day going.

I don’t need excitement like that. Who was that guy you were working on?

A walk in. Name’s Birch, like the tree. Did you see that ponytail?

Yeah. What’s he do?

Ranzy sipped her drink. Computer stuff. He was sorta cute in a weird way, don’t you think?

I guess. Vi wolfed down the scone and said with her mouth full, Want one? Blueberry. Healthy.

No, thanks. I just started a new diet. No carbs. Not everyone can be trim like you and eat whatever they want. And not everyone can pull off a crazy blue streak in their hair like you can.

Added the blue last night. Vi shrugged. I need a few carbs right now. Don’t mind if I do. She pulled a second scone from the bag, broke off a bite and stuffed it in her mouth. I really blew it this morning. Didn’t handle Myrtle well at all.

Ranzy’s mouth opened and closed. Obviously, she was itching to speak up. Vi braced herself.

You know me. I’m gonna tell it like it is. It’s just ... I wish you’d trust yourself more. When Battle-ax started to rant and rave, you immediately accepted her accusations. Bought into the blame she tossed at you. What’s up with that, anyway?

Vi looked down at her oversized mug and rotated it in her palms. This is one of those times when being a Christian is way too hard.

What does religion have to do with anything?

I used to have a potty mouth. I didn’t care what came out of it. If this incident had happened two years ago? I would’ve knocked old Battle-ax into next week with my words. But since I surrendered my life to Christ, I try to act like Him—not so volatile. You know, to hold my tongue.

A quizzical expression came over Ranzy’s face. Gee, that really inspires me to become religious.

It’s not about being religious. It’s about heart change. Vi could tell by Ranzy’s glazed-over eyes that she’d said enough for now. Running to the bathroom didn’t help.

Hey, I might’ve done the same thing.

Vi snorted. I don’t think so. You would’ve put her in her place, pronto.

Ranzy feigned a hurt look. Moi?

In a nice way, of course. After the chuckles faded, Vi said, I seem to attract the hateful, pathetic people of the world. She shoved the rest of the scone into her mouth.

"That’s a pretty harsh view of yourself. I dunno if I’d give you that much credit," Ranzy said with a lopsided grin.

After swallowing, Vi said, It sure feels that way.

Ranzy rested her pudgy elbows on the table and held the cup close to her mouth. Let me remind you about Lacey yesterday. Remember what she said to you? You make her feel good, and you really care. I heard the whole conversation so don’t try and squirm out of it.

Vi shifted in the seat. Heat crept up her neck into her face. I remember, she said in a small voice. But she’s—

No buts. Hold on to the nice things she said. With a glance at her watch, Ranzy downed the last of her espresso. I need to get back. I’ll give you a call when Battle-ax is gone.

Sorry I made you miss out on mystery man’s contact info.

Ranzy shrugged. Maybe when he realizes my outstanding hairstyling skills are unsurpassable, he’ll show up again. She tossed a suggestive smile and a wink in Vi’s direction. Vi watched her amble away, her too-tight jeans accentuating the rolls of fat around her middle. She loved Ranzy but couldn’t bring herself to tell her that the tight pants over her big bottom were not flattering. Who was she to judge anyway?

If only Vi could’ve thanked the mystery man, Birch. He’d blessed her with a gift—an innocent-until-proven-guilty stamp of approval. What must it be like to have a man in your life who had your back, someone you could count on to always be there for you? She hadn’t met many men like that, if any, certainly not her own father. He’d hightailed out of Dodge the minute her mother announced her pregnancy. Worthless deadbeat.

Vi shook off the bitter thoughts. He didn’t deserve her slightest consideration.

Lord, thanks for sending a stranger to support me today. I’ll probably never see him again, but would You tell him thanks for me? Amen.

IT Is GOOD TO GIVE THANKS to the LORD and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High. Laine catapulted into a cartwheel of praise. Gratitude goes a long way in getting evil’s attention off oneself. Good choice, Violet.

He stood poised for another cartwheel when Violet let another bitter thought about her father creep into her mind and then another and another. Immediately, Laine lost the desire to execute a cartwheel. A creeping miasma of shadows pushed him away from her. A tentacle of darkness shifted from finger-pointing into self-blame toward Violet.

Cupping a hand over his mouth like a megaphone, the angel spoke in a loud voice, Defeat those thoughts of self-hatred. Take them captive every time, dear one. Remember Jeremiah 31:3. It is written, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.’

The darkness forced him further away from his charge. Laine’s heart filled with sadness. Violet did not respond to the Word. He lifted his face heavenward and declared, Open her eyes, Lord. Help her to see the evil that lies in wait to ensnare her.

AFTER A BATHROOM BREAK, VI RETURNED to the salon. New customers had arrived and occupied the chairs. Nail files rasped, hair dryers roared, and the shampoo stations were full. André gave her a single nod and a smile. Darrell and Ranzy blew kisses of welcome. The atmosphere had returned to normal. The tightness in her neck eased.

And yet the hateful words still rattled across her brain. Idiot, imbecile, the worst beautician ever, incompetent. They played over and over, leaving a lingering heaviness. The truth? Mrs. Boditch had recognized the real Violet Vander—the hurt, broken girl from the poor side of town.

Chapter Four

The following Tuesday, Vi slowed the car to a crawl as she drove over the enormous speed bumps in the senior mobile home community where her mother lived. Right on cue, the big sign appeared ahead to announce Shady Glen — A Senior Haven in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. Vi smirked. The place reminded her more of a cemetery than a neighborhood of thriving AARPers.

Her guardian, Laine, sat unseen in the passenger seat, and his head wagged like a bobble-head Kewpie doll with every lurch. He caught her glance toward the pastry box with an assortment of eight confections. Not before dinner.

After several furtive looks, Vi ripped open the box and plucked out a big gooey apple pastry.

Oh, honey, Laine said, you really don’t want that.

The pastry disappeared in big bites before Vi fumbled a napkin out of the glove compartment. With one hand on the wheel, she carefully wrapped up another sweet roll for later, stuck it under the seat and then licked her fingers clean.

Since her mother had been healed last year, the two of them were in a stumbling, awkward dance, like two middle-schoolers at their first social event—both inept and clumsy, neither one graceful. So many changes had taken place, often Vi didn’t know what to say or do around this new version of her mother.

She tried. She really did. Like this weekly dinner invitation. As a good daughter, Vi felt obligated to come. Though Miriam would have preferred Saturdays, no way would Vi give up her Saturday nights, so their standing date continued to be Tuesdays.

After she rearranged the remaining six pastries, Vi tucked the flaps back inside the box on the seat beside her. Like the Tuesday dinners, the sweet rolls had quickly evolved into a tradition. Thank you, André. At the grand opening for Très Chic, he’d laid out a huge selection of French treats from a local patisserie that had thoroughly seduced her mom. Dear old Miriam never had a chance. She’d oohed, aahed and drooled over them, almost to the point of embarrassment. Vi smiled at the memory. But why not indulge her? By the time a woman was seventy-five, she deserved to be spoiled a little. Vi brought them to be a good daughter.

She pulled into the spot next to Miriam’s golf cart, with its colorful fringed liner. Her mother owned a golf cart. She still could hardly believe it. One time when she was a kid, they’d driven by a golf course with carts all over the place. What are those, Mommy? They look like play cars.

Stupid girl, Miriam had snapped. They’re called golf carts. They’re for rich people.

Now her mother owned one. Vi got out of the car, kept the pastry box level and rapped on the door with her free hand. Miriam opened it quickly, as though she’d waited at the window for Vi. She wore an apron, waved a wooden spoon in one hand and held the phone jammed up against her ear. She motioned with her head for Vi to come in.

Vi entered, set the pastry box on the kitchen table and then slipped into the mobile home’s only bathroom which was pink, frilly and reeked of Evening in Paris cologne. One of the best things about getting her own place was that she wasn’t stuck with the smell of that awful scent every day. As she dried her hands, she noticed the fancy name brand moisturizer. When she was young, they couldn’t afford anything name brand. Times had changed. When she came out, Miriam was finishing her call.

Sure. Love to, Herb. Eight? Perfect. Look forward to it. Miriam set the phone back in the charger and immediately went to the wall calendar.

Herb, huh? Isn’t he a new one?

Miriam glanced up. Don’t you start now. I met him at church. He lost his wife four years ago. The man’s bald as a baby’s butt but nice enough.

So where’s he taking you?

"A play Saturday night. The Screwtape Letters. Ever heard of it?"

It’s by C. S. Lewis.

Aren’t you the smarty pants, Miriam said in a sing-song voice and returned to the stove.

Dumb ole me. Once in a while I know something. Vi tossed her purse on the kitchen table next to her mother’s open Bible.

Miriam giggled at the sight of the pastry box. You know how much I love those. She opened the box, and counted them out. Then she walked over and planted a big kiss on Vi’s cheek. Thanks, sweetheart.

Vi wanted to pinch herself. She’d walked into an altered universe with the 1950s Mother Knows Best as the star. And this transformed person was surely not her mother.

Fists on hips, Miriam asked, What’s that look for?

Busted. What could Vi say without sounding critical of the past? It’s just ... well...

I know. I’ve changed.

Now there was an understatement if she’d ever heard one. Changed? Her mother had morphed like an alien from Jupiter into a new version of herself—one Vi barely recognized. Vi sat at the table and rolled the gold edges of the Bible’s pages. Yeah, Ma. Since your healing you’re a different person, all right.

I’m a new creation. Jesus has turned my whole life upside down. It’s wonderful.

It is wonderful, Vi repeated pensively, but it’s also very weird.

Miriam pulled out a chair across from Vi. We’ve talked about this before.

We’ve always been kind of down and out..

Miriam’s head bobbed in agreement. I know. I know.

And you were so negative about men—how you didn’t need them.

That, too, Miriam agreed.

Now, you’ve dyed your hair, lost weight—

And today I signed up with a personal trainer at the gym. Miriam sat straighter, obviously proud of her decision.

Speechless, Vi could only stare in bewilderment at the stranger before her.

Miriam tossed a hand in the air. Hey, the new seventy-five is really sixty-five, right?

Before Vi could respond, the phone rang and Miriam popped up to answer it.

Hi, Marv. You are? Wonderful! Moments later, she signed off. He’ll pick me up for bingo tomorrow night. Marv is a keeper, she said conspiratorially.

Vi bit her lip but couldn’t contain the words that fought to spill out, like a torrent of water that tried to resist spilling over Niagara Falls. All I ever heard growing up was that men are— she paused and searched for the right word— unnecessary. And now you’re a dating diva. It’s hard to take in, Ma.

Miriam laughed and waved Vi off while she got up and checked on dinner.

Maybe Vi’s mother had changed, but she couldn’t simply dismiss and rewrite the lifelong attitude that had shaped her opinion of the

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