Silver Lining

Sept. 1, 2019
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Average Rating: 3.33
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Full Synopsis:

One of us tried escaping and the other had sex before marriage. We were both punished for it. We were told that the marriage between us would unify our families for great good in God's eyes.

 


Both of our Fathers were leaders in the Religious Community Destiny and Harmony. He was the oldest son and I was the Oldest Daughter, so why not?

 


They thought putting us together would make us grateful and devoted to Our Beloved Prophet and Community.

 


They made one tiny mistake. Putting two people together who have the same common goal will always come out on top.

 


Praised Be, Bitch.

 

Loosely based on Handmaid's Tale and an Arranged Marriage

 

Chapter One

"You only brought this on yourself Montgomery." My mother hissed as she tightened the corset around my waist. "I never understood how you could never follow the rules. Just do what you're told. But no, you walk around here like you're better than everyone else." She continues to tighten the corset.

 
I can barely breathe. "I'm sorry mother please, please don't do this," I begged her. She put a tight grip on my arm and turned me around.
 
"It’s too late for that." She told me holding my gaze. "I can’t help any more honey; you’re going to Harmony now. Do what your husband says and you won’t get in any more trouble."
 
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," I begged her as the door opened.
 
"Clean yourself up and it's time to go." Someone with a deep voice vocalized before shutting the door close. I broke down to the ground clenching the corset trying to loosen it. I reached behind me and pulled on one of the strings and could feel my lungs expanding more.
 
I can’t stay in this room forever, whether I like it or not, I have to get out of here. Who knows it might not be that bad in Harmony? It’s either the same or better. It most certainly can’t be worse than this.
 
"Hurry in there!" The same guy nearly shouted, basically punching the door. The less you fight the easier it will be for you, darling. I stood up and opened the door. Two security guards, or god squad, stood there made room for me to walk past them. Trust me if I could run away I would do it in an instant. But these two guards’ bench 500 each, so running wasn’t an option.
 
I don’t understand my mother one minute she’s telling me, it's okay to love who you love now I'm being pushed out of Destiny because I couldn't "control my urges."
 
Did he get into any trouble? Obviously not if I'm being sent away. Also, no, it was very much consensual. We weren't in love or anything a crush maybe but that's all it was.
 
I was finally out of the church stepping on to the gravel, hearing it crunch between my converse and the rest being dragged by this skirt.
 
I came to the white Cadillac and one of the guards opened the door for me. I sat down inside of the car and there were two more men in suits. One was somewhere in his late 80s and looked elated about the situation, and the other guy looked nervous as hell and didn’t make a single flinch when my door closed. He just kept staring straight on.
 
"Be happy children, this is a joyous occasion." He said tapping his cane. God, I can smell him. And it was not pleasant. “Justin this Montgomery and Montgomery this is Justin, He’s from Harmony and so am I.”

"... Therefore, a man should leave his father and his mother. And shall cleave unto his wife and they shall become one flesh." One of the men of brotherhood read from his small white bible as another wrapped a white purity cloth around our hands that were intertwined. "I now pronounce you man and wife."
 
The wrap was loosened and taken off. We held hands and turned to the congregation who were all clapping and some, or most of, the women were crying tears of joy.
 
"May God bless them, and God said unto them be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth. May the lord order your steps, now and all the days of your life. I give you the happy couple Justin and Montgomery Drew." He continued as everyone stood up and clapped. "You may kiss your bride."
 
Justin leaned over and came near my ear. "Everything’s gonna be okay, trust me." He said just before kissing my right temple. I looked over to him and he nodded. We walked forward as people threw flower petals at us...
 
We made it outside to the same white Cadillac that brought us here. Justin opened the car door for me and sat down inside and scooted over to the other side of the car. Justin soon got in and closed the door, then the driver came in and began to drive off.
 
I looked behind me outside seeing the church get smaller and smaller. The last time I was there before today I was getting baptized as a child. I turned back in my seat and looked down at my hands, more importantly, my left hand that had a new piece of jewelry on it and a small scar on it near my thumb. I looked over at Justin and he was still giving a blank stare at the back of the headrest of the front passenger seat. He was dressed in a tux, no tie, but he had nice shoes. Recently polished with little to no scruff marks. He looked over to me and raised an eyebrow, I quickly shook my head and turned back to the window admiring the scenery.
 
"Where to sir?" The driver asked Justin who was still staring out the window.
 
"You can drop the act now Blaine, Prophet's gone now," Justin answered with a small laugh. The driver, who is now named Blaine apparently, laughed alongside with him. I looked between Blaine and Justin and they both seemed more relaxed now that the prophet was gone. I wasn’t understanding very well, are they friends or is Blaine just a driver?
 
"No one likes him," Blaine said looking at me through the rearview mirror. "There's just this thing about the guy you don’t like. He never wants to be alone with him. He smells weird. Oh, and he likes them young. How old are you anyway?"
 
He doesn’t know? I thought they would have at least given them a few details about me.
 
"24," I answered.
 
"That's why they gave you to him, you're too old for the prophet." He answered.
 
"I can only imagine how hungry you must be, it's been what six hours since you left home?" Justin commented with a soft voice that faded away while he looked me up and down. "I'm sorry I don’t mean to stare, I'm just- I'm sorry for all of this."
 
"We were granted great weather today; don't you agree sir?" I replied and turned away.
 
"Praised Fucking Be." He said with a gentle tone. "Can you just take us home, Blaine. It would be very much appreciated..."


 
Blaine slowly came to a halt and we arrived at a pretty big house with super green grass and a gorgeous garden looks like it was tended to every day. The house was white with dark brown detailing and wrap around porch with a porch swing. Big windows with white curtains it was like farmer barbie's dream house.
 
I took off my seatbelt and exited the car. The cool air hit my face it was pretty late in the afternoon. Typically, it would be in the high 90s but it feels like low 80s. I heard a door open I turned around and Justin and Blaine were already out of the car and in the trunk getting something. I only had a small bag with me and I carried it with me in the car.
 
I heard small pitter-patter and I looked back in front of me and it was two dogs running this way. A large blonde one and a tiny white one.
 
"Valentine and Cupid." I heard a raspy voice call out. It was a tiny person she had to be the same age as me or around the same age just short and cute as a button. She had dark brown eyes and a jawline that matched my new husband's. This must be his sister; he has four of them. Rachel, Mae, Lesley, Augustine. He's the second born, Rachel is the oldest at 26, he's 25, Mae is 22, and Augustine is 19.
 
I have eight brothers and one other sister, I'm the third born, I'll spare you the details of everyone's names. There is ten of us ranging from ages 30 to 3. Community women, Destiny or Harmony, are taught to be fruitful and multiply having one baby each year or every two years. I guess his mother was smart enough to know your body can’t always handle that.
 
"Mae this is Montgomery Beck, Montgomery this is my sister Mae Janine Drew," Justin said introducing us to one another while playing with the dogs. I waved to Mae not wanting to invade her personal bubble, but the joke was on me when she walked over and hugged me.


 
"Montgomery, like Montgomery, Alabama?" She asked tilting her head to the sighed.
 
"It was supposed to be George, when they got the first sonogram and thought I was a boy. They took a trip to Montgomery, Alabama and I was born, congrats it's a girl." I shrugged telling the story my parents told me and I explain whenever I meet new people...
 
Justin's POV
 
As the Valentine and Cupid licked my face in excitement, I watched as Montgomery finally had a smile on her face talking to my sister. Maybe it was a women's intuition thing or just felt safer with another woman. She’s been the only girl in a pool of guys for the last six hours.
 
"But George?" Mae examined.
 
"My late grandfather." She replied.
 
"Hey, Mae why don’t you take the dogs back inside while I show Montgomery where she'll be staying," I asked Mae as I scratched the dog’s ears one last time before getting up. She nodded and whistled for the dogs to follow her into the house. Montgomery began to follow my sister, but I told her to follow me.
 
We walked up a small trail on the side of the house I grew up in and walked to the backyard where a, technically, miniature version of the big house stood. It looked just about the same minus the pristine white paint.
 
"This is where I live," I told her as she walked beside me. "The economy is kind of crap at the moment and can’t afford to live completely on my own. So, mom and dad said I can live here rent-free as long as keep it up."
 
We walked up the porch stairs and I took the key out. I watched as she looked around the backyard that had a swing set and other kid like obstacles. "They've been there since I was like ten, and we just keep them clean for my sisters’ kids, Rachel. Wendell and Xavier, 4 and 7, when she’s at work they come here or when we have small parties, they play on these the whole time."
 
"Did you and your father build them?" She asked me as I opened the door to the house. "They're beautiful."
 
"No, it was him and my mom who built it actually," I explained to her and she looked slightly surprised. "I was a very clumsy child, so they didn’t want any of getting hurt so they built and we played on it."
 
We finally walked inside the house and I turned the light on dropping the keys on the accent table next to the door. She carefully examined the whole second floor with her small bag in her hands.
 
"Would you like to see the upstairs?" I asked carefully hoping I don’t scare her into thinking I'm taking her upstairs for sex. She nodded hesitantly and walked with me up the stairs that were just in front of the front door. "Down there was the kitchen, living room, laundry room, and the backyard. Up here we have three bedrooms and two bathrooms. One in the hallway and the other is in the master bedroom."
 
We finally got to the top of the stairs and turned to the left just at the end of the stairs. "This is the first room. Then the second bedroom is just beside it. Bathroom across from both rooms double sink, huge shower, amazing lights. And at the very end of the hallway is the Master bedroom. Which you can have if you want, I use the small room next to it."
 
I explained showing them to her.
 
"Thank you for showing me kindness Sir." She told her pulling her hood down from her head. A head the showed off her dark brown hair that had lots of curls held back by Bobby pins. She had a few dark freckles that ran across her nose. They were very faint but also very noticeable.
 
"You don’t need to call me sir. Justin is just fine." I told her. "But why don’t you get settled in and relax, and then we can have dinner."
 
"Dinner?" She questioned. "What would you like?" She asked me. I hate Destiny part of Community, Harmony sucks, but Destiny still believes that women are here serve men when that is the furthest from the truth.
 
"Don’t worry about that," I said shrugging it off. "Just relax, maybe take a nap and then later tonight we can discuss the jurisdictions of the household," I said in a way she would understand better.
 
1 week earlier
 
"Where is my son?" I heard my mother yell from behind the curtains. She sounded like she was crying, I remember hearing my mother cry at night when I was younger. But this one sounded painful as if a child was having their fish die.
 
I opened my mouth to speak but nothing was coming out, I was hard to breathe I felt like I was choking. I reached for my neck, as anyone does when they're choking and then I felt the breathing tube. I heard my heart monitor going crazy, in what felt like minutes a doctor came running in gently holding me down as an another took out the breathing tube...
 
"Name, year, and president?" The doctor asked she shined a light in my eyes checking my pupils for, I don’t know what they're looking for when they do that.
 
"Justin, 2018, pious little shit," I told her. She looked at me with a shocked look on her face. "Trump, not you. Well, you could be I don’t know you."
 
"Justin I'm Dr. Stevens, do you remember what happened to you before you got here." The doctor asked. She tucked one of her braids behind her ear, and before putting her hands the pockets of her lab coat.
 
Of course, I remember, I called the prophet and his brotherhood disgusting pieces of shit for preying on young girls. They said I was wrong and that my head wasn’t screwed on correctly. I wanted no part in a church that believes in marrying young girls to men in their 40. Making them wives and mothers before they even get a real-world experience or hell enrolled in high school.
 
Since I didn’t agree with their beliefs and my so-called father is in the brotherhood, would never let me leave on my own terms. So, they beat me four of them just went off and beat me and until I was numb. I woke up for two seconds when Blaine found me and drove like crazy to get me to the hospital.
 
"I went out with my friend Blaine he went outside to speak to his wife; I beat a guy in a game of pool. He didn’t like that so he and his friends took turns beating the crap out of me." I answered. Obviously, a lie, I looked up at my father and he looked pleased with my answer. My mother, on the other hand, looked sad yet again. I could have told the truth, but it wouldn't have done anything. I'm 25 years old. If this happened ten years ago CPS would be here to take me and my sisters out of here and to a safe place with scheduled visits with my mom.
 
"Are you sure?" She asked putting her hand over mine in a caring fashion. I looked down at her hand it was the left one. There was a black metal watch, a bracelet, and a wedding ring with two small diamonds one pink one white on a white gold setting. She was a mother of some sort. Adoptive, biologically, foster, neighborhood kids, whatever it is she cares for children they gave her the ugly bracelet she wore proudly.
 
"Yes, ma'am. I mean Dr. Stevens." I nodded. She closed her eyes and nodded as well. She knows where we come from, we're supposed to keep it a secret. Because of all the shitty things big scary men do to small children and teenage brides. But what do I know? Community is the place where you find happiness and love for the Lord, and when you sacrifice for the Lord he gives back. You are promised a good life and you'll never want for anything.
 
"We are going to get you some pain killers an MRI scan and tomorrow you can go home." She nodded before walking out of the room...


"Justin come down here." My father yelled from the bottom of the stairs. Trying to conceal my brace on my arm with my tux. And then buttoning it up with my left hand. Good thing it happened to my right side if you didn't know I'm left-handed. That should have been the main clue that I don’t belong in this place. Everyone knows that left-handed people were brought here by the devil himself.
 
I exited my room and walked down the stairs carefully still feeling pain in my abdomen and legs. Fucking bastards. I made it to the living room and saw the Prophet Orville with his beloved cane and his two henchmen David Seaters and Michael Givens.
 
"Blessed be the fruit," Prophet said approached the couch. It's a dumb, or technically religious, way to say hi.
 
"Under his eye," I replied. He nodded and I took a seat on the couch. My father was standing behind the couch and my mother was in kitchen folding laundry slowly trying to listen on the conversation. Women aren't allowed in meetings, because apparently, they're too distracting.
 
"I hear apologies are in order." He said with a slight slur to his words. I looked around the bodyguards, prophet, then my father and lastly my mother. She nodded carefully. It's better for me to apologize and for them to leave than making things harder on myself.
 
"My sincerest apologies Prophet Orville, I was out of line to question your greatness," I answered. He gave a meek smile and nodded in forgiveness.
 
"You know our other community Destiny correct?" He asked. I looked for my mom’s guidance immediately. My mother is from Destiny, and she met my father who is from here Harmony. My mother looks as if she's seen a ghost, no one in this household talks about Destiny.
 
"Do you know Commander Beck?" He asked me. I slowly shook my head not understanding what was going on. I looked over at my mom again she had her head down looking at the towels she was folding but my father just looked up.
 
"Praised be." He said in rejoicing with the new news. "Justin, Commander Beck is an excellent leader. His two eldest sons are next in line."
 
"So will Justin after this meeting with the Commander, and since neither of his sons are married yet it’s up to the daughter." He explained. "Justin will be taking his daughter on as a wife. I don't want any more screw-ups around here you need to make Harmony look good. You both represent your two communities truly coming together as one. You two will be the King and Queen if you will." He laughed using his cane to stand up...

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If you like it let me know. This story is all my own work and is posted on Wattpad. I just want to get another perspective.

If you didn't like it let me know.

The characters so far?

Thanks so much for reading.

09/01/2019


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Team_Vega rated this work:

Sept. 3, 2019, 4:33 p.m.

The drama, the regret, all portrayed very well! One thing I noticed though was "I don’t understand my mother one minute she’s telling me, it's okay to love who you love now I'm being pushed out of Destiny because I couldn't 'control my urges'." this was confusing to read.

Dialogue

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dayahorne:

She was saying that her mom wants her to love who she wants. So she did find someone (not love but she found someone) they had sex which is not allowed before marriage. So she is being punished for having sex before marriage.

dayahorne:

Thank you so much for your insight.

This story should be able to stand on its own.
naricorn rated this work:

Sept. 12, 2019, 12:35 p.m.

Is the full synopsis supposed to function as a prologue? If so, I think the story could be more compelling if it just jumped in at Chapter One. Comparing it to the Handmaid's Tale gave me preconceptions that really changed the way I started the piece, and you want your piece to stand on its own.

* Tense shifts in the very begininning. Most of it is past "My mother hissed" but then you shift to "I can barely breathe." Maybe present would make the actions seem more immediate and engrossing, but as long as you stick to one, either works. Reading on, a lot more is in present. Definitely choose one or the other!

* Mother should be capitalized if that's the way the narrator addresses her.

* Is there supposed to be a scene break between "Be happy children" and "Therefore?"

* Justin's the one who doesn't flinch and keeps staring, right? Doesn't quite square with him comforting her immediately. And then it's strange when he continues staring in the car and then suddenly relaxes when Blaine talks, even though the Prophet's been gone a while. It's abrupt.

* Liked the line "You're too old for the Prophet." Says a lot.

* "Farmer Barbie." The tone is pretty conversational, so maybe that's why you chose simple adjectives like "pretty big" and "super green," but maybe you could experiment with more descriptive adjectives. Maybeit'd fit, maybe not.

* The way she listed out his sisters--how does she know about them? Could we have had more details on what Harmony nad Destiny are before she outright explains it all in the middle? That way the reveal would seem less like necessary exposition and more natural. Maybe it won't be needed at all. Try and see if you could get across the same information through hints and details that are interwoven with the action rather than just telling us all of it.

* I don't know how I feel about Justin's POV. It seems to me like I'm still trying to orient myself, and Justin showing Montgomery around the house while rattling off the way things work wasn't what I was interested in hearing. I more wanted to know how Montgomery, the outsider, was adjusting and how she was feeling about the new environment. Someone who's used to living in a certain place would make different observations about a familiar environment than someone who's new would.

* The 1 week earlier time skip, especially after just switching from Justin's POV, is jarring. I had no idea this was sent in present day, either. How is this possible? Where are they located, if there are doctors around?

* Okay, reading on, that is a LOT of backstory with Justin, and a lot of really interesting tidbits that you could expand a lot further. Maybe the first chapter should just be Montgomery's point of view and the second, the backstory on Justin? I felt like a lot of those details at the end came out of nowhere and are too much to take in at once, so maybe Montgomery can take on some of the exposition in the beginning (just make it subtly introduced as opposed to just told to the reader.)

Thanks for posting. I hope this was helpful and that you pay it forward!

Plot Point of View Show Don't Tell

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