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 The Law of Jealousy - Chapter 1

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Number of posts : 8
Registration date : 2012-01-31
Age : 59
Location : Orange County, California

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PostSubject: The Law of Jealousy - Chapter 1   The Law of Jealousy - Chapter 1 EmptyTue Jan 31, 2012 7:21 pm


After fifteen years, Eva Randall-Collier must end her marriage to her abusive minister husband. But, as a graduate student in New York City, her resources are limited and housing is at a premium. Her situation is further complicated when at a faculty mixer, she meets Daniel Etheridge-Porter, a handsome British journalist and writing instructor, with whom she forges a friendship and eventually falls in love.

When her husband’s abuse escalates into physical violence, Eva flees her home, and, with Dan’s help, takes refuge in a quiet Long Island suburb. Incensed by her desertion and a confrontation with Dan, Eva’s husband begins maligning her in their close-knit church community, all in an effort to cover the abuse while furthering his own ambitions. Ironically, she becomes the hapless “wayward wife,” not unlike the biblical Sotah who is the topic of her dissertation.

January 2003

Eva used to love Sundays—the Sunday school hour, followed by morning worship, and an afternoon of fellowship before the evening service. From childhood it had been her favorite day of the week—until she married Peter and he was made an associate pastor. Now, as the couple drove home from church in silence, she couldn’t wait for this particular Sunday to be over.
“Are you still going to see the old lady?” Peter asked.
Eva fought not to bristle. “I’m going to visit my grandmother, yes.”
“I want my car back in time for the evening service. Understand?”
“I’ll be back by 5:30—”
“You’ll be back by 5:00!”
Eva fell helplessly silent. They lived ten minutes from the church and service didn’t start until six, but there would be no reasoning with him. She had publicly pushed back against one of his petty torments, and now he was going to make her pay.
It had all started that morning with Peter griping about their dinner plans. Her errands the day before had taken longer without her car, and with a chapter deadline looming on her dissertation, Eva was so preoccupied she’d neglected to shop for the prime rib feast her husband was demanding. A simple chicken dinner would have to do. He seemed determined to make the day as unpleasant for her as possible, and after morning service, he exacted his revenge by fawning over Dana Burton, the church’s pretty secretary. Dana was famous at Mt. Hebron for her culinary prowess—and infamous for her crush on Eva’s minister husband.
Dana had presented him with a tin of her homemade fudge, prompting Peter to suggest in front of several church members that Dana should teach Eva how to “treat a man right.” Of course, he couched this as a joke—as he did all of his insults—but Peter was too transparent for anyone to miss the scathing affront. There was a time when Eva would’ve been deeply hurt by the slight, but having grown immune to Peter’s petty antics, she simply turned the tables on him, sweetly suggesting he be extra nice to Sister Burton, so that perhaps she’d be good enough to have him to her house—to stay.
Several in the group thoroughly enjoyed the retort, and were quick to congratulate Eva on her cleverness. Peter, however, was not amused. He took himself very seriously, and hated being bested, and just stood there, nostrils flared, glaring menacingly at his wife. Eva simply flashed her prettiest smile in response. She knew she’d pay for it later, but she enjoyed the triumph while it lasted.
The couple entered their apartment, and after removing her hat and coat, Eva proceeded to the kitchen to heat up dinner.
“Just a minute,” Peter said, grabbing her by her arm. “We need to have a little talk about that smart mouth of yours.”
Still clutching her arm, he walked her into the living room, and thrust her onto the sofa. He began slowly pacing in front of her as if trying to hold his temper—a favorite intimidation tactic he’d used on her over the years.
Eva knew what was coming, and there was a time when she would’ve taken it. But she was done with being lectured on how unworthy she was of him—a man of God—as if he’d done her some great favor by making her his wife.
“Let me explain something to you,” he began, “since, despite all your education, you seem to have trouble getting it.
“I am a pastor, Eva; a leader in the church. And most intelligent people understand that a leader is to be respected, not belittled in front of church members, and especially by his own wife!”
“Most intelligent people,” she said, looking at him pointedly, “understand that respect is something that’s earned, not strewn at one’s feet simply by virtue of one’s position.”
Peter’s face flushed angrily. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means,” she continued calmly, as she rose from the sofa, “that if it’s respect that you want, then maybe you should check your own behavior, Pastor Collier, because most intelligent people also understand that you’re only going to get as good as you give.”
She casually pushed passed him to resume her task, when suddenly he grabbed her arm again. He spun her around and slammed her against the wall, pinning her there with his hand clutching her throat.
He’d threatened to hit her many times, but she never worried about that happening. Peter was mean and obnoxious, but he wasn’t stupid. Instead, he took his fury out on the wall nearest her face, pounding it with his fist as he shouted.
“How dare you try to embarrass me! Who the hell do you think you are?” He tightened his grip just enough to make her gasp. “You are not going to belittle me in front of people ever again, Eva! Do you understand? I will kill you before I let you make a fool of me!”
With this last ominous threat he gave the wall a final blow, forcing his enormous fist through the plaster. She stood paralyzed with shock as he stormed out of the apartment, leaped into his car, and sped away from the curb. At the sound of his screeching tires, she crumpled to the floor, shuddering. Peter had never reacted so violently when she stood up to him before. Then she realized that she’d never stood up to him as she had now. She had found the courage born of new love, but she had to be very careful. It would never do for Peter to discover her guilty secret. She could never let him find out about Dan.

Thank you for you interest and feedback.
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Abe F. March
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Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10747
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 81
Location : Germany

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PostSubject: Re: The Law of Jealousy - Chapter 1   The Law of Jealousy - Chapter 1 EmptyWed Feb 01, 2012 12:56 am

Liked what I read. It grabs attention and sets the stage for wanting to know more. You have a good writing style.
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Number of posts : 1311
Registration date : 2008-05-09

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PostSubject: Re: The Law of Jealousy - Chapter 1   The Law of Jealousy - Chapter 1 EmptyWed Feb 01, 2012 7:20 am

And the reality is there are more of those church leaders running around than one would imagine.
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Number of posts : 9633
Registration date : 2008-12-05
Age : 76
Location : San Antonio

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PostSubject: Re: The Law of Jealousy - Chapter 1   The Law of Jealousy - Chapter 1 EmptyWed Feb 01, 2012 10:20 am

Sounds intriguing.

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