Lisa forgets herself and gets reminded the hard way
The next night
Josh turned the deadbolt on the bedroom door. He placed the key in his small strong box with the combination lock. He kept the handcuffs and shackles in that box also, he hoped he’d never need to use them again. Given how the week had gone … relatively calm, Jessica eating, and behaving as she should, for the first time he felt that his hopes would really come true. Locking it, he placed it on the floor next to his side of the bed.
Jessica moved to the chest of drawers and pulled out her pajamas. Back turned to Josh, she undressed. Josh watched her bare backside disappear into a pair of his light cotton sleep pants. He saw the muscles between her shoulder blades work, as she pulled the top over her head. Without so much as a glance at him, she jumped into the bed and under the covers. He thought it cute that she held so firmly to her privacy. He couldn’t see it working with Riley or Angus, which was part of the reason that he humored her so much. If this was what she needed from him, so be it.
She reached on the bedside table and picked-up an Archie comic. She looked over to where one lay on his bedside table.
“Reading?” she asked. Josh pulled off his shirt, and dropped his pants. He kept his underwear on, Jessica always seemed to appreciate that. He got in the bed beside her.
“Of course,” he said, “but I have something to show you first.”
He reached in the drawer of his bedside table and pulled out a black notebook. He opened to the first page and handed it to Jessica. She took it.
“Josh!” she exclaimed leafing through the pages, “You did it! You really did it! This is fantastic!”
Josh smiled as Jessica went back to the beginning and read. They shared a love of comic books, and last week she happened to catch a glimpse of some of the doodling he’d been doing. She’d completely freaked out, impressed by something he’d just considered to be a hobby. He was surprised to see how excited she was for him. She insisted that he try and make his own comic book. He of course, had no clue how to do it. He wasn’t a person who comedy came to naturally, so something like Archie, just wouldn’t work. He could still remember the look on her face as she knelt on the bed, notebook in hand, waving it around as words spilled out of her mouth.
“It doesn’t have to be funny!” She’d said. “Spiderman, Batman, a lot of comics are dark, real dark. You could do anything … some sci fi thing, outer space, that kind of story. Josh, you have such a great talent. Don’t waste it!”
She’d been stoked, which in turn had electrified him. Every night since, he’d worked like a madman on his comic.
“The Venusian Princess’ name is Acissej?” she asked peeking up from the page that she was on. A small smile crept on her lips, and then it grew. “Let me guess … she’s in love with a Venusian Prince named Shoj?”
“Actually,” Josh replied loving every second that beautiful smile graced her face, “Shoj is a Martian Prince, and he’s working on getting her to love him.”
Jessica held his gaze for a moment. A light shade of pink grew on her cheeks as she returned her eyes to the notebook. He watched her read, and re-read the part about how the prince declared his love for the princess. Her father had given her to him in marriage to try and secure peace between the two worlds. The cultures were so different that there was conflict between the two over every trivial thing. But the Prince didn’t care. He wanted her and he’d find some way to make it work. Jessica closed the notebook and sat looking at the front cover.
“Get it? Men are from Mars … “ he said. “Think I should finish the story?”
“Oh yeah. Are the Martians and Venusians going to go to war? Over something so stupid?” Jessica said, holding the notebook out to him.
“Hey, the Venusians giving the Martians the finger is nothing to be taken lightly!”
“The Venusians only have one finger … “ Jessica replied picturing the one long finger that Josh had drawn growing directly from the wrist. No hand existed. “Oh geez!” she exclaimed and laughed. “I thought you said you couldn’t be funny!” Jessica said. Josh shrugged. Maybe he had talents he didn’t know about.
He leaned in to Jessica, his shoulder against hers. He felt a pulling in his groin. The Venusian Princess that he’d created, despite being digitally challenged, had small perky breasts, much like Jessica’s. She also shared the same inviting curves and backside. As he’d drawn the Princess, he had recalled every vivid detail of Jessica’s body. His groin had reacted in very much the same fashion that it did now, only this time he wouldn’t have to rely on self-service to relieve it.
As Josh took the notebook back his fingers brushed over Jessica’s hand. She withdrew her hand, but not as quickly as was her habit. Expecting a faster retreat, Josh over reached and grabbed her upper arm rather than her hand. ‘Just as good,’ he thought as he pulled her to him.
“How about some comedy?” Jessica asked waving the Archie comic as the distance closed between them. Josh took the comic from Jessica’s hand
“I actually had something more dramatic in mind,” he said tossing the comic book and bringing his other hand to Jessica’s thigh. “Something a little more adult …”
Encircling her legs with his arm, he slid her down the bed, onto her back. He stuck his head under her shirt and kissed her stomach. He kissed his way up until his mouth found her breast. He nibbled the nipple.
“Something, “ he said after pulling the nipple to its zenith and then letting it escape, his right hand finding the elastic of her pants and sliding behind it, “more x rated ..” his fingers found her warm, private, flesh.
He felt a white hot heat sear through his body as his manhood came to full, vibrant attention. There was nothing it wanted more than to get into the opening that his fingers now thrust into. He worked vigorously, not sure he could last to Jessica’s climax.
He looked up, and as usual Jessica was staring at the ceiling, her head slightly tilted. She was always the silent type, but then there was the almost imperceptible tilt of her head, and the wetness that seeped through his fingers. Moments later, her legs twitched in response to the caresses he still administered between her lips.
These were the signs he was looking for. In a near frenzy, he pulled Jessica’s pajama bottoms off, and forced himself between her legs. He entered her with a fluid thrust. His hands held her shoulders and pushed her onto him as his pelvis drove up. If felt so damn good! He kissed her neck, her ears, her cheeks, he found her lips and his tongue bore into her mouth and explored. It found her tongue and stroked it. His pleasure mounted, he couldn’t wait any longer!
“Uhhh!” Josh exclaimed, as his face pressed onto the pillow next to Jessica’s head. He turned to kiss her neck. That took the last ounce of strength he had, and sleep overtook him.
Jessica lay beneath Josh and listened to him snore. She didn’t look forward to the night to come. It didn’t make any sense. How could he be so different in the middle of the night than during the day or early evening? It wasn’t like she enjoyed his pawing and sexual use when they first came to bed, but at least then he was civil. But this middle of the night thing was so much the opposite of that. He ignored her when she spoke to him. And he always had that funny look on his face. Even in the dark, her eyes would adjust enough for her to see his blank expression. Jessica shuddered. It was almost like he was another person. A thought ricocheted in her mind. Could he be asleep?
Jessica considered that. It made more sense than split personalities. The more she thought about it, the more she thought it was likely the case. So, if he were asleep, would he wake up if he couldn’t find her?
There was only one way to find out. The thought sent a wave of terror through her. The logistics of that seemed overwhelming.
Jessica tried to shift slightly beneath Josh. She could barely move. If she were going to stay awake until he tried to … if she were going to try and stay out of his grasp, she’d have to get out from under him first. Jessica stared at the ceiling in frustration. There was no way she could get out from under him without waking him. The likelihood of what that would lead to made Jessica consider reconsidering. On the plus side he could get the deed over with earlier and maybe he’d leave her alone then and she could get a good night’s sleep. But if she could get out from under him without waking him. What then? She’d have to stay awake. Waiting for him to try … and then make sure he couldn’t reach her.
What if he woke up? What if he was unhappy that she’d tried to avoid him and told Riley? What if Riley took away all of her freedoms?
But there was a chance that he wouldn’t wake up. There was a chance that he’d just continue sleeping when he couldn’t find her … if he really was sleeping during the attacks. Was it worth taking the risk?
Yes. Aside from Angus, Josh’s late night assaults were the next big source of pain for her. This was not an issue with Jimmy, with Scott, things seemed to be getting better. Riley. Well, Riley was Riley but he didn’t use sex as a weapon the way Angus did. Jessica squeezed her eyes shut. She’d forsaken her immediate mission to avenge her family in order to gain freedoms. And to hopefully avenge her family at some time in the future. Part of her still felt guilty about that. Perhaps, if she lost those freedoms now, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Perhaps it would be a sort of cosmic justice.
Right. So, she’d get out from under him somehow, and then stay awake and when he tried … she’d move out of his reach. Hopefully that’d be enough to stop him. And then, if he truly were sleeping, then she could at least put her feelings about him in some kind of order. It was hard to know what she should feel toward him. On one hand he’d rape her and then on the other he came up with Princess acisseJ and Prince uashoJ?
What the heck was that? She had been joking when she’d asked Josh about the characters in his comic falling in love. She felt heat spread over her cheeks as she remembered Josh saying the Prince was trying to get the Princess to love him. Were those characters really supposed to be based on him and her? That was impossible. But the storyline, two different worlds, conflict over everything, and the expression on Josh’s face. If it were true, then Josh couldn’t hate her anymore. Maybe hate was too strong a word. She knew he didn’t hate her anymore. And she knew that Jim and Scott didn’t either. She seemed to have come to some kind of truce with those three. So, what Josh did to her in the middle of the night just didn’t make sense.
‘May as well get on with it.’ Jessica said to herself and turned her attention to getting out from underneath Josh. She tried to shift a little again but she couldn’t. She tried a little harder and then paused, certain that he’d wake up. When he didn’t she decided to go for broke. She wiggled and shifted, push and twisted until she’d managed to free herself. Through it all, Josh didn’t move.
Jessica lay panting from the effort. A shiver ran through her. As gently as she could, she sat up and reached for her pajama pants that were strewn over the bottom part of her bed. She pulled them on. She glanced over at Josh’s night stand. The light continued to burn bright. If it was dark in the room it was more likely that he wouldn’t wake up when he tried to … when it happened. Jessica held her breath as she slid off of the bed and tiptoed around to the light. Flicking it off she hurried back to her side of the bed. Now she’d wait.
Later that night Josh rolled over. He felt so good. Pleasure was steadily growing … he reached out … something was wrong. He moved his arm around the bed, reaching further and further as it continued to find nothing. He sat up, fully alert now. The light had been turned off. He was still naked, the blankets were askew, and the bed was empty.
“Jessica?” he asked moving over the empty space next to him. It wasn’t his imagination, she was gone. Fear rushed over him.
“Jessica!” he said more forcefully. In the dark somewhere beyond the bed, he heard what sounded like a hushed “Oh”. He crawled to the far edge of the bed. She definitely wasn’t there. He reached up and turned on the bedside lamp. He blinked in the light. As his eyes adjusted he saw Jessica standing a foot from the bed, hunched over, clutching a pillow against her chest. She seemed frozen in place, staring at him.
“What the hell are you doing?” he demanded.
Jessica couldn’t speak. How could she explain this?
“Get over here!” He ordered, indicating the bed. Jessica tried to judge his mood. He looked, confused. Taking advantage of his relative calm, Jessica moved to the bed, and placed her pillow on the bed. She followed behind it, sitting cross-legged on the bed, her hands wringing nervously before her.
Josh eyed her. She’d put her pajama bottoms back on … how the hell had he managed to sleep through that?
“Let’s try this again … what were you doing out of bed?”
Jessica couldn’t think of anything to say except the truth.
“I just wanted to get a full nights rest, that’s all. We’d already … you know. I was waiting for you to … to try … I thought maybe if you couldn’t touch me …” Jessica stopped talking. As she’d been speaking Josh’s expression began to change. He still looked confused but he was beginning to look angry too. Was it better to say more, or less?
“That’s a lot of thinking and wanting for someone who’s supposed to stay put!” Josh said, his mood turning black quickly. This could’ve been a disaster. What if she’d managed to get the strong box opened, taken the key and let herself out? Jesus!
“Just what did you think was going to happen Jess? I was fast asleep trying to get a full night’s rest, just like you.”
“I thought that you would, you know … like it always is …” Jessica said lowering her head. She seemed embarrassed about something. She seemed genuine in her response, but Josh couldn’t for the life of him, figure out what she was worried about.
“Jess, you’re going to have to be a lot clearer than that, and fast. I’m beginning to lose my patience. You’re never supposed to get out of bed without me. Never! Now explain to me why you chose to ignore that rule!”
Jessica didn’t know what to say. It was so embarrassing. It was bad enough that Scott insisted on talking about sex with her. Now Josh wanted a full blown explanation as to why she didn’t want him doing it with her when she’d rather be sleeping? Jessica shifted nervously on the bed.
“Well?” Josh prompted.
Jessica didn’t say anything.
“Fine,” Josh said and reached down beside the bed for the safety box. In seconds he had the pair of handcuffs and turned back to her.
Jessica’s eyes almost popped out of her head when she saw the cuffs.
“No! Josh, please!” she scrambled away from him.
“Hold it right there!” He said pointing his finger at her, “Don’t you dare run away from me! You are the one in the wrong, not me! So you get yourself back here and give me your hand!”
Jessica didn’t move..
“If I have to come and get you Jess, things are going to get really ugly. Get over here now!”
Jessica moved toward him. He looked really mad, madder than she’d seen him in a while.
Jessica put her hand out to him. It was shaking, and Jessica sniffled. Looking up Josh was annoyed to see tears running down her cheeks.
Goddamn it! They’d come so far, her and him, why were they back to this? Josh grabbed her wrist and pulled. Jessica fell against him. He pushed her against the headboard of the bed and brought his face within inches of hers.
“This is your last chance before I re-cuff, leash and tie you up again! Tell me why you were out of bed. Now!”
Jessica stared into his eyes. Did he really not know? Could he really be raping her in his sleep? Maybe he only woke up now because he couldn’t find her? Jessica still had a hard time believing it. Highly unlikely. But he was giving her a chance to keep her freedom.
“I just don’t like it when I’m asleep, being woken up like that … maybe it could just wait until the morning?” her voice trailed off. While Josh couldn’t make any sense out of what she was saying, there was a timidness in her voice that often appeared whenever sex was a topic.
“’K Jess, I’m not sure what you thought was going to happen here tonight, but you were asleep, and I was asleep …”
“ I’m always asleep and it happens anyway …” Jessica replied a trace of indignation in her voice.
“Wait a minute!” Josh interrupted, an unsettled feeling coming over him. “Just what exactly is ‘it’?”
Jessica lowered her head again, cheeks red.
“No Jess, I’m not playing some sort of game here. I really need to know what you think happens when you’re asleep.”
Jessica looked up at him. She studied him. Finally she said, “You touch me, and stuff … “
“I do not!” Josh replied, suddenly feeling queasy.
“You do to!” Jessica replied.
“I don’t, but if I did, and you didn’t like it, why wouldn’t you say so?”
“I do say so, the whole time, but you just ignore me!” Jessica said.
There it was. That look. The one she’d had for months after the night he’d raped her. With a great deal of guilt, he recalled the first time they’d had sex.
He shouldn’t have done it, she wasn’t ready. But, he’d gotten started, and even though his mind was screaming to stop, his body couldn’t. He knew what he’d done to her. He was a rapist, and it made him sick to his stomach. She had cried for the whole night afterward. She had let him hold her though, and he’d cried with her.
Memories of the other girl he’d done this to came flooding back to him. Jimmy’s sister … Jimmy didn’t know, thank God, but he and she’d been dating. One thing had led to another. She’d killed herself not long afterwards … Then Jessica. That had been two years ago. It had been a long, slow, process to get back on track. He was intent on not letting Jessica come to the same end that Pam had.
He hadn’t trusted himself to not rape her if he lost control again. But the only way to ensure that he didn’t lose control was to not have sex with Jessica, and that wasn’t an option.
She’d become an obsession. Somehow he’d had to make it up to her … make it good for her. About six months after the rape, he’d told Jessica she could tell him to stop at any time, she hadn’t said anything as he explored her body. He loved her gently, carefully, after that. He made it good for her … in fact he could say with certainty that it was better than good. She’d always been quiet, subdued, but eventually he’d managed to get some reactions from her.
So what the hell was going on? Was he so sick that he raped Jessica subconsciously? He’d heard of sleep walking, but sleep raping? Was it possible?
“Look, Jessica, if this really does happen, I didn’t know … “
‘Oh God! The dreams!’ Josh thought to himself. He felt ill.
Maybe, maybe, what he’d thought to be really good dreams, weren’t.
“I think I may have been dreaming when I did those things,” he finally said. He looked at her, convinced he’d find disbelief, accusation, hatred, in her expression. But they weren’t there.
Jessica nodded slightly, “I know.”
“Has it happened every night you’ve spent with me?” Josh asked, his voice a whisper. He wasn’t sure that he wanted the answer.
How many times had Jessica told him to stop, and he hadn’t? Christ! He felt the bile rise in his throat.
He leaned over the side of the bed just as the vomit projectiled out and onto the floor. He heaved and retched and when there was nothing left to bring up, he dry heaved. As he panted over his vomit he felt a light pressure on his back.
“Are you alright?” Jessica said appearing beside him. She rubbed her hand back and forth on his back.
“Stay here,” he ordered as he headed for the bathroom. He left his bedroom and the bathroom doors open so he could see Jessica. After cleaning himself up, he grabbed a towel and mopping bucket from the linen closet in the hallway. Filling the bucket, he returned to the room. Jessica sat watching him clean up. Neither said a word.
Once the floor was clean and the bucket and towel returned to the bathroom, Josh re-locked the door. Without a word he took a pillow and the bed sheet and threw them on the floor next to his side of the bed. Pulling the blanket on the bed back, he moved Jessica’s pillow over, took her by her forearms and pushed her back onto the bed, her head on the pillow. He pulled the cover up to her chin, turned off the light, and lay down on the floor.
Silence followed, and soon Josh could hear Jessica snoring lightly. He lay awake, unsure what he could do to fix this apparent psychosis he had.
It seemed that he was a natural born rapist.
She could’ve been making it up. Josh entertained that possibility for barely a second. Deep down, he knew it was true. Why hadn’t she told him … when they were both awake? She didn’t seem to have much trouble telling him when other things bugged her.
He was painfully aware that she hated broccoli, country and western music, and runny eggs. She also made it pretty clear when she wasn’t interested in having sex … while they were awake. Most of the time she was good to go, but there were times when she simply said ‘no’, verbally or non-verbally.
Of course, if she’d been saying no while he was at it, and he didn’t listen, she probably saw no point in bringing it up, any other time. Great. As far as Jessica was concerned he was an asshole who took what he wanted, when he wanted it. There was nothing he wanted more right then, than to wake Jessica up and plead his innocence again, but the last thing he needed was to be anywhere near her when she slept. She’d probably think he was back for more. It’d have to wait till morning. It was going to be a long night. He doubted that he’d be able to sleep.
Josh yawned as he sat on the toilet seat. As he’d predicted, he hadn’t slept a wink. To add to his guilt, he had the opportunity to listen to Jessica cry, thrash, and scream through her nightmares. At least when he actually slept, only the screams woke him up. He never knew what to say to Jessica that would be good enough to make up for the pain and despair that she felt when she dreamt.
To try and console her throughout the night, he’d put his arm around her until she’d stopped crying. He had to have been up and down on that bed at least twenty times.
The broken sleep had not kept Jessica from waking up early, and she’d needed to use the bathroom. As soon as she was in the bathroom, she asked to take a shower.
Oh yes, apparently something else she hated, showering with him. He’d parked himself on the toilet as Jessica all too merrily got into the shower. He could just make out her from behind the shower curtain.
He’d thought all night about a solution, but it got him nowhere. He was disgusted with himself, yes, but one thing had kept coming to mind the previous night. And it came back to him now as he watched Jessica’s silhouette move around behind the curtain.
She hadn’t told him.
Rather than look him in the eye, while he was awake and not in the middle of a sexual act, and tell him that what he was doing at night bothered her, she had decided to risk everything and climb out of his bed without permission. She had to have known that he wouldn’t react well to that … hell, had it been Riley or Angus she would’ve been nothing but a bloody lump when they were through.
He had to make sure something like that never happened again.
“Jessica!” he said, moving to the shower and pulling the shower curtain back.
Jessica jumped in surprise. She had shampoo in her hair, and her arms flew up over her chest, hiding her breasts. She felt betrayed and it showed on her face.
“I’m not coming in, calm down.” Josh mumbled. Disappointment in the knowledge that she clearly wanted him nowhere near her, overwhelming him.
Jessica’s demeanor didn’t change and he got the distinct impression that she didn’t believe him. He wavered for a moment … she had every reason to not trust him, maybe he’d wait and talk to her later. But the memory of the fear he’d felt when he’d woken to find her missing from his bed came back to him. If nothing else, he had to make it clear to her that she was not to do something like that again.
“What you did last night, will never happen again. Understand?”
Jessica nodded. “I’m sorry,” she said. She was grateful that he hadn’t revoked her freedoms. And his reaction when he realized what he’d been doing was far beyond anything Jessica would have anticipated. There was little doubt that he truly was sorry about it.
“You’d better be. The next time something like that happens, I’m not giving you a chance for explanation. If you have a problem with me, you tell me. And I mean well before you pull some stupid stunt, not after. Got it?”
And he let the curtain drop. Standing on the other side of the curtain, Josh had a strong urge to forget the deal he made and join her. He knew how she’d feel against him, all wet and warm. The smell of the soap wafting up his nose.
‘Jesus!’ he thought to himself , ‘what kind of a pig am I?’ The initial rape had been bad. But it had been during the waking hours and it had been a one-time thing. Even with Pam, it had been once, in the heat of the moment.
Both he and Jessica managed to get past that, but this night time stuff, stuff that he couldn’t remember … and then just now, knowing that Jessica wanted to be alone, yet almost ready to ignore her wishes … guilt was making a return.
He was going to have to make it up to her, somehow. Leaving her alone while she showered, seemed like a good start.
Jessica exhaled. This had to be the strangest magazine she’d ever read. And the strange tightening of the muscles between her legs as she looked at the pictures of the naked men and women confused her.
When she looked up, embarrassment pulsed through her. Scott sat on the bed watching her. The smirk beginning to form on his lips made it clear he knew what she was feeling.
“They’re pretty good mags, aren’t they?” he asked and was glad she’d opted to sit on the floor rather than next to him on the bed.
He had a promise to keep and it wasn’t going to be easy. The blush that spread across Jessica’s cheeks was encouraging.
“Do you see anything in particular that works for you?” He asked, trying to peek at the page she had open. Jessica shook her head. Scott inhaled. Getting her to read the magazines was the easy part. Now for the hard part. He lifted the tube he was holding in his hand.
“I’ve got this stuff,” he said holding it up, “that’ll help you enjoy the magazines even more.”
Jessica looked at the tube and then down at the magazine, and then back at the tube. Scott chuckled. She looked thoroughly confused. “Trust me, it’ll help. All you have to do is put some of this on your love nub. Take it, and I’ll give you some privacy.”
Jessica took the tube when Scott waved it before her for the third time.
“Yeah, I guess you kind of have to be on the bed … “ and he uncuffed her, recuffing her once Jessica settled on the bed.
“Go for it … this stuff is supposed to be like catnip for the clitoris … I’ll give you a couple of minutes.” And he turned his back. He stared at the ceiling trying not to get too worked up with the image of Jessica exposing herself behind him and applying the cream to that part that he so wanted to be rubbing himself. But he soon realized that he couldn’t hear Jessica moving on the bed behind him. He looked over his shoulder and found Jessica sitting on the bed staring at the tube.
“What’s the matter?” he asked.
Jessica shrugged. “What is a love nub?”
“Your clitoris.” Scott replied with a chuckle, “You know … love nub.”
Jessica looked just as confused as she had before.
Scott stared at her, stunned.
“You don’t know what your clitoris is?”
“I know what it is.” Jessica said in indignation, but her face flamed red.
“Okay, so put that on it. You do know where it is right?” Scott asked when Jessica just turned redder and slid her eyes down to her hands that held the tube.
“Jessica, you have had sex before right? Before you came here, before us?” He asked.
“Never?” he said when Jessica shook her head and he couldn’t keep the surprise out of his voice. He mentally kicked himself when Jessica seemed to shrink, pulling her legs up to her chest and curling in to herself.
“But you did play with yourself, right? Masturbate?” He added but when Jessica turned redder and shook her head he exhaled, “Oh, well that explains a lot. You do understand why people masturbate?”
Jessica continued staring at her hands.
He wondered if he should be concerned about the fact that the realization that Jessica had no sexual education at all didn’t make him feel guilty in any way, and in fact made him even hornier.
There had to be something wrong with that. Well, he had two choices at this point. Either apply the cream for Jessica right now and test the boundaries of his self-control or, wait a bit longer until he had the opportunity to get her a book about the human body. And she’d had the chance to read it.
Well, he always prided himself on his self-control.
“People are the luckiest animals in the animal world Jessica,” Scott began, almost sat down beside Jessica, thought better of it and shifted his weight between his legs trying to find a comfortable stance in which to continue.
“Animals have sex to reproduce just like us humans do,” Scott continued but gave up on getting comfortable and began to pace. “But they don’t get to enjoy it like us humans do. Well, except for pigs maybe. I heard somewhere that they can have multiple orgasms too. Maybe that’s why bacon tastes so good … “ he laughed but when he noticed Jessica wasn’t laughing with him he cleared his throat.
“The point is that humans were given the body parts so they can enjoy sex …and so they can do it for fun, not just to reproduce.”
Jessica looked at Scott like he was short a card or two in his playing deck. He laughed.
“No, it’s true Jessica. And this,” he said leaning over Jessica on the bed and taking the tube from her hand, “will help me prove it to you. Men feel pleasure with their penis, and women with their clitoris. It’s small nub in your vagina.” Jessica’s perplexed look didn’t falter. “It’s down by your pee hole. When it gets rubbed it brings you to orgasm. Why do you think I keep trying to rub you down there?”
“Well, it doesn’t work.” Jessica said and tried to move back from Scott but Scott had put his left arm on the headboard, beside her head, and the other on her thigh. Exerting a little weight on her leg made it impossible for her to move.
“It does work. But some people need a little help to get the feeling going. This cream will help with that and …” suddenly Scott had a brainwave. “And you’ll have to practice.”
“Yeah. Masturbation. You need to masturbate … it’ll help you.”
“I don’t know how to masturbate,”
“I know. I’ll teach you. First we gotta lose your pants and get this cream on your clit … “
A look of horror passed over Jessica’s face and she tried to cross her legs.
“I’ll show you where to put the cream. I won’t do more than that, I promise. And then every night that you’re with me, you’ll practice masturbating. I promise not to touch you while you do it … at least not at first. But I wanna watch. Maybe masturbate a little myself.”
Jessica was shaking her head.
“You promised, remember? Besides, you’ll thank me for it. So what’ll it be? Will you live up to your word or do you want to go through the rest of your life in a pleasureless existence? Oh, and let’s not forget about the whole horseback riding thing … that was part of the deal. Me, not telling Riley about Jimmy not really giving you permission. You know, a deal is a deal. What do you say? Should we get those pants off?”
Jessica closed her eyes and felt the burning blush that spread across her cheeks as Scott lowered himself between her now exposed private parts and used his fingers to poke around. Then she felt him apply something wet.
“There,” he said getting up and replacing he cap onto the tube. “Okay, now right there, where I’d put the cream. Find it with your fingers.”
A warmth began to spread through Jessica’s private area.
“Just think about the magazine’s you were looking at. You can close your eyes if that helps. And you’ll have to spread your legs … come on Jessica, you have to try.”
Jessica closed her eyes and found that oddly enough, when she thought about the naked bodies in the magazine, the tingling between her legs grew. She began to feel like touching herself there.
“Go ahead,” Scott encouraged as Jessica had tentatively began to part her legs. His voice was husky and Jessica opened her eyes to find Scott laying back on the bed, his hand down his pants.
Jessica closed her eyes again. As long as he wasn’t touching her, she was happy. Jessica’s hands found their way to her vagina and as they began caressing the area that tingled, a sudden rush of pleasure over took her. A tidal wave of ecstatic pleasure surprised Jessica so much that she cried out.
“Oh yeah!” Scott exclaimed as he too exploded. They lay on the bed panting.
“What did I tell you. Great wasn’t it?” Scott asked.
Jessica nodded. She couldn’t believe how good that had felt. Residual pleasure lingered and surprisingly, she wanted it again.
Was that why the men insisted on touching her down there? Scott had said so. She remembered back to the night he had first suggested that he’d help her enjoy herself. He’d expected her to enjoy it when he touched her between her legs. Not only Scott. Josh was always rubbing down there. But why would they want her to feel that kind of pleasure if they were trying to punish her? It made no sense.
“I can give you even better than that.” Scott said. “But for now, you’ll just put the cream on every day. Keep reading the magazines, and masturbate when you can. Eventually you’ll want me to pleasure you. And then, all you have to do is ask. I’ve gotta go clean-up. Here are your underwear, unless you want to go for it again?” He threw Jessica’s underwear to her.
She heard the door lock once Scott pulled it closed behind him. Jessica pulled her underwear on as best she could with one hand. The tingling continued between her legs. It was oddly reassuring to understand now why the men liked to have sex. If they felt what she just had every time they used her, she could see that they were doing it for a better reason than to just hurt her. She wasn’t so sure that she’d ever ask Scott to touch her … but would definitely masturbate again.
A sudden calm over came her and she felt sleepy. She pulled the blanket over herself and drifted off to sleep.
Two weeks later
“What the hell is she doing here?” Angus demanded after entering the dog kennels and finding Jessica standing, clutching something small and black in her arms.
Tears were streaming down her face, and she looked near hysteria.
He felt an adrenaline rush. He knew that expression pretty well … he saw it a lot but usually he was busy raising his fist and driving it into that expression, over and over again. It looked out of place here, and he flexed his fingers on his right hand, just to be sure he hadn’t blanked out during an ‘attitude adjustment’.
Josh looked bewildered as he stood helplessly before her. Scott raced into the kennel, nearly running into Angus. He’d been working in the barns when a high, piercing, “No!” echoed through the barnyard. It had sounded like Jessica, and it had come from the kennel. If Jessica was anywhere but in the house, there was a problem since there had been no plan for her to come outside. He couldn’t remember getting to the kennel.
“What’s going on?” he demanded as he skidded to a halt and took in the scene. Whatever it was in Jessica’s hands, it was moving. She was holding it tightly to her, and had half turned away from Josh.
“Josh!” Angus snapped when Josh stood staring at Jessica. “Hey! Josh! What the hell …” Angus gave up on Josh and moved toward Jessica.
“He wants to kill it!” Jessica said turning to Angus.
Angus paused when he saw a small, wriggling, black puppy in her arms. It was tiny, very tiny, and it’s eyes were closed. Angus looked around the room and finally saw the female Rottweiller, Ginger, standing in her pen, staring intently at Jessica. Behind her were four other little black mounds, bumping awkwardly into one another.
“It’s a runt,” Josh said to Angus. He turned back to Jessica and took a step toward her, his hands stretched out before him, as if he were trying to calm a nervous horse.
“I don’t want to kill it Jess, but it’s the most humane thing to do. It’ll never survive on its own. Tell her!” he said to Angus, “Tell her!” he practically yelled at Scott. He couldn’t get the image of Jessica’s face out of his mind … when he’d told her that he’d put the pup out of its misery, she had looked at him like he was some kind of monster.
“Jess,” Scott began, “that pup will never survive. It’ll starve to death, or one of the other dogs will kill it. It’s just going to suffer needlessly. In the wild there’d be no help for it …”
“This isn’t the wild Scott!” Jessica interrupted. “Killing it isn’t the only option. I can help it, take care of it! Please!” she looked from Angus to Scott, to Josh.
‘What the fuck!’ Angus thought to himself. Just figures that this would be the time that Riley would be in town. He and Jim had left earlier that morning, and weren’t expected back until dinner time.
His first instinct was to grab the damn dog from Jessica’s arms and snap its little neck. That was what was done to runts. Plus the fact that Jessica was being way too bold … since when did she talk to them like that?
Ever since Riley had suggested Angus go easy on Jessica things had moved at a faster pace than Angus felt able to keep up with. He had some concerns and was waiting for a reason to take them up with Jessica, but something made him hesitate. Jessica wasn’t supposed to be out here to begin with, and by the looks of things this whole situation was Josh’s doing. Even so, Angus’ motto was that no matter what, Jessica was to blame. Jessica was to punish. But he had his coddling orders.
He took a deep breath. He hated this, and he was going to make sure that Riley knew it.
“Give me the dog,” he said in a surprisingly calm voice.
Jessica paused. She sniffled as she placed a kiss on the dog’s head. It terrified her to consider what Angus might do to it if she handed it over; but what terrified her even more was knowing what Angus would do to it if she didn’t give it to him.
Hesitantly, she handed the dog to him.
Angus’ surprise was evident on his face. He hadn’t expected her to trust him with it. He stared at her for a long moment. In the past he could always find some way to argue that Jessica’s behavior in some way benefited her plans to escape, but in this case he couldn’t see one. It was a puppy whose life she was trying to save, and yet she entrusted it to him.
Life had gotten complicated lately, and this didn’t help matters. He held the pup away from himself, as if it were something distasteful, and turned to Josh.
“Jessica is out here, why?”
“The pups were born,” Josh replied watching Jessica, “I thought she’d like to see them …”
“Right.” Angus interrupted. Just like he’d thought. Well, he wasn’t going to be the bad guy in this. He handed the dog to Josh. “You deal with it. Just remember that whatever you do, you’ll have to explain it to Riley. Come on Scott, this is Josh’s mess, let him clean it up.” And he turned on his heel and left. Scott was confused as he followed Angus. It wasn’t like Angus to turn his back on a situation that involved Jessica.
“Jess,” Josh began, “I’m not trying to be cruel. I’d hoped you’d know that … I mean do I look like a puppy killer to you? You know how much I like the dogs!”
“I know, I’m sorry, “ she said moving closer to Josh. She stood petting the puppy that rested in his arms. “But there’s a better way Josh, really! It just needs a little help to start off. Please let me take care of it!”
“Jess, the kind of help you’re talking about requires round the clock care. Feedings a dozen times a day, it’s a lot of work.”
“I know. But what else am I doing?” she asked and nestled her nose into the puppy. “Please?”
Josh hesitated. How was he going to explain this to Riley? Well, he was going to have to think of something because he could never, ever, stand to see that look on Jessica’s face again. When she’d realized what he’d planned to do … she’d acted as if he were Charles Manson.
“All right, all right. Just until the puppy is able to survive on its own.”
“Thank you! Thank you!” Jessica yelled, jumping up and down, and then planting a kiss on Josh’s lips.
“Come here Baby,” she said taking the dog from Josh. “That’s as good a name as any for you, isn’t it?” she cooed to the puppy as she lifted it above her head so she could look up into its face. She kissed it, and then hugged it to her chest. “I guess we’ll need some baby bottles, a doggy basket, and some milk … regular milk, do you think?”
“I don’t know,” Josh replied, too distracted to really hear her.
What if Riley came home and put an end to the whole thing? Jessica was going to be even more crushed than if Josh’d just finished the dog off to begin with.
“Maybe not milk, maybe formula. You know baby formula … that’d be better.”
“Isn’t baby formula for human babies?” Josh muttered.
“A baby is a baby, isn’t it?” Jessica asked. “Besides, Riley will know.”
With the mention of Riley’s name, Jessica finally realized that they still had to get this past him. She looked at Josh with a blank expression, which quickly turned to a silent plea.
Josh shook his head. “I can’t promise anything Jess. Riley may be hard to convince.”
“You can do it,” Jessica said looking up at him, holding the puppy up beside her face. “you can convince Riley. Baby and I are counting on you.” Josh felt a lump in his throat. She sounded so sure, so confident.
Suddenly he wanted to start the day over again.
Scott and Angus watched Jessica and Josh emerge from the kennel. Jessica held the puppy in her arms. Angus turned away. He didn’t want to know. Scott intercepted them on their way to the house. Jessica was looking pretty happy.
“So?” Scott asked.
“We’re going to take care of Baby for a little while, till she can survive on her own.” Jessica said.
“We are?” Scott asked looking at Josh. “Riley’s going to figure it out Josh, you can’t hide a puppy all that easily.”
“Josh is going to talk to Riley,” Jessica said, “it’ll be alright.”
“Really?” Scott said. It seemed that Jim and Josh were getting stupider by the day.
Josh looked at the ground and shifted from foot to foot. Oh yeah, Scott thought, this was going to go well. Josh was just the picture of certainty.
“But we need some baby bottles, a doggy bed, and some formula … “ Jessica continued.
“No problem,” Scott said. “I’ll run into town right now and get all that stuff.”
“You will?” Josh asked, surprised that Scott would want to associate himself with any of this.
“Sure. I’ve got some stuff to pick-up anyway,” he said, giving Jessica a wink.
Jessica’s blushed and looked at her feet. Ever since Scott had rubbed the cream between her legs the tingling lingered. She was actually enjoying masturbating … well not the masturbating but the pleasure that rocked her when she masturbated. Scott had been so impressed with the advancements being made that he’d promised to pick up some ‘props’ for the following week. She had no idea what he meant by ‘props’ but she actually looked forward to finding out. She had co-operated with Scott the night before, in ways she thought surely had to be abnormal. She couldn’t imagine what more could there be to do.
Josh had obviously missed something, and judging by the shade of Jessica’s cheeks it was something big, but he was too distracted to worry about it.
He had to think of a plan of attack for Riley. Scott wasted no time leaving, so Jessica and Josh continued to the house.
Jessica sat on the sofa cuddling and whispering to the dog while Josh slouched next to her, mentally sorting through his options.
Scott had gone to town, come back, Jessica had insisted on boiling the bottles and nipples, and then fed the dog twice since. Angus had finally lumbered into the house, and sat in the rocking chair scowling by turn at Josh and the dog. He hadn’t said a word, which served to heighten Josh’s wariness.
By five o’clock, when Riley and Jim had pulled into the driveway, Josh had it figured out. He rushed out the front door to intercede Riley before he made it to the house.
“Hey,” Jim greeted, surprised to see Josh.
He looked to the house with concern. Josh didn’t look panicked, but there was something in the way he walked, the look on his face that caused Jim to pause.
“Everything okay?” he asked, eyeing the house again.
Riley had rounded the car and now stood next to Jim. He caught Jim’s tone and began moving past him to the house.
“What happened?” he demanded.
“Nothing, nothing” Josh said, willing Riley to stop. “I just wanted a word, with you, Riley, “ Riley slowed, looking at him quizzically. “Alone,” he added, giving Jim a glance.
“Right,” Jim said heading for the house as quickly as he could without actually running. Something wasn’t right.
Riley stood watching Josh. Josh looked antsy. Really antsy. Riley waited, wondering how entertaining this was going to be. Josh cleared his throat.
“There’s uh, been a development,” Josh began. Riley still said nothing. “I think you’ll like it. It’s a good opportunity to get Jessica to warm up to you.”
“Really,” Riley stated, beginning to think that this may not be so amusing after all.
He had wondered whether informing the others about what he and Angus were doing with Jessica had been a good idea. They were already pretty easy on her, and the last thing he needed was for them to misinterpret the plan as a license to cater to her every whim.
Well, it seems he should have kept his mouth shut, now they could slant everything as an argument for Riley and Angus to not scare Jessica. Damn it!
“Yes. The pups were born this morning,” Josh paused.
“And so I took Jess out to see them.”
“Less all right.”
“Everything was fine except there was this runt, which of course Jessica took to right away. I thought … I assumed that everyone knew what to do with runts …” Josh’s voice trailed off.
“Let me guess, Jessica didn’t.”
“No,” Josh said shaking his head. “She was very upset. She wanted to help it, just until it was old enough to care for itself …”
“Josh, don’t say what I think you’re going to …”
“You didn’t see her Riley. It would have been a giant step backwards …”
“Where was Angus during all of this?” Riley demanded.
“He was there for a few minutes, said I had to deal with it.” That took Riley by surprise. That didn’t sound like Angus.
“So, how did you? Deal with it, I mean?” Riley asked, not so sure that he’d like what the answer would be.
“We got some bottles and formula for it, Jessica’s been feeding it. She named it Baby.”
‘Baby?’, Christ, what the hell was happening here?
“So, you made promises to Jessica which you now expect me to uphold, is that it?”
Riley moved toward Josh.
“And,” he said sticking his face in Josh’s, “if I say no, I’m going to be the bad guy, right?”
“Yes.” Josh steadied himself, ready for the punch he was sure he would receive, but none came.
“I don’t even want to know that damn dog is there, understand?” Riley said through clenched teeth. “Whenever Jessica has her night with me or Angus, or Jim and Scott for that matter, though I’m sure their little hearts are leaking blood all over the place already, you will care for the dog. And once that dog is remotely close to fending for itself, you will be the one to tell her, you will be the one to physically remove the dog, and this is all going to happen before I have to remind you … is that understood?”
“I’m glad we understand one another. Help me unload the car.”
Jessica had been working to steady her nerves. The fact that Riley hadn’t yet barged into the house and punished her … or worse yet, tossed the puppy out, meant that whatever Josh had told him had to have worked.
Still, Jimmy had been less than reassuring when he’d come in and saw the puppy.
“Riley’s going to be pissed,” was all he had to say.
Angus had spent the entire afternoon sitting in the rocking chair staring at her and the pup. He hadn’t said anything, not a word. The tension had escalated to the point where Jessica wasn’t sure she could handle it anymore. She didn’t know how she’d handle Angus when he finally went on a rampage, but she knew what she had to do to try and prevent Riley from refusing to let her care for Baby. But she was so nervous, she wasn’t sure she could pull it off.
On any normal day she had a hard time looking at Riley, much less going to him, kissing him, talking to him. Add the fact that he’d probably be furious, there was a good chance that despite all the mental work-up she’d given herself, she would probably freeze. And that would more than likely make Riley even madder. No, she had to do it, and she had to make it look natural. There was a life other than her own at stake now …
The front door opened, Josh entered carrying several bags, and then Riley followed. His arms were full also, which gave Jessica a respite, until he put the bags down.
He marched to the kitchen and although he didn’t looked pleased, Jessica was glad to see that he didn’t have his usual expression of fury.
Jessica shifted from foot to foot in the living room as Riley, back to her, put the bags in the kitchen. When he stood and turned in her direction, Jessica moved toward him, able to keep her eyes in the general vicinity of his face. She stood on her toes, kissed his cheek, and then stood staring at her feet.
She had meant to ask how the trip to town had gone, but she couldn’t find her voice.
There was a silence as Riley stared at Jessica’s bent head. A quiet whimpering came from across the room. Jessica fought the urge to look in the direction of the puppy. It’d been two hours since the last feeding, and is if on cue, the pup was looking for more.
She willed the dog to be quiet, but instead it got louder.
“So,” Riley finally said, “I hear we have a visitor …”
Jessica nodded. Riley’s voice was calmer than she expected, so she looked up at him. “Her name is Baby.”
“Josh has assured me that this will be very short term … just let’s get one thing straight, look at me Jessica …” Riley said when her gaze dropped. He stepped forward and tilted her chin up, “I don’t want to know that dog is here. Get it fending for itself, and then get it out. Understand?”
“Yes,” Jessica replied, and then, relieved Riley was going to let her care for the dog, she said without thinking, “Thank you.”
That was it! Angus had been stewing all day since he’d let Josh make the decision about the dog, and he could take it no longer. He felt as though his head would explode as he propelled himself off the rocking chair and grabbed Jessica’s arm.
“You can play the others all you want Jessica, but I’m not falling for it!” he thundered.
Angus held up his free hand when Riley had begun to speak, silencing him.
“Something about this afternoon bothered me, aside from the obvious,” he tilted his head in the direction of the whimpering pup, “and I couldn’t figure it out until now. Jessica is turning into a master manipulator. She spoke to Josh and Scott as if they answered to her. Someone is forgetting their place here, and I intend to remind her of it!” and he pushed Jessica toward the hallway.
Jim stepped forward ready to protest but Angus swung a look at him that made him freeze.
“Nothing is going to stop this Jim. But if you so much as open your mouth, I’ll personally ring that dog’s neck before I deal with Jessica!”
Jim shut his mouth as Angus turned and dragged Jessica to his room. He winced as the sound of Angus’ fist meeting Jessica’s flesh rang out. Jessica made little noise until the fourth or fifth hit. She’d always made it a point to resist showing any emotion as long as she could. This always had the effect of making Angus angrier. That never seemed to stop Jessica from doing it though.
Riley turned to Scott and Josh.
“Is it true? Did Jessica over step her boundaries?”
Both nodded. Neither had really seen it that way at the time, but on reflection they realized that she had been very bossy, almost authoritarian.
“Letting her keep that thing isn’t a good idea,” Riley said looking at the wriggling pup that Jim had picked-up.
“Maybe she deserves the beating Angus is giving her,” Josh said, wincing as the sounds continued to emit from Angus’ room. “But I really believe that if we kill that pup, everything will be lost. We can start from square one, all over again.”
Riley looked to Scott who nodded slightly.
Well, there was an opportunity here to get even more out of Jessica than they could otherwise. Riley had the feeling that she would do just about anything to keep that puppy alive and well.
“Shut it up then,” Riley said, “it’s enough just listening to Jessica.”
Jim got the formula as quickly as he could, and then went outside to feed the dog. He couldn’t take listening to Jessica’s cries any longer.
“Jess … “ Jim whispered, reaching out to Jessica who lay with her back to him.
She shrugged his hand off, and he could not think of what to say or do next. Angus had taken his time with her, spent hours. By the time he had let her out of his room, dinner had come and gone.
She had suffered through an hour or two of sitting in the living room and being lectured by Riley about her place. Finally, it was late enough for Jim to justifiably take Jessica to bed. She had climbed on the bed, and had not moved since.
Normally they would play cards, chess, talk, or more often then not, they hooked up the TV and spent hours watching.
It was normally the happiest time of the day for Jim, and Jessica as well.
Now there was nothing but silence, and guilt.
Maybe he should have sacrificed the dog to try and stop Angus. But in reality all it would have gotten him was a dead dog, and probably an even worse beating for Jessica.
He allowed half an hour of silence to continue before he could take it no longer.
“Jessica, you know that you’re not allowed to challenge us. That’s nothing new. Angus has gone off on way less provocation than that.”
“And when we speak to you, you’re expected to reply.”
Still, no response.
It was at times like these that his paranoia began to surface. He knew the men thought he was a push-over, did she too? What if she was just using him, like Riley and Angus liked to suggest she was.
“Jessica!” he said in a tone he had come to call ‘The Rangley’, a perfect combination of Riley and Angus.
Usually, that was all it took for Jessica to snap out of whatever funk she was in, this time it did not work. She did not move. Now what? Was she testing him? It had been a long time, a very long time, since he had had to discipline her. He would have thought that after all she had gone through with Angus, she would not be looking for more, but it seemed he was wrong.
He could do like Riley had done earlier and imply that the pup’s life depended on her replying to him, behaving. But between the two choices, strong arming, or blackmailing, he was pretty sure that she would hate him more for the blackmailing.
Jim shook his head. The truth was, he wanted it both ways. He wanted Jessica to like him, but to respect him the way she respected the others. Part of him needed to be sure that she did not think of him as a patsy.
All she had to do to satisfy him was respond when he spoke to her … he took her arm and rolled her toward him. She pushed his hand away and rolled back.
“Hey!” he exclaimed, and rolled her back toward him.
Anger flickered across Jessica’s face and she curled up her fist and struck him in the stomach.
“What the ..” and before he could react Jessica had scrambled to her knees and launched herself at him. They struggled as Jessica landed several successful blows to Jimmy’s face. Finally he managed to pin her on her back, arms above her head. He had to slide down over her thighs in order to keep her knees from bashing him in the back.
“Stop it Jessica, stop!” he yelled as she continued to struggle. Now out of control, strange grunting noises escaped her. She was beginning to do more damage to herself than to him, and he began to wonder if she were having some sort of seizure.
Taking a chance on Jessica punching him again, he released her right hand and landed a slap across her face. It was harder than he had intended, and with it, all movement on Jessica’s part ceased. She lay with her face to the side.
“Jess,” he said turning her face so he could see it. She stared back at him, expressionless. “Promise me that you won’t do that again! Don’t make me have to restrain you! I thought we were done with the handcuffs.”
Jessica blinked at the mention of the handcuffs.
“Look, I’m sorry Angus hurt you. If you want I can get some ice for the bruises welts … “
“Don’t do that,” she said in a low tone.
“We need to bring down the swelling …”
“No … don’t pretend to be my friend,” she said.
“I’m not pretending anything, “ Jim said taken aback.
“Yes you are. Just don’t be nice to me anymore.” Jessica’s voice was so devoid of emotion Jim wondered if she were in some sort of catatonic state.
“Snap out of it Jess,” he said tapping her cheek, “or I’ll have to slap you again.”
“Go ahead,” she said, “I probably deserve it anyway, I did breathe after all.”
Jim stared down at her. “I have always supported the rules Jessica, you know it.” He felt guilt nagging at him.
“And I’m supposed to be able to guess which ones?” she asked. “Besides, I didn’t know there was a rule against saving an innocent puppy’s life. You and Angus are right about one thing though … I did misunderstand my place.” Jessica turned her face away.
Jim grasped her chin and turned her face back to him, angered by her insinuation that somehow he had misled her.
“You listen to me …” he began, but when he saw tears pooling in her eyes his throat constricted. His anger faded.
“Jess, “ Jim said, his voice catching, “Angus made it very clear that he’d kill the pup if I tried to interfere. I had the impression that was something you wanted to avoid.”
Jessica struggled to control her tears. “He did?”
“I’m sorry … I thought that you …sorry,” she said quietly.
Jim slid off of Jessica’s legs and lay beside her. He pulled her to him, and she buried her face in his chest, crying quietly.
”Jess, you know that there are some things that I can’t interfere with, right?” Jim asked into her hair.
He had been sticking up for her a lot more lately, but he sure hoped she did not expect it from him in all cases.
“I tried this time, because I knew that if it had to do with the puppy’s life, you were probably very emotional, not thinking of the consequences when you spoke back to Josh and Scott. But we do have rules that you are expected to follow. I can’t just ignore them. Besides, the more I interfere, the worse it can be for you. Neither Riley nor Angus appreciate being challenged.”
Jessica nodded against his chest.
“Wanna watch T.V?” he asked, glad to have thought of a way distract her.
“Who’s going to take care of Baby?” she asked “He’s got to be fed every couple of hours.”
“Josh was going to do that,” Jim said, “but if you want, we can bring her in here tonight. Just don’t expect Riley or Angus to on their nights. They’ve made it clear that it’s Josh’s responsibility to take care of it.”
“Josh’s ?” Jessica asked, surprised.
“Because he took you out to see it to begin with …”
Jessica rolled her eyes.
“Hey,” Jim said, pointing his finger at her, “it’s that kind of stuff that gets you in trouble. Save yourself a lot of grief and stop trying to butt heads with them.”
“Butt heads?” Jessica demanded, incredulous. “They scare the crap out of me Jim, I most certainly do not butt heads with them!”
“Yeah right.” Jim snickered. “For someone who’s so afraid, you sure know how to push all the wrong buttons. It comes across as intentional.”
“What am I supposed to do Jim? I can’t seem to do anything right enough. No matter what I do, I make them angry.”
Jim studied Jessica’s face.
She leant back on the bed, looking up at him expectantly. She seemed to sincerely want his help. Here was his chance to coach her on how to behave with Riley and Angus.
But would telling her be a good thing? What if she used it to give herself the opportunity to run away?
He shook his head and sat up. Nothing was going to change if he didn’t help her out. It had been how many years? And she still had too much fight left in her.
“It’s all in your attitude Jess, you’re always in fight mode, and they can sense it.”
Jessica sat up beside him.
“It’s called self-defense Jimmy. In case you haven’t noticed, with the exception of you, most everyone else here is out to get me.”
“Funny you should mention that,” Jim said bringing his hand to his jaw and rubbing it, “but it seems to me that we spend an awful lot of time defending ourselves to you too.”
Jessica gave him an odd look.
“That’s not really the same thing …” she said, and for a second he thought she was going to bring up the kidnapping. He wasn’t sure that he was ready for a conversation like that.
“Jess, if you’re busy defending yourself, and we’re busy defending ourselves, where is there room for anything else?”
“What else is there to do?” Jessica asked, looking perplexed, “It’s never ending.”
“No it’s not,” Jim said. “Think about the things the men ask you to do. Do you think that they ask you to kiss them when you enter the room just so they can beat the crap out of you later?”
“It wouldn’t surprise me if that were true,” Jessica replied. “I’m serious,” she added when Jim laughed at her response.
“Oh come on Jess. Do you think you would’ve ever gotten off the leash … sorry,” he said when a shudder convulsed Jessica’s body, “you okay?”
Jessica nodded. “Can we not talk about that?”
“There are other examples Jess. You’ve been to see the dogs, you’ve been to see the horses … things aren’t always the same, there has been some change. Do you think that would be the case if they weren’t looking for something from you?”
Jessica shrugged. “I know what they’re looking for … power. I think they’d like nothing more than to hook me up to a remote control and dictate my every move …”
Jim sighed, “You’re missing the point entirely.”
Something in his tone caught Jessica’s attention.
Despite the beating, Jessica still felt a tingle between her legs, and for the first time considered that Jim was someone she wanted to be with.
He had never touched her that way, and she had always appreciated that. But now, it felt like he should be the one getting that close to her. He always stood up for her, always cared about her. In a flash she realized that she loved him.
A change came over Jessica’s face and she looked at Jim with such emotion he feared what would come out of her mouth.
“And you?” she asked, “What is it that you want from me?”
Jim shifted uneasily in his place. It seemed that Jessica had no trouble keeping eye contact with him. He felt naked under her stare.
“I want the men to know you like I do.” He said quietly.
Something in Jessica expression unsettled him.
The air around them seemed charged, electric.
His eyes were locked with Jessica’s and neither one seemed able to withdraw. Neither one of them seemed to want to.
Jim didn’t know what to do next, he’d never experienced this before. A prickle of anxiety began to grow inside him. It grew ten fold when he realized where all of this was leading.
Ultimately it was exactly what he wanted, the physical intimacy to match the emotional intimacy they were cultivating, but was Jessica ready? Was he?
“That’s what the men want too,” he forced himself to say, “they just don’t know how to get it. You’re going to have to give it to them Jessica.”
Jessica stared at him in silence. It seemed like an eternity passed before she spoke again. “I don’t know how.”
“You have to want it Jess. You have to want to be the person they are looking for.”
Jessica laughed and looked away from him. “I’m not that person.”
“Not completely, not yet. But you can be.” Jim said not sure whether to be upset or relieved that the intensity of the moment before had passed.
“I won’t be me anymore,” Jessica said, choking back some tears.
Jim took her hand in his and rubbed it.
“It’ll still be you, except it’ll be you with a different attitude. You have to forget about the past couple of years Jess, like they never happened. You have to love the men with all your heart, really love them. If you truly love them, you’ll want to please them, and if you want to please them, it’ll be obvious in everything you do and say. It’s not something you can pretend Jess, it just has to be.”
Jessica sniffed. “Even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t know how …”
“It’s easy,” Jim said crawling around her on the bed, and into her line of vision, “don’t take the time to think, just act. For every impulse you have, do the opposite. You want to look away from Riley or Angus when they speak to you, want nothing more than to look at them. Most women find them pretty easy on the eyes. I’m sure you can find something appealing there. When they look angry and mean, don’t rest until you find some way to make them look and feel happy and gentle. It’s all up to you now Jess. Where you lead, they will follow.”
Jessica looked at Jim wondering if there was any way that she could actually do what he suggested. Could it be much worse than the way things were now? She fell against Jim. “I can’t promise anything,” she said.
“Just do it Jess!” Jim said so suddenly, and so forcefully that Jessica fell back against the mattress. He moved toward her and she was sure that he was soon going to be on top of her, pinning her down, commanding her, the way the others did. But Jim caught himself, surprised by the intensity of the emotion he felt. Things had to get better, for all their sakes.
“I’ll try,” she mumbled .
Jim wasn’t the sort to get so serious, it had to be something he really wanted.
For a moment Jessica saw something in Jim’s eyes that made her think he was going to kiss her. She had never seen that look in his eye before, but then just as suddenly as his outburst, it was gone. He sat-up clearing his throat.
“Just think about it okay?” he asked as he got off the bed. He turned to the door and stopped, hands behind his head.
“Okay,” Jessica said, and thought about how ironic it was that Jimmy was the one she wouldn’t mind touching her, even without the stuff Scott had put on her, and yet he never did, not that way.
She looked at his back. He had tilted his head to the ceiling. He looked upset. “I’ll try harder, alright?” she said moving to the side of the bed.
“Alright Jess,” he said, not sure he could trust himself to turn around.
He didn’t know what was wrong with him, but a few times now he’d had a sudden urge to kiss Jessica, and not the kind of kiss that he normally gave. He was so mad at himself. The one thing he swore he’d never expect from Jessica, he was beginning to want.
“T.V?” he asked while moving to his closet.
“Great,” Jessica said, feeling a pang of guilt.
How could she just become another person like that? And she had serious doubts about how much Riley and Angus really cared about her. At least with Scott and Josh she got the sense that she meant something to them.
Suddenly she felt really tired. She lay down on the bed and yawned.
‘I’ll watch from the chair,’ Jim thought to himself as he pulled the twelve inch television set form his closet, ‘I can’t do anything stupid from there.’
“What do you want to watch?” he asked as he ducked behind his dresser drawer to plug the T.V. in.
“Jess?” he asked when he got no reply.
“Jessica!” he repeated. Turning he found Jessica in asleep.
Jim sighed with relief. He’d avoid embarrassing himself tonight after all.
Putting the T.V. back in the closet, Jimmy turned off the light and crawled onto the bed beside Jessica.
Now in the dark, with Jessica asleep, the desire he’d felt earlier did not return.
It had been that look she’d given him. The intensity. He didn’t think he’d be able to resist that again.
Jessica had never sent out signals like that before.
‘Shit!’ he muttered as he realized what had changed. He’d lied for her.
She probably felt that she owed him something … Christ.
Jimmy ran his fingers through his hair, and then slid his hand back down to his face. Pressing the heels of his palms into his eyes he pressed as hard as he could and groaned.
What if they’d done it … if he’d followed his desire. Jessica would have done it thinking that she was paying back a debt. Holy shit! Jimmy pummeled his forehead. He’d regret it forever, but if Jessica looked at him like that again, he wouldn’t be able to restrain himself a second time. He should set her straight, make things easier for himself.
But if she thought she owed him something then he had the upper hand. Maybe if she felt indebted to him, she wouldn’t fight any more. He’d have to work on his restraint because this could be the ideal opportunity to get Jessica to try and change her behavior.
Jimmy closed his eyes. Sleep was creeping up on him.
He heard whimpering off in the distance. As he awoke he realized the noise was right beside him.
“Jessica!” he said turning toward her and embracing her.
“Shhhh,” he whispered in her ear.
Thank God he caught her early … before the crying and screaming began.
When he was lucky enough to wake up at the whimpering stage, he could often head off Jessica’s nightmares. There was nothing he wanted more, than to head off Jessica’s nightmares. Every time she had one, Jim’s guilt would magnify to the point that he could easily match her tears and anguish with his own.
Tonight he was lucky, Jessica sighed and returned to her usual rhythmic breathing. Jim didn’t loosen his embrace. Despite being spared the nightmare, he felt guilty.
Somehow he had to find a way to make things better for Jessica. Perhaps if she were happier, her dreams would fade.
He’d finally managed to get through to Riley and Angus about the way they treated Jessica, and tonight he’d spelled out for Jessica what she would need to do to Riley and Angus be nicer. Maybe, maybe, this was the beginning of a better time for them all.
Jessica opened her eyes. It was dark and she could hear Jimmy breathing beside her.
She lay staring into the darkness. Normally she awoke from a dream about her family, but this time it was different. All she could think about were Jimmy’s words …do the opposite of her impulses. Of course! It was so obvious, she didn’t know why she hadn’t thought of it before.
Her impulses always got in the way. But was it true? Would the men actually follow her lead? If she was going to do this, she would have to become a different person. She couldn’t be herself any more, she couldn’t keep her family’s memory alive anymore.
The guilt of that was enough to keep her from entertaining the idea.
But Jimmy had said that the men wanted something from her, wanted her to love them. It was the only explanation she could accept for their behavior lately.
Even Angus, who had been so cruel to her that day, had tamed down his behavior overall. She made a decision. She would do it. She would become someone else if only for the chance to get away from this place, and eventually get revenge for her family.
But, what if that never happened? What if she became someone else and never got the chance to get away?
She closed her eyes and exhaled. She’d been happier in the past week, discounting today, than she had been since she’d got this Godforsaken place. She was tired of suffering for nothing.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered into the dark.
The technique she’d been using to calm down around the men caused her to temporarily clear her mind, to remember nothing.
That would have to be her constant state now. She turned her face into her pillow and sobbed. She’d allow herself one last good cry for her family.