Author’s note: This takes place 15-20 years in the past and accompanies parts 50 and 54.
Arc 7 Part 54.2 - Bonus Chapter - Christmas Past
My eyes open to the blare of the alarm above my head. I flail my arm and slap its top until the beeping stops. I sit up and feel the circulation flow through my body. My head throbs. I can’t believe I am waking up so early on Christmas morning. Mother is out of town with her boyfriend. I stayed up too late watching TV. My tired eyes spot the pager lying on the dresser. I am up because I have no idea when ‘she’ will contact me and I should be ready or I’ll face ‘her’ wrath.
I get myself ready quickly with a brief shower, shave, and tooth brushing. A quick peek out the window tells me all I need to know. I hunt for layers but I don’t have many to speak of and make do with what I have. After dressing I clip the pager onto my belt and head downstairs.
I eat a bowl of cereal and drink a glass of juice while sitting at the table. It snowed again last night. Mother’s words echo through my head.
“Make sure to keep the walkway and driveway shoveled. I don’t want the neighbors to think we’re lazy. I’m going to ask them about it when I get back and I’ll cut off your allowance if you don’t keep up with it. If you got off your ass and got a job to chip in we could get the snow blower fixed but for now the shovel will have to do.”
My thoughts twitch with a bit of resentment. Yes, what the neighbors think is important enough to threaten my $5 a week. I want to get a job but ‘she’ won’t allow it. I have to be on call 24-7. I have no choice.
I finish eating and walk over toward the sad looking plastic tree adorned with a string of half-functioning lights. I retrieve the two packages from under the tree. I mouth the words out loud to no one.
“Yes, I promise not to open them until Christmas day.”
I take a seat on the couch with the presents stacked on my lap.
I love that she writes herself as Mother but can’t even take the time to write out my name. Before tearing open the paper I secretly hope for a new pair of gloves and a hat. To my disappointment the box houses a pair of brown corduroy pants that I will never wear or I would probably get my ass-kicked. The small package is a pair of black socks. I know it’s the thought that counts… but is that why it hurts so much when the only thought that comes to mind is, “you really don’t know me at all”?
I crumple up the paper and throw it in the trash.
I take a deep breath. The snow won’t shovel itself. As I pull on my coat I scour the closet for gloves or a hat. It’s bursting with mother’s coats that manage to slide off their hangers and frustrate me as I attempt to hang them back up. All these coats but I asked for a second pair of gloves and a hat and she unloaded on me about how she’s not made of money. Everything I find is mother’s and she would kill me if I got anything dirty or sweaty that matches with her outfits. Finally in the back corner of the closet, wedged under a pair of her boots sits an old pink hat, a pair of pink earmuffs, and a pair of purple mittens. I pick them up and stare at them in quiet contemplation. A second later I toss them back in. Someone might see me. It’s not worth it. I’ll be a man and tough it out.
The shovel is a piece of shit but I make do. The wind bites with a bitter cold so the easiest way to stay warm is to keep moving. There is a lot of snow but it’s light and moves easily. I manage to finish the driveway and walkway without exhausting myself.
I feel the pager vibrate on my belt. I hurry inside, struggling with the door that sticks whenever it gets cold. I quickly discard my shoes, sprint to the phone and dial ‘her’ number.
‘She’ answers on the first ring.
“57 seconds, gayboy. Cutting it close, are we?”
“Hello, Miss Brittany.”
“Get over here and make me breakfast. You have 20 minutes.”
The dial tone interrupts me before I can finish.
I put down the phone, grab the small box on the counter, and step into my shoes in a flash. I will never make it 6 miles in 20 minutes, especially in the snow. I trudge through the snow with difficulty. The sidewalks are full and no one is in a hurry to clear them. I blow on my hands, the warm air reducing their sting before I hold them over my frozen ears. It’s nearly an hour and a half before I arrive at her door. I ring twice and shove the snow away with my shoes. Once exposed, I lift the mat and use the hidden key to unlock the door before entering.
I discard my shoes and head up the stairs to her room, rubbing my hands together as I go to warm them up. I knock at her door. She waits to answer me.
“You’re late, gayboy.”
I slowly open the door and walk inside with my head down.
“I’m sorry I am late, Miss Brittany.”
“What pathetic excuse do you have this time?”
“I was late because I am worthless, useless, and stupid, Miss Brittany.”
I look up after she doesn’t respond. She sprawls on her bed in her nightgown and a large fur coat as she reads a fashion magazine. She closes the magazine and tosses it on the floor.
“You’ll need to be punished, gayboy. Strip.”
My face burns red in embarrassment.
“Yes, Miss Brittany.”
I slowly remove my clothes, unable to look in her direction due to the shame. She laughs as I slide off my boxers. The cold doesn’t bode well for my shrinkage.
I slowly approach the bed as she rolls over and pulls something out of a drawer. A click and the familiar fumes of the marker soon enter my nose. I place my hands behind my back as I feel its cold wet touch on my naval. “Tiny Penis” soon appears with an arrow pointing down.
“Against the wall.”
I take a few steps back and keep my eyes on the floor. My eyes shut with the flash that accompanies the click and the whir of the Polaroid camera. She shakes the ejected photo and watches as its image appears. Another flash pops with a click and a whir. I want to cry. The mechanical sound of dignity being stripped away is always painful. I’m sure these will end up in her locked safe with the others by the end of the night.
“Put your clothes on and get started on my food. I’m starving to death here.”
She slides back upon the bed, sitting upright against the headboard. I get dressed in front of her. We make eye contact once and her lips form a smirk. She notices my erection before I can get my pants all the way on.
“So do you like my new coat, gayboy?” I swallow and feel my temperature rise.
“You look very pretty in it, Miss Brittany.”
“It is sexy. I’m guessing my Mom picked this one out. My step-dad has awful taste.”
My hand feels the box that I hastily jammed in my pocket before I left the house. I swallow and take a deep breath as I build up my courage.
“I have a Christmas present for you, Miss Brittany.”
“Oh, really? That’s sweet of you, gayboy.”
I retrieve the wrapped box from my pocket and approach the bed. I kneel before her and extend my hands to her. She takes it from me and wastes no time tearing off the paper. I watch as she opens the box and lifts the chain and the silver heart pendant, holding it up in front of her face.
I lower my head and I crack a small smile. It quickly shifts to a frown as her laughter fills the room.
“Really, gayboy? Did you really think I would wear something so cheap?”
Tears well up in my eyes as I watch her toss it across the room into the corner by the bed.
I quickly turn away so that she cannot see me. I contain the tears until I’m out of her room. My feelings spiral in a glorious mess. 11 weeks worth of allowance to buy a gift for the girl that has terrorized me for 3 years all because of a snide remark made about me on her 18th birthday. I can’t tell if I’m fucked up or just a loser.
I cook her a large breakfast; their well-stocked kitchen always has an abundance of food. I make her French toast, eggs, and bacon with a small dish of strawberries and bananas and a glass of juice. I pull a rose from the bouquet on the counter and place it on the serving tray with her dishes.
I don’t know why I do what I do. I know that she can ruin my life but do I really have a life to ruin?
As I pass through the entryway I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror. My eyes are red and puffy. The shame washes over me, I don’t want her to know that she made me cry.
I enter her room and find her seated and dressed. In the time I cooked breakfast she had time to get ready and do her make-up. Her new coat sits on the edge of the bed.
“Took you long enough, gayboy.”
“I’m sorry, Miss Brittany. I’m useless.”
I lower the legs on the edges of the serving tray so that she can eat while sitting in bed. I lean over her and place the tray in its position. Her perfume enters my nose… that sweet smell… my eyes quickly dart to her cleavage before looking down. I blush, realizing I have another erection.
She takes the first bite of her food.
“Quit looking at me. I hate it when people watch me eat. Go make yourself useful and shovel the driveway and walking paths. You’re an eyesore.”
“Yes, Miss Brittany.”
I lower my head and depart the room.
“Don’t forget to clean the snow off my car.”
Her words reach me as I walk away.
Why am I here? Why does she have to fuck with me on Christmas of all days? The questions circle in my head as I push the large shovel across the long driveway. The labor clears my head. The ugly answers soon start rolling in. I have no place better to be. There is no one waiting for me at home. The only person that talks to me also hates me. I feel a pain build in my chest.
Their house is huge. The driveway is huge. The walkways are needlessly elaborate. My hands, nose, and ears devolve into two feelings: stinging or numb. Relief fills me as I finally finish the job.
As I return into the house, Brittany stands near the door. She wraps her new fur coat around her as she looks in the mirror. I watch her hands in their lavender leather gloves adjust the purple beanie on her head.
She clears her throat and extends her foot. I kneel in front of her and lace up her boots. So many eyelets, the stinging in my fingers makes this a difficult task.
“Why were you out shoveling without gloves or a hat?”
“I don’t have those, Miss Brittany.” She lets out a giggle.
“Why not, gayboy?”
“Don’t you remember, Miss Brittany? You took them from me in November and told me to ‘man-up.’ You never gave them back.”
“Oh! So that’s what those gloves and hat were on the floor in the back. I threw those out, they were disgusting and covered in slush after a few weeks back there. Why didn’t you just buy another set?”
“I didn’t have any money, Miss Brittany. I was saving it for something.”
“Hah. Don’t tell me that instead of buying new gloves and a hat you spent your money on that pathetic little necklace for me?”
A frown covers my face and I shut my eyes while facing the floor.
She lets out a hearty laugh.
“That decision must really sting just about now. You really are stupid, gayboy. Besides, you’re 18, you could have just sold plasma.”
I look up and our eyes meet as I fight back the tears. As they well up she scoffs and is the first to look away. She walks to the front closet and begins to dig around. She retrieves an intricately adorned cardboard box and sets it on the table next to the door.
“I can’t believe my step-dad got this for me last year. How old does he think I am, 5? Put these on.”
She passes me a set of pink knit mittens with a red heart design on the back of the hand and fur trim at the cuff and fur pom poms dangling on a short elastic cord. I remain motionless. She waves her hand around in disapproval.
“Did gayboy grow a spine? Take them and put them on, NOW.”
I accept them from her hand and slowly pull them on. My face burns red with shame. The next item is a matching pink hat with a Red heart design on the front and a fur pom pom on the top. I slowly pull it onto my head. The scarf has a series of hearts and pom poms and it finds its way around my neck. Last is a pair of fur earmuffs with the heart designs on the headband. I swallow as my pulse sky rockets. If I was going to do this, I should have just worn the ones that I found at home.
She approaches me and with her eyes piercing mine she smirks while adjusting the hat and earmuffs on my head. The Polaroid makes its way from her purse like she’s some sort of quick draw export. The pop, click, and whirr leave my heart sinking into the pit of my stomach as she shakes the photo before stashing it in her purse.
“I’m bored and want to go for a drive. You’ll be coming with me. It’s hilarious, but I think this will be the first time in my car.”
“I need to finish the dishes and pans first or else they’ll…”
“Or else the food will stick and you’ll have to scrub them extra hard to get them clean? I don’t see how this is any of my concern.”
“Yes, Miss Brittany.”
The familiar feeling of defeat sets in. I start to unwrap the scarf from my neck.
“What do you think you’re doing, gayboy? Did I give you permission to take that off?”
I stop in my tracks and feed it back around my neck.
“That color makes your name even more fitting, doesn’t it, gayboy?”
“Yes, Miss Brittany.”
We head out to her SUV. Brittany is right, this is my first time riding with her. I slump low in the front seat, trying to be as small as possible and nearly invisible from the outside. Neither of us speaks as she handles the car around familiar parts of town before turning onto a road that leads to its outskirts. I watch the familiar scenery fade away as the lights and buildings thing out. Trees and fields sprawl as far as I can see.
Brittany makes a turn onto a small side road and after a short ride she pulls the vehicle to a stop. She departs and I follow after her. I watch as she takes a few steps before raising her arms and twirling in circles with her face looking up at the gray sky. A few light flakes descend upon her as the sun sags low in the horizon. This place… is like a well-kept secret. A small clearing in the woods… nothing but this little open patch surrounded by trees for as far as the eye can see.
She walks a ways in and clears the snow off of a stump before sitting and crossing her legs. She closes her eyes and lifts her face like she’s listening to something that only she can hear. I guess that it must be solitude. I stand at a distance admiring her. She is still so beautiful… just like I remember her from our youth. She’s different now but I still long for her in my heart. Her voice breaks the silence.
“Why do you do what I tell you to do?” My face blushes red with her abrupt question.
“Because, Miss Brittany, you are blackmailing me.”
“Is that all?”
“Yes, Miss Brittany.”
I lie. I want to tell her that I love her… that I have always loved her. I want to tell her how lonely I am and how much I missed her. I want to tell her that I will be there for her no matter what, even if she abuses me. I lie because it’s too pathetic to admit the truth. I lie because I don’t want to believe that I’m this sad or desperate. I lie because I don’t know what else to do… if I tell her the truth, I feel like my heart will explode and I will die with it.
She stands and walks back toward me. She doesn’t make eye contact as she heads straight for the car. As she passes me her voice cuts into my heart.
“I only talk to you because you do what I tell you to do. If I couldn’t use you I wouldn’t be caught dead talking to a loser like you.”
I am slow returning to the car. She is already inside with the engine running by the time I make it back. I open the passenger door. She cuts me down.
“Get in the back, gayboy.”
I shut the door and get in the back seat. We do not speak on the ride home. She speeds. My head races around in confusion, battling with the pangs in my heart. I don’t understand her. I don’t understand myself.
We arrive back at her house. She kicks off her boots in the entryway and runs up the stairs into her room. I collect them and place them neatly by the door, brushing off any residual snow onto the mat. I calmly remove my shoes and follow her. She stands in front of her bed, her hands hidden from view. I watch her lip quiver but I cannot read her expression. I begin to unzip my coat.
“Did I tell you to take your coat off?” I zip it back up.
“No, Miss Brittany.”
“Put your hands on the wall.”
I take a breath and comply, knowing what will happen next. She takes my wrist in her hand and pulls my arm behind me. I feel the metal cuff close and lock around my wrist. It clicks several times as it tightens, she continues until there is no give around my wrist. The other hand follows. She does it police-style, palms out. I’m sure the keyholes are facing the elbow. The cuffs are on over the mittens, preventing me from removing them.
In a quick motion she pulls the hat down over my eyes and nose. I open my mouth and the pantyhose stretches and pulls tight gagging me uncomfortably as she ties it behind my head.
“Face down in the closet.”
I can still see some faint outlines through the knit hat over my eyes. I make my way clumsily, bumping things outside of my view.
“Why do you have a fucking erection, you pervert? You’re so fucked up.”
I lay down in the closet like so many times before. I feel her wrap another pair of pantyhose around my ankles and knot them. A set around my knees follows. Lastly I feel her fiddle with my ankles and she pulls them, forcing my knees to bend before she secures me into a hog-tie position with my ankles tied to the handcuff chain. The closet door closes behind me.
What did I do? I hear the television in her room turn on and the volume blares. I’m sorry, Miss Brittany. I sob gently before retreating into nothingness.
The abrupt silencing of the television stirs me into a conscious state. The closet door opens, peeking a ray of light into the darkness. I hear the pop, click, and whir of the camera. Moments later the pantyhose binding my ankles to my wrists loosens and I can finally relax my legs. Her knee digs into my thigh as she removes them one by one. The handcuffs and gag follow. She pulls the hat and earmuffs off my head. My eyes blink rapidly as they adjust to the light.
“Take off your winter clothes and lay on the bed.”
“Yes, Miss Brittany.”
I pull off the mittens I rub my wrists as circulation returns to my hands before removing my coat and the scarf. I place my coat neatly on the floor and place her items on the dresser. I walk over to the bed and lay down on my back. She opens the fastener on her coat, letting it fall open. Underneath she wears black panties with a matching bra and stockings. I swallow and feel my pulse rise. I pitch a tent in my pants. She notices, scoffs, and rolls her eyes.
“Keep it in your pants, gayboy,” she snarls as she approaches the same side of the bed.
She takes my wrist and handcuffs it to the bedpost. I watch as she retrieves her lavender hat from the nightstand. To my dismay she pulls it onto my head, covering my eyes and nose. It smells of her shampoo and perfume, the sweet scent fills my nose. I feel her climb over me and she sprawls out on the bed, next to me.
She takes my hand in hers and she shapes it so that my index and middle fingers are together. I feel them enter her mouth. She guides my hand as I feel the base of my palm glide across her naked flesh. My tent stiffens. She pulls it over her body. I feel it creep below the silky touch of her panties. Her hands guide it from outside of the soft fabric, guiding my fingers in gentle circles over her clit.
I hear her take a deep breath as her body squirms under my touch. Her hands continue to lead me until I find a motion that yields positive results. She moans and her hands leave mine. I continue the motion and gradually speed up. Before long her breaths heave while she grinds her crotch against my touch. I feel her body squirming around against mine. This is the closest I’ve been to sex. The excitement in my heart keeps my body in a state of hyper-awareness.
I continue rubbing, gradually moving faster. Small circles. Firm but gentle. Around and around. I feel her knee against my thigh. Her hand grips my shirt and makes a fist. She moans and writhes as my fingers continue their work. Around and around… faster… the pace of her breathing increases. Her moans become cries. Her body thrashes on the bed. I keep moving, faster, firmer.
She cries out, her arms shakes against my body. I feel her hips pulse once… twice… again. She yanks my hand out of her panties and her body slumps limp on the bed.
My head continues to spin with the reality of what just happened. I just gave the girl that I love an orgasm. She speaks and interrupts my euphoria. The tone of her voice soothes me. The contents of her words tear at my heart.
“You know… gayboy… if it weren’t for me you would be completely worthless. If I didn’t use you, you would be completely useless. You’re invisible unless I choose to see you… and no one cares about you.”
I begin to sniffle as the ache in my heart takes over. My face contorts under the cover of the hat. The pain of acceptance… I know that everything she said to me is completely true.
“I’ll ask you again. Why do you do what I tell you to do?”
I bury the truth in my heart and spit out lies.
“Because you are blackmailing me, Miss Brittany.”
“Is that all?”
“Yes, Miss Brittany.”
She scoffs and grits her teeth, pulling the hat from my face as she rises to her knees on the bed.
“I fucking hate you. You tell anyone about what we just did and I will ruin your life. They wouldn’t believe you anyways. No one gives a shit about you. You are nothing.”
She reaches out and quickly unlocks my wrist from the bedpost.
“Make me a pizza, finish the dishes, and get out.”
I use all of my strength to fight back the tears. I’m such a coward.
“Yes, Miss Brittany.”
I leave the room and go downstairs. As the pizza cooks I finish scrubbing the pans and cleaning the dishes from earlier. I’m so confused.
I prep the serving tray with her pizza, a soda, and a side of carrots and celery with some ranch dressing. I place another rose from the bouquet onto the tray. I don’t know what I’m feeling… this mix of warmth and pain eats me from the inside.
At her bedroom door my coat sits outside with a note:
“Leave the food and get the fuck out!”
I set the tray down carefully and give a couple of gentle knocks on the door. I lean my face close.
“Merry Christmas, Miss Brittany.”
I don’t expect a response nor does she provide one. The walk home feels colder than the walk there. I can’t make sense of what happened, her tone, or what we shared today. I think I must have hurt her but I don’t understand what she wanted from me today. She hurts me all the time.
My stomach growls as I enter my empty house. I open the fridge and grab a cold piece of fried chicken that I eat alone at the table. Out the window the snow starts to fall again. More shoveling tomorrow.
In my room I lie on my bed and close my eyes, replaying the events of today. An erection soon follows. I slide out of my pants and relieve myself with a few pumps. I’m so fucked up. Her words echo through my heart. I’m worthless without her. I’m useless unless she uses me. No one cares.
I curl up into a ball and weep quietly. I’m sorry, Miss Brittany. Merry Christmas.