If you would like to post comments (constructive criticism) please keep the following in mind:
Some of my real feelings and experiences will be intermixed in the story I am writing, so please tread softly (no mean posts about subject matter), as "I have spread my fears under you feet; Tread softly because you tread on my fears" - Yeats. (I know, I changed the quote on purpose to put this as nicely as possible)
"Hey now," He playfully responded, "is that any way to treat a person who's giving you a birthday gift?" I turned my head to see a smirk that concealed his intent quickly mount his face. He turned to my mother, "Arlene." He called to her across the dining room and the heads of a few cousins, "Arlene, my dar-ling." My mother left her triangle of gossip about sons and husbands and mother-in-laws to attended to her husband's call.
She answered with her usual 'Yes, Dear' as she walked up, eyeing his hand on my shoulder. She looked back at her group of friends, disappointed that she wouldn't get to hear what happened to Johnny, her friend's son who was expelled. She waited for his needs. His sweat trickled underneath my camisole just as everything of his always found a way to violate me.
"Arlene, my dar-ling," he sang to her his pet name. "You have worked so hard on Shell's-" I scoffed aloud. I hated his pet names for us. He continued as if I wasn't there, "birthday party. Why don't you take the night to be with your friends? You've worked too hard lately." Mother pondered this a moment and gazed over me with cautious consideration. Her love for gossip won out and she agreed she'd had too rough a week to not enjoy herself a bit. She hurried to her friends again to create evening plans.
As soon as she was out of ear shot he maneuvered his body to break my mother's possible line of sight of me. He kept his smirk as he leaned closer to my ear and gloated, "She still doesn't trust you." His words traveled through me like ice as the truth of it froze my limbs in place like icicles. His hand slipped further down my chest in the same path as his sweat until he brushed the top of my camisole. He let his hand casually fall to his side. "Look forward to your gift tonight." he said as he departed, as much a command as it was camouflage.
"At least you got out of school for a week." I teased to make her feel better and me feel normal. I held the gift in my hand as I noticed Molly's excitement was barely containable. "You want me to open it now?" I offered. She nodded repeatedly, as if she would tell me the gift if she dared to speak. A smile grew large on my face as Molly was always the person who made me feel normal again, even if she didn't know it. Inside was black folded cloth. I pulled it out and watched it unfurl. Lace of a beaded design was on the trims of a black camisole. I nearly puked. "Look forward to your gift tonight," the words of my step-father replayed in my head. Black beaded lace... "Thank you, Molly." I squeezed out.
She caught my reaction and blathered, "Shelia, do you not like it? I thought you would like it cause you are always saying how much you like beaded lace and how much more you like it compared to others types, like, uh. I, honestly, can't tell much difference between lace but you have always really enjoyed the history or something behind lace so..."
"Molly." I cut her off and smiled, "Yes, of course I love it. You just caught me by surprise. I didn't think you really listened to me blabber on about lace. I was very touched, thank you."
She was placated by this explanation and moved on. "Maybe you can change into it after gym? I wore a black camisole too so we would sort of match." She gestured to her own top which I took notice of for the first time. "Lace is your thing, so I thought it would be more special if only yours had lace." She grinned at her own consideration. I nodded and smiled as the rest of the way to first period became a blur.
A basketball flies by my head, nearly hitting me. "Shellie!" yelled a teammate and recent friend, Paul. I look at him and see his concern and frustration. "Sorry." I reply. I mentally scold myself. You are in school, you only need to think about school. Molly, who is on the opposing team ,shoots the ball. She is many things; Pretty, popular, a good friend and terrible at sports. She missed the shot and I catch the rebound and dribble it up the court with little interference. I'm a girl and it's a new school year so guys don't know to block me yet. I take the shot without hindrance and make it with a swoosh. A few opposing members look confused, others seem to think it was luck. Molly runs up beside me and give me a high five. We have been friends since middle school and she knows I'm talented. My preoccupation ended far too quickly with our teaming winning 7-3 with yours truly making 4 of the points. Tomorrows class won't be as easy.
Molly and I head to the locker rooms. She still gets excited over my talent at sports, she prefers to be on my team she asserts again to me to no avail. "You know the coach picks the teams at random. There is no use complaining. You'll be on my team eventually." I sooth her in hopes that she'll stop talking about it. I start to put on my shirt from earlier when Molly reminds me of her gift.
Pointing to the gift bag she says, "You said you'd wear it after gym, remember? So we can match." She grins wide. I smile back and try to hide my guilt. I close my eyes as I reach for the shirt and start to put it on. If I just don't see the lace, I will be fine. I assure myself. I get it on but the lace at the top of the shirt scrapes at my chest, just like that other lace, just like his fingers... My thoughts trail off and I see my reflection a mirror. His husky voice come back to me like a snake slithering up my spine, goose bumps rising in its wake, "I had originally bought if for my honeymoon with your mother but she isn't into that sort of kinky thing. Good thing I have you and it's a good thing you like lace..." My thoughts are cut off by the need for a toilet. I run quickly to the nearest stall in the locker room. I puke into the toilet and on my new gift. Molly knocks on the door behind me looking for reassurance. The bell rings and I can tell she is torn, she wants to stay but she can't be late to class again or she'll get detention. "I'm fine, Molly. Go to class. I will see you at sixth period." With hesitant steps I hear her make her way out of the locker room. When the door closes I take off her gift and wipe my mouth with a unsoiled section. Gift - the word is a travesty now; I never want a gift again.
In my original outfit, my day flurries past me in a haze. The school bell tolls the rest of the periods away. I nod and smile and exchange nuance trivials. I apologize to Molly as her gift is not wearable until I wash it. She overly empathizes with constant checks to my well-being. I'd say that I was relieved when school was let out and I could drop my disguise at the last seat on the left of the bus but unfortunately I just have to exchange it for another for a while longer.