“Blindsided,” Chapter 26

Looks like I’ll have to change back into my People of Wal-Mart-worthy getup I had on prior to our shopping excursion at the mall. I don’t want to chance messing up my new dress by sleeping in it, nor do I want it to ride up and expose things I’m not ready for you-know-who to see just right yet.

In any case, my old Holy Mother of Jesus Catholic School shirt should be enough of a deterrent all by itself when we go to bed for the night. Nothing like having a, uh, religious talisman, if you will, to dampen any potential amorous thoughts. Not that I think he’d try to get fresh, mind you, especially after giving me his word.

Frankly, all I want to do is sleep. I’m sure he does, too.

“No heavy thoughts,” Dickhead says, kissing me firmly before tenderly extracting my hands from his face and taking my hands in his. “We’re just going to sleep. Nothing else.”

I nod as he slowly leads me back into his bedroom.

“I need to change clothes,” I say.

“I have some clean T-shirts and track bottoms if you prefer,” he offers.

Sure sounds like a better deal than me having to struggle back into those other clothes. He’s built well enough that his clothes may very well fit me much more comfortably than the alternative.

“If it’s no trouble,” I accept.

He promptly produces a white T-shirt and black sweatpants.

“You have GOT to be kidding me!” I howl with laughter. “Do you own any clothing that isn’t black or white?”

He smiles mischievously, swiftly exchanging them for a red T-shirt and gray sweats.

“You brat, you did that on purpose!” I playfully accuse, looking over my shoulder long enough to stick my tongue out at him on my way back into the bathroom.

I emerge minutes later.

The shirt is loose-fitting without swallowing me whole, but I am positively swimming in the sweatpants. I had to tie the hell out of the drawstring and roll up the straight bottoms so I don’t break my neck tripping on the damn things.

“I found a spare toothbrush and used it,” I inform him, feeling somewhat refreshed.

I really hate not having my toiletries on hand, but I will most thankfully be reunited with them very soon. I can’t wait to try out that jetted body shower and bathtub of his.

Dickhead passes me on his way to the bathroom as I fold my dress and place it on top of the sandals on the floor beside my other clothes.

“Excellent,” he says absently. “I won’t be long.”

I hear the shower shortly afterward.

I pull the chocolate-covered duvet back to find a matching velour blanket and sheets. I pull them back, as well, and nervously climb into the big bed on the side farthest from the bathroom.

The door finally opens and he materializes wearing only black satin pajama pants. It’s hard not to stare at his expansive chest, washboard stomach and, GULP, lower.

I bite my lower lip, averting my eyes, a telltale flush creeping up my neck and into my face.

He turns the light off and I feel the bed dip beneath his weight. He pulls the covers up and leans over me, smelling, oh, so deliciously clean.

“Goodnight, Piccolo,” he says, brushing a kiss against my lips.

I kiss him back, catching us both off guard.

“Piccolo,” he cautions huskily.

“Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. You smell so good.”

He chuckles softly.

“Go to sleep,” he orders.

“Yes, sir!”

But I ruin the cheeky retort with a noisy yawn.

He snickers as he lays back on his pillows, lacing his hands behind his head. I turn on my side, wisely facing the wall. There won’t be any sleeping for either of us if I tempt fate and dare to face the other way.

After what seems like an eternity, my eyes slowly drift shut and I am at last asleep.

A doll’s eyes stare up at me, empty, as I stand rooted on the threshold of the room it occupies. Its head is at an odd angle, as if it has been halfway torn from its soft, limp body. Red paint is splattered everywhere around it, on it, in it, even, like a frenzied Jackson Pollock creation.

The doll sits up. Its head, barely attached by a single thread, is hanging to one side. Its body is covered in holes, every one seeping with that same red paint.

It incredibly starts chanting to me in an eerie sing-song voice:

“You’re going to die, die, die

So don’t you go cry, cry, cry

When the evil eye, eye, eye

Makes you go bye, bye, bye.”

It repeats the chilling rhyme like a skipping record until the thread snaps and its head rolls off, bouncing lightly like a Nerf basketball when it hits the floor.

I back away, unable to scream. My mouth is open, but I have no voice. And then I’m falling forward into the room with the headless doll, unable to stand for all the slippery red paint now saturating the floor. I try to crawl back to the safety of the threshold, but I can’t get any traction. I thrash around like a fish out of water.

If I can just make it to the door …

Then I feel hands on me. Strong hands.

Shaking me. Pulling me. Lifting me.

A faint voice soothes me, arms cradle me, and I know I’m safe.

“It’s all right, love,” the same voice says into my ear, much clearer now as I shake off the fog of the nightmare. “You’re safe. I won’t let anything happen to you, not while there’s a breath in my body.”

I’m vaguely aware of sitting in Dickhead’s lap.

“Tell me,” he encourages sympathetically, rocking me as carefully as a newborn baby while I relay every paralyzing detail to him.

“It felt so real. So vivid.”

I can’t stop trembling. I can’t get warm enough. I can’t stop thinking about the damn doll. And I can’t get that creepy fucking rhyme out of my head!

“I just want to forget.”

He slides back down onto the pillows, taking me with him.

“Help me forget,” I plead, reaching for him.

“Not like this, Piccolo,” he says, kissing my hands to stop me just in time. “When it happens, I don’t want there to be any regrets.”

I really hate it when he’s right sometimes. OK, OK, so I always hate it when he’s right.

“We’ll just lay here like this all night, if need be,” he says, still clutching my icy hands. “I’ll watch over you. I’ll protect you.

“You’ll always be safe with me.”

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