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Double Dare Ya (Chap 17, 4-8-18)

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    Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 14, 3-12-18)

    Originally posted by donbiki View Post
    I do have difficulty suspending disbelief. For Becca to be reading an 18yo as this young strains credulity to begin with, but hey, that's the premise.
    It's still an open question in my mind as to exactly how young the roommates think Holly is. I can only remember two scenes where they get close to speculating. One when she first arrives, and someone says "no way she's 18," and another some time later when they refer to her current behavior as "regressing". So while they certainly think she's quite a bit younger than she actually is, they also realize she's quite a bit older than she's acting. They appear to have figured out (correctly) that much of Holly's littleness is a result of significant past trauma, even if they don't know anything about her ABDL tendencies. The whole Maria situation a creates great incentive for them to keep her around also, because while they could kick her out, Maria clearly wants her to stay (and nobody wants to tempt fate by going against Maria, lest they find themselves the next person kicked out).

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      Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 14, 3-12-18)

      Originally posted by donbiki View Post
      The Becca relationship is fun. Lots of dramatic tension as the reader wonders how far Holly can push her. You wrote was a good fakeout at the end — I thought Becca had finally seen through the ruse. But nope!

      I do have difficulty suspending disbelief. For Becca to be reading an 18yo as this young strains credulity to begin with, but hey, that's the premise. The bigger problem is that sometimes, for plot reasons, Becca leaves Holly alone with Torpedo Housers. Becca would NEVER do that if she really believed Holly was actually as young as she treats her. Unless she's just playing along?

      I wonder how Ian's relationship will fit into the story. What kind of cost is Maria going to extract from him?

      Holly is such a wonderful brat. She's to ramp up a spring Diaper Me offensive, isn't she?
      I don't have the same problem suspending disbelief I've known a couple of 18/19 y/o who because of physical disability, or things like PTSD act like 14-16ish The age you act is more a function of how you're socialized. So I've no trouble beliving that a girl who lived a mostly sheltered existence followed by a few recent traumatic events would act the way Holly acts. And as long as she looked the part the other housemates would treat her the way they do. For humans reality matter less then perception a concept which Ellibean has shown a mastery of in the past

      As for Becca leaving Holly alone Child care noobs make those sorts of mistakes all the time, and as long as nothing bad happens Becca might not even realize her faux pa. And as for the fakeout that wasn't good that was cruel don't encourage reader abuse. Ellibean should have to give us a Lilly crossover as penance.

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        Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 14, 3-12-18)

        Surely I'm not the only one who wasn't fooled by the wording of Becca's questions?
        There was (I thought) a nice build up of frequency in the mention of pull ups, their use, the other's opinions, and leaks that--even outside of diaper stories--would have leaned heavily toward the mention of diapers.

        Or it could be because I'm obsessed with diapers, constantly look for them and/or their references in everything, and may possibly have an attraction to them that influenced my expectations...

        ...nah.

        As for the perception of age, I find no issues. I once actually called out a friend for the age of his girlfriend who was actually seventeen at the time. But given her build (tiny), clothes (childish), and mannerisms (immature), I concluded solidly that she couldn't be too far into the double digits. Needless to say, I was wrong. Though still to this day she'd look more natural driving a power wheels than an actual car. Attitude alone can have massive influence on the perception of age, but many people can't even see past someone's height. I don't see it as a stretch, especially given that it's sometimes hard to remember she is supposed to be eighteen.
        The voices in my head got weirded-out and left long ago.

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          Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 14, 3-12-18)

          I too felt Becca was speaking of diapers all along, but I appreciated the clever tactic of having Holly believe she was referring to panties so that the "fakeout" would work. Nicely handled, Elibean!

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            Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 14, 3-12-18)

            Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I won't speak to much for fear of spoilers, but yeah, The Talk started vague to get you all at the edge of your seat.

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              Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 14, 3-12-18)

              Originally posted by kerry View Post
              I too felt Becca was speaking of diapers all along, but I appreciated the clever tactic of having Holly believe she was referring to panties so that the "fakeout" would work. Nicely handled, Elibean!
              Funny, because I read this entirely the opposite of what it appears everyone else did, but it still worked. I thought that Becca was talking about panties, but not in a way that had her "seeing through" Holly, but from a theory that much of Holly's trauma came from running away and not the other way around. The idea that she was a lot more grown up at home, and only started acting this way after she got herself into her current mess of a situation, seems like a reasonable assumption (and is true, more or less).

              I'm excited to see where our esteemed author goes with it...

              Comment


                Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 14, 3-12-18)

                I loved the last scene. Its nice to see Becca taking on the motherly role in such a caring and gentle way. The fact that diapers didn't happen in the second chapter but instead took so long to be brought up was a really nice change of pace. Your story is wonderful!!

                Thank you for posting

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                  Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 14, 3-12-18)

                  CHAPTER 15

                  I was trying to even Jasmine's bangs when I finally considered the possibility that the haircut had been a terrible idea. I couldn't undo the damage, but I wasn't certain I could even improve the situation. I put the scissors down and swept Jasmine's new bangs one direction then the other. Without product, she looked more Austin Powers than pixie.

                  "I'm sorry," I told her.

                  The doll cried plastic tears as she hid her face from her friends. The others were consoling her when Jon's voice rose from the stairs.

                  "Holly, mail."

                  I knew the one person who would send me mail there, and I wasn't particularly excited to receive more assignments from her. The longer the letter remained unopened, the more I could play. But retrieving the mail was a distraction from the mistake of Jasmine's hair. So I left my toys and thumped down the steps on my bare heels. Maybe Jon would think of something fun to do.

                  Becca was gone soon after I woke that morning. I remembered every detail from the night before with crystal clarity, but my mood had changed. The silliness that had me bouncing off the walls was gone, replaced by a feeling of unease that I couldn't pin down exactly. The night had been a fun change in my routine, but by day I felt trapped in the house all over again.

                  Jon had retreated to the couch again by the time I collected my letter. Through breakfast, he had sat in the same spot, exactly where we'd found him the night before. The TV had been off and on, but he sat and stared regardless. Since I last came down for lunch, a pile of clothes had appeared near his feet. I thought he might be doing laundry, but as I spied from the hall, Jon didn't touch a single garment.

                  "Is something wrong?" I asked.

                  Jon inhaled audibly as if my voice had revived him from drowning. "Nothing you need to worry about," he said. "What have you been up to all day? You've been quiet."

                  "Nothing," I lied, realizing for the first time that the hair styling might be frowned upon for non-aesthetic reasons too. Technically, the doll wasn't mine, and I had a hunch that half the housemates would object to me playing with scissors. "Did you sleep on the couch?"

                  Jon opened his mouth but in the end he merely nodded. I doubt he expected such a blunt question. I hadn't meant to sound so direct either. As an apology, I curled up on the couch and leaned into his shoulder. He rested a hand on my arm, but he didn't elaborate. That lack of reassurances was the biggest clue I had that things had grown worse between Jo and him.

                  "Are you going to open your letter?" he asked.

                  "I guess," I mumbled. I tore the top of the envelope and slid the card out. Maria's calligraphy spelled out my newest instructions.


                  Walsh Hall 318
                  2:00pm
                  Bring your poem.


                  I didn't recognize the hall, so I held it up for Jon.

                  "Walsh? That's a humanities building. Looks like you have an appointment."

                  The university. I hadn't set foot on campus since Gabe invited me to his rehearsal my first week in the house. In my pink pajamas, I didn't look or feel like a college student - not even a fake one. I glanced at the VCR. "It's thirty minutes from now."

                  "Then you'd better get ready. I'll walk you there."

                  I whined. "Do I have to?"

                  "Yep." Chuckling, Jon nudged me. "Get moving, lazybones."

                  With exaggerated sigh and slump, I dragged my feet up the stairs. My pull-up was still dry, and I decided to keep it that way. I dressed, I smeared concealer on my face, and I spritzed myself with something of Becca's to make myself presentable.

                  As I prepared to go out, I wondered who I would meet at this appointment. Some of Maria's agents delivered messages and gifts, some spied. The housemates had received reminders meant for others, but Maria's notes addressed to me had all focused on my my poetry. I hadn't a clue who might be interested in a dropout's poems. I tried to remember what I'd written in my application letter when it dawned on me that working for the university would put Maria in the perfect position to monitor students. A professor or counselor might hear about students' problems, access their addresses. I had even applied and been accepted, which meant somewhere on campus was a file about me. I glanced at the note again, but found nothing new. Though I didn't want a new assignment, the possibility that I might meet Maria in person put a little pep into my step.

                  I bounced down the stairs just when Jon called for me. "Excited, are we? You might get to step in that mud puddle after all."

                  I squealed then calmed myself. "Maybe after my appointment."

                  "I'll pencil it in." Jon smiled, and in the moment, I thought maybe his mood had changed too.

                  ###

                  On the third floor of Walsh Hall, I learned that the office belonged to a Diane Hutch, whose name plate indicated that she was a professor of English. I knocked on the door.

                  "Come in." Within two syllables, I knew the owner of the voice couldn't be the same Maria who had spoken over the phone weeks ago.

                  The door bumped into something as I pushed, and I apologized before seeing it was only a chair. The formica desk and the fraternal twin filing cabinets left limited space for me as I slid through the crack.

                  A pair of seafoam eyes peered over chunky square frames. "Take a seat. I'll be a minute."

                  I smiled thinly and complied. Professor Hutch's fingers clattered across her Powerbook. A few strands of white hair brightened her black, chin-length bob. Her tweed blazer had a worn appearance that led me to believe she didn't own many others. She glanced at me again, and I felt silently judged in return as wrinkles formed around her mouth. I looked aside when her eyes met mine, and I examined the sagging planks that served as her bookshelves. The tattered hardcovers included a few classics I knew. The offensively colored paperbacks had impossible titles like Ellipsis and the Feminine or Invocations of the Body in British Verse, 1794-1923. I felt heavy, like I'd been cast down a well.

                  Professor Hutch paused her typing, clicked the return key with an arched pinky, then made a satisfied sound. "This new email invites fussing. The VAX mail was so straightforward, don't you think? But that's another conversation. I take it you're Maria's appointment?"

                  I tried to smile again, but I may have only twitched. "I guess so. Holly Blackwell."

                  Professor Hutch folded her arms across her desk. "Lit major or creative writing?"

                  "I don't know."

                  Her jaw twisted to the side, and she swiveled to reach the touchpad of her Powerbook again. "Let's find out. Who's your advisor?"

                  "I dropped out. I mean I delayed a year, I guess." I giggled nervously. "I'm coming for real next year though."

                  Professor Hutch didn't look amused, but her polite smile wasn't sincere. "Let's see these poems."

                  I handed over my notebook. After that brief interview, the professor was silent for several minutes as she skimmed. Her eyes tracked the lines, her thin fingers flicked the pages, but nothing in her expression changed. I noticed immediately that she didn't spend long on any single poem. I picked at my jacket nervously. In less than five minutes, she'd reached the end.

                  She sat the open notebook on her desk and began flipping backward. "I like the image in the North Carolina girl poem."

                  I had nearly forgotten I'd written that. Just minutes before Maria offered me the room. "I was lost that day," I said.

                  Her eyebrows might have moved a millimeter. She continued, dryly. "You might have missed some opportunities for insight with that one. I could see it revised a number of ways and working rather well. You shy away from the violence inherent in the subject. Often, in fact. But the lack of rhythm is the real detriment throughout. Do you play music?"

                  I frowned as her words tugged my self-esteem in every direction. "No. Should I?"

                  Professor Hutch shook her head. "I don't think it helps actually, but you need to develop an ear. I'm correct in guessing you've read Ginsberg?"

                  "Oh, yes. I've read Howl like six times now." I began, smiling once more at the indirect comparison. The cheeks felt sore already from the back-and-forth. It didn't matter that I'd come to dislike Ginsberg's poem. I wanted to impress this woman. She was holding potential in her hands, and even if I knew that I'd half-assed a lot it, I was hopeful that she'd see some spark.

                  Professor Hutch pursed her lips. "I thought so. You have his lack of development within the object. A thought must move to have direction. Ginsberg was no dancer."

                  I nodded by reflex. I could hear blood rushing in my ears, and I struggled to listen much less understand her criticism. I couldn't follow her metaphors. How could it matter and not matter if I played music? What sort of dancing were my poems supposed to do but apparently didn't?

                  She began writing on a notepad. The motion of the ballpoint was audible, and I realized I was holding my breath. "I expect you know Plath," she said as she wrote. "Have you read Anne Sexton? No, probably not. You should find a copy of Bedlam. Confessional, but with a purposeful structure."

                  She held the paper and my notebook out for me. If she hadn't said the suggestions aloud, I might not have made sense of her handwriting. I read the note twice then looked up at her.

                  "Shall we meet next week? Same time?"

                  "Sure." I answered though the thought filled me with dread. I'd fallen down a well, and now the slick walls were pulling apart.

                  Professor Hutch tilted her head as she peered down that murky mile toward me.

                  "Um, do I have homework or anything?" I asked.

                  Pleased wrinkles forming at the corners of her lips. "I never assign poetry. The idea has to spring from inside you. Only make sure you explore the implications, both the light and the dark. Like a dancer, yes?"

                  "Okay. Thank you." I felt my body float above the chair.

                  "Have a good weekend," Professor Hutch said as I drifted out the door.

                  In a haze, descended the stairs and found the door where Jon was waiting. He was huddled with his hood up and his shoulder propped against the brick wall. I stopped beside him, silent, still holding the note in my hand.

                  He rubbed his face. "That was quick. How'd it go?"

                  "I don't know."

                  Jon laughed without humor. "Must have been a critique. I swear I wear that same expression after all of mine. Depressed, disillusioned, confused. Feeling like the next step is impossible. Considering calling it quits."

                  "Yes," was all I could say. That was exactly everything that Professor Hutch had made me feel. Jon's acknowledgement stopped the blood from rushing in my head. We started walking toward home. I could sense the solid ground under my feet again.

                  "That's art school," he continued. It was more Jo's voice than Jon's, that bitterness. "You get used to it or you quit. It doesn't get easier, but you learn, grow, and move on. Just like life."

                  We found ourselves in a swarm of students, so I took his hand. I wasn't sure he was still talking about critiques. "Jon?"

                  "Yes?"

                  "I want to help you and Jo." As my senses came back, I could tell he'd been crying. In public no less. I understood why he hadn't moved, why his clothes were outside their shared bedroom. He was about to move on, and I was afraid for him. "I could speak to Jo."

                  "That's kind of you, Holly, but it's between us."

                  "But you're so good together. I don't see how it can be like this."

                  "Lots of reasons."

                  It might have been Maria's request, but Jon had dragged himself out of the house for me. He shouldn't have. He should be fixing his life, performing acts of love and devotion, winning his boyfriend back. "Am I one of the reasons?" I asked. "Jo doesn't like me being around. I can tell."

                  "Don't blame yourself. He never likes any guests at the house, and it all goes back before you came."

                  I squeezed his hand. All I heard was "yes, you've come up."

                  It was a damp day. Drizzle filled the air and sprinkled us from the bare trees. Mercifully the rain proper let us be as we walked. It was the kind of gray weather that made you distrust everything. I needed to feel something real. Several puddles were convenient. I picked the one that looked deepest.

                  The splashes were tremendous. Students gave me evil looks as they avoided my side of the sidewalk. I jumped several times before Jon, laughing too, grabbed my hand.

                  When we reached the house, Jo's car waited in the driveway. Jon stopped there and let go of me. "Go on in," he said. "I'll be back in a bit."

                  "I'll walk with you." I tried to grab his arm, but Jon pulled back.

                  "No, I need some time alone. I'll be back, I promise." He tossed me a flimsy smile.

                  Watching Jon walk away felt very much like the day Alex left. Knowing it could be the end, the last moment together, and not being able to stop it from happening. Jon crossed the street at the corner and disappeared. It wasn't fair that this was happening to him. Maria had fixed so many things in the lives of the housemates. Addictions, failed college careers, lack of direction. I hoped she knew about Jon and Jo, and I hoped she had a plan because I had none.

                  Jo was irritable with me before I'd taken both shoes off. "Where's Jon?" he demanded.

                  "Class," I lied.

                  "He doesn't have class."

                  "Studio then."

                  "He was supposed to be watching you."

                  I frowned. I couldn't tell if Jo was angry at Jon or me. "He did watch me. He just dropped me off. Just now."

                  Jo went to the front window and looked through the curtains. Did he disbelieve me? Or did he hope to see Jon? There was a hint of lonely puppy in his behavior, but Jo's snapping at me spoiled that image. "What happened to your pants?"

                  "I slipped in a puddle," I lied. For Jon's sake, I fought to keep my thumb from my mouth as I pressed the conversation. "Jo? I'm sorry if I did something wrong, if you two are fighting about me."

                  He didn't turn to acknowledge me. "It's not about you."

                  "You don't like me."

                  "I don't have to like you."

                  I could see that wasn't getting anywhere. "Maybe if you do something nice for Jon. Buy him a gift. Make him a nice dinner. He's always doing things around the house. Maybe he wants someone to do something for him?"

                  He turned on me then, red-faced. "It isn't all about what Jon wants."

                  Jo's reaction left me furious too, for Jon's sake but more than that. It wasn't even all about Jo's stubbornness or my inability to find the right thing to say. Maybe it was about the critique. Maybe it was about the Jasmine doll. Maybe wet socks weren't as fun as they looked. All I know is I was furious, and I held a shoe in my hand. So I threw it. Not at Jo, just down the hall. It hit the wall and bounced into the kitchen. Mud splattered and dripped.

                  Jo clenched his teeth. "Haven't we warned you about throwing things?"

                  I scowled at Jo. I removed my other shoe. I threw it into the living room, and it crashed into a stack of VHS, leaving another splatter of mud with the impact.

                  "Kitchen. Now." Jo snatched my arm when I didn't move that very second.

                  "Let go," I pleaded as I tugged.

                  He pulled me into the kitchen one-handed, turned a chair toward a corner, and pushed me down onto it. "You're going to stay there for fifteen minutes."

                  "No, I'm not." I struggled, but once my padded butt had touched the seat, he had both hands to keep me pinned.

                  "You're going to stay there because you don't want to find out what happens if you don't."

                  It was a vague threat, the sort that parents stopped using once their kids learned to see through the planet-sized hole. He didn't have a follow-up threat. Nothing I could imagine would be worse than the chair.

                  Jon grumbled. "Christ, what does Jon see in you? I'm giving you to the count of five, Holly. One.. Two..."

                  I stopped moving at "two." I didn't want my behavior to reflect on Jon. That was the opposite of what I'd been trying to do. I swallowed my pride before I made the situation worse. I might not have been feeling too great with myself after the critique, but that wasn't any reason to make Jon's life harder.

                  Jo let go of my shoulder while I stared at the cracks in the paint. I heard the timer click behind me.

                  I peeled off my wet socks and stomped my bare feet in one final outburst. Then I crossed my arms. Fifteen minutes was nothing, I told myself.

                  Comment


                    Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 15, 3-23-18)

                    Great update. I love how differently each of the roommates feel about Holly right now. Great tension with Maria more or less enabling Holly to act little at the house, yet clearly pushing her to start college in the near future. Can't wait to see how that plays out.

                    Comment


                      Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 15, 3-23-18)

                      Originally posted by SolenoidSandwich View Post
                      Great update. I love how differently each of the roommates feel about Holly right now. Great tension with Maria more or less enabling Holly to act little at the house, yet clearly pushing her to start college in the near future. Can't wait to see how that plays out.
                      Totally agree. And I'm also feeling the same way Holly does about Jo and Jon, though I can't figure out why Jo disliked her so much.

                      Elibean, do us all a favor: never end this story.

                      :-)

                      Comment


                        Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 15, 3-23-18)

                        Originally posted by kerry View Post
                        Elibean, do us all a favor: never end this story.
                        On that one I'll have to disagree. Elibean, never abandon this story. When the time is right, give it the awesome ending it deserves. Just don't disappear one day and leave us with nothing (like so sadly happens to so many good stories on this forum and others).

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                          Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 15, 3-23-18)

                          Originally posted by kerry View Post
                          though I can't figure out why Jo disliked her so much.
                          Hmmmmm. This might be a case where I applied the first-person filter too heavily, or maybe I should've made Jo slip and be more direct. There was the case of the missing testosterone, but there's also Holly's behavior in general to consider.

                          I think a fun writing exercise for me would be a story where everyone is 100% blunt and honest all the time. A universe of Brian Blessed types just shouting out their feelings. >.<;;;

                          Originally posted by kerry View Post
                          Elibean, do us all a favor: never end this story. :-)
                          The other day it definitely felt like you were getting that wish! I just had to divide a chapter in two when I noticed it was too big to edit in one sitting. I'm at that point in filling details into the snowflake outline where I'm fretting over whether there's enough or not enough from here to the end. I landed on the "not enough" side last night. This weekend's writing time will prove that right or wrong.

                          Comment


                            Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 15, 3-23-18)

                            Originally posted by SolenoidSandwich View Post
                            When the time is right, give it the awesome ending it deserves.
                            I can't find the cackling Elphaba emoji, but I'm on it!

                            Comment


                              Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 15, 3-23-18)

                              I agree with Solenoid. Give us a resolution. I hate stories that drag on and on and end with: "welp, my character's regressed as far as I can take them. I'm out of ideas. Peace out." This isn't that type of story.

                              I like the implicit sensual detail in this chapter. So many other writers will write something like "The puddle splashed. Mud sticked goopy to her skin," but that's not necessary to evoke a sensory response.

                              I liked the poetry critique. Boy that's relatable.

                              Honestly, I forgot about the testosterone subplot. I figured Holly just annoyed Jo... or maybe, Holly was a safe, easy target for venting frustration.
                              Last edited by donbiki; 03-24-2018, 09:03 AM.
                              My stories: But somehow, I was still twelve years old
                              Current: But somehow, there were still twelve days till Christmas
                              Next chapter: July 27th ("Little Helpers")

                              Comment


                                Re: Double Dare Ya (Chap 15, 3-23-18)

                                My thought was not to drag it on past the point of relevance, but rather that this story and these characters are so fascinating that I never want to let them go. :-)

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