Elibean's Patreon

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

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

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Originally posted by BrownOwl View Post
    Will patreon supporters get ebooks of earlier works
    I hadn't considered that, but sure, that could be done. You're thinking Lily, I imagine?

    Comment


      Originally posted by Elibean View Post

      I hadn't considered that, but sure, that could be done. You're thinking Lily, I imagine?
      exactly

      Comment


        So for those of you who have signed up, how does Patreon work for something like this, when you'd rather keep your ABDL identity and your real-life identity separate? I'm imagining they'll want your real name, or at least the name attached to your credit card. Are you at all worried about a data breach, where suddenly what things you support are publicly attached to your real name?

        Comment


          CHAPTER 17

          In thunderous waves, the rain assailed all sides of the art department atrium. Another student ran through the doors, as bent and pale as driftwood, as wet as if the sea had delivered him too. Like the others before him, he cast a stunned look around the lounge then squeaked past.

          Becca and I sat on a sofa far enough from the door to avoid the cold wind. Darkness loomed above, lending a sense of urgency to our difficult conversation. We didn’t know whether Jon was there or not, but if he was, we were certain he wasn’t leaving in a hurry. Every seat in the atrium held students waiting out the rain.

          After a long silence, Becca laid a hand on my bouncing knee and spoke. “Tell me again why the diary matters.”

          “Because Maria will want it, and it proves Amy is Hazel.” We’d been over this, and though I’d understood why Becca wasn’t as invested in Amy, I didn’t understand her confusion. Something was up between Maria and Hazel. If my theory was right, the diary and the other clues in the locked room might help Maria reach her.

          “And you believe that because this Hazel said the same thing that Amy wrote.”

          “And Alex.”

          “Right, your ex-boyfriend, who Hazel had a crush on and Amy did too?”

          I sighed. She didn’t believe me, and I’d even shown her the page itself. I rocked on my padded bottom. “And Alex drove Hazel to the abortion clinic,” I added. “Right around the time the diary stops.”

          My explanation met the pursed lips of motherly disapproval. Any time I mentioned something so adult, Becca went quiet. It had made telling the story difficult because she seemed to stop listening to whatever I said next. For all that she said I needed to open up, I found myself repeating and retracing my words so many times that I was getting lost.

          Becca gave my knee a squeeze. “Holly, you’ve asked Hazel about all this, right? What did she say?”

          I pulled my feet up onto the sofa, which was somehow as awful as the kitchen chair. I wanted my thumb, but I wasn’t ready for the reactions that would elicit. “She’s scary. If I asked her, she’d just yell or storm off.”

          “If all of this is true, shouldn’t we give her the diary? Why offer it to Maria if you think it belongs to this Hazel?”

          “She already left it, and we need to help Jon.” I was pouting, my pitch rising. I needed to calm down, but Becca’s disbelief wasn’t helping. We were only at the art department building because Becca said we had to talk to Jon before doing anything. As night fell, every minute seemed to precious to waste.

          Offering Hazel the diary was another distraction we didn’t need. I doubted she wanted the diary. Half of it was probably fake anyway. But Hazel didn’t matter. I didn’t want to solve that mystery, I just wanted to use the diary to get something from Maria. It was too late for Ian, but Jon needed help. I thought Maria might have a different house to send him. Or maybe she could find somewhere new for Jo, and we’d keep the house on Oneida. I pictured Becca, Jon, and me living together. Like a family. I’d play with my toys, and they’d take care of me. They’d understood what I needed before I did. Becca even agreed I needed someone to look after me. She just didn’t see how perfect she was for the job.

          “So,” Becca started. “Your behavior the last few weeks, last night...”

          “I swear it’s not drugs! I never did anything but pot, and I didn’t even like that.” I found myself rising up with the force of my words. Eyes were staring at me from all across the atrium. I slouched down again.

          Becca’s stare was unrelenting though, and I could feel her undivided attention even as I picked at my fingernails. “Laying aside the fact that just an hour ago you told me you never smoked, let’s say I believe you. What’s your explanation?”

          I’d already told her I was just hyper, probably the soda. I knew I should tell Becca the whole plan, ask her to take care of me, tell her that I understood now that I needed it. Just like she’d said. I was too afraid she’d say no if I said it the wrong way. “I’m not faking it,” I said with a smaller voice. “Honest.”

          I had bounced and thrashed about in my seat with my mood as we talked, but Becca’s emotions changed like the colors of the sky. As deliberate as she was, I could never be sure how she was reacting in the moment. “What aren’t you faking?” she asked after another unredeable pause.

          “I really do need help, reminders, rules.”

          “Do you like these things?”

          “What? No! I mean, I didn’t use to like them, but now I kinda do because I know that I need them.” I was thinking of the time-out chair first, but there was Becca’s threat of diapers too. Part of me wanted that, but I didn’t know if it was the grown-up bits or the same part that threw shoes. I didn’t know if Becca would understand that I couldn’t tell the difference.

          “It does seem like you’ve been lying to us. Hiding the diary, for example.”

          “I didn’t mean to hide it forever.”

          “Intention isn’t everything.”

          I wringed my hands. “I was lying to myself. Remember when I told you about moving and my mom and my dolls? I didn’t used to think about what it meant.”

          “What does it mean to you?”

          “I’m not as big as I used to think I was. Inside. I’ve never been. I didn’t even realize how scared I was with Alex, but I was all the time. I make bad decisions on my own. I shouldn’t have run away. I’m just.... I’m just a little kid. Inside.” I couldn’t control my eyes much longer. I wanted to hide my face in Becca’s shirt, but with one look at her, I pulled back instead.

          The way her eyes narrowed, Becca’s distance betrayed a new hint of wariness. Almost as if she was afraid of me. “If this is true, if you’re like a little kid, why are we here now? Why should you be involved in this?”

          “Because Jon’s all on his own, and no one was doing anything. We have to try, right? If we’re his friends, we have to.”

          Becca released me from her stare at last. Silent again, she sat stiff and straight. I couldn’t tell whether she agreed with me or whether she’d given up. I was too afraid to ask. Her rejection would hurt worse than Alex leaving. She’d seen so much more of me than he ever had. I hoped she’d find it in herself to believe me.

          Despite her questions and reservations, Becca didn’t leave. I found some comfort in that. She didn’t order me to go home, didn’t threaten to call my parents. I remembered that time I’d run away from her and came home to find she’d invented rules for me. She and the others had been fixed on the idea that I’d been on drugs. There in the atrium, I think she was finally letting go of that judgment. My problems were a lot weirder, and her reluctance to accept my version was understandable.

          I took a few deep breaths. “Becca, I need...”

          I was interrupted by the door opening. A gust of wind rattled the decorative vines. Like everyone before him, the new arrival paused and shook his umbrella. It was Jo. He appeared much less relieved than the others had, and I knew it wasn’t the rain bothering him.

          I slouched down, and caught at a glimpse of Becca’s own recognition. She too said nothing as Jo passed us for the studios. Lines were being drawn. I felt bad for Jo, but he had a roof at least.

          I was lost in that thought when Becca spoke. “What do you need, Holly?”

          Not tatertot. She’d called me Holly all afternoon. I whined. “I’m hungry.”

          “You want to go out into that?”

          I grunted.

          “Let’s give it a couple of minutes and see. Beantown’s just a dash across the parking lot from here.”
          ###



          Half the college must have tried to escape as soon as the rain reduced to a sprinkle. Jon wasn’t among them. Rain or not, we dodged so many drivers that I had wet socks before we reached Beantown.

          Though the floor bore the evidence of a thousand muddy feet, the coffee shop was largely empty. In one corner, a group of students sat around their laptaps in the middle of a terse argument. At a small table nearer the counter, Dorchester’s own goat milk lady stared at a magazine. I almost didn’t recognize her. She was wearing a muted, khaki dress a far cry from her usual pattern-clashing. If we wanted to get a message to Maria about Jon and the diary, we were in luck.

          “What would you like?” Becca asked.

          “Um. Cappuccino?”

          “No caffeine. No soda either for that matter. You said you were hungry. Bagel? Sandwich?”

          “Bagel.”

          I picked one out when it was our turn. If Becca was denying me soda and coffee, then maybe she did believe the “hyper” excuse. The coldness radiating from her only made me wish I could take her hand more. I didn’t think I could explain that either, so I kept my hand still.

          I was only barely conscious of the swearing happening behind the counter until the barista apologized to Becca. “I’m sorry. The espresso machine’s out. Can I get you something else?”

          Becca glanced up at the menu on the chalkboard. “Just a regular coffee’s fine.”

          “I can refund you or we can make up the price difference with some brownies, how’s that sound?”

          Becca agreed, and the barista piled half a dozen brownies into a bag when our order was ready. More than triple the cost of the latte she’d ordered by the menu. While we found a table, the owner was called out from the back to swear over the espresso machine himself.

          “Which fucking grinds did you put in here?” he demanded before making eye contact with me. The rest of their conversation was whispered, but the hand-waving was no less frustrated.

          I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I was slathering my bagel with cream cheese. I wolfed down half of it before I discreetly pointed to the goat milk lady. “She delivers our mail sometimes. From Maria.”

          Becca didn’t reveal anything deeper than polite interest. “Is that so?”

          “I bet she could get a message to Maria for us.”

          “What exactly is the message?”

          I grunted. “I told you, we want to make sure Jon’s okay. That he isn’t homeless.”

          “Have you talked to Jon about this?”

          “No, but...”

          “Do you think it’s okay to send messages for Jon without asking him?”

          I gestured toward the window. “Where’s he going to stay? He never mentions other friends.”

          “He has them, I’m sure.”

          “Are you?”

          Becca arched an eyebrow but went silent.

          I finished my bagel and let myself pee a little into my pull-up to have one less thing on my mind. The hot liquid stung, pushed against my skin by the hard chair. I felt a wave of shame ht as the training pants absorbed the pee, but that too dissipated. Here was another example of what I needed that I didn’t think I could explain. Maybe I didn’t have true accidents like the others thought, but I’d never heard of anyone deliberately wetting their pants except little kids. What did you do with a toddler who pees herself sometimes? Put her in training pants. I might not have a medical reason, but I definitely needed them. Whatever Becca believed, I was right about being a little kid inside. I was sitting in the proof.

          I wiped my face and stood up. “I’m going to talk to her anyway. Just to see if she can do it.”

          “I’ll be right here,” Becca said. She might not have expressed disapproval, but I could feel her eyes follow me.

          I wringed my hands beside the goat milk lady’s table. I hadn’t really considered what to say or how to introduce myself. “Um. Hi.”

          To my relief, the woman smiled cheerfully. “Well hi there. Aren’t you a sight? Pity about the rain.”

          “I wanted to say thank you for delivering our mail. You know. The special mail.”

          The woman looked puzzled, as deeply as she might if I’d asked her how Bigfoot was doing. At last, she laughed. “You mean letters from Maria? Honey, that’s nothing, but you’re welcome. How sweet of you.”

          “I’m Holly.”

          “Leslie. Nice to meet you, Holly. Please. Have a seat.”

          I sat on the chair opposite her. The magazine she’d been reading was the local arts and culture paper. “Have you worked for Maria a long time?” I asked.

          “I hate to do the math at my age. Nearly a decade. Ever since I lost everything. I’ll be one year sober next February.”

          “Congratulations!” I said before doing the math. Rounding seven months to a year seemed optimistic, but I wasn’t going to tell her that. “Did Maria get you help?”

          The woman shrugged then laughed off her own noncommittal response. “Eh. She found me through my sponsor at the time, but she didn’t go to meetings if that’s what you mean. Maria was always there for me throughout my divorce, my relapses, and she kept my daughter safe while I was in and out of jail.”

          I nodded. That fit the pattern. We’d all been at rock bottom, lost, when Maria helped us. It was odd to hear someone spill so much of their life story to a stranger, but I’d never witnessed her being silent for long.

          “What about you, honey?” she asked.

          “What?”

          The woman winked, the meaning of which escaped me. “Did Maria do something for you?”

          “I guess. She lets me stay at a house of hers.”

          “You go to the university, do you?”

          “Not yet. Maybe next year.”

          “You do well in school then. Keep those grades up. My own daughter never saw the importance in that. Maybe you’ll turn out different, prove me right.”

          I smiled nervously, but I wasn’t there to talk about me. I leaned to the side, my damp pull-up prickling me below. “If I wanted to get a message to Maria...”

          “Honey, what would you tell her?”

          “Um, I’m just saying, if I needed to...”

          “She’d call you, honey. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to see a man about a horse.” She laughed at herself then walked off to the bathroom.

          I returned to Becca, who was wiping her hands. “Learn anything?” she asked.

          I shook my head. “Can we stop at the bookstore?”
          ###



          The indeterminate gray had turned to undeniable night while we ate. I regretted leaving the art building, but I had to admit a full stomach made it easier to think. We hadn’t seen Jon in the hour we were there. Another twenty minutes, thirty, forty, might not have proven any different.

          Becca held the door to the bookshop open. “Did Maria ask you to buy a new book?”

          I considered lying, then remembered my meeting with Professor Hutch. It felt like another life, that meeting, nothing like that same afternoon. “Kinda, yeah,” I said at last. “I want to talk to the owner about something too.”

          “About Maria?”

          I nodded.

          The owner was standing at the counter helping a pair of customers. A middle-aged woman with a stack of bestsellers, and an older boy with a set of comics.

          The owner smirked when it was my turn. “Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?”

          I grinned too, remembering that one from junior year. “Not for any albatrosses. I’m supposed to find some confessional poets. Sexton? But I don’t remember her first name.”

          “Ah, Anne Sexton. I think we have a collection in stock.” The owner nodded in the right direction then swiveled his chair away from me.

          “Um, you always have a quote for me. Do you have any other recommendations?”

          “Hrrr. Let’s go look.” The swivel chair complained as he left it behind. “Have you read Lowell? Snodgrass?”

          “No, I haven’t.” I followed him toward the right shelf. I glanced back, but I’d lost track of Becca. Maybe she’d wandered up the stairs toward the music section like Gabe had weeks ago. The owner suggested book after book, providing commentary. He was beaming when I finally had to stop him. “I don’t think I could carry more.”

          “Ready for me to ring you up then?”

          I followed him back to the register. “So, how do you tell Maria when I buy a book?”

          “Clever,” the owner chuckled. “I leave a message on an answering machine.”

          “Her machine?”

          “That I don’t know.”

          “Do you think I can get the number? I need to-”

          “No.” The man’s answer came flat and round, like a stopper on the conversation. I kept my mouth closed throughout the exchange of money.

          “Come again,” the owner called.

          I checked upstairs, but I didn’t see Becca. As I came back down, I saw her through the window. Jon was with her. I might have skipped to greet him if the books weren’t weighing me down.

          “Wow, that’s a lot of reading,” Jon said. His smile wasn’t the most convincing.

          A drizzle fell, invisible save where it crossed the street lamps. The starless sky promised could turn into a torrent again at any moment. It was cold, and I was ready for bed. “Do you have somewhere to stay?” I asked.

          “Well, I was just telling Becca that I need to pull an all-nighter in the studio anyway. I’ll probably shower in the gym.”

          Becca’s warmth revived for Jon’s sake. “Jon, that’s stupid. Come home. Stay in my room.”

          Jon shook his head. “I’ll find somewhere.”

          I didn’t see the point in pleading, in bartering. Jon needed our help, and I knew how to convince him of that. “Come on. This way.”

          “Where are we going, Holly?” Becca asked even as she followed me.

          “The ATM. We’re going to get Jon a hotel.”

          I heard Jon sigh behind me. “I can’t afford one, Holly.”

          I had hardly spent any of my own money since moving to Dorchester. Coffee, cigarettes, dinners for Alex and me, the occasional pizza for the Torpedo House. Since moving into Mari’s house, I’d only bought a few groceries and books. At the machine, I stacked my books on top and inserted my card. As I expected, my allowance for the last few weeks had accumulated on top of what remained from before.

          “Holly...” Jon began.

          I turned and saw both seemed stunned, which puzzled me at first. Then I realized they’d just seen me use my card for the first time. Either they had figured out I was eighteen just then or they were assuming I’d “borrowed” my parents’ - or someone’s - card. Either way, it didn’t matter in the moment. “How much do you think we’ll need?” I asked.

          [ Read the next chapter now on Patreon! ]
          Last edited by Elibean; 04-08-2018, 05:49 PM.

          Comment


            Wow. That was tense. I can't tell if things are in the process or working out, or already crashing down. Or maybe both. Great update.

            Comment


              Also, did we just meet Amy's mom or are you just messing with us? (Well done either way).

              Comment


                With all the discussion of Patreon and the unfortunate side-effect of splitting readers into two groups, I missed responding to this last round...

                Originally posted by BrownOwl View Post
                I love the time out scene. Holly makes such a Dies Irae moment out of such a minor thing it's not hard to see why the housemates mistake her age .
                Part of the reason for the setting being 1999, before a third of the planet had access to Wikipedia every second of the day, I wanted Holly to be ignorant about what she wants, to not know any words for it. Hopefully obvious now that aside from hiding her little self completely she hasn't learned any boundaries.

                (Now I want a very meditative, Kubrik-inspired short film of a little facing down punishment set to Mozart's "Dies irae".)

                Originally posted by SolenoidSandwich View Post
                I can't tell if things are in the process or working out, or already crashing down.
                Sweet success!

                Originally posted by SolenoidSandwich View Post
                Also, did we just meet Amy's mom or are you just messing with us? (Well done either way).
                Hmmmmmmmmmm!

                Comment


                  Jesus f***ing christ on a Pogo-stick from hell... I would have thought my reply earlier would have implied this, but since I've received 12 complaints now about this: Yes, Elibean has been given the okay to post her patreon links as long as she follows certain conditions, which she has. STOP CONTACTING ME ABOUT THEM AND JUST ENJOY THE STORY!

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by ClawdiaWolf View Post
                    Jesus f***ing christ on a Pogo-stick from hell... I would have thought my reply earlier would have implied this, but since I've received 12 complaints now about this: Yes, Elibean has been given the okay to post her patreon links as long as she follows certain conditions, which she has. STOP CONTACTING ME ABOUT THEM AND JUST ENJOY THE STORY!
                    Well that's a *different* image, Jesus stole satan's pogo stick... Thus we celebrate Easter

                    Comment

                    Working...
                    X