Shortcut to Paradise...

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Chapter 8;

Standing above her is her husband, Mel sits up angry. “What the fuck do you think you are doing---” Looking at the clock she sees its 3:45 am.

Stan rips the covers off the bed. “Get up and get dressed meet me outside. Put on your training boots.” Mel looked around and didn’t see Agnus anywhere. She doesn’t know where her clean training clothes are but at least finds clean socks. Mel didn’t know how to tie her shoes without Agnus, so she left them unlaced.

The hallway is deserted As, she trails after her husband Mel trips on her laces. He looks back at her and shakes his head. “Get up you oaf” Says Stan. Mel straightens up. The fireplace glow from a nearby sitting area illuminates her face. Stan looks at her strangely then his eyes turn cold as he looks down at her laces. “Did you not think to tie those?” Mel shook her head no.

“I don’t know how to, Agnus usually does them for me.” Shrugs Mel. This answer did not satisfy Stan. He gets onto one knee and begins to tighten her laces. Mel didn’t like the way he pulled the laces hard and rough. Each time he went up another rung the circulation on her foot was less.

“Seriously how stupid are you? You can’t control how you eat or do something for yourself as simple as tying a pair of boots. Do you intend to go through life completely useless or do you plan on having some sort of contribution?” With her boots tied Stan place his hand on Mel’s lower back to guide her towards the Dojo.

“What are we doing here?” Stan answered her right away.

“You were ordered by me to run the catwalk until I told you to stop.” Mel got angry and threw a fit.

“You fucking walked out of the Dojo and didn’t come back.” Stomping her foot on the ground in protest Mel complains. “I hate you, I hate you so fucking much...” Terrified her eyes open wide in horror as Stan walks ominously towards her. His face cold and emotionless.

“Get up stairs and start running.” Without another word of protest Mel did as she is bid. Stan sat in the center of the room and practiced his sword work as Mel ran lap after lap. Mel stopped running, Stan stopped what he is doing and walks over to her and shouts at her from the Dojo floor.

“Why are you stopping?” Mel leaned on the wooden railing, after she catches her breath she answers.

“Can I please do something else.” Stan walked up the catwalk steps.

“And what would you rather do?” Asked Stan.

“Can you show me how to use a sword” Replied Mel. Stan just raised his eyebrow suspicious.

“Just what are you trying to pull?” Mel held her hands up to emphasize her point.

“Nothing, I swear it, I mean your in great shape from it and it looks like it would be a fun way to stay in shape.” Stan found himself getting angry. And hisses at the stupid girl.

“These are tools of war not toys, they require intense discipline and care. You can’t even wake up in the morning on your own or tie a pair of boots.” Mel begged.

“I am a natural” Stan grew more suspicious.

“And just how would you know that?” Mel had to think she didn’t want to get the man from earlier in trouble.

“My brother taught me the basics.” Lied Mel. The anger left Stan’s face. He didn’t know why he was doing it. Maybe he felt bad for her or he wanted to stop these outbursts.

“Fine let’s see what you can do...” Stan pulled out several wooden posts and two longswords with blue scabbards. “The blue scabbard in this Dojo are for live steel and the Green mean practice swords.” He handed her the sword and was surprised how she held it so naturally.

“Okay, use a three-strike combination as follows.” He demonstrated, Stan cut the top of the post upwards, hacking off wood then sliced downwards on the second strike cutting the post into a stake, then lopped off the uneven top making the post shorter. “You try.”

Mel took a breath and calmed her shaking hand by gripping the scabbard in her right hand and her left, hovered over the handle of the sword. Again, she only focused on the cut, letting her subconscious control her movements. Mel blinked during the first two swings, but then her third swing she saw as the blade sliced through the post clean, again the post stayed in place for a second before dropping to the floor in a loud thud.

Mel turned around smiling and saw Stan for the first-time smirking at her. “I told you I could do it?” Stan rested a hand on her shoulder.

“The idea was to cut only the tip tuned into a stake not half the post...” Mel looked at the post he cut and hers, Mel’s was half the height, her heart sank he wasn’t going to let her train with swords, so much for her back up plan.

“But” Said Stan.

‘He said but?’ thought Mel.

“You still showed remarkable skill, most can’t cut through a post... I agree to your proposal.” Mel was giddy and jumping for joy.

“I will have some conditions first.” Mel’s heart sank. ‘Of course, he would have conditions’ she thought.

“Swordsmanship is extremely demanding and strenuous, much more than aimlessly running and swimming laps. Therefore, it requires considerable energy I am rolling back your food restrictions. You may have full portions and second helpings if you so desire, only at appropriate meal times mind you. Don’t think you can bring a stool and fork into the kitchen.” Mel smiled from ear to ear.

“That doesn’t sound like a condition” Happily remarked Mel.

“That’s because it isn’t a condition I am just informing you of your change in situation the condition is this. In addition to your sword training taking the place of general fitness you will be required to spend two nights a week in my bed.” Mel’s happy look was wiped from her face.

“With you?” Ask Mel hesitantly.

“Yes, you can pick the nights you want to spend with me. But you will have to pick two, if you don’t pick then the last two nights of the week you will automatically be brought to my chambers. Don’t give me that look, you can even sleep in two extra hours on those days. You are just keeping the bed warm nothing more, but it is a duty that is expected of a wife.” He paused for a second letting the information sink in.

“One last thing, I don’t know what you are trying to pull with this swordsmanship, but no swords are to be in your possession outside of training.” He moved inches from her face. “If you use a sword to escape or try even worse you attempt stab me with the sword, then I will cut off that dominate left hand of yours. Remember this you don’t need hands to have children.” He kissed her lips saying his goodbyes for the morning.“Get some sleep, no training until the afternoon.”

Laying down on her bed she was beyond happy to have some freedom back, but his warning still sent shivers up her spine, Mel was not looking forward to sleeping in the same bed as him but she figured that was a battle for another day.

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