I never really believed in love at first sight. But when I saw Lily, I knew she was the one. And if I hadn’t taken that late night trip to the grocery store a month ago, I never would’ve known her. We met at the self checkout lanes. She was buying Oreos, pizza flavored Pringles and Mountain Dew. “Nice” I thought to myself.
The first thing I noticed about Lily was how petite she was. Maybe five foot four at the most, couldn’t be more than one hundred and five pounds soaking wet. And then I noticed her hair. Her brunette locks rested just past her slender waist. She glanced over at me as we rang up our items and her blue eyes glistened in the dim lighting. My God, she was beautiful. I knew at that moment I had to have her.
We finished bagging our items at the same time. As we exited the store, I followed close behind her, but not too close. The last thing I wanted to do was weird her out and make her think I was some sort of creep. Her pace was quick. I had a feeling that she couldn’t wait to get home and binge on junk food and watch some terribly taboo t.v show that she considered a guilty pleasure. I chuckled at the thought.
She kept up her pace and walked to the left side of the nearly empty parking lot. She seemed completely oblivious to the fact that I was behind her, which was fine with me. I’d speak up once I caught up to her.
When she reached her tiny, outdated sedan, she fumbled a bit with the keys. Once she had the car unlocked, I stepped up. “Hi” I spoke softly. She jumped a mile and spun around, dropping her bag of groceries. But before she had a chance to reply, I punched her hard in the face, rendering her unconscious immediately. It was a shame to bruise up that pretty face but I was unprepared that night. No gun, no knife, no taser. There’s nothing wrong with a little improvisation, though. So, I picked up her bag and keys, put them in the passenger seat, then I picked her up and placed her gently in the trunk. Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about leaving my car in the lot since I had opted to walk that night. Fate is a funny, fickle thing, isn’t it? But, I digress.
Lily came to shortly after her little trunk nap and found herself resting comfortably on the lone mattress I keep in the basement. I’m sure she found the chain around her ankle a bit intrusive but who wouldn’t? She would soon get used to it. They always do. The chain was fixed to the floor but was long enough to let her walk around a bit and let her use the bathroom in the nearest corner.
I smiled as she looked up at me, scared and confused. I offered her a tray of Oreos, Pringles and a can of Mountain Dew. But, my gesture went unappreciated. She whimpered and shrunk away from me like I was some sort of monster. And once she saw the chain, she started to wail. She reminded me of the dog I had when I was a kid. That dog would wail and howl like that whenever my daddy chained her up outside. The only time she calmed down was when he finally gave her food. It was the same way with Mama too.
“Here. These are your favorites, right”? I asked as gently as I knew how. I shoved the tray towards her, only to have her shove it back, spilling the soda all over me. I threw the tray aside and swiftly backhanded her. I busted her lip and she spit blood at me. “Fuck you” she screamed. I wiped her blood from my face and grabbed her by the throat. “You’re gonna learn your place, girl, and learn it quick” I told her through clenched teeth and I struck her again, harder this time. She cried out in pain and I turned away from her, sticky with soda and pissed as fuck.
A week went by before I fed her again. That’s how Daddy used to punish Mama, and after that long week, she was gracious for anything he gave her.
I made her a large plate of food consisting of breakfast, lunch and dinner. As I made my way down the basement steps I could hear her whimpering. I saw her huddled in the corner, rocking back and forth. She was a filthy mess. Her hair was greasy and matted. Her clothes were soaked with sweat, tears and dirt.
I approached her slowly and set the tray down at the foot of the mattress. “Hi, Lily” I said softly as she continued to bury her head in her arms. “I thought you might like some food and a bath” She gave no response. “You need to eat and you need to bathe” I said sternly. The change in my tone caught her attention and she lifted her head. Her tear filled eyes met my gaze and they spoke volumes. Fear, sadness, confusion, anger and hatred swam behind them and her body shook as she tried to comprehend all the emotions coursing though her mind.
“Why”? she managed to say through sobs. “Because you’re the one” I said after staring into her eyes for what felt like a blissful eternity.
Tears streamed down her cheeks and she wiped them away with a grimy hand, smearing dirt across her cheek.
“Why don’t we get you cleaned up before you eat”? I softly suggested. She only stared at me, not saying a word. I extended my hand and with some hesitation, she reached for it. I stood her up and unchained her. She was wobbly and her legs almost gave out, but I caught her just before she hit the ground. She looked up at me with bloodshot eyes and I brushed the greasy hair from her face. I carried into the bathroom and laid her in the claw foot tub where a warm bath awaited her.
She sat there, curled up while I washed her back and shampooed hair. She never uttered a word. She did wince a few times when I ran the washcloth over her bruises and split lip. But she was overall compliant. After I got her dried off and back in her chain, I laid her down and made her a cup a hot chocolate as a reward. She reluctantly took it and sipped gingerly until the whole mug was empty. I smiled and patted her on the head. She looked up at me with pitiful eyes and I kissed her forehead. “I love you” I whispered in her ear.
Later that night I went down to check on Lily. She was curled on her side asleep and snoring softly. I had put sleeping pills in her hot chocolate. But it wasn’t time for her to sleep. It was fun time now. Lily hates fun time but I think she’s getting used to it. She doesn’t fight me off anymore. She cries a bit but I don’t mind.
Hopefully soon, Lily will find out she’s going to be a mama.
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