Lesson three: Know when to hold’em. Know when to fold’em.
Peter waited patiently, kneeling in front of her. He understood her fear, but it was misplaced at this time.
She still had her eyes closed, no doubt wishing he were anywhere else but here. She had no intention of cooperating with him.
He went for his second-best option, opened his shirt and wrapped it around her shoulders, giving her at least some protection.
He spoke to her again. Talking, was better than silence.
“I know this is very difficult for you.”
Difficult? It was damned-well unthinkable!
He tried a different tack but started out all wrong.
“I’ve seen a woman's breasts before you know? Many times. On my sisters.”
She became tense again, and he could see that this particular topic; of her breasts, was not the wisest approach to open any door between them.
He should have started to talk about his sisters, though her wondrous breasts were all that was on his mind.
His sisters’ breasts did not interest him at all, other than with a passing glance, after which he knew enough to ignore them. His sisters had never been shy about running around naked or exposing their breasts for him; their stupid, much younger brother, to see them, just so long as he did not gawk, or say anything about them or about anything else to do with their bodies or their different anatomies. He was only their younger brother; an insect… lint… or worse, and didn’t count, as they constantly reminded him.
They had always been aggressive with him and in-his-face, knowing that they outnumbered him and held power of life and death over him. They told him often enough.
Being naked in the bathroom with others floating in and out was a way of life in their large family, having grown up that way together. If you were too obvious in ogling breasts or anything else; or too shy, you didn’t get to use the toilet, or get washed, or showered. They were never shy with him, and even physically moved him out of the way even if he was peeing in the toilet, just because they could; being older and bigger. He'd splashed the floor at that time, and they'd made him clean it up too, even though they'd caused it.
To survive, he’d learned to steer a middle course and to ignore them and their bodies; even sitting down to pee (though that was undignified for a growing boy who always needed to show off, and to experiment with targeting and distance). Outside of the house he was master of his own domain, and could pee however he liked, and did. Even that, pissed them off. He soon learned that his totally ignoring them, concerned them too.
As a male, he should always be interested in them, or they would worry about their attractiveness to the opposite sex, even though their brother didn’t count.
They wanted to be seen, while not wanting to be seen too obviously. He soon learned the rules. He could look briefly in passing, even admiringly, but he shouldn’t say anything, and he shouldn’t stare at them directly, and be too obvious! He would never dare touch, either. Mirrors were fantastic that way! You got to see so much, and in such wondrous detail as they pulled themselves around and stretched as they inspected themselves in very private places.
He’d never understand girls. They were pure contradictions.
They wanted to be looked at; admired, and to feel that they were interesting, even to their horrible brother, so when he ignored them they flaunted all the more, concerned that there may be something wrong with their bodies (there always was); some blemish, one breast, infinitesimally larger, or perceived to be a little higher than the other; some fault, and they needed to know what it was. It nagged at them even though there were no faults. Her combative sisters would never tell her, and her brother was next to being useless! He soon learned that he would see more, the more he ignored them. He was a fast learner.
He should have mentioned his sisters first, and said nothing about breasts, but with her breasts constantly in front of him and on his mind…? Too late now. She would cover them from him, for hours after that remark.
He continued talking, rambling almost, trying to get through to her after a little more thought about the sensible way to do it, but it still sounded flat. He would need to be patient and gentle.
He tried again, sitting back on his heels as he spoke. At least she was in the sun and getting warm.
“A boy, jostling for bathroom space in a house full of women with four sisters against him, is not shy for long, though I can’t even remember going through that shy stage.
“I guess you didn’t have any brothers. I had to fight for everything; to get showered and to even be allowed to use the bathroom when any of them were in there, and they could be in there for hours at a time, one after the other. At least I could pee outside in the garden where they couldn’t, and that disgusted them even more about me, wondering where I had peed on the lawn, or which flowers I had peed on before they thought to smell them.”
Telling her about him peeing outside wouldn’t help either, if she’d had no brothers to educate her about the shameless antics of boys; seeing how high they could pee up a wall, or to pee out of a tree, or lots of things boys could do that wise girls would be wise not to try and copy. He'd even walked down the middle of the street, peeing. Boys were always too ready show off and to display themselves to other girls. He was always ready to show his sisters, and other girls, everything that he was so proud of, and to demonstrate what he, and it, could do, that they couldn’t. He wasn't shy that way.
They feigned not being impressed, but they had been, and envious too, even while expressing their disgust with him. At least they wouldn't be traumatized so much when they came across that first, horny man. Hell, their brother was bigger than that!
He continued. “Three of them are older than me, and one is a little bit younger. We all had to be defiant and to fight with each other for what we needed. With me being the only boy, and the youngest sibling but one, they usually won.” He corrected that. “They always won. They’d already established the hierarchy in the house, and I, their brother; the little monster, was at the bottom of it.”
She was listening.
‘Monster’, sounded about right.
“They learned all about me, just as I learned about them, and it was all done so unconsciously. Do you have any idea how difficult it was for a boy to have four difficult sisters constantly ganging up on him, while they had it so easy, having only one brother? I was outnumbered at every turn.”
With luck, he was beginning to sound human at last.
“When I was very young, they used to bathe me and our youngest sister together, and dress us. They didn’t allow me to be shy. If I had shown any such weakness they would have made my life impossible. I was also the guinea pig for them to work on with make-up, as they threatened, pummeled, pushed and pulled me around. The indignities I had to put up with!"
He'd better not talk about spontaneous erections that they were helpless to ignore. They even talked about that afterward when they didn't know he was listening. He fascinated them, as much as they fascinated him, and he gave them a lot to talk about.
"You would not believe the things they made me do to bribe me to comply…or punish me when I didn’t, or after I’d done something they didn’t approve of when I deliberately tried to annoy them…? You wouldn’t believe it.” She might.
He told her more.
“I think I once put a dead mouse in one of their beds! That was a really stupid thing to do. It took me a week to work off that punishment after Clara calmly put it down the toilet, and then they all came looking for me. I still have the bruises.”
She flashed him a glance.
...Except that, had been many years earlier, and it had just been an expression to convey the difficulties. There had been no bruises. That time.
He recounted some, and only some, of what they'd done to him with black, boot-polish, as three of them held him down and stripped him. He had been days getting it off. He daren’t tell anyone, especially not their mother, and they knew that he wouldn’t say anything or it would only get worse for him.
“I never did that again. It took a long time to get that boot polish off me.”
He left it to her imagination to figure out what they had done with that polish. Oh, the indignity of it!
She may have stifled a chuckle, or her breath had caught in her throat. It was difficult to know what she was thinking.
“They even made-me-up in their lipstick and eye-shadow when I would let them, or I couldn’t avoid it because of some penance I was working off, and sometimes they did it when I was asleep, out of pure mischief. But I usually deserved everything they did.” He’d already told her some of that.
He’d better not tell her any more, though he could have done.
...About how they’d got their watercolors out and painted a face on his belly early one morning, using warm water, so as not to wake him up. How he hadn’t woken up with their silent, convulsing laughter, he didn’t know. Then they’d photographed him. There was a collection of many such embarrassing photographs that they held over him; and all, carefully hidden from their parents. They made his life, hell, for a while. He couldn’t even have a pee in the garden, gleefully washing bees, off flowers, without being ambushed and photographed.
He’d got his own back.
Early one morning after the first snowfall and while they were out of the house shopping, he’d peed their names in the snow over the space of a few hours, giving him time to drink and to build up to peeing again, and took progressive photographs of his handiwork to show them, and then a grand-slam photograph of all of his art-work from an upstairs window.
That had been another mistake. It had turned into a constant state of war between them and their disgusting little brother after that. They had nonetheless admired his handiwork and had giggled over it one evening when he had listened to them out of their sight. He often eavesdropped on them when they thought he was asleep; sometimes hiding under their beds, and he learned so many things he could use against them. But never did.
“Once, they even sewed up the front on my undershorts. It didn’t work as they’d hoped. A boy can go into the leg; lift it to free himself, and still let fly anywhere.”
She either hiccuped, or chuckled. Progress.
It was a start.
“They did the same to my pajama legs and sleeves so that I couldn’t put them on, so I paraded around without anything on, stark naked for a few evenings until Mam laughed, and told them to solve that little problem before our relatives arrived and saw my defiance to embarrass them all.
“I think she was afraid that little cousin Sophia might learn too much about boys. Except cousin Sophia was not so little, and was very precocious, and already knew all about boys and me, just as I knew all about her. We’d played those doctor games that children play, and she'd been a very forward kind of girl, so we sometimes went too far in later years. She was very aggressive our Sophia, once we were alone.”
He’d better not tell her any more about sex-obsessed Sophia (SOS) or she would get really nervous.
Sheila began to stir, even daring to stare at his knees where he was kneeling, unless she was looking at something else that might concern her. He hoped he wasn’t that noticeably aroused, and had to check that the front of his undershorts wasn’t gaping, with him poking out as often happened, exposing him there, or any hair. That would really get her uptight.
He could see that she wasn’t relaxing at all. She didn’t believe anything he was saying, but it was true.
He continued. “As long as I ignored them as much as I could and did not try to get my revenge for those numerous indignities—but it took me a while to learn that—they tolerated me. It’s still that way. A prickly stand-off.”
She doubted that.
He continued; his hands now touching gently beside her knees.
“Besides, none of my sisters is as beautiful as you are.”
Where the hell had that come from? Dummy! That was exactly the wrong thing to say again.
She hunched over even tighter, either crying now, or she was feeling the cold even more, though she shouldn’t have been so cold; she was sitting in the full sun.
His heart went out to her and he sighed heavily.
“Look, I know it’s hard for you to believe, after all of my verbal gaffes, but I didn’t mean to surprise you with your shirt, or to say all of the wrong things about your wonde... breasts, as I seem prone to do, and I can promise that all I want to do is to help you. You are in no danger from me.
“Will you let me help you? Please? I know I shouldn’t have said what I did about you being so beautiful, or about…those... others.” He went no further with that thought, but it was obvious what he was focused upon.
“I know it will be difficult for you to move your hands, but I do need to get you dry before I can do anything else for you, and even to put this shirt on you properly if you will let me. The sooner you let me do that for you, the sooner we’ll be able to get you completely dry, and get off this Fell, to get you home.”
He tried one last time.
“To be so scared when I am only trying to help you is undignified and not necessary. It also hurts my feelings. We are both adults, I hope, and I would like to get off this Fell, tonight, but we won’t if you don’t co-operate.” He couldn’t leave her up here, so she’d better wake up.
He touched her on her wrists but did not take hold of them or use any pressure.
She may have flinched and moved them a little. She didn’t seem to be holding her breasts so tightly now, and her concerns about him were beginning to subside. They had to diminish at some time. Neither of them would be going anywhere until she cooperated with him, and until she did, she would be cold and damp for longer than was necessary.