Chapter 12 - Mr Orange
Of course I got all his questions right. I mean… they were basically much too easy for me and, with that cookie there to help me… like… concentrate, I didn’t have any problems with them.
So we shared the totally delicious thing with our mid morning drinks.
Then, afterwards, he gave me this book called, ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ and told me that I had to read the first couple of chapters. I sort of tried not to let it show but he must have seen I was getting all grumpy.
In fact, looking back, I bet he was waiting for it.
“Tell me what you’re thinking,” he told me.
“You’ve given me a baby book to read!” I replied, just about managing to stay on the right side of his stupid ‘quiet deference and temperate language’ rule.
“Oh! I understand the problem,” he replied. “You think I just want you to read it. No. What I want you to do is to carry out a literary review of the book: try to work out how it is put together; see how the characters and themes are introduced and then developed; think about the tone and language that the author uses. I want you to make notes and, when you’ve finished, I will be expecting you to prepare a report for me. You’ll be doing it with more sophisticated books later on but I assume that you’ve never done this sort of thing before so I thought it would be easier for you to start with a children’s book.”
“Oh, OK,” I said. I mean… I wasn’t totally enthusiastic but, as the alternative was being dangled upside down by my ankles, I decided I might as well give it a go.
So, once he was out of the room, I kind of slumped over to the chair. I knew he’d be keeping an eye on me so I made a bit of an effort to make sure I wasn’t doing too much of the ‘sitting like an orangutan’ thing. Then, with a bit of a sigh, I opened the stupid book at its first page.
It was a bit later - I didn’t really know how long - when my attention was kind of dragged away from the book. And then I sort of realised that Mr M must have knocked a couple of times.
“I’m sorry, Master,” I shouted as I hurried to put on the blindfold and do his kow-tow thing. What was he going to do to me for just ignoring him?
“I’m really sorry, Master,” I repeated as he walked in the door. “I didn’t mean to make you knock twice.”
“Three times, in point of fact,” he said, after letting me kneel up. “It’s almost as if you were distracted! What were you up to?”
“I was reading the book, Master.”
“But I thought you hated reading… and a children’s book at that!”
“I… erm…” I began but he sort of interrupted me by stepping across and giving me a kiss on the top of my head.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t tease. With our current relationship, it’s distinctly unfair,” he said. “You’ve had your nose stuck in that book for well over an hour and I could see your whole body shaking with giggles.”
And when I thought about it, I sort of realised it was true.
“So, do you still hate reading?”
“No, Master,” he did one of his totally annoying silence things and I sort of needed to fill the stupid hole. “Thank you,” I said.
“For making me read that book?” I sort of tried.
Another one of his silence things. He was telling me that I hadn’t thought about it enough.
“For showing me that reading can be fun!” I got there in the end!
He lifted me up, twirled me round in the air like a helicopter and then hugged me before popping me down so I was sitting on the bed.
“You knew I’d like it, didn’t you?”
“I had a sneaking suspicion you might! And, Babygirl, from now on, you are to endeavour to eliminate the word ‘hate’ from your vocabulary, please. You are a much more interesting and attractive young lady without it.”
“I’ll try, Master.”
“Good! And you can rest assured that I will lend you every assistance in this endeavour!” Of course he was smiling as he said it.
“I had a sneaking suspicion you might,” I let Ro say. I had a… well… a sneaking suspicion that he’d let me get away with it this time.
“Careful, Young Lady,” he said and I gave a little squeak as he aimed this casual swat thing towards my bottom. I should really hate him doing that but, for some totally crazy reason, I basically didn’t really mind.
There were more of his totally delicious sandwiches for lunch: beef with horseradish and cambozola with cranberry this time. I’d never tried cambozola before and it took a bit of getting used to but Mr M persuaded me to keep going with it and, by the end of that sandwich, I’d basically decided it was my new favourite ever cheese!
Then, after lunch, he made me do the afternoon nap thing again. I did as I was told, of course - it’d become a bit of a habit - but he must have noticed that I was getting all grumpy about the whole thing.
“You may say what you are thinking,” he told me.
‘That’s spectacularly generous of you!’ I managed to stop my inner Ro from telling him. I sort of guessed that Git Features wouldn’t have enjoyed it all that much… and then he’d have made sure that I didn’t particularly enjoy it either. Instead I took a deep breath and said, “You’re making me take an afternoon nap like a baby.” I did add as much grump as I thought I could get away with.
“I get the impression that you’ve been running a sleep deficit for a very long time,” he explained. Then he gave me a couple of seconds to work out what he was going on about before adding, “Once you are able to wake in the morning without wanting to bite my head off, I promise to reconsider the arrangements.”
Oh, it’s like that then, is it?
I was still pretty miffed about the whole thing but I dropped off to sleep all the same so I had to admit - to myself, at least - that there might’ve just been a little bit of something in what he was saying.
When I woke up, there was more of his torture by exercise bicycle. I had a bit more idea of what was going on this time so it wasn’t quite as bad as the day before - even though he had, as he said, ‘nudged the speed up by one pip’. He wandered in for the last few minutes and encouraged me to wind things up a bit - and I have to admit that it was kind of fun, in this totally crazy, masochistic sort of a way!
Even though I was completely knackered by the end of it.
Then, afterwards, he gave me a bit of time on my own to shower and then sort of recover. And, of course, he accidentally left the ‘Paddington’ book out for me.
He’s careless like that!
“I’ve got something for you,” he announced when he appeared at tea time. He handed me this sort of wrapped parcel.
“A present!” I sort of exploded, totally… like… pathetically excited. “For me?” I started trying to feel what it was through the wrapping but I couldn’t really work it out… it felt all soft and squidgy though.
“It’s not really a present,” he explained. “It’s more a visual reminder of non-approved seating posture.”
That wasn’t one of his better explanations and kind of left me even more confused than before he started!
“Can… I mean… may I unwrap it?”
“Of course you… may,” he answered. I could sort of hear that he was pleased because I had remembered his stupid ‘don’t say can when you mean may’ thing but I didn’t really care about that because I was too busy fighting my way into the parcel - I didn’t have much practice at opening presents, particularly with a blindfold on!
But I wasn’t much less confused when I finally got my hands on what was inside. It, whatever it was, felt distinctly furry but it had some funny dangly bits too. I could hear Meanypants chuckling as I investigated the thing with my hands. “Give it to me a moment,” he told me at last.
It was a bit frustrating but of course I did as I was told straight away.
“Now, can you be trusted, Babygirl?”
“Of course, Master.”
“Then, if you promise not to turn around…” he eased me round so that I was facing away from the mirror then moved to stand behind me, “I am prepared to remove your blindfold for a moment.”
“I promise, Master,” I said in the quiet, serious sort of a voice he was expecting. I could kind of tell that this was… like… a tiny step forward in the whole trust thing between us.
He put the present back in my hands and took the blindfold off for me. He did carry on gently holding my head, though.
I kind of had to laugh when I saw I was holding this baby orangutan cuddly toy. I suppose I should have been totally pissed off that he’d given me… like… a baby toy like that but it had such a sad, sweet face and, as Mr M had once said about me, he seemed to be sort of slumping with much too much in the way of shoulders and elbows and stuff.
It was supposed to remind me of how I was not supposed to sit.
I guess Mr M must have liked my reaction because he gave me this lovely little kiss thing on the top of my head.
I giggled for a bit but then said, “Please would you put my blindfold back on, Master. I sort of want to give you a hug.”
“With pleasure, Babygirl.”
One advantage of being fed dinner that I hadn’t thought of before was that I could cuddle Mr Orange Utang as I was eating. I must have been a bit distracted, though, but I only noticed when my master said, “You may ask your question but, as ever…”
He left this gap bit to let me finish the sentence thing for him. “You don’t promise to answer it.”
“Why are you so fussy about the whole blindfold thing?” I asked when he had finished his whole patronising hair ruffling bit.
“Why don’t you see if you can work that one out for yourself?” he suggested.
I thought about it for a bit. “I know you don’t want me to see your face but I don’t really understand why you’re all fussy about that.”
“What are you doing here, Babygirl?” he asked.
“Oh yeah! You kidnapped me.”
I had to think about that for a bit. Weird as it sounds, I had become so kind of… like… totally comfortable with my new life that I had managed to sort of totally forget that minor detail.
“I don’t think I’d tell anybody anything, even if you did let me go,” I said quietly, almost to myself. I’d basically not thought about life outside for ages.
“I appreciate that,” he told me, “and I also appreciate your honesty in adding the ‘I don’t think’ qualifier. I’m sure you appreciate, however, that I cannot afford to take that risk just yet.”
I thought about it then nodded.
Somehow Mr Orange managed to creep into my bed that night and, in the morning, I was astonished to find that I was still cuddling him.
I really can’t explain it. It’s not the sort of thing I would ever do - sleeping with a baby’s toy like that.
And, funnily enough, it seemed to keep on happening every night.
I just don’t understand me, sometimes.