Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lily Unaware Part 1

Chapter one

She stood in the dark all alone pretending to watch the wind and moonlight create shadows throughout the room, but really her mind was elsewhere.  The party across the street had already retreated inside over an hour ago, save for a few lone smokers hanging out in the driveway. Now all she could hear were the sounds of her parents preparing to go to sleep in separate beds.  She hadn’t been invited—to the party, that is, across the street.  She hadn’t wanted to go anyway.  She didn’t know anyone there.  She didn’t really know anyone anywhere.
      It was somewhat of a curiosity to her, people having a party.  It wasn’t even anyone’s birthday. It was a Thursday for Christ's sake!  What the fuck were they celebrating? The last party she had been to was a wake for someone she had never even met.
      She wondered if anyone saw her spying through the blinds. She wasn’t exactly being inconspicuous about it.  She almost hoped that someone would see her and come to the realization that they had neglected to extend the invitation.  They would run over and ring the bell.  Maybe it would be a group of girls eager to introduce her to some thoroughly inebriated seniors.  Or maybe it would be the preppy boy who lived next door.  But no one came.  She sighed deeply as she let her hand drop from the window, creating a tinny racket from the mini-blinds that startled the cat. 
      "Oh, Mesmer," she said softly as she flopped into her nearby bed and peered around in the dark. She reached out in vain for the frightened cat.  "Mmmm, even you won't have anything to do with me."  She pouted for a short while and eventually Mesmer slinked back into the bed with her, nuzzling her fingers with his giant, white kitty head.
      That was how she generally got what she wanted, by pouting in a sickeningly cutesy fashion.  People felt sorry for her at first, but she was noticing that her pouting routine was starting to wear thin with those that she practiced it on now.  She would have to figure out a new way of manipulating people to get her way.
      Her name was Lily Truman and she was three months shy of eighteen.  She never heard anyone refer to her as "hot" or even "pretty", but she could generally pull off "cute" when she was all cleaned up—which wasn't very often.  It was her senior year at Archer High School and she was one of the few girls there who had never had a boyfriend.  For the most part she kept to herself.  She had never had a real friendship that lasted longer than a year or two.  People were always moving away or dying or just finding other reasons in general to shit all over her social life.  It was rough.
      After her best friend had moved away her junior year, she had become more anti-social than ever.  She spent her lunch breaks in the dark corridors of the school writing pathetically bad poetry, sitting under trees drawing clumsily raunchy hentai or, on really bad days, inside meetings of the Chess Club.  When she would come home from school she would do her homework, write more, draw more, whatever she had to do to occupy her time enough to forget that she was alone. 
      She had siblings, but they never really included her in their goings-on.  Josie was an eight-year-old, redheaded firecracker with chunky cheeks that were too cute for words; Dee was thirteen with the same dark hair as Lily, but with her father's tanned skin; and Joe was fifteen and sullen, with short brown hair and a scattering of freckles across his pale face.  Josie was too young to relate to her, Dee was her polar opposite and Joe was just as anti-social as she was and a boy, so that left her mostly alone.  She always figured that she was adopted since the others seemed to get along quite well without her, but she had the same pale skin as her mother and the same dark hair and dark eyes as her father, so that was a fantasy that she rarely indulged in.
      She lay in bed petting the cat who had decided to curl up in her lap and let her mind wander to the places it often wandered to when she was alone.  She used to go to sleep thinking stupid teenage girl thoughts like: Dear God, please send me a boyfriend, or someone to love me for who I am. If you just let me find true love, I'll be true to him for all time.   But then she realized that thinking things like that were just trite and irritating and people only said crap like that in religious propaganda movies and crappy romance novels.  As she got older, her thoughts became exceedingly darker:  If I don't find someone to keep me company soon, I will probably end up killing myself.  Oh look, Vicodin!  Or: Maybe if I leave my window unlocked, some random stranger will rape and kill me.  At least I'd be getting some action...  Of course she never shared these thoughts with anyone else, but she enjoyed having a sinister side that no one else knew about. 
      That night she started thinking of Chad Wrigley.  Chad was the ginger guy of her dreams.  He was smart, funny, just as nerdy as she was and totally in her league.  At least she seemed to think so.  Chad had other ideas.  In the movies, she thought, when they bring up romantic situations for the underdog, they always show the nerdy guy in school that's fawning over the super-hot, popular girl, and all the trials and tribulations that he has to go through to be noticed by someone that he has absolutely nothing in common with, and somehow he always gets the girl.  What do I have to look up to?  "She's All That"?  Oh no!   The "nerdy" girl who was already pretty but shy takes off her glasses and ends up with some preppy asshat who was kind enough to look past her many hideous flaws like corrective lenses and intelligence.  In real life, when the nerdy girl wants the nerdy guy he's already been brainwashed by the mainstream media that he's so awesome that he should never settle for girls like me.  She sighed again.  She sighed a lot.  But when she finished sighing and feeling sorry for herself, she pulled the covers over her head and forced herself to drift off to sleep while thinking of dumbass Chad doing unspeakable things to her. 
      And that's when things started to take an interesting turn.

Chapter two

He wrapped his long, freckled arms around her and brought her in close for a forced embrace as the water lapped quietly at the shore behind them.  He looked into her eyes and she could see the hate behind his.  She could feel the fear racing through her body but when she tried to break free he manhandled the back of her head and forced his mouth onto hers, parting her lips with his tongue.  She closed her eyes and let a smooth, sensual sigh leave her throat, when suddenly he threw her down to the ground.
      "Who do you think you are?" Chad asked with contempt.  "You are not here to enjoy yourself.  I am here to enjoy you!"  And he dropped to his knees and ripped off her long, Victorian skirt as she lay back in terror slowly attempting to back away with her palms pressed tight to the sandy beach below her.
      "Where do you think you're going, you little whore?"  His billowy, white linen shirt rippled in the breeze revealing a rather slender, pale frame underneath.  He dramatically ran the fingers of one hand through his silky red hair, while looking at her menacingly.  He snarled and pulled down her ruffled bloomers as she screamed for help.  "Scream all you like, my fair Lily, but out here, no one will hear your cries!" he declared, ending with just the right amount of maniacal laughter.
He held her down with one hand and undid the buttons on his insanely tight britches and wriggled to slide them down to his ankles.  Without warning she could feel the weight of his body on top of her.  She struggled to breathe beneath her corset and could feel all ten inches of his rock hard manhood throb up against her thigh. 
      "You can't do this Chad!" she screamed melodramatically.  "I don't love you anymore!  I—”
      And he cupped his hand over her mouth while he positioned himself right over the unplucked flower that was her maidenhood. 
      "This is—" Chad started.
      "This is just fucking ridiculous," said a very suave man's voice from only a few feet away.  The interruption was so jarring you could practically hear the needle scratching the vinyl record of the soundtrack that was her dream.
      Chad had a very shocked and confused look on his face.
      Lily just looked furious. 
      "Are you kidding me?  I can't even lose my frickin' virginity in my own damn dream?" she yelled, pushing Dream Chad off of her and onto the sand.
      The man stepped out from behind a rocky formation.  He was dressed in period appropriate clothing, but instead of the pirate garb that Chad wore, the man was the picture of aristocratic style from head-to-toe: felt top-hat, red coat-tailed jacket with matching britches, cane and buckled leather shoes.  He even wore a monocle, as if to make his outfit more absurd.
      "Apparently not," he said casually.  "Besides, what a gaudy way to go through with such a thing!  I know it's a dream, but really?  'Manhood'?  'Ruffled shirts'?  'Unplucked flowers'?  Honestly dear, the whole thing is just absolutely tacky.  I really do expect quite a bit more from you."
      "Who the—?"
      "And this?" he asked pointing at Chad, "This is the best you could do?  I'm just—I’m simply flabbergasted at how little you must think of me if this is what goes for passable with you nowadays!  And I'm sorry, but there is no way in hell that this boy has ten inches of anything anywhere."
      She wracked her brain but had no idea who this man was.  He looked vaguely familiar to her, but in a way everyone did to some extent.  Maybe this is my subconscious telling me that Chad isn't the guy for me and that I should move on.  But maybe—
      "Are you quite through trying to analyze the dream that you're dreaming while you're dreaming it?  I'm certain that you'll break your brain that way, dearest," he said brushing sand off of his polished shoes with gloved hands.  "This is certainly not the most creative playground that you've constructed.  And who is this boy, anyway?  One of your thralls?"
      "No!  This is Chad from school!  And we were watching some pirate musical the other day in Music Appreciation, and—Wait!  Why I am I telling you all of this?  If you're part of my subconscious then you should already have all of this figured out by now," she told him narrowing her eyes.
       "Yes.  Well, you were the one who decided to jump to that conclusion, love.  I can assure you that I am no more part of your brain than you are or ever were in love with that boy."  She looked at him confused, like the stereotypical deer in the headlights.  He had brilliant dark eyes and hair that made him look as though he stepped from the pages of one of her favorite manga series.  He was older than she was, maybe in his mid-thirties, but she still found him to be quite handsome.  "Why yes, I am quite handsome," he said, leaving her speechless.  "God knows I've been working on it for quite some time now.  Let's get rid of all this" he said presenting his hands to the sky, "and that," he said pointing at Chad.  With a wave of his hand their surroundings were gone with the sea breeze and so was Dream Chad. 
      "You know, for someone who's supposed to be, uh, well, whatever it is that you're supposed to be, you say 'quite' a lot.  It's making you sound kinda pompous," she told him looking him square in the eye.
      "Ah, now there's the old Lilith that I know!" he grinned.  "All full of ill-will and quick to judge!  Let's see, if I remember correctly, you like Earl Grey." 
      She looked around and she was sitting at a very doily-heavy table in a fancy parlor somewhere.  There were deep red velvet drapes, porcelain dolls in China cabinets and richly painted works of art hanging from the walls.  On the table was a full tea service as well as a placeholder that said "Lili."
      "Uh, I don't know exactly what's going on, but I don't know you, I've never even tried Earl Grey tea and you spelled my name wrong.  It's 'Lily,' not 'Lili'."
      "Or is it?" he asked coyly.  "Try your tea; I know you'll like it."
      "How do I know this isn't like laced with Roofies or something?  And who the hell are you anyway?  You seem to know entirely too many wrong things about me."
      "You know who I am," he replied getting irritated.  "And really?  I interrupted your rape fantasy to give you tea and biscuits and rape you in a salon?  Good God you're daft!  Just drink the damn tea, girl!"
      She looked into the cup and cautiously took a sip from it.  She licked her lips and smirked a bit.
      "See?  I told you you'd like it.  You always have," he smirked back at her.  "Now, down to business!  I'm just here to go over the terms of our contract which will be coming into effect quite soon.  I—"
      "Contract?  Are you sure you're in the right dream?" she asked him as if he were the crazy one.
      "Why, this contract," he said, producing a scroll from out of midair.  "And as you can see, the terms of said contract will be coming to fruition in three months time.  I just needed to make sure that when I come to collect, you will be physically, mentally and emotionally ready for me."  He looked her up and down and grinned like an idiot.
      "I can't even read this.  It's in gibberish.  Is this some kind of Rumpelstiltskin thing?  I don't have a baby on the way or anything like that!  Sorry buddy!" she said backing away from the table.
      "No, no, darling," he said grabbing her wrist, slowly pulling her towards him, his eyes starting to glow with a dull orange haze behind them, "I'm coming for you.  I'm here to help bring you back.  I'm—"
      And then her alarm went off and she woke up in a cold sweat. 
      What the hell was that?

Chapter three

Okay, so that was the weirdest fucking dream ever, Lily thought to herself.  She pulled back the covers that were absolutely covered in cat hair and got up and out of bed.  She looked at herself in the mirror on the bureau and ran the silver brush that her grandmother had given her through her hair.  It was heavy, but the bristles were soft and she loved the contrast of the light silver on her dark, straight hair that had grown down to the small of her back.  She lay the brush down on the dresser and cocked her head looking at her reflection.  Her eyes were so brown that you could barely see her pupils and they looked rather exotic with her pale skin.  She had no eyelashes to speak of and her eyebrows had seen better days, but she still thought they had a nice shape to them.  She liked her face even if other people her age didn't and at times when she was bored would stare at it up close in the mirror quite a bit.  It helped her with her drawing. 
      She had full pouty lips that her sister, Dee, told her she got from complaining so much and a heart-shaped face that had filled out a bit more than she would have liked.  Senior year hadn't exactly been kind to Lily.  Most days she thought she looked pretty good, but some of the girls at school had been rather rude to her.  One guy made a comment when she came back from summer vacation at the beginning of the year that she finally made his "T&A Radar."  He was a dickbag. 
She threw on some jeans and a black t-shirt and made her way down the hall to the kitchen.  Her dad had already left for the morning and her mom was in the backyard feeding the dogs.  Josie sat at the table eating a bowl of cereal that she had poured herself, as evidenced by the bits of cereal strewn across the counters and floor. 
      "Why don't you ever wear dresses like Dee does?" the small girl asked between giant bites.  Her Barbie backpack was at her feet, ready for when she walked down to the bus stop.
      "Well," Lily patiently explained, "I don't really like what comes with wearing them.  You have to worry about how you sit and if it starts bunching up in the back, and it's just an overall pain in the a— butt." 
      "Oh," she said chomping away, "Okay then."
      Lily grabbed a breakfast bar from the cupboard and started heading for the door when she ran into Dee in the hallway—and she looked a hot mess. 
      "Holy crap!" Lily exclaimed.  "Mom is so not letting you leave the house like that!"
      "What?  It's just jeans and a t-shirt," she said.  "You're wearing practically the same thing."
      "Uh, yeah, but mine doesn't have slits all down the front of the shirt or down the side of the pants!  You might as well have a flashing arrow sign over your ass that says 'Eat at Dee's...Ass'!  Ha-ha!" she exclaimed, letting her laughter peter out after realizing how stupid it sounded out loud. She wished she could have a do-over for that would-be burn.
      "Yeah, that was totally funny," Dee said rolling her eyes.  "But I'm out right now to the bus stop before Mom gets in here, so peace out, puta!"  And she strolled out the door.
      Who the hell says "peace out” anymore, she thought to herself. What a loser.  
      Lily walked to school by herself like she did nearly everyday.  She lived pretty close to school and there was a nice little bike trail that ran along the canal that she could take most of the way.  It was usually pretty deserted, so it was a relaxing change of pace from being at home or at school.  She liked her alone time.  So of course Matt Olsen from down the street decided to catch up and walk with her. 
      Lily had known Matt and his family ever since her family had moved to Archer when she was in elementary school. She and Matt were in the same grade, but didn't have very many classes together because he wasn't all that bright.  Lily wasn't an elitist or anything, but she was a smart cookie and was in almost all advanced classes.  (Except math.  Fuck math.)  Matt had always walked with Lily to school when they first started high school, but after he joined the football team, their appearances together had tapered off.  He liked her company, but he didn't want to lose the little social standing that he did have.  It was a "You understand, right?" situation.  It was shitty, but she understood.  She had never been interested in him in any kind of romantic fashion, but with his light brown hair, his bright blue eyes and his athletic build, she could see how most girls would be into that.
      "Hey there, Tiger Lily!" he said clasping a firm hand on her shoulder.
      "Hey, hey," she responded in a deadpan manner, "What's up?"
      "Did you catch that party over at Kent's house last night?  There was some crazy shit that went down there!"
      "Nope," she replied with her eyes darting across the water, "Not unless by 'catching' it you mean to ask 'Did it keep you up while you were trying to sleep because no one invited you?'  Then, yeah, I 'caught' it."
      "Lily!  Why didn't you come over?  It was hella tight!  Elle Fisher got so drunk that she flashed everyone her tits and threw up in Kent's pool!"
      "Damn, sorry to have missed that.”  The sarcasm went right over his head. “Who's Kent again?" 
      "It's okay, Tiger Lily.  I'll make sure you get into the next one.  Just hit me up!  And you know Kent.  Kent Villasenor.  His brother is Marco!"  His excitement trailed off as he saw she wasn't interested.  "Is it the 'Tiger Lily' thing again?  I can't help it!  I've been calling you that forever and I know it's not your favorite, but I just can't stop!  Forgive me?"
      "It's not that," she sighed.  "Although that is irritating... I just had some really weird dreams last night that I can't quite shake."
      "You dreamin' about me again?" he said jokingly.  "I know it's hard to resist the Olsenator! Ha-ha!"
      "Oh yeah, you know it!" she laughed.  "But seriously, it was the weirdest thing.  I was having a dream about... Uh... Let's just say a dream of an intimate nature, when all of a sudden this guy stops the whole thing and says that my name isn't spelled right and that we have a contract.  And, I mean, I don't recognize this guy from anything; not from a movie or school or a damn park bench.  And he hands me this contract that we 'have together' and I can't read it at all.  But the whole thing felt so real.  And before he could explain what it was about, I woke up.  What the hell does that mean?"  She looked him in the eyes for the first time in a very long time and stopped walking.
      "Hmmm.  I dunno, Tiger Lily.  Have you ever seen that episode of that old animated Batman show where the Scarecrow has him trapped in a dream, but he doesn't know he's in a dream, but then he figures it out because everything he tries to read is bullshit because your brain can't process writing in a dream?  Maybe it's like that!  Maybe you couldn't read it because it was your brain's way of saying 'Chill out, this is just a dream!'" 
      "Yeah, I don't think it works like that," she said skeptically.
      "Uh, yeah!  If it was on Batman, it's gotta be true!"  He smiled, grabbed her hand and drug her along the path.  "Come on, we don't wanna be late for class.  It'll be okay."
      And they walked hand in hand down the canal trail—until they got to the main road where people would actually see them.  Always the charmer, that Matt.

Chapter four

As always, school was pretty uneventful, but at least it was Friday.  She went to class, she drew some girl in a Catholic school girl uniform in her journal at lunch, she stopped paying attention in math allowing her to write a racy poem about the good part of her Chad dream from the night before and she was able to avoid her brother, Joe, pretty much the whole day. 
      It was weird having a sibling attend high school with you.  It seems like before they get there you can fuck around and say or do whatever you want, but afterwards you have to censor yourself somewhat so that they don't see you do something stupid and report back home about it.  It wasn't that Joe would for sure do that, it's just that she didn't want to take the chance.
      Walking to fourth period she passed her baby brother up in the hall and they nodded in acknowledgment that they each saw the other.  That was about the only contact they had most days.  As mentioned before, they weren't very close.
      Lily sat down in her assigned seat behind Chad in Music Appreciation.  This was only one of two classes that they had together and she was almost certain that if the seating were not assigned that he would not be sitting there.  She would daze off at times and just smell his hair.  He wasn't one of the popular kids, but he sure thought that he was.  He had daring red hair, freckles on his face and arms, and gorgeous green eyes.  He was nice enough to her at times, enough to make her fall head over heels for him, but he made it very clear that he was too good for her.  He told her that he "didn't date thick girls" and that "he preferred blondes" and a whole bunch of other things that made her feel really great about herself.  Her journal was filled with poems about him and his stupid green eyes.  She once got up the courage to tell him how she felt junior year and he totally blew her off.  It wasn't like there was anyone else that she had anything in common with at the small town school they attended.
Archer High was in a town so small that kids would go to the car wash to have fun.  Archer was a small commuter town in the Central Valley.  A lot of people moved there from San Jose and it was a farming community with lots of immigrant workers, so there was a high Hispanic population and not a whole lot of anything else.  She and her family had lived in Archer for several years now and although she had learned a great deal of Spanish and did her best to fit in, she still felt like an outsider. Lily was without a doubt the whitest kid in school, female or otherwise, so she got a lot of cracks made about how pale her skin was and how she “needed to go outside” and of course remarks about her "Lily white ass."  It was good times at Archer High.
      "Hey Lily," Chad said as he turned to face her.  "Do you know what date the final is? I need to re-watch pretty much all the movies from the last week."
      "Um, yeah.  It's in two weeks," she said nervously.  "If you want you can come over to my place and watch them.  My parents are music fanatics, so we have all of those movies already."
      He looked around to make sure no one had heard that and then replied, "Uh, well the thing about that is... Honestly, it doesn't sound like a very good idea.  I mean, could I borrow them from you?  That would be cool."
      Wow, okay.  Wasn't expecting him to be that blunt, she thought to herself.  "Sorry, my dad doesn't lend out his DVDs to anyone."  And she went back to writing in her notebook until he turned around again.  I can't believe I'm still not over this asshole.
      Sixth period gym really wasn't a whole hell of a lot better.  Of course the other class that Lily had with Chad was gym, a class where she had to wear baggy clothes and show off how completely uncoordinated she was.  Luckily their school was so overcrowded that she was almost able to just blend in with everyone else amid the sea of gray and black gym clothes, but the bitch goddess of humiliation was ready to pick her out of a crowd. 
      She had just been assigned to a volleyball team and was picked to be the first one to serve the ball.  So of course she tossed the ball in the air, went to spike it and ended up spiking it at her own damn feet and tripping over the ball.  "Accident prone" was a phrase that was commonly used in the Truman household, and most of the time it was referring to Lily.  She fell on her ass in front of everyone and managed to injure her arm in the process.
      "Oh damn!  Are you okay, chica?" asked a handsome young man in a basketball jersey.  She couldn't remember seeing him around before, but was grateful that there was actually someone nice who was willing to help her up.  "Here, I've gotcha," he said in a soothing voice while he helped her up off the ground.
      "Thanks, uh…" she said still in shock from falling.  "What was your name again?"
      "Awww really?" he asked in a playful tone.  "Kent?  The guy who lives across the street from you?  I know it's been a while 'cause I just got back from building houses in Guadalajara with my church, but dang girl!"
      "Sorry," she blushed, "I guess I'm just in the house a lot.  I'm Lily by the way."
      "Ha-ha, yeah, I know.  You're like the only white girl up in here, so it's pretty easy to remember," he laughed. "Let's go up to the office and get you some ice.  That arm looks pretty swollen."
      So they went up to the front office and iced her arm then headed back to the gym.
      "Feeling a little better?" he asked.
      "Yeah," she said.  "I think I hurt my pride more than anything else.  You know how it is."
      "Nope, not really," he laughed.  "But it’s cool.  I'm a fuckin' ninja on the court!"  And he gently made contact by putting his hand on her shoulder, which didn't go unnoticed.
      "Sorry," she said brushing his arm away, "It's been a really weird few hours.  I don't know if you know how it feels to actually doubt yourself, but that's where I'm at right now.  Wrong place, wrong guy, wrong me..." she trailed off.
      "Now that I can feel ya on!  There's lots of times when I'm not sure of myself.  But I look within and I look above and God shows me the path to glory—on and off the court!" he smiled, pantomiming the whole thing.
      "Ah, well, uh, that's cool," she said treading lightly.  "I don't exactly do the whole 'God' thing, but to each their own.  I guess I just don't really like who I am lately.  Even my dreams are trying to tell me that something needs to change.  I just don't know what.  Damn, I don't know why I'm telling you all this.  I guess you just seem like a good listener."  She looked into his dark brown eyes as she said the last part.  He was incredibly attractive and looked as though someone had pulled an Aztec warrior through time and dressed him in a basketball uniform.  He had an ear pierced and a ponytail.  Not exactly her type, but as of late she was starting to wonder if she even had a type.
      "Well, it's okay about the 'whole God thing' as you say," he smiled.  "I'd like to think that God loves you even if you may not, uh, see eye to eye with him.  It's the kind of person that you are that matters.  And yes, I am an excellent listener.  Or so they say!"  Damn, he's charming!  Why is this guy even giving me the time of day?  Is he trying to impress someone?  "What is it that you want to change?  Even making small changes helps out the big picture." She noticed that his hand had found its way back to her shoulder.
      "I don't know... I mean, I have to change the kind of asshole guys that I'm interested in, I need to be more outgoing and less socially awkward, and it would be nice to lose this extra weight that I gained before I head off to college next year.  They say that you gain even more weight there and that doesn't exactly sound appealing."
      "I see," he said in a super sensitive tone.  "I don't know about the guy stuff—Not that you aren't attractive, it's just that I already have a girlfriend—"  Of course you do.  "But I am a pretty good personal trainer.  I've helped a lot of guys on the team bulk up or trim down over the years.  If you want we could meet after my practices a few days a week and I could train you."
      She looked at him quizzically and cocked her head to the side.  "That would be great, but why would you do that for me?  You barely know me."
      "Truth be told, I'd have something to gain from it too," he said steadily.  Ah, I knew there was a catch.  Always a catch.  "I kind of did some stupid stuff a few months ago with some of my friends involving a car that wasn't exactly what you would call legal... So, I've gotta do a ton of community service.  The thing that I did with my church a few weeks ago took off a big chunk of it, but I still have about 200 hours left.  If you'd sign off on my paper every week with a gym teacher, I'd appreciate it," he said sheepishly.
      "Oh..." she said kind of shocked.  "Yeah, I mean, I guess that would be cool.  It sounds like a win-win situation there.  I'd be down.  When would you wanna start?"
      "Let's see... How about next week?  We could do Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at around four-thirty?"
      "Yeah, that would be awesome," she smiled.  She looked around and realized they had made it back to the gym a while ago.  "I guess we should get back to class, though.  I will see you here on Monday then!"
      "Awesome!  I will see you then!"
      And she sat on the bleachers waiting for class to finish, looking over at Kent every few minutes to see if he might possibly be looking at her.  He wasn't, but that was okay.  It was a step in the right direction towards making some changes.  If only she knew how big.

Chapter five

"Ah!  There you are, my dear!  I was worried that you'd never fall asleep!" said the mystery man from her last dream.  He stood before her wearing a boy's private school uniform: a crisp, sky blue blazer with an embroidered emblem on the breast pocket, khakis that had been pressed and a navy blue bow tie—because bow ties are cool. 
      I have got to cut down on the late night manga reading, she thought to herself. 
      "Yes," he replied to her unspoken statement, "you really should.  This whole schoolboy thing is all very interesting though.  I was very curious as to what 'does it for you' nowadays.  I could see this one going a few different ways!"
      "Gah!  Stop doing that!" she yelled pointing a finger at him, then looked down only to find that she was wearing a Japanese schoolgirl uniform: sailor top with a large red scarf under the collar, along with a pleated navy skirt and knee high socks.  "Ahh, what the fuck is this?" she asked spreading her hands around the length of her body, clearly irritated.  In the distance a bird chirped in a tree on the far side of the schoolyard where they stood.
"This is your dream, little one, not mine," he said jovially.  "Anything that goes on in here is in your hands... to an extent."
      "Okay then," she told him.  "Then would you mind telling me what the hell is going on?  You are obviously the same guy from my last fucked up dream, so who are you?  Are you some kind of ghost of a dead pedophile relative that I never met or something?"
      "A ghost?  Me?" he laughed at the notion.  "Good God, no!  Only people who are dead can come to you as ghosts.  I can't die!  Silly child!  You really don't remember me do you?"
      "Wait, what?  I don't even know your name!  And what do you mean you can't die?  Everyone dies.  Even weird-ass hallucinations that appear in my dreams.  At least I'd think they would..." she said getting lost a little too deep in thought.  "So come clean!  Who are you?"
      "I can't believe you don't remember your dear, dear Ash," he said walking towards her slowly.  He grabbed her left hand and planted a kiss on it.  She thought it burned for a second, but she shook the thought away as soon as it entered her mind.  He picked up her hands and examined them closely.  "Soft and delicate, just like your old ones, " he told her.  "And I'm glad to see there isn't anything resembling a wedding ring or anything of the sort."
      "Uh, I'm not even legal yet.  And why would I be dreaming about some creepy older guy kissing my hand and talking about marriage?" she said pulling her hands back to her sides. 
      "Ha.  No idea.  Maybe you're just a desperate virgin with daddy issues," he said with a lot less charm than he had put in his last few statements.  "But really, we do have lots to talk about.  So let's have a seat under that birch tree there and chat.  Come along!"
      He walked over to a small stone bench in the corner of the yard and she cautiously followed and had a seat.  She stared at him with one eyebrow raised and crossed her legs since she remembered she was wearing a skirt.  Ash, she thought, that sounds familiar... But that's the name of a few of my favorite characters from different things... My brain has a weird way of trying to send me signals...
      "I assure you," he said sternly, "I'm not a figment of your imagination."
      "How do you keep doing that?  Reading my thoughts I mean?"
      "Well, it's actually quite easy when one is in a dream state.  The thoughts that one has in a dream are projected much more clearly and when that happens it's quite easy to read them.  They're practically palpable things in here.  But that's something waiting for you in a far more advanced portion of your training.  For now, let's get down to brass tacks, shall we?" he asked her, crossing his legs and resting both hands on his knees.
      "Yeah, okay.  Sure.  Training.  Let me guess.  You're going to tell me I'm a witch!  Or—Or, no!  I'm a warrior princess and the last hope of a dying people in a faraway land!  Or I'm an alien and so are you and we are the last of our kind and we have to mate to keep the species alive! Or maybe—”
      "Alright, that's enough," he said stoically.  "And, yes, this is going to be the part in the terrible melodrama that is your life where the heroine gets to have the plot to the movie spoon-fed to her.  But you aren't a heroine by any means, and unfortunately this isn't the cinema."
      "Fine then," she said sarcastically.  "Blow my mind!  Bring it on you Don Juan Triumphant looking asshat!"
      "'Kay," he said taking her hand and invading her personal space bubble.  "You are mine.  Or at least you will be. Again."
      "Oh really?  And who decided that?" she asked not backing off.
      "You did, love."
      "I seriously doubt that," she scoffed. 
      "No, really.  It's all here in the contract that you drafted and signed," and he pulled the scroll from the other night out of his jacket pocket.  "See?" he asked unrolling the parchment.
      "Yeah, I can't read that.  My friend told me it's some dream restriction that my brain sets up to let me know that it's a dream."
      "Your friend sounds like a bit of an idiot," he told her.  "Here, let's try this."  And he put his finger to her pursed lips and then tapped the parchment with his finger.  The ink all ran towards the middle of the scroll and within seconds dispersed itself back throughout the document—this time in English—and extended it towards her to read. "There we go.  Sorry about that, I forgot how long it's been for you."
      "'I, Lilith, being of sound state and mind, as witnessed by my espoused, Asmodeus, do hearby swear to serve my full sentence for the crimes which have been committed against God and humanity for a period of five hundred years.'  Seriously?  'God and humanity?’  Who's the dramatic one here?  I—"
      "Dammit, girl!  Just keep reading," he sighed.
      "'Once said period has ended I shall be released to the custody of my aforementioned espoused after completing an eighteen year probationary period in an attempt to readjust my views on the plight that is the human condition.  Upon completion of said probationary period, all abilities and belongings shall be returned to my person and I shall be allowed to continue my duties as a functioning member of...'  You've gotta be shitting me.  No way.  No fucking way!"
      "Read it," he told her.
      "Oh I read it!  But you've got another thing coming if you think I'm buyin' it!" she said dropping the scroll to the ground.
      "You don't have to 'buy' anything.  It will all come back to you soon, anyway.  I'm just here to ease you into the transition," he said inching closer to her on the bench.
      "So you're telling me that I'm an angel? Or, I guess, an archangel?  I'm assuming that's what it meant by 'God's wayward militant forces,' right?"
      "Oh my poor Lili," he said brushing a small strand of hair from her cheek with a strong yet delicate hand.  "You'll always be my angel.  But I'm afraid what we are doesn't exactly fall into that category; hence the word ‘wayward’ in that phrase.  And while I did so ache for your body all these years, this new one is quite fitting.  It's so deliciously young and distracting."  He placed a hand on her knee as he spoke and she felt it move farther and farther up her thigh.  "It will help us to carry out our work much more efficiently than your last one, as charming as it was."
      "Y—You are," she said tripping over her words, "really starting to freak me out, you jerk!  I'd really like to wake up now!" 
      "I bet you would, but we aren't done talking yet," he smirked at her. "And please, 'jerk' is so formal!  Call me Ash.  I'd love to hear my name on those pretty lips of yours."  He ran his tongue across his lips as she pushed his hand off of her leg and stood up quickly.
      "Fuck you, dickweed!  That's not happening!  If you're so concerned about us talking, then fucking talk!  And make it fast!" she yelled.
      "Fine.  You're a demon.  Or to be more specific, a succubus.  You are basically God's dirty little...Well, whatever He wants you to be at the time I suppose," he laughed.  "And He doesn't really like to make that common knowledge, so until you are completely you again, I'm the middleman.  Kind of a father figure and fuck-buddy all rolled in one!"
      "A succubus?  Uh-huh.  I see," she said in a dry tone, beginning to pace back and forth.  "Like those scantily clad winged creatures with bird feet in comics and video games?  And God wants me to go around fucking people to spread 'His word' too, I suppose?  What the hell is wrong with my thought process?  Perhaps I need to get some professional help."
      "Well, not exactly," he said getting up to pace with her, ignoring her last comment. "We are needed on occasion to test the wills of the impure, to rid the world of the truly twisted among humanity, to spread a little seed where it's needed and sometimes just to fuck with people when we're off duty.  It has its perks!"
      "Uh-huh... So do I get a whip and a dungeon of my very own to call home once I turn eighteen?  Or do I just automatically sprout horns and a tail and do whatever it is that you say?"
      "You know, I'm starting to think that you aren't taking this seriously," he said stopping abruptly at her heels causing her to lose her balance and topple over, grabbing the bench seat for support.  A stream of faint orange sparks came forth from his gloved fingertips which he directed at her extremities. 
      Her hands and feet glowed a soft orange as well.  She tried to pick them up but they were glued to the spot. 
      "What the hell?" she screamed behind her.  "Totally unacceptable!"  She squirmed as hard as she could, but only found that she was making her backside more appealing than anything else. 
      "Ah, see?" Ash said in a satin laced tone.  "You are still as cute as ever—especially when you try to escape my clutches.  Seems like a reoccurring theme with you, my love."  He took off his gloves one finger at a time.  "I do so love this outfit that you chose.  It's extremely appropriate.  After all, you were a bad, bad girl.  Maybe it's time that I give you a little punishment."  He pushed her skirt up over her back, exposing her panties.  "Oh my, white cotton.  I should have guessed.  So clich├ęd."  He took one glove and smacked her backside as hard as he possibly could. 
      "Ouch!" she yelped.  "What are those made of?  That hurt like a bitch!  Will you stop it now?  I'll listen to your crazy story.  I promise.  Just let me up!"  He could hear the fear building in her voice.
      "If you must know they are lambskin.  Soft to the touch, but each one has some weight to it."  He smacked her again to show he was serious and to draw another less tepid sound from the back of her throat.  "You know, my dear Lilith, when the contract becomes valid, and you're released into my custody, do you know the first thing I will do?"  She let a tiny squeak escape her mouth as she felt him grab a handful of flesh above the top of her thigh through the soft, white cotton.  She froze with fear and anticipation.
      "I don't suppose it involves letting me live my life in peace and harmony?" she cried softly, her breath coming faster and harder from her heaving chest.
      He laughed again and lightly spanked her ass with his bare hand.  It stung and was distinctly cold to the touch.  This time she knew she hadn't imagined it.  She looked over her left shoulder to see what he was up to, but he was nowhere in sight.  She turned to look over her right shoulder and gasped at the sight before her eyes.  There he was in front of her, in his crisp blue blazer with his cock fully erect and right in her face.  She had never actually seen one before in person.  I suppose I'm not really seeing one in person right now, either though, she thought to herself.
      "My God, you think entirely too much, girl," he exclaimed.  "Do you like it?  Is it everything you dreamed of and more?  I know it's only six inches, but ten is just showing off, don't you think?"
      She looked up at him with large brown eyes and a shocked expression.
      "Get that away from me," she said quietly, somewhat mesmerized.
      "You know, if you really didn't want it, you would have looked away a lot sooner," he said looking down at her tenderly picking up her chin in one hand and his cock in the other.  He rested his thumb on her full lips and was positioning himself closer to them when he heard her sigh softly.  It was as though a switch went off inside of him. 
      He slapped her hard in the face and left a huge red mark on her cheek.  He zipped up his khakis and backed away slowly, releasing the bindings on her hands and feet.
      "The first thing I will do," he said pawing his hands over his face and smoothing back his dark hair, "is rob you of this body's very obvious virginity, and leave you to think about the personal hell that you put me through for the better part of a millennia as my seed runs hot down your bowed legs.  That is what I will do with you, Lilith!  Count on it!" 
      And with that he turned his back to her and stormed out of the courtyard causing a flock of birds to disperse in his wake.  He slammed the heavy door and as the sound reverberated through the corridor she was immersed in a bright white light.
      She woke up clutching the pillow as the blinding sunlight disturbed her Saturday morning ritual of sleeping in until noon. She groaned and rolled over forcing Mesmer off of the bed.
      "Ugh... No rest for the wicked.  Eh, Mesmer?" she said throwing the covers to the floor. 
      She yawned and stretched and reached for the brush on her desk, when she suddenly noticed her reflection in the mirror.
      "I—I must have slept a little strangely," she said, slowly putting her hand to her cheek.  "That's gotta be it."
      And as she let her arm fall to her side she saw that the red mark on her face was something too bright and painful to be left by her pillow.

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