This is the rework of a self-published auto-biographical story (2008), rewritten for this blog. Names of characters have been changed.
Content warning: mental and physical abuse, misogyny.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do. Confucius
Patty and Tom
Continued from… Reflecting: One Month In
Annie and Fran watched while workers slaughtered a sheep under Fred’s supervision. Annie was in the hammock between the two big trees, and an sat on the steps of the swimming pool. Fred joined the women after the workers had cleaned everything up.
“My period is due tomorrow,” Fran said, looking at Fred. Even though Fred always said he didn’t mind having sex with Fran during her menstruation, he expected her to warn him in time.
“You know,” Fred spoke softly, so the new residents of the flat, which was close to the swimming pool, couldn’t hear him, “time and time again your menstruation interferes with my sex life!”
“But sweetie, I cannot help it,” Fran protested.
“You damn well can! Follow Annie’s example and have your fucking womb removed! She never burdens me with a period.”
“I will, but then you must be very certain that you don’t want more kids.”
“Of course I don’t want more children. Elaine is almost nine. I don’t want babies in the house again.”
“You always said that you would love to have a son, Fred. Don’t you want that anymore?”
Fran’s voice was soft, uncertain, as if she was treading on thin ice. Fred snorted in reaction, jumped up and walked away.
“Annie, would you please do some shopping this afternoon. I am not going to make it in time.”
After a moment of hesitation, Annie agreed to stop at the shop on her way home.
“Thanks girl, I’ll pay you back,” Fran said before she disconnected.
Annie was deep in thought when she put the phone down. This was not the first time that it happened that she had to get groceries from the store for Fran. Up to now, Fran had not paid her back. Annie didn’t mind buying extra stuff, but at this rate she was paying double the amount that they had agreed upon and which was automatically transferred from Annie’s to the couple’s bank account every month.
“Oh well, so be it,” Annie mumbled softly before she continued her work, “I know that they battle with some of their bills. They will pay me back eventually.”
Fred had invited Patty and Tom, the new residents of the flat on the plot, for a barbecue. The day they moved in, they briefly came over for a cup of coffee, but this was the first time that everyone living on the plot would have a barbecue together. Jack and his wife, Betty, were there on invitation too. It was a sociable group together. Liquor flowed non-stop. Annie and Betty did not drink that much, but they were part of all the fun and laughter.
Music played inside the house, loud enough to be heard outside. Fred grabbed his wife to dance with her. Just as he let Fran go, Patty moved closer, wanting to dance with Fred. However, he excused himself, saying that he had to keep an eye on the meat on the barbecue. Both Annie and Fran knew that the real reason was that he disliked fat women, and Patty carried quite some extra weight with her. Of course, by now Annie knew this aversion only held up when it suited him.
With the music continuously playing and the booze constantly flowing, some people were progressively getting noisier than the others did. Annie and Fran kept busy with preparation of side dishes, when Patty joined them in the kitchen. She said that she wanted to help, but the moment she saw Annie she grabbed her and started dancing with her.
“No, wait! Come on, Patty! Let me go! I have to finish the salad,” Annie said and she managed to free herself from Patty’s grip just as Fred walked into the kitchen. From the grave expression on his face, she gathered that he was not happy with what he saw.
Later that evening Annie was outside, chatting with Betty. Fran was nowhere in sight. Annie correctly assumed that she went to the toilet. Just then the music stopped.
“Fran, put another CD on while you’re inside,” Fred yelled.
“Fred, do you have any other good music that we can dance to?” Patty asked.
“How should I know what you label as good dance music? Go see for yourself what’s there,” he cheekily said.
Patty did as told, and from where Annie stood next to Fred, they watched her walking into the brightly lit living room. Music started playing again. Patty grabbed Fran firmly, the same way she had grabbed Annie earlier, and they started waltzing to the music. From where they stood, Annie saw that Patty was talking to Fran. Both the women were laughingly enjoying the waltz. Fran once or twice glanced outside in Fred’s direction. After several minutes, the women stopped dancing and they came back outside with smiles on their faces.
Not much later, Fred ordered Annie and Fran to check whether the plates and cutlery were ready for dinner. It was a strange request as they had already checked everything earlier, but both the women obeyed. As soon as they were in the kitchen, the real reason for his request became apparent. Fred entered the kitchen.
“What kind of games are you two playing?” he boldly asked. He did not wait for an answer. “If I catch one of you making another pass at that fat bitch, you will get what you deserve.”
Before either of the women could react, he disappeared.
“What was that about?” Annie asked, astonished.
“Fred has the impression that you and I are flirting with Patty, wanting her to join for sex,” Fran said, and concern was apparent in her voice.
“That’s a crazy idea!”
“No, Annie, not really,” Fran said and she walked outside. Annie followed her.
The rest of the evening, both Annie and Fran used every trick in the book to dodge Patty’s attention. The atmosphere between Annie, Fred and Fran was charged. None of the guests noticed this, except for Betty. She didn’t drink as much as any of the others did and therefore felt the underlying tension better than the rest. Directly after the late dinner, she told Jack that she wanted to go home. Annie was tired too. The departure of Jack and Betty was the perfect moment for her to retire to her own bedroom. It was Fran’s night to sleep with Fred anyway, and Annie had enough of the drunken crowd.
To be continued… The Battering
© Rebel’s Notes