[Preston] The Unlikely Couple (Parts 1-5)

If you want a better understanding of this story’s setting, please go to the post titled “About the Stories Set in Preston” and read the information. I hope you enjoy it.

I also have a Tumblr account set up for my stories about Preston, KS. You can check it out here: http://female-punishment-in-preston.tumblr.com/.

The Unlikely Couple (Part 1)

Brynn and Jaye had been on the road for days, taking breaks only for gas, food and lodging. A tense quiet between them hung in the air as the only sound was from the static arising from radio station’s failing signal. Jaye reached over and turned it off.

Finally, Jaye broke the silence. “Jesus, Brynn, are you ever going to fucking talk to me?”

There was no reply. Brynn just kept her eyes intently on the road while she drove, completely ignoring Jaye.

“Okay, look, I get it. I fucked up and I’m the reason we’re having to move across the country. It’s my fault. I’m sorry.” The defiance in her voice made the otherwise acceptable apology seem less like an apology and more like hostility.

Jaye’s problem was her temper as well as her lack of maturity. Despite being twenty-two years of age, she was notorious for being impulsive and short-sighted; the signs of immaturity. Her immaturity wasn’t confined to her brain either. That is to say she was incredibly diminutive, decidedly lacking in the breast department and possessed a cherub-like face that made her look child-like. None of this made her happy in the least and she would invariably lash out if anyone mentioned it.

For her part, Brynn was the polar opposite. Two years Jaye’s junior, she was nevertheless more mature, both physically and emotionally. She was capable of holding a job, saving money and showing responsibility in all things. She was also tall and leggy with a curvaceous figure and large breasts, adding to the vast physical differences between the two women.

Jaye huffed up at Brynn’s continued silence, looking poutily out her window. She saw a sign that said, “Preston, Kansas: 6 miles”. Those six miles felt more like sixty miles thanks to the tension. When they reached the town, Brynn pulled their large truck into the parking lot of a convenience store before getting out and starting to pump gas. Jaye opened up the door and stepped out, though “stepping out” is perhaps an over-simplification for someone as short as her. She had to spin around so that her legs were dangling over the side of the seat. From there, she had to inch closer to the edge and finally hop down. It was quite a drop, but she usually landed on her feet. Still, she found the whole process oddly humiliating.

“I have to piss,” Jaye declared not-so-quietly as she walked toward the store. Brynn watched her as she did so, even smiling slightly. She did love her, in spite of her glaring faults. She was just furious that they had to uproot because of her actions. That was a very good job with great pay, an amazing insurance plan and plenty of upward mobility. Jaye had stuck it out much longer than Brynn expected, which is why she decided to invest in a home of their own. Sure, it was expensive, but with the money they both made, it wouldn’t have been a problem. The ink on the contract had barely dried when her boss assigned a different worker to do a job because Jaye wasn’t big or strong enough to pull it off. He wasn’t being mean, nor was he discriminating against her. He simply wanted his workers to be safe and knew that she would be risking her safety had she done it. It was a construction job, after all, and sometimes strength was critical. True to form, Jaye blew a gasket, calling him names and shoving him. She felt he was telling her that she couldn’t do a “man’s job” because she was short. He had no choice but to fire her on the spot.

Knowing that they couldn’t live in the new house on her wage alone, Brynn arranged for them to move in with her Aunt June in California until they could get on their feet. She didn’t want to do it, but felt there was no alternative.

Brynn was deep in thought when she heard a voice from behind her. Judging by his accent, she could tell he was from the south. The southern accent was actually fairly hard to notice, but she always had an ear for such things. It was obvious that he was cultured.

“You look preoccupied,” he said breezily.

She turned to see a good-looking man in his forties putting gas into a blue car. His chestnut-colored hair had an almost feathered look and his eyes were dark and piercing. He wore a brown duster and fairly casual clothes beneath it.

“Yeah,” she replied, “I guess I was a little lost in my own thoughts.”

The man nodded. “There are worse places to be lost, I suppose.” He paused briefly. “So, you’re from South Carolina, huh?”

She looked at him, puzzled as to how he knew that. He recognized the look and pointed to her license plate.

“Oh,” she said, feeling silly, “right.”

“That’s where I’m from too. What brings you all the way out here to Preston? Just passing through?”

Brynn wasn’t really sure how to respond to such questions from a complete stranger. “That’s… kind of a long story. But, yes, we’re just passing through on our way to California.”

The man whistled. “That’s a long way to travel, especially with a little one.”

“Little one?” she asked, confused.

“You know, your daughter. The one that just went into the store.”

Brynn suddenly realized what he meant and once again found herself almost speechless, “She’s… not my daughter. She’s my life partner.”

“My apologies,” he offered, “I didn’t see her up close and from afar she looked like a child. I hope I didn’t offend you.”

Still flustered, she sputtered out, “No. No, I’m not offended.” She looked toward the building to see if Jaye was coming out yet. Halfway under her breath, she mumbled, “Sometimes, I feel like she’s my child.”

“What was that?”

“Oh, nothing. She’s just not always… the most responsible, you know, and I sometimes feel more like a mother cleaning up a child’s messes than a life partner.”

The man projected a lopsided smile. “Do you mind if I ask you a question?”

“You just did,” she said with a smile of her own.


“Really, I don’t mind.”

The man narrowed his eyes and became far more serious. “Do you believe in fate?”

Brynn’s eyes narrowed as well, as she wondered where he was going with this. “Fate? In what context?”

He liked where this was going. “Like how sometimes a person ends up in exactly the place they were meant to be.”

She didn’t respond at first. This man, while disarmingly charming, was moving into “creepy” territory. Being the empathetic type, he could tell he was losing her and quickly sought to rectify that with a slightly different approach. “What would you say if I told you that you could have a nice house, a job that could provide for both of you and assurance that your… life partner’s irresponsibility could do you no further harm?”

He could tell she was intrigued, but leary. Jumping right into the pitch was a gamble, but one he was willing to take.

“I would simply ask what the catch is.”

His smile returned. “I wouldn’t call it a catch at all, to be honest. I’d call it an opportunity to have the life you always dreamed of having. You seem like a very mature young woman who wants some stability in life and I’m telling you that that’s within your reach.”

“No offense, mister, but you don’t know anything about me.”

His self-assurance came to the forefront. “Don’t I? Sweetheart, I’ve been presiding over this town for five years now and I’ve seen hundreds of women just like you come through here. Women who have known only turbulence and chaos; women who are sick of it all and hope beyond hope that someday–someday–their lives would be stable and free of drama. So let me take a wild guess here. You and your girl had a solid place to stay and a decent cashflow, but she did something that caused it all to crumble before your very eyes. With no other recourse, the two of you packed whatever you could fit under the truck’s tarp and headed out to stay with a loved one until one of you–probably you–could find a job.”

The pause was intense, as Brynn felt a swirl of emotions. How could he have possibly known all that? And how dare he make such presumptions! She felt so many things: anger at him for piecing that all together, anger at Jaye for her part in their plight, anger at herself for allowing it all to happen. And then there was the curiosity. Who was this man? What exactly was he proposing? And most importantly, why did she find herself wanting to know more?

Seeing the conflict, the man piped up. “So… how did I do?” The smile was back. That damn smile.

“I… I… I mean, you may have gotten certain parts right,” she said, putting an emphasis on “certain”.

“Fair enough. How about this: you and your little lady can come to my house for a few hours, rest up a tad and my wife will cook us up a nice supper. Hell, you can even grab a shower. We can discuss the opportunity I mentioned and if you aren’t interested, well then, you can be on your way to California as per your original plan.”

A break from driving? A homecooked meal? A shower? Even if his proposal was some kind of con-job, at least she would get something out of it. “Sure. That sounds good.”

The man looked pleased. “Alright then, once your girl returns, you can just follow me. My place isn’t too far from here.”

He started to get back into his car, but realized he hadn’t even introduced himself. Half in and half out of the vehicle, he said, “By the way, the name’s Lucas… Lucas Budd. that’s ‘Budd’ with a ‘B’.”

What had she gotten herself into?

Re: [Preston] The Unlikely Couple (Parts 1-5)

The Unlikely Couple (Part 2)

The truck followed Lucas’ blue car off the highway and through a winding road that passed an old but obviously refurbished stadium used for various local sporting events. After crossing a new-looking little bridge that stretched across a meandering creek, a large house–a mansion–came into view on the left side of the road. The car turned into the long driveway on that property.

“Okay,” questioned Jaye, “now WHY are we following this jackass? He could kill and eat us for all we know.” Her protest went unanswered. “Now isn’t the time for the cold shoulder, Brynn. This could seriously be a dangerous situation.”

With a sigh, Brynn replied, “About a dozen people saw him talking to me at the store. Why would he risk that if he planned to kill us or whatever? Use your head, Jaye.”

“Me?,” Jaye asked incredulously, “I’m the one who needs to use my head? I’m not the one blindly agreeing to go to some stranger’s house! I’d say I’m using my head just fine. It’s you who need to heed your own advice.”

“For once in your life, would you please stop bitching? You’re like a damn child.” Brynn knew that was one of Jaye’s sore spots. She was only four feet, seven inches tall and she hated it. Moreover, she loathed being reminded of it in any capacity. Jaye’s anger was palpable and a sideways glance at her confirmed it. Her lips were pursed tightly shut, her left eye was twitching and her body language was unmistakable. She was furious. No words came out of her mouth. Suddenly, Brynn felt bad for what she said. She was supposed to be the mature one, after all.

“I’m sorry, Jaye. I shouldn’t have said that.” Her voice was softer and gentler now; softer than it had been since they left South Carolina. “This whole situation just has me so stressed me out and I’m scared that I won’t be able to find a good job when we get to Cali… but I shouldn’t snap at you like that. I’m sorry.”

To her surprise, Jaye nodded. “It’s okay. I’m sorry too… for being such an ass. I shouldn’t have gone off on my boss and gotten myself fired.”

Jaye wasn’t normally very good at apologizing or at showing any emotion outside of anger, for that matter. She prided herself on being hard and tough, and talking about her feelings went against that mindset. She was raised by her father after her mother passed away when Jaye was only three. He did his best with Jaye and her sister Raye, but he had no idea how to raise girls. As such, he taught them the only things he knew–auto mechanics, carpentry and boxing; guy stuff. Dealing with Jaye wasn’t usually too dissimilar to dealing with a rather childish man. In a way, that suited Brynn, as she was bi-sexual, whereas Jaye was a full-on lesbian.

Turning into the driveway revealed the true grandeur of the grounds upon which the mansion sat. It was perfectly manicured with tasteful placement of hedges and statues. The mansion itself was Colonial in architectural style, complete with large columns spanning almost the entirety of the front facing. It was beautiful.

By the time they pulled up, Lucas had already gotten out of his car and was leaning against it patiently. He moved to the truck and opened Brynn’s door for her. A true Southern gentleman, she thought. Jaye rolled her eyes at what she perceived was corniness at best, chauvinism at worst. When he started toward the passenger door, Jaye said, “Don’t bother. I got it.” For his part, he looked rather amused by her knee-jerk rejection of gender roles.

Just then, a beautiful blonde-haired woman stepped out of the door. She was almost inhumanly elegant and ladylike, clad in a red dress that hugged her substantial curves from the bosom all the way down her impossibly thin waist and further still to about halfway down her shapely calves. How she could walk in such a long, tight dress was beyond even Brynn. The six-inch peep-toed high heels with ankle straps wouldn’t exactly make walking any easier either, that’s for certain. Brynn was mesmerized by her beauty.

But she wasn’t alone. Trailing right behind her was what looked like a little girl with dark brown hair that reached well past her shoulders. She wore a pink dress with puffed sleeves, white tights and the bulk beneath the dress made it clear that a diaper was part of her ensemble as well. She was adorable, but Brynn couldn’t help to feel as if there was more to her than meets the eye.

Lucas wasted no time with introductions. “This is lovely little creature is my beautiful wife, Shyla.”

The child put her hands on her hips in mock frustration for him not introducing her in the same breath. “Daddyyyyyy,” she said, her little brow furrowed.

“And this is our adorable daughter, Miracle,” he said with a wry smile.

This made the little girl happy. “I’m pleased to make your acquaintance,” she chirped with a curtsey. Even the normally stoic Jaye couldn’t fight off a smile and chuckle at the overt cuteness.

Brynn spoke up and said, “I’m Brynn and this is my life partner, Jaye.”

Shyla came over and shook their hands and told them how nice it was to meet them before inviting them inside, adding that supper would be done soon. The house’s interior was at least as impressive as its exterior. The decor was undeniably old-fashioned and, for the most part, wouldn’t have been out of place in the late Eighteenth Century. They were led to a sitting room, where they took a seat on what looked like an antique sofa. Lucas lowered himself onto a matching chair directly across from them. Shyla and Miracle disappeared into the kitchen.

“So…,” he began, “how long have the two of you been together?”

“Almost three years now,” said Brynn with no small amount of pride. That pride made Lucas grin. Three years seems like a long time when you’re young when, in reality, it’s not terribly long at all. To be youthful and naive again.

“Good for you,” he earnestly stated with a nod.

“How about you and Shyla?”

“Twenty-four years and counting,” he said, causing both Brynn and Jaye to have surprised looks on their faces. Neither of them looked old enough to have been together that long, especially Shyla, who looked no older than thirty.

“What, was she like four years old when you hooked up,” asked Jaye.

Brynn was mortified by her crude remark and she instinctively smacked Jaye’s hand like a misbehaving child. “JAYE!”

“What??” Jaye looked at her like she couldn’t believe she just whacked her hand. “It was a legitimate question.”

Lucas beamed, though the two women had no idea as to the real reason of that. “No, no, it’s okay. I didn’t take any offense. The truth is that she and I are… rather special.”

“Special how?” Brynn didn’t try to stop her from asking, nor did she get on to her for it. She was just as intrigued herself.

“I’m afraid that’s a conversation for another day. Suffice it to say, we don’t exactly age like most people. Same for our kids.”

Jaye’s fascination turned to disbelief. “Bullshit,” she declared. “There’s no way that you found some kind of fountain of youth.”

“Jaye! That’s ENOUGH!” The authoritative tone was unexpected, to say the least. Even Lucas was taken off guard. Maybe what he had planned for them wouldn’t be so difficult after all.

Lucas simply looked amused by what was transpiring before his eyes.

Jaye retorted, “Come on! Surely you don’t buy into this horse shit, Brynn! Does he really expect us to believe that they don’t age?”

Finally, Lucas interjected, “Now I never said anything about never aging. We age… just more slowly than others. It’s a peculiar little genetic quirk with my bloodline. Each of us age differently and we tend to have peculiarities that are beyond the reach of most people. As for Shyla, her father was a scientist who performed really cruel experiments on her. He wanted to create the world’s first enhanced human, but all he did was stunt her aging and allow her to have certain… visions.”

Jaye still wasn’t convinced and verbally made that clear. Brynn, on the other hand, started to think that maybe Lucas was on the level. It was the way he said it; the total conviction in his voice. If he was lying, then he was the best actor in the world.

“Surely you’re not buying into this hokum,” Jaye blurted out, looking at Brynn.

“There are things in this world that defy logic, Jaye. I’m willing to keep an open mind on the matter. I mean, I’ve seen a ghost before, despite science telling everyone that they don’t exist. Maybe this is one of those things.”

Jaye turned her head briskly toward Lucas. “Okay, Ponce de León, why don’t you prove that you have superpowers.”

“Superpowers,” asked Lucas with an eyebrow raised. “Isn’t that a little overdramatic?”

“Fine then. Why don’t you prove that you have these ‘peculiarities’?” The way she emphasized the word ‘peculiarities’ dripped with sarcasm.

Lucas took a deep breath and considered whether or not he should make a demonstration just to appease this immature brat of a girl. He saw Brynn was also waiting to hear his response and in order for his machinations to come to fruition, he had to make a believer out of her. He hated being put on the spot like this.

His eyes met Jaye’s and he peered deep into the recesses of her mind. It was something that took a decent amount of concentration and energy. While he could read surface thoughts without even trying, delving into long-ago memories was a different matter entirely.

After about a minute, he emitted a cocky grin and said, “Do you remember when you were fourteen and your father had to make a trip to Boston but couldn’t take you with him? He had your Uncle Seth stay at the house and watch over you. And Seth? He was a real stickler, wasn’t he? He and his wife thought you should have been raised more like a girl, so she brought some dresses and other girly clothes with him on his visit with the intention of making you wear them. But you threw a fit, kicked him in the cajones and then went into hiding until your dad got back home.”

By the time he had finished talking, Jaye was staring at him, mouth agape. Brynn, too, was astounded, even though she had never heard that story before.

“H-How…,” stuttered Jaye, “did you know that?”

That lopsided smile was back and with a wink, he responded with only a single word. “Superpowers.”

Re: [Preston] The Unlikely Couple (Parts 1-5)

The Unlikely Couple (Part 3)

Fortunately for all involved, the awkward situation that just transpired was interrupted by Miracle coming in and announcing that supper was ready. Neither Jaye or Brynn remembered much about the meal that followed aside from the food being of utmost quality. They were still trying to process Lucas’ demonstration of his ability to read memories like most people read the daily newspaper. Jaye was more rattled by it than Brynn was, however. Brynn had already believed Lucas’ claims, so she was more mentally prepared for it. Even still, figuring it might be true and actually witnessing it were two different things entirely.

In any event, they were introduced to the rest of the Budd family during the meal. There was the oldest son, Dante, who was a physical specimen; large and muscular. The youngest son couldn’t have been much younger than Dante, but was significantly smaller in statue. Supposedly, he was one of the most intelligent people in the world and quite the inventor. The most puzzling of the lot was the oldest daughter, Melanie, who was the sweetest creature Brynn and Jaye had ever seen and as innocent as the driven snow… a stark contrast to her little sister, Miracle, who had this undefinable darkness bubbling beneath the “cutesy” surface. One thing was for sure: this one one strange family.

Small talk was made and although Brynn was the one doing the talking between the two of them, Lucas and Miracle chatted enough for everyone. They were so very much alike. As already stated, most of the conversation was hazy… especially to Jaye, who was clearly very sleepy once supper was concluded. Little did they know, Miracle and Lucas slipped something into her drink to accelerate the tiredness.

“We have a nice guest room with a comfortable bed if you’d like to lie down, sweetie,” offered Shyla. To Brynn’s surprise, Jaye agreed and more shocking still, she didn’t lose her temper at being called “sweetie”. Brynn even did a classic double-take.

Upon Shyla leading Jaye upstairs, Lucas and Brynn moved to the beautiful patio out back of the house. Lucas’ suggestion, naturally. This was her first glimpse of the backyard, which was tastefully landscaped and laden with a swingset and other areas for children to frolic.

“I couldn’t help notice how you interact with Jaye,” Lucas said as he sat down in a comfortable-looking chair. He motioned for her to sit in an identical chair, which she did.

“How do you mean?”

Lucas chose his next words wisely and it was clear that he was doing so. He clasped his hands together and placed both index fingers to his chin. “Let’s just say that I’ve seen many couples over the years–lesbian or otherwise–but I’ve never seen a couple in which one partner acts like the parent of the other. At least not outside of Preston.”

That last little bit about Preston confused Brynn slightly, but she was more concerned with the rest of what he said. “I don’t know what you mean,” she said, obviously lying as much to herself as to Lucas.

With a chuckle, Lucas said, “Yes you do.”

She started to lie again, but if the demonstration earlier taught her anything, it was that she couldn’t get anything past him. “It’s not always like that. Really. But she’s just a terrible decision maker and so argumentative that sometimes, I just can’t help it.”

Lucas nodded. “I saw how you smacked her hand without even thinking about it, like it was the most natural thing in the world for you. Do you want to know why?”

Brynn wasn’t sure she did. It;s easier to sweep such matters under the rug than it is to face them head on. Lucas spotted her reluctance and went forward with the answer. “It’s because you think of yourself in a motherly manner toward her more than how one lover would think of another lover.”

“That’s not true. I love Jaye very much.”

“Nobody’s trying to say otherwise. I can see the love in your eyes when you look at her, just as I can see the love in her eyes. The amount you love each other isn’t in question here… it’s the TYPE of love that’s in question.”

Brynn felt slightly offended. “I love her as a life partner.”

“Look deeper, sweetheart. How long has it been since the two of you have been intimate?”

“It’s been a while,” she confessed, “but that’s just because of stress.”

“Are you certain,” he queried.

“I… think so. I don’t know. Maybe it’s partly because she frustrates me so often. Every time I turn around, I’m having to clean up some mess that she created; like the night a police officer came to our door to ask if we’d seen any suspicious activity in the neighborhood. She said something along the lines of ‘not until you fucking pigs woke us up.’ Then she slammed the door on him and it actually hit him in the face. She was looking at charges being pressed, but I came to the rescue and diffused the situation. It’s like that a lot. Her temper or immaturity causes drama… and I scramble around trying to fix it. It does get old and it’s hard to get, y’know, in a sexual mood when that kind of nonsense happens so much.”

Just the breakthrough Lucas was hoping for. He moved in for the kill. “What would you say if I told you that I could fix all of that? That I could make sure that you had the authority to do something about her behavior? That you could finally live a productive life without your so-called partner mucking it up for you?”

Brynn was floored. “What exactly do you mean?”

Without hesitation, he pressed the attack. “Just what I mentioned to you back at the gas station. I have several small houses on the back property of my land here. I would be happy to sign one over to you, lock, stock and barrel. It would be yours… all yours. No strings attached.”

Suddenly, this started to sound good to her on some level she couldn’t comprehend. “What about money? I won’t just mooch off of you.”

“Getting you a job would be a cinch, Brynn. Hell, if you’re interested, we’re looking for a maid to help Shyla out around the house. The job is yours if you want it. And if not, there’s a lot of other jobs around town.”

Brynn wasn’t entirely sold. “I still don’t get how this has anything to do with Jaye and her behavior.”

Lucas whipped out that crooked smile again. Whatever he was about to say, Brynn could tell that he was quite proud of it. “That’s where the town’s… rather unique laws come into play.”

So there WAS a catch! She knew it! “Unique laws?”

“That’s right: unique laws. You see, Preston isn’t just any old knock-about town. It’s a patriarchal utopia of my own creation.”

“You’re trying to tell me that you created this town?”

Lucas replied, “Well, not exactly. When I arrived here close to ten years ago, the town was circling the proverbial drain. It was like the Titanic. People were boarding the lifeboats and abandoning the ship. Jobs were scarce, crime was consequently out of control and businesses were closing by the droves. The city was in need of an enema… and I gave it one. It took a lot of ‘doing’, but I nabbed a position as the county’s Sheriff and then went on to gain mayorship, both of which I still have today. But here’s the kicker. I used some political leverage–even all the way up to Washington DC itself–to enact a slew of laws.”

“What do you mean, laws?”

“Laws that enforce patriarchy,” Lucas said simply, as if that would be a sufficient explanation.

“Patriarchy? Isn’t that male supremacy garbage?”

Lucas did so love a challenge. “In a manner of speaking, though it’s not quite as ugly as you make it seem. In Preston, women are owned by men, though there are laws in place to keep women safe. If a man breaks those rules, he’s up shit creek without even a boat, let alone a paddle. Women may have to do what they’re told and are property, but they are respected as inferior people who must be protected by their betters.”

Brynn couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “You’ve GOT to be kidding me!”

“I’m afraid not,” stated Lucas, knowing that he still ‘had’ her regardless of her exasperation and anger. There was something down in her brain that made this all intriguing to her. He could practically smell it, the way a dog can smell a bone.

She stood up. “I will not be owned by a man. Ever. I appreciate your hospitality, but I think Jaye and I should be leaving now.”

Lucas wasn’t shaken in the least. “Jaye is too tired to travel anywhere right now. Why don’t you at least stay the night and you can leave in the morning. I’m not going to kidnap you or anything. Remember… we have those laws that protect women from that manner of thing. We have more protections for women than any other city in the world.”

Brynn slowly took her seat, just as he knew she would. Lucas knew, however, that a different angle had to be taken in order to seal the deal. “Brynn, let me ask you something.”

She suspiciously agreed and he continued. “Have you ever been sexually assaulted?”

“That’s none of your business,” she exclaimed, “Have you been sifting through my memories?” She was not a happy camper.

“Actually, no.” He wasn’t lying. “It was just a hunch.”

That seemed to calm her down, as she didn’t feel so violated. With a sigh, she said, “It was a long time ago. I was at a friend’s birthday party when I was thirteen. Her creepy uncle was there and when I went inside to go to the bathroom, he… was waiting. It all happened so fast. I tried to force it out of my mind, but even all these years later, every time I close my eyes, he’s there; waiting for me just like on that day.”

Lucas placed his hand on hers in an attempt to comfort her. He genuinely felt bad. For all of his vices and faults (of which he had plenty), he could never condone rape… especially the rape of a child. It was abhorrent to him. Brynn sensed his sincerity and relaxed, fighting back the tears.

“Did he go to jail?”

She shook her head in the negative. “No. He told me it was our secret game and that if I ever told anyone, he would have to kill me and my whole family.”

“You mean you’ve kept this inside all this time?”

She simply nodded and bit her lower lip, the tears finding their way out of her eyes and down her cheeks. “I never even told Jaye. I have no idea why I told you.”

“Sometimes, it’s easiest to talk about things to someone you don’t really know.”

Again, she just nodded. She hated crying, especially in front of people.

Lucas allowed the moment to hang in the air for a minute before saying, “Maybe that’s why the thought of patriarchy scares the hell out of you. I know I’d be terrified of it had I been raped as a child. The truth is that patriarchy, when implemented well, PROTECTS against rape. It recognizes that men are stronger and more powerful and that a man–a GOOD man-- must do everything in his power to keep them safe; to be their defender against predators like your friend’s uncle. In Preston, we have the lowest sexual assault rate, per capita, in the world. This is literally the safest place on the planet for a woman to be.”

“I… I guess that’s probably true,” Brynn conceded.

“I would be happy to take ownership of you if you were to accept my offer. Jaye too, for that matter. You’ve seen that I’m no ordinary man; that I can do things… and believe me when I say you haven’t seen everything I can do. I will keep you both safe. But you WILL have to follow the town laws.”

The expression on Brynn’s face told Lucas that she was going to be more agreeable from this point on.

Sniffling and wiping her eyes to rid herself of the lingering tears, she asked, “What exactly are the laws? I mean aside from just having to be owned and stuff.”

“I have a little booklet that outlines everything for new arrivals. I’ll get one for you shortly. In a nutshell, you have to do what your owner says, within reason, and you must dress and act more feminine. Not that you don’t act feminine, but I’m just laying the details out for you. Pants are against the law, for example, as are flat shoes. Hosiery has to be worn as well.”

Brynn allowed herself a half-chuckle. “There’s no way Jaye will agree to any of this. She’s very much a tomboy and a stubborn one at that.”

“Lucky for you, I’m willing to have her declared incompetent by Alexander, who is a licensed psychologist and psychiatrist. That would put her, essentially, in your custody… just like a child. And since she acts so childish anyway… well, let’s just say that I have some ideas to run by you that I think you’re REALLY going to like.”

Lucas had her in the palm of his hand. Not that he ever had any doubts about that in the first place. It is, after all, what he does… and nobody does it better.

Re: [Preston] The Unlikely Couple (Parts 1-5)

The Unlikely Couple (Part 4)

Jaye walked on the side of the highway, a duffel bag slung over her shoulder. The car that gave her a ride as soon as she left the Budds’ driveway had dropped her off here. Her anger was obvious, even to someone passing by. Her body language said it all… and it spoke volumes. She couldn’t believe what Brynn and that fucked up family were suggesting. The very thought made her seethe! And then there’s the fact that Brynn let her go! She thought she loved her, but now she could see that that wasn’t the case at all. She wondered if she ever loved her. To hell with it. If Brynn would rather be with the Addams Family, so be it. Fuck her! She didn’t need her. She didn’t need ANYONE!

Just then, a car pulled over just ahead of her. It was a sleek, blue 1968 Ford Galaxie. She and Raye had worked on a '66 model back at her dad’s shop and they both admired it so. The one in front of her wasn’t in as good of shape as the one they had repaired, but it certainly wasn’t a rat-trap by any means. She sped her pace up and found the passenger door was opening. Four men were inside, all of them falling into the classic “redneck” stereotype. The one in the passenger seat, a stout-looking brute with an unshaven face and beady eyes, grabbed her as she neared the vehicle and pulled her in. She was taken completely by surprise and even though she struggled, they contained her easily enough. Within seconds, the door was closed again and the car sped eastward, throwing the gravel from the road’s shoulder everywhere.

But perhaps we should back up a couple of hours…

“Don’t tell me you’re falling for this bullshit,” barked Jaye. It was morning and, as usual, Brynn had woken up first. She sat on the edge of the bed, already dressed for the day, whereas Jaye was still disheveled and covered from the waist down in the blankets; her short hair stuck up like a rooster’s comb.

“I’m not falling for anything, Jaye. It just makes sense to me. It’s a free house and I can get a job to support us. It would keep us from having to live with Aunt June and I KNOW how much you hate her.” She put her hand on Jaye’s knee. “This is a great opportunity for us… and if you agree to it, I’ll completely forgive you for everything. It will show me that you’re trying to make things right.”

Jaye almost looked as if she was considering it; she DID feel bad for screwing things up back in South Carolina. But then a look of irritation came over her face. “I’m not living by those stupid laws you told me about. I’m not a girlie girl and I never will be!”

“It wouldn’t kill you to wear a damn dress, Jaye!” Brynn was getting fed up with her ridiculous resistance. Staying in Preston made sense. Brynn herself wasn’t particularly fond of having to wear dresses, pantyhose and high heels, but she was mature enough to suck it up if it meant finally having a sense of security.

“It’s not happening, so you may as well get that shit out of your head. Were heading to California and that’s final!” If Brynn wasn’t so aggravated, having someone so little issuing orders like that wouldn’t have been rather amusing. But as it stood, she found no humor in it whatsoever.

“The truck is in my name and you aren’t tall enough to drive the damn thing, so I don’t think you’re in a position to demand anything, missy!”

“Missy? MISSY??” Jaye was infuriated. “Who the fuck do you think you are, talking down to me that way? I’m older than you!”

“You sure don’t act like it! No, we’re staying and THAT’S final!” Brynn using Jaye’s own verbiage against her felt nice.

Jaye hopped down from the bed–and for her, it really was a hop. She stepped into her distressed jeans and pulled on her tank top over her sports bra (not that she really needed a bra). Once she got her boots on, she spoke again. “You know what? If you want to stay here, fine! But you’re going to do it without me.” On that overdramatic note, she spun around and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

This wasn’t the first time Jaye had declared that it’s over between them and left. Or even the second… or fifth. She was the queen of overreaction. Invariably, such incidents ended with Jaye walking and cooling off before coming back and making it out like she was doing Brynn a favor by sticking around. She was sure this time would be no different.

Brynn walked out of the bedroom as well, feeling a sense of deja vu. Lucas and Shyla were at the bottom of the stairs, wondering what happened to cause Jaye to stomp her way out the front door.

Lucas said, “I’d ask if everything was okay, but judging by the little ball of anger rolling right on out of here, I’d say that would have been a stupid question.”

With an exasperated sigh, Brynn replied, “She does this all the time. She’ll be back in an hour or two.”

“Maybe we should at least keep a set of eyes on her, just to make sure she’s alright,” offered Shyla.

Brynn nodded. “It couldn’t hurt. She doesn’t know the area well and I’m afraid she might get lost.”

Lucas already started walking away when he said, “I’ll have Alexander deploy one of his drones.”

By this point, the weight of the argument hit Brynn. She wiped away a tear. “I just don’t understand why she has to do this shit.”

Shyla took her hand. “Sweetheart, women shouldn’t curse. But I’m sure she’ll be fine, okay?” There was something soothing about the lady’s voice that put her more at ease.

“You’re right. I need to be strong for when she gets back.”

Within minutes, Alexander came out with a very high-tech drone. It was unlike anything she had ever seen before; like something straight from a futuristic science fiction film. He walked outside and let it fly. To her surprise, however, he wasn’t controlling it at all. He had what looked like a tablet in his hands, but he wasn’t using it to operate the drone. That meant that it was more of a robot than an actual drone.

“Okay, it’s on the job,” Alexander said as he walked back into the house, looking down at the tablet. “So far, it hasn’t laid eyes on her. I’ll be alerted as soon as it does.”

“She couldn’t have gotten far,” mused Brynn. “She just left a few minutes ago.”

Alexander almost cut her off. “The drone spotted a silver car that had, according to the tire marks and heat signatures, stopped in front of our driveway before pulling off. It detects two people inside, one of which is significantly smaller than the other. I’m having it follow the car.”

“Oh my God,” Brynn exclaimed with tears welling up, “she really IS going to leave.”

Lucas intervened. “No she’s not, sweetheart. She’s angry, she’s confused and this person in the car probably just came by before she could cool down. She’ll probably have them turn the car back around soon. Until then, we’re going to keep tabs on her, okay? She’ll be fine.”

Brynn nodded, still fearing the worst. Lucas and Shyla spent the next stretch of time trying to comfort Brynn and keep her calm. Alexander looked up from his device and stated, “She’s out of the car… east of town.”

“Is she walking back this way,” asked Brynn with hope in her eyes.

Alexander waited a moment before replying. “No, she’s continuing east.” There was another pause. Another car has pulled up in front of her. This isn’t good."

Jaye thrashed about in the back seat in an effort to attack her captors. She was striking the two men with both her fists and her feet. They would no sooner secure one limb when she would free another one to continue her assault with. Despite her scrappiness, however, she wasn’t even remotely close to escaping their clutches. They were far too strong for her to be a true threat to them, especially in such close quarters. But that didn’t stop her from trying.

The car had veered off of the highway more than ten minutes ago and was travelling on gravel-covered country roads.

“I hope we’re almost there, Mort. This little cunt is hard to keep a hold of.”

The driver responded. “Just shut up and restrain her, dumbass. We’ll be there in a coupl’a minutes. Knocker her ass out if ya need to.”

A large fist came crashing down on Jaye’s face with a thud of flesh meeting flesh. It hurt like hell, but they underestimated her resilience. Everything was blurry and she was seeing double. Despite that, she managed to slur out, “My eighty-year-old grandma punches harder that that, fuck-face.” The next punch did the trick and she was out cold.

When she regained consciousness, she was in a bare-bones bedroom. It was obviously little more than a shack–old, dilapidated and sparsely furnished. The room contained a boarded-up window, the nasty, stain-covered bed she was laying on, a bare nightstand and a hard-backed chair. She began to get up off the bed, but quickly learned that her left ankle had one handcuff around it. The other end anchored her to the metal footboard. Damn her small ankles! No matter how hard she pulled and yanked, the footboard wouldn’t budge and the cuffs were too tight to slip out of.

Just then, the men’s voices could be heard, though she couldn’t make out what they were saying. They were entering the shack, their heavy boots causing quite the racket on the rickey wooden floors. A cluster of seconds later, her door opened and the men walked in.

The one called Mort was sporting a vile grin and chuckling. “Well, well, well. It looks like the tiny fighter is awake. I figgered you’d be out longer. I’ll say one thing for ya… you shore can take a punch for such a scrawny little shit.”

Angered by the comment about her size–not to mention being kidnapped–Jaye lunged and took a wild swing at him, missing by about a foot due to those damnable cuffs! Instead, she fell flat on her face. The men snatched her up and threw her back onto the squeaky old bed. Three of them held her down, while Mort unlocked the cuffs. She again tried to attack, but it was impossible.

“Keep 'er still, boys,” Mort said, unzipping her pants and yanking them down, “I don’t like a bunch’a squirmin’ around.”

Suddenly, Jaye’s anger turned into abject fear. Her reality slammed into her. She was going to be gang raped by these backwood hicks… and she was helpless to stop it. This realization made her do something she hadn’t done since her mother passed away: cry.

Mort maneuvered himself into position on top of her. All she could see was his eternally-grinning face and predatory eyes staring right into hers. He was enjoying this; enjoying that he finally struck terror into her.

Before he could enter her, a familiar voice could be heard from the doorway. It belonged to Lucas Budd. “You fellas have time to talk about the lord and savior, Jesus Christ?”

All four men spun around in shock. Mort bellowed out, “What the HELL?”

Lucas, without missing a beat, retorted, “Well now, hell is a topic for another day. For now, let’s just stick to the basics… like how to save your soul when you meet your maker here in a few seconds.”

Suddenly, another figure appeared to Lucas’ left. It was miracle, looking chipper as hell. “Daddy,” she teased, “Don’t play with your food before you eat it. Let’s just get to the fun stuff.”

By then, Mort and his boys had enough time to register what was going on and they started stalking threateningly across the room toward Lucas and Miracle. Mort snarled, “Boy, you just done went and fucked up.”

Miracle’s face suddenly scrunched up a bit, her little tongue sticking out with concentration. Immediately thereafter, one of the rednecks–the beady-eyed one who abducted Jaye–let out a gurgle, clutched his head and screamed in agony. Blood poured from every orifice as he collapsed to the floor. He was dead before his body’s thud could even be heard. Unshaken by their friend’s demise, the others continued. Miracle stepped back, leaving Lucas to deal with the others.

Jaye couldn’t really see what was going on, but it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a fisticuff had erupted. As suddenly as it all started, the fight stopped. Only one of the hicks was left… Mort. The dazed man staggered back into the bedroom, scared out of his wits.

“Daddy, can I melt his brain? Pleeeeeease, Daddy?” She sounded like an average five-year-old begging for a new toy at the store.

“G-g-get back from me, y-you freaks,” yelled Mort, still backing up.

Miracle, paying no mind to the frightened would-be rapist, persisted. “Pleeeeeeaaase??”

“Not this time, sweetie. This one belongs to me.” Gone was the southern charm. Gone was the jovial nature. Gone was the wry smile. It was all replaced by menace. Pure, unadulterated menace. A smile appeared. A different smile. One that was more chilling than anything Jaye had ever seen in her life. And his narrowed eyes never strayed from being locked with Mort’s.

Lucas walked toward him with vicious intent. All that could be heard for miles around was a bloodcurdling scream that ended abruptly. Mort would never rape anyone…. Ever again.

Re: [Preston] The Unlikely Couple (Parts 1-5)

The Unlikely Couple (Part 5)

Jaye’s eyes fluttered open. Correction: her left eye fluttered open. The right one had swollen almost to the point of being completely shut. She felt like she had been hit by a Mack truck; sore, aching and throbbing all over her body. At first, she was disoriented, but soon remembered what happened. With a quick examination, it came to her that she was back in the guest room at Lucas’ mansion. She never thought she’d be glad to be there!

Brynn was sitting ever-vigilant in the antique chair next to the bed. She had been crying. Her eyes always looked puffy after she cried, tipping Jaye off. When Brynn realized that Jaye was awake, she moved to sit on the side of the bed.

“How are you feeling, sweetie,” she asked, pulling some of Jaye’s hair behind her ear to get it out of her face. Jaye had short hair, but it was growing out, especially in the front.

“I’m fine.”

Brynn looked at her squarely, knowing that she was full of crap and trying to play “tough”. It was a look Jaye knew well. “You were kidnapped, beaten up, chained to a bed and almost raped… and you’re going to tell me that you’re fine?”

The jig was up. She saw through Jaye’s act. “Okay, so I’ve been better.”

“Jaye, I love you and I will always love you, but you have to stop this behavior. Look at what almost happened. You could have been raped and even killed. I can’t let that happen again. If you love me as much as I love you, you’re going to have to make changes.”

It was hard for Jaye to be too mad about what she was saying. Part of it was because she said it so lovingly and sweetly. The other part of it was because she wasn’t feeling so feisty after what happened today… yesterday? She had no idea how much time had passed. She was out like a light.

When Jaye didn’t reply, she knew she wasn’t going to be met with as much resistance as she had feared.

Given the absence of words, Brynn knew that it was the time to give her some of the details. She felt less trepidatious about it now. She had been raped herself and having Jaye come within seconds of being raped as well made her realize that in order to protect her, she was going to have to be firm. Loving, but firm.

“Jaye, I’ve been talking to Lucas and Shyla. We’ve all come to the conclusion that it’s best for us to stay here permanently so that I can take care of you and…”

That’s when Jaye found her voice, interrupting Brynn. “But I don’t need to be…”

Brynn returned the favor of interrupting with a tone of voice that made it clear what she was saying was not a request or an offer. It was a demand. “Yes, you do. You proved that yesterday. Now, don’t interrupt me again, little lady.”

Jaye was shellshocked. Did she just call her “little lady”. When she started to protest, Brynn shushed her with a “tcch” sound and a finger.

“As I was saying, we’re staying here from now on and we will both abide by every single law this town has to offer. We’ve had paperwork done to take the privilege of adulthood away from you. It’s not a punishment, it’s protection from yourself. You will now live as my little girl.”

“I’m NOT a…” Another “tcch” stopped her in her tracks, much to Brynn’s own amazement. This was so very empowering!

“You ARE a little girl, even in the eyes of the law. It’s all been arranged. There’s no backing out now.” She relished the look of helplessness that was developing on Jaye’s face. “For all intents and purposes, you will be two years old and every year on your birthday, you’ll turn two years old again.”

Jaye’s mouth was wide open. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. How was this even legal, even in this weird city? She wanted to speak. Really, she did. But no words came out.

“You will dress, talk and act like a baby or else you will be punished. I’m sorry to do this, but this is what you need. You can’t go around acting like a big tough adult who thinks she’s as good as any man. I won’t let something bad happen to you ever again and if I have to make you hate me in order to do so, then I will. In time, you will learn to accept me as your ‘mommy’ and become a very good baby girl.”

More stunned silence from Jaye.

“I know this is a lot to take in right now. Your whole world is going to change. Mine too, for that matter. So, I’ll give you some time to digest it all and leave you be for a little while. When I come back, I’ll have an outfit to put on you so we can go buy ourselves new clothes. Okay?”

Even in her dumbfounded state, Jaye knew that Brynn’s “okay” wasn’t so much a question as it was just a way of ending the conversation. With that, Brynn stood up, smoothed out her skirt (something jaye had never seen her wear) and left the room, closing the door softly behind her.

So many questions flew around her head like a violent maelstrom. Didn’t Brynn want to be her life partner any more? Why was she doing this to her? What would it take to bring her to her senses? What ulterior motives did Lucas Budd have? Did he want Brynn for himself? How could she not see how demented all this was?

She was certainly angry with Brynn and she wanted so badly to hate her for this… but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Sure Jaye was a cocky, brash tomboy who didn’t always make good choices, but she loved Brynn more than words could express. She couldn’t shake that love, no matter how hard she tried. When she threw her tantrum earlier and began walking back to South Carolina, she missed her after only a few minutes. Only her stubbornness and pride kept her from turning back around. And when she was cuffed to the bed in that remote shack, the only thing she could think about was that the last words she said to Brynn were filled with venom. Had she been murdered, her final memory of her would have been one of hostility and that thought petrified her. No, she couldn’t live without Brynn. She would have to try to find a way to convince her that this town and its laws were unhealthy and perverted.

“So, how did it go with your little one,” asked Lucas as Brynn descended the dark wooden staircase. “Little one”. She oddly liked the sound of that. It made her feel warm inside.

“Better than I expected. You were right. When I showed authority, she acquiesced. I can’t believe it worked. She kept butting in and I made that noise that parents make when quieting their unruly children… and she stopped. Every time.”

Lucas looked proud of her. “Good for you, sweetheart. I told you it would work. Little ones often have a lot of swagger, especially the fiery tomboys, but they were never truly adults emotionally. Once all that bluster is peeled back, the real ‘them’ comes out. It’s a slow, sometimes frustrating, process, but it’s one of the most rewarding endeavors you’ll ever take. I promise.”

Brynn blushed slightly. “I have to admit that it did feel good when I laid down the law to her. It was like I finally had some measure of control in the relationship. Before, it was just me reacting to whatever ruckus she caused… like I was simply along for the ride.”

“Now you see why it’s so important to go through with this,” said Shyla. Her smile was always so genuine and put Brynn’s mind at ease.

“I do. I wasn’t too sure before, but I definitely see it now.”

Switching gears, Shyla asked, “How are you doing with the new outfit?”

It took Brynn a second or two to realize what she was asking, since the subject change was without a segue. “Oh. It’s nice. Different than anything I’m used to, but nice. I’m still not sure about the shoes.”

Shyla had started her off with simple 3-inch pumps since she had never worn heels before. Judging by how quickly she picked up walking in them, Shyla figured she’d be strutting around in 6.5-inch heels in no time at all. She enjoyed helping women find their feminine side. In a strange way, as the wife of the mayor and county sheriff, she felt like it was her duty to guide newcomers who weren’t adept in the ways of femininity. It gave her a sense of pride. Shyla had always gone to great lengths to uphold her self-appointed duty, going so far as to offer private lessons for walking in high heels and the art of pleasing men. She viewed herself as something akin to a tutor.

In addition to that role, Shyla was incredibly civic minded. Organizing city wide events, helping charitable organizations and anything else she felt would improve the community. This attitude and her engrossing personality has made her the city’s most beloved public figure, even over Lucas himself. The people generally respect Lucas and everything he’s done to save the city, but Shyla is absolutely cherished.

“In time, you’ll wonder why you didn’t wear heels before coming to Preston. With your high arches, you were born to wear them.”

Brynn smiled. She liked it when people showed confidence in her.

“Not to interrupt, ladies,” said Lucas, “but we need to prepare for the second stage of ‘babyfying’ your little Jaye.”

“Second stage? What’s the second stage?” Brynn was a little confused.

Lucas explained, “I’ve found it’s easiest to turn a woman into a little one when you break the whole process down into manageable stages. Stage One was what you just did upstairs… telling her in no uncertain terms how things are going to be from here on out. Stage Two is getting Jaye dressed in appropriate clothes for her new age. It’s going to be bumpy, but necessary.”

Brynn looked up the stairs toward the guest room, as if dreading the “bumpy” ordeal. Lucas spotted it right away, placing a hand of comfort on her shoulder. “Don’t worry, sweetheart. We’re all in this together. Besides, you showed her who’s boss up there a little while ago. She hasn’t forgotten this soon.”

Lucas turned his attention toward Shyla. “I’m going to take Melanie up to heal Jaye’s eye up. We don’t want that marring her pretty little cherubic face. I want you to go find an outfit for her to wear. I’m sure Miracle has something that will work in a pinch. Once you’re done, bring it upstairs. We have to hit her with a rapid-fire combination of things so that she won’t have time to brace herself for any of them.”

Her pivoted his head back to Brynn. “As soon as Melanie does her thing, you’ll give Jaye a bath.”

“Okay,” said Brynn with more self assurance. Just as Lucas turns to find Melanie, she spoke up again. It was obvious she felt foolish. “Lucas… I have kind of a stupid question to ask.”

“I can’t imagine a stupid question coming from a smart, beautiful little thing like yourself. But go ahead. I’m all ears.”

“Well… as you’ve seen on Jaye’s paperwork, her actual name is Jaylene. And… I was wondering if we could start calling her that instead of ‘Jaye’. I mean, I know it probably sounds stupid or mean, because she hates it, but…”

With a smile, Lucas countered. “Say no more, darlin’. ‘Jaylene’ it is. We’ll call her that and make her answer to it as well.”

“I’ve just always hated the name ‘Jaye’, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, you know? But now, somehow, I find myself emboldened a bit, I guess you could say. And since I’m her boss now, I’d rather not have to call her by a name that I don’t care for.”

Lucas liked where her mind was at, already getting the hang of the whole ‘mommy thing’. “Plus,” he added with a wink, “she’ll sound cute as a button saying ‘Jaylene’ in baby-talk. Now, let’s get the ball rolling. We have a little one to attend to.”