Madolyn hardened up again overnight.
Jesus Christ! What had she been thinking?!
Her own son?!
She’d just gone to putty in his hands!
It must be something to do with those damned dollar bills! Some other spell he’d cast to make her act like some giddy schoolgirl on her first date!
I love you?! Had she actually repeated that over and over to him? To the little bastard that was paying her a buck apiece to do demeaning things for him?!
How could she have just—?!
Tight-ass-Madolyn was indeed flailing the hell out of her.
And she embraced it. She deserved to be flailed! He was her own SON for godssake! And he kept making her humiliate herself for him! And she had just EMBRACED him last night! Both literally and figuratively!
How COULD she?!
But there was a point to it, she defended herself against tight-ass-Madolyn’s lash. She’d gotten two more of the damned dollars. She was up to ten now. And he only had three more left, and then he’d be out of advantages over her.
Still, the lash beat her shoulders again, her OWN SON?!
A few minutes later, Rob wandered out into the kitchen, poured himself a cup of coffee, and sat at the table with her. “I had a wonderful time last night, Madolyn,” he sighed with a smile.
Her eyes moved to him, and there was a moment like a little bunny had waved welcome greeting to a squad of mercenary grizzlies. That hadn’t eaten in three weeks. And were rabid.
Even Rob thought the bunny might should bolt from the room. As fast as he could go. A little faster even.
Instead he dropped his eyes to his coffee cup and stayed very still. Like the grizzlies might not notice him if he made no further noise.
“‘What?’“ Madolyn lowered her voice in mock imitation of her son, “‘Didn’t you have a good time?’ Do you THINK I might have a good time, Rob?! On a date, with my own SON?! Where we kept KISSING each other?! ON THE LIPS?! WITH TONGUE?! Do you THINK that’s a good idea?! In any way, shape or form?! Hmm?!”
Possums and rabbits will sometimes stay utterly still, the stillness of death, so that a scary predator might move on to better prey. Rob did this as well.
It didn’t work.
“And you PUT YOUR HAND ... ON MY BREAST?! Rob, WHAT THE HELL?! Do you THINK it’s a good idea to PAW YOUR MOTHER?!”
Foolishly, Rob twitched. A possum could have told him better. “You, uhm,” he said very very quietly without raising his eyes, “seemed happy last night?”
“You PAID me! With those DAMNED DOLLARS! To be your date and to KISS you. And to ... LET you PAW MY BOOB!”
“I didn’t MAKE you. You CHOSE to do that for a dollar. If you don’t want the dollars, give them back.”
“No way, mister! I earned them, I’m keeping them.”
“Then QUIT BITCHING about it! If you CHOSE to do stuff for them, quit complaining!”
At this point, the little bunny would cover his eyes with his paw and slink away. Standing up to the bears like this, poor Rob was simply doomed ...
“You shouldn’t be ASKING me to do things like that!”
“I DIDN’T ask you to do SOME of it! YOU were the one that went,” he shifted to falsetto, “Oh, I WUUV you Rob! I WUUV you SOOOO much!” he dropped out of falsetto, “So I KINDA got the idea you were enjoying it!”
They glared at each other a few seconds.
Rob thought he’d gotten an advantage and pushed it. Foolish boy. “And at the end of the night, you pull me to you for another kiss and tell me what a WONDERFUL time you had! WHAT?! Were you just LYING to me?! Why?! You HAD no reason to lie to me at that point! You DID enjoy it!”
“I was still drunk on making out!” she growled, surly. “I ... wasn’t thinking straight, dammit!”
“You ENJOYED it! You haven’t—It’s natural! It’s natural for people to love each other! Including physically! But you haven’t been out on a date since Dad was such a shit to you! You haven’t—let—yourself TRUST men! And ... you shouldn’t HURT like that! Okay?! It’s not right! If anyone else mistreated you like that—made it so you could never love and relax and be natural with someone ever again—if it were anyone else, I would KILL them! For mistreating you like that, I would kill them.
“But ... I can’t. It’s you. You’re doing it. To yourself. And I just ... want to ... help it ... make it better. I ...” Rob stopped, shocked, like he’d just ripped off all his clothes in a tantrum and stood there naked and honest. Trying to be defiant despite being nekkid.
Madolyn was still just glaring at him, eyes furious.
He walked out, out of the kitchen, back to his room. He wasn’t going to stand there, metaphorically stripped naked while she was still decked out in battle armor.
Goddammit—he just—he wanted to—
Hell, he didn’t even know anymore.
He grabbed his novel and buried himself in it for a while.
By 10:00, he wandered back out to the kitchen. He’d pulled on his metaphorical armor this time too—he wasn’t going to get caught unarmored again after a night of honesty—and he was ready to meet battle with battle.
Which was good, because he could see Madolyn still had dark clouds over her head.
“Hi,” he opened the match with the first move, the traditional saluting of your opponent.
She looked at him, eyes hung there a moment in contempt, then she looked back out the window. Her form of scornful salute, he guessed.
The match was on.
“I’ll give you a dollar—” he flicked the bill out of his pocket and held it up.
“Don’t you DARE,” she hissed warning.
“Don’t you FUCKING DARE, Robert!” Profanity—she’d drawn the lethal weapons. Madolyn rarely cursed, and when she did, it meant she intended a decisive victory over the one she was facing. She meant to cut him down.
Rob continued with the weapon he’d started with. “—run around naked for a couple hours here for me.” That was HIS telling blow. She wouldn’t go down immediately, she’d fight it, maybe for hours. But he’d snatched victory. He might be beaten bloody before she went down, but he’d won this point—she just wouldn’t acknowledge it until she dropped.
“You ... SONOFABITCH!”
Rob wisely refrained from pointing out that she’d just insulted herself.
“You think I’d ACTUALLY ... just ... walk around here naked for you?!”
Rob had struck with his weapon—the deal he’d offered—now he kept his silence.
“You don’t think any better of me than THAT?! You WANT me to walk around here naked for you?!”
“I just ... want ... to help you ... to get—”
He looked at her, and she pointed to the front door. “Get your things and leave. Don’t ever come back. You don’t respect me. And I—I have only contempt for you now, Robert.”
They stared at each other for several seconds. And several more.
Then Rob turned and walked back to his room.
He came back out with his things a couple minutes later.
She sat at the table, staring out the window, not even looking at him.
“I love you,” he sighed as he stood at the front door before opening it. “I only ... wanted to ... help things.”
“No,” she declared from the table without looking his way. “You were selfish. There’s nothing here but your selfish ... and lurid ...wants. Nothing but you dirtying everything around you.”
He turned the door handle, then stopped. “Then why did ... you feel so good last night. Like it was natural. Like you were arighting yourself after ... staying hunched over for so many years?”
“Just leave, Robert. Just leave.”
It was a miserable hour and a half drive back to college for Robert.
He knew part of it was ... he wanted these things with Madolyn. Yeah, part of it was selfishness.
But was that all of it? Was she right? Or ... was he partially right too?
He metaphorically dissected himself, laying each piece out for examination during the 90 minute drive, and when he finally reached his dorm, all his insides, all his guts, were still laying all over, there on the dashboard and the seat beside him, examined—examined over and over ... and over ... and over some more, as a matter of fact—but still unresolved.
He stuffed as many pieces back inside his belly as he could—anytime you unpack a tightly packed bag, there are always a couple pieces that won’t fit back in, and he left those metaphorically laying on her floor mat of the car—and he took his bag back inside.
Sunday night he was numb and moped. His dormmate wouldn’t be back until Wednesday, so he kept the room in silence the whole night.
Monday, he walked his regular route on campus, watching the classes pass by as he sat through them. He couldn’t tell you much about what had been covered in any of them.
He ate alone. Sat in his room alone. Finished one novel. Started another. Went to sleep.
Tuesday he wandered through classes and watched them go by again. Headed toward the dining hall with his meal card. Got a call on his cell phone.
“Rob?” It was Madolyn.
“I’ll ... do it. Come home, and I’ll do it. For the dollar.”
As he’d known, he’d won that match on Sunday. He ... couldn’t not. But he wasn’t happy about it. He’d known that she wouldn’t realize it immediately, that she’d continue to fight. And she’d carved some pretty deep injuries into him. At the moment he just ... wanted to lick his wounds.
He pressed the button to disconnect.
He continued on to the dining hall and got his dinner. She called again, and he set his cell on vibrate and left it in his pocket while he ate.
Afterward, he just went for a walk around campus. His pocket vibrated a lot.
When he got back to the dorm, he set the phone on his desk. He’d go ahead and talk to her the next time she called.
He didn’t have to wait long.
“Yeah?” he answered.
“Rob, don’t hang up.”
“I’m not,” he sighed.
“I’m—I’m sorry. For how I acted on Sunday. I—I said some awful things. I’m ... sorry.”
He shrugged, even though she couldn’t see that. “I don’t know. Maybe you were right.”
“I wasn’t,” she assured him immediately, “I wasn’t, baby. I was ... I was a spiteful bitch. I was mad at myself. And ... I took it out on you. And I am ... so sorry.”
He just shut his eyes, then took a deep breath and sighed.
“Please, sweetie, I am sooo sorry. Please don’t ... please don’t make me pay forever. I’m trying to apologize here. I ... want to make it up to you. For me ... being such a bitch. Please? Forgive me?”
“I forgive you, Mom,” he sighed. “I just ... I still just don’t—”
“Don’t. Please don’t. Don’t go any further with that. Please, I want to make it up to you, I want to make things right. I was ... so mean, and so vicious ... and so wrong, very wrong ... let me ... let me make it right. Please?
“I WANT to now. Pleease. I WANT to strut around naked in front of you. Please, darling, I want soooo bad to ... just ... let you look at everything. That would ...” her voice had taken on a pleading, whiny tone, but now it dropped to a whisper, “Sweetie, it would make me ... sooo ‘wet’ ... to strut around naked in front of you.”
He could hear the burning shame on the other end of the line, the humiliation to talk like that, filthy, to talk like that to her own son, to ... gamble that it might interest him. So that he might ... let her strip down naked in front of him.
Encouraged—he hadn’t disconnected, and he hadn’t sputtered in revulsion—she continued, “Yeah, it would make me all ... warm, and ... buttery ... to peel off my clothes for you. And under my blouse, I might have a ... lacy bra, and I might need you to sort of ...help me get out of it. And my transparent silk and lace panties would be ... sooooo wet by—”
She shut up.
“Not tonight, okay? Just ... not tonight.”
“Maybe ... tomorrow night? You’ll come home? And let me ... get all sexy for you?”
“Maybe. Not tonight.” He disconnected.
He flipped open his novel and began moving his eyes over the words on the page. And when he was at the bottom of the page, he went back to the top and ran his eyes over the same words again. And again. His mind was too full of things to take in any more from reading.
He just wanted her to be more free with her sexuality. Just because she was a mother didn’t mean she was under a sentence of sexual abstinence for the rest of her life.
And she was going to go too far at times. Just like he pushed her too far at times, to try to find a happy center in the middle.
So, when he got over this spell, this funk, then tonight would probably be a good thing. Progress.
Tonight, though, he was just still bleeding from Sunday’s wounds.
He crawled in bed and curled up, crossing his arms over his belly.
Wednesday, the metaphorical gashes were maybe starting to stitch themselves together some. He didn’t feel like he had to walk so gingerly to keep his abdomen from tearing open and dumping his guts and liver ... and heart ... out on the sidewalk.
He even retained some of what was covered in classes.
His dormmate, Andrew, got back Wednesday afternoon, and they headed over to the dining hall together, and Andrew related his vacation to Rob while they ate.
Wednesday night, the television was on, filling the dormroom with noise.
He got a cell call at 7:00 in the evening. “Yeah?”
“Rob? Are you ... maybe going to ...”
“Not tonight, Madolyn.” He disconnected and set it on vibrate.
He heard it vibrate a couple more times through the evening, then he went to bed.
Thursday, he was definitely feeling better. He only hit the alarm’s snooze once, instead of wallowing through six rounds of snooze and missing his first class.
He stayed focused in class, and even answered a couple questions when the professor prompted.
Andrew was going to have dinner with his girlfriend, so Rob figured he’d just eat at the dining hall alone again, and headed to the dorm to read for a couple hours before grabbing a bite.
He rolled his eyes when there was a knock at the door—Andy’d forgotten something. His wallet, maybe, or his camera with pictures from his vacation?
He opened the door, and ... there was Madolyn.
“Hi darling,” she looked at him hopefully, then ... opened the long coat she was wearing. To reveal that ... she was indeed ... entirely nude underneath. “Ohgod, I’ve missed you!” she gushed, keeping the coat open and her goods on display.
“Shut—shut that!” Rob broke out of his stunned moment and pulled her coat closed. Then pulled her inside the dormroom. “What if—what if Andy’d been in here?!”
“Then he’d have gotten quite an eyeful!” she grinned. Then she sprang toward him, wrapped her arms around his neck, and pressed her lips to his and her tongue into his mouth. “Ohgod! Mmmmph! Mmmm! I love you, Rob! I have ... mmmm ... Ohgod! You’re a good kisser! ... I have ... mmm ... missed you ... SOOOO ... mmmm ... much!”
Then she stepped back from him and held her coat open. “Please, baby, I just want to be bare butt naked in front of you! Please! Just ... look at me naked! For YOU! Your, uhm ... your own hot little naked BITCH!”
He could tell her eyes were studying him, to see if he liked her talking that way to him. And ... it was so unusual to hear her use profanity, and ... so unusual to hear her talk about sexual things, and ... so unusual to hear her demean herself as a “hot little bitch” that ... well ...
Her eyes lit up at the effect she could see she was having on him.
He broke out of the spell and hurried to the window to pull the long drapes—they were on the first floor!
“I am ready to do it, darling,” she was still holding her coat open, “Give me that dollar, and I am ready to strut my ‘hot slutty ass’ around naked for you!”
“Nope, nope, that’s ‘Madolyn’ to you, Rob. Sir. And get me that dollar we agreed on, and I will strip out of this coat and pose around right here, naked for you!”
What was—how could—Andrew would be back in a couple hours. What was he going to do with ... this hot woman?!
“You see, darling? I have auburn hair above AND below,” she moved her hips side to side, then ran her fingers through “below”. “Ohgod,” she giggled holding them up and rubbing them together, “It’s a little DAMP down there!”
She touched her index finger to her cheek and looked up to the side in her playful “good gosh!” expression. “I wonder how THAT might have happened! It couldn’t have anything to do with me being here with my hot date Rob, and strutting my hot slutty ass around all naked and everything for him, could it? And, apparently,” she dropped her voice to a shared-secret whisper, “I’m juicy for him too!”
His whimper this time morphed into action. He headed for his desk. He needed to get her out of here, home, where they could handle this less awkwardly.
“My dollar, darling?”
He looked back over his shoulder at her. “Hungh?”
“My dollar? I’m ... naked here for you.” She gave a weak smile, “To the puss. I’ll keep on ... nekkid and slutty for you ... for my dollar? Please?”
Rob numbly groped for his wallet on the desk, unable to take his eyes off ... said quite delightful nakedness. His hand found the wallet, and he pulled out one of the special bills.
“God, YES, darling!” she gushed and stepped forward. “I will be naked ALL NIGHT for you if you want!”
He held a bill up and she snatched it and stuck it in her coat pocket. Then she shrugged her coat off her shoulders and asked him, husky and throaty, “Where will you ... have me, Rob? I mean, all naked and ... everything?”
“Yeah,” he fumbled another of the special bills out of the wallet, “see this place here is a problem.” He held up the bill. “I’ll give you a dollar if we pull your coat back on, head home, and pick up there exactly where we’re leaving off here.”
He wiggled the bill, and Madolyn’s eyes followed its motion until he stopped and her eyes came up to his. “Unng-hunng,” she whimpered with a little nod.
He stepped back toward the door and bent over to pick up her coat, then stood and marveled. “Wow, high heels and everything. You really ARE so hot, woman.”
“Thank you, uhm, darling,” she smiled.
He helped her back into her long coat, then handed her the dollar, which she snatched with a, “Thank you, sweetie!”
She buttoned and tied off her coat while he fetched his wallet and things, then left a note for Andrew that he’d gone home for a long weekend.
“Are you good? With keeping the coat on until we get to the car? And then on the drive home?”
“I’ll be angelic, darling. Until we get home, then I’m stripping these uncomfortable clothes off and laying around naked for you. Like we agreed, for the dollar.”
He nodded, and she took his hand in hers and followed him outside. “Whose car, sweetie?” she asked.
“Oh, uhm, hey, would you mind driving? I may ... nap a little in the car on the drive.” Actually, he needed to think and plan a little bit—she’d caught him by surprise showing up here.
“Of course, darling.” She led him by the hand to where she’d parked, pulled the keys out of her coat pocket, then started driving them home.
The radio was playing low while Madolyn drove them home. Naked as a whore under her long coat.
Rob was in the passenger seat beside her, his head leaned on the window, dozing.
She finally had her dollar!
This had been the longest and most miserable four days in her life! She’d spent Sunday being stubborn and willful, pissed at him. And ... partially pissed at herself too—the harsh words they’d fired at each other Sunday morning weren’t entirely untrue, and she could admit that part of the reason she was SOO pissed that morning was ... her own behavior the night before.
She’d spent Monday naively thinking that maybe ... if she could tough it out long enough, she might get over the crest and not feel soooo wrong at not taking his deal.
By Tuesday morning, her entire mind was revolving about the lost opportunity. She’d failed, she’d screwed up horribly, and now she would never get that dollar. That ... dollar.
By Tuesday evening, she’d been calling him. And he’d ... given her hope. That he might come home, and she might be able to still make good on the deal.
But Wednesday went, and he’d never called. By evening, she couldn’t stand it anymore and called him. And when he’d brushed her off, she’d call again. And again and again, humiliating herself even in her own eyes. That she was ... that desperate.
But ... she was. She needed to not let the dollar deal fall through.
So she’d driven up to his college today, ready to do whatever it took to get that dollar.
And now ... she had it!
And another one too! Just for putting her coat back on and delaying her nakedness until they got home. God, if he’d told her to strut around naked in front of his dormmate, she thought she might have, so desperate she’d been.
And, the final glorious cherry on top of it all ... drum roll ... she now possessed twelve of the thirteen damned dollars. And if that’s all that he had—and she prayed that it was—he was on the verge of the end of his power over her.
He wouldn’t have any weird hold over her any more!
She’d have done some bad things through all this: like making out with her own son; with tongue; and letting him feel up her boobs; and gushing how much she loved him in her daze of sexual excitement; and now posing and strutting around nude for him; and talking filthy for him. But—well, they’d deal with those things when they got there.
She was soon to be free! Free of whatever he’d done here to get her to ... loosen up. But she didn’t really WANT to be loose. She liked tight—sure, he’d call it tight-assed, but still. She got into less trouble being tight-assed. It was safer that way.
She looked over at him dozing. He ... was a good looking boy.
And he’d certainly been commanding. Whatever she might disagree with what he was doing to her personality, she had to admit, he set his goals and then pursued them with purpose.
He’d ... make a woman a good strong man one day.
Just not her. After that thirteenth bill, she was back to off-limits.
The moment she pulled into her driveway, she felt it—the powerful feelings. She was home now, she was supposed to be naked for him, like they’d agreed in the deal. Or else he might take the dollar away if she didn’t complete her part.
“Darling,” she breathed, “we’re home now, Rob.”
“Hmm?” he stirred and blinked.
“We’re home now, sweetie. Let’s go get me naked, hmm?”