Queen Elsie: From Side Piece to Queen back again.

“Peeeerfect!” Elsie calmly exclaimed to herself while she twirled in front of her large mirror, admiring the difference effort made in her appearance. Rocket by Beyoncé played softly in the background, the room was dark and only a few rays of light managed to penetrate the Brown and gold curtains. There was a soft knock at the door. Elsie eyed herself top to bottom then gave herself a reassuring look. “You are ready.” She walked to the door a few metres away and drew a deep breath before opening it. The man at the door stood firm as if planted like a tree. His face showed a passionate determination for the intention of his visit. It made sense how he immediately furrowed his thick eyebrows and curled his large lips in curiosity. He stepped forward to give Elsie an awkward hug, running his hands along her frame just for good measure. “So where is everybody? I thought you invited me to a party.” He said while he drew away from her. “They all cancelled. It’s just you and me!” She said grinning, aware that he knew she was lying. She took his hand leading him to her sofa. Puzzled, he followed her, unable to keep his eyes off her; She didn’t mind that was her intention after all.

In a low seductive voice, she looked down at him, settling into the sofa. “Are you thirsty?” He stared at her frame, taking every inch of her in, caressing her curves with his eyes, examining her gentle silhouette with his mind. He couldn’t tell if he was being seduced or being trapped; but he knew that he no longer had much power in this situation.

“What?” He exclaimed; a little offended. She brushed it off with a timid giggle. “I mean, do you want anything to drink? Silly!” He shook his head slowly while she took her seat right next to him on the couch.

“I gotta make a confession. I’m proud of all this bass when you ……” She moved a little closer to him as Beyoncé put her in an even fierier mood. She could hear him breathing heavily and his heart racing. Elsie’s was working. She smiled and turned to him; instinctively moving closer still. She placed her hand gently over his thigh. In her best version of a soft seductive voice, Elsie began to engage him in visibly unnecessary small talk. Running her fingers softly across his bearded face as he spoke. The little tremors in his deep voice run up and down her spine and straight to ignite her loins. His beard so perfectly outlined his face, giving him an aura of authority and power; it left her powerless sailing helplessly in his voice as it carried her to a place she knew was not hers to hold.

Her weakness bred nostalgia; back to the brief time before she found out the truth. The chemistry they had shared was electric, almost explosive. Every day she found out something new about him she liked, something she had been looking for in a man for years. That was, of course, until the truth has reared its ugly head, and in public, no less. There was an altercation and a wig had been taken in the cross fire and even though it wasn’t her wig and the other girl had looked a lot worse, she felt low and ashamed by the lengths she had been forced to stoop to. Granted the other girl threw the first punch and Elsie had no knowledge of her before this, she still felt horrid to the core for beating up another woman and for a man no less. A man she had just met, a man who had lied for six months.

“How is she?” She cut him off sharply mid-sentence.

“Who?”

“You know! Katherine.” She began to look away and move away from him as well. Maybe a reflection of what she felt deep inside; drawn to this man so much until she was reminded he belonged to another.

“You mean, Catie” He corrected her, ignoring her obvious discomfort, “She is…. She’s well, I guess. What do you want me to say?”

“Say that she’s dead, maybe?? I don’t f*cking know. I don’t think I even care.” Elsie turned to face him now, keenly judging his expression. He was speechless. She wanted him to break down and vehemently profess his love for her. She wanted him to cry and ask the higher powers why he met Katherine before he met her but he just sat there. His face showing nothing but guilt. The guilt of man who clearly had no idea what he wanted for himself and the future; one who had dragged Elsie, Kathrine and whoever else into his confusion for nothing else but in an attempt to make himself feel better about his grave insecurity and lack of self-esteem. That’s why he couldn’t be faithful to his pregnant fiancée, that is why he had to lie to get her interested in the first place and keep her there. Sitting there, looking at the guilt in his hazel eyes and his furrowed brow like that of a dog that had just did the dirty behind the couch, she felt immense sympathy for him, even more for Katherine. That poor naïve girl, she was probably somewhere fending off valid advances from men who understood themselves enough to allow her to simply exist and be loved, men who probably valued fidelity more than money and cheap promises. This man before her, ‘her man’ was a mess and in the confusion and chaos that was his life, Elsie was the only stable thing, the rock per se. She had it all figured out; her happiness that is. Elsie was content with who she was even when no one was around; clearly he wasn’t. He made up versions of himself to fit in and always found himself lying to everybody. The façade he had once put up that had drawn Elsie so painstakingly close to him, now crumbled into dust. And even though to society he seemed far ahead in life, almost married at the right age no less, first child on the way too; Elsie had already won the race even without a man or any prospects of love and marriage thereof. Most especially, without this mess of a man! Elsie would be anything but a Katherine; sitting at home reproducing while your partner paid no regard to your feelings, sanity or reputation. Oh how miserable. But Elsie, she was the real deal, a catch by any definition. And even though, she had fallen fast and hard for this man, Elsie was not a side piece, she was the Feature Presentation, the main attraction and the full meal.

“Follow me.” She said suddenly, leading him to her room.

***

He rolled over, panting. Elsie sat up, reached towards the night stand and pulled out a cigarette as he caught his breath. Elsie sat quietly for two minutes, smoking, eyes fixed on a painting stark in the middle of the wall in front of her. What they had just done, in Elsie’s opinion, was nothing to write home about. She could still hear him breathing heavily on her thigh. She hadn’t even broken a sweat, she just sat there, newly assured that this man, his pregnant fiancée and their impending offspring were nothing to fight for, not even worth shouting for. They would only make her life miserable like theirs. He raised his head to say something. Elsie didn’t hear him; all she could hear was an irritating shrillness in his voice. Suddenly, she wasn’t interested in looking at his face anymore. In fact, she wasn’t interested in having his company any more. As what she could only describe as the hormones in her brain regulated and her heart began to beat at a regular pace, she had an epiphany; one that even she knew she should have seen from the beginning. Suddenly, as if he had flipped on a switch, she knew what to do; pick up her crown and banish the wicked, like the Queen she was.

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“You feel pretty great about yourself, don’t you?” She asked condescendingly. His naivety did not grasp it.

“Well as a matter of fact I do. I just put in some serious work. I think I broke some sort of record.”

“I wouldn’t say you broke a record but you have definitely hit a new mile stone.” He smiled at himself,

“What milestone could this be?” He said smiling stupidly, leaning in to kiss her. She turned away and gave him a cheek.

“That is the last time you will be afforded such privileges. “

“What??”

“Yeah! You don’t deserve this. You don’t deserve me. I don’t know this Kathy lady but you don’t deserve her either.”

“What do you mean, Babe? And it’s Catie, by the way.”

“I don’t care if her name is Katrina or Kate Winslet. You don’t deserve my love, you conniving piece of crap. You go around lying to women because you are not man enough to handle the shortcomings of your own character. You have them thinking it’s their fault you’re a cold distant asshole incapable of keeping it in his pants.” She looked at him right in his hazel eyes now, they had no effect on her whatsoever. “Oh? Now you are quiet? Because you know it’s true. You are literally nothing if not a bad boyfriend. You kept a secret for what? Six months. Here I was, building foundations with you and you were engaged to be married and planning to impregnate your poor poor fiancée. I say it twice, because it is really that sad.” She stood up. “You are a really sorry excuse for a man and I’m so happy she had you first.”

He sat on the bed now, facing away from her. He vividly couldn’t handle what Elsie was saying. He must have not been used to it. He was indeed a sorry excuse for a man; insecure and unfaithful he didn’t deserve two great women let alone just one.

“Get out.”

He turned to look at her. He was silent.

“I said Get the F*ck out!”

THE END

Disclaimer: The characters and events depicted in this short story published on EmmBoldened.com are fictitious. Any similarities with actual people and events are PURELY COINCIDENTAL. However, the author of this piece would like to insist that if indeed the shoe fits, then you better lace that shit up and wear it.

Be Empowered, Be Enlighted Be EMMBOLDENED.

Love,

Emm

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Queen Bessie: From Victim to Queen

Her palms were sweating through the handkerchief she held in them. She tapped her foot on the tiled floor nervously. Her heart pounded so loudly that she heard every beat. She shifted in her seat, glancing towards the door. She figured she could make it out of the restaurant fast enough that she would not run in to him on her way out. She pushed her seat back with her and was preparing to get up and run when the waitress came to her with a smile, “Can I get you a drink while you wait? Maybe some bread for the table?” She leaned back, looking at the waitress while she made up her mind. “Actually, yes! Can I get a cocktail?”

“Which one? We have our house cocktail ‘the club special’; we also have a Pinacolada that has won some awards. Oh and….” The waitress was overly eager.

“Which is your strongest?” She cut her off rather crudely. She definitely was not interested in their award winning cocktail ingredients.

“Well, it kind of depends. We make them very mild to suit everyone but we can increase the alcoholic content at your request. Say! For instance……”

“Ok. Good! Get me your Club Special with the maximum alcohol content you are allowed for it.” She cut her off again. She wasn’t in the mood for friendly human interaction.

“Ok, Ma’am.” The waitress was still at it. “And may I ask? Do you prefer a slice of……” She had really had it with this perky cheerful drop of freaking sunshine waitress so she gently placed her arm on hers.

“Sweetie. I know you’re doing your job and you know what? You’re great at it.” The waitress’ eyes sparkled, indicating that this was not a thing she heard very often. “But I’m not in a chirpy, hyperactively good customer service mood. So get me your club special, lots of booze and no ice. No fruit, No vegetables, nothing. That’s it! Can you do that, honey?” The waitress nodded and skipped away.

She turned towards the door again. She was now facing a new variable to her calculations. She was now evaluating the possibility of escape before her drink or her date had arrived. She got out her phone. It is was 15 minutes past the hour. He was late, a little but still late. She didn’t know if this fact brought relief or anger. Did she want him to be late? Did this momentary lapse of punctuality raise a red flag that she was not yet aware of? Did this mean he was always late and she should get used to it? Was he standing her up? Had he forgotten about her? Or did he hear something from someone about her? It must have been something he heard or something he researched. With Google and online government databases, not to mention that ‘the incident’ was indeed public knowledge, he must have found out. Once again she regretted it; the party, the assault report, the dreadful court case, everything.

It had been exactly 2 years, 8 months and 13 days since she was raped by men, no monsters, whom she had assumed were her friends and she had never really been the same afterwards. Maybe it was the betrayal by friends she’d held dear, or the unnecessary intense scrutiny she had received reporting the case, Maybe, it was the case itself and the way her school’s publication followed every motion, every ruling, Maybe it was just the rape. The whole thing had changed her so much. She was once outgoing, overly social and extremely friendly; the real life of the party. But one fatefully rainy day in November, her charismatic strengths led her to her impending doom. She in her third year of Veterinary School and so far she was enjoying every part of it. Her grades were good, she was sufficiently involved in campus activities and she had made friends, most of the male variety, but only because not a lot of women glamorized the care of farm animals like she did, but it wasn’t something that had bothered her much. One Friday in November, she was invited for a small after-school get together. The message had said, “Lots of food, music and drinks. Bring your own girl.” At the time, she giggled at the sentiment that each was to appear with a female companion. At the same time, she was relieved that she wouldn’t be the only female attending this party. Friday evening rolled through swiftly, she walked with a few of her closest study buddies to an off-campus residence apparently belonging to a friend of a friend. They said he didn’t mind a bunch of strangers partying at his house, he actually enjoyed it. On their way there, Bessie did what she assumed was research; diligently asking Kobe if he knew this guy enough to trust him. He didn’t really know him. She asked Patrick and Phil (Short for Philemon) the same, they gave no more detailed answers than Kobe. She stopped dead in her tracks, the boys soon after she did. She said, “Guys, are we sure about this? I mean I love a party just as much as the next girl but I don’t know how I feel about this.” The men were quick to calm her with words like, “You’re going with us aren’t you? We’ll make sure nothing fishy happens. Don’t worry. He’s Jay’s Friend. We’re all friends, aren’t we?” Looking back, she now knew that was the moment she should have turned back and walked straight to her hostel a few paces away. She wished she did, but instead she believed these friends of hers and walked on towards her personal Armageddon.

It was twenty minutes past the hour now. The overly cheerful waitress returned with her drink and enough sense not to say much to her. Her date was now twenty minutes late and counting. She stirred her drink with her straw before she took it out and took a large swig of her drink. It was strong but for the kind of day she was having, it wasn’t strong enough. She would need a few more if she was to make it to the end of this evening and even more to spend the evening on this date. You see, Bessie had been having a totally normal day when she received a message to a friend with a link. “Gang Rape at Veterinary School: Do you know what you’re children are doing while away?” Her heart had sunk at the moment when the headline popped up on the screen. It hadn’t returned to normalcy yet. She knew the court case was public record but she had never assumed that some journalist would use it. Apart from her rescuer and a few friends, no one knew what had happened. The school publication had been smart enough to redact all facts that led to her identity. Despite this fact, she had not returned to school after that. She dropped out and convinced her parents that she was more into entrepreneurship now. She wished she had let her parents know exactly what happened that November Night. But now the damage was pretty much done. There was no saving face or damage control at this point. The stage at which she had arrived required truthfulness and courage to relive the incident every time she told it. It was excruciating to think about. She hadn’t read the article all the way through, just the headline was enough to send her stomach into painful knots.  She got out her phone. It had been off since she read the headline; she wasn’t quite ready for the mental torture. She would see if she was now. She powered it up. The tiny aluminum colored device began to dance on the table violently; everyone was looking for Bessie. Her name must have leaked in the article as her phone vibrated violently seeking her attention. She ignored the messages, she wasn’t in the mood to be pitied and judged all at the same time.

The headline had already made it to her browser’s news reel. She clicked on the headline. As it loaded at what seemed to be a snail’s pace, she could already tell that even though the headline seemed generalized and informative, the article was specific to her case and vindictive. For why, even though he thought he was serving the greater good, would a journalist publish her name and all the particulars of the case without asking if he should share or conceal her, the victim’s identity. The first thing that she saw on the website was her school ID picture. She must have been 17 when that was taken. The caption read ‘Beatrice, now 20, was forced to drop out after she was unable to convince the school administration that her rape was not her fault.’

“What?” Bessie exclaimed loudly. Everyone turned in their seats to look at her. She did not notice. She began reading the article. And as if the publicity surrounding her rape were not enough, the author of the article all but asserted that Bessie caused her own rape. He used quotes like ‘A girl like Beatrice is known to play hard to get in the daylight and let too loose in the evening. These girls tease our boys then get intoxicated around them expecting them to express nothing but self-control and awe for their tiny outfits’ Again, her inner voice reminded her that reading this article would cause nothing but harm and emotional trauma. She had to police her heart, her therapist had always insisted. You mustn’t allow yourself to be exposed to triggers for your condition. That’s what he called it, a condition. At first, it had bothered her so she asked that he called an illness meaning that it was curable. He had declined stating that it was in fact incurable but optimistically he added that it was a treatable condition.  She stared at her phone. She should have been calling the therapist or at least her date but instead she kept reading the foulest words she had ever heard or read about herself.  This time she focused on seeing if any of her rapists had been mentioned. Then another quote ‘Your sons like these young men charged with the alleged rape of Beatrice are being lured like snake bait and then arrested for giving in to their most primal urges. Ludicrous!’

“Ludicrous?” She was laughing now while she spoke out aloud. “It’s not ludicrous to be a rapist in the first place?” When she looked up from her laughter, her date stood before her gazing at her. She composed herself quite quickly and said hello. He replied taking his seat across from her.

“Why you’re in a good mood for a girl whose date is half an hour late. What are you reading there?” He gestured at her phone. She instinctively covered the phone not wanting to bring up the whole article or rape thing and looked straight in his eyes. They gleamed with curiosity behind the gleaming was a sparkle that you could not miss. The sparkle in the eye of a man about to crown his queen. This man had been obsessed with her for a few months now and she couldn’t figure out why. They never did anything other than meet for meals and talk. He had always been a gentleman and never even asked why he was never permitted to ask her out on a more intimate date. Most guys gave up at around the third month of expensive lunches and fancy coffees but here he was, eight months later, with that damn sparkle in his stupid big brown eyes. Why didn’t he just give up? Why didn’t he just run!

“So? What’s so ludicrously funny?” He leaned forward, placed his hand over hers and looked deep into her eyes. She was uncomfortable, blood rushing to her face. She began to breathe heavily, deeply as if taking him in, all of him.

“It’s nothing. Just this article.” She wasn’t going to say anything more but somehow it just slipped out. “It’s about me actually. I made the news.” His face lit up.

“Can I read it?” She glanced at his hands over her hands over her phone. It felt like a crude metaphor for what would be of their relationship when she showed him. To reveal what had happened to her, would require her to detach from him first; for her to see him, not as a potential lover, but as a stranger or a plutonic buddy. In her mind, there was no way for them to continue down the path of love after he knew what happened to her.

“No. You can’t. I shouldn’t be reading it either.” His face cringed, he withdrew one palm from the table then the next.

“Why?” The look in his eye was less loving and more curious now. Bessie looked him genuinely trying to decide if her rape was coffee house conversation or pillow talk or one of those ‘never’ conversations. How would this man react to hearing what he wants has been had over and over again by force over her screaming and kicking? He could tell she was battling something deep within. He reached out for her hands again. She withdrew, leaving him to cuff her wrists. She tried to break free, the sensation of his hands around her wrists feeling oddly the same as that night. A feeling of restraint, not affection. Phil had held her down, just like that. She tried again. He wouldn’t let go. He was looking at her squirm and obsess like a caged animal. It seemed absurd, since he didn’t mean to restrain her but to keep her from withdrawing from the conversation. He let go eventually with a heavy sigh; he gave up trying to pry it out of her.

“I read it, Bessie.”

“What?”

“I read the article. It’s everywhere, I’m sorry.” She looked away, fighting back tears with every fibre of her being. He continued speaking, “Frankly, it was distasteful and in my opinion, downright disgusting.” Bessie buried her face in her hands, realising that she couldn’t fight the tears anymore. “I know this is not how you wanted to break it to me. I know maybe you didn’t want to break it to me at all. I know you’re scared that what those animals did to you will follow you forever. I know this article kind of reinforces this fear.” She looked up now, scrambling for a napkin to dry her eyes. He continued while she blew her nose noisily, “It’s not your fault. It can’t even be. I wasn’t there, I know that but I also know you. You are kind-hearted and cheerful and no one!” He took her hands in his, looking her directly in the eyes which at this point felt like a dagger to her soul. “No one, Bessie, least of all you deserves such hostility and injustice. They tried to strip you of your soul, your being and your essence, yet here you are standing tall exuding strength and bravery that I could only dream of. I know you thought I’d run; for a hot second I thought I would too; but how? How could I leave a gem just because it is buried somewhere beneath the surface? I couldn’t possibly leave when I know that I will not, no, cannot find someone as brave as strong as the queen who sits before me. “

Breaking Chains

THE END

Disclaimer: The characters and events depicted in this short story published on EmmBoldened.com are fictitious. Any similarities with actual people and events are PURELY COINCIDENTAL. However, the author of this piece would like to INSIST that if indeed the shoe fits, then you better lace that shit up and wear it.

Be Empowered, Be Enlighted Be EMMBOLDENED.

Love,

Emm