Copyright 2011, Peter Omez, all rights reserved.
Some years ago I had a 4-bedroom house in the suburbs of Trentstown and lived there with my new wife. I didn't marry until I was 31 years old, and I thought I'd chosen carefully a mate who would be a faithful wife and good mother to my children. I was wrong. It turned out I'd married a conniving slut, and a terrible alcholic to boot. We argued all the time, and often she would get abusive with me. The worst part about it was the way she was able to ingratiate herself with my family, who all thought she was wonderful. They didn't see the way she acted behind closed doors. Plus she was always accusing me of leering at this woman or sleeping with that, which I wasn't.
But she used my supposed unfaithfulness as an excuse for her actual adultery, occasionally spending the night with this drinking buddy of hers, this guy Mike. He could be found every single day at a local watering hole where she'd go whenever she was tired of fighting with me.
She could be downright scary when she was drunk and in the mood to fight. After three years I couldn't take it anymore, so I checked into a no-tell motel on the edge of town and started filing for divorce. Fortunately, I had the money to hire a good attorney and was able to keep the house. My ex probably moved in with Mike, who knows.
I enjoyed the peace and quiet in my home for several months after it was all over, but I started to get lonely. I dated a few women but with some I didn't really click, and with others I quickly felt smothered and would call it off. I seem to have a knack for drawing women to me who want to treat me like a possession.
I was 35 when my little sister Karen, who was 24 then, got pregnant even though she didn't have a steady boyfriend. She decided to have the baby, my little niece Maya, but she couldn't really make ends meet on her own. Plus daycare was harder than she thought to arrange. Karen asked my parents if she and Maya could move in with them for a while, but they refused, because Karen had been a lot of trouble for them in the past and they didn't trust her.
That was unfortunate, because having Maya really caused Karen to clean up her act. I let the two of them move into my house. There was plenty of room, and I enjoyed the company. It was wonderful to have people I loved around instead of that vicious bitch I'd shared the house with before. Karen got by with as little financial help from me as she could, and she was with Maya each day while I was at work, then on some nights Karen worked as a waitress or went to night classes. She got an associates degree and landed a job with a local company. When she had enough money, she moved herself and Maya into their own apartment.
During the two years we lived together, our parents would visit Trentstown on occasion, and come see us. They lived three hours away in our hometown of Bellewood. At first they expected to see Karen totally taking advantage of her older brother but were surprised to see she was trying to make it on her own. It's true, I had bought her a car to get around, charged her no rent or utilities, and provided built-in babysitting, but she bought supplies like diapers, bought her own gas and food, and was saving the money she was making so she could move out as soon as possible.
We had other visitors now and then, such as our Aunt Jane. She was Mom's baby sister and a bit spoiled and wild when she was young. She and Karen had that in common, so they always had a special bond. Karen reminded Aunt Jane of a younger version of herself. On one visit, I happened to be changing Maya's diaper when Aunt Jane said, "Wow, you have your brother really well-trained, don't you?"
Karen said, "What do you mean?"
"Well, he bought you a car, he pays all the bills here. Look, he even changes diapers."
Karen just chuckled. "Yeah, I guess he is a little pussywhipped. He'll make someone a good husband some day."
"He already blew it with one wife. Maybe you could give his next one some pointers."
"Aw, come on, don't be mean. That wife was no angel. He's told me what he went through with her."
"Uh huh, sure. I think he just didn't know his place and tried to be an old-fashioned male chauvinist with her. Then he threw the poor girl out and took the house. Probably wouldn't put out for him every day or something."
I said, "Aunt Jane, you never saw her except at family gatherings and such. She was a terrible drunk and a mean person, she really was. Sometimes I was actually scared of her."
"Oh, pfft. Please. Haha. Never knew you were such a wuss, Davey."
"And as far as putting out, she did that for her drinking buddy Mike."
"Ohhhh, hahaha. Oh, I see ... you're not packin' enough to satisfy her, huh? Well, I'm not surprised. Don't forget I used to change your diapers sometimes. Hahahaha. See? I'm right. You blew it with her. Should've learned how to use your tongue better. Hahahaha!!"
I was not amused, but I thought I saw Karen trying to suppress a smile. There didn't seem to be any point in arguing with my aunt, though, especially when she had no idea what she was talking about. So I dropped the matter. I love my Aunt Jane, but man, when she locks you in as a teasing target, she's relentless.
After Karen and Maya moved out, I was lonely again. The house seemed so huge without them in it. One day Aunt Jane called me about my cousin Kiera, her daughter. Kiera had finished up the nursing program in another state and was thinking about where to apply for a job. She didn't like the area where she'd gone to school and wanted to be closer to Bellewood, where we all grew up. Trentstown was the nearest city with a lot of hospitals and nursing jobs, but being fresh out of school with student loan payments and no income yet, she couldn't afford to live in Trentstown. Aunt Jane couldn't afford to subsidize her relocation to Trentstown and wondered if Kiera could come stay with me for a month or two until she found a job.
I jumped at the chance to have some regular company again, so I said, "Sure, that's no problem." What was family for? I made decent money that should have gone to the family I should have had, wife and children. But that didn't work out, and the longer I was single, the more I dreaded the whole process of trying to find another mate. Having someone else to help out was a welcome distraction.
I was surprised when Kiera and Aunt Jane brought a moving van full of stuff to my house. They had brought a bunch of Kiera's stuff that had been in storage at my aunt's house. I asked Kiera why she decided to move that now; why not wait until she had a place of her own to move it into? She said she wanted to move it while her mother was available to help, and besides, I had a big house and had room for it, didn't I?
We moved some pieces of furniture in, and then they left me to move all the boxes in by myself. They either smoked cigarettes on the front stoop or surveyed the house to decide how to "get Kiera set up". I had thought she wouldn't really need "setting up", since I thought she was just *staying* for a while, not moving in.
As you may know, Trentstown is very hilly, so the houses here are built tall, not wide. My house had two bedrooms and a full bathroom on the second floor, then steep stairs led to the third floor, a finished attic. Up there was an open room on one side, then a smaller room with a door on the other side. There were no closets on the third floor.
Once the boxes were out of the way, there was a large bed in the very back of the truck. It was disassembled, and I figured I could just move all the pieces into my garage so it would be easy to get to whenever she was ready to transport it to her new place. I opened the garage and was carrying the first piece in when Aunt Jane and Kiera came into the garage from inside the house. Kiera said, "Oh. Wait. We're going to need to carry that in through the front door."
"Why?" I asked.
Aunt Jane said, "Davey, we were looking at the rooms on the second floor, and that smaller room's not big enough for Kiera's bed. Plus the closet in there is so small. So before you bother with her bed, why don't we get yours taken apart and move it from the master bedroom to the other one."
Kiera interjected, "His shouldn't be the *master* bedroom anyway, should it?" She and her mother shared a sly chuckle at that.
"Hell, no," Aunt Jane said. "If he thinks he's gonna be master of the house with us around, he's got another thing comin'. We didn't put up with that from your father, and don't you put up with it from him."
"Oh, I won't," Kiera assured her.
I was getting a little nervous about having agreed to let Kiera stay with me. I didn't even know she'd expected to have a bedroom; I guess I thought she'd want to sleep on the couch and watch TV at night, for the short time she'd stay. Now she wanted my bedroom, and it didn't seem to be a request.
I followed them upstairs as they continued discussing plans for rearranging my house. In my room, Kiera said, "I'll put my bed here, I think. It's good you have a nice big flatscreen TV in here, Davey, but if my bed's here I think I want to move that over there."
Oh, so she was going to make me move to the smaller bedroom but not take my TV with me, huh? Well, I guess it wouldn't have done me much good anyway since the smaller room wasn't wired for cable. Now it looked like I'd be on the living room couch if I wanted TV at night.
Once they had the arrangements worked out, Aunt Jane said, "Well, come on, hun, I'll take you out to dinner to celebrate your move. While we're gone, Davey, you can get moved into that other bedroom and then bring those bed pieces up here."
When they returned, they said, "Here, we brought you back some food. Figured you might be hungry by now." I looked in the two boxes and it just appeared to be their leftovers. I said thanks.
I did need a little help assembling Kiera's king size bed, so they helped me with that. Aunt Jane asked her, "Do you have sheets?" She said they were in a box somewhere. "Davey," Kiera said, "Look in those boxes we left downstairs and see if you can find my sheets." When I found some and brought them upstairs, Kiera laughed at me and said, "These are queen size sheets. Hahaha. Dumbass, you can't even tell queens from kings? Oh boy ... I can see you need some serious woman help around here."
Aunt Jane said, "Most men do, hun. Most can't tell their ass from a hole in the ground. Well, maybe we've lost the sheets for this bed 'cause it hasn't been used for so long. Let's go get you some new ones."
"Yay!" Kiera said. "Davey, where can we go to get some good bed linens?" I told them of a place nearby and how to get there, and she said, "OK, thanks, while we're gone, why don't you go ahead and bring the other boxes up here and unpack as much as you can."
At that time it wasn't so common for people to have laptops. Not everyone had a cell phone, either, and Kiera didn't, but I did. She did have an mp3 player. I only had one desktop computer at home, and Kiera used it during the first week she was here to supposedly search for jobs and apartments. But when I got home from work she was usually downloading music or playing games. But there would be some printouts for jobs and housing lying on the table. I also would smell smoke every time I came into the house. I had asked her to please smoke outside, but it smelled as though she ignored my request.
She said, "Hey, Davey, I got to thinking, I really should have a cell phone since I'm gonna be looking for a job and a place and people need to be able to reach me any time. I was thinking it's probably cheaper if you add me to your phone plan, and then I can pay you whatever more it costs each month once I have a job. And could you get me a phone, too, 'cause I can't afford it right now."
I told her that would be OK, though I wondered why she didn't ask her mother for that particular favor instead of me. "Oh, another thing, how am I gonna get around if I'm called for an interview, since I have no car?" I showed her the website for Trentstown Transit and told her the bus stop was only two blocks from the house. If she had an interview, she could type in the address of the place and it would give her a map, tell her exactly what bus to take and when it came. "In fact," I said, "tomorrow I'll stop and get you a one-month bus pass. It will give you unlimited fare and you can go anywhere any time. Whenever you have time to kill you can check out other sites around the city while I'm at work."
"Cool," she said. "Thanks. Well, let's go get me a phone."
We went to the phone store and I kept trying to talk her out of the high-end phones, but she kept pressing me to get her a certain one. It was much better than the one I had. It had text and camera capabilities (wireless internet was less common then), and my phone plan didn't even include texting, so I had to add that to it. It almost doubled the monthly bill.
Over the next few days, it seemed Kiera took the bus to find places to meet new friends rather than search for work. She would end up hanging at the houses of new friends, or in a club somewhere in town. Friends would drive her back to the house and often come in to hang out a while. I had a swimming pool in the back yard, so they might be out there, or they might be in the living room or anywhere else downstairs. She, and whatever company she brought, would often wake me at night. Often they would turn on music, or I'd hear talking and laughing. She made no attempt to keep herself or them quiet.
Many mornings I'd get up for work and find empty beer bottles around the house and in the kitchen. Sometimes there were liquor bottles, too, and I'd also find they'd raided my wine rack. It seemed they helped themselves to whatever food I had on hand, too. Outside I'd find wet towels, and cigarette butts crushed out on the patio or discarded in the yard. I started to smell smoke as soon as I came out of my bedroom in the morning and into the hall, so it was obvious Kiera had been smoking in "her" room (which was supposed to be mine).
Kiera never washed any of the dishes she or her friends dirtied, and one day I called her from work and asked, "Hey, could I ask you a favor? Would you mind doing the dishes in the sink? I usually try to tidy up the kitchen before I leave for work, but this morning I was a little pressed for time."
"Yeah, I noticed that," she said. "You didn't clean up outside, either. It's a mess out there."
Her answer took me aback; it sounded like she was half-pissed at me. She continued, "And you want ME to do your dishes? Um, excuse me, I'm not the little woman of the house, OK? I'm not here to be your maid, doing your dishes, vacuuming, ironing your shirts ...."
"Well, no, I don't expect--"
"Which reminds me: My dirty clothes are starting to pile up, and I'm gonna need some laundry done soon. So tonight while I'm out go into my room and gather up my laundry and get that done for me. As it is, I'm gonna have to wear the panties I've got on now again today."
"You know how to wash delicates, right? 'Cause I have some nice stuff there, and I better not find any of it ruined. Get stuff folded and hung up before you go to bed; don't let it sit in a basket and get all wrinkly."
"Uhhhh ... well ... OK."
"Oh and get those dishes done yourself and the back yard cleaned up before I get home 'cause I can't bring guests over with the house looking like it does. Oh, one more thing: Stop and get some more chardonnay on your way home, 'cause my friend Darcy likes it."
There was an uncomfortable pause. "OK?" she demanded.
"Well ... uh ... OK."
"OK. Mwah. Bye." When she was done issuing orders and hung up, I sat at my desk at work staring out the window, confused. At what point had I agreed to hand over my house to my cousin, and become her butler to boot?
Once the shock wore off, I felt very nervous. I should have confronted Kiera and said something beginning with, "Now wait just a minute." But I kinda blew it. I already agreed to do what she had demanded for that night at least. If I actually followed through and did everything, it would be validating her ... um ... what would you call it? Presumptuousness? Hell, downright bossiness.
There was still time to call her back and set her straight. She was a guest. She should be doing dishes (without me asking) to thank me for helping her out so much, not because it was "woman's work." I picked up the phone to call her, but I couldn't do it. Somehow I knew she'd argue with me and I wouldn't win. It would be like trying to argue with her mother. Pointless. Better to just agree ... except ... this time, agreeing meant I had a busy night of chores ahead of me.
And so it began that Kiera's "job", for the time being, was to have parties at my house, and my job was to keep it clean. Plus clean up the pool area. Plus clean and tend to the pool itself. Plus do her laundry. Plus pick up after her. Plus replenish the wine her friends drank. Plus sometimes buy liquor or beer. Plus not give her any trouble about smoking in the house, which soon, she and her friends did openly. Oh, and of course, since Kiera had no income, buy her cigarettes, too.
One Friday, a pool party was already under way when I came home from work. There were three guys outside in the yard and pool, and as I came into the kitchen, Kiera stood talking to the chardonnay-drinking Darcy. Both were in bikinis and flip-flops, with sarongs around their waists. "This is my cousin Davey. He's my little houseboy, hahaha. Aren'tcha? Aren'tcha??"
"Yeah. He is. Davey, this is Darcy." Before I could say hello, Kiera turned to me, affecting the posture and tone of a stern mother, and said, "You did a very good job on my laundry last night and getting everything hung up in my closet. And you did a really good of cleaning up out here this morning, but there were still some cigarette butts lying out in the grass. Did you forget to pick those up? Oh, and also, I've got like seven pairs of shoes lying around in my room. How come you didn't get those put away?"
Darcy stood smirking as she sipped the chardonnay I bought her. I stood blushing and wondering how I should respond to such audacity. Kiera decided for me.
"The correct answer, Davey, is 'I'm sorry, Kiera.'"
"Um ... oh ... uh ... I'm sorry, Kiera."
"'And I will take care of all that right now' ... hello!!??? 'I will take care of that right now'!"
"Oh. And I will take care of that right now."
"Take care of what? What are you going to do?"
"Uhhh ... I will ... uh ..."
"Go pick up all the cigarette butts outside?"
"Oh. OK. I'll ... uh ... do that."
"No, Davey, say it: 'I'm sorry, Kiera, and I will take care of that right now. I'll go pick up the cigarette butts in the yard, and then I will come in here and do the dishes that have piled up today, and then I will ask everyone if I can get them anything, and then I'll go upstairs and put all your shoes away.'"
I kept glancing at Darcy. Apart from the smirk, her gaze was locked as tight on me as Kiera's was.
"OK ... um ... I'm sorry, Kiera, and I will take care of ... of ... it. I'll go pick up the cigarette butts, and then come in here and do these dishes, and ask everyone if they need anything. And ... uh ... then I'll go up and put all your shoes away."
"Veeeerry good." Then she pointed to her foot and said, "Now kiss my foot and tell me you're sorry you left your chores undone."
Oh my god! Was she serious? She wanted me to drop to the floor and kiss her foot, right there in front of Darcy, and whoever else might come inside just then?
Kiera remained frozen in position, pointing down at her foot and staring at me. "Davey."
As I said, "Uhhhhh ..." I felt all resistance drain away, as I realized, somehow, that any choice of response other than what she demanded would turn out very ugly for me. I slunk to my knees, put my palms flat in front of Kiera's foot, and lowered my head to kiss it. "I'm sorry I didn't have all my chores done, Kiera."