tagNonConsent/ReluctanceBass-Ackwards Ch. 06

Bass-Ackwards Ch. 06

byDeathAndTaxes©

Author's Note: Thanks for waiting these last three months for this new chapter. I warn ahead of time: Chapter 7 will probably be another bit of a wait, so please enjoy the vast range of stroke-worthy offerings by the many talented authors all over Literotica in the meantime. :)

That being said, this is the longest chapter yet, and it gave me immense pleasure to torture these two characters. Hope you enjoy, and I really appreciate all your kind words and comments. Happy reading!


~Eris/D&T


* * *

Bill Marshall had no one to blame but himself for the state he was in now.

He leaned on the palm of his left hand on the edge of his kitchen sink, staring out the window above it at a sunrise getting ready to happen, eyes unfocused. A full coffee mug was in his other hand and he sipped, then swore.

Way too hot, still.

The owner of the Haul Ash was going to need the patience of a saint to get what he wanted. After that lunch break with her settled onto his lap like there was no place else she belonged ... God damn.

He shifted his weight onto the other foot and let his morning caffeine hover while the sky awakened from pink to yellow above the treeline.

Canine toenails clicked on the linoleum. Bill looked down and received a wag-tail good morning, Daisy's bright eyes friendly but petitioning.

"All right." He set the mug on the counter. "Come on, dog."

The tawny mutt wriggled through the side door off the laundry room as soon as he had it cracked wide enough and had an industrious nose to the grass in less time than that. He stood there for a minute in his boxers, watching her snuffle, before ducking back inside to scoop some kibble and refill her outdoor dish. Her water he topped off from the spigot just outside the door.

Dog prepped for her day in the yard, Bill went back to his coffee, which was ready not to blister his tongue.

This time, he leaned his tailbone against the kitchen island as he sipped. Surveyed his living room and shook his head.

This was why he didn't bring women home. Most everything in his house looked forty years out of date. There was wood paneling everywhere. And not the trendy reclaimed hipster kind. The sofa had an orange-green-gold floral pattern that all but begged him to cover it in clear vinyl. There were hideous, hideous lamps. The carpet was the sort of fashion atrocity that could only have flourished in the early 1970s.

He'd started renting the place, furnished, right after the divorce. It had belonged to a woman whose children had decided her Alzheimer's warranted her moving into assisted living. His rent had gone into the woman's estate to pay for her care. A couple years in, she passed, and one of her daughters had offered Bill first chance to buy the place before they officially put it on the market.

And now here he was.

He downed some more of the coffee.

Sure, he'd replaced things as they'd broken or worn out. And there were new electronics and appliances to his liking. But man, this was not the place to show a lady you were trying to impress. She'd probably ask if he lived with his mom. Or grandmother.

There were fixes for this, of course, but those required spending a ton of money and caring about appearances. And Bill Marshall was pretty sure he might be allergic to stuff like that.

Maybe at this point, Christina wouldn't care so much, either.

He'd have to wait and see.

The clock above his TV read quarter-to-seven.

"Fuck."

Bill splashed the last dark drops from his mug into the kitchen sink and went about finding a clean shirt.

* * *

A blu-ray case stuck up out of Christina's purse the day after the eggs and tortillas. The day after paperbacks and Bill's lap and confusion.

There was a lightness in her step as she pushed her way through the front door of the Haul Ash office; that heedless blustering forward of a person who suspects they're doing something stupid but has committed to it with an idiot glee all the same.

Her boss half-sat, half-leaned on the stool in front of the computer, his focus intense on the monitor as she hit the time clock. Not an eyebrow twitch or a word in greeting.

From all but burning her clothes off, to near cuddling, to flat out ignoring her. Did the guy maybe have an evil twin or something? Assholier Bill?

By the time she came around the counter with the case in her hand, the level of mental backpedaling had reached somewhere near But I Thought Everyone at Work Was Going to Dress Up for Halloween territory. She put the documentary down next to the keyboard anyway.

Bill did nothing, and Christina hovered. Click. Scroll. Click. She fussed inside her skin.

"Bill."

"Yyyyeah." He did that thing. The thing where the head begins to turn but the eyes aren't following it yet.

"I brought this." She truncated herself from saying 'I brought this for you', because that was too close to, 'Please, like me,' and Christina was squirming enough already.

"Oh." His eyes flicked at last to the colorful artwork wrapped around blue plastic. "Thanks."

Thanks.

She swallowed and mentally kicked herself. "You can bring it back whenever," she said. "No rush."

"Okay." Attention back on the monitor. A final trio of decisive mouse clicks, and then he stood. "Travis is not gonna be here until noon, I just found out."

The man hit her with a split-second of eye contact that snapped her world from black-and-white to color and back again. Other than tiniest squint of contemplation, as if Bill was trying to puzzle her out, Christina couldn't read anything in the look. But she knew what it did to her and couldn't decide if she wanted to kiss him or kill him for it.

He lifted a set of keys from the board on the back wall, and then turned to scoop up the documentary in an arcing arm movement that ended just after an intentional-as-hell brush of his knuckle along her wrist.

The fuck?

"I'll be out in the shop."

The door to the back half thumped shut behind him. At least he'd taken the movie.

She hadn't even put away her purse.

You are letting him do this to you, Christina Lee. He is paying you for whatever sick shit it is he wants, and you are getting sucked up in it.

Bringing him little things. Like she was trying to date. Trying to flirt. She sneered at the empty office.

But why, why? She lanced the bitterness with a sigh and shoved her purse under the counter. He could've gotten laid yesterday, but he wanted to read? And ... hold her?

Her insignificant reality was starting to bend in on itself. From this vantage point, standing upright on the under-surface of water, she could see herself wanting his sick shit, too. Whatever he came at her with next.

She turned to the computer and made a little noise of disgust. 'Next' would be calling customers. And a long, long weekend ahead of her in the anxiety radius of one Bill Marshall.

* * *

If the weekend being jumpy around Bill had been long, Christina's Monday and Tuesday off trimming down brush at the back end of her granddad's property had been longer.

She'd fought her way through an overgrown lantana the size of a small bus with nothing more than a long-handled pair of pruners and an aggressive playlist snarling through her earbuds.

It had been a shame, in her opinion, to lose all the purple and white clustered flowers, but neighbor complaints to the county about vermin nesting in the yard were nothing her granddad could just ignore. Which really meant they were nothing Christina could ignore.

She could have hired someone to clear the overgrowth out, but any money she used for that would've come out of the funds for Denise, and the caregiver might be the last thread holding this whole mess together at this point. No, it was nothing a little of her own sweat—and blood, though most of the scratches were healed up already—couldn't buy them.

Her efforts had left behind a neat wall of woody stems that could re-leaf in their own time, and several massive piles of green waste she'd had to haul off in the Bronco. Even more important, it checked one more item off the list The never-ending list of things that needed doing.

Coming back to work on Wednesday in a skirt, as if she hadn't been sweaty and filthy and achy just the day before, bordered on the surreal. Hell—she rolled her shoulders—she was still achy. At least she could sit at the computer most of the time.

Bells clanked as a woman who looked about Christina's age navigated her way into the office. She had a cast on her left foot and ankle, and pivoted her way to the counter with the aid of a crutch.

"Hi there," Christina said. "Can I help you?"

The woman set her wallet and keys on the counter and leaned to retrieve a phone from her back pocket. "Yeah, how many days can I rent one of the box trucks for?"

"Well," she said, "we don't really rent them by the day. Are you moving a whole house?"

"Yeah, we have a ton of stuff."

Christina nodded and launched into her usual spiel about hourly rates and average truck loading and unloading times. The pivot of the woman's expectations showed on her face, but she was polite about it at the end.

"Okay." Her customer touched the screen of her phone, and then held it to her ear. "I'm just gonna see what my husband wants to do."

Husband. Christina couldn't imagine.

Jonah's Civic veered in off the highway. He parked and gathered his backpack. Slipped into the office and punched his time card.

The woman with the crutch gave Christina a polite smile and tried calling her husband again. Christina offered the best she could do for a smile back, and wished she'd had a third day off.

The scheduling gods had smiled upon her with the opening shift, however, which meant she got to go on lunch first. After her welcome but forgettable haze of filling her belly and reading in the breakroom, Bill took his, and then Jonah went last, leaving for fast food, as usual.

"You'd think he'd get tired of burgers at some point," she said to Bill as they watched Jonah go out the front door just after a customer.

"You'd think," he echoed, pulling an invoice off the printer. His eyes flicked to the counter, and he snorted. "That guy left his wallet."

Christina followed his line of sight. "Shit." She grabbed up the wallet and darted around the counter. Pushed through the door after the man in the baseball cap heading for his truck.

"Excuse me, Sir?" Her arm stretched out in the afternoon sun. "Sir? You forgot your w—oahh!"

At her squawk, the man turned to see her go flying. The toe of her shoe caught the threshold. Pavement rushed to meet her.

Christina's palms landed on gravel, her bare knees on cement in a skid. The wallet went spinning out of her grip. She spat some words she ought not to have said in front of a customer.

"Are you okay?" came from the man as he jogged back toward the office, at the same time as "Shit! Christina!" came from behind her as Bill hustled outside. Her shin made an effective stop for the door attempting to swing closed in her wake.

"Fuck," she said through clenched teeth.

What she really wanted to do was stay on the ground and swear and cry, but that wasn't exactly dignified. Instead, she pushed herself onto her hip. Bill was already leaning down with a hand out, and she took it. Hauled herself to a stand. Tried not to show her underwear to everyone.

There would absolutely be bruises.

"I was going to say," she said to the customer, raking her hair back over her forehead, "you forgot your wallet."

He'd retrieved it from the gravel and was stuffing it into a back pocket. "Yeah, um, thanks." Concerned, bewildered eyes looked her over. Bill hadn't let go her hand. "Uh, sorry 'bout that. Hope you're okay."

"I'm okay." She tried to reassure with a laugh. "Not the first time I've made a fool of myself. Probably won't be the last."

He chuckled. "All right, then. Well, be careful." And got in his truck and left.

Christina took her hand back, avoiding any attempt to parse Bill's extended grip, and assessed the damage. Her palms stung, but they weren't bleeding—just raw. She brushed off bits of dirt and gravel. Her right knee, however, boasted a new red scuff where the concrete had shaved her bloody.

She hissed at herself. "Really, dumbass?" There was little she hated more than being klutzy in front of other people.

"We got stuff in the back," Bill said. "First aid kit. Come on."

In the back half, her boss was hauling a small plastic container with a red cross on it out from the cupboard under the sink.

"Sit down." He jerked a nod at one of the folding chairs while he pawed through the contents of the kit.

She frowned. "I'm capable of putting a bandage on myself, you know." But sat, anyway.

He came at her with a handful of supplies and took a knee next to the chair. Set aside on the table what she considered an overkill of items for a skinned knee.

He started dousing a cotton ball in iodine. "It needs to be disinfected. Probably got all kinds of dirt and crap in there."

"For fuck's sakes, Bill."

She leaned forward to stand, but he took a firm grip on her ankle. When her eyes snapped to his, those brows had come down, more serious than she knew what to do with.

"Stop being a pain in the ass and let me take care of you."

Dropping a sandbag on her lap would have been less effective. Christina sat back, limbs going slack.

Take care of her?

She sucked in air through her teeth when he started dabbing the scrape.

What kind of shit was that to say? Why did it feel like her ribs were caving in? Why did she hate the part of herself that wailed from a sequestered place in her head, Yes! Take care of me! Someone, for the love of fuck, please, please take care of me for once!

But not just 'someone'. No.

Bill stretched a fresh bandage over the stinging red part of her knee, smoothing both sticky ends down over her skin on either side with his thumbs. His touch slid to the back of her calf. Eyes wandered.

"What happened there?" He nodded to a bruise on her thigh, opposite the knee she'd just sandpapered.

She made a face. Fucking skirts, for him to see all this shit.

"I was helping my granddad on my weekend," she said, keeping her answer minimal. "Clearing some brush."

Christina avoided going into the hoarding thing with people. There was either judgement, as though she ought to be doing more to 'fix' him or the whole the situation, or just loads of advice ranging anywhere from unhelpful to outright horrible.

He let out a huff that was close to a chuckle. "Don't you ever take a real day off?" Fingertips grazed the underside of her thigh.

"No." So serious, too, but it was like they were having two different conversations at once.

His eyes shifted to the leg he hadn't let go of. To where it disappeared up under her skirt. She gripped the seat of the chair on both sides, trying not to collapse the tension in the room like a soufflé with any sudden movements.

The list of things Christina would have found acceptable for her boss to do just then was long and embarrassing.

The bells on the front door clanked.

Bill gave her calf a squeeze. "Try to stay in one piece for me, will ya?"

He shoved himself to his feet and disappeared through the door to the front half.

Christina sat, trying to slow her pulse, and having a serious internal debate over the nature of reality and fantasy. About what sort of judgements she ought to place upon herself. About the half-life of conditions she could only pretend to understand.

Something was going to break. Someone.

* * *

Two o'clock in the morning was as good a time as any to masturbate. Not like she had roommates to worry about waking.

Christina had concerns.

Some of them involved the simultaneously growing and shrinking clusterfuck with her boss. Some, her lack of sleep over the last couple weeks. And some debated whether it was wrong to be giving serious consideration to buying a more expensive vibrator.

She was about to wear the little cheapie one out.

There was no pretense at all anymore. No hiding it. Christina thought about Asshole Bill Marshall when she wanted to get off. Which, these days, happened with alarming frequency.

The small silver bullet ground over her clit as Christina sought that pinpoint of focus. Her knees fell wide atop the bed, sheet thrown aside, even that thin layer too much in the late-June heat. The cheeks of her ass flexed, pushing her mound up, up ...

Her head whipped to one side, mouth in a grimace.

Come on, where are you? Where?

Scenarios flipped past, gaining speed. Just after he'd put that bandage on her knee, Bill's hand sliding higher on her thigh, under her skirt to her panties ... Not enough.

In the front half, right after she'd handed him the documentary, and his hand had brushed her wrist. But instead, the brush was a grip, a twist. He was whirling her to face the counter, pushing a palm between her shoulders to bend her forward ... Not enough!

That very first time. Again. Always. Cock filling her full. Two fingers twisting into her ass. The blunt head of his prick replacing them, opening, stretching.

Yes. There.

The alternate version in her head didn't have her bewildered or mute like the first time, though. 'Bill,' she said. Her back arched, and he came down to meet her. 'Christina.' They broke rule number one.

There.

The spot. That liquid pulse revved up behind her pussy and topped out when it sped to a blur. Christina sucked in air through her teeth and came with a squeal that sounded like a question.

She let her muscles relax after, one by one, and the tiny vibe dropped to the mattress.

It was still there when her alarm went off, along with the rest of her problems.

* * *

After more than a week, the scrape on Christina's knee had all but healed. No need for a bandage now; the skin was just fresh and pink in that spot. It showed when she sat on the stool and the hem of her skirt rode up.

The calendar above the monitor in the Haul Ash front office told her it was Friday, the 22nd of June. She frowned at this and turned her focus back to the scheduling software.

There was no way it had been than long. What was it, somewhere in the beginning of May? When she'd lost her grip on the way things worked and asked for that first Friday off?

No. Asking for a day off hadn't qualified as her losing her grip. Agreeing to Bill's terms had. That was the point where a sane person quit their job. A sane person, who worked somewhere big enough to have an HR department, reported that shit.

A sane person definitely didn't start enjoying it.

Christina eyeballed the overlapping colored bars on the screen and made a frustrated little noise. They were not going to have enough trucks this weekend. At least not for anyone else.

She glanced to the calendar again and her agitation grew. Not over the fucking schedule, of course. That would be sane person stuff. Nope, that was not her problem at all.

How long had it been? Since the shop? Since the reading?

One ... two ... three weeks already?

She had not started wearing her hair down for her health. Or bothering with lip gloss. Mascara. Not in the summer. It was amazing how a person could change their behavior without admitting just what the fuck was going on.

When the blue truck pulled into the lot and Christina's pulse leapt, however, she got a healthy and unavoidable dose of 'just what the fuck was going on'.

From the side of the building she heard the truck door slam, and then the outside door to the back half. She sat up straighter. Untucked her hair from behind her ears. Tried to slow her breathing.

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