The Sitters ClubbyDarkLit©
Sickness. Is that what they call this?
There's a thin line between a preoccupation and an obsession, between an obsession and a sickness. I think I've crossed all of the lines. I used to pray for answers, for understanding, why oh why must I be this way? I cried myself to sleep at night in the arms of my dear Mandy, God rest her soul. She tried to understand me, tried but failed. Now that she's gone, I don't have to justify my behavior to anyone.
I never cried for myself, I cried for Mandy. I cried for Robbie, my son. To think that someday they might have had to explain the actions of their dear sick husband and father.
It started with Paulina. She was the first.
Mandy was a professor of psychology at Wellsley College, a small Christian school in the south, as well as a faculty advisor for one of the sororities, Sigma Sigma Delta. Mandy and I had both graduated from Wellsley, and she had been a Sig during her time there as a student. Even twenty years later, at age forty, she had the youthful, vibrant energy of a sorority girl. There was nothing she loved more than being a mentor and a big sister to her "girls," as she called them.
They held meetings on Sunday night, gathering together in the basement of the Sig house. Of course, I never knew what went on down there, and I still don't. I once asked Mandy about it, and she answered, simply, "girl stuff." They would be there for hours at a time and, in the meantime, I would wait at home, cook dinner for Robbie, watch television, have a few beers. Guy stuff.
One Sunday night after the meeting, one of the girls came home with Mandy. Paulina. She was a pretty freshman, a new pledge for the Sigs, with a deceptive air of innocence about her. I liked her as soon as I saw her.
Mandy brought her into the kitchen, and Paulina took a seat at the table. She seemed a bit nervous at first, anxious about something, but I offered her some dinner, and Mandy, against what I thought was her best judgement, poured her a glass of wine. I didn't know how old the girl was, but she didn't seem old enough to be drinking. I said nothing to Mandy about it.
My mediocre cooking and the wine seemed to relax Paulina a little, and while Mandy took care of some work in her study, I sat with the young lady at the kitchen table, making idle conversation. She had the kind of shy smile that was even prettier because she had a tendency to hide it. During the course of the conversation, she had taken to calling me Mister Ellison, which I told her wasn't necessary. It was more comfortable for her, I suppose, to call me "Mister" since she always called Mandy "Professor."
"We all think Professor Ellison is the coolest," she told me at one point, "she's like the big sister that all the girls look up to."
"Yeah, I think she's pretty cool, too," I said, eliciting a giggle from Paulina.
"She's a great advisor, all the sisters seem to be willing to do anything for her. I just hope I make it into the sorority."
After about half an hour, Mandy came back into the kitchen and stood behind Paulina, hands resting on her shoulders, a gesture I didn't even think twice about at the time.
"I brought Paulina over because I thought it was time we got a sitter," Mandy said. "She's one of the most responsible young ladies we have. It might be a good opportunity for us to get out a little more."
"A sitter?" I balked at the idea. It had never occurred to me that Robbie was old enough for a sitter, I wasn't sure I felt comfortable with the idea. Paulina seemed sweet, but responsible or not, she was still a stranger.
"I think Robbie will get along fine with her," Mandy said to me in a soft, almost conspiratorial voice. Paulina looked at her with a sort of crooked half-smile, half-frown.
"Robbie," the girl said.
"My son," I told her, still not entirely convinced this arrangement was a good idea. "Mandy, honey, can I talk to you for a minute outside?"
Mandy nodded, her hands gently patting Paulina on the shoulders. "I'm sorry, sweetheart," she told the girl, "we'll be right back, okay? Have some more wine."
Mandy and I made our exit to the hallway, where I shook my head at the idea. "Honey, I just don't know if Robbie is ready for this."
"Jack, is this really about Robbie, or is it about you?"
"About me? What about me?"
"Could it be you're just not ready to let go like this? After—how long has it been?"
"It's just—a babysitter, Mandy? You want a stranger looking after our son?"
"She's not a stranger," Mandy said, not able to hide the amusement in her voice, though I was not at all amused. "I told you, she's a Sig pledge, she's a sweet girl. Jack, she had a 4.0 grade point average her first semester here. You don't get grades like that acting irresponsibly."
"I just don't know."
She grabbed hold of my arm firmly and pulled me towards her as if I was a defiant child. "Jack," she said, her voice strong, but understanding at the same time, "I think you need this. I think you deserve this. I understand that it's been rough for you in the house all the time, while I'm in class, or with my girls. You and Robbie—maybe some time apart would be good for you. For both of you."
I glanced back into the kitchen at the girl sitting at our table, drinking our wine. She had on a gray sorority sweatshirt with Greek letters—Sigma-Sigma-Delta—embroidered on the front. Her straight blonde hair was pulled back in a loose ponytail, which she flung about carelessly when she moved. She reminded me of Mandy at that age.
"Jack, I just want to do what's right for you. I want you to be happy."
I turned to my wife and managed a weak smile. Maybe she was right. Of course, even after sitting with Paulina for just half-an-hour, I trusted her. Maybe I was naïve.
Regardless, I took my wife in my arms and kissed her lightly on the lips. I thought I detected a vague aroma of marijuana on her, though I hadn't seen her smoke in years. But her brilliant blue eyes were as clear as ever.
"Honey, thank you," I said. "Maybe you're right. This could be a good thing, right?"
"A very good thing, Jack, I'm glad you think so. Tomorrow night, eight o'clock is a good time for her to come, I think. Will you tell her?"
"Tomorrow is Monday, honey."
"I know. Tell her."
And so Paulina was hired. Seven dollars an hour seemed a fair rate, though Mandy spent a good hour grumbling about how she only got paid two dollars when she was a girl. I tried to explain inflation to her, but she wasn't hearing it.
Before Paulina arrived, we dressed for the evening, Mandy absolutely fetching in a black sequined dress that came up about mid-thigh, a pair of three-inch high-heels on her feet, the whole ensemble making her shapely legs look about six feet long. She had trapped her blonde hair up in a slightly messy bun, but her makeup was flawless. Mandy had always had this incredible talent for looking classy, yet a little slutty at the same time, and I loved it. I had to admit that even in the clutches of middle-age, Mandy and I (in the only designer suit I owned) made a pretty good-looking couple.
Paulina arrived exactly on time, to the minute as far as I could tell. I opened the door when she knocked, and Mandy stood behind me in the foyer. When Paulina saw us, she took a step back.
"Woo-hoo, you two are hot. Professor Ellison, I love that dress."
Mandy smiled modestly, though I knew that she knew she was hot. "Thank you, Paulina, it's just a little something I had hiding in the closet."
"If that's just a little something, I'd like to see what else you have hiding in that closet of yours. And Mister Ellison, you should be on the cover of GQ."
"I lost my shot to Ben Affleck, Paulina, but I appreciate the thought. And please, call me Jack."
"Jack," Mandy said, a twinge of impatience in her voice, "I really think it's time."
"Right. Paulina, help yourself to anything in the fridge and make yourself at home."
"Thanks Mis—I mean, Jack."
"Oh, Jack," Mandy said, "will you be a sweetheart and go upstairs and find my diamond earrings for me?"
"Two hours getting ready and you forgot earrings?"
"Honey, don't be smart, just do it."
"Okay, dragonlady," I said, using a nickname some of her psychology students had given her. She issued me a playful smack on the arm, and Paulina giggled. When she giggled, she reminded me of the girls I took classes with when I was in college, and there was an old familiar stir inside.
I turned and headed up the staircase to the second level where our bedroom was located. I glanced back over my shoulder and noticed Mandy step close to Paulina, wrap her arm around the girl's waist. A strange thing for a husband to see, but I thought little of it nonetheless.
I stepped into the bedroom, suddenly becoming aware that I hadn't the faintest clue where exactly Mandy kept her diamond earrings. Across from the antique, four-post bed that Mandy and I shared was her boudoir, which was covered with half a dozen jewelry boxes, any one of which could have contained a pair of diamond earrings. I sat down at the boudoir, intending to search through each box, as any good husband would.
After a few minutes without any luck, I heard someone step through the doorway, and I expected to hear Mandy's voice asking me what was taking so long.
I turned to see Paulina standing in the doorway, and before I could say a word, she closed the bedroom door behind her.
"Paulina. Is something wrong?"
"No, not at all. Can I sit?" She gestured to the bed, and I nodded.
"Be my guest."
She sat on the edge of the bed, then reached into her pocket and pulled out a slim white stick that looked like a cigarette. "Do you mind?"
"Of course not," I said, though I did mind, especially with a child in the house. Mandy and I had both quit smoking, cigarettes and otherwise, when Robbie was born. Still, I couldn't bring myself to tell her no.
She brought out a lighter, pink plastic Bic, and lit the end of the cigarette, taking a deep puff, holding it. Almost immediately, the distinctive aroma of marijuana filled the room, and I had something akin to a flashback: huddling in the corner of the bathroom with my college roommate, puffing on a joint and praying that the exhaust fan would be enough to dissipate the smell. Stumbling around the room with our arms out, trying to steady ourselves, laughing our asses off. Playing "Pong" until three in the morning, despite mid-term exams the same day.
I didn't believe Paulina had any of this in mind. She held out the joint to me and exhaled a thin stream. "Want some?"
"Oh, Paulina, I don't know—"
"You don't know. I heard you say that to your wife like twice last night when you were talking to her about me. What do you know? Jack?"
The first time she had called me by my first name, down in the foyer, it had sounded like she was trying to placate me. This time, it sounded like she was taunting me. Not wanting to be scorned by a college girl, a freshman college girl for that matter, I reached over and took the joint, hoping that after all these years I would be able to hold it in without coughing. It went down smoothly enough, but as I held it, the smoke felt like it was burning my throat, my lungs. Still, I suffered through it, then mercifully exhaled and handed the joint back to Paulina.
"Good stuff," I said, trying to cover the fact that I no longer knew a damn thing about drugs. It could have been oregano for all I knew.
Paulina laughed politely, then took another hit. She was a professional, I could tell, and as my head started to spin just a little, I wondered what other drugs this sweet, innocent girl had done. She passed the joint back to me, and I took another big hit, despite the fact that the first one was already working for me. After all the years, it wasn't taking much.
I handed her the joint and exhaled. "Thanks, Paulina, that'll probably do me."
She laughed again. "It's been a while for you, I take it." But by then I wasn't paying much attention, I just knew I had to find my wife's diamond earrings before she grew impatient.
"Call me Jack, I told you."
"I don't want to call you Jack, Mister Ellison, it doesn't feel right. Are you okay?"
"Yes, fine. I don't like 'Mister,' people used to call my father 'Mister.' He was a hard man."
"What would you like me to call you, then?"
"I used to be a doctor, Paulina, why don't you call me 'Doctor Ellison.' That sounds good, doesn't it? Doctor Jack Ellison. Call me that." An unmanly, high-pitched giggled escaped my lips, though I didn't care how unmanly or high-pitched it was. Paulina laughed as well; the unmanly, high-pitched laugh coming from her was adorable.
"What were you a doctor of, Doctor Jack Ellison?"
"I delivered babies. I helped sick babies. I was a baby doctor." But it didn't matter, I needed to find my wife's earrings. How could I if Paulina kept distracting me? I turned back to the boxes on Mandy's boudoir, which had, in the past few minutes, grown in number from a mere half-a-dozen to an astoundingly mind-boggling half-a-dozen. And inside one of them were two ridiculously tiny pieces of jewelry.
I glanced at Paulina. She smiled sweetly at me, and then took off her sweatshirt, revealing her bra underneath. Beneath the bra I could see the contours of her two small, pear-shaped breasts, so smooth and inviting, but I had to find my wife's earrings, for Christ's sake!
"Paulina, don't do that."
"Why not? Do you think I'm pretty, Doctor Ellison?"
Of course, God, of course I think you're pretty, I think you're beautiful, since the moment you set foot in my kitchen I've wanted you. "Yes, Paulina, I think you're pretty." I turned from her, back to the boxes, all those boxes. "But I have to find these goddamn earrings before my wife—"
As I reached for one of the boxes, a slender hand touching mine interrupted me. Paulina had moved close behind me, her hand touching mine, her flesh touching my flesh, how was I supposed to resist? So close I could feel the heat of her body, smell her faint woman smell, yet she was not much more than a girl, was she? Though now she seemed much less innocent than I had given her credit for.
"Doctor Ellison, forget about that."
Of course, I should have known. Her calling me by my first name suggested some sort of equality between us. Her calling me 'Doctor' objectified her as an inferior, as an innocent, as the girl she wanted me to see in her, whether it was there or not. It was a game, and she had me playing it turn for turn.
"Call me Jack," I said, the resignation in my voice evident even to me.
"No. I don't think that's appropriate, Doctor Ellison." Her hand slipped from mine, up my arm to my chest, then slipped away. She backed away from me slowly and sat back down on the end of the bed.
I stood and approached her, my heart beating wildly, probably due in part to the pot. As she gazed up at me with an expression of innocence, I couldn't stop my hand from touching her face, sliding down her soft skin, touching her neck, her chest, down, her breast. Massaging gently, her eyes closing, a moan escaping her lips, nipple hard, the strap of her bra lifting and dropping down her arm.
She said to me, "Doctor Ellison, I don't think this is right, I don't think we should do this." Playing to me again, the tune she knew I wanted to hear. It made me hungry for more of her.
And I listened to every note, because by then the sickness was taking over me, and when it took over, I could hear nothing else. I could see nothing else, smell, taste, touch, nothing, only the sweet, untainted flesh of her I wanted to taint. To take something pure and make it impure.
I never heard the bedroom door open and close once again. I never heard approaching footsteps, light, quiet, but I could feel her behind me, and it didn't make me stop. Not even the touch of her hand on my hand could stop me, but no, she wasn't trying to stop me. Mandy, dear…
"Professor Ellison," in a breathy sigh, the teeth against the lower lip, an expression of ecstasy.
"I'm here, sweetheart," came Mandy's voice close to my ear, "I'm here, and I won't let him hurt you." I wondered for a moment which one of us she was speaking to.
"Never," Paulina whispered.
Mandy's hand closed over mine, and she gently pulled it away from Paulina's breast. "It's not right, Jack, what you want to do to her."
"What I want to do—"
"Say it, Jack. Say what you want to do. Just speak, just let the words come and everything will be okay."
My mind was reeling, I felt like it was all crashing down around me. All of reality was melting away, all the warmth of home and family, trust, love, being washed away, leaving only stark, naked, empty, nothingness.
"Jack, you can only get better if you say it."
My mouth opened, I had no idea what would come out. "She's—so pure. I want to make her dirty—"
"It's okay, Jack."
"—everything, so—innocent—dirty slut—"
"That's right, Jack," Mandy said, her voice low and soothing, "everything's okay." As I stared at Paulina, who still had her eyes closed as if in a trance, Mandy moved to the large wardrobe beside the bed. She opened it, took something out. I looked, and in her hand was a mass of black leather, straps, gleaming silver buckles and studs and chains. She held it out to me.
"It's this you want, Jack, right? For her to be in this?"
"Yes," I answered.
"Tell her, tell her what to do."
I moved close to Paulina, whose eyes opened, and I saw for the first time a genuine expression of fear on her face. I placed my hands gently on her face to try and calm her.
"I'm sorry, Paulina, it's what has to be done," I told her, my voice on the verge of breaking, "I'm very sick. I need this."
Paulina's eyes locked with mine, and I could see they were full of fear, almost panic. "Don't let her… Jack, don't let her…" Her voice trailed off, and I couldn't hear her final words, which mingled into a whimper. Dear God, what have I done?
"Jack." Mandy's voice, firm, in-control. "Tell her what you want."
I leaned down and kissed Paulina softly on the lips. They were so soft, so sensuous, and the kiss seemed to relax her, to bring her back into the game, the game she had started. "Tell me, Doctor Ellison," she said.
"Take off your clothes, Paulina."
She complied, hastily stripping herself of her jeans first, then her bra, exposing the creamy breasts I had imagined beneath, then her panties, the light patch of hair between her thighs the only thing now covering her. And then it was time to dress her.
Carefully positioned straps of leather, covering nothing, revealing all. Hands bound together, tied off to a bed post, legs tied off at each corner. A collar around her throat with a chain attached. Stretched across, our slave princess, elegant in her indignity, glorious in her subservience, delicious in her helplessness.
Mandy at first watched me as I took her, sat on the bed beside me, expressionless, as I invaded her, fucked her, ravaged her. Mandy spoke only once.
"It's a violation," she said, "it's not right, Jack." All my fault. A violation. And Paulina, sweet, innocent Paulina wanted none of this.
Yet she moaned when I touched her, not the moan of a forced woman, the moan of a hungry woman. As I rode her, I squeezed her breasts almost hard enough to bruise her, hard enough to elicit a cry, and I watched without remorse as a tear ran down her cheek. Who was the awful, sick man who practically raped her? If I saw him in a mirror, would I even recognize him as myself?
Mandy only began to touch her later, after I had had my way with her several times, as if she wanted nothing to do with pretty, pure Paulina. She wanted, it seemed, the used Paulina, the Paulina who was stained with my sweat, my saliva, my semen. As I rested on the bed beside the exhausted girl, Mandy ran her fingers through the tepid mixture of fluids that flowed from Paulina's ravaged cunt, teasing her sensitive clit for a painful moment before tracing a wet trail up her taught stomach, over her breasts, around her hard nipples, up her neck. Mandy slipped her fingers into Paulina's mouth, made her taste it all, and Paulina, dear girl, readily accepted, and I knew she was immaculate no more, tainted now by the bane of our union.