THIS POST IS THE SECOND OF A SERIES OF POSTS IN WHICH I DESCRIBE A RELATIONSHIP I HAD WITH AN EMOTIONALLY AND SEXUALLY ABUSIVE MAN. CHAPTER 1 IS HERE AND THE REST OF THE SERIES CAN BE FOUND ON THE STORIES & SERIES PAGE. THANK YOU FOR READING, AND PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS STORY SO THAT OTHERS CAN LEARN FROM MY EXPERIENCES INSTEAD OF NEEDING TO MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES.
It was two weeks before Christmas, and Eli had driven up north to stay for the weekend and give me my Christmas gift. He wouldn’t tell me what it was.
He was due in before I got home from work that Friday, so I told him where the hide-a-key was and encouraged him to make himself at home. That evening, he let me into my house and took me to the bathroom where he had drawn a bath, complete with scented candles and aromatic salts.
This was just the first part, he told me, closing the door so that I could undress and fully relax.
When I donned my robe and emerged nearly an hour later, clean and serene, he greeted me in the kitchen with a glass of wine, a kiss, and a small plate of hors d’oeuvres. The bite size appetizers he’d made from scratch while I was in the bath- little spinach tartlets and pieces of grilled pumpkin wrapped in prosciutto. I perched on his lap and sipped and nibbled, while trying to tease the evening’s plans out of him. He wouldn’t yield. When the drink and food were finished, he asked if I had been to my bedroom yet.
“No?” I replied, with more than a hint of curiosity.
“Maybe you should,” he suggested, smirking slightly.
I half skipped across the kitchen, glancing back over my shoulder at him to see he hadn’t moved- smirk still in place, staring at me with so much intensity that it made me blush as I disappeared down the hallway.
He must have smiled, maybe chucked slightly, when he heard my squeal and giggle of delight at what I found. He’d selected an outfit for me to wear- a completely classic, strapless satin dress with a beautiful, porcelain-esque printed pattern, matching heels, and tasteful, demure jewelry. I put on music and began the convoluted ritual of getting ready. Only once in the next 90 minutes did he knock to ask how it was coming along- he never hassled or hastened. By the time I was finished and entered the living room, he was also ready in a perfectly tailored suit, silk tie, and clean shoes. He turned when he heard my heels on the hardwood floor, smiled, and studied me slowly from head to toe, which made my body tingle all over, but especially up and down my spine. Putting his hand on the small of my back, he kissed me gently on the lips and lightly brushed my curls back to whisper in my ear.
“You look absolutely beautiful… but I can’t wait until later, when I get to take the dress off you.”
I bit my lip and smiled up at him.
He reached over the couch, held up my winter coat, and helped me into it, then turned to open the front door and inclined his head to suggest we leave.
In the car, he had the GPS in his lap, refusing to let me look at it although I knew by our direction that we were heading into New York City. Once on the highway, he suddenly accelerated drastically beyond the speed limit and began recklessly weaving in and out of the holiday traffic.
Gripping the side panel, I tersely enquired why he was driving like a maniac.
“We might not make it in time,” he said through gritted teeth.
“Okay, well then maybe we’re just a little late,” I tried to reassure him, “it will be okay.”
His expression was set, stony, and he didn’t look my way when he said that if we were more than ten minutes late, our evening would be ruined.
“What do you mean?” I asked, beginning to feel panicked.
He inhaled loudly, and held it, then on his exhale through a clenched jaw he said, “I didn’t want to ruin the surprise, but I guess now I have no choice because we might not make it anyway. We’re going to Tavern on the Green, and they’ll give away our reservation if we’re late.”
I could barely believe it. One of New York’s most renowned and historic restaurants, and one of the only ones located in Central Park, awarded many times for everything from its cuisine to its ambiance. It was a place that many had heard of but few would have been privileged enough to dine, and most people would never get the opportunity because it had declared bankruptcy and was closing on New Years Eve.
“I… well, first of all thank you because this is such an incredible surprise… but I wish you had told me sooner because I wouldn’t have taken so long to get ready.”
He finally looked at me and smiled grimly, then patted my knee, “I don’t mind waiting for you, and I know you hate to be rushed. I wanted tonight to be perfect. I just hope we make it.”
With not more than four minutes to spare inside of the grace period, we pulled up to the valets stationed outside of the restaurant’s entrance and made a hasty exit from the car. Eli practically threw our coats at the coat-check girl and strided purposefully towards the maître d’. In a few moments we were seated by a window overlooking the garden, the whimsical topiaries decorated artfully with fairy lights and mantled thickly with snow. It was extravagant and magical. I took Eli’s hand in mine, squeezed it and smiled, “We made it.”
He flashed me a brief smile and ordered a scotch from a passing waiter.
It was around December that I began to get sick. I remember being in a taxi on my way to the airport, intending to catch a flight to meet Eli, and something inside of me felt combustible. The pressure was so intense, I remember holding my breath as we went over speed bumps, clinging to the sides of the cab, nails digging into the vinyl, praying it wasn’t appendicitis.
I caught my plane, landed safely two hours later, and Eli picked me up at the airport.
We were so happy to see each other. I remember the unadulterated joy at having him be there to meet me, it could almost make me forget the internal pain that had grown worse through the flight. He crooked his arm possessively around my shoulders, the weight of it heavy on me, and reminded me that we were on borrowed time because the dog was home alone. He helped me find my bag and bring it to the truck, wheeling it authoritatively through the late-night crowds at baggage claim. He always swaggered when he walked, hips thrust forward, confident and unimpeachable.
My bag in the back of his truck, he started the engine, put his hand on my knee, and began to head home. He asked how the flight was and I told him of the strangely intense pain I was experiencing. As I spoke, his hand slid farther up my thigh.
I chuckled nervously, “Um, what are you doing?”
“I love you,” he said in a throaty voice.
He pulled to the side of the airport road and kissed me. The spontaneity of it, or maybe the pain in my abdomen, made me breathless. We kissed until things had escalated and we were both naked in the bed of the truck, wrapped up in our hedonism, when flashing lights perturbed our reverie. Eli threw a towel at me and snatched for his boxers.
The police officer rapped on the fogged up window and Eli climbed over the seat to roll it down and pass through his license and registration. I sat where I was, clutching my temporary cover-all over my bare skin, too red in the face to make eye contact with the man in uniform.
“Evening,” the hired cop began, unnecessarily scanning over my body with his flashlight, “Did y’all know it’s illegal to park on the side of the airport’s roads?”
Eli rapidly and impressively spun a pretty convincing tale about bladder control and the need to relieve himself on the side of the road. The officer skeptically eyed my barely concealed skin, but acquiesced and wrote Eli a ticket for nothing more than a parking violation.
I clothed myself as we drove away, both of us chuckling at what we knew would be a memorable moment for years to come- Eli said he didn’t really want to pay the ticket because he would have to mail it in, when what he really wanted to do was frame it and save it.
Again in the car, I felt the pain escalate. Something in my gut was terribly wrong. I felt as if I was being stabbed from inside, and the pain of it made me wince every time the tires crossed the barest crack in the pavement. Eventually, Eli realized something was wrong and asked about it.There wasn’t much for me to explain other than that I was just in pain. I didn’t know what it was. He spoke with sympathy and gentleness, and told me once we were home he would take good care of me.
When we pulled up to his townhouse, we could hear the dog whining inside. She was hopelessly in love with Eli, and rapidly becoming enamored with me. Eli carried my bag up the porch steps and unlocked the door. Looking between his legs I could just make out a squirming, writhing blur of sheer joy.
“LUCY! BACK!” he commanded in what seemed like an unnecessarily stern tone. She immediately quieted, backing away to a corner and lying in a position that suggested a compressed spring, ready to uncoil with a bound at any moment.
I entered the house and the very tip of Lucy’s tail began to tap spasmodically on the wall behind her. Eli placed my suitcase near the coat closet, took off my coat and hung it, and then pinned me against the wall, holding the back of my head and kissing me passionately. I was caught off guard, but kissed him back, perhaps a bit less fervently. He unbuttoned the top two buttons of my blouse and slid a hand over my breast. I hesitated.
“How rude of me,” he withdrew with a sigh and ran his hand through his hair, “you must be hungry and tired.” I nodded, staring at the floor.