Authors note: Edit 05/26/2015
This story includes sexual content, some of which is of a non-consensual nature (including but not limited to: sexual abuse of a minor, coercion, exploitation and gang-rape). Please heed this warning carefully and if you decide to read this story, pay attention to the warnings at the start of each chapter.
The content in question is not portrayed in a pornographic way but at times the writing is crass, harsh and explicit in order to convey the horror of the situation. I don't mean to offend anyone with the content of my work, I hope I have succeeded in treating the subject as respectfully as possible. I have added bypasses in the darkest chapters so you can skip the specific scenes (please read the AN's and warnings), but if you do read the full story I hope you will agree that it was a necessary aspect to the story and that you will understand why I have included it. The subject matter is very serious and sensitive and I trust you know I do not treat this lightly.
The smell that hung in the confinement of the taxi cab was sour and heavy, as was the atmosphere. I kept my gaze firmly directed to the outside world, in which I lost more and more interest as we traveled further into the heart of the suburban neighborhood. My heart had a slow and numb thud to it, it was as if my heart didn't want to beat at all, as the person to whom it belonged was gone. But something made it. Something forced it to go on and consequently, I too was forced to continue in this life that steadily dribbled empty of all it's joys. My whole body felt weak, but weighted, my hands, resting in my lap, were heavy, so heavy I couldn't imagine ever being able to move them again.
The car drove further, further into the territory that was so unfamiliar to me. I dreaded the destination. I wish I could just become so heavy that my body would sink through the bottom of the car and be left behind on the road. But as the car neared, so did I and there was no stopping that process.
My sentence was 365 days. 365 days of punishment to suffer, till I'll finally be free. Today is my seventeenth birthday, but there was nothing I wanted more than to turn eighteen and that is a present I had to wait for. For 365 days. So that is what I will do, I will wait. I will abide my time. Somehow I will make it work, somehow I will make myself last and they - whoever they are - will never see me again, I will gone. Gone away to all the places that are so much more interesting than a suburban street, in upstate New York.
"It will be okay, Duo." A tender voice to my right spoke. "This really is the best thing for you."
I couldn't stand looking at her, at her friendly face, her kind and sympathetic eyes, it was all bittersweet and tainted with the reality of what she made me do. For the past few days she had been claiming to be my friend, urging me to trust her, talking to me in delicate, soothing tones. She had no idea what was best for me and therefore the promises she made me turned out quite different from what I had expected, or dared to hope.
My dull eyes were focused on the houses that we passed. A white one, with blue shutters. A mustard yellow one with a big tree in the front yard, the lower branch supported a swing. A maroon one with a wide porch wrapping all around the house. Another white one, blue shutters too. An ocean blue one, with a trail of rosebushes leading up to the front porch.
That's where the cab stopped, gently rolling to a halt at the curb. Captain Obvious behind the wheel announced: "Here we are."
The ocean blue paneling of the house contrasted with the red front door. The support beams of the front porch where white, as was the swing chair. To the left of the spacious house was a generous garage with a sizeable loft above it, disconnected from the house, the frame of the large window facing the street was red also. Parked on the long driveway in front of the garage were two vehicles, a silver, luxurious sedan of an expensive European brand and a dark blue, American made SUV, looking equally pricy. The lawn was a vibrant green and every blade of grass looked to be the exact same length. The rose bushes flanking the cobble stone path leading up to the steps of the porch, were abloom with a soft shade of pink. My heart remained unimpressed by the colorful display.
"It's a beautiful house, don't you think so, Duo?"
I kept looking at it, to see what she saw, but my eyes detected no beauty, they were blind to whatever allure the house might hold. I felt a shiver run down my spine, looking at it. The cab might as well have dropped me off at the state penitentiary, it would have made no difference. I was an inmate regardless, for 365 days.
The cab driver uneasily wondered: "Aren't you going to get out?"
"We are," She answered, "just give us a moment." She touched my shoulder in a gesture that meant to be comforting, but it had no positive effect on me. If I wasn't already pressed up against the door, as far away from her as I could be, I would have leaned away further. "Are you alright?" She asked with a hint of concern when I remained silent for long, stretching moments.
I didn't answer, she damn well knew what I had to say in response to that. I didn't answer stupid questions.
She turned to the driver, her hand still on my shoulder as she leaned into me. "Could you please get his bag out of the trunk?"
At that request I violently and abruptly shook myself loose of her grip, undid my seatbelt and ripped the car door open, exiting in a manner that most resembled a controlled stumble. "He's not touching my damn stuff!" I exclaimed angrily. "No one is touching my stuff. It's mine!" And I childishly stomped my foot on the pavement. No wonder the judge didn't allow me early emancipation.
She climbed out after me, through the door I had left wide open. "Duo, that is fine, it is your stuff, don't worry." She tried to calm me.
From his seat behind the wheel the driver popped the trunk open. I didn't want to get my bag out. I wanted to slam the trunk shut and tell him to take me back to the airport, but that wasn't going to happen. I stared at the open trunk, my back purposefully turned towards the house. I looked past the cab to the houses across the street, all clones of each other, masquerading as unique with varying coats of colored paint. This would be my view for the next 365 days. Bland and oppressing.
The turmoil in front of the ocean blue house with the red door had drawn some attention from the surrounding neighbors. A woman with a gardening apron and sunhat, holding sheers in her matching gloved hands, had stopped trimming her plants, and there was a man at the window of the house right across the sheet, who had pulled the sheer curtain aside. They looked at me in dismay, with my appearance they instantly had me figured out. Black jeans with chains, white shirt underneath a black shirt with faded tour dates of a rock band? Trouble maker.
"Duo, why won't you take your bag out." She suggested. "If you don't, I will." It was a threat but she said it in her regular, kind tone of voice, nearly deceiving me. "Duo, you know I have to leave soon, I have a flight to catch."
"Take me with you." I blurted, my eyes finally settling on her, with a pleading, pathetic look.
She smiled sadly. "You know I can't. You belong here, with your family."
"These people aren't my family." I argued. "At best one of them is a long lost blood relative, the others are strangers. They all are strangers to me!"
"Give them a chance. They are the closest thing to family you have."
It was a painful truth that made my heart ache. My real family was gone and my heart bled. Behind me I heard the red front door open, causing me to tense up. I looked at her face as she looked past me, smiling and offering a small wave to the person who had come to the door, awaiting me.
"Duo, come on, get your bag. I have to go." She walked up to the house, her heels clicking on the cobble stone path. I heard her greeting to the stranger, but the rest of their brief conversation were incoherent mumbles as they whispered to avoid me eavesdropping on them.
With a surrendering sigh I walked to the back of the car and lifted my duffel bag with my clothes and few personal belongings out of the trunk, the strap pulling taut over my shoulder. I slammed the trunk shut with an exaggerated loud snap, the woman with her sheers jumped at the sudden noise and when I glared at her she turned her back to me and continued her gardening as if she hadn't been shamelessly staring.
I turned towards the house and saw that rather than one, two people had come to the front door, talking quietly to the person who was abandoning me here. I waited by the car, stalling. She said her goodbye to the couple and then walked back over to me. She patted my shoulder reassuringly and spoke: "Don't worry Duo, you're a good kid, you'll fit in in no time."
I did not believe her but didn't say so.
With a final pat she stepped past me and crawled back into the cab. I waited and heard the vehicle slowly take off. Dread overwhelmed me, but I fought it, I had to be strong if I were to last for 365 days. My eyes settled on the couple, standing close to each other on the front porch. The woman was very slim, her hair a shade so blond it had to be fake. She had it up in a tight, conservative bun, out of her tanned face. She wore a muddy brown skirt that left her lower legs exposed to show off and had paired it with a fitting cream wool vest, with a brown belt that accented her waist and matched the skirt and her high heeled shoes. It seemed she had put a lot of thought in it. She had a smile on her face but I presumed her to always be smiling, simply because it was polite. The man she stood next to was imposingly tall, with broad set shoulders. Wispy dark blond hair framed his angular face in a youthful manner. He was wearing a black business suit that made him look strict and very official. He was smiling too but I could tell he was experiencing the same dread as I was.
Even though my bag wasn't heavy at all, it felt like I was lugging it down the cobble stone path, walking towards them. I stopped at the steps of the porch, looking up at them. As a couple, their combined perfection was impressive, they wouldn't be out of place in a commercial. As I took in my first impressions of them, I wondered what their first impression of me was, it couldn't be good. I was painfully out of place and I looked the part too.
The woman, attractive by nature but something that she had almost ruined with her white blond hair, botox lips and brow and too white teeth, was the first of the three of us to speak. "Hello, Duo." her voice was smooth. "My name is Tabytha and this is Cameron," She chuckled nervously, an annoying sound that I feared was habitual, "it is a pleasure to finally meet you."
I wasn't sure what she meant with that sentiment, I highly doubted she knew of my existence before the social worker had called three days ago to announce she will be escorting me to their home. "It's nice to meet you too." I decided to return the niceties, as being opposing would only make the next 365 days harder to get through. I looked up at the man, who bore no physical resemblance to me whatsoever with the single exception of the shade and shape of his eyes, which eliminated any doubt. Some would say he was my "real father", but they would be wrong. I had no real father. He was only my biological father.
"Duo." He said with a breathy sigh.
I wondered what he was going to say next, with the both of us caught in this awkward, contrived and utterly unwelcome reunion. Surely there was a lot for him to say, a lot for him to apologize for.
"Can I take your bag?" He disappointed me by saying.
"No, it's fine. It's not heavy." I wrapped my hand around the strap, I wasn't going to let him take it. In a strange house, with strange people, where nothing belonged to me, I was protective of what little that was all mine and no one else's.
"Why won't we go inside?" Tabytha suggested. "We can show you to your room."
"One of the guestrooms." Cameron explained. "But you can change it in any way you want. It is your room now."
The guestroom. Make no mistake, I thought warningly, I will never be more than a guest in this house.
The couple stepped back into the house, expected me to follow, but for me it wasn't a simple matter of moving my feet. My entire body responded to the resistance in my mind, freezing up on the first step of the porch. I felt their awaiting gazes on me but I had to block them out if I was ever to get myself to move. Finally, I got some momentum going and I managed to follow them inside, pausing only briefly before crossing the threshold.
Cameron softly closed the red door behind me. It sounded like a jail door slamming shut. I looked around my prison. The hallway at the center of the house was two stories high and a modern, crystal chandelier hung down from the ceiling, the sunlight that poured in through the windows flanking the red door were reflected by the crystal in intricate ways, creating a play of light on the sand colored walls. The staircase made it's winding way upstairs in a gentle curve, each ebony step carefully polished. The white stone floor was so clean and shiny that I could catch my own black reflection in it. Through delicately molded archways on either side, was the large, modern kitchen to the left, with black cupboards and white marble counters and an equally large sitting room done in soft hues to the right.
Tabytha was talking. "Here is the kitchen and through there is the formal dining room. Straight ahead is Cameron's study. Over there is the living room and beyond that we have a TV room and a sunroom looking out over the garden." Her pride of her living arrangements was evident.
"I'm sure Duo has no interest in sunrooms." Cameron interjected. "He must be tired from his journey. Why won't I show you your room?"
Realizing he was asking me, I nodded. It was all so overwhelming, I could use a space to offer me some seclusion for the time being. At his gesture I followed him upstairs. He announced what was behind each door as we passed it, the first of which, to the right, being the master bedroom where he and Tabytha slept, next was a small upstairs study overlooking the garden that Tabytha often used as her own private little office, but he assured me I was welcome to use it whenever I wanted. There were two smaller guestrooms that we passed and he showed to the last door at the end of the hallway, opening it and allowing me to go in first.
This last guestroom was very substantial, large enough to easily accommodate a double bed, a large closet and a desk underneath the window that overlooked the street, my view for the next 365 days. In the wall opposite of the bed was a wooden door and Cameron informed me that this room had it's own adjoining bathroom, with full size tub, separate shower, sink and toilet. It was a more luxurious place than anywhere I ever remembered living and sleeping.
The carpet was cream, as were the satin sheets on the bed that was richly decorated with various throw pillows. All the furniture was a dark ebony. The walls were a dusty shade of blue. Everything about the room was anonymous and neutral. Cameron kept telling me I could change it however I desired, he would buy me new furniture, new paint and even new carpet if that's what I wanted. I didn't really know why he was being so generous and accommodating, I had a feeling that it had to do with over eight years of guilt, eight missed birthdays.
"Why won't you rest for a little while." He suggested and he grabbed the doorknob to pull the door shut. Before he left, he said: "And I haven't forgotten, there is a present for you on the desk." With an awkward nod he excused himself and quietly pulled the door closed behind him.
I placed my duffel bag on the soft mattress of the double bed and walked around it to the desk. As promised, sitting on top of it, was a festively wrapped present, the size of a large shoebox, like the ones they put boots in. but he didn't know the first thing about me, let alone my shoe size. Disinterested I let the present be for a moment and explored my cell. It was mostly empty and impersonal. One of the walls was decorated with artistic black and white photographs of nature and sculptures and architecture, that did nothing for me. I opened the door to the private bathroom and at the very least I was pleased with this luxury, it meant that I could mostly keep to myself. Toilet paper, soap and shampoo were already provided. In the shallow cabinet behind the mirror above the sink was even toothpaste and a new toothbrush, still in it's packaging. Did they think I wouldn't have a toothbrush of my own?
I walked back into the bedroom and after eight birthdays of not even a phone call or a postcard, I grew curious regarding the present. I walked over to the desk and fingered the colorful bow that decorated the top. I started plucking at the paper and it took me a moment to become more confident. I started ripping the paper loose. On the box that was revealed was the printed image of a brand new laptop, with it's impressive specs listed beside the picture. It was a very generous gift, it had surely cost him a lot of money, and obviously, after having lacked that kind of money all my life, I didn't have a laptop as of yet. Still, the present left me feeling a little empty. Perhaps I was expecting something more personal, but that had just been silly of me. I left the laptop for what it was, neatly packaged in it's box, and dropped my heavy body down on the bed.
I wasn't sure how long I had been staring up at the ceiling, but my stomach suddenly started growling demandingly. The last thing I had eaten was a pack of mini pretzels on the airplane and that hadn't been very satisfying. I didn't really want to go back downstairs, but I knew I couldn't hide out in my room forever, not for 365 days at least, so I ventured outside. Walking downstairs I heard Tabytha and Cameron talking in the kitchen. I quieted my footfalls and crept closer in hopes of catching part of their conversation, but before I could get close enough to hear anything other than indistinct murmuring, I must have inadvertently made a sound that gave away my presence, because they suddenly fell silent. I casually made my way further down the stairs.
"Did you get some rest?" Tabytha asked after an uncomfortably long silence during which I had reached them, sitting at the kitchen counter.
"Are you hungry, I could make you something?" She offered, already getting out of her seat.
"What are you in the mood for?" She asked, pulling open the steel door of the large refrigerator.
"It doesn't matter." I eyed Cameron warily. I had very few memories of him, even though I last saw him when I was eight. He had often been away for business, so most of my memories regarding him were of my mother trying to explain to me why daddy wasn't home.
Tabytha went to work on her own accord, preparing for me what appeared to be an elaborate sandwich with turkey, lettuce, dressing and tomato slices. Cameron sat wordlessly, reading the newspaper with a pair of thin framed glasses perched on the tip of his nose, adding a decade to his estimated age. Realizing I should probably thank them for the expensive birthday present, I did.
"Oh, you are welcome." Tabytha beamed. "It is your birthday after all."
"I hope you like it." Cameron added, looking up from the financial section of the newspaper. "I know surprisingly little of computers, our son had to pick it out."
I blinked. Surprised was a ridiculous understatement. "Son?"
"Yes, Heero." Cameron said proudly. "You'll meet him soon, he should be home any minute now."
My mind reeled. He had another son? Technically, did that mean that I have a brother? One day to be reacquainted with an estranged father and a long lost brother? I was too shocked by this news to even be mad at anyone for keeping this a secret from me, or to wonder why a man who had abandoned one child would go off and have another.
"Speaking of the devil..." Cameron mused, when sounds coming from the garage, connected to the kitchen, interrupted the silence between us.
The door in the kitchen that apparently led to the garage was pushed open from the other side. Through came a young man, a boy, my age or perhaps slightly younger. His perplexed expression at seeing me mirrored my own. He had a slight but lithe built, with long legs. He was dressed in unflattering beige pants and a white button-up shirt tucked into them. His neck was long and supported his head in a slight, curious tilt. Framed by his messy, tousled chocolate brown hair was an exotic face with golden, perfect skin offset by a pair of the most exquisite, most blue jewels of eyes that seemed out of place in a face of otherwise unquestionable Asian heritage. He was the most beautiful person I had ever seen, so beautiful I was momentarily dumbstruck, forgetting about the crazy day, forgetting that I was technically looking at my own brother. Even the intense frown and the angrily glaring way his eyes settled on me could not disrupt my appreciation.
Dumbly, I blurted: "This is your son?" The boy couldn't be more lacking in physical resemblance to his parents, obviously he was not their biological son, both Cameron and Tabytha didn't have a smidgen of anything exotic in them, being as utterly Western as they come and also neither of them had been blessed with a pair of eyes alike their son's.
Cameron chuckled. "Yes. Well, obviously not our biological son. We adopted him when he was eight years old. We got him all the way from Japan." The words he used made it seem more like he was talking about the acquisition of a designer bag, rather than the adoption of a son.
The boy that had come all the way from Japan sure didn't look pleased that I had come all the way from Nevada to join them.
"Hey, I'm Duo." I didn't offer him a hand to shake because it looked like he wouldn't accept it anyway, more like bite it off.
"Heero, be polite." Tabytha warned absentmindedly, still working in the kitchen as she had begun to prepare a second sandwich.
"I'm Heero." The boy coldly said. The lack of social decency to feign politeness was startling but at the same time refreshingly honest.
"Sandwiches are ready!" Tabytha announced, somewhat diffusing the tense atmosphere. "Why won't you boys eat them together in the dining room? Get to know each other a little." She handed us both a plate.
"Can I eat this in my room?" Heero immediately asked, ignoring Tabytha's suggestion.
"Heero-" Tabytha started impatiently, but Cameron interrupted his wife, saying:
"That's fine, you can have it in your room."
Heero didn't stick around for Tabytha to get the opportunity to change Cameron's mind. He left the same way he had entered, through the door leading to the garage.
"I'm sorry about Heero." Cameron said once the door fell shut. "It just takes some time, that's all."
"I understand." I did, I was feeling the same reluctance to mingle as Heero did. I had no interest in becoming part of this family, seeing as I intended to stay no longer than the required 365 days, though I had to admit that the possibility of sitting across from Heero for 365 dinners would not be punishment, as unlikable as he acted towards me, he was not hard on the eyes.
"You can eat in your room too, if you want, or in front of the TV." Cameron said, maybe noticing how awkwardly I stood there in the middle of the kitchen, holding the plate in my hand. "You can do whatever you want, this is your house too now."
That wasn't true, this wasn't my house. This was their house and I wasn't even as much their guest as I was their prisoner. Their unwanted prisoner. If they wanted me here they would have sought me out a long time ago and invited me over, to reconnect or whatever. Now they had been forced to extend their hospitality to me, as the judge ordered it so, awarding Cameron full custody, after I had never seen him since shortly after my eighth birthday. They must hate that judge for his uninformed decision as much as I did, but all of us were just going to have to deal with it. Running away had already proven not to help.
I took my sandwich upstairs with me, feeling no desire to stay in their presence. I ate it quickly, it was good, the rich man's sandwich. Once I was done and had nothing to occupy myself with, I was even too restless to try and get some sleep, I tried to start unpacking, zipping my duffel bag open. There were two neat stacks of dark shaded clothing and the rest of the space was filled with personal affects. I took out two plain, black T-shirts and walked them over to the closet. When I opened the door I discovered a television hidden inside, in prefect view of the bed. Ignoring it, I placed the T-shirts on one of the shelves, but as soon as I did, I felt a sick feeling. I didn't belong here, I didn't want to unpack. I hadn't unpacked in over eight years. I always thought that when I finally did unpack, it would be someplace very special, the first place I had ever come across where I actually wanted to stay. This was not that place. This was just a longer stop, an intermission of my traveling that would resume as soon as my sentence is over. So I took the T-shirt back to by bag and put the whole thing in the bottom on the closet, deciding to continue living out of my duffel bag as I had for most of my life. It was a way of life that had become me and it wasn't something I could give up for this ocean blue house with red front door in the middle of suburbia.
There was only one thing I couldn't leave buried in my bag in the back of the closet. I reached two hands inside the depths of the bag and pulled out a thick, brown leather photo album, the cover, both front and back, heavily worn. I touched it reverently. I needed someplace safe and private to store it. This was mine and no one else's. I momentarily placed it on the desk and started opening the box of my new laptop, apparently hand picked by Heero. I didn't know much of computers, having never owned one, but it looked impressive and the long list of qualities went on and on. I lifted it out of the box along with the instruction manual and it's charger. The Styrofoam, that had held the laptop in place in the box that was far bigger than the machine was itself, I broke into little pieces and discarded in the trashcan underneath the desk. I carefully placed the photo album in the empty box, a near perfect fit and with a little coaxing I could still get the lid to properly close, hiding the thick book. I put the box in the bottom drawer of the desk and placed the manual on top, making it seem like I had simply kept the laptop's packaging.
I lay back down on the bed and looked around the room. My knowledge of these walls, corners and thread of the carpet would become intimate over the course of the next 365 days. I dreaded that never-changing view. I noticed the door had a lock but the key was missing and made a mental note to ask Cameron for it later, taking advantage of the fact that, for the time being, he was very cooperative. If they could lock me into this house, at the very least I should be able to lock them out of my room.
And so began my 365 day sentence; staring up at the ceiling, too stubborn to cry, even though I wanted to.