Previous: Chapter 7 – Violet Meets Chloe
If you would like a soundtrack to go along with this, check out my playlist on Spotify or YouTube. This chapter’s songs: “Cocaine and Toupees,” “Go To War,” “Addicted to Pain,” and “The Drug in Me Is You.”
The ride to Long Island was boring as fuck and I was restless, wanting to get my negative energy out. Vanessa monopolized the conversation in the back, asking tons of questions to everyone, though I was the only one who didn’t answer, sneering instead. I didn’t care to entertain her antics.
At some point Molly cackled in the front seat, causing Vanessa to stop talking and start prying into what was so humorous.
“Bro, she’s a pothead, everything’s funny,” I muttered.
But Vanessa insisted, and eventually Izaak agreed to share his dirty little secret. “She’s amused because I told her I’m a spanking newbie. I’m not very active in the lifestyle like you all.”
“Really? I would’ve expected you to be more into it because you’re like, older.”
“Rude!” I said loudly to Vanessa. “He’s not old, he’s 30! Just cuz you’re a kid don’t go judgin’ others as old.”
“And age doesn’t equal experience,” Clo said with a shrug.
Vanessa looked back at her. “So do you, like, have lots of experience? ‘Cause you look young like me,” she said, pointing at herself with a smile.
“It’s nothing to do with age,” Izaak said firmly, glancing back at us through the rearview mirror. “Part of it is the need to keep a low-profile for work. But also, I’m a Middle Eastern man in the US. To find a spankee is hard enough, but add being a brown-skinned Muslim on top of it and most of them disappear.”
I clicked my tongue in playful disagreement. “Plus, you’re bossy as fuck, which doesn’t help.”
“Sure it does. Most women aren’t too stubborn to take solid advice.”
Before I could start an argument with him, Vanessa interjected. “So how many girls have you spanked?!”
“And we’re both in this car!” Molly shrieked, causing all eyes (besides Izaak’s) to focus on Clo.
“Wait… that’s all?… Awwww! That’s cute! You’re a noob!”
Molly and Vanessa giggled together about it for a few seconds causing me to sigh and hide in my corner, sneaking another bump.
“You’re so quiet, Toby!” Vanessa said, slapping him on the shoulder. “I know you’re not a noob, though. You have extensive experience.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.
“Barf, get a room,” I murmured.
Toby shot me a glare but Vanessa ignored my comment, continuing with her interrogation. “What was your most memorable scene?”
He didn’t take any time to muse. “Peace Corps, Paraguay, 2010. A young woman in the village was a con artist. She was sharp, came up with brilliant schemes to make money, played people like a game. Then one day I caught her in the act. She was so ashamed and begged me not to turn her in, tried to bribe me, promised it’d be the last time she’d do such a thing. Naturally, we came to an agreement that a spanking would be adequate punishment instead of sending her to the village elders.
“We went back to my place, and I scolded her, in English because my Spanish is muy mal. I made her lean over the back of the couch, dress up, panties down. The scene was as formal as possible, that’s what would’ve been most effective for her, and I used a traditional South American implement — the rebenque, which is a leather strap.”
Vanessa’s mouth dropped. “Whaaat really? That doesn’t sound believable!”
“I know. Even I don’t believe it sometimes,” Toby said with a nod.
But the story was true — I’d heard it years ago during a night of drunken confessions, though in a different tone. The part he left out now was that along with the spanking, he’d also taken the money bribe, which caused so much guilt he ended up donating most of it to a village charity.
Knowing that I wouldn’t entertain her questions, Vanessa turned to Molly. “What about you? Any crazy stories?”
“Hmmm…” She tapped her lips with the tip of her finger, pondering for a second before looking back at me. “The time that stands out in my mind was with Gabe.”
With a shake of my head, I murmured, “Oh geez, I know what you’re gonna say.”
“I was with a friend at a bar, doing drugs and illegal gambling.” Now everyone looked at me, assuming I was the friend, before urging Molly to continue. “A fight broke out, someone called the cops, and I couldn’t find my friend, who was underage at the time and I knew it. I was so young, too, like recently turned 21. I called Gabe crying, he came immediately in a panic. My friend was in handcuffs and I was bawling too much to talk to the police, so imagine the relief when he appeared and dealt with it for me. But it was the most awkward ride home.
“The next day when I saw him, Gabe gave me a harsh lecture while I stood bare naked in the middle of his living room. I was mortified because that’s one of my limits — I don’t usually allow fully nude spankings. But this time it felt well-deserved. He bent me over the arm of his sofa, first using a heavy belt and later giving me the hardest paddling of my life. But the worst part was the scolding. His words stung more than the implements. He showed no mercy. Ouch.”
He also demanded Molly cut off said underage friend because of her bad influence. It’s funny the details people leave out.
“Damnnn! You’re wild, girl!” The giggle pierced my eardrums again, and I sighed, rolling my eyes.
“How much longer till we’re there?” I shouted, ready for a smoke.
Izaak glimpsed at the GPS then back at me. “Still another half hour.”
As Molly and Toby told more spanko stories to Vanessa, I zoned out, thinking about Gabe. It’d been almost two weeks since I ignored his message to meet up. Molly had said he wanted my help with a case, which I’d done before and enjoyed. But right now the grief was too strong to commit to something new.
When we finally pulled into the arena parking lot, I was the first out of the SUV, immediately lighting up and walking away. I stretched my legs and tried to pump myself up for the match. Vanessa’s squeaky voice and know-it-all attitude had been grating on my nerves for the last hour, and I was ready to channel all my rage into paintball.
Everyone was inside by the time I stubbed out my cigarette. Checking to make sure my baggy was still secure in the little pocket of Vic’s swim shorts, I walked to the tiny warehouse-type building. Molly chatted up the cashier while Izaak inspected guns. The other three were huddled up conversing and giggling, so I stayed off to the side until Toby and Clo approached me wearing red helmets, holding out one for me.
“It’ll be us against Molly, Izaak, and Vanessa.”
I mock-gagged at that last name. “Don’t be a traitor and let your new little girlfriend win.”
Toby frowned. “What’s your problem? We’re trying to do something fun and you’ve been all day with this constant negativity, it’s getting old.”
“What the fuck, really? You’re practically sucking face with a teenager.” On top of the pent up energy, my adrenaline was kicking in, and mixed with the uppers was sure to end in a disaster. I bowed up, fists clenched (though I’d never actually hit Toby). He was calm as the streets on Christmas Day.
“Don’t make excuses for your poor behavior. As you would say, it’s not cute.”
Before I blew up, Clo spoke. “Hey, we should develop a strategy!”
Tension was thick, but New Girl’s diversion tactic worked for me. “Izaak’s their top shooter, so we should get him out first. And I’m probably our top shooter, so you two will have to go for the flag.”
Irked that we avoided the serious talk, Toby sourly entertained our strategizing for a few minutes until we were called over to pick our guns and escorted outside.
The course was the size of half a football field, a mixture of grass and dirt, metal barrels scattered throughout the arena. There were also a few rusty cars and other objects to hide behind. A referee showed us the boundaries and base, then explained the rules. It was a typical capture the flag game, and when a player is hit, s/he would go back to home base to start over. No headshots, no point-blank shooting, and only one “bullet” at a time.
An uneasy silence fell upon my team as we arrived at our base. Toby and I ignored each other, Clo stuck between the friction.
“So I’ll take the right, Toby the left, and you in the middle,” Clo repeated, keeping us grounded. “Watch out for Izaak, he’ll be easy to spot but looking for you.”
“Yeah, I got it,” I grumbled.
Toby added his two cents. “And don’t forget to play fair.”
As the whistle blew to start the game, I felt smoke coming out of my ears. How dare Toby assume I won’t act correctly? I always behave!
The assertion that I’d do something unsportsmanlike triggered fury, but now I had to ignore that and focus on the task at hand. My teammates scurried off, and I searched for an old rusty car to hide behind. It was too soon in the game for much action, so I had to perch there for a while, unable to sit still, brain racing. What the fuck is wrong with Toby?! He thinks I’m gonna play dirty? Well, I’ll show him!
The rage boiled inside me, faint memories of the day Jason broke up with me dancing in my subconscious. Revenge. That’s what I wanted.
It was impossible to wait any longer or remain stealthy, so I hunted my opponents, quickly finding Vanessa and landing a few shots to her right thigh. She screeched and ran off limping to their home base.
Then the ref admonished me: “One shot at a time! This is your warning.”
Toby frowned at me as Izaak fired in my direction, but I ducked into a hiding spot before he could hit me. I peered from behind the barrel, shooting at every movement, though mostly I stalked Vanessa, the easiest target for my aggression. I must’ve sent her back to home base three times before Molly caught our flag and waved it around with excitement.
“Sonofabitch!” I yelled and knocked my gun against the barrel.
“Relax,” Toby said. “We’ll get them next time. Spread out, don’t focus only on one person.”
I didn’t have time for his mouth. “Fuck off.” For good measure, I also flipped him off, running towards Clo. To her I said, “stay low and near the edge of the arena, get the flag, I’ll cover you.”
She did as I commanded and I went back to focusing on the game, again mostly Vanessa. I saw Clo out of the corner of my eye as she inched towards Izaak, who was looking at Toby. Molly and Vanessa were nowhere to be found, so I took the shot towards Izaak and darted behind a barrel before he figured out my hiding spot.
A glimmer of blonde hair caught my eye, and I shot in that direction, not exactly caring that I was sorta aiming for her face. Vanessa shrieked and ducked down, though I wasn’t firing anymore.
That’s what you get for not hiding better, pendeja.
I looked over my shoulder to find Clo, no luck. Then I looked over my other shoulder for Toby, also no luck. Then I heard a loud BANG, BANG, BANG! and felt like someone had socked me in the stomach with a baseball bat. Looking up, I saw Vanessa standing entirely too close to be safe.
“WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!” I shrieked, unhooking my helmet and slamming it to the ground with my goggles as I clutched my abdomen in pain.
“Jesus, it’s just a paintball.”
“You laid it on me you fucking piece of shit. It’s supposed to be one shot!”
Vanessa stood there nonchalantly, smiling even. “You’ll be fine.”
I stood suddenly, ready to give her a taste of her own medicine, only to be blocked by Izaak. “Easy there, tiger. No real fighting in paintball.”
“Get out of my way,” I scowled, shoving at him.
He grabbed ahold of my shoulders, talking to me in a soothing voice, but it wasn’t helping. Since I couldn’t move, I opted instead to chunk my gun at Vanessa, narrowly missing her ugly face.
It was a shitshow for a few minutes, Izaak restraining me from attacking this bitch, Vanessa looking at me in shock while calling me crazy to Toby, who didn’t even bother defending me. The referee came to kick me out, but it didn’t matter cuz I was leaving. Nobody wanted me there, siding with Vanessa instead of me, when I’d been friends with them much longer, knew more of their secrets. But of course, everyone always likes the pretty skinny blond girl.
I was already in the parking lot smoking a cigarette and ordering an Uber when I turned and saw Clo following me.
“Vanessa seems annoying.”
“Fuck her. I hope someone shoots her in the vagina.”
Clo laughed, and I offered her a cigarette which she gladly accepted.
“Toby’s pissed at me, right?”
Taking a drag off the cigarette she shrugged. “He’ll get over it.”
We stood in silence for a moment until my phone buzzed, telling me my driver had arrived. “What do you say let’s get the fuck out of here?”
She looked at the arena, nodded towards Izaak and smiled, waved goodbye, finally turning back to me. “Let’s.”
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