Title: You Own Me
Author: Mary Catherine Gebhard
Genre: New Adult, Psychological Romance
“I’ll love you until you break my heart. I’ll give you the broken pieces of my heart as an offering to you, because you own it. Whole, shattered, alive, or dead; you own my heart no matter what condition it’s in. I’ll stay with you until you figure out how to feel. I’ll stay with you even if you never do.”
This is a story about happiness, and how it doesn't simply happen because you fall in love.
Lennox is on the run from her ex-boyfriend. She had to drop everything, tell no one, and move to a new town, alone. She expected to be lonely, she expected to be afraid, but she never expected to meet a man named Vic who drove her crazy with lust and anger and called her “Lenny.” If it’s at all possible, Vic is more twisted than the man she ran away from.
She should ignore him, but they’re drawn to each other like magnets. Lennox ran from from Seattle to Santa Barbara to get away from violence, to create a new life, and to be something simple. Instead she’s found herself wrapped up in great friends and an epic love. This new life is the opposite of everything she wants, but it might just be everything she needs.
My Dad was never really one for showing emotions, or letting other’s show their emotions either. After my Mom died all emotions ceased to exist entirely. Any problems we might have disappeared along with emotions. My depression didn’t exist. My suicide attempt never happened. To my Dad, it was easier to just never talk about it and move on. He was an expert compartmentalizer. So the fact that he could ignore his daughter’s months long absence really wasn’t that shocking to me.
I can remember a very distinct conversation my Dad and I had while I was hospitalized after my suicide attempt. The wounds on my arms were still very fresh and occasionally they would bleed through the gauze and bandages. On every meeting my Dad and I had in the hospital, we never acknowledged where I was. We would talk about his work and my school (never mentioning that I wasn’t there). We would talk about my favorite TV shows. We would eat lunch and discuss if the lunch was good or bad.
Well, on one fateful day, my wounds began to soak through my bandages. It got so bad that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. The blood was dripping on to my salad. My Dad continued to chew his lettuce, not noticing or at least compartmentalizing away. I finally called a nurse who changed the bandages so they were good as new.
I remember thinking “he can’t ignore this.” The nurse had to take off the bloody bandages right in front of him. She had to redress my arms right in front of him. I even winced a few times. When all was said and done, it took at least ten minutes. The whole while he chewed away at his salad.
I looked up at him, my teenage self expecting some kind of reassuring words. I remember what he said to this day. “The salad is excellent with the vinaigrette.”
Mary Catherine Gebhard bites off more than she can chew and sometimes calls herself Eva Natsumi. She's lived in Salt Lake City, Utah her entire life, but occasionally goes on vacation from reality. Don’t worry, she sends postcards.
I turned over in bed and put the pillow over my head. Whoever was playing in the hallways at—I glanced at my clock—two in the morning, needed a serious tongue-lashing. But I wasn’t going to give it to them. I was going to fall asleep, hopefully. It had been a long ass day. The night kept stretching on like rubber about to snap. I wanted sleep but it just wouldn’t come.
“One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door.”
I sat up, glaring at my door. The voices were getting closer. They were creepy and waif like. Like a child’s voice carried far from home through the fog. I hugged my knees, waiting for another installment of the rhyme.
“Five, six, pick up sticks.”
The children, if you could call them that, were definitely getting closer. If I was an angry, old woman (like I should be) I would have gone out and told them to quit it with the ruckus. Instead, I was a paranoid girl who curled up in her bed reliving the past.
“Seven, eight, lay them straight. Nine, ten, kill them again.”
My eyes shot wide open at the last verse. Had I heard that correctly? The creepy Stephen King children on the other side of my door had said “kill them again.”
“This isn’t happening,” I muttered to myself, over and over again, until it became a mantra. When I was younger, before the medication, all I had was myself. I had a song I would sing to myself until the sun came up and everything bad had gone away. I was older now, I was supposed to be over this shit. I’m a semi-functioning member of society, dammit.
I coiled every bit of courage I had inside me and stood off my bed. I was going to go investigate. The way to deal with these ghosts is to get rational. What’s the worst that could happen?
Death. Destruction. The words popped in to my head warrantlessly. That’s it though. I’m not afraid of death or inscrutable destruction. These ghosts in my head prey on fear. Fear is all they have. Terror.
Still, knowing all of that and rationalizing it as I did, I was scared as I opened the door. I opened the door and the hallway light assaulted me.
I jumped back, looking for the children.
“One, two, buckle my shoe.”
What the hell? The voices were on a loop. I looked around for whoever was speaking. I stepped further in to the hall when my foot stepped on something hard and edgy. Beneath my bare sole was a black box. I lifted it up to examine it.
“Three, four…” A tape recorder. The box spoke once more before I smashed it against the wall.
This was too fucking much. Dean had placed a recording of a terrifying children outside of my door. A threat, no less. Dean knew my history with mental illness and was using it against me.
Brilliant, evil, cocksucker.
What kind of game was he playing? And how many lives did I have left?
“Not yet, babe, not yet. Say ‘You own me, Vic.’”
I was going to come. I was on the brink. My whole body was tingling. I could feel it in my toes, in my fingers, and in my gut. It was wonderful. Oh god, I had never come like this before. It was ecstasy. I could get addicted to this.
“Lennox!” Vic's harsh, commanding voice cut in to my euphoria and I looked up to see eyes filled with lust. If I wasn’t coming before, I was now. Dear whatever God was in heaven, Vic was breathtaking when he looked at me like that.
“Say ‘You own me, Vic.’”
If he makes me feel like this, I will do whatever he wants. “You…” I choked out. Oh, I was turning in to spaghetti. Oh god I was becoming as heard as metal. Since when were orgasms this amazing?
“You own me, Vic. Say it,” Vic rasped out. His neck was throbbing and his black eyes were shining. I could feel myself going over the edge, getting lost in his skin, his face, his eyes. Everything about him was consuming him from the slick of his sweat rubbing against me to the blood pooling under his lip where I’d kissed him too hard to the way he fingered me in to oblivion.
“You… You own me.” I gasped writhing like a possessed person underneath him. I think I screamed. No, I’m pretty sure I screamed. Yeah, I’m screaming.
“Vic. Say it. Say my name.” Vic stared down at me, also doing his best impersonation of a person possessed.
“You own me, Vic!” I wailed, just as the last completely space-bending wave hit me. I fell back against the bed, my eyelids fluttering to stay open. Vic kept his arms around me in a fierce grip. I could still feel his fingers inside of me but they no longer worked magic. Thank God, too. I’m sure he could bring me to orgasm again, but I don’t know if I would survive it.
Slowly I felt his fingers slip out of me. It was a hollow feeling. I wanted them to stay. I opened my mouth to beg him to stay, but stopped. I watched him bring his fingers up and out of me. I expected him to wipe them off on his shirt or something, but instead he brought them to his mouth. He licked them slowly, eyeing me with such intensity I could feel the bed heating. Vic licked his fingers with such delicacy it was as if he were eating the greatest food known to man. I could feel my core heating again. My mouth salivated.
When he was finished, he leaned his mouth to my ear and whispered, “Say it again.”
Instinctively, I knew what he meant.
“You own me, Vic.”
I sat cross-legged on my wingback chair and opened my laptop, ready to do some snooping. An alert bubble in the right-hand corner of the screen let me know I had unread email. I opened it without thinking. The key phrase: without thinking. Drunken people don’t think.
I still have the pictures you gave me for Valentine’s Day.
I show them to people on the street so they can help me
look for you. I wouldn’t have to do that if you hadn’t left me.
I gulped. Two years ago, I had given naked pictures of me to Dean for Valentine’s Day. His email made it sound like he was showing them to random people on the street. I could feel myself becoming nauseated. It probably wasn’t the best idea to get shitfaced and then read emails from a psychopathic ex-boyfriend. There were four other emails from the same address. The rational part of me said to delete them—the drunk, stupid part of me kept reading.
Someone took the pictures I had of you.
Now I have nothing of you.
I skipped pretty quickly past that one, it wasn’t so bad.
I’ve almost found you. You’re not so hard to find, whore.
When I find you, we’re gonna take all new pictures.
I’ve already got poses in mind.
I took a deep breath. He hadn’t really found me. He was just trying to freak me out. I scrolled down to the bottom of the email and noticed he sent attachments. I didn’t open them, but I could see the thumbnails. They were horrific. Pictures of women bound and gagged, clearly against their will. Some of the women were dead. They were all bound and gagged in some way. Some more so. Some had been penetrated.
It happened before I could feel it. The vomit. It came up and out before I could even make it to the restroom. Luckily, I had a waste bin right next to me. I vomited up not only the night but everything that Dean had done to me. I felt like I vomited for ten minutes straight, but when I looked at the time it had only been a minute.
I was exhausted. I deleted the other two emails without reading them and pushed the laptop off my lap. Stumbling to my bed, I fell into a fitful sleep.
I slammed the window shut behind me, locking it, and slid down the frame. I exhaled a huge sigh of relief, my body seeping against the dark wood floor. It felt like a good five minutes before I even surveilled my scene, when I did, I gasped. Vic was standing before me, half naked, with only a sheet draped around him. He looked like a god, all chiseled abs and sweat glistening from his olive skin.
Clearly, I had interrupted something.
I looked away, flushed. Vic knelt to my eye level and grabbed my chin, forcing me too look at him. Unlike Dean, his touch was soft.
“What is going on?” He asked, his voice firm, yet gentle. I sighed, how could I possibly relate all of this? Oh you know, just your regular Sunday… I was playing bingo with the girls when my stalker showed up to rape and murder with me. I pulled a spiderman on his ass though, so it’s all good. Just as I was about to open my mouth to try and explain, I was saved by another voice.
“What the hell?” A clearly annoyed, feminine voice yelled from atop the stairs. “Who is she?” Wearing nothing but a robe, a woman looked down at me with utter distain. It was Mia Farrow, otherwise known as the woman from the elevator a few weeks ago. In any other circumstance I would return her distain with more gusto, but right now I was beat. Having a psycho ex come after you would do that, I suppose. I felt like J Lo in Enough, before she got all cool and kick-boxy.
“Go back to bed,” Vic replied, his tone firm. His eyes never strayed from mine. They looked like they had the morning he stayed with me… before everything got all fucked up. I miss Vic. Even if I can’t have him looking at me like that, even if I have to deal with prissy bitches that aren’t good enough for him, I’d rather just have him.
“Yeah, right,” Mia Farrow replied. Vic's eyes darkened, but only for a moment, soon they were soft and on me again.
I shook my head, feeling even more like shit. I didn’t want to go down this road. I wished like hell I had anywhere else to go, but I didn’t. I knew instinctually that I would be safe with Vic. Not just safe, either, but that he could handle himself. I felt a hand gently pulling me up. Vic pulled me up and close to him. He smelled clean, dark, earthy, and, most importantly, safe.