Anal

Special thanks to the anonymous jerk who made the rude comment on Colleen and the Leg Trick. I hope you like the cameo I gave your remark here!

(Fair warning to everyone else: this story also involves a hairy-legged woman. If that’s not your thing, don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

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Laurie wasn’t very happy when she heard her father was marrying Teddy Piggott’s mother.

Granted, high school was six years ago now and Teddy probably was no longer the snivelling little nerd she remembered. But he was still Teddy Piggott.

Teddy the Pig — the other boys had made him cry with that name all through elementary school, and the poor thing had been branded for life by the time they’d gotten to junior high. Laurie, herself a bubbly extrovert who’d been in with the beautiful people in the junior high lunchroom, remembered poor old Teddy sitting alone most of the time. She remembered him having a crush on her best friend, Jeanne (as, to be fair, did most of the boys sooner or later) and she remembered the good laugh they’d all had about it around their lunch table when he’d worked up the nerve to ask her to the eighth grade dance and Jeanne had said no in no uncertain terms.

She remembered high school — Teddy, poor old introverted Teddy, forcing himself to participate in class even though it was obviously murder for him, Teddy going out for the school paper and French club and math club and the choir and she didn’t even know what else, and of course never asking Jeanne or any of her friends out again. Laurie could hardly blame him for that, of course. Teddy making the honor roll again and again, and getting into some big Midwestern university — she remembered that too.

Laurie was happy for all Teddy’s suffering paying off in the end, of course, and she was more than a little bit ashamed in retrospect of how she and her friends had treated him. But he was still Teddy the Pig, and who wanted to be related to him?

She had, admittedly, been pleasantly surprised at the wedding last fall, when she’d seen Teddy for the first time in six years. Gone was the greasy-haired awkward kid in favour of a poised, fairly handsome young man with a nice sharp haircut, who could fill out a tuxedo quite well. If the awkwardness wasn’t entirely gone, Laurie had to admit that might have been nothing more than his memory of how she and her friends had treated him.

It hadn’t helped that Jeanne had been at the wedding too, or that she hadn’t matured much at all since high school. “Can’t believe you’re a Pig-in-law now, Laurie,” she’d teased as they’d both eyed Teddy from a safe distance at the reception.

“Come on, Jeanne, that’s mean,” Laurie had said. “We’re not children anymore, all right?”

“Oh, like you weren’t thinking the same!” Jeanne had shot back. “I mean look at him, still tall and gangling and you just know if he hadn’t locked that hair down with gel it’d look like he just got out of bed.”

“But he did, and it doesn’t, Jeanne. Come on.”

“Hey, at least you don’t have to live with the humiliation of him asking you out!” Jeanne had pressed on mercilessly.

“What humiliation? Jeanne, we humiliated him!”

“Oh, that’s your problem, Laurie, you’re ashamed.” Jeanne had downed the last of her champagne and lost no time in grabbing another glass off the waiter’s tray. “You wouldn’t be if you’d been the one put in the position of having to tell him no.”

“And then having to tell all your friends about it so the whole school would know?”

“God, Laurie, you sound like you were never a kid or something.” Jeanne had taken her hand then. “Come on, let’s go say hello to your new baby brother.”

“Jeanne! No!” Laurie had pulled back but to no avail. “He probably still hates you!”

“Is it my fault if he hates you too?” Jeanne had actually had the nerve to laugh, and she was still tittering when they’d stepped up behind him. “Teddy! Alone as usual, I see?”

“Jeanne!” Laurie had wished she could melt into the floor. But she had remembered to smile at Teddy. “Hi, Teddy,” she’d added.

“It’s Ted now if you don’t mind.” His voice had sounded cold, nothing like the endearing sweet shyness Laurie recalled from years before. “And it’s none of your business, Jeanne, but my girlfriend couldn’t be here because she’s got her thesis defense coming up. Mom understands, but I don’t know about your dad, Laurie.”

“Teddy,” Jeanne had said. “Laurie here has this silly idea that you’re still mad at us for some stuff that happened back in school. That’s silly, isn’t it?”

“Mad isn’t the right word,” Ted had said. “I’m proud that I overcame all the bullshit you and your friends put me through, and I stopped being angry a long time ago. But I haven’t forgotten the kind of person you are, Jeanne.” With that he’d set his glass down on the buffet table. “Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

“Ted, wait!” Laurie had said. But he hadn’t waited, and he hadn’t let her near him for the rest of that horribly uncomfortable weekend.

Months later as she headed back izmir escort bayan to her hometown for a mandatory family reunion, Laurie admitted to herself that she could hardly blame him. She also allowed herself to admit she still didn’t like the idea of being related to a guy she mostly remembered as an awkward, sadsack loser. But her dad loved his mom, and so she vowed to do the best she could to make nice with him.

As she flagged down the flight attendant for another glass of cheap wine, Laurie wondered just how she was supposed to do that. She had no idea, but there was no choice.

Little doubt their parents had heard of the lingering animosity between the two of them. Dad hadn’t actually told Laurie that when he’d issued the ultimatum on the phone. “We’re getting back from Bali the second week in March,” he’d said. “And then we’re having a family retreat. You and Ted are both coming, no ifs, ands or buts, understood?”

“Why, Dad? What’s the point?”

“Because we’ve never been all together, except at the wedding and that was too big and crazy for any bonding. We want to all get to know one another better.”

“I already know Ted better than I really want to.”

“None of that, Laurie! You know, every time I think you’re not quite the snob you used to be, you disappoint me again.”

“Sorry! But look, Ted and I…”

“Ted and you are both adults, and we expect you to put your teenage angst behind you. Do I make myself clear?”

He had indeed, Laurie reflected as she sipped her new drink. Poor old Dad, who’d had to be both parents to her from age ten, who’d learned all sorts of things about stuff most men never understood just to make sure she got all the support she needed growing up, who’d screwed her head on straight plenty of times when she was a teenager — she owed him this, and she knew it.

But she wouldn’t like it.

As Laurie stepped off the plane, she found the airport as empty as she’d ever seen it. “Wow.”

She didn’t realize she’d said that out loud until the woman greeting the passengers laughed. “Yeah, it’s been like this all week,” she told Laurie. “We might not even be flying at all pretty soon.”

“The virus?” Laurie asked. “I didn’t think it was that bad.”

“If we want to keep it that way…” the woman said.

Laurie had heard all about flattening the curve, of course. But had things really gotten that bad?

In the taxi to her father and stepmother’s new home (which she had never seen before), Laurie saw it had gotten that bad. “No mask?” asked the driver, who was wearing one.

“Shame on me,” Laurie admitted. “I’ll be sure to buy one while I’m in town.”

“You’ll have plenty of time, then,” the man said. “They’re saying no more outgoing flights after tomorrow, at least that’s what I heard.”

“No kidding.” Laurie’s heart sank; she did not want to get stuck with her new family for long, even if she could patch things up with Ted — and that was a big if. At least, she reminded herself, Dad and Patricia (Ted’s mother had insisted on first names for both step-parents) would be there.

Except, as she was about to learn, that they weren’t.

The house was big and beautiful, in a well-coiffed cul-de-sac in a suburb Laurie had known by name only. It was set well back from the curb, up a little hill and with spacious lawns on both sides. “I can think of worse places to get stranded,” the cabbie said as he collected her payment, insisting on a credit card and making Laurie tear off the receipt herself.

“So can I, I’ve got to admit,” Laurie said, opening the door. “Thanks.”

It was chilly. A few years out West had made Laurie forget how late it stayed cold back home. That at least gave her the resolve to face Ted when there was also a warm hearth and a homemade dinner waiting. Her smile was genuine as she ran one hand through her chestnut mane and rang the doorbell. Surely at least it wouldn’t be Teddy who answered.

But he did. “Laurie.” He opened the door wide and stepped aside. “Your room is upstairs, last door on the left.”

“Th-thanks.” Before she could even step inside, Ted was already retreating. “I take it Dad and Patricia aren’t back yet?”

“They won’t be,” came Ted’s voice from off to the left.

Laurie followed his voice and found herself in a palatial living room, where Ted was sacked out on the couch surrounded by hardcover books, with the television on but the sound turned down. “What do you mean they won’t be?”

“I mean they won’t be,” Ted repeated, not looking up from the book he was clutching. “Mom called last night and said there are no more flights out of Bali. So they’re stuck there and I guess we’re stuck here.”

“Oh my God.”

“Don’t worry, Laurie, I’ll stay out of your way,” Ted said. “I know how you feel about being related to The Pig.”

“Oh, Ted, I’m…”

“Save it.”

Laurie took a deep breath and nodded. “Okay, Ted.”

She held herself together long enough to make her way upstairs with her suitcase, and find her room. It was escort izmir big for an extra bedroom, tastefully decorated, definitely with a woman in mind with lots of chintz and ruffles — not Laurie’s style at all, but she could hardly blame Ted for claiming some other bedroom.

After getting her coat off and her clothes put away, Laurie decided she just had to have a shower after the long trip. She didn’t know where the bathroom was, but with Ted clearly more than happy to stay out of her way, there was no harm in exploring the upstairs. There were two other bedrooms along the hallway, one of which she could tell was Ted’s from the clothes strewn about and the stack of books on the dresser. At the end of the hall, she stepped into Dad and Patricia’s room and found herself in the biggest bedroom she’d ever seen. Their king size bed didn’t even take up a third of the room, which had a beautiful view of the backyard and the other grandiose houses on the next block. To her delight, the master bathroom housed a jacuzzi. “Just what I need,” she whispered. Of course they wouldn’t mind if they were still in Bali, after all!

Laurie was off back down the hall to undress, and gather her toiletries for the shower she would take first. While doing so, she discovered she’d forgotten her razor. No big deal, she reasoned as she pulled her jeans off and assessed her legs; they showed only the tiniest signs of stubble since the last time she’d shaved. Surely they wouldn’t be locked down long enough for that to become a problem.

Laurie did find a bathrobe in the closet, and soon she was on her way back to the master bath, with Ted presumably still squirreled away with his books downstairs. Something would still have to be done about him if they were going to be stuck together for long, she admitted. But for the moment she had bigger concerns, like a nice long soak!

DAY 1

Laurie woke up a bit past nine, and lay still in hope for some clue that Ted might be around. She heard nothing, and figured he was either downstairs with his books again or outside. Last night he’d evaded her entirely, having shut himself in his room by the time she got out of the hot tub. She’d gone downstairs to find some of his books still stacked around the couch, but no sign of him — evidently he’d even taken his dinner in his room. She’d watched a couple of movies, eaten a can of soup she’d found in the kitchen, and gone to bed fairly early.

It was a pleasant enough morning, she saw after a shower and getting dressed. A bit chilly, but the sun was out and the little snow that was left was melting. Laurie remembered what she’d told the cabbie, about buying a mask, and decided she’d better do that. She had no idea where the nearest shop might be, but in a suburb like this it couldn’t be far. Figuring she didn’t know what was available for breakfast at home and what was off limits, she decided to go get something to eat while she was out and about.

So it was on with her coat and out the door with no sign at all of where Ted was. No use in forcing it, she told herself, and she was off to the street that the cul-de-sac fed into. An educated guess steered her to the right, and four blocks up a wide, wooded road she hit paydirt with a shopping centre. There was a promising looking café on the corner, and as Laurie stepped up to the door she started debating how she would take her eggs.

“Morning,” said the woman behind the counter, as if it were any other day. When Laurie looked quizzically at the roped-off dining room with all the chairs up on their tables, the woman explained, “Take out only, I’m afraid, until further notice.”

“That bad, is it?” Laurie asked.

“Haven’t you been reading the papers?”

“Not carefully enough, I guess.”

She bought a coffee and a corn muffin, and strolled along the shopping centre as she ate and drank. The drug store was open and had a handwritten sign in the window saying they had masks and toilet paper, limit one purchase per customer. None of the other stores were open. Laurie’s coffee was hot, and she had to walk back and forth three more times before she’d finished it off and could go into the drug store.

She was about to ask the man behind the counter about masks, but found herself face to face with a rack full of them. “Quite a collection,” she said.

“They’re all machine washable,” the man told her. “They’re recommending you wash it every time you wear it outside.”

“That bad,” Laurie said again as she selected a pale blue one.

“It really is,” the man said. “You might even want to wear that home. Also, if you’re after toilet paper, grab a pack while we’ve still got it. We ran out before noon yesterday.”

Only then did it occur to Laurie that she didn’t have the slightest idea how much of the stuff Dad and Patricia might have. “I guess I’d better,” she said.

On the walk home, it occurred to her that she hadn’t seen anyone else on the sidewalk on the way up. Once again she had it to herself on the return walk.

Ted had reappeared out of wherever izmir escort he’d been hiding when she returned, now wearing the mask as the man had suggested. “You got toilet paper!”

Laurie smiled, though he couldn’t see it with her mask on. “That’s what I needed to make you happy to see me?”

Ted actually chuckled a bit. But he’d returned his attention to his book and didn’t look up at her again as he did it.

Laurie set the pack of toilet paper just inside the living room doorway, and unzipped her coat. “Ted, could you at least tell me what I can and can’t eat for breakfast? I don’t know what’s yours in the kitchen.”

“Take whatever you want,” Ted said, still not looking up. “When Mom and James told me they were stuck, I went out and bought a couple hundred bucks’ worth of food. Couldn’t get any toilet paper, though.”

“Wow, thanks. That was really thoughtful of you.”

“Yeah.” Ted was taking notes on his book, and kept his eyes on it.

Seeing no point in trying to reach out to Ted for now, Laurie went upstairs and shut herself in her bedroom. She checked her e-mail and found one message from her father reassuring her that they’d found a flat to sublet and would be fine, along with a polite but firm directive to make her peace with Ted. She opted not to reply right away, figuring anything she said right now would be regretted later.

Then she thought about calling Jeanne, but quickly decided that would only make matters worse. In fact, she reasoned, she’d like to take Jeanne to task for the way she’d acted at the wedding, but that wouldn’t matter now. She also ran through her other friends from high school but quickly realized none of them were in town anymore. They probably shouldn’t get together anyway if things were as bad as people were now saying. So Laurie slipped downstairs to the spare room off the kitchen which, she had discovered yesterday, her father had converted into his library. She found a book and went to the kitchen to make a sandwich for lunch, and hastily retreated upstairs without another word.

After surfing a bit more on her computer, Laurie took the book to Dad and Patricia’s bedroom and turned on the television, and spent the afternoon dividing her attention between soap operas and reading. Outside the window, the cold but bright scene gave no indication of how dead everything was out there. Laurie quickly stopped paying it any mind as it was just too depressing to think how long she might be stuck living like this.

It was past four o’clock and the sun was starting to sink when Ted appeared in the bedroom doorway, in his bathrobe. “Oh, sorry,” he said. “I didn’t know you were in here.”

“It’s okay!” Laurie gave him her biggest open smile, but once again it wasn’t returned.

“I’m just going to take a dip in the hot tub,” he said.

“I did that last night,” Laurie said. “Isn’t it wonderful?”

“Sure is.” But he didn’t look at her again before shutting himself in the bathroom.

DAY 4

Laurie was quite enamored with her father’s library by now, and she was beginning to accept that there’d be time to become quite a bit more so. She was learning to have a sense of humor about it all, even coming to be mildly amused at the now-visible stubble on her legs. She was almost glad she’d once again forgotten to buy a razor at the drug store that first day; this was at least a novel way of noting how time was passing.

Besides, she reminded herself as she caught an unfortunate look at her bare legs in the mirror before putting her sweats on for the day, it wasn’t like anyone else was going to see her less than fully clothed. The only one who even might theoretically was Ted, after all.

Ted with whom she still hadn’t exchanged more than a few words with at any time in their three days of being locked away together. It really was time she did something about that, she concluded as she pulled her sweats on. The whole point of the trip was for them to get along better, after all, and if they were stuck together alone for who knew how long…well, it wouldn’t be easy, but it had to be done.

He was on the living room couch as usual, surrounded as always by his books, and he didn’t look up when Laurie padded into the room in her stocking feet.

“Ted.” She helped herself to a chair that must have been his mother’s, since she didn’t remember it. “Listen, I’ve been wanting all week to apologize for those things Jeanne said at the wedding.”

“It isn’t you who ought to apologize, Laurie. It’s Jeanne.”

“Well, thank you, but she’s not here and I am. And I remember how I treated you in high school too. I really am sorry, okay?”

Ted at least looked up from his book then. “Thank you, Laurie. Apology accepted. But I hope you’ll understand if we still can’t be friends.”

“I do, but I wish we could, Ted. Especially if we’re stuck here together until who knows when. They’re saying it could be three months.”

“Three months,” Ted repeated. “You know how many times I wished back in school that was all the time I had left that I had to spend with you and Jeanne and your gal pals? Instead it was six years of being Teddy the Pig, and being the biggest loser in the school because I asked someone out who was in a caste above me. How dare I, huh?”

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