Prologue: Daddy's Stepstalker
Dressed up in my mother’s lingerie, clattering around the house in her heels was definitely not the way my parents expected their date night to end up when they crashed inside the kitchen. Mom’s giggle faded, and my stepdad stared at me with a look of bewilderment and shock on his face.
Heart beating hard in my chest, I glanced from him to Mom whose features radiated disgust and dislike. She would have looked at me that way anyway even if I hadn’t been wearing the silk lingerie my stepdad had bought her for that night.
Mom took one look at the open bottle of wine and the half-eaten box of chocolate Daddy had handed her and went berserk.
“You bitch!” she screeched at me, and she would have smacked me if Daddy hadn’t taken my hand and pulled me out of her reach. Once he had me out of harm’s way, he stood between us, blocking mom from reaching me. The little shit that I was, I held onto the back of his jacket like I was scared of the crazy woman he was trying to protect me from.
“Anne , calm down,” he said, before removing my hand and turning to face me. “Help me out here, buddy.” His eyes hit mine, and a shiver ran down my spine. His voice was low and husky, and it went straight to my dick.
“What do you need help with, Shaw?” Mom yelled at him. “He’s a fucking deviant. I told you. Something’s not right with him, but you won’t listen to me. You still keep him around.”
“Anne , get a hold of yourself.”
Daddy’s voice was calm, and I was grateful for it. She acted like I’d wanted them to catch me dressed up this way. I didn’t want Daddy to have a reason to believe her venomous words about me. Her solution to fixing any problem was to threaten to send me off to live with my biological father who I didn’t know from Adam.
“I’m sorry, Daddy,” I whispered.
“Don’t fucking call him that.” Mom tried to get in my face, but Daddy shifted, blocking her. She peered at me around him, practically foaming at the mouth. “He’s not your Daddy. He’s not your anything, so stop with the sick, twisted nonsense.”
“Anne , get me a glass of water, please,” Daddy said to her.
“No." She crossed her arms over her chest. “The minute I set foot out of this room, it starts all over again. He manipulates you into believing every lie that comes out of that mouth of his. He can’t be trusted, Shaw.”
“Anne , I said that’s enough.” Daddy’s voice boomed in the living room, and a delicious shiver ran down my spine. It made me want to be bad…to admit that Mom wasn’t wrong and that I was just as wicked as she claimed. Just to have him yell at me like that. I could come so hard by him yelling. But...I couldn’t.
Even though Daddy thought I was a perfect angel, it was clear how much I wasn’t. The evidence was staring him in the face right now. Me dressed up in the red lingerie he’d bought for Mom earlier for her to wear for him when they got home from their dinner. Instead, I was decked out in her finery with her strappy heels on and makeup, and he still denied it.
I could almost see the thought turning over and over in his mind. Sweet little Ari could never do any wrong. I hadn’t decided yet if I ever wanted him to find out just how wrong he was.
Maybe that was why I was so into him. Because he thought the best of me even when everyone else knew differently.
Daddy steered me toward a chair and gestured for me to sit. He stooped before me which leveled my eyes at his crotch. He was provoking me here, and he didn’t even notice. He was all about what was going on in my head, believing there was a reasonable explanation for coming home and finding me dressed up like mom.
“Ari,” he said calmly. “Hey, look at me. Help me out here. What’s going on with you? What’s all this about? There’s gotta be an explanation, right?”
Behind him Mom scoffed, but Daddy didn’t even pay her any mind. I liked that more than I should. His whole attention was on me and not her. She’d ignored me so much for all my life that I liked taking his attention away from her.
“I’m sorry.” I let my bottom lip tremble and real tears fill my eyes. “I-I just wanted to feel pr-pretty like mom. I ha-hate my own stuff. Hate that it’s always so masculine. Why can’t I have a bit of girly stuff too? I’m sorry.”
Right on cute, tears spilled down my cheeks. They were mostly fake, but a part of me was really upset too that I wasn’t allowed to wear what I wanted. Mom always made snide remarks about me looking too much like a girl. About me being too pretty for a boy and if I wore girlish clothes people would mistake me for a girl. How did that even matter?
“It’s okay, don’t cry,” Daddy said. “We’ll let you buy your own.”
“No, we are not!” Mom screeched. “He’s a boy, Shaw. He needs to act like one.”
Daddy’s hand on my knee tightened. “Anne, I can’t believe you right now. He’s your biological son. You’ll love him regardless.”
“It’s hard to love someone who’d do something like this. He’s sick, and you need to wake up to it already.”
“I’m sorry, Mom.” I stared directly into her eyes while I said it, but inside I just wanted to giggle at the way she was losing her shit.
“Oh, save it. You’re so full of shit.”
“Anne !” Daddy jerked to his feet. “We need to talk in private.”
“No, Shaw. I’m done with this. He’s a pathological liar. I’ve known him longer than you, and as your wife, you need to trust me about this. I’m not comfortable coming home to this.”
“Don’t Anne me. I’m pretty sure he stole those diamond earrings you bought me.”
I gasped, clutching my hand to my chest. “Why’d you say that? I’d never steal from you. You’re my mother, and I love you.”
“Anne , you need to cut that boy some slack.” Daddy shook his head at her when she opened her mouth to speak. “We all need to sleep on this. We’re tired, and we need a break from each other before we make any more accusations and say things we don’t mean. Ari, go to your room and stay there for the rest of the night unless you need to use the bathroom.”
I could see my mom gritting her teeth, but this was one thing she’d never get her own way with. I intended to call Shaw Daddy until they all admitted it. She stole him from me. I saw him first, and it was my ill attempt at winning a stuffy from a carnival game that had introduced us all.
“For god’s sake, take my shoes off!”
I ignored mom and hurried out of the room. If they were paying attention to me, they would have noticed how well I walked in those heels meant this wasn’t a first for me. I’d been practicing every chance I got. Heels were sexy and when paired with the lingerie, I looked hot. Daddy was so busy trying to calm down Mom though that he didn’t even notice.
“Bitch,” I cursed beneath my breath.
Once in my bedroom, I kicked off the shoes and lined them up in my closet next to my high tops. I dropped down onto my bed and waited. It didn’t take too long before I heard them coming up the stairs, Daddy reassuring mom that it would all be fine.
Almost an hour passed when a knock sounded on the bedroom. I was lying across the bed with my head dangling over the edge, enjoying the rush of blood flowing the wrong way. The last time Mom and I had a confrontation, she’d slapped me silly, I swore my ears rang for a week. I was not in the mood to talk to her right now.
“Ari, may I come in?”
His image formed upside down as he walked into my bedroom. He’d changed into a pair of gray sweatpants, the one I liked that showed off his ass so well. And when he was not wearing any underwear? I use the image as spank material for days.
“What are you doing?” he asked, stopping just at the foot of the bed.
He came over to sit beside me on the bed. “Sit up for a minute, will you?”
He was being so serious that I didn’t argue. I slowly pulled myself upright and crossed my legs, spreading the fabric of the lingerie around me.
“Are you going to send me away?” I could feel the panic triggering off inside my chest at the idea. “Please don’t let her send me away. Not to him. Please, don’t.”
Daddy’s arm came around me to pull me into his side. “Shh, I’m not going to send you away.”
“Swear it,” I begged. “Swear it on your life that no matter what she says you’ll never send me away.”
“Please, you have to.”
He took way too long to respond, and I pulled away, completely dejected. Without a word, I shuffled off the bed and walked over to the window that overlooked the quiet suburban street we lived on. I was badly in need of a smoke, but I couldn’t reach for my pack of cigarettes with him here. I couldn’t let him see that side of me.
I’m his sweet little Ari. Always will be.
“Ari, I’m not going to let her send you away,” he said from behind me. “You’re a part of this family, and I know everything’s not good for you right now, but if I’m going to get your mother to lighten up on you, you’re going to have to work harder at being nicer to her. She’s your mom.”
“One who tells me she regrets having me,” I replied stiffly. That sort of thing had a habit of fucking with your mind when you were only eight the first time you heard it.
“I’m sure she didn’t mean it. Your mom had a tough time raising a child on her own. You understand, don’t you?”
No, I didn’t. I never would. Not when the image of her screaming into my eight-year-old face that she wished she never had me was stuck in my mind forever. I hated her. I hated my mom, but for him, maybe I could pretend.
I was good at pretending all sorts of things. Like right then. He didn’t even know how much I wanted to back him up against the bed and climb on top of him.
“Okay, I’ll try.”
I saw his reflection behind me as he got up from the bed and approached me. For a second, I held my breath, expecting him to slip his arms around my waist and kiss my neck. Instead, his hand came down on my head and he stroked my hair. It was almost better than the kiss I wanted, and I melted into his touch.
“That’s a good boy,” he said softly. “Just a bit confused but, you’re a good son.”
It took everything out of me not to go down on my knees for him, but it was not the time. If I did it now when I was still in school, he would only start believing what Mom had to say about me. So I kept my mouth shut and took pleasure in him stroking me like the good boy he thought I was.