Customary Disclaimers

© K.C. Kirkwood. The characters depicted in this story derive solely from the warped recesses of my mind. They're strictly off-limits to any potential plagiarists – not that anyone with an iota of rationale would want to emulate my attempts at constructing a narrative, but hey, it's better to be safe than sorry <g>

Subtext: Is omnipresent. If same sex relationships offend you, then I suggest you look elsewhere, because I'm not about to accommodate for your bigotry. In addition, if you're under 18 and want to retain a vague sense of virtue, you'd better scarper - quickly.

Language: Occasionally borders on profanity, but only where appropriate.

Hurt/comfort: Excessive angst = more heartfelt hugs, at least if you're an eternal optimist like me <g> Hopefully, there's enough humour in there to counteract the more intense moments.

Updates: Though I would quite happily devote my life to sitting in front of a computer screen attempting to finish yet another would-be saga, I'm also a very busy woman. That said, I'm pledging to post an update at least once a week and you all have a mandate to flog me if I break my code of conduct. And no, I'm not a masochist <g> Please direct all tactful abuse (and heartfelt praise) to: Constructive criticism is valued; insults are not (my ego is a very tenuous thing) So without further ado, I give to you…

Women On The Rebound

Chapter One

My name is Alex, and I guess I should forewarn you that I'm not exactly accustomed to writing. But in my sad little world, it would appear that this is the only way to organise my feelings, and as a temperamental person, I need to vent my emotions on a regular basis. There's no one here willing to acknowledge my presence, let alone listen to my inane ramblings, so putting pen to paper is my new-found method of catharsis. I suppose it's more constructive than pounding the hell out of a punch bag, but I've yet to determine whether it's as satisfying.

I want to point out, as a matter of principle, that I'm not a naturally vindictive person. But when you live with someone who you loathe, a person who could single-handedly encompass all the connotations of being boring, resentment tends to fester. It's common knowledge that if that pent up frustration isn't alleviated, it tends to burst forth in the most inappropriate of situations. What people don't realise is that in some circumstances, slightly erratic behaviour can be construed as insanity. I know I'm being ambiguous, so I suppose it's only fair that I give you an objective account of my so-called life. I just hope, after hearing it, you can begin to rationalise what goes on in the warped recesses of my mind.

I was twenty when my father - who had always resented me for not being the son he so ardently desired - decided to marry me off to the local entrepreneur, thereby ensuring that my existence wasn't entirely futile. I know arranged marriages are not exactly of the essence in contemporary society, but my family had always been borderline fascists and coercion was often on the agenda. Of-course, I wasn't about to accept my procured destiny – I had refused to be the submissive, elegant and stoically silent daughter they desired, and I wasn't about to change tactics, even if it meant escaping their malevolent clutches. Admittedly, the prospect of abandoning my autocratic upbringing wasn't entirely repugnant, save the fact that my would-be suitor was a smug, arrogant asshole who spent more time preening himself than my mother. So, in my discreet attempt at rebellion, I spent months perfecting traits that would serve to deter my future husband. Like my father, Richard Harrison-Reider had somewhat outdated views of women. I had, against my will, fulfilled the ideal of ‘looking pretty,’ but I vowed never to cater to his every whim and smile deferentially at his misguided philosophies. In the company of his lecherous business acquaintances, I would decry the capitalist system and profess the merits of Marx. When he took me out to highly rated restaurants with his impressionable family, I would frequently break wind in appreciation of my three-course meal. My acerbic wit and scathing comments made me notorious amongst his circle of friends, yet despite my best efforts, he stuck by his bid to marry me, perhaps to prove a point. In the end, I relented, though to this day I regret my decision. Had there been an alternative option, I would have taken it, but at the time I was trapped in a no-win situation and at least Richard offered a change of scenery. I made sure my unhappiness was conveyed in my wedding photos, though - my residual scowl offered quite an amusing contrast to his feigned smirk.

Once I was housed in Richard's cushy mini-mansion, he did his utmost to ensure that I was kept under a tight reign. Our honeymoon was a brief affair. He emerged from the master bedroom with multiple bruises, all of which were inflicted by my flailing fists, but his smug smile remained intact. I'm relatively slender, he's built like a brick shit house; let's face it, the discrepancy could only have one outcome, and as always, it wasn't in my favour. He must have thought he'd put me in my place, but I wreaked my revenge at a garden party a few weeks later, namely by asking Richard's best friend to convince my stubborn husband that he really ought to get that nasty looking rash checked out. Realising that I could ruin his reputation with apparent ease, Richard decided to be a little nicer to me, but his bland and banal routine was possibly worse than the alternative. Still, I took great pleasure in irritating him after an arduous day's work, hoping to induce a stress-related heart attack. I actually relished pushing him to breaking point, and it wasn't until two years later that he finally realised the motivations behind my actions. Then he underwent a personality transplant, remaining wholly indifferent to my jibes, no matter how near to the knuckle they became. As you can imagine, this greatly irritated me – winding him up had become my favourite, and only, past time. Surfing the Internet had initially offered me some fodder for my keen mind, but when the phone bill arrived, Richard took great pleasure in removing the laptop from the house. Having had the luxury of a chauffeur throughout my youth, I had, regrettably, never learnt to drive. With the exception of a few liberating strolls to the nearby beach, I was, effectively, a prisoner in my husband's home. I began to understand, for the first time in my life, the concept of boredom. And when you have nothing but time on your hands, you can think way too much.

My father - who, incidentally, I've severed all contact with - offered me an ultimatum when I reached the final years of high school. I could either go on to college to study Law, or not study at all. I was desperate to defy him at every possible opportunity, so I chose the latter option, much to my regret. Don't get me wrong, the legal profession still holds no interest for me – hell, if I had more guts I'd be a convicted murderer myself - but I have to concede that if only I'd dared to swallow my pride, I probably wouldn't be here today. You see, Richard doesn't want me to be a working woman, and, as I'm sure you've gathered by now, what Richard wants, he gets. The thought of his wife being economically independent isn't something that appeals to his boundless sense of dignity, so he uses his influence over local employers to ensure that I never attain a job. Of-course, that's hardly likely now, considering I'm officially insane.

I knew something was wrong when he decided to organise a dinner party at our house, an occasion virtually unheard of considering my ‘precarious’ state of mind. I had remained mute for a whole month, and in hindsight, I suppose this was his attempt to garner a reaction from me. And he certainly did. I initially vowed to remain upstairs, my affinity for trouble-making momentarily substituted for a soulless, passive demeanour. Sans yawning and brushing my teeth, I had barely exercised my facial features since Richard returned the adorable puppy he had brought me for Christmas to the local pound, depriving me of the one worthwhile relationship in my life. He was taunting me as I had once tormented him; only I was determined not to let his petty little mind games prove effective. My resolution didn't last for long. At some point during the tedious evening, I heard him mention my name and, intrigued as to what adulterated crap he was spouting this time, I crouched on the stairs, eavesdropping covertly. As much as I distrusted Richard, and as stunted as his sense of humour seemed, I hadn't expected him to use me as the butt of his crude jokes. When he suggested that his male friends should take advantage of my automaton-like state I finally snapped and, having heard enough, thundered down the stairs with murderous intent. To be honest, I cant really recall what exactly I said, or how many expletives I uttered, but the look of sheer terror in Richard's eyes as I held a carving knife to his throat will remain one of my most treasured memories. To this day, I can hear him pleading for mercy, his unnaturally high-pitched voice not remotely effective in hindering my quest for vengeance. His friends attempted to hold me back, but my frenzied writhing made me momentarily impossible to overpower. It was only when Simon, Richard's best friend, decided to hit me over the head with a conveniently positioned ornament that I relented, slumping to the floor, unconscious.

When I awoke, I was in the customary padded cell, drugged up to the eyeballs and forced to fight for my lucidity. The family doctor, present at the dinner party, had consented to my being sanctioned and for three months, until Richard so graciously agreed to my release, I mixed with people who scared the living shit out of me. Sarah, an auburn-haired youngster who was deceptively passive in appearance, would plead in heart-wrenching tones for someone to remove the imaginary doorknob wedged firmly up her ass. I could only look on in bewilderment as tear-filled eyes and outstretched hands reached out for a non-existent saviour, wondering what the hell had happened to the poor girl to leave her so desperately delusional. Jack, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Frankenstein, would howl plaintively throughout the night and spit at any one who assumed eye contact with him. Tessa, the most feared of patients, had coal-black eyes that literally glinted with animosity. If anyone so much as brushed against the clothes she was wearing, she would assume the demeanour of a rabid dog, foaming at the mouth and poised to attack. Then there were those who seemed to live in a world of their own, totally oblivious to their surroundings as they instigated conversations with unknown entities. Though perfectly sane when entering the institution, I was near to breaking point upon leaving it, and just for effect, gave Richard a lesson in what it was really like to live with a deranged person.

Of-course, he came out of it all smelling of roses. Instead of pressing charges for what could easily have been construed as attempted murder, he told his friends I was unaware of my actions and paid thousands for my ‘rehabilitation.’ Now I have people tip-toeing around me, offering me tentative smiles, and whispering behind my back, all the while praising him for being so supportive. Richard meanwhile, instead of sitting back and letting others make his money for him, has decided to assume a more hands-on approach at work. This effectively means that he'll be away on so-called business, a euphemism for a perpetual vacation, for most of the year. As I'm sure you're aware, this would have been a great relief for me, had he not decided that in order to convince everyone that my bout of insanity could easily reoccur, it was necessary to hire some home help. Yes ladies and gentleman, it would appear that I'm in need of my very own baby-sitter. Of-course, I'm not about to let someone else intrude on my first real experience of being home alone, at least not now Richard has decided to let me dip into our ‘joint account,’ which I actually didn't know existed until yesterday.

I've set myself some objectives to fulfil whilst he's on holiday - boredom can do that to you. I'll give myself three days to gauge the weaknesses in my baby-sitter's character, and four more days to exploit them for all I'm worth. I'm aiming to make her cry on her first day, destroy the remnants of her ego on the second and, by the end of the week, force her out of the house - hopefully with permanent psychological scarring. I know it sounds a little heartless, but I don't think I have the capacity to be agreeable after what I've been through, and a girl has to get her kicks somehow. Rendering Richard bankrupt might not be enough to appease my frustration, and besides, I have an image to live up to – I'm supposed to be teetering precariously on the verge of insanity, after all.


Two days later, I was dangling out of my bedroom window, my hand resting on my makeshift weapon, eagerly anticipating the arrival of my minder. Richard was pottering around downstairs, hastily tidying up the mess I had thoughtfully left as a greeting for our houseguest. Earlier on, he had informed me - though I made every effort to appear anything but an attentive audience - that the new addition to our household was an amiable twenty-three year old called Kerry Chapman. Appearing as sycophantic as I had ever seen him, Richard evidently liked her, and I somehow sensed that my hostility towards the woman wasn't exactly unfounded. I had to laugh, though, as I watched a battered old Volkswagen park outside of the house. Its decrepit exterior offered a stark contrast to the newly painted Ferrari positioned opposite it. In fact, the Ferrari's crimson paintwork, glistening unceremoniously in the sunlight, seemed to deliberately undermine the chipped and rusted visage of its counterpart. I watched curiously as a suit-clad blonde emerged from her fortress, not surprised to see that she was extremely attractive. Richard never did have any integrity. I studied her carefully, pleased to see the apprehension written plainly across her features – it would make my mission all the more enjoyable. I moved away from the window as she offered our humble home a cursory, if awe-struck glance and waited for her to ring the door bell. Her movements were tentative, almost as if she could sense the hostility in my unseen gaze. Nonetheless, I took great pleasure in releasing the contents of my bucket onto her unsuspecting head, my aim as accurate as always. The freezing water drenched her petite frame, and her shocked gasp was audible from within the house. In a purely reactionary manner, she jumped backwards, angrily seeking out her assailant. As emerald eyes fixed upon me with barely concealed ire, I found myself smiling genuinely for the first time in months. From a closer proximity, I could discern that the woman was actually far more beautiful than I had initially thought. Her blonde hair glistened in the sunlight and her soaked trouser suit complimented her slender, but well toned physique. Despite my initial misgivings, it became apparent that I was hardly in a position to call her a blonde bimbo. Her cute little nose and soft lips gave her an almost cherubic air and though her eyes were momentarily narrowed, they sparkled with a love for life that seemed inaccessible from where I was standing. Just as she was beginning to flush under my appraisal, a mortified Richard appeared on the doorstep, fawning apologetically over his new employee.

“Well it must be reassuring to know that your robot has reflexes, Richard.” I feigned a tone of exaggerated awe as he turned to glare at me. “She cooks, she cleans, and with some advanced programming, she might even be persuaded to exercise the springs in the marital bed.”

“Alex, I'm warning you...” Richard trailed off, his eyes issuing a veiled threat as I continued to regard him with mock innocence. He turned to Kerry, shaking his head apologetically. “I'm so sorry.”

Kerry, who seemed to be deliberately ignoring me, pinned him with a winning smile. “Don't worry about it. You did warn me that she was prone to acting like a petulant five year old.”

I smiled. “Prone? Sweetheart, it's my forte.”

Emerald eyes regarded me with amusement rather than trepidation. “That's not a bad thing. My patience threshold hasn't had a workout in a while.”

I offered her a rakish grin. “Well rest assured, I'm guaranteed to push it to its limit.”

“Maybe,” Kerry conceded, her eyes twinkling. “But I have a lot of stamina.”

“Well, I don't object to prolonging things. It makes the result all the more satisfying.” On seeing my husband's bewildered expression, I grinned. “And no, Richard, I don't expect you to know what I'm talking about.” Kerry, clearly against her will, let out a bark of laughter which luckily went unnoticed by Richard, who was busy trying to fathom when exactly I had mastered the art of conversation. Taking a moment to recover, he ushered Kerry inside, returning to chivalrously remove her suitcase from the car boot. Looking up at me with a vindictive smirk, he raised his eyebrows. “Kerry's getting changed. She said to tell you that she'll abandon the suits. Apparently, they're not exactly practical when you're being paid to deal with children.”

He expected me to take offence, but instead I smiled, admiring the woman's audacity. Edging away from the window, I paused outside the upstairs bathroom, hearing the shower running from within. “You know, if you're aiming for practical, perhaps you should forgo clothing altogether. It'll save a lot of washing.”

“In your dreams.” Kerry's melodious laughter reverberated around the house, and I found myself, much to my horror, actually beginning to warm to her. I hadn't prepared myself for the prospect of a likeable baby-sitter, much less a woman who was willing to humour my sadistic nature and treat me like an equal, rather than playing the proverbial martyr. Unfortunately, I was still hindered by my omnipresent stubborn streak, and the fact that Richard had employed her to permanently invade my privacy was something of a sore spot. Kerry had, in effect, set me a challenge. I would do my utmost to rid myself of her, whilst she would embark on an exercise in endurance. It would be an interesting experience, if nothing else.

To be Continued

Return to Main Page