By Karen Singer
Chapter 15 (Part 3 of 4)
Once Janice had driven off, Roger wandered back and forth between the two bedrooms. The carpeting looked nice… but in a way, it was a bit out of place since the rest of the house had all hardwood floors. But he supposed that if any rooms in the house should have carpeting in them, then the bedrooms would be a good choice. The furniture that Janice had picked out was… cheap. And he noticed that it looked used. He didn’t really care that much. He was betting that he would be sleeping in the front bedroom from now on, and that room now contained a bed… and he was very much looking forward to sleeping in it – no matter how bad the mattress might be.
Now that he had seen the rooms finished, he started lugging all his stuff from the kitchen back to “his” bedroom. And once it was all in the room, he started to put some of his things in the dresser. He supposed that the bras and panties he now owned should go in the top drawer, so that’s where they went. He would have hung up some of his clothes, particularly the things he wore to school, but there were no hangers in the closet yet.
He didn’t get very far with his unpacking, when he heard Janice coming in through the kitchen door once again. And he could hear Carol’s voice as the two of them talked. He decided to avoid them and continue putting stuff into the dresser. He tried that, until he heard Janice calling him. And he had no choice but to immediately go and see what she wanted.
“Mr. Brinkley!” Janice called. “There you are,” she said as he finally came into view. “Carol’s things are all in the car. Please bring everything in and carry it all into her room for us.”
Roger found himself quickly ignored as the two of them headed back toward her new bedroom. He went out to the garage. The back of the car had a suitcase and a few other bags in it, but not all that much. It only took him two trips to carry it all back to her new bedroom where Janice simply asked him to set it all on the bed for them. Then while the two women discussed where to put everything, Roger headed back to his own bedroom to finish putting things into his dresser.
“Mr. Brinkley,” Janice said from his doorway just a few minutes later. Then she paused as she noticed what he was doing. “Don’t bother putting anything into that dresser, Mr. Brinkley,” she said. “All this furniture is going back to the store in a few days.”
It was all going back? Roger was a bit surprised at that. And then he wondered if she meant just the furniture in his room, or the stuff in Carol’s room too. He didn’t want to ask about it though.
“We’re heading to the store for a few minutes,” Janice continued. “We just need to get some clothes hangers for the closets.”
Roger nodded. “I don’t have any here either.”
“I was fairly sure you didn’t,” Janice replied. “We’ll get you some too. So while we’re gone, I suggest you empty that dresser again.” Without waiting for any kind of answer, she and Carol headed toward the garage while, slightly bewildered, Roger removed everything from the dresser that he had just put into it.
Janice and Carol returned a while later. Roger not only heard them coming in, but he heard Janice calling him to lunch a few moments after that. As he entered the kitchen, he noticed the bags from Burger King sitting on the table… and Carol was in the process of breaking up a hamburger and dumping the pieces into his purple dog bowl. Oh great! He stood there and watched as she finished, then took a container of fries and dumped them on top of everything.
Carol carried his purple dog bowl back to the corner. “You’re lucky I don’t make you beg for it,” she said with an all too vicious smile.
“Not today, dear,” Janice interjected. “Mr. Brinkley has worked very hard to get your new room ready for you.”
“Yes Momma,” Carol replied, but the glint of mischief was still in her eyes.
Roger appreciated the interference, but he would have appreciated it more if Janice had said he could eat from the table for once! A few moments later, Roger was forced to his hands and knees, where he lowered his head into the dog bowl… feeling nothing but revulsion and defeat.
Carol and her mother were in the process of hanging up her clothes when Carol happened to notice a car pulling into the driveway. “Momma!” she exclaimed, “I think Mr. Fitch is here.”
Janice glanced out the window as saw the car slowly coming down the dirt driveway. “Excellent!” she declared. “And he’s early!” She hurried out of the room to go meet him, but in doing so, she passed by Roger’s new room and saw him putting some of his suits onto the hangers she had bought him earlier. She stopped dead and looked at him… realizing that he would never do. She wanted no excuses at all this time over Carol finally being transferred into her custody, and the way Roger was dressed might raise a few… questions. “Mr. Brinkley,” she said. “I need you to remove those boots right away. Just put some of your regular shoes on for a little while, and hurry up about it. And I’m afraid you’re going to have to remove the socks from your bra as well.”
For once, Roger was nothing but delighted to do as she had ordered.
Edward Fitch glanced quickly, but carefully at the house as he approached. It still looked like a rundown dump on the outside. But he was well aware of the work that had gone into it on the inside. Before he could knock on the door, he found Mrs. Stokley opening it for him and inviting him inside. “Good afternoon, Mrs. Stokley,” he said as he wiped his feet as best he could before stepping onto the gleaming hardwood floors inside. He saw Carol standing anxiously nearby as he entered.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Fitch,” Janice replied as she closed the door behind him.
Fitch looked carefully around the room. Everything looked perfectly clean and tidy. But that wasn’t why he was here. “If you don’t mind,” he said, “I’d like to get this over with as quickly as possible. It’s a long ride home for me.”
“Absolutely!” Janice agreed happily.
“I just need a quick look at her room, and that will do it,” he said.
“Of course,” Janice replied happily. “Right this way.” She led the way toward the hallway and the bedrooms off of it. “I’m afraid it’s been somewhat of a busy day today. The rooms have just been finished and we’re still getting things in place.”
Actually, Edward didn’t care. He just wanted another kid off of his worry list. He noticed Roger in the first bedroom, and nodded his head as he followed Janice to the second bedroom. Once there, he looked around carefully. He could tell immediately that the room was more than adequate. But what he was really looking at was how good everything looked. “Was that Mr. Brinkley in the other room?” he asked.
“Why yes, why?” Janice asked.
“Because he does nice work.” Fitch replied as he turned around and walked out again. But he stopped at the doorway to the other room where Roger was now standing in the doorway. “Your house looks great,” he told Roger. “On the inside anyway.”
Roger smiled. “Thanks,” he replied. “I haven’t started the outside yet.”
Fitch nodded. “You should go into business doing this stuff. I’ve seen professional work that doesn’t look half this good.”
“Actually,” Janice interjected, “that’s exactly what he’s doing. As soon as school ends, he’s planning on doing this full time instead of teaching.”
Fitch nodded. “You wouldn’t happen to have any business cards, would you?” he asked Roger. “I know a few people who are always needing help with stuff like this?”
Roger shook his head. “Sorry, no cards.”
“Not yet anyway,” Janice added. “We’ll be getting some for him. We just haven’t gotten to that point yet.”
Fitch nodded. “Well send me one if you ever get any. I’ll be glad to recommend you to some of my friends.”
“Thank you,” Roger replied kindly.
“We’ll do that,” Janice added with more certainty than Fitch was prepared to hear out of her.
“Can we sign this paperwork now?” he replied. “Then I’ve still got to call Mrs. Faye and let her know that we’ve taken care of it.”
Ten minutes later, Roger watched as Janice ushered Fitch out of the door, and then watched as his car drove out of the driveway and disappeared… forever. And he knew that now Carol was a permanent part of his household just as Janice was. Or was it more like Carol and he were a part of Janice’s household. That made more sense to him.
Janice closed the front door after Fitch had left and immediately hugged her daughter. “Finally!” she declared. “All that is behind us now and we can finally be together all the time again.”
“And no more foster homes!” Carol added as she hugged her mother.
As their embrace ended, Janice noticed Roger standing in the hallway watching them. “Mr. Brinkley,” she said, “I think it’s time for you to get those little breasts of yours showing again!”
Oh darn! Roger took the hint and headed back to his new room. The sock balls were right where he left them, but what he really wanted to do was to throw the stupid things out the window. Still, not having them in his bra for even a few minutes had been a small relief. The bigger relief was getting out of those stupid high-heeled boots for a few minutes as well, but he had no doubt that she would be requiring him to put them on immediately too.
With his shirt once again showing two small bulges – where there shouldn’t be any, he sat down on the bed to put his boots back on. He had just zipped up the first one when Janice and Carol both made an appearance in his doorway… and his eyes immediately noticed the shoe box that Janice had in her hands. And he immediately became more nervous.
“You can take that boot off again, Mr. Brinkley,” Janice told him. “Since you’re not as fond of those boots as I hoped you would be, as I told you before, I’ve found you some different shoes to wear for a while instead.” She came fully into the room and handed the shoe box to Roger. “Maybe a few days of wearing these all the time will make you see how practical those new work boots I bought you really are.”
Nervously, Roger opened the lid on the box… and died a bit as his worst fears were confirmed. Inside the box was a pair of women’s high heel shoes. They were all black leather, with a thin strap going up the middle to meet another strap that would buckle across the top of his foot. And there as a second strap as well to go around his ankle. But the biggest horror of all, were the very high, very thin heels on them. The heels looked like they ended in points that couldn’t be much more than a quarter inch across. And high… he figured at least five inches! He looked up at her and spoke nervously. “I can’t wear these to work in. I don’t even think I can stand up in them.”
“I’m afraid you’re going to have to learn,” Janice told him in no uncertain terms. “Because those shoes are going to remain on your feet at all times until I decide otherwise… just as with your work boots. Now put them on Mr. Brinkley. Carol and I both can’t wait to see how they look on you.”
As if to punctuate that thought, Carol giggled.
Roger’s body went through the motions of removing the boot he had just put on, even while his brain was trying to cope with this new outrageous order. He simply didn’t know what to think about the situation – other than the fact that it was stupid… and dumb… and… totally ridiculous! And yet, there was still no way that he could not do as she commanded. As much as her last little “refresher” session on his brain had started to wear off now, he still found himself pulling one the women’s heels out of the box… and slipping it all too easily onto his left foot… and struggling to fasten both the buckle over the top of his foot as well as the buckle at his ankle. And all too soon he was repeating the process for his right foot.
“I’m so glad they appear to fit so well,” Janice noted as she saw how the shoes went onto his feet. “Those knee-hi hose you’re wearing were definitely the right solution for you. Now stand up, Mr. Brinkley so we can see them as they should be.”
Stand up? Roger wasn’t entirely sure he could stand up in the things. He was still trying to come to grips with how strange they felt on his feet. But since she had told him to stand, he immediately began the process of trying to figure out how. Bracing his hands on the bed on either side of him, he slowly rose to his feet. He immediately felt his feet wobbling and his arms went straight down to the bed again to balance himself. He tried to stand again, and was somewhat more successful. At least he wasn’t holding onto anything. It still took him a moment to get everything under control… well, maybe not totally under control. His feet still kept wanting to wobble like crazy… and he hadn’t even tried to move them yet. The shoes felt very strange to him. His feet were held at a ridiculous angle, and there was no shifting that position if he wanted to stand up. And the whole thing simply felt totally precarious.
And of course that was when Janice said, “Let me see you take a few steps in them now.”
Yeah right! Nervously, he did his best to “shuffle” his left foot in front of the other, then bring his right foot past that. He was too afraid of the stupid shoes to do much more. He heard Carol giggling at him again. Let her! He doubted she could do much better in the stupid heels. He took another step… slightly better this time, then another, then another. He was walking… sort of.
“Wonderful, Mr. Brinkley!” Janice exclaimed. “I’m sure that you’ll get the hang of those things in no time.”
Roger turned to look at her, and almost lost his balance. He had serious doubts about ever getting the hang of “walking” in those shoes. And to make matters worse, he was already noticing how tired his toes were getting. He “walked” over to the closet door where he held on and balanced himself as he raised his left foot off of the carpeting and flexed the ankle. It felt good to do that, but what he really wanted to flex was his toes – except that he couldn’t. Not at all! As he put his foot back down on the floor again, his thoughts were completely centered around one thing – he couldn’t remove the shoes for any reason at all – except to take a shower. He was suddenly wishing he could spend the entire day in the shower!
“As soon as you can, Mr. Brinkley, Carol and I need you to get a ladder and help us hang some curtains in her room.”
Roger watched them both leave. Get a ladder? How the heck was he supposed to climb a ladder in those shoes? For that matter, how the heck was he supposed to just carry the ladder? He could barely walk! Bracing himself wherever he could, he started slowly “clomping” his way toward the back of the house, then out onto the small back deck… where he was faced with trying to get down the stairs. Holding onto the railing for dear life, he inched his way down to the ground. But then there was nothing for him to hold onto as he slowly made his way across the yard to his workshop where he kept the small ladder. The heels on his feet kept sinking into the rain-soaked ground, making his trip all that much more difficult.
By the time he got into his workshop, he had to sit down on the stool he had near his workbench for a few minutes. He flexed his ankles over and over again, continuously feeling the tug of the ankle straps as he did so. Once he had rested for a few minutes, he got up and grabbed the ladder, and began the arduous task of trying to carry the thing across the soft ground of the yard – without falling down. He was seriously wishing he had thought about hanging curtains before he had put the ladder away yesterday. But then, he hadn’t counted on Janice Stokely forcing him into another pair of shoes… if you could even call them shoes. Torture devices was much more accurate.
The simple task that should have taken no more than three or four minutes, took far, far longer. Roger was actually proud of himself for making it all the way back to Carol’s room, carrying the awkward ladder, without falling on his ass and breaking his neck!
“There you are, Mr. Brinkley,” Janice said as he breathlessly entered the room. “My, it certainly took you long enough!”
Roger chose not to answer!
“Did you think to bring a screw driver?”