It was quiet all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse.
Because Daddy was home.
Samantha felt her heart jump in her chest as she heard the front door open, just the sound of the doorknob turning and the soft click as it was shut again. Sometimes she wishes he would slam the door, at least then she could tell what kind of mood he was in. No, her husband was a quiet monster, no stomping and no slamming.
She quickly places the corn on the table and sighs in relief because she just barely managed to have dinner ready by the time he came home. She can hear her husbands footsteps in the other room, feel the vibrations in the floorboards, he's almost there.
She looks back over to her children. Jacey is sitting in his highchair beating his empty plate with his spoon and giggling in delight at the sounds it makes. Such a happy little baby, she wonders for a moment how something so joyful and sweet could be her child. Her other son, Alex, is sitting at his seat looking almost as nervous as she did herself. She felt regret surge through her, but she forces a smile when her husband enters the room.
She can tell in the first few seconds that Michael is in a good mood so she lets her guard down. It's alright, the monster is sleeping and the husband she fell for is walking towards her.
He wraps an arm around her waist and kisses her on the lips, it's passionless and cold, the kiss of strangers. She knows this is all the love he can give her and she cherishes it. She knows that it's not his fault his wife isn't pretty, that his wife isn't loveable, that his wife is a soiled piece of trash.
She doesn't know that that her eyes are beautiful when they aren't bruised. She doesn't know how sweet and kind she is. She doesn't know that she's worth more.
She watches as her husband breaks away and ruffles Alex's hair, she sees Alex flinch but tells herself it's because her last husband beat him. She ignores the obvious signs that her new husband abuses her son, her heart and mind couldn't take the truth. She would crumble under the weight of it all.
He walks over and kisses baby Jacey on the forehead and for a moment everything is alright. He sits down and gives her a smile as she places his plate in front of him. The perfect little housewife, that's all he asks of her, that's all he needs. Though it is never spoken she knows. He doesn't need companionship. He doesn't need love. He doesn't need passion.
All her cookie cutter husband needs is a cookie cutter wife.
She can do that. She tells herself over and over again. She can do that.
Dinner ready when he gets home, check.
Baby happy and healthy, check.
Make up on and hair done, check.
So why does his smile seem so fake? Why is there still that emptiness in his eyes?
She would cry herself to sleep later that night because he closes his eyes when he makes love to her.
Alex did not share the same desires as his mother. He didn't want to make his step-father happy. He held a deep hatred in his heart for that man, Alex wanted him to burn in hell, and he prayed every night that he would just disappear.
It looked as though the man had modeled his life after a coloring book. He owned a nice two story house in the suburbs, a white picket fence around the property and a few hedges. He owned a mutt named Marry-Ann that never left his side and slept at the foot of his bed. A trust fund baby who worked even though he didn't have too. He smiled often, knew a lot of jokes, and wooed Alex's mother without even trying.
Alex doesn't dare look up from his plate; he just eats in silence while listening to the man compliment his mother on her cooking. He's Jekyll but Alex still treats him like he's Hyde. Dinner goes just fine, but Alex is still nervous. There's a kind of stirring in the air, he can sense it in his bones.
He helps his mother clean off all the plates and then tells them that he's going to go take a shower and then go straight to bed. He's tired, he lies, and they both don't seem to mind.
Samantha asks for money to go the store, her husband gives it to her and gives her a little extra for spending money. She grabs her keys and is out the door in no time, unknowingly leaving her son with Mr. Hyde.
Alex showers and for a few moments just lets the scolding hot water beat against his back. He washes his hair, and thinks about how he use to have to use bar soap before they moved in with Michael, sometimes they didn't even have that. He wonders if it's worth it, but he knows deep down inside it isn't. Even though now there was food on the table and clothes on his back, it wasn't worth it.
The gash on his thigh is healing nicely, he notes as he washes the rest of his body. A gift from his stepfather, it made Alex sick just looking at it.
He turns the water off and steps out wrapping a towel around his waist. A cold chill runs down his spine as he hears the door knob turn and he can help but take a step backwards when the monster steps forwards. The monster grabs him by the wrist and slams him against the counter. Alex fights off tears but doesn't fight off him.
Michael confided in him that if Alex didn't do as he said he would kill both him and his mother. There's something crazy, a kind of spark in his stepfather's eyes that makes Alex believe him.
His towel is thrown to the ground and the sound of the monster's zipper being tugged down makes Alex tense. Hot tears escape his eyes and he wishes with all of his heart that they wouldn't, he knows how much the monster likes them
He can hear the monster's voice in his ear, dark and lust filled, it mocks him while hands wander down his body. Alex can hear that voice in his nightmares, can feel that hand in his worst dreams.
If he believed in god he would thank him that the bathroom mirror fogged up, he would break down if he had to watch himself be raped. He chokes back a scream, it hurts worse then anything he's ever felt. He tries to move away but the monster is stronger, so eventually he stops trying and sobs quietly to himself. It feels as though his insides are being ripped out, the monsters nails are digging into his sides, and the sound of his step-father's panting in his ear almost makes him sick. So he retreats, far inside himself, so he's in a different world. He closes his eyes and suddenly he's somewhere safe and warm, far far away from here.
His step-father finishes up and leaves Alex by himself, covered in filth and drowning in shame. Alex wants to take a shower, needs to take a shower, even though he just bathed.
He wipes away his tears and tries praying to God one last time, he gets down to his hands and knees and prays that his step-father would just disappear.
He got his wish.