Jacqueline was waiting for me in the living room. She has tied up her smooth, raven black hair in a ponytail. She’s wearing narwhal-themed plush pyjama pants too short for her long legs, and a reinforced sports bra that looks like a chest plate. I disapprove of any choice of attire that conceals those twin miracles of hers, but at least I get to admire the curves of her midriff.
My beloved has detached part of the L-shaped sofa and pushed it towards the back of the room, leaving extra space in front of the QLED television. An HDMI cable leads from the TV to her laptop, that she has placed on the stand. Both screens are displaying the main page of YouTube.
“We need to do something about your tits,” I say without thinking, then I shake my head. “I mean… what’s going on, Jacqueline?”
I doubt that she paid attention to my words; she’s biting her lower lip as she ogles my lower body with rapt eyes.
“Those leggings look so hot on you. Turn around.”
I remain rooted on the spot, so Jacqueline walks around me while her fingertips slide over my right thigh. Once she stands behind me, she fondles a handful of my butt as if she were an older white-collar worker and me an innocent schoolgirl on a train.
“I love this soft ass of yours,” Jacqueline purrs hungrily. Her free arm encircles my neck, pulling us closer. “And I’d like to do all kinds of things to it. Would you let me?”
I’m too dazed to get aroused by her advances.
“I… don’t know what’s happening,” I mumble.
Jacqueline giggles, which makes her breasts jiggle slightly against my left arm. It’s relieving to know that they remain alive and kicking inside their tight prison.
She pinches my ass through the leggings, then she lets go of me and sashays over to her laptop. After she navigates to her search history on YouTube, she plays the most recent video. On the TV screen, a chirpy, lean blonde, whose yoga pants hug her muscular legs, beams with artificially white, American teeth. She welcomes us both back to her videos, claps, and announces that she will guide us through a thirty minutes long, full body workout.
I don’t want to tear my gaze away from the blonde’s camel toe and how part of her muscular glutes show up through her thigh gap, but her words register in my brain, and I let out a cry of alarm.
Jacqueline pushes me gently until we stand on the carpet in front of the TV, then she starts stretching.
“Wh-what is this?” I ask in a shaky voice.
She’s standing on one leg while pulling her other leg back by the ankle.
“What does it look like? We are going to exercise. And you should be stretching already.”
I gape at my lover in astonishment.
Jacqueline has laced her fingers behind her neck, and as she bends backwards, her tits press against the reinforced bra as if eager to be released from their prison.
“Exercising is something human beings do to stay fit and healthy. It’s necessary for a happy life, even if you don’t plan on becoming a marathon runner or a superhero,” she says with a playful tone that contrasts sharply with what she’s doing to me right now.
“I don’t want to be a human being,” I grumble.
“I can tell, baby.”
“Can’t you just beat me up instead? I wouldn’t mind getting pummelled by an Amazonian goddess.”
Jacqueline’s eyes glitter mischievously.
“Resist all you want. It turns me on, so I won’t disuade you. But in the end you are going to work out with me whether you want to or not. I want to see sweat dripping down your body.”
I shiver from head to toe.
“Well, if you order me around, I guess I can’t refuse.”
“No, you can’t. We don’t get many opportunities to be active as adults, and I want my girlfriend to stay alive.”
On the screen, the blonde is already squatting and twisting her torso as effortlessly as if her body was impervious to the ravages of time.
“This is the opposite of sleeping,” I complain.
Jacqueline strokes my shoulder, then she lowers her body into a squat.
“You just have to copy the woman’s movements, and eventually your body will thank you for it. Turn off that hyperactive brain of yours and let go of everything except your body.”
“I want to turn off my brain, but not like this.”
I can’t restrain my instinct to whine although I’m already pushing my feeble muscles to satisfy the American YouTuber’s instructions.
On the screen, the blonde bends her torso backwards, which makes her abs ripple. She twists around; although she’s nowhere well-endowed enough to compete with Jacqueline in the breasts department, I imagine her tits swinging with each rotation of her waist until they tear from their prison and fly out of control like flesh missiles, and I want to giggle hysterically as I picture those jiggling boobs flapping through the air before smashing against an unsuspecting person’s face. However, I’m suffering too much for laughter. In reality, the YouTuber merely smiles alluringly at me to mock my plight.
I don’t need to read the comments section of the video to know that it must be filled with references to a worldwide community of men of culture.
The squats end, and I already want to die. The blonde straightens her back and takes a deep breath while flexing her glutes. Her abdominal muscles are firm under the taut skin of her belly, and the muscles in her legs bulge making her yoga pants strain against them. Then she claps happily.
“Don’t you feel strong already?” the bitch asks.
I groan loudly.
“Once we get into the groove, it will feel really good,” Jacqueline says as she exhales through her mouth. “You’re going to be sweating so much that you’ll forget what it was to be human.”
I can barely comprehend my girlfriend when she tells me to get on all fours for some plank kickbacks. Sweat drips from my forehead onto the carpet. I’m holding myself up with both hands, pushing off against the floor using whatever passes for muscles in my back.
“I’m a programmer,” I wheeze, “just a mind in a useless body.”
“Your body didn’t seem that useless to me while we were fucking. Keep going. Breathe deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. It’ll get easier.”
On the screen, the blonde’s butt muscles are flexing like two globular tectonic plates sliding over each other. I suffer my way through glute bridge variations, leg drop crunches, bicycle legs and push ups with the grace of a robot trying to execute a dance routine. While Princess Thundercunt from YouTube has been soaring through the exercises without even breaking a sweat, my body has become a limp rag. My heart is pounding away at my chest, my legs are shaking, my joints hurt, the skin on my ass feels hot and tight, sweat runs down my neck and trickles between my breasts, dark thoughts about mass murder are seizing my mind.
I want to scream for everything to end. I want to return control to my brain, so it can order me to lie down in bed and masturbate. Maybe this time I’d bring over some ice cream.
I glance at Jacqueline. The muscles on her neck are tensed, and those glistening, pouty lips look ready to spit fire.
The next exercise, some weird lunges, requires us to balance ourselves on one leg. I only last a second: I get woozy and collapse forward towards the TV stand. I attempt too late to break the fall with my failing arms, so my forehead hits the furniture, that rattles noisily.
I must have gotten dazed for a few seconds, because I find myself on my knees while I rub the bruise. Jacqueline has paused the video. Crouched next to me, my girlfriend attempts to turn my head towards her as she soothes me with her warm voice, although I can’t process what she’s saying.
I’m mortified. I can’t keep my shoulders from shaking nor my eyes from filling up with tears, so I purse my lips and look away.
Jacqueline throws her arms around me and kisses my temple.
“No, don’t cry!” She wriggles on her knees until she’s facing me. She holds my head to examine the bruise, then she leans in and licks it gently. “It doesn’t look like you hit your head too hard. Ah, why is your face so cute? I want to kiss every inch of your body.”
She’s staring at me with those cobalt blues that sparkle with tenderness. My cheeks flush as if full of fire. I imagine Jacqueline’s fangs digging into my nipples and sucking them dry while I beg for mercy, but instead she presses me into a warm embrace. The reinforced bra prevents me from feeling her tits. However, a warmth radiates from deep inside her, and I can smell a hint of her sweaty pussy.
“I’m just a pathetic human,” I whimper.
Jacqueline pets my hair with gentle strokes and a wet hand.
“Don’t say such silly things, love. You’re not a mere mortal. Besides, mommy is here to help you up when you fall down. But you have to keep going.”
Although she grabs me by the arm and raises me to my feet, my knees hurt, so it takes some effort for me to stand upright again. While I sway like an idiot, Jacqueline strides over to the laptop and presses the space bar to resume the video.
I keep crying through the rest of the lunges. My eyes feel like they might burst out of their sockets. My muscles burn as if a herd of angry horses had trampled them. My nipples are tingling madly. Sweat pours from every pore in my body and trickles between my breasts, butt cheeks, thighs, clitoris, and everywhere else.
When the exercise ends, Jacqueline pats me on the shoulder as if I had won a competition, but my lips are quivering, and I fear that I’m going to start blubbering again.
“You have been doing very well today, baby, despite your fears,” she says during the short break. “You are becoming strong little by little!”
My muscles scream through the prolonged nightmare: crunches with the legs spread open, more hellish squats, kickbacks, squats with twist, plank kickbacks. The blonde YouTuber looks so determined to keep torturing me that I want to throw myself off a cliff.
“W-wait, we’ve already gone through these!” I yell through my dry throat. “Am I stuck in a loop?!”
“We need to do each exercise twice,” Jacqueline says casually.
“It hurts so much! Please stop!”
“There’s no pain, baby. It’s just nerves sending signals to your brain.”
“Pain exists, then! It only ends when you’re dead!”
“We are more than halfway through. Too late to quit now. Besides, imagine how much our sex life will improve when we are both in shape!”
I want to yell that we aren’t training our tongues, but I purse my lips, as I will break into sobbing otherwise, and I think about all the lovely orgasms we’ll share.
I keep resisting the urge to vomit. I can barely focus on anything except remaining conscious.
I’m floating above myself, witnessing how the weak body I used to inhabit consumes itself. It looks like a train wreck in motion. Have I finally succeeded in escaping the confines of my reality-bound frame?
Somehow, the video has ended. I’m lying supine on the carpet while white noise sizzles from end to end of my body.
Jacqueline kneels down next to me. The image of her face blurs and swirls like watercolors. She lowers her lips to mine, but I barely feel the touch.
“You did good, Leire,” she says sweetly while wearing a catlike grin. “Let’s take a shower.”
I swallow a lump in my throat, but my voice still comes out thin and rough.
“I-I feel like an overcooked steak. I need to drink some water. Maybe eat something too.”
“Alright, baby. Do you need help getting up?”
“I’m going to… rest for a few seconds.”
I get a clearer look of Jacqueline’s face over me. Her cobalt blue eyes and her smile are a beacon in the desert, although a sheen of sweat is making her skin shine like a pearl in sunlight.
“When you are ready, meet me in the main bathroom.”
I can’t hear her footsteps over the rhythmic thumping in my eardrums, but I’m left alone with the blurry vision of Jacqueline’s tall silhouette disappearing into the hallway.
I manage to get myself in a sitting position. When I try to stand up, I almost black out from the pain. It feels like everything except my brain got sucked out through an open wound that still bleeds endlessly. I’m drained, empty, hollowed out from the inside. I’ve never felt so exhausted before. Not the most maddening, intense workdays, nor those dark weekends when I rubbed my clit raw for hours to climb out of a pit of depression; nothing prepared me for the nightmare that this American torturer designed for me.
I wobble like a drunk as I stumble to the kitchen. I was reaching for a glass from the dish rack when a wave of shame overwhelms me. I hunch over, rest my elbows on the countertop and bury my face in my arms. My mind replays from different angles how I collapsed forward onto the stand and hit my head against it, almost cracking my skull.
I start shaking uncontrollably. I wish my body would implode from how much I’m cringing.
I tried to act like the kind of human being that Jacqueline requires as a partner, and I gave it my best, but I fuck up everything I attempt. Jacqueline needs a partner with more drive than me, unafraid of taking risks. She deserves better than a loser who can barely manage her own existence.
I’m not strong enough for this life. I’m just waiting around for the next terrible and painful nonsense that will strike me down.
I envision the future moment in which Jacqueline will realize that the person she chose to date is a worthless moron, a complete waste of space, nothing more than a lump of flesh rotting away while thinking only of death. My beloved is too kind to discard me immediately, but the distance will grow wider and wider until the day she will go away forever. I should throw myself off her balcony before the final look of disgust in her face shatters me.
Will she leave without saying goodbye? Would she tell everyone about how horrible an experience dating me was?
“Please don’t leave,” I beg weakly while tears stream down my face. “Just stay with me.”
People say all kinds of nonsense about solitary people, but they are spared the panic of holding on to someone that they know they will eventually lose.
I take a few deep breaths until I’ve calmed down enough. I fill a glass with cold water. The first gulp brings further tears to my eyes. The water tastes so refreshing that I gulp down the rest of it, but I choke out and start coughing violently while sputtering all over the countertop. I’m left gasping for air. I steady myself by leaning against the kitchen table, and I somehow manage to keep myself from vomiting. My throat burns like fire, every muscle in my body feels sore and bruised.
“Fuck,” I say aloud. “Fuck me!”
I drink some more water directly from the spout. I also open the fridge and, although my stomach feels full of worms, I bite off a long piece of salty fuet.
Maybe I don’t deserve to love Jacqueline, but I want to cling to her like a leech, because she’s all that I have left in this world. The only thing keeping me alive is thinking about her every second of the day. When I close my eyes, she appears in front of me wearing an evening gown made of moonbeams, and she smiles down at me.
I slap my cheeks to wake the fuck up, then I drag my feet towards the main bedroom.
Author’s note: the scene hasn’t ended yet. I’m notoriously terrible at estimating how many words implementing my notes for a scene, let alone a novel, will take me, as I keep coming up with nonsense during the process. Ages ago, in a note just like this one, I mentioned that I had about 10,000 words of notes left to implement. Today I have 9,500 words waiting for me to turn them from notes into coherent scenes. I’m not complaining; I’m having a blast writing this novel, and I already know how it’s going to end, which gives me the freedom to play confidently during each scene.
Anyway, I’m leaving for work in a couple of hours. Today I start a new contract at my usual hospital. Although I’ve been living like this for some years, the anxiety leading up to appearing at that office again and having to handle responsibility doesn’t disappear. My intrusive thoughts get worse: I have to hide scissors because I keep picturing myself plunging them into my eyeballs, and as I eat, my brain conjures up daydreams of me discovering a cockroach or a spider or at least a long hair under the next spoonful.
I always think that I won’t be able to tolerate the long workdays due to this unhinged brain of mine, but somehow I always get used to it. If by used to it means surviving through terrible IBS for ten hours, tolerating my fear and disgust of humans while acting like another human, and navigating through all the technical nonsense of the job as an IT guy. And I hope that I won’t end up getting paired with a certain shithead during my afternoon shift, because it would mean me doing the work of two people.
I’m a child at heart, nothing more. I’ve had very little character development. I want no part of this crap. Why can’t I just keep doing childish things until my heart stops?