Controlling Jennifer V: Splices of Life Part I
“Your boyfriend called.”
Jennifer glanced at Darlene as she walked in. Darlene was smiling at her; a taunting kind of smile, the kind Darlene gave Jennifer when she thought she knew something. Jennifer put down her bookbag and sat down on her bed. Amy, the blonde girl from down the hall, was sitting on Darlene’s bed reading a Newsweek. She looked up from her magazine to smile at Jennifer, a smile that echoed Darlenes. Between the two of them, Jennifer felt very much like she was on display. She glanced between the two of them, trying to decide who Darlene was referring to.
She finally ventured a guess. “You mean Mark?” she asked. The expressions of dismay rapidly transforming to intense interest on both Darlene’s and Amy’s faces told Jennifer she had guessed wrong. She sighed.
“No, actually I meant Jacob. Who’s Mark?” asked Darlene, her glittering eyes fixed on Jennifer. Jennifer looked down. “Jennifer, hon... you met a guy and you didn’t tell me?”
Jennifer pretended to shuffle through her notebook. “I swear, you two.” she murmured. “You act like a couple of interrogators.”
“Of course!” chirped Amy. “We’re girls! We’re supposed to gossip!” She bounded over and sat next to Jennifer. Amy was always full of energy, and acted kind of ditzy; almost the stereotypical blond, except her frame was somewhat squat and she was more of an athlete than a socialite. “Come on, Jen! You’re supposed to tell us everything. Whose Mark?” Amy leaned forward in anticipation.
Jennifer retreated over to Darlene’s bed. “Close the door, will you, Amy?” she said.
Amy’s eyes lit up, and she jumped up to slide the door silently closed. “Wow! Big secrets, Jen?” Amy plopped onto Jennifer’s bed, sitting cross-legged.
“No, no big secrets.” said Jennifer. If only they knew, she thought to herself, then went on. “I just don’t want Jacob to burst in on me. I kinda don’t want to see him right now.”
“He gave me a message for you.” reported Darlene. “He wants to know if you want to go to the frat party with him tomorrow.” She regarded Jennifer in silence for a moment, then spoke. “Rumor has it Jacob and you are a couple.” she remarked ominously. “Jacob complained to me that you are ignoring him. He sounded kind of angry...”
“What’s up, Jen?” burst Amy. “You can tell us!” Amy leaned forward in barely controlled anticipation.
Jenny just shook her head. She felt like crying. “I don’t need this right now, I really don’t.” she mumbled. She looked up at Darlene and Amy’s expectant faces. “Jacob’s been mad at me. I slept with him twice, and he thinks that makes me his girlfriend.”
“You slept with him TWICE?!?” burst in Amy. Jennifer stared at her, and Amy put her hand over her mouth. “Oop. Sorry. Go on, go on!”
“I don’t WANT a boyfriend!” declared Jennifer. “I keep telling him that, but he refuses to accept it. He’s being a real asshole about it. I mean, guys can sleep with girls, and it means nothing, right? But I sleep with Jacob and suddenly I’m his.” She hit the bed with a fist and frowned. “It makes me mad.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t have slept with him the second time...” ventured Darlene.
Jennifer sighed. “No kidding. But I didn’t know he would get this way. Besides...well...the first time was really good. For both of us. The second time was bad though. Anyhow, I think the first time has him a little obsessed with me. He said it was the best sex has ever been for him.”
“Wow!” said Amy. “Jennifer, you slut!” Amy grinned, and Jennifer could tell she was only teasing, but the word came uncomfortably close to how Jennifer had felt about herself with Jacob.
“Men are assholes.” declared Darlene. “So who’s Mark?”
Jennifer sighed. What a question. Mark was a mind rapist, he was a manipulator, a controller. He was a dangerous being with far too much power. He was also a romantic, in his own twisted way, and he seemed to genuinely care for Jennifer. “Mark’s another asshole.” she said bitterly.
“Is it Mark Haflin?” asked Darlene. “Red-brown hair?”
Jennifer shook her head. “No, different guy. I don’t think you know him.”
“Where’d you meet him?” asked Amy.
“Ah...in the park one day, while I was walking to the track to run.”
“You don’t run anymore, do you, Jen?” Darlene interrupted.
“Ah, no. I haven’t for a while at least.”
Darlene nodded. “Yeah. I’d noticed you had stopped. Sorry to interrupt, go on.”
“Mark.” Jennifer said. “You ever have one of those guys who seems to really care about you, and does all these things for you, but he also acts like a complete arrogant bastard? That’s Mark.”
“Have you slept with him?” asked Amy.
“Amy!” snapped Darlene. “What a question!”
“No.” said Jennifer, and that too brought up a chaotic jumble of thoughts, arguments she had gone over again and again. It all came to the same question; why not? “No, I haven’t slept with him.”
“That’s good.” Darlene approved with a decisive nod. That was Darlene; when it came to other peoples relationships, she took on the crisp mannerisms of an army general. “Makes things less complicated.”
Jenny sighed. “You don’t know how complicated things are.” she said. “Jacob is bothering me, but at least I can understand him. I don’t understand Mark at all. He’s the strangest person I’ve ever met. Every time I think I’ve got him placed, he does something completely different. It’s so... confusing.”
“Well, I’ll help you with Jacob.” announced Darlene. “I’ll talk to him and tell him that you aren’t interested in being his girlfriend, and to leave you alone. Mark, on the other hand, you’ll have to handle on your own.”
“No, Darlene, don’t do that. I can deal with Jacob. Just let me take care of him, okay? It’ll sound bad if you tell him. I need to do it.”
Darlene shrugged. “You sure?”
“Yeah, I’m sure.” said Jennifer.
Darlene waved her hands at Jennifer, her way of indicating she was cleaning her hands of the situation. “Fine. He’s all yours.”
“Hey, Jen! You want to go to a dance tomorrow night up at Borris?” asked Amy. Borris hall was a dorm to the north of the campus, known for its high freshman population. “A bunch of us were going to go, and you should, too. It’ll get your mind off of things. Have some fun, maybe meet some new guys.”
“Yeah.” agreed Darlene. “Plus, you won’t have to worry about Jacob seeing you, because he’s going to the frat party.”
Jennifer considered it. She hadn’t gone to any parties since she had met Mark, and the idea appealed to her. She liked to dance. “Yeah, that sounds like fun. I’ll go.”
“Good.” nodded Darlene. “We were going to hit Pizza Hut for dinner, then go to the dance around 8:30 or so. That should be late enough for things to have started up there. Dress to kill.” Amy giggled, and her bright eyes danced over Jennifer.
Jennifer smiled. At least she had friends.
“The lasagna isn’t bad, but the chicken...urgh!” Jennifer’s eyes went wide, and she could feel herself unconsciously shrinking down in her seat.
It was the next day, and Jennifer was eating lunch with a girl in her Chinese Culture class named Ann Pajaro. Ann was a math major, an intense young lady with cold dark eyes and a mind like a computer. They traditionally ate lunch together after Chinese Culture, a class they both took to fulfill requirements and a class they both disliked intensely.
Ann, with her usual lack of subtlety, twisted around and looked to see what was distressing Jennifer. “What?” she demanded.
“Don’t look! It’s Jacob. I don’t want to talk to him. Quick, pretend you don’t see him.” Jennifer covered her hand with her face, hoping he wouldn’t see them.
“Too late.” said Ann. “He’s coming this way.”
“Darn.” muttered Jennifer. They watched as Jacob and some other guy wandered their way back to where the two girls were sitting.
“Hey, Jennifer.” said Jacob, and he took the seat next to her. The other guy, a dark-haired man with thick muscles, took the seat next to Ann. Probably another wrestler, or a football guy. Or both.
Jennifer forced cheer into her voice. “Hey, Jacob.” she said. “How are you?”
“We need to talk.” he said. Jennifer fought off the urge to sigh. Talk, yeah, right. The same talk they had had before. It never solved anything.
“You know about what! Jen, can we go somewhere private?”
“I can’t do that. I’m eating with Ann. Can we talk later?”
The dark-haired man spoke. “I’m Greg, by the way.”
Jacob ignored him. “Damn it, Jen! You always want to talk later! I’m not going to be put off this time!”
“Hi, I’m Ann.” said Ann to Greg.
“What are we going to talk about, Jake? What is there new to talk about? We’ve had this talk before. There’s nothing more to discuss!”
“Yes, there is.” Jacob said, his voice hard. “Jennifer, I don’t see why you have to be so stubborn!” He looked at Ann and Greg, then back at Jennifer. “Look, let’s go to another table, all right?”
“No, Jacob! Don’t you understand? No! I don’t want a boyfriend right now. You’re nice, but right now, I need you to please leave me alone! Okay? Please, Jacob.” She pleaded. “I need you as a friend right now. Stop trying to complicate things.”
“Oh, a friend.” spat Jacob. “And do you screw all your friends, then?”
“Jacob! Stop it!” Jennifer recoiled with shock at the low blow and the hostility in Jacob’s voice.
“No, Jenny, I’m not going to stop.” he snarled. “I’m not going to watch you go around and act like there’s nothing between us.”
“Jacob, there IS nothing between us.” Jennifer interrupted. The whole argument was making her sick. She wished Jacob would stop.
“The hell there isn’t! Those two times don’t mean anything? You just using me to get off? Fuck that, Jennifer! I’m not going to let you just set me aside like some toy.” His voice was rising now.
Jennifer looked at Ann and Greg, who were watching the conversation like spectators at a boxing match. Finally she stood. “I’m leaving.” She said, her voice tight. She lifted her tray and walked away.
“Wait, I’m coming too!” called Ann behind her, and soon Ann was walking beside her. Behind them both, they heard Greg telling Jacob to cool down. “Wow. Some argument.” said Ann. “I didn’t even know you two were even dating.”
“We aren’t.” said Jennifer. “I’m sorry you had to see that, Ann.”
Ann just shrugged.
Afterwards, Jennifer went back to her room and stared at the ceiling. Why do I have so much problems? She asked herself. Why me? Jennifer put on her sad music, her recording of the Pachelbel Canon, and for the first time in a long while, Jennifer let herself cry.
And when she couldn’t cry anymore, she thought about Mark.
Later that day, Jennifer went with Darlene, Amy, and four other girls to Pizza Hut. Jennifer had been contemplating skipping the whole thing, but at the last minute, Darlene had firmly ordered her to go. “It’ll cheer you up, Jen. I don’t want you lying around the room all night feeling sorry for yourself. You might start getting suicidal or something.” Jennifer felt left out at the restaurant. Everyone else seemed to be in such good moods, talking, laughing, carrying on. Jennifer tried to make an effort to enjoy herself, and to be good company, but she had a feeling she was doing a bad job of it.
They were done with dinner at 7, and all went to Amy’s room, where Amy brought out some bottles of alcohol, and started passing out cups. Darlene tried to get Jennifer to drink. “C’mon, Jenny, it’ll loosen you up, make you have more fun.” But Jennifer was not a drinker; it was not that she had something morally against it, she just really didn’t like the taste. Besides, wasn’t alcohol a depressant or something? She couldn’t afford to get even more depressed. She refused their offers of liquor, and felt really left out as the rest of them rapidly got plastered and started laughing at silly things.
“Darlene, I think I’m going to go back to the room, ok? I really don’t think I’m going to be good company.”
Darlene threw her arm around Jenny. “Nooooo! No, Jennifer! You can’t leave me here. Ohhh, Jen, I feel so drunk. You’ll have to take care of me, I need you, don’t leave....” So Jennifer stayed.
Around 9, they all decided to stagger along to the dance. “Jen’s our guide!” they declared with glee. “She’s the only one sober. Lead us there, Jenny!” So Jennifer put herself in control of the group of giggling, silly girls, all who were a great deal happier than they had any right to be, and she led them up to the lobby of Borris hall.
The party was going at full force, and the dance floor was packed. The music was loud and blaring, music that didn’t need to be much more than a beat, and usually wasn’t. Lights flashed across the ceiling, and people swirled on the dance floor.
The group of girls formed a circle on the outskirts of the dance floor, and started to dance. At first, Jenny had a hard time getting into it, but after awhile, her body started to follow along to the rhythm, and she let her mind loosen as she looked around at all the happy people on the dance floor.
That’s what I like about dancing, she thought to herself. Everyone always looks so happy. Gradually, Jennifer felt herself start to loosen up, and every time she looked at Darlene and Amy, they smiled back at her, drunken, infectious smiles. Soon Jennifer started to smile back.
She let her eyes wander around the floor, occasionally seeing people she knew as they swirled and gyrated to the crushing beat that swept through them all. The group of girls started moving more toward the center as people left the middle of the floor and others appeared on the ouskirts. Pretty soon, everyone around Jennifer was in motion. She felt adrenalized, and it was a good feeling. She let the music move her body, in motion almost without conscious thought.
It was then she saw Mark.
He was sitting on the side of the dance floor, in one of the seats by himself. For once, it appeared as if she had seen him before he had seen her. He was watching the people dance on the floor. Jennifer faltered in keeping the beat. What do I do? She asked herself. Should I talk to him? Jennifer looked at Darlene and the others, swaying happily. What if Mark saw her when she was with all her friends? What would happen? Jennifer decided she would rather not have Mark meet her friends, or vice versa.
She poked Darlene. “I’m going to the bathroom.” she shouted over the loud music. “I’ll be back.” Darlene smiled and nodded, and Jennifer made her way through the swirl of bodies towards where Mark sat.
Mark saw her approaching, and he smiled at her. A different sort of smile, a less confident, more peaceful smile than his usual. Jennifer walked over and sat next to him.
“Hi, Mark.” she said.
“Hey, Jennifer.” He leaned towards her to be heard. “Wow, I didn’t know you were here.”
She nodded. “I figured you would see me eventually.” She paused; so far the encounter had been very ordinary, and she wanted to keep it that way. “Are you here to dance, Mark?”
He shook his head. “I don’t dance much.” he told her. “No, I just like to come to these things to watch other people dance. It’s so...chaotic.” He let his eyes roam around the floor, and then he focused on her again. “This is where I first saw you, you know.”
“It is?” Jennifer leaned forward to hear him better.
Mark looked out onto the dance floor again. “Well, not here, but at a dance. Remember that Halloween party? That’s when I first saw you, dancing out there, in the crowd.” Jennifer watched his profile as he spoke, watched the lights flashing over his face. His eyes had an unfocused, blurred look to them. Then he was looking at her again. “I like the way you dance, Jennifer. There’s...something about it, I can’t say what it is. That’s what attracted me to you. You seemed to go into it with such abandon. Like it was your last night to be alive, and all you wanted to do was to dance until you dropped. And, I don’t know, it was sexual, but not openly sexual. More subtley sexual, I guess, like you were acting sexy but didn’t know it, and that only made it more erotic. I really liked watching you dance, Jennifer.”
“I’m not a very good dancer.” she murmured, a little embarassed by his words. Her face was hot, and she tried to keep the blush from showing. It was the intensity with which he spoke; she found it hard to believe she could bring forth such intensity in anyone.
Of course, Mark wasn’t just anyone.
“Yes, you are. You’re one of those that you can tell likes to dance, just be watching.” He said. He stared at her; his eyes were like two glowing embers in a fire. “Jenny, want to play another game of controlling Jennifer? I have an idea.”
“Game?” she raised an eyebrow. “Is it all a game to you?”
“Well...no, not really. I’m sorry, Jenny, that’s what I’ve been calling our little sessions. Games of controlling Jennifer. I’m sorry, it’s just for lack of a better term. Do you want to? I mean, of your own free will. I’m not going to use my power or anything.”
Jennifer looked into his eyes, and was intrigued by the eager sincerity she saw there. And she also had to admit that she was curious as to what Mark had in mind for her. “You promise? No power?”
“I promise. All of your own free will.” he said, and she believed him. For all he had done to her, he had never lied to her.
“Okay. And if I don’t want to do what you say, I won’t and you won’t make me, okay? I’m just doing this because I’m curious as to what you want me to do. That’s all.”
Mark grinned and nodded. “Uh huh. Don’t worry, Jennifer. If you don’t want to do what I say, you don’t have to. It’s up to you.”
Jennifer waited for him to continue, but he didn’t. “So what is it?” she pressed him.
“Are you wearing a bra?”
Jennifer looked down at the white blouse she was wearing. You could faintly make out the white lace of her bra under it. She also wore a pair of tight black jeans; perfect for dancing. “You know I am. Stop teasing me.” she said.
“Go and take it off.” he said.
“And then what?” she asked.
“First the bra.” he ordered. Jennifer watched him intently, but he would say no more. Finally, she walked over to the bathroom. It was crowded with girls putting on makeup and stank with the smell of beer and cigarettes. Jennifer waited for a stall, and once inside, slipped off her bra and shoved it into her purse. She examined herself; her nipples were slightly visible, but only if you looked for them. The blouse was pretty loose anyhow, so it was not overly apparent that she wore nothing beneath it. Satisfied that she was not too exposed, she walked out of the bathroom.
At first she couldn’t see Mark. He wasn’t where she had left him. She searched the room with her eyes, and finally saw him in a new seat on the opposite wall. Jennifer started to make her way over to him, and then realized she would have to squeeze her way through the mass of dancers to reach him. As she pushed through, her breasts brushed against backs, against fronts, against arms. Once a hand, moving in some dancing motion, ran into her chest. Jennifer pushed past quickly before the owner of the hand could realize what he had bumped into. All in all, no one else really seemed aware that she wasn’t wearing a bra, but by the time Jennifer reached the place where Mark was, she herself was very aware of how free she was under the blouse, and her nipples were hard and sensitive.
She dropped next to Mark, feeling her breasts sway with the motion, and her nipples scrape against her blouse. “You did that on purpose.” she accused.
“Did what?” he remarked innocently. “I had to move over here to show you what I want you to do.”
“Ok, what is it.”
Mark just pointed. Jennifer followed the direction of his finger to see a guy sitting against the wall. He was small, hunched over in his chair, staring forlornly at everyone dancing around him. Jennifer knew his type. They wanted to dance, but were too scared. Too self-conscious.
“See him?” asked Mark.
“Yeah. What do you want me to do?”
“I want you to pick him up. Ask him to dance. Hold him tight and turn him on. You know.”
Jennifer regarded the guy. “He’s gonna think I’m a slut.” she said.
“No, no, Jennifer. More likely he’s going to think its the best day of his life. I’m asking you to make him happy, Jennifer. Let him have a fun night for once.” He offered her his hand. “Come on, Jenny. Are you game?”
Jennifer shook her head. “I can’t believe you’re making me do this.” Mark only shrugged, and kept his hand toward her. Finally, she took his hand, and they walked over to where the guy was sitting.
The guy looked up at them expectantly. Mark leaned close. “You can’t see me or hear me.” He told the boy, and released Jennifer’s hand. The boy suddenly was staring right through Mark; he shuddered, then turned to Jennifer, staring at her with wide eyes. She noticed with distaste that he was one of those boys who looked at her chest almost as much as he did her face.
“Hi!” she said. “Do you want to dance?” She asked him.
The boy looked down and shook his head. “Uh...no thanks, I’m not really a dancer.” Jennifer looked at Mark; he was urging her on with his eyes. She sighed and sat down.
“Hi!” she said. “I’m...uh...Marcie.” It occurred to her at the last minute that she may not want him to know her real name. “What’s your name?”
“Oh, I’m Derrick.” he smiled quickly at her, then looked away. Jennifer again looked at Mark.
“Put your arm around him.” Mark said. “Press yourself against him. Get him hot and hard.” Before Jennifer knew it, her arm was draped over Derrick’s shoulder, and her breasts were pushing into his side. She could feel Derrick’s quivering hesitation under her, his temptation.
She glared at Mark. “You said you wouldn’t use your power.” she hissed.
He only smiled. “I didn’t.” he said. And with a start, Jennifer realized he hadn’t. She was doing this all on her own.
Aw, what the hell, she thought. She leaned in close to John’s ear. “Come on.” she said. “I want to see you dance with me. I promise I’m a good dancer. Don’t turn me down.” Derrick’s body was hot against hers.
“O...okay.” he stammered. Jennifer brushed a slight kiss against his cheek. That oughta blow his mind, she thought to herself. I wonder what Mark thinks. She looked over at him.
Mark was staring at them, and the strange expression on his face caught her completely by surprise. She thought he would be pleased at her willing compliance, but instead he looked sad. She stared at him a moment. He always does this to me, she thought. Whenever I think I’ve got him figured out. What’s he thinking? He caught her looking, and beckoned them out onto the dance floor. Jennifer watched him a moment longer, trying to decipher his thoughts, but couldn’t. Finally, she turned back to Derrick, and led him out onto the dance floor.