So I’ve shared some of the story of Irma and Robert on Literotica and the second installment on So The Story Goes. As I mentioned in my interview, the next part of their story is less sexy and more complicated. All that aside, this is probably my favorite part of their story so far. Hope you enjoy it!
HISTORY PART I
Time moved differently on the farm than it had in the diner for Irma. The days were still long and quiet, but her world was liberated from the chrome-trimmed walls and the buzz of AM radio. The sounds of wind and insects and open space gave an atmosphere of quiet contemplation, a sort of mediation. Irma was profoundly at peace, filled with a contentment she had never before imagined. She believed it to be a thing of Robert’s making, the reward for her devoted faith in him, though how he’d done it was a mystery.
Robert worked through the days. The better part of his time was spent working on the airplane. The old crop duster was hard to find parts for, and Robert had been forced to retrofit several of the components into the system. He was confident he could get it to fly, but frustrated by how much work it was proving to be. There were days where Robert’s effort was stalled by the availability of parts. But he found he could not sit still, even with Irma’s constant and welcome temptation. He’d make repairs to the barn or a fence some days, giving the farm the feel of a place coming back to life. Part of Robert lamented that he wouldn’t be here to see it through.
Whether day or night, Robert and Irma constantly hungered for one another. They took every opportunity to fall into their shared desire. There was not one inch of Irma’s body which Robert did not explore and claim as his own. She had willingly given her flesh over to him, and Robert had rewarded her with agonizing ecstasy and succulent abuse. When he bound her, Irma’s spirit was set free of her flesh. When he marked her, she felt his sweet ownership on her for days. And always Irma’s cunt ached for his swollen manhood; her reward for obedience and compliance.
Through a haze of newness and sexual bliss, time ebbed and flowed between moments and aeons. But the world has little regard for the perceptions of two lovers, no matter how intensely their fire for one another burns. Robert knew that time was a precious commodity for them, and that soon it would be exhausted. And as the tires of a 1950 Cadillac Coupe deville sent a cloud of dust into the morning sky, Robert knew that luxury was spent.
Irma watched the look of concern manifest on Robert’s face as they silently shared their morning coffee. Words were so seldom needed between them any more, and Irma felt Robert’s ill-ease rising a goose pimples along her spine. The car rolled to a stop in the gritty dirt of the driveway, and the wind blew the rising dust around the front to obscure the view as the driver got out. He was a large round shade in the falling brown cloud. Irma first noticed the way the dirt settled and clung to the highly polished finish of the Cadillac’s bumper and grill. The shadowy figure gave a bellicose cough as he swatted at the dust.
Robert watched his uncle emerge from the settling debris. Jedidiah, Jed as he was called, had always put a priority on style, and the intervening years between now and when Robert had last seen him didn’t change that. They’d added voluminous inches to Jed’s waist, and raked streaks of grey across his temples, but neither fact negatively affected the man’s powerful physicality. Jed’s silk shirt had been pressed into a roll at the elbow, cinching snugly around his thick, muscular forearms. The coarse black hair on his arms trailed down to hands like stone maces, and dusted across his knotted knuckles. He wore a series of silver and turquoise rings, which he clicked together out of habit as he walked toward the porch. His tie was a shining black line which rolled from his neck to curl at the top of his rising gut, and was clipped neatly to the shirt with a gleaming silver band. His pants were a neat black pinstripe, and his shoes gleamed like they were brand new. Clearly, business had been good for Uncle Jed.
Irma leered suspicion at the approaching man. He rankled against her senses in an instant. Part of her tried to suggest she’d feel that about anyone crashing into her and Robert’s world, but somehow, this was different. He was too well put together, manufactured; Irma immediately sensed he was hiding something. She looked over to Robert, but his eyes never left the man. He took one long final draw of his coffee, and held his hand out to stay Irma, then headed down the steps of the front porch to meet their visitor.
“Robert.” Jed said as the younger man approached.
“Uncle Jed.” Robert replied curtly.
“Surprised, to see you out here son. It was, unexpected news.”
“Gotta be someplace, Jed. Here seemed as good as any.”
“Might be you ought to let folks know when you’re staying on their property.” Jed said, letting a slight edge slip into his tone.
“That still how you see things, Jed.”
“Well, last I knew, you still had problems out of town.”
“I’ve seen Mickey, Jed.” Robert kept his tone flat and calm.
“Oh, you have now? Well that’s interesting to hear, real interesting. You wouldn’t mind if I check up on that, would you, Bobby?” He jibed at him.
Robert’s hands curled into white-knuckled fists, but his voice remained icy, “You do what you gotta do, Jed. You always have.”
Jed’s shoulders rolled a wave of amusement through his body as he laughed, “You got that right, Bobby. You take care now.” He turned and headed back to the car. Jed opened the door then looked back at the porch, pointing up at Irma he said, “Wouldn’t want to see that pretty girl suffer the same fate as the last one that hung around you.” He got into the car, turned on the ignition, and left the farm, back down the dusty drive. Robert watched the chrome and steel machine all the way down to the road, and off into the horizon before he turned back to the house.
Irma sat quietly on the porch swing as Robert came back up the stairs. She’d been relieved to see the Cadillac pull away, but a knot of tension stayed nested between her shoulders. Her body was ready to spring to the defense of this world she had with Robert, but Irma would wait for Robert before doing anything. He sat down heavily beside her and pulled her into his chest. “I’m sorry.” he rumbled as Irma slipped her hand around his body.
“Never be.” Irma whispered softly. A single tear rolled from her eye. Irma squeezed him harder. “You never have to be sorry. For anything.”
He kissed the top of her head, “I wish that were true. Irma, things are going to get complicated, I think.”
“Because of him?” she asked.
“Yes. That was my uncle. He sees this place as his, since it was his brother’s.” He sighed with years of remorse. Irma had seen the baggage of Robert’s life in his face from the very first. It was never the important part of him, but it was catching up to them now. Robert stared out at the horizon, sorting the story in his mind.
“I was 16 years old when my father died. I wanted to take on the family farm; I was already flying to crop duster regularly. But the law said I wasn’t old enough. My mom never learned to read, so she wasn’t much good with the legal end of things. That’s when Uncle Jed came around.
He was supposed to be the head of the house, but he was a lazy drunk just cashing in. My sister and I did all the work, while Uncle Jed beat, berated, and conned my mom into signing the farm over to him. Drought hit the farms in the area a few years after he showed up, and with the soil, the money dried up. Jed packed up and headed out east to bootleg liquor. We did the best we could for a year or so, but those were bad days. In the end, I had to leave to try and find work. The beatings Jed had given my mom, she never fully recovered. She just got sicker and sicker, slowly wasting away. My sister, Vanessa, she got stuck here. Jed as good as killed my mother. He ruined my life here. And in the process, he stole Vanessa’s best years as she tried to keep mom comfortable.” Robert held the porch’s handrail in a white knuckled grip, visibly shaken by his retelling.
Irma moved over to him, placing her hand on the back of Robert’s shoulder, the other sliding around to ease his grip. “You must hate him.” She said softly. She kissed his neck and cheek, trying to draw his pain into herself. “He gave you so much hurt.”
Robert’s body held his rage. Irma’s caress was a distant and useless effort to penetrate the torrent of emotions welling inside him. “Yes, he did that.” Robert acknowledged. His mind could not stay fixed on any moment, flashing between the outrages of the past and the implications of a tumultuous near-future.
Irma came closer still, her lips a hair’s breadth from Robert’s ear, “Give it to me, Sir. Pour it all out and into me. Please. Don’t hold onto your hurt.” She pleaded quietly to him. Her heart raced with anxious need to see Robert, her world, strong and free and unburdened by history.
Robert pushed Irma’s hand from his back with the shrug of a shoulder, and turned away from her. His hand under hers released it’s grip, and Irma was struck by the sensation of his skin sliding away, leaving the rough, worn wood in its place. Something had happened, but Irma could not tell what it was. She wanted to cry, to run, to throw herself at Robert. He walked over to the doorway, a few feet that might as well have been a thousand miles. He paused on the threshold, “No, Irma. This is not for you.” Then Robert went inside, leaving her to the morning.
Irma was frozen in place. She could not fathom what had happened. Robert’s words struck her like the most maligned blow. She tried to move, but only staggered and had to grip the lifeless wooden rail to stay upright. She eased herself along the edge until she could sit once more on the swing. As she released her weight to the bench, she broke inside. Tears streamed from her eyes, and Irma wept openly and bitterly at Robert’s quiet, powerful scorn.
Robert spent the afternoon in the barn. Irma wandered through her wreck of emotions, going from room to room in the old farm house, trying to find a place where she fit. She found herself slipping back into the moment of Robert’s rejection time and again as she lingered in solitude. Each recollection came as a fresh blow, sending her into a weeping pit of desperation. Robert seemed clear that he would hold onto his feelings on the matter of Jedediah. Irma paced in a daze as the shadows leaned and stretched into twilight. She prepared meal of rice and beans for their dinner, grateful for some action which might occupy her time.
Irma sat at the kitchen table as she ate, accompanied only by the low hum of the room’s single light. She stared out the window at the slatted shadows thrown across the yard by the powerful work lights Robert had set up in the barn. The clatter and clank of his labours still filtered out into the night. The golden-hued contrast highlighted the barren nature of the farm through the darkness. Irma felt the dryness of her exhausted eyes as her focus stayed inexplicably locked on the slashing light from the barn.
Eventually, Irma’s body demanded rest, and guided her to the bed she shared with Robert. Naked, she slipped beneath the covers and stared up at the chipped paint of the ceiling. Her body cried out for sleep, the expense of emotion having ravaged her vitality. But her mind clawed unguided through possibility, never fixing on one thought, intractable in pursuit of something. She rolled over and felt the absence on Robert’s side of the mattress. A breathy sigh escaped her as her fingers rolled across the worn bedding. They remember the feel of Robert’s flesh, the rightness of his skin against hers, and gave stark contrast of her lonely repose. Irma’s fingers curled around Robert’s pillow, and she drew it into her, holding it close. Robert’s scent was heavy on the case, reopening the raw wound within her. She clutched it desperately, and wept softly until a fitful sleep drew her mercifully away.
Robert never came to bed that night. He worked through the night, hoping that he could complete the repairs to the plane. Jed would be coming back, and probably not alone. If he could get the plane airworthy, Robert could get them out of there, protecting Irma. He couldn’t let her into this grim shade of a world he was trying to leave behind. He cursed himself for falling to temptation. Anger kept him awake; fear kept him working.
By seven o’clock in the morning, Robert realized he didn’t have the washers he needed to fit the fuel lines properly. He quietly went back into the house, and fought the temptation to go to Irma. He wanted her so bad, to grip her tightly and through her hold the entire world in his hand. But Robert resisted that siren’s call, tidied himself up in the downstairs vanity, and slipped out again without so much as looking at Irma. As he slipped the key into the ignition of the pickup truck, Robert felt a sharp pang of guilt for his apparent disregard. He’d have to explain it to her later, when they were away from there and safe. Filled with an ambivalent mix of regret and determination, Robert sped away into town to get what he needed.
Irma judged the time to be around eight by the angle of the rays piercing the window. She knew she’d slept, but she felt like all she’d done was cry. Irma’s tears stained Robert’s pillow, which she had clutched the whole night through. And as she realized that he’d not joined her in the night, a wave of misery washed through her soul. She got up quickly and dressed, rushing downstairs to find some sign of him. Irma dare not give voice to her deepest fear as she searched through the kitchen. She was a gale of desperation by the time she surged out the back porch, and rushed to the barn. It was quiet, and when Irma drew open the door, she found only the plane occupying the dusty space. She felt her heart give a single resonate thump as the thought formed in her mind, but she rejected it immediately. Then she turned around and saw that the truck was gone. Irma collapsed to her knees, and her whole body heaved with the furiousity of her wailing sobs. Robert had abandoned her.
Time became meaningless that morning. Irma had no sense of how long she stayed there at the threshold of the barn’s mandoor, nor how long it took for her shuffling, aimless shamble to cross the yard. She’d sat on the porch for a time, exhaustion radiating out from her soul. She’d lit a cigarette and ignored it, only reminded of it when the cherry singed her fingers. Irma looked down at the small but angry red blisters of her index and middle finger, but could only find a hollow indifference.
Morning became afternoon, and afternoon turned to evening. Irma was too wrung out to act, hanging in a void of emotional prostration. Some distant part of her knew there’d be anger later. Anger at Robert certainly, but much more for herself. But she couldn’t come to confront that now. The world was broken, and there was nothing to do. As twilight settled on the countryside, Irma went back to the bedroom, fell on the bed, and into a deep sleep.
It was late in the night when the sound of tires crunching along the dirt driveway woke Irma up. She slipped across to Vanessa’s bedroom and its window looking out from the front of the house. Bright white headlights bounced slightly as a car flew up the driveway, coming to a sudden stop 10 feet from the front porch. Irma strained into the night, and picked out the distinctive lines and obsequious chrome trim of Jed’s Cadillac. An electric volt shot down her spine and adrenaline pumped into her every muscle. Instinct told her something bad was about to happen. She slipped to the side of the window, trying to be as small as she could while watching carefully. Jed and two other men dragged Robert from the car. They threw him down in the dirt, laughing cruelly at his pathetic attempt to get away. There was gleam off Jed’s knuckles in the light of the headlamps as he slung his meaty fist into Robert’s temple. Irma heard the dull sound of it, and held her breath against anxiety. She couldn’t make out what was said, but Jed pointed to Robert, then to the front door, and his two lackey’s gathered Robert up. Jed went to the trunk and pulled out what looked to be three full bottles with rags stuffed in their necks.
Irma listened carefully as the men kicked the door open. The door jamb shattered in a shower of rotted splinters, and the hardware clanged off the floorboards. She heard their heavy footsteps and muffled voices as they dragged Robert through the vestibule and into the sitting room. Irma crept from Vanessa’s room to the top of the stairs. The brutes were laughing a soft promise of menace, as their shadowy silhouettes went back into the night. Irma stayed there and waited. The draft of the house blew the front door gently closed, shutting out the light of the car’s headlights, leaving her with a cloak of darkness. Irma’s heart pounded in her chest, but she waited still.
The ancient window panes shattered in a musical tinkle as the projectiles crashed through them. Irma heard the distinction of the bottles’ heavier crunch, then the roar of flames coming to life. She dashed down the stairs as quickly as she could manage in the darkness, and had to shield her eyes against the sudden illumination as flame engulfed the dry, aged furniture. The house was a tinderbox, and would go up quickly. Irma’s eyes adjusted, and she saw the outline of Robert’s body. She went to him, and rolled him over. Blood streamed down from a gash at his temple, and his face was covered with bruises. He groaned and coughed as she took him under each arm, and dragged him from the sitting room and down the hall.
The fire began to devour the house, licking the wooden frame into conflagration. Burning embers flew through the air on currents of the flame’s own power. Irma pulled and strained against the weight of Robert’s body and the rough, uneven finish of the floor. The fire pursued them like a stalking beast as Irma made for the back porch. She could feel her pulse throbbing in her temples and the pain of her agonized cries as desperate need called more strength into her being. The smooth surface of the linoleum floor in the kitchen was a miraculous relief as it let Robert’s weight slide easily across it. Irma managed to put some space between them and the fire, but did not stop for relief. She redoubled her efforts, taking Robert across the back porch and through the dirt, into the long fallow field.
image from The White Ribbon (2009) by Michael Haneke
Irma hid them there in a blanket of night and wild plants and uneven earth. She curled up with Robert in her arms, and covered his battered body with her own. She barely drew breath as she watched the fire grow and swallow the house entirely. Irma’s senses were drawn into sharp focus, and even against the light of the fire, she made out the strafing beams of the Cadillac’s headlights as Jed and his cronies rolled back toward the road. A wave of relief washed over her; they were safe for now, and Robert had not abandoned her. She gingerly wiped the clotting blood from Robert’s eyes, watching him draw shallow but consistent breaths. His eyes fluttered, and Robert mumbled, “Asumi.” before going limp with unconsciousness in Irma’s arms.