''<span style="font-size: 200%">Bound</span>
Bound is best read on the Safari browser for all effects to work properly. The piece also contains Youtube videos that are best when played at 1.5 speed.
This story contains potentially triggering sound effects and themes.
[[Please proceed with caution.->Friday Night?]] ''<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JEKRMnofrU8" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
[[Continue.->New]]'' “What do you think?” It was more of a statement than question. There was a low chance Angie would even hear any critiques about [[the black piece of fabric->Binder]] across their chest over the bubbling excitement. They couldn’t take their eyes off their own bouncing image in the full-length mirror propped up against the wall. “There’s nothing there! Dude, there’s nothing there! Dude!”
“Would you hold still so I can see? Jesus, you’re like a baby rabbit learning to hop or something!” Domenica smiled at her friend, placing her hands on Angie’s shoulders to steady them. She stepped back to give Angie a good once-over. The fabric was tight across Angie’s chest, but it seemed to finally give Angie the flat chest they’d been talking about so much. “It definitely fits really well. Does it hurt to breathe?”
Domenica laughed as Angie tried to take a ridiculously deep breath, hands on hips, chest (giving a good attempt at) heaving. “I guess it hurts a little, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.” Angie turned to the mirror and squealed again. “Everyone is gonna love it!”
Domenica told her friend, “I know they will, but remember when they said you shouldn’t exert yourself too much in it though? Just keep that in mind tonight.” She gave Angie a soft smile, knowing how big of a deal getting your first binder could be. She didn’t want to be the one to tell Angie not to have fun.
Angie returned the smile before pouncing onto Domenica in a hug. They held Domenica there for a while, whispering silent thank-you’s over and over again. “I seriously couldn’t have done this without you,” Angie whispered, the sound muffled from their face being pressed into Domenica’s shoulder.
Domenica squeezed her friend harder when she felt the silent tears on her shoulder. “Hey, hey, give yourself some credit. You went through with this. You’re doing something lots non-binary people don’t even get an opportunity to.” She patted Angie’s back before pulling away from the hug, bringing a hand up to wipe away any extra tears from Angie’s face. “C’mon, as much as you like it, you can’t just wear a straight up binder into a club. Go find a flannel or something. We gotta go soon.”
“Sometimes I question how people don’t see you as butch with your flannel obsession,” Angie says with a laugh.
“Maybe they just think I’m an aspiring lumberjack. Ever think of that?”
“We live in a giant-ass city, Domenica.”
“Shhhh, just put clothes on and be happy dammit.”
Domenica pushed Angie towards their closet before grabbing the bag full of her clothes and setting it on Angie’s [[pink bedsheets->Mega Bitch]]. Domenica remembered when Angie’s mother had picked out the new bedsheets while she and Angie were having a sleepover. She remembered Angie shifting on their feet awkwardly and not knowing why at the time. She remembered Angie’s mother calling Angie ungrateful when they didn’t thank her immediately. That had to have been at least a decade ago.
Angie paused in digging through their closet. “Domenica?”
“What do I do if my mom finds it?”
“Would she even know what it is?”
“I dunno, maybe.” Angie’s voice was frail as they brushed their hands over the piece of fabric again. Their eyes were sad, almost judgmental as they stared down at their body.
Domenica’s shoulders slumped a bit, her mouth drawing into a tight line. She gave Angie another once-over and couldn’t help but frown at the sight. Long dirty blonde hair framing a more rounded, what could be considered feminine shaped face. Round blue eyes with thick lashes to complement.
She knew Angie wasn’t happy with the way they looked. She knew Angie’s mother adored their looks. Always bragged about her daughter the model. How her daughter would be the perfect wife and make such adorable grandchildren.
“Don’t let worrying about your mom ruin this for you. She’s a mega-bitch, and we can deal with that when the time comes. Just think about [[tonight->Blue Heels On]]." ''''
<img src="https://imgur.com/VOV9WZl.png" width="250" height="300" alt="Two foxes">
They were fourteen. It was kind of the beginning of the end, which is weird to say about a color.
Angie's mom was always obsessed with the color pink. That was a constant. This time, though, it hurt a little more? Maybe because Domenica was right there? Maybe because Angie had only come out to their friends, what, seven months prior? Maybe it was just the freshman year of high school anxiety.
All of the above??
Angie's mom walked in, bright smile on her face, a bundle of [[pink blankets->New]] in her arms. Domenica saw some weird twinkle in her eyes. Something unsettling. Like she knew what she was doing to her own kid, and she.... //enjoyed it//.
''<iframe width="0" height="0" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/g4kjpAJNySE?autoplay=1"></iframe>
(css: "color: white;")[
Bass vibrated through the floor and pierced the air around the sea of dancing bodies. It was accompanied by a number of smoke machines and small strobe lights shining from the stage.
The bass reverberated up through Domenica’s baby blue heels and into her body. It made her forget all about the sweat dripping down her back and ache in her feet as her mind homed in on the beat and Angie as they danced in time. She felt as though her eyes were glazed over in a haze of euphoria.
She noticed Angie’s flannel was now tied around their waist, putting the black blinder on a proud display. There was a bubbling in Domenica’s chest at the sight. Her best friend dancing, carefree in a body to be proud of.
Angie danced their way closer to Domenica before yelling over the music, “Are those shoes new?”
A laugh bubbled from Domenica’s throat and she nodded. “Why? You don’t like heels!” she yelled back over the bass.
“I might not like heels but I have taste! They look good on you!”
There was a [[light pop in the beat->No]], but neither paid any attention. They didn’t pay attention to the fact that the jump wasn’t coming from the stage, too caught up in each other.]<iframe width="0" height="0" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GCvLiDkjQTc?autoplay=1"></iframe>
(css: "color: white;")[
'' The pop from another jump in the beat pierced Domenica’s eardrum. It sounded like it was outside. She paused for a moment, realizing where the noise was coming from.
A bump against her shoulder, then another. Not from dancing, not from sweaty bodies having fun. The euphoric glaze over Domenica’s face washed away as she heard it again. Her joints and veins started screaming at her, feeling hot with adrenaline.
Her hand managed to find Angie’s hand in the chaos, tugging them to run.
Domenica stumbled through the crowed, grimacing with every step in the heels. Screams were beginning to pierce her ears, coming from every direction. She kept her own hand glued to Angie’s.
Her senses felt like they were going into an overload. Her hands trembling, ears ringing, vision blurring from all the movement around her.
More and more people started jostling her around as they tried to find a way out. The clammy hand in her own coming loose.
//[[Bang->Ashamed]]!//''](css: "color: white;")[
Not today, please god, not today.
“Who let you in here?”
//[[God, that voice.->Domenica]]//
“Listen to me when I’m talking to you!”
Domenica turned around to face the shrieking woman. She noticed the woman’s face was horridly spray tanned and had wrinkles beginning to form around her eyes. Stupidly high cheekbones and sunken in everything else. Thin lips painted an ugly purple. She found it hard to believe someone as attractive as Angie could come from that. Or how someone attractive enough to give Angie their looks could have sex with such a monster.
“You did this! You took her to that ungodly place! You tried to make my daughter a dyke like you and your fucking friends!”
Domenica grimaced. She could feel every set of eyes in the room on her. Everyone in their black dresses and suits with polished shoes and jewelry. They all blended in so nicely with the look of the building and its multicolored carpets and the religious knick-knacks all over the walls. All of them were watching her in confusion. She recognized a few of them from pictures Angie had shown her years ago, but that didn’t help the stinging she felt from their eyes.
“Your mother should be ashamed of you! Hell, you should be ashamed of yourself!”
A knot flipped in Domenica’s stomach and made the inner walls of it begin to burn. Her shoulders shook a bit. What felt like weights sitting her chest in didn’t help.
“How the hell could you even think of showing your face here? In front of her family at a time like this!”
Domenica’s jaw tightened, unable to look at Angie’s mother or the people around her. The rapid thumping in her chest made her realize how hard she’d been breathing.
The weights caved in.
“This wasn’t me dammit! Don’t you get that all these years Angie was just trying to get away from you! And for Christ’s sake, stop calling them your daughter! The only thing you ever did for them was objectify and use them, not mother them! They weren’t your little fucking Barbie doll to crimp and shape however the fuck you want! Angie was a person!”
Her cheeks felt wet. She couldn’t remember when she’d started crying.
[[She felt a sharp pain in her cheek, smearing the tear streaks across her face.->Angie]] ]
<img src="https://imgur.com/ueDiyUt.png" width="175" height="200" alt="Two foxes">
Domenica shuffled her feet a bit, trying to keep her heels from sinking into the wet soil and tainting their baby blue color. The blue stood out against the all-black suit she wore, but there was a sense of relief wearing them, despite the grimace she’d worn earlier at the mere thought of heels.
Her eyes moved down to the creased lines of the paper in her hands. She’d been holding the page in what seemed like a death grip all morning, causing noticeable wear on the margins. No one was around to read the letter but. She wanted to wait until everyone left to even get there, not wanting another fight to break out.
“I spent three days writing this and I still don’t think it’s good enough to [[remember you->Goodbye?]] by.”
<img src="https://imgur.com/BZKQcZ9.png" width="250" height="270" alt="Two foxes">
She tucked the crinkled piece of paper under the flower display before admiring the display itself. Pink azaleas. Pink. Her mother picked it out probably. She probably sobbed over how her poor baby needed the finest and most womanly flowers available.
They wouldn’t want this.
Her forehead met the cool wood.
“Angie, I miss you.” She paused, unsure where to go next.
“I don’t really know what to say that isn’t in that letter, so I guess I could just repeat myself. Everyone misses you. They’re hurting, but we know you’re safe wherever you are. Nobody can tell you who you can and can’t be anymore. You’re free.”
She grimaced through the voice cracks in her speech. Images of Angie free as that night flashed through her mind, but in a place without her. She shivered.
None of this felt right.
“I can’t pretend to be happy that you’re safe. I can’t pretend that I can just accept this like everyone else seems to. I can’t pretend like I’m not furious with myself for all this. The shit in that letter isn’t completely true and you and I both know that. It might be for everyone else but I just can’t agree with them. How the hell am I supposed to accept the fact that you’re gone?”
Domenica’s eyes stared at the casket, her muscles releasing the tension they’d built during her outburst, shoulders slumping. Her head hung low, watching the toes of her blue heels kick lightly at the wet grass.
“Part of me still doesn’t fully believe you’re in there. And by part of me I mean just about all of me. I feel like you’re gonna walk up behind me and ask me to go dancing again. Or you’ll ask if we’re going to go to 7-11 and buy more of those disgusting Slurpee’s with all the flavors mixed together. How am I supposed to accept that you’re not? How am I supposed to accept that I brought my best friend to a club and I let you… I…”
Tears slipped down over the red and purple bruise forming over Domenica’s cheek.
There was crunching on the leaves behind her.
“Ma’am, we need to lower the casket down.”
'' Domenica felt a thud against her back and mulch cutting into her fragile skin as Angie tackled her to the ground. A loud laugh escaped her as she tried to roll over and pin Angie back before a teacher could see and separate them.
Angie stood up and pumped their fists in the air, saying they're the world wrestling champion of the universe, which, looking back, didn't make much sense.
Regardless, such was tradition on the playground, as established in the olden days of Kindergarten.
Angie let their body fall to the ground, making a soft //thud// in the mulch before grabbing fistfulls of the weird stuff and throwing it in the air, letting it falls back down like a piercing rain.
"Did you wanna come over Friday?"
Angie looked up from their spot in the mulch hurricane, nearly getting an eye poked out by a piece in the process. "My mom says I have a show Friday night. She said she got me a new dress and everything."
Domenica's lip begins a fake quiver. "But you don't even like doing those dumb shows!"
"Yeah. [[I know.->No]]" '''' "Hey Domenica?"
"Hmm?" Domenica looked up to see her friend laying sprawed across the other half of the bed, head hanging off the foot of it.
"Can I tell you something?" Angie flips back up to a sitting position, long, dirty blond curls falling in their face.
Domenica raises an eyebrow but nods. "Anything."
Angie draws their knees up to their chest. Their nails start tapping incessently against their leg. They chew on their lip, hair still partially covering their face.
"What if I was..."
Domenica reaches over and grabs Angie's hand to top her friend's incessent tapping. "Was what?"
"Remember when you told me you were a lesbian?"
Domenica's cheeks flush red for a moment. That'd only been three months ago, and she still hadn't quite gotten used to the point of accepting it. Well, really she had in a way, but how used to your identity can you really get in middle school?
Her chest feels a new pressure hit it for a moment, like an elephant trying to sit on her.
What if Angie's mom didn't let them hang out? What if they couldn't see each other outside school? For fucks sake, they wouldn't even be old enough to drive for another three years!
//What if Angie didn't want to be friends with her because she's too much of a dyke?//
"I don't think I'm a guy or a girl."
Domenica snaps from her thoughts and looks up at Angie. They don't meet her gaze, opting to look down at their kneecaps instead.
"Well, Ang, that's okay. What do you think you are then?"
Angie's lip starts to look as though it might burst a blood vessel from how hard they're gnawing on it.
"Actually, that's a dumb question. You don't have to know the answer to that yet. You're still Angie, and I'm still gonna kick your ass at Dance Dance Revolution tomorrow."
There's a small giggle from beneath the behemoth of [[blonde hair->No]].<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QIVsmEfRGdk" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
[[Continue.->No]]'' She waited for the beep to tell her her car was locked on the curb before knocking on the door. Readjusting her overnight bag, she leaned back on her heels, glancing into Angie's window. A soft yellow glow peaked through the window.
The door cracked open slightly, Angie's mother peaking around the crack. "What do you want?"
Domenica tried to to lean to the side and get a better look into the home. All she could see was Angie's mother's thin hair up in curlers and that she clearly hadn't finished her makeup, as it wasn't nearly as caked on as normal.
"Uhh, I'm here to see Angie? We planned to hang out tonight?"
"Angie is busy right now, you'll have to leave."
Domenica raised an eyebrow. "Okay, so when will she be free for me to come over."
Clear annoyance crosses Angie's mother's face and she sighs loudly. "We are having a //family// night, thank you very much. Now, if you could please leave?"
"No, I'm here to see my friend, where is she?"
This wasn't right. A chilling shiver ran down Domenica's spine as she felt the tension oozing from the cracked doorway hit her. Angie's mother would get ticked off so easily, cornering Angie off from everyone. She couldn't let that happen again.
"I know she's home, her light is on."
The woman glances back and turns back, slightly more angered. [["You need to leave."->Ashamed]]
<iframe width="0" height="0" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/b_96Okd3FTI?autoplay=1"></iframe>
(css: "color: white;")[
Domenica continued to feel hands and bodies brushing against her sides and arms as her legs carry her to somewhere she's not familiar with. Every brush to her skin feels like a lightning bolt's shock, every sound and sight muffled like she'd been flipped upside-down and had her head dunked in a fish tank. The reds and blues blending into a nauseating purple hue.
She didn't remember drinking, she didn't even like drinking to begin with.
She felt people trying to grab her, pull her out of the fish bowl, bring her closer to the purple blended hues. Her near-jelly legs tried to pull her away again while her brain tried to put a story back together.
//How did I get..//
]<img src="<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/157149513@N05/47456536782/in/dateposted-public/" title="Binder for Bound"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7845/47456536782_b74b1705e4_b.jpg" width="1024" height="541" alt="Binder for Bound"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>">
''"What do you think?"
"I- uhh, it looks really nice."
Domenica raises an eyebrow, turning from the computer screen to Angie. "What do you mean?"
Angie continues to stare at the screen, face blank and emotionless. "What if it doesn't work?"
"Ang, these things are made to work. There's nothing to worry about. If it doesn't, we just send an angry email and leave a one star review."
A smile tugs at the corner of Angie's lips. They stare at the screen a bit longer. Domenica reaches a hand over and clicks on the orange "Buy Now" button.
"You're not helping yourself by overthinking this. You've wanted this for years, I'm not letting you think yourself out of it."