Chapter 4: Turn My Head

.:: WARNING ::.

THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS SEXUAL VIOLENCE. READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Chapter 4: Turn My Head

The night finally ends for me at just after two. I’m exhausted and ready to pass out. Judging by how many empty sugar jars I had to refill I know I made good tips. I get my money all squared away in the inside pocket of my coat, that way if I get mugged in the way home I won’t be completely without money. Jessica is already gone, having left an hour ago to meet up with Hoyt Fortenberry. She’s been seeing him for more than a year now.

He treats Jessica like a queen and I know she’s completely in love with him. I’m happy for her. She deserves a good guy after all the dickheads she’s dated. I’ve known Jessica since middle school. She’s been my best friend for half my life. Shoddy matchmaking skills aside, I adore her.

“You sure you’re okay getting home, Sookie?” Stan asks me when I come out in my winter gear.

“Yep, I’ll be fine. Goodnight, Stan,” I wave and then go out the front door.

It’s cold outside but that’s nothing new lately. At least it isn’t snowing. My breath fogs ahead of me as I burrow into my scarf a little more. I put on a pair of sweatpants under my uniform and I’ve got a sherpa-lined hoodie on under my down jacket. Comfy Ugg boots are on my feet and there are mittens on my hands, which are tucked into my coat pockets.

The city is all dressed up for the Christmas holiday with the evergreen garland and decorations hanging from the light poles. I wonder how many millions of dollars the city spends on decorating every Christmas. A bank’s digital sign tells me that it’s 2:17 AM and only 28 degrees fahrenheit outside. You’d think I’d be used to the cold by now, but I’m not. I start humming the old Nat King Cole standard ‘When I Fall in Love‘ to keep my mind off of the cold.

I’ve always loved this song. I remember my Gran singing it to me when I was a little girl. There was one time when I got awful sick and I went to her house so she could take care of me. She was up and down with me all night long, doing whatever I needed to get me better. As a child Gran was really the only mom I had. She did what she could and she taught me well when it comes to manners and etiquette.

Because of Gran, I’ve always been popular with my friends’ parents. I was the kid that always said please or thank you and yes sir or yes ma’am. That’s just the way I was raised, and every now and then the southern accent I had as a child comes out. Usually when I’m fired up about something. Jason calls it my Steel Magnolia Complex. I remind him to hush if he doesn’t want to get his tail tore up and he settles down.

I’m about three blocks from the diner when I hear the squeal of tires behind me. I turn to see a sporty little BMW coming toward me with the windows down and what sounds like Van Halen on the radio. I keep walking, wanting no part of whatever is going on in that car. Of course it slows down when it gets close to me and I cringe when I see Bill hanging out the driver’s side window.

What the hell does he want?

“Hey, Sookeh, want a ride?” he offers. I smell marijuana coming out of his car.

“No, I’m fine, thanks.”

“Come on, it’s not safe for a pretty girl like you to be out all alone like this late at night.”

“No, really, I’m okay. My house isn’t too far from here,” I tell him.

I never stop walking and when I reach the next corner I make an unnecessary left turn, thinking I know a way to make a run for it if I need to. A normal person would just leave me alone, but not Bill. He makes a left turn to follow me and he’s driving on the wrong side of the road on a one way street he shouldn’t even be on. Is he high or just plain crazy?

“Come on, Sookie, come party with us. I guarantee you’ll have the greatest night of your life,” Bill says.

“Thanks, but I’m real tired. I just want to go home,” I smile over at him.

Bill looks over at Andre and then says, “Alright, it’s your loss.”

He slams on the gas, making the tires spin on the wet pavement. The car fishtails a little bit and then turns down an alley. I breathe a sigh of relief and then turn around to get back to where I turned left. Unfortunately my feeling of relief is short-lived. When I get to the alley opening a block later the BMW with Bill and Andre in it are idling there. They turn the high beams on, stopping me in my tracks and blinding me.

I hear a car door open and then Bill is standing in front of the car, blocking one of the lights. I lift my hand to shield my eyes from the other. Every single instinct in my body is telling me to run as fast as I can. There is absolutely nothing good that can come from being trapped in an alley with these two freaks.

Two arms come up from behind me and grab me around my shoulders and I scream. A hand covers my mouth and as soon as I start struggling, I bite the hand. I’m so busy fighting the hold that Andre has on me that I stop paying attention to Bill. That is until he grabs ahold of my scarf and slaps me hard. Tears immediately sting my eyes.

“She fucking bit me,” Andre hisses.

“You bit my friend,” Bill shakes his head. He dips down to try and get ahold of my legs, but I start fighting again.

No way on God’s green earth am I going down without a fight; it’s just not in my nature. I keep kicking and manage to get my mittens off so I can pop the top off the hairspray in my pocket. I can’t see behind me but I raise the can and spray in the direction of Andre’s face. He screams and lets me go.

I pay for this, however, with a thunderous backhanded slap from Bill that makes my jaw feel like it’s shifted to the left a little. He’s stronger than he looks, I’ll give him that. There’s a starburst of pain in my face and I drop the only weapon I have. Bill takes advantage of me being off balance and drags me deeper into the alley.

He covers my mouth to muffle my screams and says, “Make one more fucking sound and I will slit your fucking throat.”

My eyes squeeze shut and I taste blood, probably from a split lip. I feel my face swelling up and even though I struggle with Bill, he gets me down on the icy ground. I keep fighting with him, mostly trying to get my knee somewhere near the raisins he calls balls.

But then there’s the shiny, silver blade of a knife flashing in front of me.

“Move one more time and I will cut you,” he threatens.

Andre comes stumbling over and Bill orders him to take hold of my hands. Andre kneels on them, above my head, which is seriously painful. I whimper and quietly plead for Bill to stop what he’s doing as he takes cuts off my scarf and rips open my coat.

“Please, Bill, you don’t have to do this,” I say, but he grabs ahold of my hair and jerks my face close to his.

“Yes, I do, slut. I gave you a chance to let me be nice, but you wanted it rough like the slutty little bitch I know you are,” he says, and rips the name tag off my uniform.

He lets go of my hair and my head smacks the concrete. Bill starts to lower the zipper on my hoodie, and I squeeze my eyes shut again, forcing more tears out of my eyes. He’s straddling my legs, sitting on my thighs, so I can’t kick him off of me.

“Wait until you see these tits, Andre,” Bill says as he pulls down the zipper on the front of my uniform.

“No!” I scream. “No! Stop!”

I pay for my outburst with another vicious slap and when I scream again Bill hits me with something at my temple that makes me woozy and my vision go fuzzy. For a moment everything is out of focus. I hear a loud thud, followed by Bill yelling something. I fight to open my eyes and the last thing I see is a flash of gold high above my head before everything goes dark.

When I come to I’m wrapped in a heavy coat that isn’t mine. I’m on the glider bench on my front porch and I have no idea how I’ve gotten here. My face hurts, my body feels numb from being out in the cold. The sun is coming up and the light hurts my eyes. My head is pounding and I can feel my pulse in my lip.

I look around and see Eric huddled on the steps with his arms drawn into himself. He stops moving and just stares at me like a deer caught in the headlights. I sit up quickly and it flings away the coat that I can only assume is his. My balance is off, making me stumble a little, and my head spins. Between the knocks to the head and the adrenaline roller-coastering my body is experiencing, I’m completely thrown off.

Eric stands up as well and I take a step back. A cold breeze hits my chest and I look down to see my dirty uniform is wide open, leaving what used to be a white lace bra on display. I pull my uniform closed and try to find my voice. Eric steps back from the porch and my eyes well with tears that sting. I want to thank him as my memories start to flood into my consciousness, but I can’t get myself to speak.

He doesn’t take his coat back, he simply backs away until he reaches the sidewalk and then he turns to run. I stand there on the porch. My purse, soiled coat, dirty hoodie and ripped up sweatpants are all piled up there near my feet. I carefully bend down to collect my things and every muscle in my body screams at me. In a daze I find my keys at the bottom of my purse and let myself into the house.

I lock up behind me and make my way up the stairs as quietly as possible. When I get to my room I catch my reflection in the mirror and my hand flies up to muffle the noise that escapes me so I don’t wake anyone. The last thing I need is for my father or Jason to come in and see me like this.

I’m a hot mess. Already I have bruises on my face and neck, and my lip is indeed split and swollen. When I let go of my uniform I see more finger-shaped bruises on my chest from where Bill grabbed me. I’m sure I’ve got more bruises on my back, bottom and hands from being knelt on. Makeup is smeared on my face. My hair is a mess with God knows what in it thanks to the filthy city street I was pinned to.

I let my ruined uniform fall to the floor and then carefully take off my boots. Somehow I managed to skin one of my knees in the struggle. I take off my pantyhose and then my bra and underwear to inspect my body for more injuries and find them in various places. Common sense says I should go to the hospital, but if I do there will be a police report and the police will just say I had it coming for being out so late by myself.

You know, since it would be wrong to blame a rapist instead of the victim.

I grab my robe off the back of my bedroom door and slip into it. I put all of my ruined clothes in my bedroom closet to take out of the house later when no one else is home. In the bathroom I start the water for a shower and brush my teeth carefully to get the coppery taste of blood out of my mouth.

It isn’t until I’m in the shower that I finally let the dam break and I lean against the wall while I sob. No matter how hot the water is, or how hard I scrub, I’m convinced I’ll never again feel clean.

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