I must have dozed off after Mark and I fucked. All I know is that when I woke up, he wasn't
there. Of course, that fact didn't even register until I looked for the source of the breeze that
danced across my naked skin, blowing my hair, short and blond, around my face. That's when i
relized that I was alone in his bedroom. Probably alone in the house too, since his parents were
out of town, and I couldn't think of anywhere else Mark would be. Then I saw the note he'd left
lying on the pillow next to me: "Les, went to get pizza and smokes. Maybe get some beer too.
Love ya. Mark."
I smiled at the thought of Mark buying beer at the liquor store, next to Domino's Pizza on the corner three blocks away. Hell, he wasn't even supposed to be able to buy cigarettes, since he's only 16. But the clerks at the liquor store never carded anyone, not even me. They especially didn't card anyone who looked like they could have been 21, which Mark did. He was tall and broad, the epitome of "tall, dark, and handsome," and definitely looked older than he was. But the clerks didn't card anyone at all anyway. I remember once, a bunch of us, my boyfriend Mark, his best friend Aaron...I forget who else, celebrated my first purchase of beer and cigarettes, two days after my 12th birthday. Those clerks were just too worried about making a buck, I guess. They didn't care about the law. And if they got busted, so what? They'd just put up a couple of signs saying "No ID, No way" and keep right on selling to anyone who has the money.
Speaking of money, I had to get some from Mark when he got back. I needed some enw makeup since I was working that weekend. Mark didn't like it when I didn't wear makeup to work; he said the johns didn't like it, and we had to keep them happy. I figured that as long as they got to fuck, they were happy. But Mark said they like makeup. So I needed to get some. Sometimes I wished Mark paid me in money, instead of coke. But then, he could get the coke easier than I could. And he didn't have to hide it form his parents, since they didn't care what he did, and were never there anyway.
My parents, on the other hand, boy were they strict! I mean, they got on my back for everything. Grades, clothes, friends, chores, you name it and they bitched about it. They drove me nuts. They'd have totally flipped out if they knew about what I did in my free time. I kept telling them that I was studying there at Mark's. They didn't like it, but they believed me. Somehow, they always believed me. They didn't know that half the time they thought I was asleep, I was out tricking. Or that the other half the time, I was either high or stoned. And if I kept up the lies and the acting, they'd never know. And I liked it that way. I got up off of Mark's bed and walked over to the full-length mirror on the back of his door. I wanted to make sure he hadn't accidentally given me any hickeys or bruises while we fucked. While I was looking myself over, I took a mental inventory of what I saw: chin-length blond hair, the color of the mid-summer sun; blue-gray eyes, which Mark said were my second best feature; a firm, well-muscled, tan body, along with the requisite medium-large tits, my best feature, according to Mark; legs that were a little too big and a little too short, making me feel bottom-heavy. Mark didn't leave any bruises or anything on me, and I decided to lay back down until he came home. Before I could get to the bed, the phone rang.
"Hey sweet thang." Mark's voice was a bit rougher than normal, but I was glad to hear it.
"Hi Markie. What's up?"
"Just talked to Aaron. You mind if he comes by for a while?"
"Nah. I don't care. Think I should put something on before he gets here?"
"You still naked?" I could almost hear him smiling.
"Nah, don't bother. Didn't you trick him just a week or two ago?"
"Yeah, and he sucked. Hard."
"Where? Tits? Ass?"
"Not that kind of sucked, hon. The other kind of sucked. As in, he was a lousy lay."
"Oh, I get it. Sorry. He gave me some Aculpolco gold. You know, the good shit. So I'm kinda out of it."
"S'ok. I understand. He have anything else, in case he wants to fuck me again?"
"Yeah, he's got some coke too. But you know how he is. Wants it all to himself. Doesn't want to pay. You know."
"If he wants me, he's got to pay for me, Mark. You know you're the only one I fuck for nothing."
"And it better stay that way. I'll see you in a little while. Love you Les."
"Love you too, hon."
I crawled back into Mark's double bed and snuggled down under the off-white sheet, bringing it up to just below my tits, cuddling up with my Pound Puppy, Herman. My little sister had given Herman to me for my birthday, and I took him with me just about everywhere I went, especially when I went to Mark's house. Herman was the security blanket for the Linus in me. I think I dozed off again, because when I woke up, Aaron was there, and I knew he hadn't been there before. He was looking at me like I was a filet mignon that he wanted to devour; I could almost see him drooling at the thought of laying me again.
"Hey, Les. How's tricks?"
"You oughta know, Aar."
"Yeah, why's that?"
"'Cause you're one of the tricks."
"Good point. How'd you like to play the same trick again?"
"Only if you got a treat for me too." He looked really pissed off when I said that. I just hoped he wouldn't do anything stupid. After all, I was his best friend's girl, and Mark would be there in a little while.
"C'mon, Les. I don't have anything I can give you right now. I'm fresh out of everything. Candy man won't be back from Detroit for another week, and that's if everything goes ok for him up there. I swear, I'll give you some prime coke as soon as I get some."
"Go to hell."
"You heard me. Go to hell. I talked to Mark on the phone a few minutes ago. He told me you gave him some Aculpolco gold, and that you had some coke too. He said that if you wanted to fuck me, that you had the coke to do it with. And you know damned well I don't fuck for free. If you wannt play, you gotta pay. Mark's rule. And one I wouldn't be inclined to break."
"Goddammit, Leslie, I just gotta cum or my brain's gonna explode."
"Goddammit, Aaron, that's why you have a hand." I was mocking him to make him see how ridiculous he sounded when he was high. He could never keep his thoughts straight.
"Yeah, well, I'm sure you could find a better use for my hand than I ever could."
"I know damned well I can find a better use for it than you can. But I won't. Not unless you 'fess up to having that coke and give me enough to cover me til candy man comes back."
He tried changing his tone, hoping that I might feel sorry for him. "C'mon Les. Call it a mercy fuck if you want. I mean, most of the guys, they've got girls. I'm the only one who doesn't. You know that."
"Yeah, and I also know that you can go to the city and find a nice fag who'll give you all the mercy fucks you want. Free."
Aaron lunged to the bed and grabbed my shoulder. "Don't you ever suggest I suck cock, you little cum-guzzling bitch. Ever."
"Don't threaten me, Aaron. You know what Mark does to people who threaten his girls. Especialy his special girl: me."
"Yeah, but Mark isn't here to take care of his 'special girl,' now, is he? So I guess I'll just have to 'take care' of you for him."
I was starting to get scared - very scared. I'd seen Aaron beat a 'walker whom he'd pissed off. She tried to leave after a blowjob, but he wanted more - without paying for it. He pulled his blade, six inches and razor sharp, and threatened her. She tried to duck and run, which was a big mistake. After he finished with her, she was barely recognizable. So I had good reason to be frightened. But I thought that if I showed I was afraid, he'd be merciless; I thought he'd kill me.
"Thanks, but no thanks, Aaron. I'm quite well taken-care of. And if I ever do need help like that, trust me, I won't call you."
"You know, Les, I don't think you are wel taken-care of. If you were, you wouldn't be lying here naked when anyone can walk in. You're just lying there, waiting for someone to come along and fuck your brains out. And I'm just the guy to do it."
"If you touch me, so help me, I'll rip your cock off and shove it down your throat so you choke on it."
"Big mistake, babe." He pulled his blade out of his back pocketand flucked it open. It was as long, and as sharp, and as frightening as it was when he used it on that 'walker. He knew damned well how scared I was of blades, especialy when they were in his hands. I just hoped I'd be able to keep acting like I wasn't afraid until Mark got home. "You don't want to threaten me, Les. If you think you want to try again, I'll use this. On your tits. Your ass. Your cunt. I'll carve out your nipples and clit, and I'll string them and wear them on a necklace. And if you scream for help, I'll cut out your tongue and add it to my necklace. And if you tell anyone about this, anyone at all, I'll find you. And I'll kill you. Got it?"
All I could do was lay there, staring up at him. I was almost paralyzed with the fear.
"Have you got it, you cock-teasing piece of shit?"
I nodded, and I could barely mutter, "Please, Aaron, don't hurt me, please don't hurt me, please, please, Aaron, don't, don't hurt me."
He stroked my cheek like Mark did when we fucked, and took off his shorts and underwear with his other hand, the one that held the knife. "Hurt you? Shame on you Les. You oughta know better than to think I'm going to hurt my best friend's girl. I'm just going to give you what you deserve."
When he said that, I knew...I knew that he wasn't going to tear my face up with his blade, he wasn't going to beat me. No, that wasn't what he wanted to do, because then Mark would know. And he didn't want Mark to know. I was still paralyzed. I just lay there whispering, "No, Aaron, please, no, oh God, no..."
"God isn't there for whorse like you."
Through tears, I could see Aaron clamber onto the bed and spread my legs. I didn't dare resist. I couldn't resist. I was petrified.
The next twenty? thirty? forty-five? minutes were a blur. His hands on my shoulders. The knife tickling my left ear. His shoulders pressing my legs up and up. And pounding, pounding, pounding. Always pounding.
After an indeterminable amount of time, Aaron rolled off of me, tired, and curled up next to me to cuddle. He slid one hand under my neck and around my shoulder. The hand holding the knife, he rested on my thigh.
I couldn't believe he wanted to cuddle after what he'd just done. It didn't seem real to me. I was shaking violently, and tears were coursing down my cheeks and into my ears. I hoped and prayed he wouldn't notice my shaking.
Aaron noticed my trembling, though, and hugged me close to him, making the soothing noises that daddies make when their little girls are frightened. I wished like hell it was my daddy holding me close, telling me it would be okay. But at that moment, I knew that I'd never be able to tell my daddy. It would kill him.
"Sssssssshhhhhhhh, Leslie, it's okay. It's okay, sweetie, you're fine..."
"Please, Aaron, don't...don't touch...please..."
"Leslie, hon, look at me."
I turned my head to look at him, and my tears ran more freely down to the pillow. Aaron continued in the same paternal tone. "Leslie, I want you to do something for me. I want you to forget all about what happened tonight. can you do that for me? That's a good girl. Wait. One thing you need to remember: remember what will happen if you tell anyone, anyone at all. Do you believe I'll kill you? Good girl. Just in case you might be tempted to tell someone, let me give you a little reminder."
I kept staring at him, mute and unmoving, wondering what he was going to do to me now. Aaron quickly brought his knife up and slit the undersid of both of my breasts.
"Leslie? Hey, Leslie?" He snapped his fingers in front of my eyes, which I only rolled to look at him. I couldn't move anything else. I was numb with shock, pain, and fear. "That's better. I'm going to leave now, before Mark gets back. Remember, hon. Remember."
He covered me with the sheet, kissed me on the forehead, and left.
I was still lying like that, my eyes unmoving, just staring at the place Aaron had just left, my blood soaking the once-white sheet, when Mark came in.
I told him.
"I'll kill that mother fucker!"
I was walking home from the YMCA two weeks or so later when I heard footsteps behind me. I thought it was Mark, since he'd offered to walk me home. I wanted to be alone for a while, thought, so he said he'd follow me, ot make sure nothing happened. Then I felt a knife pressing between my shoulder blades.
I tried to keep my voice from trembling, mostly unsuccessfully. "Aaron, what do you want?"
"I want to know who the fuck you think you are, ignoring my warning."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"The hell you don't," he said, jerking me around to face him. "You told Mark about our little 'encounter.' Wasn't I convincing enough? Didn't this," he brandished his blade, "under your tits convince you to keep your fucking mouth shut?"
"Aaron, the sheets were red and dripping, I bled so much. The sheets on his bed. In his house. Don't you think he'd have figured out something had happened? I couldn't very well have not told him."
"You could have made something up, you silly little bitch. Suicide, a new way to do coke, something."
"I don't lie."
"No, you just fuck and snort. And when someone wants to fuck for free, you turn into a cock-teaser."
"I may be a cock-teaser, Aaron. But you're a rapist."
He backhanded me so hard I fell sideways into a fence. "Don't you ever say that! You liked it! You were hot and wet! You were asking for it, lying there naked like that!"
Where was Mark? He should have caught up to me by then. I was worried, but I knew that Aaron was so stoned he wouldn't be able to do much. I hoped. "Oh, yeah, sure. I just spread my legs and said, 'Aaron, come here and rape the shit out of me. And then, just for shits and giggles, why don't you slice the fuck out of my tits.' I still can't wear a goddamned bra, or else the scabs pop open and bleed again."
"Bitch, you better just take that back. Or else."
"Or else what, Aaron? I'll tell you what, you take back what you did to me, all of it, and I"ll think about it. How about it?"
"No." He reached behind his back and pulled out a .38 Special revolver, which he pressed against my forehead. "I don't think I want to take anything back. I think I just want to put you out of my misery. How about that, huh Leslie? How about that, you cheap, trashy little whore?"
I started to really freak out. No one had ever held a gun on me before. I'd never even seen a gun up close, except for Mark's, and he only showed it to me once. He said he showed it to me to let me know he was safe. "Aaron, what the fuck are you doing, man? It's me. Leslie. Mark's girl. Your best friend's girl. Are you going to kill me? Huh? That's real smart. I'll never tell anyyone else, ok? Never. I swear on my father's name. But you can't hide a dead body. You'll get the chair. Then you'll be dead too."
Then the gun roared.
It was the last thing I remembered.
I came to a few minutes later, lying on the ground, with Mark holding my head in his lap. He was saying, "Oh God don't be dead, please, Les, don't be dead..."
I said something like, "What happened?"
"You're not dead?"
"I don't think so. What happened?"
"I didn't catch up with you soon enough, I wasn't fast enough, God, I thought he shot you."
"Apparently, he didn't."
"I shot him, but I didn't think I did it soon enough. We've got to get out of here, Les. The cops are gonna be here soon, and I sure as fuck don't want to be here when they get here. I'll put my gun in his hand, make it look like he shot himself. I'll take his gun and get rid of it somewhere. Then we'll go home. Okay? We'll go home and forget."
"I have to throw up."
I threw up in the bushes, with Mark holding my hair out of my face.
Mark walked me home, and I cried myself to sleep. The next night, I was back at his house, in his bedroom. He just held me and talked to me for hours, trying to calm me down. It was getting late, and I was getting tired.
"Les," Mark said, "I want to talk to you about something really important."
"Okay, hon, what is it?"
"I think you oughta quit. Everything. The drugs, the sex, all of it. It jsut isn't safe any more. You know what I mean?"
"Oh, yeah, sure, I'm supposed to quit everything, just like that. You know what junkies like me go through with withdrawal. You know I like getting high. I like getting stoned. I like fucking. I love fucking. And you want me to quit? Just like that? I mean, you even got me in to all of this. And all of a sudden, you're changing your mind? That's fucked up hon."
"Les, listen to me. What Aaron did...he wouldn't have done that if you hadn't have tricked him a few weeks ago."
"So it's my fault, huh? Mark, you wanted me to trick him. Remember? I needed the coke, and he needed to get laid. It was your idea. Remember?"
"Yeah, I know it was my idea. And I'm not saying it's your fault. I'm just saying it wouldn't have happened. That's all. And it wouldn't have happened if he hadn't have been higher than a satellite, either. That's all I'm saying, hon. Right now, you're a good strawberry. But if you don't get out, I just think that real soon, you'll be a dead one. And I don't want to see that happen. That's all."
I sighed. "I guess you're right, babe. I just don't know how I'm going to do it. But if you think it's right, then I'll do it. For you."
I felt better. Mark and I fucked again.
The next night, I was at Mark's again, in his bedroom as usual. He was holding me, and we started talking again about quitting everything.
"Are you going to quit too?"
"Me? Why would I quit?"
"Well, for the same reasons you gave me last night. It's too dangerous. What if Aaron had come after you? What if someone else comes after you? I mean, what if someone gits pissed off that you're pimping and decided to take you out? You're a good pimp, but if yo'ure not careful, you could be a dead pimp."
"Les, listen to me. I'm not quitting. Not for me. Not for you. Not for anything or anyone. Never. I'm having too damned much fun with the drugs and sex to quit."
"But you could--"
He cut me off. "No. Nothing's going to happen to me. Look at me, Les. I'm 16 years old. And you want me to be scared for my life. Nuh-uh. No. Won't happen."
"No." He jumped off the bed and began pacing. "I'm making money. I'm high all the time. I fuck whomever I want, whenever I want. I'm having fun, goddammit. And I'm not going to stop for anything. You hear me?"
This time, he cut me off, not with words, but with his fist. I didn't see it coming in time to duck. He hit me square on my nose, breaking it.
I ran out of his room, out of his house, in tears.
"Les! Come back!"
I kept running. The next day, I ran even further. I went with my family on vacation, to my grandparents' house in Virginia. I was gone for two weeks.
While I was on vacation, the cops investigated Aaron's death. They ruled it suicide, and closed the case. Mark was never checked out.
By the time I got home, I was ready to apologize to Mark for pissing him off. I just wanted him to hold me and tell me everything was okay. The first thing I did after I unpacked was to call his house, to talk to him. His mom, Lynne, answered the phone on the third ring.
"Hi, Lynne. It's Leslie. Is Mark there?"
"He's dead you bitch." Click. She'd hung up on me.
I called several friends to find out what had happened. Two days after I left, Mark od'ed on crack. I sought out his grave, and foundit ironic that he was buried next to Aaron. The cops had ruled Mark's death accidental, and since he and Aar had been best friends, his parents decided it was fitting to bury Mark next to Aaron. I lay down on his grave and cride. I promised him I'd quit. Everything. For him.
The next three years were the hardest years of my life. I'd quit snorting coke, only to increase my pot smoking. I'd cut down on smoking pot, and then up the amount of fucking. I'd lay off the fucking, and find myself doing speedbals, which I'd rarely done before. I gave up several times. Then I'd go visit Mark, and I'd try again.
After a year or so, I quit doing coke altogether. I went to see Mark, to tell him the good news. I could tell he was proud of me; I could jsut feel it. The next year, I finally laid off the speedballs and quit smoking pot. I journeyed to Mark's grave to tell him then, too. He rejoiced. Finally, after three years, I quit fucking for a living, if you could call that a living. I went to see Mark one last time. He didn't say anything then. Didn't congratulate me. Didn't celebrate with me. Nothing. I knew that chapter of my life was over.
I was raped again, my sophomore year of high school. I'd gone to a flute symposium at the U of Toledo, met a guy, and decided to have sex with him. Halfway up to his room, I changed my mind. Unfortunately, he didn't change his. The dorm monitor, Craig, saw the way Bruce, my new paramour, dragged me up the stairs to his room, and decided to call up there a half an hour later. Too late to save my sanity, but soon enough, perhaps, to save my life. Craig wasn't content with kicking Bruce out of the dorm, so he called the cops to see about arresting him. The female cop who interviewed me was very understanding and compassionate. To my face, anyway. I found out the next morning that she'd called the heads of the symposium and told them what happened. They, in turn, called my flute teacher, Allison, who was there as well. The heads, in all their infinite wisdom, decided that it had been my fault, and conveyed their disapproval to Allison. Allison drove me home the next day, and insisted on talking to my parents, telling them what had happened. I'd told her that the cop explained to me that I was raped, and that's what she told my parents: "Leslie was raped two nights ago."
Momma and Daddy were instantly in tears, holding me, and promising me that they'd see "that slimeball" brought to justice. They took me to the emergency room to be checked out; it was my first gynecological exam, and I was scared out of my wits.
The next day, Daddy took me to the police station. The Toledo cops had already contacted them and sent them a copy of their report. I had to sit in the waiting area while Daddy went in with a cop. Twenty minutes later, Daddy came out, a look of indescribable pain on his face, and said, "Let's go." We went home, and I went to my room to fall asleep. Daddy went to the kitchen to talk to Momma. A few hours later, they came to my room to talk to me.
"How could you do this to us?" my mother asked.
"You embarrassed me in front of the police department," Daddy added.
"But the policewoman I talked to said it was rape," I answered them. I was hurt and confused at their reaction. They were supposed to be on my side, weren't they?
"But you wanted to have sex with him. How could you let yourself get into a situation like that?"
How could you let yourself get into a situation like that?
How could you let yourself get into a situation like that?
That one unanswered question haunted me; I have listened to my mother ask it for over 20 years.
I'll never forgive my mother for asking me that question. It has echoed in my mind for years, and I don't think I'll ever stop hearing it.
Things eventually got back to normal between my parents and I, as normal as they'd ever been, in any case. They decided that part of the "problems" that they were having with me was the influence of my friends at school' the appropriate solution was, of course, to transfer me to the parochial school in town.
My classmates at St. Mark's hated me, and the only reason I could figure out was that I'd had the audacity to attend the public schools before transferring to "their" school. Somehow, though, I managed to survive, and I graduated in the top third of my class with a 3.6 GPA. I went to Baldwin-Wallace Colege, near Cleveland, on an academic scholarship, and I never looked back.
I'm married now, and I have a daughter of my own. Kristiana Maria. She's 12 this year. I've already talked to her about drugs, about sex, about everything that interrupted my childhood, and she promises not to follow in my footsteps. SHe doesn't even have a boyfriend yet, and her father and I are very glad.
I still think about all those years from time to time. part of me misses Aaron. After all, he was Mark's best friend. I've even forgiven him for that night so long ago. Part of me really misses Mark too. True, he got me involved in the ever-popular sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but he was good to me. He paid attention to me. He loved me, and I love him. But Kristiana's father is a better man than Mark ever could have hoped to become.
Her father's name is Adam. I've told him everything, all my hopes, fears, nightmares, dreams, everything. I was shaking when I told him about Mark and Aaron, about Bruce and my parents, and I hoped he wouldn't notice. I was trying to be strong.
Adam noticed my trembling, though, and hugged me close to him, making the soothing noises that daddies make when their little girls are frightened. I wished like hell it was my daddy holding me close, telling me it would be okay. But I knew my daddy wasn't on my side. I knew my daddy would never have held me close or told me it was okay. I knew that my daddy abandoned me when I needed him the most.
"Sssssshhhhh, Leslie, it's okay. It's okay, sweetie, you're fine..."
"No, baby. Aaron's dead. Mark's dead. Bruce should be dead. Your parents are far away. It's all over now. It's okay, sweetie. You're fine."
He held me like that until I fell asleep, curled up in his strong arms, my head resting on his chest, my arms around his cute little potbelly. Herman the Pound Puppy watched over us from the shelf above our bed. After all, grown-ups sometimes need security blankets too. Good night, Charlie Brown.
The Final Chapter