Crystal Clear Ch. 32byRomantic1©
This chapter will not make sense without having read the prior two or three chapters. This chapter also ends the Crystal Clear series.
Crystal Clear is a continuation of my Road Trip series (see the end of 'Road Trip – California' for a list of the chapters of that series, in order to be read). You need not read that series to enjoy this one. Earlier chapters contain a synopsis of the story to that point.
Although real places and celebrity names are occasionally used for realism, this story is fiction. Please 'read, enjoy, vote, and comment.'
Crystal clear again
Not surprisingly, I found a few residual women in my bed on Tuesday morning, and we made love again. After that, we all showered, having some sexual play in our shower room, dressed, and then had a light breakfast.
I felt like a kid waiting for Santa Claus to arrive, just knowing I would get my favorite and most wished for present later that day – Crystal!
The clock slowed to a crawl. I kept looking at it, trying to see how fast 5:30 p.m. would arrive. It wasn't coming fast at all. Occasionally, I looked at the clock three times in one minute. At my insistence, Ellen called and verified that the flights from Arizona were running on time.
About noon, Ellen pushed me out the door in my running togs and told me not to come back until I had run for an hour. I followed her advice, and did feel better and more relaxed when I got back to the house – for about fifteen minutes.
I felt even better and more relaxed when Ellen joined me in the shower, and with minimal cajoling got me to make love to her on our special settee in the middle of the shower room. When we were through and had dried off, we lay in our bed with our nude bodies embracing each other.
Ellen said softly, "I'm glad she's coming back. She's the only way we'll ever heal. I love her. You love her. We love each other. It's a time for forgiveness."
After a minute, I said, "I agree. Things will be different, and we'll have to take them one day at a time, but it's time to move on, to get all this stuff behind us – Crystal and all of us."
Ellen said, "You know, I love you more than anyone else in the world ... maybe even more than my sister. I have ever since I met you, and I've told you this – I've told Crystal so it's no secret. But, I know that the thing that will make you happiest and complete is to have Crystal back in our lives. I want you to know that I don't feel I 'have' to share you – I 'want' to share you with her, because she's where so much of 'our' joy comes from. Tonight, if it seems right, please bring her here, and make love to her; she'll need this kind of acceptance, forgiveness, and validation, and so will you."
Based on the tough questions Lauren had thrown at us, I'd struggled with the lovemaking aspect of Crystal's return. I knew that part of me would want to plunder her body the instant she emerged from the limousine; while another part would want to wait some long period of time until we both exploded into each other's arms again after many days and hours of deep and soul-bearing discussions. Still another part of me wanted to punish her, but I'd put most of that behind me. Ellen's words helped put things in perspective and adjusted my priorities. We'd have to see what Crystal was like when she got to the house; maybe she wouldn't want any physical contact with us.
Ellen knew I loved her – truly, deeply, madly. She knew she wasn't a 'second' – she was one of the 'firsts' in my life. I kissed Ellen and just whispered my love to her.
We dressed and joined the others out in the kitchen. Not an eyebrow went up about our long absence and obvious lovemaking time together; such was the behavior of our group. What had transpired was normal for our lifestyle.
The rest of our guests started to arrive around 4:00 p.m.
Nadia, Claire, Ellen, and Cindy had prepared a light buffet dinner for everyone, figuring that we'd want to 'empty out' in anticipation of the 'Big Bird' on Wednesday – our Thanksgiving turkey. Ellen also noted that most of us were so nervous we had little appetite. We broke out some nice wine, but everybody stayed a little subdued awaiting the 'Big Event' – Crystal's arrival. Fortunately, there was an exciting high school football game on the television, and that proved to be a convenient diversion for everyone to gather and talk about.
Shortly after four p.m., Ellen used her iPhone to verify that Crystal's flight had landed.
A little after five o'clock, I went out the front door and sat on the front millstone steps of our large home. One by one the others came out and sat with me until everyone in the house was outside. Ellen stood, walked into the driveway, and looked back at us all.
Ellen put her hands on her hips and announced to everyone, "This is too much ... you're all too intimidating. I would be scared shitless to get out of the limousine with all of you sitting looking at me. There should only be ONE person out here when Crystal's car arrives and that's Jim. Come on, the rest of us should go inside." Ellen led everyone except me back into the house. As she went by, I grabbed her hand and kissed it to signal my thanks for her clear thinking. I'd tell Crystal who was at the house and give her the opportunity to run away if she wanted to. If I were lucky, maybe she'd let me come with her.
I wanted to be calm, rational, forgiving, and welcoming when Crystal arrived. I wasn't at all sure what she wanted to have happen over the long weekend, other than to 'interact' with all of us – to talk to all of us. I ran through the questions Lauren had led me through, at least those I could remember. Every second that went by I felt I was forgetting something crucial.
I realized I was approaching Crystal's arrival all with my left brain – analytically, ordered, lists, key words to remember, sentences to say. The closer to 5:30 p.m. my right brain started to erupt – the emotional side, with uncertainty, anxiety, love, anguish, worry, and general angst.
And then at 5:20 p.m., I saw the long black car turn into the driveway. The windows were so tinted I couldn't see into the car except through the windshield, and it wasn't the driver I wanted to see. I remained seated until the car came to a stop twenty feet in front of me, and then I stood.
The uniformed driver got out and quickly moved around the car, to the passenger door opposite me. He pulled the door open, and I stepped forward a few feet.
Crystal emerged from inside, and our eyes locked on each other instantly. I felt another surge of emotions race through my body at seeing her again: forgiveness, anger, doubt, confidence, and that angst. I'm sure she could read every one of them. I could only guess that she felt all of them too, and probably much worse than I did.
I held my arms out to her.
Crystal's face suddenly scrunched up as she briefly bit her lower lip, she took a couple of irregular gasps for air, and then rushed into my arms as she started sobbing. Crystal's tears instantly triggered my own identical reaction. The chauffeur stepped back away from us with a surprised look on his face as our sobs broke out; he went and busied himself with a suitcase from the trunk of his car, and the few items Crystal had left on the back seat – her purse and a magazine. He carefully stacked them next to the front door, walking around us in the process. The chauffeur bid us good evening, got in the car, and drove away.
The two of us held each other tightly as we cried. Occasionally, we'd pull apart to look at each other's face, but that would only trigger another round of tears and sobs. I kissed her often around her face and hair. After several minutes of our tearful greeting, I laughed through my tears and croaked out, "If we keep doing this, we'll never get inside all weekend and we'll flood the front yard." I guess the words were enough to break the ice. Crystal gave me a wan smile and struggled to get ahold of her emotions.
Crystal sat next to me on the front stairs, her body tight against mine as I put my arm around her in a robust hug of acceptance and forgiveness.
I said, "As you can probably tell from the other cars in the driveway and the turnaround, we have a lot of company inside. Ellen made them all go inside except for me – I'm your welcoming committee at this point. If it's too much, I can wave them away, and we can just sit here or in the back yard until they're gone – well, except for Ellen, Claire, Nadia, and maybe PJ."
Crystal shook her head against me in the negative. "No, I want to see everybody. I'm not proud of what I did – and you may not know the half of it, but I have to face the music; that's what my doctor said I had to do. The longer I postpone this ... even the deep discussions you and I need to have ... the more my depression will last. I hate to sound like I'm using you all to get over a problem I started, but I'm guessing all your heads haven't exactly been in a happy state since I left either."
"We haven't," I volunteered. "We all wish you'd stayed. We could have worked it out."
Crystal pulled away and looked me in the eye, "You don't know how far down the rabbit hole I'd fallen. When I left, I realized I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror I felt such self-loathing."
Crystal reached into the pocket of her jacket and passed a business card to me that read, 'Nashville Limousine, available 24/7,' and there were a couple of 800 numbers. She said, "I want you to hold that and listen to me. Maybe you want to hold off the others for a half hour or more, but I have to talk to you first – and maybe you only if you think what I have to tell you is so bad that I should leave ... and I will go if you say the word. I'll understand. Maybe you don't want to hear – I guess I should give you that option. Just call the limo service and they'll come back and pick me up right away."
I stood and said, "I want to hear everything you want to share. Let me tell the others it'll be a while. Do you want to go to the back patio of just sit out here?"
"Sit out here, please. Just so long as I can sit next to you – close to you like this."
I went inside to the living room where the others were sitting. I explained that we were about to start a major conversation and needed some alone time for maybe an hour, and then we'd come inside. Everybody understood given the circumstances.
Ellen gave me a tearful look and whispered to me as I turned and walked past her to go back outside; she hugged me and sobbed into my shoulder, "Don't lose her, Jim. Please don't lose her."
I nodded my understanding but steeled myself at what I was about to hear. I couldn't imagine what else she could tell me that we didn't already know or speculate about with some certainty. Maybe all she would tell us would be about frequency or intensity of how things had been, but maybe there was more.
I went back to the front steps and sat beside Crystal. This time I didn't put my arm around her; I sensed that she didn't want that at this instant. I looked expectantly at her, hoping she didn't have something so bad that I'd reject her – a point I couldn't even envision.
Crystal put her face in her hands and when she looked up her face was again streaked with tears. She started in a halting voice that I could barely hear; "I was already in a bad way before that last night when you brought me back here drunk, with a DUI, ... and drugged up – that night just topped off something that had started months earlier."
We knew that she'd been deep into drugs before she left. We'd found her stash of pot, ecstasy, and cocaine after she'd left, and I extrapolated that her behavior on that Friday night hadn't been untypical of past months. I hated it, but I'd come to accept it.
Crystal said in a worried tone, "I got into drugs about six months before I left. Someone told me where to score some pot, and God only know why I wanted to try it again, but I did. I'd only tried it a couple of times before when I'd been in high school, and thought it would be fun to give it a couple more shots. I went to a bar that looked like a hangout for people who would have some grass, found a contact, and bought some stuff. Fortunately, none of the guys recognized me – I'd dressed down, even changing into grubby clothes in the car before I went in the bar; I was just some chick that wanted to score some weed. I guess they trusted me because they didn't hassle me or anything – just cash, and here you go. For weeks that followed, when you and the others were gone, I'd light up outside and enjoy the buzz – a couple of times a week, and then every day, and then, well too often. I went down into the woods if you were around. I liked the buzz – too much. I even took some to Europe as you know."
I nodded to encourage her to go on, as well as to signal to her that I'd figured most of this out for myself.
Crystal continued, "When we got back from Europe, I went back for more. There was a larger group of people there; some guys and a couple of women. My 'source' sold me a bag and asked me whether I wanted to try some ecstasy. I hesitated, but the girl I was sitting next to leaned over and whispered to me how great the sex was after popping an ecstasy. She even volunteered her boyfriend and her to turn me on if I was interested. At that instant I wasn't, but I took a pill and sat around with the group for a while having a beer."
My stomach ached because I could guess where Crystal's story was headed.
Crystal's eyes started tearing again, and she snuffled. "The boyfriend, a guy named Vern and the girl – Debbie, started to touch me a lot. Anyway, as the glow from the ecstasy warmed me up, I got really horny, and I started to return the favors. Next I knew, we went into a backroom at the bar they seemed to know about and had sex; another guy joined us too. They had old mattresses on the floor. I couldn't get enough of anybody; I couldn't give enough either." Crystal couldn't look at me as she talked; she sort of talked to the ground about five feet in front of her.
I shook my head.
"After we wore the guys out, I found out when they hung out at that bar a lot, and said I'd try to hook up with them occasionally. 'Occasionally' for a month or two later became twice a week, maybe more, plus sometimes even over a lunch hour. I started to want ecstasy every time it looked as though I'd be having sex – with them, with you, with anybody. I kept telling myself that I didn't have a habit, but I did."
Crystal sobbed loudly. "After that, the ecstasy became snorting cocaine for an even larger buzz – and sometimes taking both at once." She looked at me through eyes fogged by tears. "The sex got more and more intensive, and started to involve a few more of my new 'friends.' We got wild – more guys, more cocks. There were more girls involved too."
"I was well into all this by the time we held Nadia's graduation party – the night she got engaged. I'd taken an ecstasy and did cocaine that night as you know, and that was when I got you and three others to fuck the daylights out of me. That had already happened before with some of the guys in this other crowd, and I loved it. I craved it. I didn't understand it, but ... I just had to have wild sex ... gang bangs ... group ... anything that gave me lots of orgasms that I could savor under the influence of the drugs."
I hated to hear her admission, but Ellen, Claire, and I had deduced that something like this must have happened. I whispered, "Go on."
Crystal tried to read my face for a few seconds, but I had my poker face on ... except for the tears running down my cheeks.
Crystal said, "Normally, I didn't drink that much when we were doing the pills and sex, but that Friday night I did many foolish things. For one, prior to that night I'd always insisted the guys wore condoms, but that night I got shitfaced – very unusual; the guys were feeding me liquor faster than I could drink it. When the buzz from the drugs took hold, plus the booze, I told the guys I wanted to be covered in their cum inside and out. I wasn't thinking, and neither were the other girls who were in the same state I was. We started early, so everyone was drunk and fucked out by ten that night. For some stupid reason, I just pulled my clothes on over me – over my dripping body, I staggered out to my car and no one stopped me, and I started to drive home. I didn't get very far before I got pulled over. You know what happened after that: I got stopped for DUI, passed out, and my sordid night exposed as you and the others got me ready for bed. I'd never even thought about what would happen when I got home. Maybe I got saved in some small way because of what happened that night. "
Crystal paused and looked at me with a look of hope. She sobbed, "When I came out of that drunken and drugged fog the next morning I realized I'd sunk really low – lower than I'd ever been in my life, and so low that I hated myself. I'd let at least a dozen guys fuck me as I did every other act I could imagine with the guys and girls in the group. I finally felt deeply ashamed about what I'd done. I realized I'd been defiling a trust you put in me – you, Ellen, Claire, and all the others."
Tears were rolling down Crystal's cheeks as she continued, "I couldn't stay. I had to get far away from the drugs, and the sex, and that bar, and you and the people I'd so violated. I had to figure out why I even 'started' to do what I did. I'd been telling myself it was 'fun' and 'temporary,' but I realized something else was going on in my head – somethings I didn't understand and somethings that were ... slowly killing me, and I don't mean the drugs although they could have done that too. I knew there was something deeper, and I had to figure out what it was. I knew you wanted me to stay, but I couldn't do that with you or the others – not even with my parents. I had to do it on my own."
I whispered, "Did you? Did you figure it out?"
Crystal dropped her face into her hands and said in a muffled voice, "Yes, I think so, but you may not like it."
Crystal paused and then spoke slowly and deliberately, "Before I tell you, I want you to understand what happened and how I found the answer I think is correct."
I nodded for her to continue.
She said, "When I realized I'd hit bottom; I remembered Jill Danes telling me about this rehab facility in Tucson. I couldn't even remember the name, but I started heading to Tucson to go there. I did recall that she said they handled all sorts of 'tough' cases with discretion. I figured I was a tough case, and that turned out to be more than true. Eventually, on my way there, I telephoned Jill and got the name and phone number of the place. I pleaded with her not to tell you, and made her promise; I didn't explain why I needed the place. I called the place, and when I got to Arizona, they met me at the airport, I checked myself in, ... and then I started to cry again. I cried so hard throughout the night, so much that the facility put a full-time nurse trained in critical care psychology and suicide to watch with me. They thought I might be suicidal, and those thoughts weren't far from my mind. How could I escape what I'd done to the people I loved the most in the whole world? That nurse told me that if I did myself in, I'd hurt all of you more than I already had, and that would be a bad thing. She turned that part of me around."
"The next day I went through an evaluation. It was a bad day because all I could do was cry hysterically. They got enough out of me to immediately start me with a good psychiatrist – Dr. Linda Cowan. I spent almost full-time with her the first week, telling everything over and over again as she led me through all the terrible things I'd done and all the bad feelings I had about myself, even in areas I couldn't initially put into words. I cried incessantly; I didn't know a body could hold so many tears or feel so bad. Gradually, as each day passed, I calmed down and got a little more rational, and our sessions became a little shorter – finally, only an hour or two every day, but seven days a week."