The roses faded. When I got them, they were bright and dewy and fragrant. They were in a vase on my dresser for as long as they lasted, with water and that nutrient you put in to keep them fresh. My housemates demanded to know who would send me roses, and no less than thirty-six of them, but I would not tell them. They will never know. I wouldn't know how to tell them. The roses kept as long as they could, then faded, and lost their color, and drooped in discouragement, and became a shadow of what they had been.
I was afraid that the memory of how I got them would also wilt away, and I didn't want that to happen. So I put one in my diary, the diary that was the cause of it all, and pressed it between the cover and the first page, where it still is, brown and cracked. And now, whenever I begin to think that maybe I only imagined the whole thing, I can look at that rose, and know it was real. I wish the boys who gave them to me would come back, and give me roses again.
I feel so guilty, even ashamed, but I can't help it. The pleasure I got out of what I call the "event" was just so deep, and intense, and satisfying. I often look at that rose and begin reliving that whole day again, with my hand in my pants, playing with myself, not only because it feels good but because once, they ordered me to.
Late April in Eau Claire, and a drizzly, warm spring day. 3:00 on a Friday afternoon, and my last class at the Chippewa Valley Technical College is over. I'm studying to be a medical transcriptionist, which I don't like, but I know it will be a steady job, which I really need. After high school I took all sorts of jobs, but didn't think of a career because silly girl that I was, all I wanted to do was get married. I had expected that to happen quickly, even after my high school boyfriend left for college and never really talked to me again.
It didn't happen quickly, or at all. I drifted for four whole years, wondering when my life was going to start. When I turned twenty-two, it hit me that I had to do something. College I didn't feel confident about, and I didn't want to spend four years in school, especially now that a lot of people I'd known in high school were already graduating. And getting married, grrr. Vo-Tech school seemed the best option.
I walk over the Clairemont Avenue footbridge and onto the University of Wisconsin campus. Past the Phy Ed building, past the big Towers dorms and Hilltop Center, and down the long, steep hill to the lower campus. More dorms here and a crowd of students, going this way and that, looking so young. The youngest of them would have been in 8th grade when I graduated. There are girls in groups, giggling and talking, boys with insolent looks as they strut in pairs.
And couples. Couples, like a boy and a girl walking arm in arm, or with their hands in each other's pockets, or kissing, or hugging. It's hard for me to look at couples, because I want to be part of a couple, and it hurts.
I cross the footbridge over the Chippewa River, now in spring flood, and the water is just raging. I get scared on that footbridge, with those swift rapids underneath, but it's the quickest way home. Past the Fine Arts Building, and there are boys on the lawns around it. Throwing footballs, tossing Frisbees. Even in the drizzle, it's warm enough that they're wearing shorts and have their shirts off, or are wearing sleeveless tops, and I stop and sit on one of the benches. I pretend to dig through my knapsack while secretly watching them and the girls sitting nearby, their girlfriends probably, who are also watching them.
I watch the boys because I like watching boys, especially with their shirts off. Their muscles working, the way their shoulders are so broad and form a V down their backs, their hairy legs, and when they have long hair, the way it flies around, damp from the drizzle. They jump, and they fall and they run fast, and their firm stomachs and tight butts flex, and I wish that one of them was my boyfriend, so that after he was done playing I could run up to him and he'd hug me, and I could feel him and smell him and kiss him and he'd be so strong, and he'd laugh and call my name.
Like some of the guys were doing with some of the girls as I watched. And that makes me sad, so I get up and continued the long walk home, along Water Street and then up Sixth Avenue.
Two motorcycles roar by, each with a guy driving and a girl sitting behind him, her arms wrapped around him for dear life, laughing and screaming in excitement. They are having fun. I want to have fun like that. I want to, but I never do, because to do so, I'd have to talk to boys like that, and I'm scared. If I did talk to them they'd find out how insecure I really am, they would see through me. I walk about all day like I don't care, but they would discover that I do care, about what people think of me, and the way they see me, and what I look like and I don't want them to know that.
If I actually talked to one of those boys, those cute, adventurous boys, who seem to go through life without a care, getting away with anything, doing everything I wanted to do without anybody blaming them, or criticizing them, I'd probably say something stupid, and they'd notice how my butt was really, really fat, and my boobs small, and that I wasn't pretty, and they'd walk away and have nothing to do with me. And that would hurt too much. So when I see them in a group, I cross the street so I don't have to pass by them, and I don't go to the student cafeteria, or anywhere else I might find myself next to them.
I avoid them, and at the same time I want be around them. And that makes me mad. Not just at me but at them too, because they could make the effort to approach me! Would that really kill them? I'd like that to happen at least once!
That's what I'm thinking about as I come to the house on the corner of Sixth and Niagara that I share with two other girls.
It had been important for me to leave home. Not only because my mom and my sister lived on the other side of town, which would have meant driving to school, but also because I had wanted to change my life, and that meant moving out. I'd answered an ad for a roommate, and moved in with Jodell and Mickey, two girls from Rhinelander who were juniors at the university.
They were nice, and I liked them, but I've never been good at making friends, and I think they had given up on me. One time, they'd taken me to a party, a kegger in a house by the tracks on Charles Street, and under one yellow bulb I watched as everybody got drunk, and laughed, and joked, and went into the back yard to throw up, and they were all so much younger than me, and I felt so out of place and none of the boys were talking to me, so I left early, and never went with them again.
They'd go to school, I'd go to school, and we would see very little of each other, even on weekends when they would have boys over for fun before heading out to the bars on Water Street, because I'd be at my job as a cashier at the mall.
I walk up the porch and to the door. We rarely lock it, it's a very safe neighborhood. Just about every house around me is rented out to students. I go in, thinking about all the people having fun back at the university, feeling alone, unwanted, unattractive and unappreciated, just like any other day.
The house is two stories, but quite small, typical of the old workers cottages in that part of town. Downstairs, a living room, kitchen, and Mickey's room, upstairs the bathroom, Jodell's room and mine. Jodell's bike, chained to the radiator. Some dishes in the sink, a few pieces of furniture. Jodell's weird lava lamp, which I don't like, doing its thing on top of the TV set. Everything just as I had left it that morning.
Except for the boy sitting on the sofa, with a newspaper in his hand, smiling at me. He had not been there that morning.
I did not have a clue who he was, and he addressed me by name.
"Who are you?"
"You can call me Frank."
"How did you get in here?"
"Door was unlocked."
I stood there, not sure what to say next. I wasn't scared, just confused. I looked at, um...Frank. About five feet ten inches tall, one hundred sixty pounds. Thick brown hair, very curly. Thick glasses too. Very well muscled, wearing jeans, and a tight t-shirt. Blue eyes, about nineteen? Twenty? He was cute, but what was he doing there? A friend of Jodell? Mickey?
Before I could ask, he put the paper down.
"Meet the rest of us" he said.
I hadn't closed the door, and heard it slam behind me.
"I'm Ted. " said another voice.
I turned around. Another boy was there, locking the door behind me, and he was big! Really, really big! I'm five foot seven, but I found myself staring at his chest, for he was at least six foot six, two hundred fifty pounds, maybe more. Again with jeans and a tight t-shirt, straining around his enormous chest, his six-pack tummy outlined perfectly through the fabric. Long dirty blonde hair in a mullet, brown eyes, also about twenty years old. He smiled down at me, and I noticed there was a gap between his teeth.
"What's that?" I asked, stupidly.
"That is Ted" said Frank. He stood up.
From upstairs came another voice: "All set up!"
I looked at Frank, puzzled.
The voice yelled again; "But you can call me Bo".
I stood there.
Frank came up to me.
"We haven't got much time. You have to be at work at 4:30, right?"
Who IS this guy?
"How did you know that?" I snapped. "What do you want? Who are all of you? What's going on?"
Frank peered at me through his glasses.
"Yes, 4:30. If we get started now, that gives us just enough time. Laurie, do you know what a fireman's chair is?"
"A fireman's chair. Firemen use it."
"What's this got to do with firemen?"
Frank caught Ted's eye.
"Easier just to show her." said Ted.
And with that, Ted, from behind me, hooked my right arm while Frank, moving fast, hooked the left. They bent over, put their other arms behind my knees, and pushed. As I started to fall, they grabbed each other's wrist and lifted me off the ground. I was in a sort of cradle, and while I weigh at least 160 lbs, they had no trouble holding me off the ground.
"HEY!" I yelled.
But before I could get out another word, they started carrying me towards the stairs. My arms were bound up in theirs and tangled in my knapsack straps, so I couldn't hit them like I wanted to, and with so much of my weight resting just behind my knees, I couldn't kick either.
They were actually half-running as they pounded up the stairs, turned right and went into my room. I heard the door shut as they set me down on my feet.
They unhooked my arms, but held me by my wrists. From behind, the third guy roughly pulled my knapsack down my arms, and twisted my arms as he pulled it off. It hurt, and I yelled. I tried to pull away, but they were really strong.
"Sweet." said the third voice.
Turning, I saw Bill, call me Bo, for the first time. He was short for a guy, about five feet, four inches tall, but also about five feet four inches wide. Short blond hair, sharp nose and again jeans and a tight t-shirt, this one with a big Japanese flag on it. All sorts of muscles on his beer-barrel build, these guys must all be jocks or something. He stared at me with blue eyes, and licked his lips. I looked around...
Oh my! Whatever had they done to my room? All the furniture had been moved to one side. The Venetian blinds were down, but still let in plenty of light. The big full-length mirror that belonged to Micky was in here, and in the middle of the room, they had placed my bed, stripped of quilt and covers, only the comforter left. There was a metal toolbox on the bed, along with a book with a red cover.
I gawked for a bit, and then they moved around me, surrounding me. I could smell them. Aftershave. Soap. A little bit of sweat. The smell of boys. They looked at me, and then Ted spoke, not to me, but to Frank.
"Yeah, I'll do her."
"Me too." replied Frank.
"Which part of her you want?"
"We'll treat her to the full routine, that way nobody takes sloppy seconds on anything."
For the first time that afternoon, I got a dark feeling in my gut. They weren't just looking at me, they were leering at me, their eyes traveling from the tips of my toes on up, looking at me in a way I wasn't used to. Ted was staring at my bust, and that made me feel uncomfortable.
"Look," I said, "I need to know, who are you guys, and what are you doing here?"
Frank chuckled. "Good question."
He took me by one arm, and motioned to Ted to take the other. They roughly sat me down on the edge of the bed, with Frank to my left, Ted to my right, and Bill standing in front of me.
"Why do you think we're here?"
What did they expect me to say? "I don't know."
Frank handed me the book with the red cover. It looked familiar.
I did. Looked inside, noticed my own handwriting. Looked at the inside cover, and saw printed, in red magic marker;
Laurie Vannes, Memorial High School.
It was my diary. My dairy, that I had started just before I graduated at eighteen, and kept until I was twenty-one, when I had moved out of the house. I looked in the back. The last entry dated from nine months ago. Yes, my old diary.
"Where did you get this?" I asked.
"Found it." said Frank.
"Where?" I demanded.
"In a box, on the sidewalk, along with some other stuff."
That meant they would have found it a month ago. We had had a housecleaning party, and I had cleaned out my room, put all sorts of stuff in a box, and put it out by the garbage. All sorts of stuff I didn't want anymore. Like my diary.
They had found my diary, in a box, placed outside with the trash, and picked it up and read it. There had been some really personal stuff in there. Along with my full name, address, phone number, friends, family...
"You read my diary?"
"Yes." This time it was Ted who spoke up. "And that's why we're here."
"Because of this?"
Frank took the diary, flipped through the pages, and stopped.
"Read this part", he said. "It explains everything."
I looked at the page. The entry was from two and a half years ago, when I was nineteen. I began to read it.
"Aloud," said Frank. "Read it aloud."
I was about to say no, but there was an edge of command in his voice. So I took a breath, and began reading the entry to them. As I read, and I realized what I had written, and what they (boys!) had read about me, about my most secret thoughts, my stomach began to feel queasy.
"December 14. Today, I went to work, and came home. That's all. No phone messages. Mom and Paulette are at her school, and won't be back until really late, so I've got the whole place to myself, nobody to talk to and nothing to do. It's so quiet, and that scares me. I wish I had a boyfriend. And not just for the company, if you know what I mean. I hate being single. Sometimes I hear a creak, and I imagine that it might be somebody in the house. I open my bedroom door to see who it is, and all of sudden a shadowy figure grabs me, and drags me back in. Right away he starts taking my clothes off. I beg him to stop, but once he sees me with all my clothes off, he gets really excited, and when he takes his pants off, his penis is erect, and really big. He holds me down on the bed, and starts pushing his penis into me. I beg him to stop, but he tells me he's going to do it whether I like it or not, and then he's in me, and it starts to feel really good. I think about something like that a lot. I feel guilty about it, but I like the idea that a boy is so excited by me, and just wants me so bad, that he can't stop himself. I want to be dominated. I mean, I know I'm supposed to be all self-sufficient and everything, and wait to be married, but every time I think about this, I always get excited. I wonder if my fantasies are normal, because I'd actually really like something like this to happen. No, I don't, I didn't mean that. Or did I?"
I looked up them. They looked at me.
"Now do you know why we're here?" Frank asked.
I shook my head no.
"We have to spell it out?"
"I'm sorry, I just..."
"Ok." said Frank, who took the diary from me and handed it to Bill. He held my right hand, while Ted held my left.
"Laurie -- it's right there in your diary. You gave us this idea, and we thought it was a good one."
I looked at him.
"Laurie, we're here to rape you."
I got a funny taste in my mouth. Like aluminum foil.
"First we're going to strip you naked. Then, one after the other, all three of us are going to fuck your brains out."
It really didn't register at first.
Ted gently stroked my hand.
"Oh yes. It's a great idea, and we are going to rape you."
I still couldn't believe it. "Why?"
"After we read the diary, we checked you out. Decided it was a good idea".
"Checked me out?"
"We've been watching you for about a week," Bill said. "That's how we knew you'd be home, alone, right about now."
"Watching me?" I tried to think. Had there been strange cars parked outside? Somebody at the corner? I couldn't remember.
"We watched you a lot Laurie," said Ted. "Got a charge out of that big plump ass of yours."
"Perky little tits." said Bill.
"Thick blonde hair," Said Frank. "Has it always been this short?"
"No, it used to be really long...listen, I need..."
"Is it blonde all over your body?"
"Never mind, we'll find out." They stood up, and made me stand too. I wasn't sure what would happened next, but I was scared, and I wanted them to go away, I wanted them to STOP and just go away. But they weren't going to go away, they were going to...to me...this was really going to happen...
This was really going to happen! "But I didn't mean it!" I started sobbing. "Really, I didn't mean it. I was just, I mean, I was lonely, and it was fantasy, I didn't really want it to happen, I..."
I looked at Frank, sniffling now, the tears hot on my face.
"Start taking your clothes off."
"But I, I..."
I couldn't think of anything more to say.
"Laurie." Frank's tone had changed. "Do you know what we're going to do if you don't take off your clothes?"
I shook my head.
"We're going to just rip your clothes off, and that will hurt. Hurt a lot. You don't want to be hurt, right?"
"There are three of us, and we are a lot bigger than you. Nobody wants to hurt you, but you have to start taking your clothes off. Just nod that you understand me."
"We'll give you a little help. Reach down, and take your shoes and socks off."
I hesitated, he moved closer to me. They all did. And they were LOTS bigger than me.
"Okay, okay!" I held up a hand to stop him. I didn't want him to hurt me. I was afraid, so afraid...so I did what they told me to do. I bent over, and began untying my boots.
"Faster," he ordered.
I did move faster, first the right boot, then the left. They took them from me as they came off, along with my socks, and placed them in a corner. They all looked at me, their eyes bright.
"Now the pants."
My hands were shaking, and I fumbled with the belt, the button, the zipper. I pulled my black slacks down one leg, then the other, stepped out of them. Bill, call me Bo took them, and threw them in the corner.
"They're laughing at my big fat thighs," I thought. Actually, they weren't, but that's what I thought at the time. I felt so ashamed, standing there in just my white blouse and white panties.
"Don't stop now Laurie," said Frank. "Get your top off."
I unbuttoned the sleeves, then the front. Slipped it back over my shoulders, and handed it to Bill. Frank gave me a look, and I understood. I reached behind, unbuckled my bra, slipped it forward over my shoulders. I kept my breasts hidden with one hand while I handed the bra to Bill, and looked down at the floor, real hard, wishing I could just sink into it.