[This is cleaned up version of The Librarian. Thank you Penny for pointing out an embarrassingly large number of typos. R.]
I rounded the corner, saw the two figures in the distance and put my hand in my purse. My fingers curled around the pepper spray. As a woman walking alone on campus at night, it was a ritual I was used to, even though I had never actually had to use the spray. A closer look revealed a man and woman arguing next to a sports car. The door was open, spilling light onto the sidewalk and illuminated their gestures.
I was uncomfortable with the idea of having to pass close to them, but it was unavoidable. I could hear them clearly now, arguing about how badly he treats her. I made an effort to not hear the individual words, although the tone could not be blocked out. I did not want to be involved in their squabble. I had always been good at becoming socially invisible. I could walk through a crowded room and nobody would remember me.
"I'm not your whore!" the blonde yelled. I was maybe 30 feet from them. The man's back was to me.
"Hey babe, all I'm saying is if you wanna be with me, ya gotta keep me keep me interested and keep me happy, Ya know what I mean?" he sneered. The two of them looked like poster children for the jet set. She looked kind of like a blonde version of Terri Hatcher. I couldn't see his face, but from behind he had that smooth, deadly grace of an athlete in a full contact sport.
"Well, you ain't getting any tonight, asshole!" she screamed. That's when he slapped her. Hard. She fell to the ground, stunned. I was maybe 20 feet from them now.
"You fucking bastard," she raged, her face already turning red with his handprint. She flipped him the finger and tried to kick him in the shin. He grabbed a fistful of her hair and hoisted her to her knees. As she clawed at his hands, he punched her in the face. I was stunned. I had never seen a man do that to a woman before.
"Now, bitch," he hissed, right in her face, "you're gonna give me a world class blowjob. And if I feel you teeth on my cock, I'm gonna shine that other eye for ya."
Her one open eye caught mine. A combination of a plea for help and dull rage stared right at me. I was so close I could have touched him. He was still unaware of me when I tapped him on the shoulder. He startled and spun to face me, still clutching her hair in his fist. That's when I let him have it with the pepper spray.
I was half afraid the little bottle wouldn't work, but it did. The stream of fluid nailed him right in the eyes. He screamed, dropped the girl and pawed at his face. I grabbed her arm and hauled her to her feet. The adrenaline kicked in as I realized that I was now in danger too.
"Come one," I said. "Run!"
She got to her feet and staggered along beside me. We were going much too slow. I looked back, and her date was kneeling on sidewalk pressing the heels of his hands into his eye sockets while cursing up a storm. That stuff was stronger than I thought!
"This way," I urged her. My apartment was two blocks from her. It was the closest place I knew where we could make a phone call at this time of night. She stumbled along beside me, clearly disoriented.
It seemed to take forever, but we finally made it inside the building. In the distance I could hear a motor revving. I didn't know if it was her attacker, but I feared it might be. We rode the elevator in silence. I could see her face was swelling dramatically.
"Let's get some ice on that," I said, dropping her into a chair. I closed the door, locked, and bolted it. I made up an ice pack and gently pressed it against her face. She winced, but held it in place with a trembling hand. For the first time since I hauled her away from that man, I saw some life in her eyes.
"I'm Bonnie. What's your name?" I asked.
"Your face is exceedingly swollen. Do you want me to drive you to the hospital?" I asked.
"I don't think so. I don't think he broke any bones or anything. I mean, my teeth seem to be fine."
"It would be prudent to have it checked out."
"Don't worry. It's not the first time I've been smacked around by a guy," she said sarcastically. "I gotta talent for picking 'em."
"You shouldn't let men mistreat you like that," I said.
"Hey, don't I know you?"
"You've probably seen me at the library. I'm the assistant librarian. I assume you are a student at the college?"
"Yeah, I am. You know, you look like a librarian," Cheryl said. "I mean...not in a bad way. It's just that the hair and...well you know."
Yes, I knew. I wore my straight black hair up in a tight, prim bun. Even on this warm spring day, I wore a long sleeve white blouse and a full-length brown skirt. Even to my undiscerning eyes, I looked the part of the stereotypic librarian.
"I'm used to aspersions about my looks," I said. "You didn't hurt my feelings."
"Hey, I didn't say you were ugly or gross. I was just noticing that you dressed like a librarian," she said somewhat sullenly.
"Are you feeling well enough to go home? I can drive you, or you can take a cab."
"I...I can't go home," Cheryl said, noticeably panicked. "He has a key."
"What about the house or room of a friend?"
"I'm not sure who is home. Besides, I wouldn't want them to get hurt if John comes looking for me there."
"Okay, why don't you stay here tonight. I'll make up the couch for you."
"Oh, thank you!" Cheryl said gratefully. "I promise I won't be a bother."
I got out the bedding and made up the sofa for her. I also got her a fresh ice pack. I think she was asleep before I turned out the light. I closed the door to the bedroom and put on my nightclothes. I stood in front of the mirror in my long nightgown, judging myself yet again. I was one quarter native American, and three quarters European mixture. With my long, straight hair down, I looked somewhat like Cher, except my black hair wasn't as long. Except that Cher was glamorous and I was a librarian.
I was sound asleep when the noise woke me up. Cheryl was lying on the bed next to me, sobbing. She was curled up in the fetal position, naked except for a pair of skimpy panties. As soon as I rolled over, she flung her arms around me and hung on for dear life.
"Oh god! He's here! Bonnie, he's come after me!" she cried, her body shaking with terror. I felt a chill go down my spine.
"Wait here," I said. I fumbled for my purse on the nightstand and got out my trusty pepper spray. Terrified, I peeked into the living room. Everything looked normal. The door was shut, the lights were off, and none of the furniture was disturbed. I checked the locks and went back into the bedroom.
Cheryl was sitting up against the headboard, her knees pulled up tight, her arms wrapped around them. She looked terrified.
"Cheryl honey, there's nobody there. It was only a dream."
"But I heard him! I felt him grab my arms! Then he was on top of me and I was suffocating," she said bursting into tears.
I pulled the poor girl into my arms and held her. She clung to me like I was her life preserver. Making shushing noises I stroked her hair and tried to calm her down. Eventually, the sobs subsided, but the trembling did not.
"You aren't wearing clothes enough to keep warm at noon, let alone all night," I said pulling the covers over her. She still held me tightly, as if afraid I might vanish in a puff of smoke. I started singing lullabies to her. It wasn't long before she fell asleep. I was grateful that I had a queen-sized bed instead of a double. I carefully pried her arms off of me and rolled over on my side to go to sleep.
In the morning Cheryl was snuggled up tight against me. Her arm was draped over my abdomen and her head rested against my back. I have no idea how long she had been that way. I gently woke her. She looked mildly embarrassed to be in my bed mostly naked and curled up around me. I was thoroughly embarrassed but determined on to let it show. The poor girl had been through enough already.
"Oh my god! I'm hideous," Cheryl said, catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror. In fact, the swelling was down somewhat, but the bruising had begun to turn black and blue. She climbed out of the bed to examine her face more closely. I was not totally comfortable with her standing there wearing nothing but a pair of tiny black panties. She had one of those bodies that men go to war over. Firm ripe breasts capped with thick pink nipples. Based on their total lack of sag, she couldn't be a day over 21. Her narrow waist showed just a hint of her abdominal muscles. Her rear end was also round and firm, stretching the fabric of her panties. Her legs were smooth and tanned, and perfectly proportioned to her body.
The only saving grace was her hair. Last night it had been done up in a modern style that I found total perplexing. This morning it was a train wreck, sticking out all over. I giggled at the thought.
"What are you laughing at?" Cheryl said, turning and putting her hands on her hips. In that pose, from the neck down any man would have sold his soul for one minute alone with her. From the neck up, she was a black and blue war victim with hair only the Medusa could love. She was totally comfortable being mostly naked in front of me.
"I'm sorry," I said, swallowing my remaining guffaws. "You are anything but hideous. Look at yourself. Men must fall all over themselves to be with you. It's just that you have really bad bed head right now."
"I hadn't even looked at my hair," Cheryl said, turning back to the mirror. "Shit. I'll have to do something about that."
I went and fixed us a simple breakfast while she got herself dressed and fixed her hair. She came out of the bedroom dressed to the nines in the same outfit that she had on last night. It was totally inappropriate for breakfast with a librarian. Her tight electric blue miniskirt set off her silver, shimmering blouse. It was clear that she didn't have on a bra, same as last night. Her hair was completely different though. Now it hung down over the side of her face, partially hiding her bruises.
"Thanks for saving me from John," she said between mouthfuls. "He is such a monster."
"Just stay away from him," I warned.
"No problem," Cheryl said.
"Has this happened to you before? You mentioned something like it last night."
"Well, I've got a thing for jocks. I just love a guy with a tight ass and six pack abs. There is nothing like holding onto those tight buns as he fucks me long and hard."
"Oh," I said lamely, acutely embarrassed by her frank talk.
"A lot of jocks are players. Most of the girls they date put out pretty easily. It's kind of expected. The bad ones start to think about girls like they are property. I guess that's a long winded way of saying yes, I've been hit before. Nothing like what John did though. And I've never stayed with a guy that did that to me." Cheryl pushed away from the table, suddenly interested in being anywhere else.
"Thanks for letting me stay here last night," she said. "You're my angel."
She gave me a warm hug at the door. I returned it awkwardly. I wasn't used to physical contact and didn't feel comfortable with it. My mother always frowned on hugs and handholding. I watched as she hustled out the door. I hadn't realized how lonely I was until just then. I had only had a few close friends in my life. I hadn't had a friend since Marie was transferred over three years ago.
"Bonnie?" someone said behind me. I was in the book stacks trying to find something on Elizabethan era trade and commerce with the orient. I turned and saw Cheryl. She was dressed much more simply, in tight jeans and a T-shirt, knotted tight just above her navel. Her hair was styled to partially hang in her face and she wore dark glasses. I could see evidence of the bruising underneath the thick make-up she wore.
"Cheryl! Are you studying?" I asked. It made me happy to see her.
"No. I need your help. John trashed my place last night. He hit one of my roommates too. I went to the police and filed charges against him. The police are looking for him now. I can't go back home. Can I stay with you for a day or two? Just until they find him? Please don't say no. I don't have anywhere else I can stay where he wouldn't find me."
I looked into her pleading eyes. Turning her down was not an option.
"Stay as long as you need to," I said. With a cry of gratitude she gave me a big hug. I could smell the perfume in her hair.
"My stuff is in my car. Can I keep it in here until you get off?"
"Just put it behind the desk," I said. She kissed me on the cheek and ran off to get her things. 1
"So do you have a boyfriend?" Cheryl asked. We were sitting in my living room having just finished watching some nameless romantic comedy. Cheryl had arrived with no less than seven bags and suitcases of stuff. She was so animated and giddy, I could almost forget the trauma she had suffered, until she looked me in the face. The colors of her bruises were quite stunning, with shades of purple, blue and black.
"No. I've never had a boyfriend."
"You've got to be kidding me," Cheryl said stunned. "Have you been living in a convent?"
"My mother never let me go on any dates when I was a teenager. Of course I was obese as a child. In fact, I was overweight until about a year ago."
"Got sick of looking like that, huh?"
"Actually, I became a vegetarian about three years ago. I lost a lot of the weight that way. Ever since September I've been running, and that's helped too."
"Didn't you date when you were in college? I mean, my freshman year I just went crazy. I must have dated ten different guys and fucked at least half of them."
I was shocked at her coarse language. It would never have occurred to me to talk about sex so casually.
"A few of the guys asked me out, but I was totally focused on my studies. I never planned to not have a date or a boyfriend, it just kind of happened that way."
"Well, what about now? I mean, you aren't fat any more. In fact I'd say you have a pretty good body. You just hide it under those librarian rags."
"Nobody has asked me out in years," I said with a shrug
"I just might have to do something about that," Cheryl grinned. "Don't use so many big words. It scares the guys off. Trust me."
We got ready for bed and I left her on the couch again. Sometime in the middle of the night the soft shaking of the bed woke me. Cheryl was curled up behind me, sobbing softly. I rolled over and she scooted inside the comforting embrace of my arms. She cried loudly for several minutes before falling asleep. I let her stay snuggled up against me. It made me feel warm inside to hold another human being like that. My mother had always been distant, and my father had died when I was very young. Holding Cheryl filled a void in my heart, pushing back the loneliness.
The next morning she was awake before me. When I woke up, she was still lying with her head on my shoulder and her arm around my waist. My arm was curled around her neck and back. I could feel her bare skin under my arm and hand. She was looking into my face, wearing a contented grin.
"Mornin' Bonnie," she said brightly. "I didn't want to wake you early."
Cheryl climbed out of the bed, naked except for a pair of tiny pink panties. It wasn't so embarrassing this time. She stood preening at the mirror for a moment, totally at ease with her nudity. Her bruises were darkening, but the swelling was way down.
"You are an angel for putting up with my night terrors," she said. "I dreamed John was chasing me with a hammer. Every time he caught me, he would hit me in the face with that hammer. I woke up terrified and ran in here. I hope I didn't freak you out."
"It's alright, I don't mind," I said.
John was not caught that day. I reiterated to Cheryl that she had an open invitation to stay with me. That night, I decided to wear a loose, over-sized T-shirt to bed instead of my nightgown. My mother would have chastised me for being indecent, but it felt good to break her rules. I read a book on Chinese philosophy for about an hour before turning out the lights.
Lying in bed, I thought about all the sexual partners Cheryl must have had. The image of her naked body lying underneath a lean, muscular guy formed in my mind. Even though I was a virgin, I had read numerous books about sex and seen graphic pictures. There are some advantages to being a librarian. I had even been brave enough to view a video in the erotic literature section.
In my mind, Cheryl's legs were wrapped around the anonymous man's thighs, and her hands were clutching his buttocks. Her breasts jiggled with each thrust of his hips. I spread my own legs, imitating her position. I saw her arms around his neck. I moved my hand up under my T-shirt and lightly stroked myself through my panties.
I only masturbated once or twice a month. Every time I felt shamed and degraded. My mother has always taught me that it was dirty to touch myself or let anyone else touch me. All of my reading had taught me that my mother was wrong, but I couldn't seem to stop feeling bad about it.
In my mind, the man's hand cupped both of Cheryl's breasts, fondling them. I brought my other hand to my own breast and fondled it through my T-shirt. The imagery of Cheryl and her mystery lover was far more erotic than most of the vague images I usually masturbated to. I pulled off my panties and kicked them down to the bottom of the mattress under the sheets.
With my knees raised, I slid my fingers through my pubic hair. I could feel the stiff button of my clitoris. Placing two fingers on the outside of my labia, I pressed down and rubbed it in small circles. I could feel the sticky moisture building inside my lips. The oily fluids made my lips and clitoris slide against each other easily. This was happening must faster than normal.
In my mind, Cheryl was arching her back with pleasure. The man was now clutching her buttocks and moving his penis in and out of her in smooth rhythmic strokes. I could see her buttock quivering. I heard her cry out in ecstasy as she climaxed. It sounded so real! My orgasm coincided with hers, more intense than any I had experienced before. I moaned softly, my fingers pressing hard against the outside of my genitals.
I heard Cheryl sobbing as the same time as she climbed onto the bed. I pulled my hand out from under my T-shirt, grateful that I had pulled the sheet over myself. It wouldn't have mattered. Cheryl wasn't seeing my bedroom or me. She was lost in her nightmare, tears streaming down her face. She curled up next to me trembling and crying. I wrapped my arms around her and comforted her as best I could. My blood was still pounding with the aftermath of my sexual release.
It took several minutes for me to calm down enough to help Cheryl. I could still feel the sticky juices between my nether lips. I really wanted to go clean myself up. Instead I softly sang to her and cradled her in my arms. When she fell asleep, I kissed her on the forehead and drifted off myself.
Cheryl and I woke at the same time. She lay in my arms for a long minute before giving me a quick, sisterly kiss on the lips and sliding out of the bed. Today's panties were blue silk. I was getting jealous of her wardrobe. Her clothes were so much nicer than mine.
I lay in bed while she chattered aimlessly, bouncing around mostly naked. She really did have an amazing body. I didn't dare get out of bed. I don't know what I thought she would see. After all, it wasn't as if "masturbator" was suddenly printed on my T-shirt. However, my sense of modesty kept me firmly under the covers, desperately wanting to get into the show and clean myself up. She poked gently at the bruises, which were looking better. The swelling was gone and the darker colors were turning yellow.