The Youth Trap, Ch.03byangiquesophie©
Chapter Three: How his life went on.
For the first time since it all happened, John slept well.
It must have been the hike. The dinner with Julie, too. And the plan, of course. It was the kind of plan that makes you wake up with a feeling of expectation. The kind that leaves a rush of excitement. It makes you smile the moment you think of it. That is how you know it is a good plan.
It should be followed up.
Yesterday he saw Frank. He hadn't seen him in a few months and it made him feel a bit guilty to call him now. But Frank was very good about it. Wasn't this what friends are for?
He'd known Frank since grade school. After high school he went on to a far away university, but somehow they never lost contact.
They were able to pick up again after he returned and opened his practice here as a psychologist. He had married a lovely brunette, Marie, and the four of them became good friends. They got two boys after John and Sarah had Julie. They played tennis, the children played, they even spent a few family vacations together.
Then, about two years ago, Sarah suddenly told John she didn't want to see them anymore. He tried to find out why, but she never cared to give him details. She even told Julie not to see the boys anymore.
John felt greatly embarrassed. So he went to see Frank and told him of Sarah's sudden decision. He remembered Frank to have been uneasy about it. Then he surprised John by telling him that Marie didn't want to see them either, anymore.
He never found out the why. Neither did Frank, he said. As men often do, they just shrugged away their lack of understanding and went on seeing each other over an occasional evening of pool or a night at the pub.
John didn't tell Sarah. She would not have understood.
At the bar where they met, he told him about Sarah cheating on him, how he found out and about her reaction. He also told Frank he had left the house.
Then he went on to tell him about the hike. The sudden change that had come over him. And how he looked back on the last few years. The darkness he saw, or the film of grayness, rather. His feelings - or his lack of them, to be precise. It must have surprised Frank - they never talked about things like this.
He sure surprised himself.
As John went through his tale, he saw how Frank paled a little. He fidgeted with his glass of beer. And when John paused, Frank suddenly apologized. As a friend, he said, but more even as a doctor he had failed him. He should have seen what happened.
His outburst surprised John. Then Frank said how John had evolved all the telltale signs of a depression. And he felt responsible, he said. He, a doctor, had not seen it. He had not seen the numbness. The obsession with work. The not being in touch with the world.
When Julie had left the house and Sarah had gradually turned her back on John, he had let himself sink into it, Frank said. John had blamed all that happened on his lack of interest and involvement. Even now he maybe thought it had been him who drove Sarah away. But it had been his illness.
John saw what he meant. The depression had swallowed him up, and there was nobody who saw it. No one at his work. Why would they care as long as he functioned? Not Julie, only being home at holidays and a few weekends. She was just too excited and preoccupied with her new life to see. And during her precious visits John always did his best to be great company.
And Sarah? Ah well. Even if she'd had the time or the desire to look at all, why would she have cared? She was too busy getting young again. Too busy freeing herself from the chains an old laggard like her husband tied her down with.
Not even Frank had seen it. John was a friend, not a patient. And John had always been glad to see him. Their meetings were upbeat, an escape. They never talked problems.
But yes, Frank said. He should have seen.
He went out of his way apologizing. He asked if John wanted therapy, treatment. So John told him about his plan. Frank chuckled and told him he had always been a pigheaded bastard. But yes, it might work. There might be loneliness to cope with, though. A sure pitfall for depression. So let him please prescribe some medicine.
John patted his shoulder.
"Today I had all the medicine I need," he said. "I feel all excited about tomorrow. I am washed clean and shining. I'll keep in touch."
They had another beer and left.
John hadn't slept as well in years.
Sarah Cunningham looked past the man's strong, handsome profile. Through a haze of unshed tears she saw the plane lift off the tarmac.
They had spent three days in glorious Vegas. It should have left her in a state of bliss. The familiar pull of g-forces should have been mixed with clouds of butterflies in her belly.
But all they pulled at was an empty space.
Sure enough, at the start it had been heaven. How else to describe three days in Vegas with a blonde god, all expenses paid? The football-field sized suite, the glittering shows and opulent dinners. The new dresses, risky lingerie, her body bathing in a warm sea of compliments. But most of all: in her lover's undivided attention. She should be exhausted from the endless nights of fucking - the avalanches of orgasm.
Well, exhausted she was. Sore, beat, worn out were also words describing her nicely. There wasn't a bone or a muscle in her body that didn't ache. Her skin was strewn with bites and bruises.
And yet, instead of satisfied, she felt down, disappointed, shocked, downtrodden and humiliated.
She had trouble even remembering the first day now. The excited mood she was in when they walked into their suite, looking out over the city. Ah yes, at the time it felt as if the room was a floating cloud against a sky of blue. Her heart had throbbed in her throat. She had embraced Stan and she never let go of him until he had ripped every piece of clothing off her body and fucked her to a triple explosion of utter lust.
The bellboy hadn't even had the chance to close the door. He must have left the room in embarrassment. Or was it envy?
After that they had gone out swimming, shopping, dining and dancing. Then they returned to their room, no doubt to resume the sex fest.
Sarah Cunningham groaned. Her face winced at the memory.
They had returned to their suite all right. They had kissed and groped all the way up. At the suite, Stan had told her to take a long shower and make herself beautiful for him. He said he would lay out some sexy things for her to wear. So, feeling like a young, ditzy girl she giggled and went into the bathroom.
Glowing and only dressed in a cloud of expensive perfume, she returned from her bath. She excitedly looked on the bed for her outfit. But besides a rather cheap set of stay-up net-stockings and two crazily heeled red platform sandals there was nothing. She swallowed. Then she shrugged, giggled and called his name. There was no answer. She looked around and did not see him.
"Naughty boy!" she exclaimed, picking up the stockings. The slippery nylon slid through her fingers.
To be certain she looked around for maybe a nice negligee on a hanger -- a pretty teddy, maybe? Or even a baby doll? There was nothing but the whorish thigh highs and the porn heels. Should she find a black thong and bra from her own wardrobe? And maybe the short sexy negligee she had bought only last week? Did she dare? Stan might get upset -- he had been quite clear about his wishes.
She giggled once more and sighed - silly boy's fantasy. Then she sat down and rolled the stockings up her smoothly shaven legs. The heels almost made her topple when she took her first steps. It was all so cheap. It made her feel incredibly sluttish.
"Stan?" she asked, when the door to the suite opened.
The man was a giant and he was black. He wore a blue business suit, just as the two white men accompanying him.
Sarah gasped. Her arms flew up to cover her tits and shaven pussy.
"Wrong room!" she yelled. Her voice was a squeak. "Please leave," she went on. "You are in the wrong room."
The men chuckled. They never stopped walking up to her.
"I'll call my husband! Stan?" Sarah tried. "Stan?" But the men only laughed louder.
When they reached her, they simply pulled her arms off her body. One of them held her from behind, forcing her tits out in obscene display. He closed a hand over her open mouth.
The two other men undressed until they were naked. Their cocks rose from their loins. They were large, hard and very ready.
It was the start of a very long night for Sarah Cunningham. She couldn't even exactly remember when it ended. But she knew when she woke up that it must have been late morning, almost noon.
Her body looked like a battlefield, only there was no blood - just a lot of yellowish white goo, caked all over her skin. The smell of stale sex was all around her. The sheets stuck to her skin. And her pussy felt as if it was on fire. So did her nipples, her ass and the joints of her jaws.
She stumbled to the bathroom.
The mirror made her groan. Her hair stood out in a sticky halo. Mascara and lipstick were everywhere. And she wondered what the traces of white powder were that lined her nostrils.
God, did the shower feel good.
Twelve or more jets surrounded her. They massaged her sore body. The sizzling water at least took some of her exhaustion with it down the drain.
When the steam cleared up, she inspected herself. The swollen red nipples were crowned with fiery bites and hickeys. The puffy red pussy-lips still oozed a sick dribble of white. She winced when she tried to touch her ass hole.
Even the fluffy bathrobe hurt.
On a side table stood a huge breakfast. She had a ravenous hunger. The food was still hot. They must have wheeled it in when she was in the shower. She saw that the bed had been made too.
When she was halfway through her scrambled eggs, the door opened. It was Stan. He wore an Armani suit and a wide smile.
He grabbed her from the back. She squealed, yelling to let her alone. He just grinned.
"Hard night, honey?"
She threw her spoon at him. He ducked with a chuckle.
"Stan!" she yelled. "I am through with you! You goddamn traitor, leaving me with those gorillas. What the fuck did you think! I feel so humiliated."
She cried in rage and frustration. He grabbed her milling arms and held them close to her body. His face almost touched hers.
"Humiliated, Sarah? Really? I am amazed you even know the word. You really should see yourself on tape, honey. If it's true that you really didn't love every second of it, you must be the greatest actress alive."
He let go of her. She sank down in her chair. The towel had left her hair.
"Tape?" she said, defeated.
He picked a sausage from her plate, relishing it.
"Oh yes, honey. And you know the good part? It is only the first episode of three."
Back in the plane Sarah looked at the man next to her. The hangover sat heavily on her brow. Thank God for sun glasses.
"I thought you cared for me," she said. Her voice sounded thick and viscous.
He looked up from his magazine.
"Who, me?" he answered, grinning.
Tears welled from her eyes again. He smiled and laid a hand on her arm.
"Teasing, honey. Of course I care for you. Do you know how much you made for me, this weekend?"
Sarah just sobbed. The dawning had been cruel. To find out after almost thirty years that you never learned a thing since turning fourteen can be quite sobering.
Stan had never let her out of that room. He had a masseuse sent up to treat her sore body. It had felt heavenly. Stan had fed her through room service. He had also handed her pills and forced her to take them. Then he made her don another whorish outfit in black vinyl. The boots that went with it again had platforms and impossible heels. He sent her back into the bathroom until he was satisfied with the most sluttish make up and hairdo she ever wore.
That second night there had been five men. Two of them were overweight, one was over sixty years old. She must have passed out long before the last cock spewed into her. Or on her. Or wherever.
The next day she had begged him to let her leave. She had tried to phone. The hotel phone was dead and her cell had vanished. In the end she even threatened to kill herself.
That had made Stan tear a muscle from laughing.
Now they were on their way back. Sarah had been totally subdued, these last hours. She had a raging hangover and walked through the departure hall like an old and fragile lady. The huge sunglasses were hardly adequate to hide her misery.
"I hate you," she said to the blonde man.
"I know, honey," he answered and returned to his magazine.
John closed the door to his former home - now not even his house anymore. He slipped the key back inside.
The morning was cool, but it promised to warm up nicely. Yesterday had been a busy day. So had the day before. Finance management didn't have many secrets for him. But preparing divorce papers was a rather new experience. As was quitting a job he had held for over twenty years.
He'd had to give a month' notice, but he had accumulated a lot of vacation days with his crazy work ethics of the last two years. He promised to be back for a proper goodbye-party. He knew, however, that it would take quite a while to materialize. If ever.
These last days had felt like wiping clean an old fashioned school board. All traces of his life slowly disappeared in clouds of chalk. He admired the perfect emptiness he left behind.
The last thing John had done this morning, was walk through the house that had been his home. Their home. There were things missing now, mostly clothes, a few photographs. But somehow it felt right. The absence of all these tiny material things were nothing compared to the gaping hole inside him.
He hummed when he walked around. He saw pictures. He saw the bookstand he had made himself. With a careful hand he checked that it still wobbled a bit. He grinned. All things he did himself had a definite personal touch to them. They either wobbled, didn't close well or squeaked with use.
The last thing John did was reach inside his pocket. He produced a rather fat envelope. It just said "Sarah" on the front.
He put it at the centre of the kitchen table. It leant against the very ugly but fondly loved vase Julie made at school when she was six.
Sarah would find the envelope when she came back from wherever she seemed to be. It contained just two things. One was a set of divorce papers. The other was a neat business card of his lawyer.
He closed the door behind him.
The silver camper shone in the early sun. John ran his hand admiringly along its aluminum skin. Having to climb high into the cabin sent a rush of anticipation through his body.
He sat and grabbed the huge, flat steering wheel. A memory hit him. He remembered sitting in his uncle Jack's lap. His short five-year-old arms had to stretch wide to hold the giant wheel of his mighty truck. They drove, he steered. Jack's booted foot pressed the gas. It was all very exciting.
And it all came back. The mighty roar of the engine. The wind through the open window. Uncle Jack's gravely voice in his ear: "Go, Johnny! Let's hit the road!"
The camper sprang to life when he turned the key. John once more looked back to the quiet house. The sun was halfway down its front. A little black and white cat jumped the fence, returning from its night's prowl, no doubt.
John loved how the big wheels crunched the pebbles of their short driveway. "Let's hit the road," he whispered.
His first stop came quickly.
Julie's campus was about thirty miles down the road. She could easily have stayed home after going to college. But she wanted to feel the total experience, as she said. John had felt sorry to see her leave, but he'd never said so. Sarah had been openly pushing it, of course. With all the right arguments of freedom and independence. At that time John never thought she meant her own.
He turned in at a small breakfast place, just off campus. It was still early, but that was all right. It would allow him a while with Julie before she had to go to classes.
He saw her at one of the tables. All seemed so fresh and new today. The checkered table cloth. The sun filtering in. Her wide blue eyes. The smile on her face.
"You are really going to do this," she said.
"Allow an old man his silly boyhood dreams, darling."
"Oh, I do!" she chuckled. "As many as you can find."
They ordered breakfast. The smell of fresh coffee and fried bacon almost made his lungs burst from his chest.
They talked silly little memories. Not a word was spent on Sarah. Time raced by. He looked at his watch and grabbed her hands.
"Julie," he said. "I need three promises before I leave."
She smiled. "Only three?"
"Three," John said. "First: get as happy as you can."
He felt her fingers squeeze his.
"That one's easy," she whispered. Her eyes got a film of moisture.
"Promise," John insisted.
She reached over and kissed his cheek.
"Promise," she said.
"Second," he went on. "Talk to Sarah when she calls you. Give her a chance."
The smile went away.
"Promise!" he said. He held her hands in a vice.
"Daddy…" she said.
There was a silence. It lingered on. Then she nodded.
"Promise. But only if she tells the truth."
John stared at her.
"Good enough," he then said. "Third…"
He rose from the table and reached inside his pocket. He produced a quarter. It shone as he turned it with his fingers.
"Julie, I want you to toss this coin. Heads is east, tails is west."
He handed her the coin. She laughed. All was well again.
The silver flashed as the coin tumbled through a beam of morning sunlight. It returned from its zenith and landed in her palm. Without looking she turned the hand and slapped it on the back of the other. Then she uncovered it.
The absolute recklessness of what he was doing sent a rush of excitement to his heart. This was fate. The freedom to allow it happening made him feel dizzy.
"Tails!" Julie said.
John embraced her. They walked outside to the parking lot. Julie gasped as she saw the camper.
"Wow, Dad. It's big."
He showed her around. She was impressed. Then he gave her a slip of paper. It held his mobile phone number. It was a new number, no one else had it.
"I'll keep in touch, honey," he said. "Just you and me. Promise, no one else can have this number." She promised with a nod. They both cried.
The last he saw of her was a tiny, waving dot in the side-mirror.
Swallowing can be hard work at times.
* * * * *
The first thing she saw was the key.
She'd expected that she'd have to push the front door hard because of the mail and papers. But there was only the key. It shone brightly against the deep red doormat.
Only John and Julie had one.
She picked it up and walked into the house. The second unusual thing she saw was an empty spot on the wall, right over the couch. A picture was missing. The one of Julie and John when they had gone to Disney World, eight years ago.
Why was it missing? Who had taken it?
Nothing else seemed missing. She walked on to the kitchen, aching for a cool drink. The white envelope jumped at her from the table.