tagNonConsent/ReluctanceNo Way Out Ch. 02

No Way Out Ch. 02

byjadewinchester©

I was sitting at my desk looking at the recent batch of photographs I'd shot. It was of a little girl sitting on the sidewalk crying; her pant leg was rolled up exposing a skinned knee that was bleeding. The next shot showed a slightly older boy kneeling in front of her, first he cleaned the knee, blowing on it when it started to sting from the hydrogen peroxide. He opened up a bandaid and quickly covered her wound, sealing it with a kiss. After capturing the photographs I got permission from their parents and went immediately to develop them. I was into analogue photography, granted it was very old, but despite all modern day apps trying to emulate the effects, nothing beats the original. The colors are richer, the saturation is more dramatic and the film grain adds soul and character to the images, evoking nostalgic memories.

I had gotten into photography when my father bought me a Lomo LC-A for Christmas. It was the last happy memory I had of him before he'd lost his job and became an abusive drunk. Long walks and taking pictures was one of the ways I had coped with a tough childhood. Sometimes when i was feeling nostalgic i'd pull out my old camera and walk around town capturing whatever reached out to me. And it paid off, I had recently opened a new Art Gala, and my collection had sold for over a $150,000. It had been in the middle of going through my photos that I'd gotten a call from an old friend, Charles Rudd, an attorney from my home town. My father passed away and he'd left me the house, I sat stunned for several minutes before I was able to respond that I would be on the next flight out.

I convinced myself that worst case scenario, a trip home would get me some shots of the abandoned railroad yard I used to hang out at as a teenager. That was if they hadn't torn it all down. When I arrived at the airport I was greeted by Mr. Rudd, he greeted me with a hug "Guinevere, I am so sorry." I waited for the pain. For that terrifying feeling of loss. My father was dead, he was truly dead; this wasn't a cruel prank or some scheme to get me back in town but he was really gone.

"Has anyone claimed him? Do I have to plan a funeral now? I...I don't know how to plan a funeral." The old man offered me a handkerchief, I hadn't realized I was crying. Why was I crying? Hadn't I laid awake enough at nights praying for his death? Hadn't I tried a few times to kill him myself? Swearing he was never going to touch me again. I started to pant as swirls of emotions raged within me.

"Calm down now, there is no need to panic. Your father had a will, most of the arrangements have already been made. Just some signing of some paperwork, the transfer of the deed to the house. A few minor details. But we'll leave that for tomorrow, I am sure it has been a long flight and you should get some rest. I am having my driver drop you off at your house and call me in the morning to schedule a time to drop by the office." I gave the old man a hug and accepted the keys. After losing the welfare money when I moved to art school, my father had coincidently had an accident in a grocery store that left him with a large sum for his 'pain and suffering'. I hadn't wanted to be rude, I could always call a cab and stay in a hotel if staying under the man's roof proved to be too much. I settled into the back of the car while the driver loaded my bags. When we arrived he even carried them to the door. It took me several tries to unlock the door, the key took a lot of wiggling to finally work. It wasn't what I had expected. It was a mobile home, simple and in the middle of nowhere. My father had always liked his privacy.

I turned on the lights and locked the door behind me. It was a mess, beer bottles littered the floor, covering the table tops, in small groups along the floor of the couch, overfilled ashtrays, empty pizza boxes and take out food. The garbage was over piled to the point it started tipping onto the floor, but instead of taking it out my father had just continued to try and stack more. The smell was like stale mold and sour beer. I opened windows and turned on a few fans I found in a closet. I spent the night going through every cupboard, drawer and hidden space, I found cleaning supplies, most of which had never been opened. I turned on some music and cleaned until the early hours of the morning.

After laying out fresh sheets and taking a shower in a freshly scrubbed shower I found a frozen pizza and ate all but two pieces before passing out on the couch. I awoke to the sound of someone pounding at the front door. When I sat up I felt sore and disoriented, and when I opened the door I felt even more confused.

"Steven?! What are you doing here?" I ran my hand through my hair, trying to tame it into something presentable.

"When you didn't call the office today, my father insisted that one of us stop by and check to make sure you were still alive. Are you alright Gwennie?" I rolled my eyes at the old nickname.

"I'm not 12 anymore, I go by Guinevere now." I replied as I waved him inside.

"Did something die in here?"

"I'm convinced it's in the carpet, it's the only thing I haven't scrubbed yet. Tell Mr. Rudd I'm sorry, this place was a mess and..."

"Say no more, you were up all night cleaning because you couldn't sleep until it was done?" I smiled and folded my arms across my chest the moment I realized I was braless. Steven walked further inside and I shut the door.

"You know me so well."

"How many times did you make us clean my room when we had sleepovers? Mess drives you crazy, I'd be an idiot not to know that." The way he looked at me made my heart race and I cleared my throat as I walked past him and into the kitchen.

"Would you like something to drink?" I asked.

"What are my options?"

"Beer, Jack Daniels or water."

"I'll take a beer," he accepted. There was almost an entire 24 case left in the fridge. Some things never changed. I gave him a beer and opened one of my own, wincing when I glanced at the clock on the microwave.

"Any plans for dinner?" he asked aloud.

"Not unless I am hungry for more beer."

"Good, come out, have dinner with me, catch up. I want to hear all about this Gala of yours."

"Alright, but you're buying, partner," I laughed.

"It's 5 o'clock now, so meet me at Alexander's at 7? Do you mind if I bring someone?"

"Who?"

"Just an old friend," he said casually and I immediately became suspicious.

"No way Steven; I do not want to see him."

"C'mon. It's been ten years Guinevere. Derek's grown up, he's matured. Hell, he made partner before I did. Do you know how embarrassing that was? My father's firm and he made partner before his own son. But he worked really hard, and he wants to see you. He'll behave, I swear it. Or I'll kick him out myself," Steven swore as he took another sip of the beer and turned it around in his hands.

"Promise?" I demanded, holding out my pinky. He chuckled, shook his head then locked pinkies and shook.

"I swear."

~

I adjusted the hem of my dress as I walked through the rotating doors and up to the hostess.

"Reservation?" she asked with a giant smile. Her long blonde hair pulled so tightly it gave the impression she either had a face lift or some botox injections.

"I'm supposed to be meeting some friends; Steven Rudd?" I offered.

"Oh yes, Steven said to expect an exceptionally beautiful woman to walk through the doors tonight. Right this way." I felt my cheeks flush at the compliment as I followed the woman through the dining room and straight to Steven's table. He stood and pulled out my chair, allowing me to keep my dress down as I sat across from Derek. He had grown, Steven hadn't lied about that. The once roundness to his boyish face were now rugged angles. His hair was kept the same length, but it was gelled back, giving him a very professional look.

He looked up at me and the look I saw made my stomach drop. He looked hungry, as though I was something he wanted to devour. I immediately took a sip of the wine that Steven poured for me and forced myself to breathe. I wasn't going to allow him to effect me like this! I wasn't some love struck teenager anymore.

"So, Steven mentioned you own your own Art Gala?" Derek announced, taking another drink from his glass. It held a few ice cubes and a dark amber liquid. Scotch, most likely the same imported stuff Steven used to steal from his dad's liquor cabinet when we all hung out on weekends.

"I do, my last collection sold for over $150,000." I announced proudly.

"I am not surprised, you have always had an artist's eye, Gwennie."

"I go by Guinevere now," I announced as I took another sip of my wine.

"Suddenly too good for an old nickname?" he sneered, slamming his glass down on the table.

"Steven..." He had sworn to me that Derek would behave himself, and I was not in the mood to deal with his attitude.

"C'mon Derek, we haven't seen Gwen in 10 years and she's already dealing with her father's passing." Derek glanced at Steven then back at me before clearing his throat.

"My apologies, seems I have had a tad too much to drink." he excused.

"Some things never change," I spat in disgust. He was an alcoholic, he knew it, I knew it; even Steven knew it. Derek's eyes flashed in challenge as he leaned towards me.

"At least I'm not a cheating whore," Derek snapped in return. I swung to slap him and he caught my wrist, pulling me across the table so quick I had no time to brace myself.

"Do not think for a second I will allow anyone to hit me and get away with it," he growled just low enough for only me to hear. A shudder ran down my spine as his words chilled me to the bone. I met his angry gaze with one of my own.

"You have 3 seconds to release me before I make a *REALLY* ugly scene." I started to countdown.

"This isn't over sweetheart." Derek let go of my wrist and stood. He threw a hundred dollar bill onto the table.

"Steven...Guinevere..." Without another word he turned and left.

"I'm so sorry Gwen, I thought he could handle it. He swore he would act like a gentleman."

"You miss the three amigos, I get it. Somedays, I do too." I confessed.

"Enough about Derek, tell me more about your Gala." Several dishes and a few drinks later Steven was walking me to my car. His tie was loosened and he had his jacket across my shoulders to keep me from the chilly night air.

"Despite a rough start, I had a good time tonight," I announced.

"I did as well. Perhaps we could do coffee tomorrow?" I smiled and nodded.

"Sure, I have to come by to sign that paperwork. Maybe afterwards?"

"Text me when you get home, let me know you made it safe." I handed him his jacket and got into my car. I watched in admiration as he crossed the road. Steven had gotten hotter over the years. His slacks were snug and outlined a terrific ass. Smiling I slid into my rental car and started the engine. Derek hadn't been the only one who had a difficult time. Never had I regretted an action more than I did by hurting him. Derek had been my best friend, ever we were little kids. But as we got older, I had noticed things between us had started changing. Sighing to myself I drove home in silence. Upon arrival I kicked off my shoes and tossed my keys onto the table my father kept by his front door.

I began to undo my hair as I walked back to the spare bedroom where my suitcase laid sprawled out in the mess I'd left it in earlier. I kicked off my pants and I turned on my bedroom light. After pulling on an night shirt I made my way to the kitchen where I shoved in my left overs and pulled out the pint of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey, my secret addiction.

"Good to see some things have remained the same." I yelped and spun around, grabbing a knife from the butcher block.

"What the hell are you doing here? How did you even get in?" I demanded, taking a step back, heart skipping a few beats.

"You know I've never needed keys, babe." Derek leaned forward in his chair, he still wore the same suit, only his tie was loosened now. He held small glass with ice and amber liquid. He took a big drink before setting it aside.

"So you broke in here to help yourself to my Dad's scotch?" Derek laughed, it was a genuine laugh, rich and hearty.

"Please Gwennie, You know I have standards for my whisky. The stuff your father bought isn't even real scotch babe."

"Get out of my house!" I screamed, using the knife to point in the direction of the front door. I looked around for my purse where my cellphone waited inside; breaking and entering was taking it too far. Perhaps a night jail would sober him up.

"I'm going to give you to the count of three to drop that knife and come over here." Derek announced calmly. I frowned in confusion as he stood and took a step closer to me.

"One."

"Derek, what do you think you are doing?"

"Two..." I felt a rush of adrenalin, kicking my heart up a few beats, I tightened my grip on the knife.

"I don't want to hurt you Derek, but you're frightening me," I confessed, digging my hand into my purse, finding it just at the end of the breakfast bar.

"Looking for this perhas?" he held my cell phone up and slid it back into his back pocket as he stood and faced me.

"Three." He dove for me but I anticipated it and threw the knife at him before making a run for my bedroom. I threw my weight against the door and locked it. I ran to my suitcase, pulling out my small lock box. Derek turned the handle and I could hear him chuckle.

"You never cease to amaze me Guinevere," he admitted through the door. My hands shook as I typed in my pin. It clicked open as the door burst open, Derek standing there, face a few shades darker as he took deep breathes in and out. He held up my 9mm semi-automatic,

"That was a very stupid idea," he growled.

"You couldn't possibly know..."

"10-21-64, it's your mother's birthdate. I know everything there is to know about you sweetheart." I took a few steps backwards, keeping my eyes locked on him as I got closer to my bed.

"How stupid do you think I am? If I found the Gun, you better believe I found your knife." Sure enough as my hand slid carefully between my mattress and boxspring I felt nothing but the fabric. I was an idiot.

Derek wasn't some dumb criminal, he was cold and calculating. Everything Derek did in life he did with purpose. He rushed at me and I went to climb across the bed but he wrapped his arms around my chest, pinning my arms to my sides and I threw my head back. I was rewarded with a curse as he released me and grabbed his nose that was now bleeding. I ran for the door but he recovered quickly and threw me against the dresser, pressing my face down against the cold wood with his forearm against the back of my neck. The edge of the dresser knocked the wind right out of me and I gasped as he held me down with his entire body.

"Why do you have to be such a bitch? All I wanted was for you to drop the knife and come to me. I deserve answers Gwen, real answers. I deserve to know why you cheated on me." Derek demanded, the stench of alcohol so strong I felt a faint burning sensation in my nasal passages.

"It was ten years ago Derek, you need to let it go You're drunk, you don't really want to do this!" I argued. He leaned forward and rested his head by mine.

"You don't know just how long I've wanted to do this." He forced his knee between mine and I started to thrash against him, he pushed down on my neck harder and I cried out.

"This doesn't have to be difficult Guinevere, if you relax, I can make this feel good for you babe." He planted a kiss just below my ear and I burst into tears.

"Don't do this," Derek laughed in response.

"After this mess?" he gestured to the blood that was smeared across his lower face from his nose.

"You had your chance sweetheart, I was polite when you got home and it was you who drove me to this."

Clearly Derek had snapped. I bit my lip to prevent myself from begging him further. Instead I threw my elbow back and Derek grunted as I made contact with his ribs. If I couldn't plead my way out of it, I would at least make him work for it.

"I'm going to send you to prison Derek, you can say hi to your dad while you're there." I shouted as I elbowed him a few more times. He grabbed my wrist and dug his thumb into the soft flesh just above my pulse. I screamed as I attempted to kick him.

"Bitch!" he growled, throwing me to the ground. Before I could even get to my knees he was behind me, wrapping his arm around my throat and squeezing. I clawed at his arm, taking away some skin but he only squeezed harder. I felt dizzy at first, then lightheaded, my arms lost strength and finally my vision began to tunnel before turning into complete darkness.

~

When I opened my eyes I hissed at the assault of bright light. I tried to shield my eyes but found them bound above my head. I winced as I tried to take in my surroundings. I was flat on my back, ankles bound to the end of the table I was sprawled across, I still wore my night gown, but the table was cold beneath the thin fabric. I was in what looked to be an exam room, but what lined the walls looked nothing like medical equipment.

"I was wondering when you'd come to." Derek confessed.

"You've gone too far Derek. You can't come back from this."

"Come back? You misunderstand babe. We are not going back, only forward. And you're not going to tell anyone."

"Why is that? Are you going to kill me Derek?" He frowned as he brought a hand down to caress the side of my face.

"I hope not to. I love you too much to lose you Guinevere." He kissed me softly; lips tender as his tongue softly grazed my lower lip. He shouted curse words when I bit down. He pulled away but not before I broke the skin. He slammed his fist on the table top near my head in frustration.

"Let me go!" I demanded.

"You don't get it Gwen; you no longer get a say in anything. And as long as you obey me, I will take care of you for the rest of your life."

"And if I don't?" The look he gave me made all the bravery seep from my body.

"Then I will have to give you incentive babe."

"What do you want?"

"I want you, by my side, forever. I gave you time to make the right decision on your own, but I see now that was a mistake. You cannot make the right choices if they are not made for you." My lip trembled. Who was this man? How could this be the same boy who taught me how to catch frogs in the pond behind our houses growing up? The same guy who busted my first boyfriends face when the dirt bag slapped me.

Derek had always been there for me, but this Derek was different. He looked the same, he even talked the same, but he wasn't the same. Something inside him had broke, and I was beginning to think maybe I had been the one to break it.

"Just let me go and I won't tell," I swore. Derek unsheathed a long hunting knife and turned on a small torch lighter from the small table against the wall.

"W-W-What are you doing?"

"I am going to mark you so that you'll always remember who it is that you belong to." I jerked on my restraints and tried to find a knot to loosen or a buckle to undo; but he left little room for me to maneuver.

"You are not thinking clearly," I argued.

"Oh I'm thinking VERY clearly. Now try to hold still, wouldn't want to have to do this twice." He leaned on top of me, using his weight to hold me down. The second the heated metal touched my flesh I screamed, trying to pull away as he dragged it across my left shoulder blade in the shape of a D. I gagged on the stench of burning flesh, fresh tears coursed down my face.

"It only hurts for a little while," he soothed as he blew across the charred skin. I heard a sudden melody, telling me I had received a text message. He pulled my phone from his back pocket, the screen cracked from tossing it the night before, and typed in my pin, opening up the home screen.

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