Tapestry Ch. 03byHLD©
The relationships we have are threads in a tapestry, each woven together to show the life we have lived and connections we have with one another. This is the third of an open-ended series that will feature characters from some of my past stories, and introduce some new friends for us to get to know. Believe it or not, there is a grand plan—fluid as it may be—to bring the Tapestry stories together.
In a bit of shameless cross-promotion, this particular story features appearances by children of some of my other main characters, so you may want to check out my Spring Break series (and the other stories featuring that group), Some Things Are Meant to Be, History Lessons and the McKayala's Miracle stories. Just so you know, I have taken some liberties in terms of evening out some timelines to sync some of the character's ages.
As with many of my tales, if you're looking for quickie sex, these are probably not the kind of stories you want to read. I love to hear from readers, so please leave me a comment or send me an email.
"Suck my dick, bitch!"
Vanessa gagged as the big man violently thrust his cock into her mouth. At the same time, the hand on the back of her head pressed down.
The five men watching all laughed.
Her humiliation was nothing new, but Vanessa really needed the money. Or at least she thought she did.
"You do that so well!" Craig said with a derisive, taunting tone. "You're such a good little whore!"
She managed to lift her head enough to take a breath. His hand roughly grabbed her by the hair. Vanessa cried out in pain.
"Goddammit!" she spat. "Get your fucking hands off me!"
"Shut the fuck up, you dumb slut!"
This wasn't the first time he and his friends had treated her this way. But he always paid in cash. Lots of it.
"I believe the lady said to get your hands off of her." A new voice cut through the night. The baritone projected authority.
They were out on the back deck of a house along one of the many blocks of houses that rented to students at the university on an unseasonably warm February evening. All of the houses along this street and several others to all directions were well-worn rentals that had been inhabited by a couple of generations of students at Duke.
"Mind your own fucking business, asshole," Craig shouted as he pushed Vanessa's head back down into his crotch.
She heard someone walking up the short flight of steps. Vanessa pushed against Craig and fell back on to the deck, coughing and spitting. She turned to see who her knight in shining armour was.
There were three men—boys actually—on the landing. The speaker was a bear: tall with broad shoulders and strong arms. There was a dark look in his eyes. Another was tall and lanky and the third appeared to be a normal nineteen year-old kid in an oversized hoodie and a pair of jeans. All three were average-looking and generally unremarkable. They carried laptop bag and wore backpacks that appeared to be full of some kind of gear.
"Are you okay, miss?" the tall one asked, ignoring Craig and his friends, who were moving to confront the newcomers. "Are these idiots hurting you?"
"I'm fine," Vanessa said, her pride wounded, not only because she actually did need to be rescued, but also because of the reason why she was giving Craig a blowjob to begin with.
"Would you like us to leave? Or can we take you some place safe?"
"Look, asshole, I told you to mind your own fucking business." Craig stood and pulled his pants up. "Go on your little way and leave me and my whore alone, or I will beat the shit out of you."
"Try it." There was a coldness in his voice that was unmistakable, and it made Vanessa shudder.
No one spoke for a long moment. The tension in the air was palpable.
"Baseball bat," the skinny one said quietly.
"That's right motherfuckers," Craig sneered. "Now leave before I get my buddy to regulate."
"What the fuck?" she heard Craig gasp.
"Those would be air tasers. They're only good for about 15 feet, but they'll take you down in about four-tenths of a second." There was no taunting or gloating in the big man's voice. Only the cold statement of fact, and the unmistakable threat of violence.
Vanessa felt a hand on her shoulder. The skinny boy pulled her to her feet with the free hand that was not holding the pistol-shaped stun gun. She tried to gather her clothes around her as best she could. She went to get her purse and keys.
"Don't think I'm going to pay you!" Craig shouted, trying to save some face in front of his friends.
"Fuck you," Vanessa snarled. "And your small dick!"
The skinny one led her down the steps, and they were followed by the other two. She noticed that their eyes never left the group on the deck until they were well down the alley. Which was when their weapons went back into their concealed holsters.
"Thank you," she said to the three as they came out at the next street.
"Are you okay?" the big one asked.
"Yeah, I guess," Vanessa replied. "They're usually not that rough."
"That doesn't make it right."
"No, it doesn't," she sighed. "I'm Vanessa, by the way."
"It's nice to meet you. I'm Greg. The goofy looking one is Jimmy and the quiet one is Bryan."
"Listen, can I buy you guys a drink or something?" She wasn't swimming in money, but she felt she had to do something to thank her rescuers. Even if it meant she'd probably be going back to Craig's when her car insurance came due. And then there would be hell to pay.
"No, thanks," Greg replied. "We're running late as it is. Unless you'd like to come with us."
"Where are you going?"
"Some friends of ours are having a LAN party. It's the next block over."
"A what party?"
"A LAN party," Greg repeated. "Local. Area. Network. A bunch of folks get together and play games on computers that are hooked up together."
"Like Xbox Live?"
"Not quite, but there probably will be an Xbox there. You're welcome to come along." There was something oddly charming about Greg and his friends. They didn't seem pretentious or judgmental. And they had saved her from what would probably have turned into a not-so-nice gangbang.
"Maybe for a little bit. It's not like I have anything else to do tonight," Vanessa smiled uncomfortably, the gears in her head already turning as she tried to figure out how she was going to make up a couple hundred dollars to pay her rent.
They made small talk along the short walk to their friend's house. Normally, they would have parked closer, but when there's a Duke home basketball game, empty spaces around the university dry up fast. It's funny that students who can't be bothered to walk two blocks to class are more than willing to walk a mile to a bar or for a big-time basketball game. Only by pure chance were Greg and his friends cutting through the alley to come upon Vanessa and her "clients".
When they arrived, the house was packed with nerds, their computer stuff and food. As a pretty girl, she drew lots of stares, but Vanessa noticed there were a handful of other women there; some looked like they had only grudgingly tagged along with their boyfriends, but a couple had jumped right in and were mixing it up with the guys.
In the living room, several portable tables had been set up to accommodate desktop and laptop computers of all shapes and sizes and glowing/flashing LED light combinations. It was a mess of network cables, power cords, switches and various connectors. In another room, there were four big screen TVs; one was showing the Duke/Carolina pre-game show while the other three hosted furious Modern Warfare 3 action.
All told, there were probably forty people in the house. Some sat around talking, some rotated through the consoles and some never got up from their spot at the computer tables except to use the restroom.
"It's about fucking time you got here," someone called out as soon as they walked through the door.
"Shut up, Simmons," Bryan said with a grin. Then he switched to his Soup Nazi voice. "No heals for you."
Vanessa got the whirlwind tour and was introduced to just about everyone in the room. Of course, she didn't remember anyone's name.
As the guys unpacked their backpacks and set up their laptops, a pair of girls came over to Vanessa. One was short, with curly sandy blonde hair and the other was tall, with voluptuous curves and exotic, Asian features.
"If you're here against your will, blink twice," the taller one whispered in a cute southern drawl. The three of them laughed. "I'm Isabel, this is Maureen. Can we get you something to drink?"
"What have you got?"
"I know they've got coke, tea and beer."
"Good beer or cheap beer?"
"Probably some of both," Isabel said. "I'd say there's liquor in a cabinet, too. Let's go see."
No one questioned the trio as they rummaged through the kitchen. Apparently, it was good to be a girl in a house full of computer geeks. In addition to drinks, the hosts had provided a full spread of food that ranged from junk food to barbeque to a seven layer bean dip one of the guys had fixed that was surprisingly tasty. The guests all seem to have brought something as well, if only a bag a chips or 2-liter of soda.
There was a keg of really cheap beer, but also bottles in the fridge that were not marked as belonging to anyone in particular. Vanessa and Maureen helped themselves; Isabel was apparently driving. The girls fixed themselves plates and then headed back into the main room.
The pair was there with Isabel's twin brother David, who happened to be Maureen's boyfriend. He waved from his computer station. Like his sister, he was thin with a charming smile and handsome, angular looks. Vanessa didn't talk much, but found the girls to be friendly and it appeared they were happy to be able to talk about something other than computer games.
Greg, Jimmy and Bryan had set up their computers at one corner of the tables. Vanessa pulled up a chair between Greg and Jimmy after a few minutes. "So what are we playing?"
"It's called Star Wars: The Old Republic," Jimmy said.
"Star Wars is the one with Yoda, right?"
The guys's eyes seemed to light up when they found a girl who knew the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek. "Yeah, although this game takes place about four thousand years before the movies."
"Thirty-six hundred years," Greg scolded playfully. "Get it right, dork."
"What kind of game is it?" Vanessa asked as the guys started logging in.
"It's called an MMO: massively multiplayer online game," Jimmy said.
"Like World of Warquest?"
"Something like that."
As they got into the game, Vanessa barraged the guys with questions. "Is that who you are? Why are you blue? What are those things on your head? And why are you playing a chick? Do all of the girl characters in this game have ginormous chests, or just yours?"
Although she was asking questions mostly to humour the guys, she got a crash lesson in Star Wars lore, classes, aggro, crowd-control, healing, DPS and gear.
"Would you like to play?" Jimmy asked suddenly. He seemed like he was normally a pretty shy person, but for some reason, he was trying to engage their new friend. Vanessa found herself liking him immediately. And not just because he had threatened to taze someone who was sexually assaulting her. It was then that she noticed he was kind of cute, too.
"I would be delighted," she smiled and made sure to rub her not-so-small breasts against his arm.
"Oh, shit, no!" another of the guys lamented. "We need someone to tank!"
"Get Jumbo to tank."
"We need someone to tank that won't get us all killed."
"Leave him alone," Greg chided playfully. "Jimmy's talking to a girl, which is more than you've done today."
Jimmy started up a "toon" for her and guided her through the character creation process. She got in a couple of quests in the starter areas before the collective bitching of the group convinced her to give Jimmy his account back so he could "tank" (whatever that meant).
It turned out to be an unexpectedly fun night, the time made easier by the presence of the few other women and the easy-going nature of the people there.
The only dark spot of the night was when Greg asked her if she knew Craig's last name. She told him, although she didn't know why it mattered. A little while later, she saw Bryan running a background check on him on some security website. The guys were talking sofly amongst themselves, thinking she wasn't paying attention.
"Is this going to be trouble?" Greg asked.
"No, I'll take care of it. She doesn't leave here by herself," Vanessa heard Jimmy say softly. And then they went back to their game.
Vanessa wandered around the party while the guys were in the middle of a raid, and after finding Maureen and Isabel on the Xbox, the three of them showed that girls can kick ass at MW3 just as well as the guys. She found herself talking shit to a 12 year old who claimed to live in Seattle and pwning a group of middle-aged online warriors from Texas.
Although they seemed engrossed in their game, the guys made many attempts to see that Vanessa was having a good time. By 2 AM, some people had started to pack up and leave, although it looked like some of the stalwarts were going to pull an all-nighter.
"Would you like to stay for a while longer, or can we walk you to your car?" Bryan asked.
"How long are you staying?"
"If we can fill out this raid, we might be here until the sun comes up."
"I probably should get going. Maybe next time you'll let me tank."
Bryan just smiled. He reached into his backpack and retrieved his air taser and a collapsible riot baton, which he hung on his belt, beneath his sweatshirt.
"Are you going to be okay by yourself, Bee?" Greg asked.
"Yeah, it's only a couple of blocks."
"Thank you for a wonderful evening," Vanessa made a big show of giving Greg and Jimmy affectionate hugs in front of their friends.
Her car was about a block away from Craig's house and only a short distance from the LAN party. Bryan kept to the well-lit streets. When they turned the corner, Vanessa nearly broke down.
A brick had been thrown through her windshield and all of her tires had been cut.
"Motherfucker!" she spat, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Bryan's head was on a swivel, looking for anyone who may have been waiting for them. One hand went to the taser on his belt, his other reached for his iPhone.
"Gee, get Jimmy. Yellow alert. I'm at the corner of Jackson and Kent. Some asshole smashed Vanessa's windshield . . . Yeah, I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count. Bring the car around. I'll call Triple-A."
After hanging up the phone, he immediately started taking pictures.
Vanessa wanted to punch someone. Craig, specifically. Four tires and a windshield were going to be expensive, and unless someone saw them do it, the whole cost would be coming out of her pocket since she only carried liability insurance on her beat up Honda Civic.
"Can you have it towed to my house?" she asked Bryan.
"Where do you live?"
"Over off Rosewood by Durham Tech."
"I'm not having your car towed into that neighbourhood," Bryan said.
"I can't ask you to do any more."
"You didn't ask. And I'm not having your car towed into that neighbourhood in the condition it's in at two in the morning." Bryan's voice was firm and brokered neither discussion nor argument. "Does Craig know where you live?"
"You're not going home tonight either."
A few minutes later, Greg and Jimmy arrived, their computer gear hastily packed up in the backseat of a very nice Acura sedan. Triple-A showed up a few minutes later, and they loaded her car on the flatbed.
Vanessa, who had always prided herself as being independent, appreciated how the guys took charge. The three of them moved and acted as a team, often seeming to know what the others were going to do next without speaking.
"Did you notice if anything was taken from your car?" Greg asked as they moved their computer bags from the backseat to the trunk.
"I don't have anything worth stealing," Vanessa muttered softly. "Where are we going?"
"Our house. At least for tonight," Bryan said. "We'll sort the rest of this out in the morning."
It turned out that the guys lived just a little ways from Duke, where they were all students. Still shaken and really pissed off, Vanessa wasn't paying much attention until they pulled up to a McMansion in the upscale Croasdaile neighbourhood. Her jaw fell open.
"You guys live here?"
"Yeah," Bryan grinned sheepishly. "It was a foreclosure and my dad got a good deal on it. We lived in the dorms our freshman year and wanted to move off campus, but not into one of the dumps near the school. We just moved in last August."
"I'm definitely doing something wrong in life," Vanessa sighed under her breath.
There was a detached four-car garage, but the tow truck driver left her car in the driveway. The guys led her into the house, which was 7000 square feet of suburban excess: five bedrooms, five and a half baths, hardwood floors, granite countertops, full basement and stainless steel appliances that the previous owners had convinced themselves they needed only to promptly go bankrupt when the housing market tanked.
It was pretty much as she expected for a bachelor pad, only with nicer fixtures. The decorations were spartan with couches and tables set up more for utility and comfort than appearance or décor. The house was clean and well-kept, and Vanessa couldn't help but envy her new friends, both for what they had and for their ability to be so generous to a complete stranger.
Since his parents owned the house, Bryan occupied the master suite which the other two stayed in bedrooms on the upper floor. There was a third bedroom up there, and a guest suite on the main level on the far side of the house, which was where the boys's parents stayed when they visited, and where she was going to sleep.
"We have an alarm system, outside video surveillance and enough weapons in the house to arm a small South American junta," Jimmy told her as he exchanged his taser for a handgun. "Plus, I don't think we were followed."
"Are you always armed?" Vanessa asked. She hadn't grown up around guns, and frankly, they made her nervous. They guys were too young to have concealed weapons permits in North Carolina, but that didn't mean they weren't without other weapons or that they couldn't carry them around their house.
"Jimmy is," Greg laughed. "His dad made him paranoid."
"Peace through superior firepower," the other boy replied. "It worked tonight, didn't it?"
"We'll see about getting your car fixed in the morning," Bryan said. "There are towels in the bathroom and an extra blanket in the closet. If you need anything, just holler."
She didn't have a change of clothes, but the guys produced an oversized t-shirt and a pair of workout shorts for her to sleep in. Vanessa figured that if the guys had wanted to beat or rape her, they probably would have done so already. Besides, she didn't get that vibe from them.
The queen-sized bed was adorned with bamboo sheets and was soft and comfortable. She fell asleep quickly, and wondered what it would be like to sleep in such a palatial house every night.
It was almost ten o'clock when she awoke. At least that's what her phone said. The sun was trying to peek through the drawn curtains. She didn't want to get out from under the down comforter.
From outside the window, she heard power tools and cursing, so she put on her clothes and took a peek. The back of her car was up on jackstands and Bryan was using an air wrench to attach the third of four new tires that he had apparently gone out and bought for her that morning.