For Anyone Interested
Here’s three chapters of something original I started and then stopped. It was called Careful and it’s probably triggery. Also if you search my blog for A Gina In A Bottle, there’s chapter one of another story I started but stopped. Both were from last year.
High school. Senior year.
I’d been back for four weeks so far and I already I wanted to bury my head in the sand and never resurface.
Everyone knows that high school can either be the best experience or the worst experience of someone’s young years. Every teen movie or every show tells us that we need to be one of the popular kids. We need to date the quarterback of the football team or be head cheerleader, preferably both. We need to walk the halls with our heads held high and a sneer on our faces as we look down our noses at the geeks and freaks. Otherwise, our high school years will be hell.
And no one wants that. No one wants to be shoved in a locker daily, or have rumours spread about them. No one wants to be in the lowest tier of high school popularity.
So I worked hard. I got good grades as well as whining at my mom from a young age to enrol me in gymnastics and dance classes, skills I’d need to be a cheerleader. I got braces early to ensure that my smile was perfect, and from the age of eleven I was constantly on a diet. I worked my ass off to be one of the popular kids and to not be one of the geeks and freaks.
And I was. I was head cheerleader, dating the captain of the football squad whilst maintaining a b + average. I was queen bee in my group of friends, looking down my nose at the little people, the kids who hadn’t worked as hard as I had to get to where I was.
Every guy in school wanted to do me and every girl wanted to be me. I was everything teen movies and shows told me I should want to be.
Until suddenly I wasn’t. Suddenly going into my senior year, I was the outcast. The girl that had rumours spread about her, the girl that had liar scrawled across her locker.
I was the girl that teachers pulled to one side to ask if I was okay, all the time wondering if I’d been telling the truth or not. I suddenly had a weekly appointment with the school guidance counsellor, being excused from whatever class it clashed with to attend. I found that my post as head cheerleader was no longer available to me, it was a conflict of interests apparently.
My friends had abandoned me before the summer break and my family walked on eggshells around me. This wasn’t how it was meant to be. This wasn’t what I’d worked for.
Should I have spoken out? Should I have kept it to myself? Had it even happened the way I remembered it?
The more I heard stories about what HAD happened, the whispers of people who weren’t even there, the more I had questioned whether this had been my fault. And the more I questioned it, the more I drove myself insane.
Which is ultimately what had cemented my position as the lowest of the low at school. Sealed my fate as a freak, someone that it was considered okay to gossip about, to make fun off. I wanted the questions to stop, the constant doubt that plagued me to go away.
So two weeks into my summer vacation I’d lain in the bath tub, taken a razor blade to my wrists after carefully researching the correct way to cut, and I’d tried to kill myself.
And somehow everyone in the school knew about it.
“Mckenna, are you sure you don’t want to change schools?”
My mother paused before taking another mouthful of her food, watching me carefully to make sure I was eating.
“Mom, there’s no point. Everyone in this school district knows. Everyone in the next school district knows. It was all over the Internet. Short of moving to another country entirely, I’m pretty fucked.”
“K! Language… ” My Mom exclaimed, Dad reaching out and touching her arm.
“Leanna, it’s okay. Let it go.”
Dad was my number one supporter throughout all of this. Mom… Not so much. It wasn’t like she wasn’t there for me but, I could see the questions in her eyes sometimes, especially after I’d retracted my statement. She’d constantly asked why I’d retracted if I was telling the truth. If I has nothing to hide then I should stand up myself and take the case to court.
Dad however, he understood. He saw how hard it was for me to deal with the questions being repeated over and over again. Everytime the officer had asked if I’d made it clear that I wasn’t willing, everytime they asked if I was certain I’d said no. He knew why I’d retracted, because I’d have crumbled in court. I wouldn’t have been able to handle the pressure, the looks.
Instead I was just crumbling at life. Everyday it seemed like a small piece of me was chipped away, everyday I was further away from the person I’d been four months ago. I wish I could just…
Actually, I don’t wish anything. I wished to be popular when I was a little girl and look at what popularity brought me. I now understand why they say to be careful what you wish for.
“I don’t appreciate that sort of language at the dinner table, Daniel. It’s not acceptable.” Leanna Willis sniffed, staring pointedly at me.
Great. So what had started of as a conversation about my wellbeing was going to turn into an attack on me because I’d dropped an f bomb. As if there weren’t more important things going on.
“Leanna, please. Mckenna is sorry she let that word slip. Aren’t you?”
Fine. “Yes, sorry Mom. I’ll try not let it happen again.”
“Good. I don’t like to hear that sort of language coming from your mouth, K.”
I shook my head and placed my knife and fork on the table.“ How many times have I asked you not to call me that?”
She looked at me startled, as if she’d forgotten the trillions of times I’d burst into tears over the past four months whenever someone had used my old nickname. The nickname he used. Everytime I heard it, it was as if I could hear his voice whispering it into my ear, his weight crushing me.
“Oh! Yes, I thought by now you’d have been over that.”
Daniel Willis looked at his wife with an expression of disbelief on his face whilst I just stood up and walked away, heading up the stairs and into my bedroom. I couldn’t cope with my Mom when she was like this. One minute she was sympathetic and caring, the next she was so blasé about it that you’d think it had happened to one of her friends daughters and she was just casually gossiping about it.
Two minutes later a knock sounded at my door.
“Mckenna, can I come in?”
Dad walked into my room, a plate of chocolate chip cookies in his hand. He set them down on my bedside table and then sat at the end of my bed.
“I’m sorry about your Mom. I don’t understand why she’s like this sometimes. I think she just struggles to understand it all and can’t process it. Your Aunt Chrissie is trying to get her to see someone about it to help.”
I just shrugged, there wasn’t anything I could really say or do. Chrissie was probably right, maybe Mom did need to see someone.
“Are you sure about not changing schools though? It can’t be easy for you there.”
“Dad, it wouldn’t be easy for me anywhere. I’ll cope.”
“Like you did over the summer?” he looked away from me when he said that, his voice cracking.
“I’m sorry about that. I’ll never do that again I promise. I’m just trying to keep my head down and get on with it. The teachers don’t let it get too bad, well most of them at least.”
The gym teachers were the worst, the football coach, my old cheerleading coach. They both looked at me with pure disdain on their faces, like I’d purposely tried to ruin the teams they’d worked so hard to put together. It wasn’t like anything I’d done had an effect on them anyway, it had been his last year on the team before college, and Sammie Townsend had been all too happy to step into my shoes as head cheerleader.
“If you’re sure then… You know how proud of you I am right baby? And that I’m here for you one hundred percent.”
I did. I remembered the look of anger and heartbreak on my Dad’s face when I’d told him, how my older brother Evan had had to physically restrain him to stop him leaving the house and going around to the Mckenzie residence. And I remembered the expression of sadness on his face when I woke up in the hospital bed, him clutching my bandaged wrist like he himself was holding the wounds together.
“I know Daddy. I love you.”
He rose my from bed and left the room, closing the door behind me. It was then that I reached under my bed and pulled out the shoebox with the articles I’d clipped. I don’t know why I’d kept them, maybe to remind myself that it was real, that it had happened.
“Headcheerleader accuses boyfriend of rape”
Then a few weeks later:
“Accusation of sexual assault retracted.”
The final one came from a print out from the schools own online newspaper, an article that the school had removed within hours when they’d realised it had been posted.
“Mckenna Willis attempts suicide after lying about Scott Mckenzie rape. The liar lives.”
I won’t go into it. Not into detail anyway. I’ve already done that countless times for the cops, for the Dr that completed the rape kit and the medical exam, for my parents.
What I will explain is how deeply I thought Scott Mckenzie loved me, how I thought he respected my wishes, that I wanted to wait. He didn’t know that I was planning on sleeping with him anyway before he went away to college in the fall. But that would have been on my terms.
What he did to me, wasn’t.
We’d been together for eighteen months, he was a year above me in school and the object of almost every ones affection. Yet he wanted me, and I was all to happy to let him have me. At least the parts I was willing to give.
We were the school power couple, homecoming King and Queen. People used to joke that if we married, I’d be Mckenna Mckenzie, a name so ridiculous it sounded made up. He was the one that started calling me K, something all of our friends and even my family adopted themselves. For the longest time I’d been either Mckenna or Mac to those who knew me from kindergarten. But Scott didn’t like Mac, said it sounded too masculine. So I became K. And I was happy to become her, it fit the school life I’d had planned for myself. Every couple aspired to match Scott and K, and every teenager without a partner looked up to us as ‘relationship goals’.
Scott was… For the most part, the perfect boyfriend. He’d take me on dates, buy me flowers and gifts, and generally be supportive of me. He did however push things. I’d told him that I didn’t want to have sex with him yet, that I wanted to wait. “What for though?” he’d always ask.
I didn’t know. We did stuff and I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t ready to have sex with him. When I finally decided that I was, I had it planned. I didn’t want to lose it in the back seat of one of our cars, or in our bedrooms whilst our parents watched TV downstairs. I didn’t want a quick fumble at Storm Point, the local make out point. I wanted it to be special, to happen in an expensive hotel room.
I didn’t get that chance. He made the decision for me. In the back of his car.
It took four minutes and fifteen seconds. I know because I counted every last one of them, my eyes fixated on a tiny rip in the material covering the roof of his car. One minute we were fooling around, doing the things I was happy with.
Four minutes and fifteen seconds later, I was a victim.
Four minutes doesn’t seem that long, not really. I Googled things someone could do in four minutes afterwards.
I could listen to a song, I could watch a you tube video. I could microwave a meal, or make an omelette. I could meditate or take a power nap. Or I could learn something new.
Here’s what I learned in those four minutes. That no doesn’t always mean no if the person you’re saying it to doesn’t want it to.
That someone you thought cared for you and loved you, could take advantage of you so horrifically.
In four minutes I learned what it was like to have your power, your choice, taken away from you.
In four minutes I learned how easy it is for someone to break me.
If anyone remembers my one shot “Used” it would have probably ended similarly to that. Or at least that was one idea.