***Trigger Warning. This may be disturbing to some readers.***
“Summer?” The woman in front of me asked.
“I’m so sorry. When we met before you never told me your name.”
A kind smile spread on her lips. “It’s Alice, dear.”
“Alice? That means you’re?”
I stepped aside and allowed her entry into her son’s home. “Please come in.”
“Where is Tyler, dear?”
“On the couch asleep. He’s sick.”
“Why don’t we let him rest. I’ll make us a cup of tea.”
“Thank you.” I locked the door and the both of us made our way into the kitchen. Alice filled up the kettle, flipped the switch and made our mugs before we sat on the dining chairs.
“So, you’re the girl I’ve heard about? The girl that my son started dating?”
“How did the two of you meet?”
“My best friend lives next door. I met Tyler at their party.” I dipped the tea bag in a few times before I brought the warm liquid to my lips.
“I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting them yet.”
“My friend and her husband are newlyweds. You’ll love them.”
“You have no idea how happy I was when he told me that he was seeing someone.”
I bit my lip. “He hasn’t been the relationship type of person, has he?”
“No, dear. Not for some time now.”
We hadn’t been together for long, but there were certain traits about Tyler, that made me want to be with him.
“He’s really sweet actually, and my God, he can make me laugh.”
“It’s nice to hear someone talking that way about my son,” she beamed. It soon faltered when a thought crossed her mind. “Forgive me for prying, but does he know?”
I shook my head. “I’ve thought about telling him. It’s just not an easy subject to bring up. We haven’t known each other that long.”
“I can’t imagine it would be.”
“I never got a chance to thank you for what you did for me that day.”
Alice reached over and squeezed my hand. “I didn’t do anything, dear.”
“You did more than you know.”
After chatting with Tyler’s mom, I said a quick goodbye before I left to get my laptop from home.
TYLER’S POINT OF VIEW
My eyes fluttered open and a deep moan escaped my lips when the warmth I received from Summer disappeared.
I wonder where she is.
I looked up and reciprocated my mom’s smile. “Hey, mom.”
“How are you feeling?”
“Better. Where’s Summer?”
“She’ll be back soon. She had to get her laptop from home.”
I used my strength to prop myself on the couch. “So much for waiting for you to meet her.”
“I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing sometimes.”
“Well, you haven’t dated someone in a long time.”
A deep sigh released from my mouth. “I guess.”
“How do you feel about her?”
“I don’t know. It’s still so new.”
“Something has drawn you to her. Why now? Why her?”
I ran my hands over my face before my fingers combed my hair. “I don’t know what it is. There’s just something about her.”
“Do you love her?”
“It’s too early for that mom, but I definitely have feelings for her.”
My mom sat down next to me. “Don’t shut out what’s happening to you. Don’t fight it.”
“Mom, what if?”
She placed her hand on my shoulder. “You’re not your father. Just because I didn’t get my happily ever after with him, doesn’t mean you won’t.”
“She’s a beautiful girl.”
“She is,” I agreed. Summer was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. Every strand of her hair, every curve of her body, I wanted to marvel in.
“Honey, you need to promise me something.”
I narrowed my eyes. “What’s that?”
“You have to promise me you won’t hurt her. That girl has been to hell and back.”
What the hell?
“What are you talking about mom?”
“I can’t tell you anymore than that. She’ll tell you when she’s ready. Just, please don’t hurt her.”
SUMMER’S POINT OF VIEW.
FOUR YEARS AGO.
“So, what you’re saying is you didn’t want to have sex with him?”
“That wasn’t sex,” I replied.
I was seated in the witness stand in the courthouse. The opposing lawyer asked me questions about the night I was attacked. Kyle, my attacker, was seated in his chair with a smug expression. The evil smile on his face caused a shiver to run down my spine.
“So we’re supposed to believe you went up to that room just to talk?”
“You have consensual sex with him, and now you have the after guilt and decided to cry rape.”
“That’s now what happened!” My eyes swelled before the threatened tears cascaded down my cheeks.”
“You like it a bit rough, don’t you?”
I wiped the tears away with the back of my hand. “No. He raped me.”
“From your history, we know that you are not an innocent girl. Sleeping around. Just admit that you wanted to have sex with Kyle.”
“He hit me. He forced himself on me.”
The lawyer continued to ask me questions at the same process he tarnished my reputation. “I have nothing further to add.”
“You may step down now, Summer,” the judge added.
I nodded, but instead of taking my seat again, I ran out and found the closest bathroom. Barging in, I leaned my back against the wall and slid down before I brought my knees to my chest.
“Hello, dear.” I looked up and blinked the tears away only to reveal a beautiful woman in a black suit. Her blonde hair waved neatly against her face. A soft smile spread on her lips before she handed me a tissue. “Here you go.”
“I came in here when I saw you run out of the courtroom. Are you okay?”
I shook my head, and swallowed the lump in my throat. “I don’t know if I can do this anymore.”
“I’ve been watching your trial. I am a lawyer as well. I am sorry for what you went through. What Kyle did was horrendous.”
“Did you hear that man in there? Implying that I asked for it? Accused me of lying about the whole thing. If I had known what Kyle was like, I would have NEVER gone up to that room with him.”
“I know,” she whispered. “You didn’t deserve to have that happen to you. No one does.”
“I can’t deal with this,” I croaked before the tears flowed down. “It’s too much.”
“Summer. You went through something horrific. The way you’re feeling right now is completely justified and expected. I don’t know you darling, but I do know this. You have survived something unimaginable. You, my dear, are stronger than you realize. Stronger than you believe you are. And one day, it might not feel like it right now, you will realize that what happened to you does not define who you are. Nor does it define who they think you may be. No matter what the outcome of this trial is, you will always be better than the lowlife sitting in that courtroom. You need to fight for yourself. Be brave and fight.”
I listened to her kind words, and understood she was right. A strength ignited in me that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I stood and pulled the stranger in for a hug. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, dear. I think you need to head back in now.”
“I’ll go back in a minute.”
“Stay strong, Summer, because whether you know it or not, you already are.”