I started walking down the drive in search of Jessie's car when I saw the usual flash across my vision. I closed my eyes and tried to push it away, but when I opened my eyes, it was still there.
My mom used to tell me that I had an overactive imagination but once it spiraled out of control, my parents took me to the doctor and we found out that I was mildly schizophrenic. It was nowhere near as bad as some people but it still happened from time to time. The medicine that they gave me has been helping a lot, but apparently, my mother couldn't deal with a schizophrenic little girl, which is the reason she left, with also led to my depression disorder, which also resulted in medications.
I thought it was just my mind playing tricks on me again. The movement was always in the corner of my vision, never going away until finally, I stopped and turned my head in that direction. That's when I saw him. He was wearing the same thing as earlier, the dark hoodie was zipped up and he walked towards me with a callous smile. It was the same one he had used at lunch today.
He walked closer and closer until he stopped about two yards away from me. "Hey Jazz. Leaving the party so soon?" I shrugged and looked down at the ground.
"Look, Jazz. I'm sorry about what I said at lunch earlier. I didn't mean it, really," Cooper apologized. I looked up for the first time to notice his bloodshot eyes and dopey expression. That's when I realized that he was probably high right now, and possibly drunk as well. I took a miniscule step back, trying not to let him notice.
"It's fine Cooper," I said quietly. I turned and tried to walk away but jerked to a stop when I felt a hand on my upper arm. He whirled me around to face him. "I said I'm sorry Jasmine. Let me make it up to you," he said huskily. My eyes widened in fear as I recognized his innuendo.
"That's okay. You don't have to Cooper. I'm fine with it," I said hastily. I pulled my arm away then speed walked towards the car. I got to it and unlocked the door, when suddenly, I was pulled back. He slammed the car door closed and pushed me against it, his fingers digging into my arm as he faced me.
His hot breath blew across my face when he spoke and I could smell the mixture of marijuana and alcohol. "Come on Jazz," he pleaded. "I'll take it slow for you baby," he said quietly. He ran his fingers down my shoulder and stopped at the neckline of my dress before hooking his finger into the hem.
"Cooper stop," I said. He didn't stop. He pulled at my dress, revealing more of my breast. "Cooper please," I begged, shoving against his chest. He caught both of my wrists with his large hand and locked them in place before pulling my arms up over my head. He pushed his face into the crook of my neck and I jerked.
"Please stop Cooper. Leave me alone," I begged again. I felt his lips turn up. "I like it when you beg princess," he said against my skin. His lips were slobbery and hot and it felt revolting against my neck. "Maybe if you do it some more I'll make it a little easier for you."
I bit my lip as he started trailing his wet mouth along my shoulders. I felt the tears surface when he pressed his mouth to the top of my breast. "Stop it Cooper. Please stop. Just let me go," I cried through the lump in my throat. It was building, making it harder and harder to speak.
He lifted my arms even higher so that I was standing on my tippy toes when he pressed his body into mine. "I won't hurt you princess. You should leave feeling very satisfied," he said. I tried to cry out again when his hand lifted the end of my dress up, pulling it higher and higher. Tears were flooding my cheeks and when his fingers skimmed the hem of my panties, I released the scream.
He silenced me by smashing his slobbery lips against mine and all I could do was cry now. He let go of my wrists and picked me up, his hands cupping my butt as he held me between him and the car.
Now that my hands were free, and scratched and pushed and pulled his hair, trying to free myself from him, but he only groaned, as if I was trying to pleasure him. He pulled his mouth away and I took my chance. I screamed as loud as I possibly could, hoping that someone would hear me but he silenced me again by reconnecting our lips.
I bit down as hard as I could and he yelled and jumped. This only seemed to make him even more mad because his movements got rougher. He shoved against me and I squealed. Suddenly, I was dropped and I barely caught myself before I felt a bone crunching pounding sound. I stayed sitting there, hunched against the car, bawling my eyes out.
I was crying so hard I could barely breathe and I thought of how close I was to being raped. My face was buried in my hands as sobs racked my body and soon I was hiccuping and crying at the same time, which was never a good thing.
The sounds stopped and I felt someone reach out their hand and as soon as their fingers brushed against my skin, I let out a blood curdling scream.
"Jasmine. Bambi, look at me baby. Just look at me. Everything's okay now, I'm here. I won't let anyone hurt you anymore," Shane said softly. I scrunched closer to the car, balling myself up and I only cried harder. He sat down next to me and when he touched me this time, I didn't pull away. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me onto his lap. I buried my face, still covered by my hands, into his chest and let the waterworks run freely.
He rubbed soothing circles on my back and cradled my head with his hand. He crooned while he was holding me, trying to console and comfort me.
"You're okay now. I won't let anything happen to you baby. You'll be okay," he said softly. I didn't know how long we sat there, but eventually, I fell asleep against his shoulder because I was exhausted.
I woke up to a movement on my side and I opened my bleary eyes to see that I was being set down on a bed in a dark room. I whimpered when I slid onto the bed and the blankets were pulled over me. Shane went to walk out but I quickly grabbed his arm. I didn't want him to leave. If I was alone then my imagination would drive me crazy. Or crazier.
"Please don't leave me. I don't want to be alone," I pleaded softly. He hesitated a moment before sliding into the bed beside me. He put his arm around me and I leaned into him.
He was sitting up against the wall and I scooted closer to him. "Shane," I addressed him quietly. "Bambi," he responded.
"I just wanted to say thank you. For helping me." He tensed up and I felt him shake his head.
"You shouldn't even have to thank me because that shouldn't have happened. Especially to you. Now go back to sleep. I'll take you home in the morning," he said. I wanted to ask where we were but I let out a wide yawn and closed my eyes to drift back to sleep.
It turned out that he had brought me to his one room apartment. I woke up in the same position I had fallen asleep in and so did Shane, which I knew could not have been comfortable. I carefully untangled myself from his arm and slipped out of the bed.
Making sure that I hadn't woken Shane, I stepped lightly out to the hall to find a bathroom. Once I found it and flushed, I looked at myself in the mirror. Everything that happened last night came rushing back to me and I felt a tightening in my chest, like I couldn't breathe.
Suddenly, I was there again. Cooper was against me and he was pulling my dress up. I squeezed my eyes shut. It's not real, it's not real, it's not real, I repeated to myself. But this time, it wasn't going away.
Now Cooper was holding a knife, slowly dragging the blade down my arm. I yelped when I saw the blood start to flow from my arm. I let out a cry but I tried to keep it quiet. This wasn't real. I knew it and I didn't want to wake Shane for something so stupid.
Now my blood was turning a bluish black color and I realized how unrealistic this was. This wouldn't actually happen, so it's fake. My old psychiatrist told me to always look for clues that it's not real. This isn't real, because your blood doesn't change colors. Does it?
I closed my eyes, taking deep breaths, trying to push the images away. I kept repeating my mantra to myself. "It's not real, it's not real, it's not real." Then I felt a warm hand on my arm. I could physically feel it, which meant that it was real. I didn't mean to, but I screamed. Now that it was real, I was too scared to open my eyes.
"Stop. Please don't hurt me," I whimpered, a lone tear falling down my cheek. The pressure from my arm went away only to place itself on both sides of my face and the tear was wiped away.
"I'm not going to hurt you baby. Open your eyes," the soft voice said. I did as I was told to see Shane knelt down in front of me. When did I get on the ground? He stroked my cheekbone with his thumb, moving it back and forth. Another tear fell down my cheek and I closed my eyes tightly to hold them at bay. I flung my eyes open and quickly stood up, ignoring the dizzy spell that washed over me.
I need to get home. I need to get my medication and fix this. I didn't want this to be happening. When Shane stood up, I grabbed a hold of his arms, my eyes wide. I must have looked crazy, but I didn't care because I already was crazy, I just wasn't at my maximum yet.
"Shane, you have to take me home. Take me home now I need to…" I trailed off, realizing that if I said anything else, then I might show him just how crazy I really am. He placed his hands on both of my shoulders.
"It's okay. I'll take you home, just calm down okay?" I nodded a little, tears forming in my eyes but I quickly wiped them away. He helped me up and took me downstairs and we went outside to see Jessie's car in the lot. I had forgotten about her car. Now how will Shane get home? I didn't think too much into it. In fact it was the least of my worries and I usually would have felt a twist of guilt.
The car ride was silent and I kept my face against the window. "What happened to Cooper," I asked quietly, feeling bile rise in my throat as his name came out of my mouth.
I glanced over to see Shane grip the wheel so tight that his knuckles turned white when they strained. "He's been taken care of. I threw him in front of the police department when I took you back to my place." I lifted my head from the window and looked at him. He kept his eyes on the road, watching the cars around him.
"Shouldn't I have gone in for questioning," I asked him. I think I was supposed to answer a bunch of questions, at least that's how it was on TV. He glanced at me for the first time and shrugged.
"Yes, but you were asleep and I informed them to call you. I didn't think you'd want to talk about it yet," he said softly. I nodded once and turned back to the window, occasionally giving him directions back to my house.
When he pulled up, Dad's car was in the driveway and I knew that he was going to give me he'll for staying out all night. Shane parked the car and turned to me.
"This is Jessie's car. You'll have to wait until she comes to pick it up and get a ride from her," I said quietly. He nodded once and got out to open my door for me. He wrapped his arm around my waist and helped me up the path and I found myself leaning into him for support.
Halfway up the sidewalk, the front door burst open and my dad came out and marched towards me. Something snapped in his eyes when he saw Shane holding me up. Tears sprung to my eyes. I would have to tell my father what happened, and I wasn't sure if I was strong enough for that.
"Jasmine, where the hell have you been all night? I've been worried sick and then you wouldn't answer your phone and neither would Jess and I swear to God, Jasmine if that is Shane Lewis I'm grounding you," Dad exploded.
I couldn't dam the flood back anymore. I cried freely and buried my face in Shane's shoulder. He wrapped his other arm around me, shielding me.
"No disrespect Mr. Johnson, but your daughter has been through a lot since last night," Shane said politely, but his tone left no room for argument. "I think if you'd just listen to what she has to say then maybe you wouldn't be so hard on her."
I thought back again to Cooper's body pressed against mine. I felt something shift in my stomach and I suddenly felt extremely nauseous. I jerked away from Shane and fell to my knees as I got sick in the grass. He held my hair and rubbed circles on my back. Tears were still in my eyes. I stood up shakily, holding on to Shane's arm for support. My dad didn't look happy, but he looked less reprimanding and more concerned than he had a minute ago.
He walked forward and ignoring his earlier anger and frustration, he helped me into the house. I was actually surprised that he had let Shane come in with us, but I said nothing. I wanted to tell him what happened and get it all over with. They had sat me down on one of the sofas in the living room, both of them on either side of me.
Dad was looking at me attentively, waiting for my explanation, but I was still working up the courage. Finally, Dad broke into the silence to ask s question. "Have you been drinking Jasmine? Is that why you're sick, because if you were then I won't do anything about that. I expected that when I let you go."
I shook my head and he continued. "Well then what happened?" I took a shaky breath, dragging my gaze away from the shag carpet under my feet. Tears welled up again as I looked at Dad and thought of his reaction to this.
"Um… I didn't drink last night. The beer was nasty. Jess was staying with some guy and told me to go ahead and go home, so she gave me her keys. I walked out to the car and I kept seeing stuff so at first, I thought it was my…" my eyes locked with my father's and I quickly glanced back at Shane, then proceeded to fix my gaze back onto the carpet. "...problem, so when I realized that it was actually a guy that I went to school with, I talked to him a few minutes and then I went to leave but he-"
I choked up on the words. There was something lodged in my throat again. Shane grasped my hand and squeezed. I quickly rushed through what happened last night, telling him about what happened and how Shane saved me, but I couldn't finish the story without feeling my stomach clench in disgust. I had never seen my father so angry as I had right then.
His jaw was tightly clenched and his hands were in fists on his lap. I never let go of Shane's hand, so I felt it tighten when Dad stood up.
"I can't believe this. Did you take him to the police?" I nodded and Shane cut in. "Yes. They're supposed to be calling her in for questioning soon." My dad nodded stiffly. I could tell that he still didn't like Shane, but to be honest, I didn't really care what he thought of Shane anymore. I wasn't letting him go anywhere.
My phone rang later on and I took it off the charger and answered. "Hello?"
"Hello. Is this Jasmine Johnson?"
"Yes. May I ask who's calling?"
"This is Sandra Anderson, from the Hughston police department. We need you and Shane Lewis to come in for questioning on Cooper Smith. How soon will you be able to arrive?"
I looked over at Shane, who had appeared in the doorway and leaned against the frame. "I'm on my way right now," I said into the phone. She thanked me and hung up.
I grabbed my keys and pocketed my phone. "They need us to come in and give our statements about Cooper. Let's go." He nodded and followed me out to the car. I got in and maneuvered my way around Jessie's car, which was a little in the way. We arrived in about fifteen minutes and I grabbed Shane's hand as we walked towards the building.
We entered and Shane led me towards the elevator, like he knew exactly where he was going. I remembered Isabel saying something about Shane had been arrested at some point and just got released. I glanced at him and he gave me.a tight smile. Minutes later, I was in an office. The woman instructed me to sit across from her.
I was kind of glad it was a woman. It would feel awkward to talk about this with a strange man. Shane had been led into a different room, where I assume he was being questioned separately. I gave my account of what had happened once again, starting from when I walked out. It was a little easier to repeat the story than it was to tell my father about it.
The woman took notes and dismissed me after she put her written notes into a girl folder. I stepped out and was engulfed in a hug. I instinctively wound my arms around his waist, burying my face into Shane's chest.
He pressed his lips to my forehead and he wrapped his hand around mine as we went back the way we had come. I didn't know what would happen to Cooper, or what this meant for Shane and I, but I didn't really care at this point. I just wanted to go home and forget, but I knew it wouldn't be that easy, though I wished it was.