Conflict Of Interest

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Chapter 20

“Back for round 2 are we?” His slimy voice says with a deep sickening chuckle “You know it will be a lot more fun if I don’t have to drug you or hit you this time. You see, they always come back, always. Even though that Natalie girl was quite a bit of fun she didn’t stay long. You were a wiggler however she was not”

“We both know that what happened wasn’t consensual. You drugged and raped me you slimy, sick, son of a bitch” My voice snaps at him and the audience cheers. This time I roll my eyes looking at my lap so they can’t see it.

“I have found you need to show a girl what they turned down for them to really understand what they passed on” He says with little remorse

“You raped me” my voice affirms trying to get him to say the words.

“So what if I did? no ones going to believe you. It’s my word against yours, and you are luck I don’t do it again. You misbehave and I’ll have to punish you. Got it?” He admits.

“No. I am here to turn in my resignation. I quit” I say with confidence I didn’t know I had. I’ve never listened to this tape, my memories are enough.

“I was gonna fire you anyway, but this way I won’t lose any money” He says. Deranged psychopath.

“You are a worthless piece of shit, you are a pig, you are a lying son of a bitch, you are going to die along and I hope you burn in hell” my voice spats, you can hear the office door slam and my quick and uneven breaths. The audio cuts out and the audience goes quiet.

I take a deep breath and gather my courage to finish this interview. “After he confessed I took the confession to the police, they arrested him. Natalie and 14 other girls came forward and shared their stories about Ray. He threatened some of them that if they didn’t quit he would do it again. All so he didn’t lose money with the payout clause in the employe rules. He would have to pay them 2 months salary if he fired them. He didn’t want to so he threatened them after he raped them so they would quit and he wouldn’t lose money. He was convicted 15 years for every rape thats 240 years, he was never leaving prison and is still there.

After he was convicted I started seeing another therapist and went on another job hunt. Interviewed for Thomas Industries in December and I told him everything, yes everything and he still gave me a job. I went to my best friends sisters wedding and met Gage Thomas, I had no idea who he was and he kind of got on my nerves” I finish with a laugh “We had saw each other at work of all places after the wedding. We had a one night stand I was willing to leave it at that, he wasn’t. He asked me out and I said yes. I can honestly say I was and I guess still am falling in love with him. It might be fast in some’s books but it’s the truth. Did you know that he hates the green skittles but loves the sour green ones. He double knots his shoes before going on his morning run. I haven’t met his mom yet but I know she has to be a tough woman to deal with him.“I say and the audience chuckles as I have a slight smile on my face. “But then all of this happened and he left. Now you are caught up. Do you still think I am the villain that I was pegged to be?” I ask looking at her and she seems to be in thought.

“No, I do not. I am sorry that happened to you. I would like to thank you for coming here today and coming forward to set the record straight. I apologize for the part I played in running that awful story” she apologizes and I nod and take a drink of my water.

“Thank you. But I don’t think you realize or understand what I’ve lost. Gage won’t talk to me or answer my calls or texts. My best friends family is calling her demanding answers and thinks I’m some sort of monster. I lost all of the money I was raising for Mr. Thomas’s charity. The bank that I invested my money into to start my own company isn’t answering my calls. And the realtor I was talking to, to buy this building for my company pulled the offer from me. I have suffered so much because of you all as reporters didn’t check your facts.

If you had dug deeper you would’ve seen the truth in the reports and videos. You have seen enough videos to know what it looks like when it’s cut and edited. If you would’ve searched Ray you would’ve found the article from his trial. You would’ve seen that his diner got shut down because its owner was convicted of 16 rapes and in the list of victims was my name. You all are lucky my boss knew about this before it came out because if he hadn’t I could’ve gotten fired. You need to understand the power you have as reporters. You more so because your show is so popular everyone has seen it, one wrong thing can ruin someones life” I explain and she nods.

“I will run the right story and personally call the people you are connected to like the bank and real estate to sort everything out. I will take care of it I promise. I apologize and try to do better” she says

“Thank you” I say getting up

“No thank you” she says shaking my hand

“Bye” I say

“Bye” she says.

I step off of the stage and hug Ophelia. “You did so good” she says rocking back and forth hugging me.

“Thanks” I say trying to smile. I send another text to Gage and he leaves me on read. I just told him that maybe some space would be good for the both of us.

The car ride home was quiet and I genuinely felt exhausted. My phone goes off with a notification from instagram and I see I have gained 16 million followers. Damn, my pictures are being flooded with love. It’s nice to know that things were set right. I’ve never cared about followers I just want to go home and sleep, honestly.

Walking in my house I set my stuff down and go take a bath. Sinking in the water I am grateful I finally get to relax.

***

After my bath I get ready for bed, I lay down and look at he sticky glow in the dark scars on my ceiling that Ope and I put up when we got this apartment. My phone buzzes with a text lighting up my dark room.

I lean over and check the message it’s from Gage.

~I’m sorry~

The two words leaving a heavy weight on my heart as I sit there leaning on my elbows, I type my 2 word response before rolling over and going to sleep.

~Me too~

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