Crossroads: Book 1

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Chapter 15

Elena


I feel bad. The car ride is mostly silent, other than Declan questioning whether or not anything is going on between Mike and me. I assure my date that nothing is going on, that he just likes to push my buttons.

The whole ride to the party, my brain is still trying to wrap around the encounter with Mr. Moody Pants. He knows exactly what he does to me - it’s unfair. It messes with my mind; it pulls at my heartstrings. I’m so glad that I am going to this event. He’s supposed to come to the party too – I wonder if he’ll still show up. I kind of hope that he does, but I don’t want him to ruin the fun for me either. I’ve never been to a party before; I just want to let loose, to be able to enjoy myself.

Speaking of letting loose, I pat down my dress for my phone to see if I have any missed texts from Rachel or my dad. I groan to myself as I find out that I forgot my phone and my keys. I left them both on the darn table in the haste of ridding myself of the hot-tempered man in my kitchen.

We pull up to an open gated property with a very large house standing in the near distance. My jaw drops at how massive it is. The house has two stories, dark shutters, and a red door accompanied by two pillars on either side of the entrance. There is a sunroom at one end and a four-car garage on the other. It is absolutely beautiful. The lights are on in nearly every room, showing off all the people inside having a wonderful time.

“Is this an old colonial house?” I ask in awe to Declan as he walks around the car to meet me.

“Yes, it is. It was built in 1854. It’s been in my family since before I was born.”

My jaw drops a bit. “Y-your house?” I gasp.

“Yup.” He smiles with pride. “Come on, let’s go in.” He takes my hand to lead me inside.

Once inside the house, there is a huge foyer with a golden arch ceiling, a chandelier providing bright light for the entryway. Loud music is filtering throughout the whole house. There’s a white wood staircase that curves with the structure, a golden banister where some people are congregating and making out.

As he brings me further into his home, we walk by a large movie room with more people drinking and laughing. He leads me to a modernized kitchen where we get a couple of drinks among some other individuals. I have never had a drink before. I wasn’t prepared to drink tonight - but at the last minute - I decide that one drink can’t be all that bad. Everyone else is doing it; it’s what you do at a party, right? Taking a sip, it’s very fruity and goes down smoothly.

Declan takes me to a room with a pool table, dart boards, a massive television showing music videos on MTV, and some red couches. This house is huge; I can imagine that everything here must cost more than what my dad makes in a year. I need to ask Declan what his dad does for a living.

We are stopped by a tall, skinny, but well-built boy that could be close to our age. He has an eyebrow ring. His eyes are blue, and his hair is the same shade of raven black as Declan’s. It falls lower on his face, almost covering his eyes, and he also has nice olive color skin.

“Well, who do we have here?” the boy asks.

“This is Elena. Elena, this is Isaac,” Declan introduces us.

“Elena. What a pretty name,” he smiles. “Do you have a last name?”

“Cochran.”

The brow with his piercing arches. “Cochran,” he echoes, and I nod.

Smirking, Isaac says, “It’s nice to meet you, Elena.” He offers his hand for a shake.

His skin is cold, probably from holding the beer. He brings my hand up to his lips and kisses the back of my hand. His lips are soft and warm. Those ice-blue eyes never falter from mine; I can feel myself blush at the motion.

“You too,” I tell him. Isaac is attractive and seems very sweet – a lot like Declan.

Pointing at my date, he says, “Show this one a good time, yeah? I’ll get us all more drinks.” Declan nods his head as someone yells for Isaac, who excuses himself from us. Declan gestures to a couple of seats at a nearby couch. As we take our seats, Isaac approaches us with a couple more guys.

They all introduce themselves. The shorter of the three is Travis, who’s wearing a black cut-off Metallica shirt and blue faded jeans; he has grey eyes, blond hair, and a blond goatee. Then there is Vick. He’s wearing black skinny jeans, a light blue t-shirt with sandy brown hair, and hazel eyes. All three of them are attractive, but none of them are Mike. He said he was going to be here; I guess he changed his mind.

As the five of us sit in the group, we joke about many different things from school to the future. We bond over: outer space, conspiracy theories - of whether or not humankind did, in fact, walk on the moon - to how raisin bran has more raisins in the boxes than they used to. They were all amusing to converse with. Then again, maybe it was all the alcohol I have been consuming. Whenever my cup becomes empty, Isaac gives me another one.

“Elena, how are you doing over there?” Isaac slurs.

Truth be told, I’m feeling pretty fantastic. I feel like I don’t have a care in the world for once. “Grrreat!” I sing. “I haven’t ever felt gooood like this...everrr.” I didn’t mean to say that out loud, but oh well.

Declan leans in. “Elena, you are so drunk right now.” He laughs. It takes me a minute to focus on him. He’s spinning too much. I reach out to hold his face with my hands. He laughs again, causing me to let out a high pitch giggle.

“Stop spinning,” I beg. If only I can keep him still. He stands up, causing my hands to drop.

“Hey, wanna dance?” he asks, holding out his hand for me to grab.

The giggling won’t stop. Apparently, I giggle a lot when I drink. Trying to stand up, I stumble into him. “Ooopsie,” I slur.

Declan just chuckles, holds me close to his body, and leads me to the area where people are dancing. He places me in front of him, so my back is resting against his chest. Holding me at my hips, he interlocks his fingers in front of my belly. We are hardly moving, but he’s swaying a little. He buries his face in my hair at the nook of my neck. I’m not sure if it’s the alcohol or what, but I don’t hate it.

“Hey Declan, Vick wants to talk to you for a second; he’s outside.” I feel Declan hesitate, but then Isaac says, “Don’t worry, I’ll take good care of her. She’ll be fine.” I open my eyes, not realizing they were closed. Isaac stands in front of me, holding another red cup.

Declan lets me go, Isaac takes his place, wrapping his arm around me while offering the drink he’s holding. “Here, I think you’ll like this one, too. It’s similar to what you’ve been drinking; I just added a bit more rum to it. Let me know what you think.” Isaac talks me into it. He’s been giving me drinks most of the night. I haven’t minded - they have all been very tasty.

Not having the kind of coherent mind I should have, I accept the drink. Not wanting to hurt his feelings, I take a little sip while leaning into him. Somewhere in the back of my mind, my conscious is telling me not to gulp it down like the drinks from earlier. It is really delicious. I take another sip.

“Good, isn’t it?” Isaac asks. I nod my head, taking another drink. He grins. We sway to the music as his hands wander a little up and down my waist. I continue nursing the drink he gave me.

Suddenly, colors start to change. What were once blue disco lights are now rainbow colors soaring off the walls. Everything seems so shiny; even Isaac is shiny. I reach out to touch him. “So pretty,” I may have said, he chuckles and calls Travis over.

“She’s ready,” he says. I’m ready? Ready for what? I can’t find my words; they are stuck in my throat. All I can do is stare and watch the pretty rainbow lights shine and dance on everyone around me. So amazing. I swear the pictures on the walls are dancing.

Why is my head feeling heavy? It feels like I am losing control over my body. I look over at Travis, as he wraps his arm under me to hold my waist, leading us through the sea of shimmering faces. He helps me follow Isaac to the staircase – the steps are moving. How are they walking up with no problem at all? My feet must have weights tied to them; I can hardly lift my legs.

“Man, she’s not moving,” I hear Travis complain to Isaac. Why do they care that I’m not moving? They don’t understand; these stairs are really hard to walk up. Where’s Declan?

“Swing her over your shoulder then,” I hear Isaac call out.

I’m literally trying to protest; I don’t want anyone picking me up. I need to lie down. My head feels like it’s being pulled by a string that’s connected to something very heavy. It keeps bobbing around as I try to hold it up. Why can’t I talk? Why am I unable to push away Travis’s hands as they scoop me up over his shoulder?

“Hey! What are you doing?”

Declan? Declan! Help me! Please! I try to scream out – It’s not working. All that comes out is a very weak, very cracked, “De...ck”.

“Come on man, not her, please. Can’t you pick someone else?” he pleads to my unexpected chariot and the mixologist. What were their names again?

“No, Declan. You know the rules. Don’t worry. I’ll be gentle with her.” I can’t see him, but I know the owner of that voice is smiling. What was his name? I know I know his name. Why is my memory hazy?

I’m unable to look up at Declan being over someone’s shoulder, but I can see his planted distancing feet; I can hear his begging as I’m being transported. I try to kick my legs, to scream, to do something, but I can’t. Nothing is happening. Nothing is working. The only thing that does happen is the hot, salty tears streaming down my cheeks.

I can hear them trying to figure out what room to go into. Once they finally decide on one, I’m placed on a soft bed. Maybe they’ll just let me sleep? Perhaps that’s why they brought me up here.

As soon as my head finds a pillow, my eyes shut. They are so weighted. It’s a weird experience feeling so exhausted and sleepy, yet I’m still able to hear everything as clear as day. I just can’t speak or hardly move. It’s like an out-of-body experience – not that I’ve had one of those yet, I think this is pretty close.

“Help me take this off her,” I hear a voice instruct. I know that voice. What is his name? I just met him tonight. It starts with a vowel...doesn’t it? Wait, what do they want to take off? I’m hoping it’s my shoes. I quickly realize I’m wrong. Cold hands are slowly sliding the straps of my dress down.

What? No! Why? Move, Elena! Do something – anything.

I can’t. My limbs are not registering what my brain is screaming out.

“St...o...p...” I cry. With all my might, I put all my effort into using my palm to hit whoever this person is in the nose, like how Dad taught me. It doesn’t do anything to stop him. It’s no use.

I hear chuckling. “What was that, sweetheart?” Hands lift my head, and I feel cold fingers on the zipper behind my back. I hear a tearing sound. He’s torn my dress...

“Mi,” I yelp while tears travel down my face. Mike, I want to say, Mike. Maybe if I’m able to scream it out, he can hear me. I’m delirious. He’s not going to come. He’s not going to show up here at this party to help me from these monsters. I sincerely hope that they aren’t going to do what I think they’re going to do.

“Ple-ase, st-op...” my cries are not coming out strong enough. I can’t believe this is happening. This can’t be happening. Praying, I hope with all that is in me that someone will open that door and stop this. It has to be a nightmare. At any moment, I will wake up in my own bed under my glow-in-the-dark star stickers, and everything will be okay.

I feel the dress leaving my body. Replacing the warm, comfortable cotton material are cold, callous hands, scraping as slow as molasses up and down my legs. They glide over my panties to my belly. They reach my breasts; the cold claws cup them rather hard over my bra, then they go to my neck - leaving an unwanted chill in their wake. My blood feels like ice. I try to push the hands away, but it’s no use – my arms are too heavy to manage.

“Are you getting all this?” I hear someone say as the other grunts in approval.

Weakness: it’s a horrible feeling, to be entirely helpless; my fate plainly rests in another’s hands. I’m lightheaded. So tired.

I croak, “W-h...y?” It’s broken, but they heard it. I can’t stop the tears crawling down my face. This can’t be happening. I am going to be raped, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it.

“Because you’re a Cochran,” a voice whispers deep in my ear taking root inside me to nourish the panic within me even more. I have never felt so much fear, so much torment.

This is all because of my name?

Gradually, he runs his fingers back down my body. He takes his time; he’s patient, probably soaking in the inevitable that is to come. Sighing, he pauses at my panties, and he hooks a finger under them.

I try to call for help. All I can manage are the warm, steady rivers of tears, trickling down the hollow valleys of my cheeks. I use all my might to scream out for Mike. He said he was going to be here...

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