Warning: This post is written for a mature audience. The chapter includes content that may be disturbing and upsetting to some readers, including a scene with sexual assault. I have tried my best to write the scene realistically and tastefully although if this is something you will be sensitive to, you have been forewarned.
Saturday, Simtember 10, 2416 | Silverton Estate | Bay City, Califorsimia
I couldn’t believe the words I had just heard my mother speak.
“Your real father,” she repeated.
I stared at her blankly. There had to be some kind of mistake. Mamma wasn’t serious. Was she really saying Howard wasn’t my father? It was pretty heavy to accept Mamma’s former boyfriend, miscarriage, and the truth about her brother’s death. Howard. He’s not my dad?
“Oh Kass, I should’ve told you before now. I was just so ashamed…”
“Mamma…” I said slowly and deliberately. “Is Milo my father?”
“Milo?” Mamma looked confused. “Oh no! No! No! Milo is not your father.”
“So Howard isn’t my father?” I tried to clarify.
“Correct,” Mamma said, her voice barely above a whisper.
“Um… okay…” I ran my hand through my hair completely forgetting I had put it up in a messy bun. “What… uh… happened? Um… who… is… he… my father… that is…” I hated how stilted my voice sounded.
“I need you to tell me something first,” Mamma said.
“Okaaaay…” I felt shaky.
“What I’m about to tell you stays in this room… okay?”
Who did she think I was going to tell?
“I’m not saying a word,” I tried to sound steady, but my voice was vibrating with emotion.
“Kassio, I’m so sorry, my darling, I’m so sorry…” Mamma cried.
“Mamma,” I ran my hand through my hair again, further mussing the locks. “Just tell me… what happened…”
It was an unseasonably warm Simarch. Temperatures reached a record ninety-five. We were at a pool party at Howard’s boss’s house.
Howard was a rising star at his catering company. He was about to be made partner. He was thrilled beyond belief when he told me. I couldn’t be happier for him. If he was partner, we could finally try to have kids because we could finally afford them.
Howard was really enjoying the party. After all, these were his co-workers, future business partners, and this was his boss’s house. I, on the other hand, was uncomfortable. Uncomfortable in my new blue bikini. Uncomfortable around the swarms of people I didn’t know. Just plain uncomfortable. I felt like I was on display because I kept getting looks and whistles from his male coworkers. I found a deck chair to stretch out on and avoided the interaction.
I felt glued to my chair, the wood splinters tickling my back, mingling with my sweat. Still, I didn’t feel like moving. I watched my husband bounce around from person to person, social butterfly, smiling, laughing, joking, shaking hands, even kissing babies. Our friends, the Wainwrights, had just had a baby girl, Blair. I knew Susan a little. We had met at the company Christmas party. She waved hello to me, but didn’t come over.
As the evening wore on, more and more people arrived. They flirted. They laughed. They danced to the half-decent DJ’s beats. They splashed about in the waters. They talked about who was getting promoted, how my husband would be partner soon, and how Boyd Wainwright’s little baby girl puked on Carolina’s new dress from Sims Fifth Avenue last Saturday at the market. They wondered about how much money the competition was making, if the hot female DJ was single, and if this heat would last into Simpril. I was feeling a little dehydrated and sick of the gossip. I stood up and made my way to the bar.
Donnie, my husband’s boss, was already seated at the bar when I slid onto a stool. I grimaced. The cotton padding was soaked, either from sweat or wet guests from the pool, probably both.
“Water with lime,” I asked the bartender.
“Oh, come on, live a little,” Donnie smiled at me. “You should try the tequila. It’s fantastic. Top shelf stuff. I brought it back from Mexsimco myself.”
“No, thank you,” I said politely. “I’m not a tequila kind of girl.”
“Vodka? Gin and tonic? Brandy? Rum? Beer? We’ve got whatever you want, sweetheart, just say the word,” Donnie said, his smile a little leering.
I shivered for no apparent reason and sipped my lime and water. “I’m fine,” I replied more to the glass than Donnie.”
“Donald, but everyone calls me Donnie,” he said suavely.
I winced. “I know who you are.”
“Yeah,” he grinned, sticking a toothpick between his teeth. “I think I know every pretty girl here, ‘cept you.”
“Amy Fullbright.” I replied.
“Howard’s wife?” his eyes widened, though his smile did too. “Hmm… didn’t realize he had such a hot little thang at home.”
“Uh… okay…” I looked away, embarrassed.
“So you gonna shake my hand, Amy?” he said. “After all, we’re practically family you and I?”
“Oh, how so?” I ordered another water and lime.
“Cuz your husband is gonna be the best damn business partner I ever had, and that makes us blood, so well, by nature, you and I are… well… related.”
Wonderful! I thought, but instead said aloud, “Thank you for giving him this opportunity.”
“Don’t you worry, honey, I got it all figured out and Howie’s gonna be the big money raker… we’re gonna hit the roof with sales,” he laughed.
“Um… okay…” I replied, feeling uncomfortable.
“I’ll uh… see you… around… sweetheart…” Donnie stumbled forward as he stood up. “Seriously, try the tequila. You’ll love it.”
Howard dropped some beats while I talked to another party guest. After my conversation with my husband’s boss, I decided to try an alcoholic beverage. I refrained from ordering tequila, but I tried to gin and tonic. It was delicious. I tried another one.
Then I decided for the vodka and lemonade. I don’t really remember the room spinning. We were outside after all, but I do remember feeling hotter than normal and thirsty. The girl I was chatting with… she and I made silly faces at each other. I was starting to feel calmer and looser. Maybe alcohol had been a good idea.
Everyone jumped into the pool to cool off. The night was still unbearably warm.
“Amy, come swim with me,” Howard invited, splashing about in the water.
“No, I don’t think so,” I shook my head and wiped at the sweat pouring down my face.
“Seriously, it’s a hundred degrees out. You’ll feel better if you’re in here in my arms,” Howard grinned.
“I don’t think so,” I shrugged.
“Amy! Amy! Amy!” Donnie swam up to the end of the pool and chanted. “Come on. Dive in. We’ll catch you.”
I knew he was teasing, but I felt my heart constrict. I panicked. I couldn’t get in the water. Not now. Not ever. I shouldn’t have come.
“Come on sweetheart. I’m right here. You can jump in my arms,” Howard smiled.
“I’d rather not,” I shrugged, trying to stay calm, but my heart was racing.
“Amy, come on,” Howard lowered his voice. “It’s a pool party. Come swim with me.”
“I said no, Howard. Now leave me alone,” I grunted and stomped back to the bar for another gin and tonic.
I must’ve had several because the next thing I remembered I was whopping pretty loudly and swinging my hair around with the umpteenth glass in my hand.
“Amy, that’s enough. I think we should go,” Howard walked up to me, removing my cup.
“No… no… nnnnnoooo…. fun…. you’re….no fun…” I slurred my words.
“That’s right. I’m the fun police,” Howard joked, but he was glancing around at the awkward stares feeling a little embarrassed.
“I’m not re…re…ready to gggo yet…” I giggled. “It’ssssss notttt thaaaaat laaate.”
“Amy, you’ve had a little too much to drink. I think it would be best if we left now,” Howard lowered his voice and said tensely. “You shouldn’t be around a pool like this.”
“What? I’m not gonna slip. I’m not gonna fall…” I took a few steps backwards and leaned forward teasingly. “You won’t let me. You man of mine! I think I’d rather stay right here.”
“Amy, this isn’t funny. Come on….” Howard grunted.
“No…no…. no!” I waved my finger at him. “Party police! You can’t get me.” I laughed. “Look it’s Donnie!”
“Hey Amy,” he grinned at me as he walked up. “Are you enjoying the party?”
“Am I enjoying the party?” I laughed. “Of course, I am! We’re all enjoying the party. You’re enjoying the party. I’m enjoying the party. Howie, aren’t you enjoying the party?”
“Howie?” Howard made a face.
“Yeah, and my husband over here…. he’s…” I pouted, and playfully ran my finger against Donnie’s hairy chest. “He’s just not being fair… he’s wanting to go now, but the fun’s just starting.”
Howard turned bright red. “Amy!” he said angrily beneath his breath.
“No, don’t you Amy me!” I giggled. “You are just not fun right now, you know that, just not fun… and Donnie here…” I touched his arm again. “He’s not gonna make me go home. Are you, Donnie?”
“Amy, stop this now!” Howard grabbed my arm in frustration.
“Whoops, gotta go,” Donnie stepped backwards and walked away.
“No!” I wriggled free of Howard’s grasp. “I don’t want to. You can’t make me go.”
“Amy this is ridiculous and embarrassing,” Howard threw his hands in the air. “You had to do this now, at my boss’s house, at my company party?”
“Yes, Howard, Now! You invited me here and I’m having fun and now you want to leave.”
“That you’re not top dog and Donnie is.”
Howard glared at me, his face turning a thousand shades of red. I had humiliated him no doubt. But it was too late to take it back. Too late to care.
“Fine,” he said quietly, his words punctuated. “You can find your own ride home.”
“Fine,” I snapped after him as he ran away.
I felt a little guilty as I watched him leave, but I felt more sorry for myself. I’d probably have to call a cab or walk home.
“That’s not right,” a voice said behind me.
“What?” I turned around and Donnie was leaning in close to me, staring at my chest.
“Uh… I said… it’s not right…” Donnie straightened up. “Um… uh… you have… I mean… he’s leaving you behind at this party. If you was my woman, I wouldn’t have leaved you. Not a gorgeous thing like you.”
I flushed, pleased with the compliment. My head was spinning a little.
“Wanna dance?” he leaned in again and asked, his breath warm and scented with various alcohols.
“Sure,” I shrugged.
Most of the rest of the evening was hazy. I danced with Donnie. I remembered making more blended smoothies with the bartender… something with vodka and pineapple and something else. I think I dozed off on a pool deck chair too. When I woke up, the stars were high in the sky, and no one else was around. The temperature had dropped and I was feeling a little chilly. My head was spinning. I desperately needed to use the restroom and probably borrow a phone so I could call a cab or Howard or something. I wandered across the rocky pool deck and up the stairs of the porch. I tried to door knob and to my relief, it turned with ease. I let myself in and wandered around the house trying to find a bathroom.
I found it all right.
“I’m so sorry,” I mumbled awkwardly.
I couldn’t believe I had just walked in on my husband’s naked boss showering. Well of course, he’s naked, silly, I laughed internally at myself. He’s showering.
“Oh,” he grinned at me. “Amy right?”
“Yeah…” I averted my eyes.
He didn’t seem so shy.
“Don’t worry about it,” he stepped out. “I don’t mind a lovely woman such as yourself coming in on me. I mean, who wouldn’t, right?” He laughed and scratched his behind.
I stood motionless, trying hard not to stare at him… in all his manly self. Other than Milo and Howard, I had never seen another grown man completely nude. Donnie wasn’t lacking, that was for sure, even if he was coated in hair.
“Actually, you’re pretty sexy,” he remarked.
“Really?” I blushed.
I couldn’t remember the last time Howard called me sexy. In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time Howard and I had made love. He was so busy with work. Work, work, work. With Donnie. And me? I was forgotten while Howard was at work with Donnie. But now I was here with Donnie, and my head was spinning, and my heart was racing, and I couldn’t remember what I was doing in the house.
His lips were on mine, whirling my senses even more so. I felt like every nerve in my body was on fire. I couldn’t believe how incredible his lips felt against mine. It was so wrong, and yet so right. Howard never kissed me like this. I wrapped my arms around his nicely sculpted arms, digging my nails into his smooth back. Howard was scrawny. This guy… was not… even if he was a little shorter than I.
Must. Stop. Thinking.
He tore the headband from my hair, the pretty blue and green one my grandmother had made for me… ripped it right out with a chunk of hair. I yelped, but he smashed his mouth harder into my throat and neck, kissing me with fury and passion.
He yanked my bikini bottoms off and rubbed his hands hard down my sides. He moved his hands back up my bare back so quickly that I felt my hairs stand on end. His fingers fumbled awkwardly, but he managed to unclasp my top and he pulled my naked body into his as he continued to kiss me harder, his tongue jamming into my cheeks and then tickling my throat. It felt strange and uncomfortable and different. I tried to pull away, but he just jerked me closer, pulling my legs tightly against his body, gyrating between my hips and thighs.
I wasn’t so sure I liked his manliness now. I tasted blood in my mouth. He had bit my lip or my cheek or maybe my tongue. It didn’t matter. It didn’t matter if I pushed him away or cried for help. It was too late. Too late to stop the inevitable.
I felt a salty tear slide down my cheek as he shoved me back into the suffocating steaminess of the still running shower. My head nicked the edge of the mirror. I cried out in pain, but he was already stepping into the tub and rubbing his hands all over me, ignoring my injury. I tried to make sense of what was happening, my head throbbing from the bump against the wall, spiraling from the alcohol content. Donnie’s fingers found there way into every crevice of my body, poking and prodding like an alien probing a human, not a man pleasuring a woman he loved. But I wasn’t Donnie’s woman. That’s why he was treating me this way. I had practically asked for it when I walked in here.
He lifted me up and slammed my head back against the wall again, this time under the running shower water. I gasped for air, hoping and pleading with God that it’d be over soon. He succumbed to his deepest drive and my worst fear. When he was done, he let me slide from his arms into the tub below . I lay crumpled. Defeated. Conquered. My vision was blurry as I watched him step from the tub. I heard him turn off the water. Then I passed out.
When I came too, everything was still fuzzy. I tried to make out the shapes in front of me. I was seeing grass and a hillside and a tree. I could hear water running. Oh please! Not the shower again! I caught my breath and squeezed my eyes shut, praying that Donnie hadn’t returned for round two. When I dared to reopen my eyes, I realized I wasn’t in Donnie’s bathroom. I wasn’t even in Donnie’s house. I was somewhere else…
outside… on damp grass.
I stumbled as I tried to lift myself off the ground. Everything flew out of my mouth. I vomited until I had nothing left in me and then I vomited some more. My sides ached, my head throbbed, and my heart raced fiercely. I couldn’t believe I had been discarded. Thrown away like trash. I didn’t want this. I didn’t ask for this. I’d been… my eyes widened in fear… with Donnie… I couldn’t bring myself to say the word, even in my head.
What was I going to do? Howard would never forgive me. I didn’t know if I’d ever forgive myself. I was used… and abused… and… I still couldn’t think it… the reality hurt too much. I managed to drag myself away from Crystal Springs. When I arrived at Dr. Bachelor’s home, my feet were swollen and bloody and bruises had begun to show on my sides. I collapsed and was taken to the emergency room.
I begged her not to call Howard. I told her I’d tell him in time. I needed to wrap my head around what had happened before I could get my story straight. I wondered if I’d ever get my facts right. Dr. Bachelor was kind and without judgment in her examination. She insisted I return for weekly check-ups.
Four weeks later, I came in for another checkup. I was getting used to this. I had told Howard I was at coffee with my mother this week.
“Hi Jocasta,” I smiled as she walked in. “I’m getting used to all these tests I think. And my bruises are all gone and most of my cuts are unnoticeable.”
“Amy, I think you need to lie down,” she said worriedly.
“Lie down? I was about to get dressed. The nurse said I could,” I puzzled.
“Yes, you need to sit down. I have something to tell you.”
“Well then tell me standing up because I want to get out of this itchy hospital gown.”
“No, Amy, please…” Jocasta waved her arms. “Sit down.”
“Okay,” I frowned, and reluctantly crawled back on the hospital bed.
“Oh honey, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I just thought you should hear it from me,” Jocasta said quietly.
“What is it?” I asked, tensely.
The words hit me like a cannon ball had gone through my gut. Pregnant? No…. no…. no…. no no…. I shook my head. I couldn’t be pregnant. If I was pregnant, that meant… oh God!
“What? Are you sure?” I asked timorously.
“Yes, Amy, you’re pregnant. Four weeks. Is there any chance the baby is Howard’s?” Jocasta asked gently.
“Uh…” I felt my whole world collapsing. “Um…. no… I don’t think so… oh God… pregnant?”
“It’s going to be okay. You’re healthy and the baby is fine as far as we can tell. We’d like to run some more tests. Do you want me to call someone? Howard maybe?”
“No… please no! This is a shock for me. It’ll be even worse for him.”
“Amy you have to tell him.”
“I’d like you to see a counselor. She’s up in Bay City, but the drive is worth it. She can help you cope with the psychological trauma of everything and the emotional effects of sexual assault.”
“I… was…. not… assaulted!” I said sternly.
“Amy, you need to see a counselor. You need to accept what’s happened to you. And you need to do what’s best for your baby. And that starts with helping yourself,” Jocasta replied.
“I… uh… I just… I’m… oh…. llamas! Pregnant!” I blubbered and began sobbing. “What am I going to do, Jocasta?”
“Well, you’re going to take it one day at a time, and I’ll be here for you and your counselor if you choose to see her. And you’ll need Howard.”
“I don’t know,” I shook my head. “He’s going to hate you.”
“He won’t hate you. But the longer you wait to tell him, the harder it will be.”
I clutched my gown wildly with my hand, twisting the center around my heart into a knot. My breathing was erratic and my mind was racing. I was pregnant… with a baby… whose father was not my husband. And I still hadn’t told Howard about Donnie. The tears fell for a long time. Jocasta sat by my bedside and waited, holding my hand. When I couldn’t sit anymore, I stood up and cried on her shoulder. I was going to have a baby. A baby. A baby. A baby who would need me. And his or her father… but there was no way in hell I would go back to Donnie, and I couldn’t go to Howard.
“You said the counselor is in Bay City?” I sniffled, pulling back from Jocasta’s shoulder. I laughed sadly. “I’m sorry. I ruined your sweater.”
“Don’t you worry about it, Amy, and yes, Bay City.”
“My nonna is in Bay City. I could stay with her. I’ve stayed…” I trailed off before I could continue saying ‘with her before.’
“I know this is going to be tough, Amy, but it is best to tell your family and Howard what’s going on, and staying with your nonna might be a really good thing. You need to get out of this town,” Jocasta answered.
“Okay, Bay City…” I let out a miserable laugh. “Here I come… again…”
“I’ll go get your paperwork. Do you want me to drive you to the City?”
“No, I’ll need to go by my house first and call my grandmother.”
“Okay, well call me if you need anything,” Jocasta started out of the room. “It’s going to be okay, Amy.”
“I know,” I lied.
Big fat tears slid down my cheeks as I stared at Mamma. Her eyes were brimming with tears that had yet to fall. I choked back the bile rising in my throat. Mamma had been assaulted? I never knew. Daddy never knew. I wasn’t Howard’s daughter. I sat in stunned silence, wishing the right words would come to mind, but everything was discombobulated in my brain.
“Can I hug you?” I finally spoke.
“Of course,” Mamma whispered.
We embraced tightly for several minutes.
“I’m so sorry…”
“You’re sorry? Mamma… please… don’t… it’s not your fault… it’s not your fault…”
I held her head against my shoulder and she cried again, probably like the day she found out she was pregnant with me. I didn’t need to say anything. I was here. That was enough.
“I… think that’s enough… secrets…” Mamma sighed as she pulled back and rubbed her face. “…for today…”
“Yes… it’s okay… Mamma…”
“Will you forgive me?” she whimpered.
My mother looked so small, frail, and helpless. She wasn’t the strong woman I had always pictured her to be. Today she was a woman in pain and in need… desperate need of healing. That was enough secrets. The house and Bella would wait. I wasn’t sure how much more Mamma could handle and I could process. I lifted my hands and laid them gently on her shoulders and spoke with earnest sadness.
“There’s nothing to forgive.”
2.16 Coming Soon!
- After Amy’s confession, how will Kass respond and cope?
- Will Kass learn more about her mother’s past and connection to the Silverton Estate and Bella?