"Let me go!!" Tessie screamed, as her kidnapper pulled her deeper into the alleyway. Her mind was racing with questions. What was going on? Where did he come from? Why her?
The man had her by the arms and was pulling her past the dumpsters and trash surrounding them. He was far stronger then her,and as she watched the lamplight from the street grow dimmer and dimmer she became weaker and weaker. Suddenly, he stopped and thrust her against the wall.
Now she could see him. He stood at about 5'8. Not really tall, but definitly taller then her. He had dark hair (she couldn't pinpoint the color in the dark alley) and very cold, green eyes. He wasn't smiling, as Tessie would assume most rapists would be doing when they realized they were going to succeed. In fact, this man was frowning, serious, as if this was some sort of job.
Tessie's breath caught in her throat as he began to unbutton his jeans. "Please don't," she cried, tears beginning to form in her eyes. "Please, I beg you." He didn't say a word, but just continued with what he was doing. As he reached for her own jeans, Tessie pushed him away with all the force she could muster. He stepped back a few feet and then was immediatly in front of her again, as if nothing had happened. As he unbuttoned her own pants, she spat out the only thing she thought could save her, "please, I'd rather have sex with you, then have you rape me here. Please, I'll do anything you want. Just not this..not here." She cried as she pleaded, and was shocked when he stopped what he was doing and looked up at her.
There was something new in his eyes, beneath the coldness, that was flickering. Curiousity? Confusion? Tessie couldn't lay her finger on it. His glare burned into her, as if measuring her up, trying to see right through her. Then he buttoned his jeans again. "Alright." He said roughly, "follow me."
The truth was, Tessie didn't actually think it would work. Now the fear of following him to god-knows where was begginning to grow inside her. But at least I'm not being raped, she thought to herslef, trying to cheer herself up, unsuccessfully. He grabbed her arm and led her deeper into the alley, much to her dismay.
"Where are we going?" She whispered fearfully.
"Just follow." He said, his voice unfeeling and calm.
A few minutes later they were outside a small door that led to the basement of one of the old, rotting buildings. He pulled out a key and fit it into the lock. The door creaked open and he ushered Tessie inside. The room was dark and she could see nothing but shadows. Tessie felt safer in the alley. Here, she could not see were He was, or what he was doing. Just as she thought she might cry again, Tessie was blinded by lights.. When her vision cleared, she saw that she was in an unfinished basement, that had been haphazadly made into a living space.
"You...you live here?" Tessie said in disbelief, watching as he walked to a minifridge and pulled out two cokes.
"Yep," was all he said, as he handed her the coke and sat on a bar stool, staring at her. His gaze made her feel extremely uncomfortable.
"Well..uh..." Tessie said, trying to start up conversation, delaying the inevitable moment when she would lose her virginity to him. "CanI at least know your name?"
For a long time, he didn't speak. Then he got up, pulled over a stool for her, and said, "Braden" as she sat down. At a loss for words, Tessie sat down and stared at her coke bottle.
"Aren't you going to tell me yours?" Braden said harshly.
She looked up at him. "Tessie...my name's Tessie." She said, hesitantly.
"Tessie huh?" he remarked. "Nice name. Short for anything?"
She frowned. Why all the small talk? It seemed as if he was putting of the inevitable just as much as she was. Maybe then it wasn't so inevitable? "No, not short for anything. Alot of people call me Tess though," she said slowly.
"Tess..." he said, as if feeling the way it rolled off his tongue. "I like Tessie more," he announced about five seconds later.
Well it doesn't really matter what you like, Tessie thoughtangrily. What was he playing at? Then a thought hit her. Maybe he didn't want to rape her. Maybe he didn't even want to have sex with her. But that was stupid. Why would he bother to even bring her down here? Same reason you came: curiousity, she thought. She shook the thought away and looked at Braden.He didn't look much older then her; eighteen or nineteen maybe.
"How old are you?" she dared to ask.
"Nineteen," he quickly said.
Tessie thought it was wierd that a nineteen year old lived in the basement of an old building all alone. She was curious, but was she daring enough to ask? She looked around the room, surveying her enviornment. There wasn't much furniture: a bed, a dresser, a few bookcases,and a small couch. It didn't look like he got much company, but the place was still relatively clean. She looked back at Braden who now sported that look of cold hatred that frightened her.
"If you're looking for a way to escape," he said darkly, "the only way out is through that door." He pointed at the door they had come in through.
Shocked, Tessie stuttered, "no..I mean...I wasn't. I was just..."
Braden was standing in front of her in three quick strides. His eyes blazed with anger. "Just what?" he demanded.
"I was just...wondering...wondering why you lived here?" Tessie waited for the slap to come. Or for him to grab her and throw her on the bed and commit the terrible deed. Instead, his face softened and he backed away.
He's not a rapist. The thought came to her without her really acknowledging it. But once it was there, a flood of thoughts filled her mind. He wasn't a rapist. At least not the kind she had heard about, who raped for the enjoyment of having control over another. He almost seemed to despise himself for frightening her. There was more to him then she had originally thought, and she vowed to figure him out.
It wouldn't take much prodding. Braden took a sip from his coke and said, "my parents live upstairs."
What?! Tessie thought. Then she asked, "so, why don't you live with them?"
He sighed. "It's a long story."
"It's a long night." She retorted, silently begging for answers.
Braden looked at her, as if in shock, and then said, "ok, well if you must know. My parents...they're alcoholics. It started when I was, I don't know, eight or so. The more they drank, the less they thought of me. Until one day, it was as if they had forgotten me completely. When I was around, they slapped me or yelled at me. I got this," he said, pointing at a long, jagged scar on his arm, "one night whenI was twelve. I had asked my father what I was supposed to eat for dinner. And he took a knife and cut my arm...told me I could eat myself for all he cared. It was stupid. When I turned sixteen...well I was much bigger, and stronger then my father. One night I told my father I was done with his drinking. He went to hit me and I blocked him and punched him in the face. The look on his face...he was shocked...but more...he just...hated me. He told me to leave. So I did. ButI had no where to go. So I remembered that we had a basement that they never used. Neither of them even know about it, I think. So I moved down here. Dropped out of school. Steal whatI can to eat.Andsurvive.They probably don't even remember I existed," he said chuckling.
The world had seemed to fall way as Braden told his story, until it was just the two of them. Things had started to make sense. He had never been happy, since he was eight years old. His parents hated him, and abused him. He didn't know anyone, because he didn't go to school or work. He was an outcast. The only way he got through life was crime. And then something else became clear to Tessie. He had never felt loved.
"So that's it then..." Tessie breathed, realization crashing into her like a ton of bricks. Thats why he did what he did. Thats why he raped girls; to feel some sort of pleasure, a few seconds of ecstasy.
Braden seemed to be able to read the thoughts going through her head. "I can see what you're doing," he said angrily. "You think you got me figured out. That I'm a good guy that has had bad things happen. Well don't pity me. And don't underestimate me. I'm dangerous, and alone, and I like it that way." As mad as he tried to sound, there was a hint of disbelief in his voice, as if he couldn't even believe his own words.
How could the world do this to him? He was good-looking. Tessie could see that now. He had dark brown hair that swept outward at his ears. He had bright green eyes and a nice body. He was the kind of guy that high school girls would dream of. He could have been educated, successful. He could have been an athlete and played football or soccer. He could have gone to medical school or law school. But the life that he had been born into ruined him; had turned him into something feared and loathed. And that just made it worse. He needed to feel loved, to feel appreciated.
And then Tessie answered her question from earlier. Why her? Because she was meant to understand. She was brought to him, so she could help him. Because she was one of the few that would take the time to realize exactly why he was the way he was. So, Tessie made up her mind.
Slowly she got up and walked toward him. He watched her cautiosly, his eyes giving away his emotions: anger, confusion, curiousity. She fought back her own fear and didn't stop until she stood right in front of him. Standing there before Tessie was a man completely different then the one she had feared before. He was vulnerable, wounded, and spiteful of the world that had turned it's back on him. But Tessie would not turn her back on him.
Tessie reached out and took his hand. It was warm and strong. Braden eyed their joined hands and then growled, "you don't know what you are doing." It was apparent now that he did not believe for a moment what he was saying. It was his last attempt to push the world away, but this time, he would fail. Tessie place his hand on the small of her back and softly placed her hand on his chest. She could feel his heartbeat quickening with her touch. How long had it been since he had felt a loving touch? Too long, she thought.
Fearing nothing now, she looked him in the eye. He was fighting himself. Something deep inside him was telling him that this was how it was supposed to be. That the quick pleasures he got from those other girls was wrong, and that what he felt now was right. HIs colder outer shell still held though, whispering that caring was how you got hurt. Slowly she wrapped her other arm around his neck and keeping her hand on his heart, she tilted her head up and gently met his lips with her own.
The effect was almost instantanious. For a second he held back, stiff like ice. And then quickly, he melted into her. She felt his arms wrap tight around her, almost lifting her off the ground. He kissed her fully and hungrily, like a starving child would scarf down a meal placed in front of him. As she kissed him back, she felt the most amazing sensation flooding through her. At first, it was like her body went numb and then all of a sudden, she was completely aware of everything; he strong body, his sweet smell, the taste of his lips. It was all so vivid, and so wonderful.
Then it all ended. He pulled away from her and all at once the world slammed back into place. Tessie tried to get control of her breathing and stared at him questioningly. He too was breathing heavy,and his whole body shook with every breath. When he could speak, his voice was forced and deep. "Tessie...if you knew...if you knew what I've done...what I am....u wouldn't...."
Tessie shook her head and placed a finger on his lips. She knew how she felt now, and she understood. And now he too needed to understand. "I know what you've done," she whispered softly, "but that's not what you are." Then wrapping him in her own loving embrace, she whispered in his ear three simple words.
"I forgive you."
All at once, the last remnants of his shell broke away. He held her tight to his body, as if he was worried that if he let go, she would fall through his fingers and be lost forever. Tessie returned with the same force, and listened as he repeated over and over, "thank you." Somehow she knew that he was crying, letting go of the last hateful thoughts.
Tessie vowed to spend every moment with Braden, helping him, loving him. He was her truth, and she was his angel.