Now it’s my turn (Alex)
Now it’s my turn (Alex)
“We’re going with her,” Carrie told the police. “She is not going alone with you to the hospital. I’m her sister, and Kelly’s her best friend.”
The police officer looked uncomfortable, but finally agreed. Carrie turned to Sherman. “Ray… you take Joel, and go down to the police station, and see what you can find out about Dylan. Call me as soon as you know anything?”
Sherman nodded, took out his phone. “Let me get your number,” he said.
She gave it to them, and Sherman came over and squeezed my arm. “We’ll talk later, okay. I know you’re shaken up, but remember, he loves you. We all do… we’re sort of family now, okay?”
My eyes teared up again. I’d not even known Sherman a day, and he was being incredibly kind. Impulsively, I reached out and hugged him. Then I said, “Take care of Dylan, okay? Let us know, as soon as you know anything.”
“I will,” he said, patting my back.
Joel reached over and squeezed my shoulder, then kissed Kelly on the cheek. The two of them turned and left the building.
Half an hour later I was at the hospital. Carrie held my hand while the doctors did the examination. The rape kit. I’d made it clear that he hadn’t succeeded, but the police were insistent. While the doctor was doing the exam, I stared off at the wall, tears running down my face. It was hideously uncomfortable, and more so, it was humiliating, to a degree I’d never imagined.
But that was nothing to the police interview.
It happened in a borrowed office in the hospital, and because they were both considered witnesses, neither Carrie or Kelly were able to stay with me during the questioning. In fact, both of them were being questioned themselves.
The office was cramped, and I was sitting, exhausted, with a cup of stale, burnt tasting coffee in my hand.
“Have a seat, Miss Thompson,” said one of the officers, a somewhat florid, overweight man who introduced himself as Sergeant Campbell.
“We’re trying to sort out this mess, and we’d like you tell us, in as much detail as possible, exactly what happened tonight.”
I did, starting with the two dates I’d had with Randy last spring. The whole time I was talking, Campbell was taking notes, and didn’t interrupt me. I fought to stay composed. I was still in shock, and frustrated, and angry. Especially angry that for the second time, Randy had used physical force against me and I did nothing to stop it. Nothing to turn him away. Dylan shouldn’t have had to come to my rescue like that. And if I’d been able to handle it on my own, he wouldn’t have needed to.
“Okay, I’ve got some questions,” Campbell said. “Starting with… you say he assaulted you once before. Why didn’t you report it then?”
I could feel my face flush. I stared down at the floor, and kind of shrugged, and said, “I guess I was ashamed. I’d been drinking, and I thought I knew him better than that, and … I don’t know exactly why. I just wanted it to be over. And I thought it was, until a few weeks ago.”
“What happened a few weeks ago to change your mind?”
“Randy showed up at the 1020 Bar and started to harass me. When he wouldn’t let go of me, Kelly pepper-sprayed him and the bouncer threw him out.”
Campbell frowned, then said, “That’s twice now you’ve told me you were drinking. Underage.”
I nodded, looking away.
“What about tonight? Were you drinking?”
“Why not? You were drinking with him last spring, and again at the 1020 Bar, why not last night?”
“My boyfriend doesn’t drink. I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable.”
“I see. That would be Dylan Paris.”
“So Dylan doesn’t drink. How long have the two of you been dating?”
That was a complicated question. I answered the best I could. “We met on a foreign exchange program three years ago, and were together after that. But we split up last February, while he was in Afghanistan. Then just recently got back together.”
“How long ago?”
“A few weeks.”
“Did Randy Brewer have any reason to believe the two of you were together?”
I shook my head, violently. “I made it very clear I wanted nothing to do with him.”
“Tell me how you ended up alone with him. You’re in a dark hallway all alone with the guy you claim tried to rape you previously. In a short skirt. How did that happen?”
In a short skirt? What the fuck?
“I went to get some water. I didn’t even know Randy was at the party, but he showed up in the kitchen while I was in there, and backed me into the hallway. I was trying to get away from him.”
“So you went off on your own and led him into the hallway.”
“No! Why are you treating me like this is my fault?”
“Miss Thomas, I’m just trying to get to the bottom of what happened. A young man is in the hospital with a possible fractured skull. I need to know if you were playing any games. Maybe trying to make your boyfriend jealous? I mean, I’d be jealous if I came along and found a girl like you in a dark hall with some guy’s hand up your skirt.”
I couldn’t help it. I started to cry, in disgust and rage.
“You are so wrong. You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Then help me understand.”
“I’ve already told you. I was trying to get away from him. He threw me up against the wall and I screamed, so he put his hand over my mouth. I was struggling.” My voice rose to a shout. “Do you want to see the fucking bruises?”
“I don’t think that will be necessary, Miss, I know the hospital personnel took photos. All right, let’s go through this again. Last spring, you and Brewer were dating.”
“We dated exactly twice.”
“Right. While your boyfriend was off in the Army.”
“After we broke up!”
“So you went out with him, drinking underage, and started to have sex and wanted to stop?”
“No! He pushed me down! If his roommates hadn’t come in when they did I don’t know what would have happened!”
“Gotcha. His roommates come in, interrupt, and you … what? Call the police? Report him? Run away?”
I stared at the floor. “Yes, I ran away. And I tried to forget about it.”
“So he comes back tonight, at some upscale party in a penthouse apartment, and sexually assaults you, and ends up with a fractured skull. It just doesn’t add up to me. If you’d reported it last spring, it’d be one thing. You say Dylan doesn’t drink. Did you know he does drugs?”
“Oh, you didn’t. Yeah, his system was completely loaded. Opiates, among other things.”
I shook my head. “Did you know that his right leg was pretty much shredded by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan nine months ago? The painkillers are prescription.”
“What happened to his hand? Why’s it in a cast?”
I swallowed, and whispered, “We were having an argument, and he … he punched a wall.”
“Jesus Christ,” Campbell said. “He punched a wall hard enough to fracture his own hand?”
I nodded. “It’s not how it sounds.”
“You better be glad he didn’t punch you, kid.”
“Dylan would never do that.”
“Look, Miss Thompson. Okay I get it. I served in Iraq myself. But let me tell you, when someone is fucked up on drugs, and angry, sometimes they can’t distinguish between the wall they are punching and the girlfriend they are punching. You need to stop trying to defend him and worry about yourself for a change.”
“I don’t want to talk to you any more.”
“I didn’t ask what you wanted, Miss Thompson.”
“If you have anything else to say to me, you can speak to my lawyer. This discussion is over.”
I stood, and stared at them, then said, slowly and quietly. “What I don’t understand is this. Just about every question you’ve asked me seems designed to blame me, the victim, or Dylan, who protected me. Why aren’t you asking questions about Randy Brewer? Why aren’t you interested in him? He’s the rapist!” My voice rose to a scream as I finished the sentence.
I turned, opened the door and walked out of the office.
“We’re leaving,” I said to Kelly and Carrie. “Has Sherman called?”
Carrie nodded. “He said… no contact. Dylan will have to go to an arraignment hearing on Monday sometime, and they’ll set his bail, or not, then.”
Monday. Christ, two nights in jail. God only knows what was happening to him in there. This was so unfair. I swallowed, hard. There was nothing I could do about it, other than try my best to help him when the time came. “Let’s get some sleep then. Would you guys mind if we got together in the morning, all of us, to figure out if and how we can help him?”
Carrie and Kelly both stared at me, open-mouthed.
“I don’t know what we can do,” Kelly said.
“That’s what we have to figure out. What I know is, he’s all alone in there, because he protected me. Now it’s my turn to protect him, and I’ll do the best I can, with your help or without it.”
This is first draft material from a new story I’m working on. You can find the beginning and contents of the story, here.