Excerpt/First Chapter

Chapter 1 

My idolized big brother came running upstairs, but it was too late.

“Are you all right?” Louis asked and looked around my room.

My bra and panties lay shredded on the floor. The sheet was ripped off the mattress. The lamp leaned shattered against the wall. I sat on the bare linoleum floor wrapped in my quilt, trying to catch my breath.

Louis knelt in front of me. “Oh my God, what…?” He reached out and pushed a strand of hair out of my eyes.

I jerked backward. “Don’t touch me.”

He hesitated, then ignored what I said and pulled my head against his chest. Our bodies were a mile apart, and we formed a triangle with the floor. I tried to talk, but I was shaking so hard that my words came out in gasps.

“Nobody heard me. I was just trying on my new dress…and, and he came in. He threatened to kill me if I tell anyone.”

Louis groaned like a wounded animal. “We thought he just went inside to use the bathroom.” He pulled the quilt tighter and wrapped his arms around me. 

My other brother, Charlie, walked in a few seconds later. “What happened in here?”

Louis turned toward him and said, “That bastard did something horrible to her.” 

“Who?” Charlie asked.

“Bastian. Your friend.”

Charlie stared at us for a moment, then bolted from the room. Louis got up and ran after him, yelling Charlie’s name. I stayed behind and looked out the window to watch my brothers chase after Bastian who had long since disappeared into the woods.

When they came back upstairs after what seemed like forever I was still wrapped in the quilt. Charlie had blood splattered on his shirt and hands.

“Did you kill him?” I asked.

Charlie shook his head. “I wanted to, but Lou didn’t let me. Shit, I’m sorry, Cath. I am so sorry.”

 “He’s not worth going to jail for,” Louis said to both of us. “Our lives are ruined enough now as it is; let’s not make it worse by adding a murder.” He went to my dresser drawer and picked out clean clothes for me. “Here, put these on.”

My brothers waited outside while I got dressed. The threadbare quilt lay crumpled on the bed when they came in and Louis held it up for inspection. When he saw the stains he frowned.

“We’ll throw it out.  Let’s talk.”

We sat down on the small space between the bed and the closet. I could not grasp what had happened. My brain refused to acknowledge it, but my body told me otherwise. There was a throbbing wound between my legs and it was probably bleeding. I was too embarrassed to look at my brothers, and it was too late to pretend that everything was fine.

Louis hooked his arm around my shoulders and pulled me close. “Charlie beat him up real bad. If we tell Mom, she’ll end up in the nuthouse for sure this time.” He pleaded with us. “We don’t want a repeat of what happened when Dad left, right? If we keep it between us, I swear we’ll take care of you, Cathi. Let’s not make it worse than it is.”

 I heard Charlie slam his fist into the wall and curse real bad, and Louis told him to stop it. He made us hold hands and we swore an oath of silence.

 Sebastian had been Charlie’s friend forever. He was exactly between the age of my brothers who were sixteen and seventeen, but he was more Charlie’s friend than Louis’s. Charlie probably felt like this whole mess was his fault and Louis would have to worry about both of us. He already looked overwhelmed.

“I want to take a shower,” I said and got up.

As the hot water ran down on me, I thought about the oath. I couldn’t tell anyone what happened, but I couldn’t just do nothing and let Bastian get away with it, either. Before he left my room he told me that no one would believe me if I told what he did. As far as he was concerned, he was the future mayor’s son and I was a nobody.

My rapist would soon enjoy the good life, unreachable to me and never punished for his crime unless I came up with something. The elections were in November.

I had less than six months to ruin his life.