GET HOME NOW.
I get the text from my dad. It's late that night. It's almost 1 am and he's freaking out. I want to respond. I want to go home, but my dad wouldn't understand. How would he understand that I've been beaten down at school. How would he understand what was happening to me?
"Are you feeling OK?" Kordell asks me, "What can I get you? Please let me know what I can get you."
"You've done enough with letting me stay here. You can get the door."
Kordell has a nice house and both of his parents were pilots so they were never home. He offered to let me stay with him after he found me crawled up in the locker room after school bleeding out after getting jumped by Micah and Braden.
When he leaves to go get the door I cuddle up in the guest bedroom that he has me staying in. I look down at my phone again. I want to text my dad but I can't. I just can't.
"He's in here," Kordell states.
The others arrive. Marisol, Richard, Candy and Thorn follow Kordell in there. The way they look at me is as though I was dying of cancer or something.
"Oh my god," Richard states, "Who did this to you?"
Kordell is pissed, "Micah and Braden."
They all look so sad for me. I hate feeling this way. I feeling like some sort of victim. I was tired being a victim. Everyone looks so sad except for Thorn. I can't really read his expression. He crosses his arms and doesn't really say anything in his `too-cool' sort of way. He just stares at me.
"It looks worse than it is," Candice states, "The swelling will go down tomorrow. I'll come over and we'll put some makeup on you. It'll be back to normal. I promise."
"I don't care how I look right now..." I state, "I'm mad."
"You deserve to be. I'm going to fight both of them in school tomorrow ON SIGHT," Kordell responds.
"No violence," Thorn states.
"No violence?" Kordell asks him, "You see what they did to him? You see what the FUCK they did to him?"
"You seem a little too concerned," Thorn states.
Thorn calling Kordell out in the way he does makes him calm down. I watch Kordell shoot Candice a glance. He's probably hoping she didn't catch any sort of implications. I look over at Candice as well. Luckily she is too busy studying my face to feel any sort of way about Kordell's epic concern over my well being. Maybe she also didn't notice the big hole in the wall that he punched about 30 minutes ago practicing to bash Braden's face in.
"This is war," Candice states touching my face.
"Are you sure it was Braden and Micah? This doesn't seem like them," Thorn states.
I can't believe Thorn is questioning this right now.
"This was them."
"I'm just saying this isn't the Dollhouse M.O," he states, "They are desperate. The competition of handsome people in the school who aren't kissing their ass may be getting to them. They are acting out of character."
"It's nothing out of character about this..."
We all turn when we notice it's Marisol who says something. She's been in the back of the room staring at my face silently this entire time. She hasn't said anything. I watch how she looks over at my face and you can see this shadow all over her. Something is bothering her. Something big.
"What are you saying?" Richard asks his girlfriend.
"Braden tried to force himself on me one time," Marisol states, "Gave me a black eye."
We are all shocked. It's scary really. I'm not surprised though. I remember the look on Braden's face when he was bashing me. He was enjoying it. He was really enjoying every moment of it.
"I'm going to kill him," Richard states, "I'm going to fuckin' kill that guy."
At first, I thought the whole relationship between Richard and Marisol was staged, but it didn't seem that way when I see how pissed Richard gets. I watch how he goes over to Marisol. He consoles her. I have to admit I'm jealous seeing how he is comforting her in the way that he is. Marisol looks really shaken at that moment. For that moment she loses all the new-aged glamour and becomes that quiet goth girl who always wore black.
Now we understood just a little bit more of what made her the way she is. She had survived a sexual attack from Braden.
"No violence," Thorn states again.
At this point he's annoying almost everyone in the room.
"You didn't say anything?" Candice asks Marisol.
"The principal is Braden's godfather," Marisol explains, "When I told him, I remember he put me in a room. He told me to sit there. I sat there for 3 hours. On the fourth hour, the principal brought Braden's family in. His family offered me money. Either I could take the offer and forever be silent about what happened or...they'd ruin me. So I didn't say anything. Who would believe me? Who would I even tell?
There is this hush of quiet that goes over the room. I don't know for sure what everyone else is thinking but I know for sure people were pissed in this room. All of us had been victims of people like Braden. All of us had probably been attacked personally by Braden. Marisol was right. Braden had control in Lionsdale. His family had power.
"I know what you're all thinking and I'm going to tell you all to kill that idea," Thorn states, "Kill it. You hear me? The Benefactor doesn't want any of these people hurt."
"There are other ways besides physical attacks," Candice states.
"We don't do ANYTHING to them!" He barks at Candice in a way that causes her to stumble backward, "The best revenge we can do is be better than them. And rising past them. Turn the other cheek. Let them know it's just as gorgeous."
No one says anything back to Thorn. I can tell he's worked himself up. That's when he leaves the room. It's as though when he's leaving he's saying "It's settled." It's as though he's thinking he has the last word. That just wasn't the case.
As soon as he leaves I can see Candice crossing her arms.
"We have to do something," Candice states, "We can't let them get away with that. I don't care what Thorn says."
She's talking about going behind Thorn's back. She's talking about making a move on the Dollhouse now. And honestly, I don't think anyone in the room was opposed to it. We all get quiet. Real quiet. It's like this anger is smoldering in the room. They are just now thinking but I've spent hours in pain locked in Kordell's guest bedroom. I'd spent hours steaming.
"I have a plan," I tell the group, "Remember we were going to throw that party?"
"You want to throw a party?" Kordell asks me, "At a time like this?"
"Yeah...yeah I do."
I get up to the school the next day. I'm with Kordell. As soon as I pull up I can just feel like a million people are looking at me. You ever just feel like people just came from talking about you? I know it's impossible. There is no way Braden and Micah were stupid enough to spread the fact that they jumped me around the school. I was at least comfortable with that. Still... I felt dumb.
"I got the stuff," Kordell states opening a baggie and showing me the stuff that we are going to use for the plan.
"Good. Everyone likes party favors."
"This plan...are you sure about it?" Kordell asks me.
"All you had to do was make sure people came."
"Oh trust me. People are going to come. I've gotten messages all night about it since I sent the text last night. Everyone wants to know what we're about. Everyone wants to know who we are. Everyone's going to be at the party."
"So what's the problem?" I ask.
"This plan is just...it's...it's not us...it's kind of scary."
"I didn't force anyone to participate."
"This will change everything," he states.
"I know Candice is playing a major part in this plan..."
"It's not about Candice," he explains at that moment before looking over at me, "When shit happened to you I really felt like I wanted to come at you. You know...comfort you or...you know...kiss you."
"Kordell. I can't do this to Candice."
"What me and Candice have is fake. What me and you have...it might be real. Let's see."
Kordell leans over in the car at that moment. It's bold. Real bold. We were in front of the school for god sakes. I don't even have the time to stop him though. Before I can stop him, his tongue is in my mouth. He's grabbing me by my dick. He's holding it really firm. He's pressing down on my dick. He squeezes it thoroughly. I'm can't help but to reach over and start squeezing on his back python as well.
I feel Kordell reach over and grab me by the seat of my pants. He's trying to pull me over to his seat but before I get there I see the door open at that moment.
"Get the hell out!" a voice states.
I'm shocked when I turn and see my dad at that moment. My dad looks at me hard.
"Dad. Don't fuckin do this?"
"You over here kissing boys and not coming home? Did you think I wasn't going to come looking for you? What is happening to you? Are you changing? I told you I'm pulling you out of this school. Grab your shit. We're going home."
My dad is serious. Real serious. He's embarrassing the shit out of me in front of Kordell who is just sitting there at this moment. I look at him at that moment. There was no way I was going to abandon this place. Not now. Then I remember about the thing that Thorn gave me. The way to stay. I had no choice at that moment.
I reach out into my bag.
"I'm not going anywhere. And you won't make me...not with the secrets you have..."
I hand him the results. I hand him the results that let him know that Serena was his daughter. Looking at his face I expect to see the shock. I expect to see anger or even embarrassment. He doesn't give any of that. At that moment my father just seems...disappointed.
He looks disappointed in me.
"What is happening to you?" he asks me.
He doesn't give me the chance to answer before my father just walks away.
I walk into the auditorium. The class was killing me. I'm in pain and high off pain pills. Sure enough, at least Candice and Marisol came over early in the morning to use cover up and get rid of the bruising. Even with the pain pills and the makeup, I still feel...beaten inside. I still wonder what it would feel like to see Braden. No...fuck Braden. I wondered it would feel like to see my cousin Micah after what happened.
I just feel sick to my stomach. I learned now where Micah's loyalty lied and it hurt.
I'm expecting to see Mrs. Lindsay greeting me but she's not there.
The only person I see is Adonis.
"Where's everyone else?"
"Lindsay wants just me and you to run through the scenes. With you playing the role of Mario now...I need to get you caught up."
I didn't think this was really happening. I didn't think Mrs. Lindsay would really go through with pulling Serena off the play. I had payed the ultimate price for it. But now here I was...with Adonis. I should be happy. I should be really happy but I can't be. Adonis had nothing to do with me being attacked but his friends were the ones who did it. It's making me feel some type of way regardless of if I wanted to or not.
"Ok..." I state.
"It's cool right?" he asks.
"Yeah, yeah, it's fine."
"OK great lets set up for the scene," he tells me, "Here are the lines..."
"I already know the lines."
He smiles. He's not expecting that, "You already got me beat. Maybe you're the one who should be helping me out with this."
He laughs. I don't laugh with him. Normally about right now I would be appreciating his smile. I would be appreciating everything about him. That wasn't the case. Not now. Right now I just kept thinking about Braden hitting me. I kept thinking about balling up on the floor. I kept thinking about how they kept aiming at my face. They were doin' it on purpose.
"You sure you OK?" he asks me out of nowhere.
"I'm fine," I state quickly changing the subject, "Was going to invite you to a party I'm having this weekend over at Kordell's house."
"I'd love to go Yogi, but you're kind of acting weird. Are you sure you're OK?"
Before I can finish Adonis rubs my cheek. He is rubbing off the makeup a little bit. I hadn't noticed how bright the lights were in the auditorium. It was pretty much giving it away. He stares at my face at that moment and studies it. He's putting two and two together and before I can come up with a defense, he's immediately saying something.
"Those are bruises," he states seeming shocked, "Man are you OK?"
"Is it at home or..."
"No, of course not," I explain.
"I noticed you pulled up with that guy Kordell. Usually, your dad
brings you home. Are you avoiding your home...or something."
"Nothing is happening at home?" I ask, "You think my father is beating me or something?"
"He looked really mad. I saw him grab you up this morning."
I'm shocked, "What else did you see?"
He pauses at that moment, "I saw you kiss Kordell."
Damn. Kordell was sloppy this morning. He was way too sloppy. Adonis had seen us! I feel my face flushed with embarrassment at that moment. Sure I should sit around and defend my father. Sure I should say something to Adonis but right now I'm just bothered that my crush saw me kiss another guy.
"It's not really like that," I state.
"I don't care about you being gay," Adonis explains to me, "I've always assumed you were. It's just I'm a little worried about the fact that you come to school with bruises on your face arguing with your parent."
"I think you should mind your fuckin' business...honestly," I tell Adonis.
"Excuse me?" Adonis asks, "I'm just trying to help."
I look at him and I feel so angry. Was he trying to help? Trying to help? Now? How many times had Adonis sat around passively watching his friends treat other people like shit? How many times had he been there when Serena violated someone's pride or when Braden put other people down to make himself feel better? He'd been there. All along.
He'd done nothing.
"I don't know what you look at me as. I don't know if you're looking at me as some charity case to help to ease your guilty conscience. Don't put that shit on me. There are people that need to learn. Including you. And now class is in session."
I get up. I grab my stuff. He looks confused.
"What's that supposed to mean? Yogi? YOGI!"
I walk out of that auditorium ignoring him. As soon as I walk out I notice a few girls with flyers for the party we were throwing this weekend. They were talking about it. Clearly, they were excited. That was all I needed. I needed people excited about this.
The class was in session.
The party that night is lit. Kordell has a nice house and everyone is there. I have on a plain white shirt and I'm standing by the bar. My heart is racing at that moment when I notice that Adonis has shown up. Serena didn't show up. I'm not surprised. She probably wouldn't be found dead in a party that had to do with people in school that weren't kissing her ass. Adonis isn't alone though. He's with Braden and Micah.
"They're here," I whisper to Marisol and Candice.
They both have matching black lace dresses on. The dresses fit their bodies like a glove. They look beautiful.
Marisol hands Candice a drink, "Here."
Candice smiles at that moment, "To the future...cheers."
The future. I drink with her. I watch as Candice drinks all her drink, every last bit of it. I watch as she pauses after taking her drink, takes a deep breath and heads upstairs at that moment. As she walks to the front I see Richard. He's talking to Mimi Weston. She's one of the geekiest girls in school and clearly has this big crush on him. She's over there talking to him about gadgets and things like that.
Mimi is currently in charge of the yearbook. It's a video yearbook.
"That doesn't make you even the slightest bit jealous?" I ask Marisol.
Marisol looks over at Richard, "Nah. We need her. She knows a lot about cameras."
"I know who he's coming home with."
"So this thing between the two of you is real?" I ask.
"Is the thing between you and Adonis real?"
"Me and Adonis?"
Marisol laughs, "Oh come on. I overheard Thorn plotting at the retreat before you guys came. He wants you with Adonis. I know that much. And could be wrong but I think it's working with Adonis. He's been staring at you since he walked into the house. Clearly, the boy has a thing for you."
She looks over at where Adonis is. Sure enough, he is looking over at me. It's probably because of the argument we had earlier though. The awkwardness is clearly still fresh. I'm just surprised he showed up.
"Well, then I'd better go say hi..."
"Be careful," she states, "You know where Kordell is if you need him."
I nod. Kordell is close. He's near the DJ that he hired for the party. A couple of the jocks are surrounding Kordell. Usually, these would be people ass kissing Adonis and his gang. But it seems like with the new party they have found out that Kordell might be someone worth ass kissing too. I notice the familiar faces. Bates, David, Natalie and a bunch of others over there by Kordell. Kordell looks focused though. He's not the least bit concerned about the riff-raff.
Just at that moment, I walk over Adonis, Braden, and Micah. It's awkward. It's beyond awkward. Braden and Micah look at me and then look at each other. I watch Braden put his drink down. Maybe he thinks I'm here to fight.
"Thank you guys for showing up..." I smile.
"Kordell just came over and said the same thing," Adonis states, "He then proceeded to give us free drugs."
"Yeah didn't know your friend was a drug dealer man?" Adonis states, "You should be careful who you hang with Yogi."
Funny Adonis telling me I should be careful who I hung out with. Funny especially with him standing next to Braden.
"So what? You didn't take the drugs?" I ask.
"Of course not."
"I took em," Braden states, "I don't even know what they are. It's definitely not like those E-Pills we had at Micah's party. Wack. But I guess Kordell is trying to get on our good side. That's the only side to be on."
Braden grunts. He does it in the most annoying way showing off the pills that Adonis gave him and shoving them into his shoe to hide them away.
I see Adonis elbow his friend out of nowhere and then quickly add, "What Braden means to say is thanks for inviting us. Hopefully, this could put an end to the little back and forth we all had going on."
"What back and forth?" I ask.
"I just felt like...there's been tension between your friends and my friends," Adonis states, "I just want to nip all that in the butt before things escalate."
Escalate like them jumping me?
"I'm sure we would never let things get out of hands," I state, "Even if we aren't the closest, all of us have too much history to make anything get out of hand? Right guys?"
I look over at Micah when I say it. I'm burying a hole in his forehead. Adonis is saying something in agreement. He's saying something nice. Something Adonis would say to kind of keep the peace. All of it goes over my head though. It goes over my head completely and the only thing that matters is what is going on with Micah.
I watch Micah put his head down. I can't keep my eyes off of him. The nerve of this man. I respected Braden a lot more. At least Braden was looking me in my eyes right now. Micah just looked pathetic. He just looked pitiful.
"I need to use the bathroom," Micah states out of nowhere.
"You OK?" Adonis asks him.
"Don't feel good."
Adonis seems curious. It makes me feel a lot better about him. At least he didn't know what his friends were feeling so antsy about. Braden stares me down. He's ready for me to do something. I can tell. He even manages to smirk in this really fake way as though trying to let me know that he's not bothered in the least bit that I'm here.
"What's up with him?" Adonis asks.
"Weak stomach," Braden states.
"You got a stomach of steel huh?" I ask.
We stare each other down hard. Real hard. I want to make him feel uncomfortable and I'm sure he wants me to feel the same.
"Hey Adonis, I think that girl Paulina was trying to get you to dance with her man."
Adonis looks over at me, "You mind?"
Weird that he would ask me if I cared.
"Nah, go have fun."
Braden and I are left alone. The awkward tension seems to explode just at that moment.
"I need to know if you are going to snitch," he states, "You going to tell Adonis or anyone else that we got in that little disagreement or what?"
"Disagreement. You mean when you guys jumped me for no reason?"
"You was acting funny. Don't be a bitch about it man. I'm sure you took a beating before. Don't be a bitch. Be cool."
"Oh I am cool," I state, "I actually really wanted to get even with you. Like Adonis said. I want us to get past all this petty stuff."
Braden has this cocky smile on his face. He likes the idea of someone
begging him at that moment.
"I'll think about it," he shrugs, "I ain't guaranteeing anything."
He felt like the MAN at that moment. He felt like he ran more than the school. He felt like he ran the world. He has this smug look on his face. He doesn't even look me in my eyes when I'm talking. Braden is far too big of a deal for that.
"What if I gave you some incentive?"
Just when I say that Marisol comes over. She puts her hands on Braden, "Hey daddy..."
Braden seems confused, "What's this?"
"Just looking so good today. Had to come say hi..."
With that Marisol starts walking away. I see how Braden looks at her as she starts walking away at that moment. His eyes follow her. I watch as she slowly lifts her skirt from the back...slowly...delicately. She Shows him a little thigh. She giggles. She tosses her hair back. Braden is going NUTS. I watch him almost break out into a sweat.
"She wants you man," I state, "She wants that dick."
"Nah you don't know what you talking about," he states, "I tried to give her the dick one time and she damn near started freaking out. Had to punch that bitch to shut her up."
"She told me about that."
"I didn't do shit," he states defensively, "All lies."
"No not in a bad way. She said she liked it."
Braden lifts up his eyebrow. He's so into himself that I really think he believes that Marisol must have loved the idea of him forcing himself on her. He really feels like he's the gift to mankind or something like that. Truthfully Braden didn't even look half as good as Adonis. But here he was acting as though everything was just A-OK.
"Oh, she did?"
"She was actually saying she wished you were rougher."
"Rougher? Man. I love some rough sex."
"She does too."
"I ain't trying to leave no marks. My parents told me about that last time I got in an issue with Marisol."
"She's asking for it. Besides. Marisol signed that gag order. She can't say anything even if she wanted to. Remember?"
"Oh shit. You right. I paid that slut off," he states, "Literally put my dick in her mouth and then put my bills in her mouth."
He laughs. He thinks this is funny.
"So yeah you should go handle that. Yeah. Choke her. Pull her hair. She likes it rough. I'm talking all that stuff."
"I knew that fuckin' SLUT was into it," he states.
"Hell yeah. She's into it. She wants it rough man. She's a good friend of mine. She's up there man. But she doesn't want a pussy. Not like that guy Richard. No. She wants a real man. Do you know any real men that go up there and just be a real fucking man."
Braden slams on his solid football player chest in only the way a football player.
"Get out of the way bro. I'll show you what a real man can do."
It doesn't take much for Braden to storm off. His chest built up. He didn't even see which room Marisol was in but I was sure he was going to find what he was looking for.
"Did he fall for it?" Marisol asks.
I smirked over at Marisol, "Oh of course. If you can't beat them join them."
Marisol smiles, "You know what they say. Never argue with stupid people. They'll drag you down and beat you with experience."
Just at that moment, Richard heads over there, "Hey guys I wanted to introduce you to Mimi. She wants to get footage with us for the video yearbook."
"Perfect. Let's make sure we are all on camera," I state specifically looking at Marisol.
We take videos. Five minutes pass. Ten minutes pass.
And then that's when we hear it. It's this loud thud. It's coming from upstairs.
"Did you guys hear that?" Mimi asks.
"You should go check it out. There were a couple of people upstairs I think who wanted to be in the yearbook," Richard states.
"Good idea. New scene."
"Oh, Mimi?" I state, "Remember to keep your camera on. You don't want to miss anything."
Mimi nods as though I'm giving her a whole brand new idea. As she walks away, Kordell joins us. The four us stand around.
"Is she going to be OK?" Kordell asks.
He is concerned about Candice whether he wants to admit it or not.
"She'll be fine..." I state grabbing my phone out, "Almost...almost..."
"We should make the call."
"Make the call."
I hear the voice of Mimi coming downstairs. She is screaming. It's at that moment I realize this was nothing to play with. There was no coming back from this. No way coming back the same way went in.
"Now," I state.
It's Kordell who makes the call, "911. I need help. A girl named Candice had her drink drugged! And oh my god! She was raped. She was raped by someone. Yes, sir. I know who did. HIS NAME WAS BRADEN ALEXANDER."
The cops get there. First, they see Candice all drugged up. Clearly, she had been penetrated. She is so out of it. She barely opens her eyes at that moment but then I see it. I see the wink. The wink that lets me know she's OK. She's more than OK actually.
This was Candice's moment. This was her moment of glory. People would look at her as a survivor. This was why she wanted to do this.
And several minutes later Braden was in cuffs. For the first time, he wasn't smiling. It was all caught on video by Mimi. No denying. No payoffs. Not anymore.
This was the end of Braden Alexander, the Clown Doll.
What's funny now?
To read the next chapter go to www.crushedcrown.com