Chapter 7~ Victory
Cora and Mei drove in silence until they came to their first red light. Cora glanced over at Mei who appeared to no longer seem hurt or angry. Serenity was covering her; she even appeared to be glowing. Cora knew something significant had happened back there with Max and became enraged. How far things had gone between them was becoming painfully obvious.
Cora did not recognize Mei. Never before had she seen her friend in this state. Cora’s anger subsided as concern replaced it. She had most recently heard that Max already had a girlfriend. Everyone knew, except Mei, who sometimes appeared deaf to gossip. She was always under tremendous stress and lived in a state of either fear or severe depression. She had lost so much of her childhood because of her stepfather.
“What the fudge just happened back there, Mei?” she finally blurted after breaking from her rambling thoughts.
“I don’t know…but, for once in my life, something wasn’t stolen from me,” Mei replied, blushing uncontrollably.
"You had sex!" Cora screamed.
Mei sat quietly as images of Max flooded her thoughts. She had no basis of comparison, but the way that he had made her feel, no man could even come close. There was something genuine and passionate about the way he made love to her. Mei tried to fight her thoughts, realizing that she needed to get him out of her mind.
Cora was speechless on what to say to her friend, but managed, “You’re on a whole other planet right now... I can't even speak to you! Say “hi” to the rest of the loonies while you’re up there, God only knows where,” she spoke as they pulled into Mei’s driveway.
“Are you going to be okay?” Cora breathed. She faced her friend, concerned about her coming back to this home in her present state.
“Yeah…I'm sure everyone is asleep by now,” Mei answered, gathering her things before getting out of the car. “I’ll call you tomorrow,” she said, closing the car door.
She gingerly walked up to the front door, unlocked it, and headed to her room. Mei was genuinely in her realm as she walked into her bedroom, not noticing that it wasn’t locked. She began to undress, taking off her shirt and jeans while preparing for bed. She struggled in the darkness for a while, realizing she needed light to finish preparing for bed.
She started heading towards her nightstand, to turn on her lamp when she heard her bedroom door lock. She spun around to see her stepfather standing in front of her door.
Thomas might have seemed like some saint to everyone else in the neighborhood, maybe even in this house, but he was no angel. He bitterly stepped toward Mei as she scrambled to put her clothes back on, stumbling backward in the darkness.
The moonlight through her window was her only help in the dark as she searched for her clothes. She grabbed her shirt, quickly putting it on, all while, trying to keep a watchful eye on Thomas.
“It’s five thirty in the morning…where have you been?” Thomas questioned, boiling with rage.
“I…I…I was out with friends,” Mei voice trembled, fearing what she knew would happen next.
Thomas flew towards her, his fist colliding with her face. He knocked her down to the floor. Mei grabbed her mouth to hold back her painful scream. She didn’t want to wake her mother and sister, fearing what might happen to them. Thomas had threatened their lives before, and Mei believed he would follow through.
Thomas pounced on Mei, ripping off her shirt and undergarment. He raped Mei. She died a slow death at that moment. She tried to imagine being someplace else where he couldn’t hurt her, where no man could touch her.
The next morning she awoke to the sounds of voices in the hallway. Her mother was trying to open the now locked bedroom door, but Thomas stopped her saying, “Song, she’s tired; she was hanging out late last night with some friends. Let her sleep in.”
“Oh, okay, I guess you’re right,” her mother sheepishly replied and then reluctantly walked away.
Mei felt a rush of pain as she tried to get up from the floor. Her left cheek ached, and her body felt as if it had been through a meat grinder. Somehow, she knew he raped her more than once. “I didn’t feel like this after Max,” Mei gently cried. “How can anyone love me? I’m damaged!” she sobbed.
She sat on the side of her bed, opening her nightstand drawer and pulled out a small metal box. It contained a pack of razors and large Band-Aids. “I just don’t want to hurt anymore,” she whispered to herself.
Mei grabbed the blade, pausing for a moment over her wrist. Tears began to blind her view as she shoved the razor into her forearm and sliced it open, gagging a little as she realized how deep this cut went. She quickly bandaged her new wound and put away her mutilation kit.
Ariaha, her sister, knocked on her door.
“What?” Mei answered, irate by being disturbed.
“A hot looking guy is at the front door for you, and Dad looks upset,” Araiha giggled.
Mei jumped to her feet and ran to her window. She could see Max’s truck in the driveway.
“No!” she cried. “I don’t want him seeing me like this,” she whispered, looking down at her arm. Blood soaked through the bandage, and she would have to change it again.
“Mei?” Araiha called, banging louder.
“I’m sick!” Mei yelled back.
“Mei get down here right now! You have a guest!” her stepfather sternly hollered through the door.
Mei fought back her tears, seething with rage. "Why did he show up here? I gave him a wrong number to make sure he would get the message," Mei grumbled to herself. “Tell him I will be down in a few…I just need to wash up,” Mei replied, trying to stay calm behind the door.
She then grabbed her towel and clothes before heading to the shower. She didn’t want to see anyone today, especially her stepfather. And Max for a whole other reason.
“What is he doing here?” she growled stepping out of the shower.
She quickly dressed and covered up the bruises on her face and neck left by her stepfather’s hand. Mei learned the art of concealing injuries from persistent beatings by her stepfather over the years; however, this one was posing a challenge. She was skilled at putting on makeup to take the attention away from her real problems. She rewrapped the fresh wounds, three separate times before it finally stopped bleeding through the bandages.
She nervously headed, downstairs following the voices into the kitchen. Mei could overhear her mother talking to Max over tea. She made her way into the kitchen. Just seeing him again brought butterflies to her stomach. She couldn’t help but stare; it was like he healed her, temporarily taking away the violent energy from her stepfather.
At seventeen, he was such a gentleman. Who in the world raised him? Mei had heard the horror stories about his mother. Could she have raised him to be a gentleman or was it all just an act? Damn, it's working, Mei thought.
When she looked into his eyes, pain and fear seem to melt away. She just could not be angry with him for finding her.