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Authors: Yolonda Tonette Sanders

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BOOK: In Times of Trouble
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“That has nothing to do with it. You're my daughter. Besides, Liv is a good person; she'll understand. We'll do whatever's necessary to take care of you.”

“You're not in this alone, sweetheart.” RJ's deep voice penetrated the atmosphere. Startled by the sound of her father's voice, Chanelle looked his way. “I've been waiting anxiously in the car, so I came in. I was with your mother when she got the call. I want you to know that we will both be there for you.”

“But, Mama, Miss Olivia—”

“I'm not worried about Olivia. I'm worried about you and I want you to come home.”

“I don't know about that. Stacie said I could stay here as long as I need to.”

“You're officially grown now, so I can't make you come with me, but I want you to. Home is where you belong.”

It took some convincing, but Chanelle ultimately decided to go with Lisa. As they were headed out, both Kyle and Stacie hugged Chanelle. Lisa still wasn't crazy about Kyle's baggy pants or the cornrows he sported, but she was impressed by his compassion. “Take care, Shorty,” he said to Chanelle. “Call and let me know how you are, okay?”

Chanelle nodded and Kyle looked like he wanted to hold her in his arms and never let her go.

“I love you and I'm here whenever you need me,” Stacie added.

“Thanks, Stacie. . .I love you, too.”

Under any other circumstances there might have been a twinge of jealousy as Lisa witnessed the obvious bond between her daughter and Kyle's mother. But, feeling as if she, herself, had let Chanelle down, Lisa was thankful that Stacie had been
there for her. Sure, Stacie was young, too young to have five children and be a grandmother in Lisa's opinion, but there was obviously a warm-hearted side to her that Lisa hadn't taken the time to understand.

Before walking out, Lisa turned to Stacie and said, “Thank you. . .” The woman she once deemed an unfit and neglectful mother had unselfishly opened her home and heart to Chanelle, and for that, Lisa had a new sense of admiration for her. “I'm sorry for the way I acted toward you.”

“Don't worry about it. It's squashed. As far as I'm concerned, it's water under the bridge. Chanelle's well-being is all that matters now.”

Just Stuff

J and Lisa wanted to take Chanelle immediately down to the police station, but she wasn't ready and wanted to go home. RJ drove separately and Lisa rode home with Chanelle in the used Honda Accord that she had bought herself with her graduation money. Chanelle was virtually silent during the ride and Lisa couldn't help but blame herself for Chanelle's rape since she had practically forced her daughter into Justin's arms. It had been almost two months since Lisa had seen her daughter. She thought back to the night of the engagement party and how withdrawn Chanelle had been. Lisa wished she had asked more questions instead of buying Justin's answer that Chanelle was tired. It sickened her to think about how charming he'd pretended to be, complimenting her that night, all the while knowing that he'd sexually assaulted her daughter. If she could get her hands around his neck. . .

Justin had hurt two of the people she loved dearly. Not only was she worried about Chanelle, but she was worried about Olivia as well. Lisa was going to have to be strong for the both of them. Justin had violated everyone's trust, including his mother's. Liv was going to be devastated by her son's actions, and Lisa
needed to do her best to remain strong because Olivia, and especially Chanelle, needed her to be.

When they got to the house, Chanelle asked to be alone and went straight to her room while RJ stayed downstairs to comfort Lisa. “Are you okay?”

“No,” she said honestly.

Pulling her into his chest and kissing her forehead, he whispered, “This is not your fault.”

“But I'm the one who—”

“Shh. . .I'm not going to let you do this to yourself.”

Lisa cried, securing herself in RJ's arms for several moments until her cell phone rang. RJ got a peek at her caller ID. “Is that who I think it is?”

Lisa nodded.

“Under the circumstances, I don't think you should talk to her.”

Lisa shrugged. “Sooner or later I will have to anyhow. I know this is going to kill her.” She took a deep breath before answering. “Hey, Liv.”

“Are you back in Columbus?”

“Yeah; I got back a few hours ago.”

“Have you heard from Chanelle?”

Lisa thought it was a little weird that Olivia would immediately ask about Chanelle and not ask about Callie or her trip. The last couple of weeks, Liv had been obsessed with whether or not Lisa had spoken with her daughter. Lisa now wondered if Olivia knew more than she had been letting on. “Yes, I have heard from Chanelle. As a matter of fact, she's home now. Why do you ask?”

“B-because. . .I'm concerned about her and you. You're my best friend and Chanelle is like a daughter to me. I've been worried about her, too.”

Lisa felt a slight twinge of guilt about her suspicions. “I'm sorry,
Liv. You're right. I guess I'm on edge because Chanelle told me some very disturbing news.”

“What did she say?” Olivia spoke cautiously.

Lisa took a deep breath, hating that she had to break this news to her best friend. “She said that Justin raped her the night of the engagement party.”

“That's all she said?”

Liv, that's a whole heck of a lot.”

“I'm sorry; I didn't mean it that way. I just wondered if she said anything else. . .like has she gone to the police?”

“Not yet. RJ and I are hoping to take her later today. She doesn't want to go right now.”

“Sounds to me like she may not be sure that it was rape. The party was nearly two months ago; if my son raped Chanelle, surely she would have said something before now. Does she have any proof of this accusation?”

“So you think Chanelle's lying?”

“It's possible. I mean, c'mon, Lisa, Chanelle hasn't been an angel. This wouldn't be the first time she lied to you.”

“True, Chanelle has lied before, but not to someone else's detriment. She knows that Justin risks facing legal trouble and I can't imagine that she would make this up. I don't think she's lying. I believe her.”

“Justin is a college football star and is destined for the pros after next year. Girls are literally falling all over him. He wouldn't have to rape someone to have sex, so Chanelle's story doesn't add up to me.”

“What would she gain by lying on him? What would be her motive?”

“Jealousy. She's mad because Justin broke up with her, so now she wants to ruin his career by falsely accusing him of rape.”

Lisa burned hot with anger toward her best friend, but she remained calm. “Liv, I understand you're upset and I would be too if I were in your position. The fact is that I believe Chanelle and as soon as she's ready, we're going down to the police station. I know you love your son and no matter what he's done, you shouldn't stop loving him. The bottom line is we're going to file a report and let the justice system determine Justin's guilt or innocence.”

“I'm warning you. . .don't go to the police with this dumb and unfounded accusation,” she said viciously.

“Are you threatening me?” RJ quickly snatched the phone from Lisa and hung it up. “What did you do that for?”

“I felt the conversation getting way out of line. Until we talk to the police you don't need to have any further communication with her.”

RJ went upstairs and spoke with Chanelle alone. During which time Olivia had tried to call Lisa several times, but following RJ's instructions, she didn't answer. About an hour or so later, they were headed to the police station.

When they got there, RJ took the lead in speaking with the officers. Lisa was glad not to have to be the strong one; RJ was doing it for her. After finding out exactly where they needed to go to make the claim, Chanelle was taken into a room, accompanied by RJ and Lisa.

“Hi, Chanelle, I'm Detective Troy Evans. I'll be the one investigating your case.” Lisa apparently watched too much television because she expected to see a somewhat heavyset, bald, white man eating a doughnut and drinking coffee. But Detective Evans was just the opposite. He was tall, dark and built with muscles like an action figure. He looked to be in his mid-to-late-thirties and spoke with a slight Southern twang. “I want you to
take your time and tell me everything that happened the night you were raped. If it gets too hard for you to talk or you want to take a break, just let me know.”

Chanelle nodded.

Lisa's heart ached as she listened to her daughter's story.

“Miss Olivia was planning a surprise engagement party for my mom. The night before I spoke with Justin and he asked if I'd be willing to help him and his mother set up things for the party. I said ‘yes.' Justin and I went out a lot, but we weren't really dating. Anyhow, Miss Olivia told Mama that she and her husband were having a banquet, so when Justin picked me up, I told my mom that I was going to help with that. Miss Olivia had us running back and forth from their house to the hotel. I'd brought my clothes with me because I thought I would change at the hotel, but we finished much earlier than expected, so I went back to their house with him since we still had some time.” Tears began to well in Chanelle's eyes as she recanted her story.

That day they had listened to music while hanging out in the huge entertainment room the Scotts had in their basement, which was decorated with a large theater-like television, a pool table, arcade machines and a ping pong table.

“You think you're gonna go to more of my football games this year?” Justin had asked.

“Probably. You know Mama and Miss Olivia will be at your games all the time. I'm sure I'll come with them.”

“I'm surprised you even agreed to go out with me. I didn't think you liked me. You've only been to a few games before.”

“No offense, but spending the afternoon with thirty- and forty- something-year-old women is not my idea of fun.”

“So it had nothing to do with me, then, right?”


“Good.” He leaned closer and kissed her. They'd kissed several times, but Chanelle wasn't really overtaken by his kisses. Justin was cool and she liked him, but not really in that way. Secretly, her heart still longed for Kyle, but he was no longer interested in communicating with her. Justin was fun to hang out with and she didn't know how to tell him that she didn't like him in
way. With only a few more hours before the party started, she would suffer through his non-hormone charging kisses, but before they went out again, she was going to find some way to let him know that she just wasn't interested in him romantically. He was a nice guy. Hopefully they could remain friends.

They were both laid back on the couch when Justin blurted, “Have you ever had sex?”

“No,” she answered uncomfortably.

“You and that Kyle dude that your mom hates never done it?”


“Y'all never did

“We've kissed and stuff, but we never had sex.”

“What do you mean by ‘and stuff?'”

Chanelle shrugged her shoulders. “Just stuff.”

“Has he ever put his hand down here?” He made an attempt to touch her privates, but she blocked him.

“I think we should go back to the hotel and see if your mom needs us.”

“If she did, she would've called us by now. Besides, we've worked hard all day and so has she. She's probably in one of the hotel rooms taking a nap. So what has stopped you from doing it?”

“I just didn't want to.” Truth was, all those daggone scriptures her mother had inbred in her scared her into abstinence. Plus, though Chanelle enjoyed the kissing and touching she and Kyle had done, sex was serious business. She didn't want to give her
body to anyone unless they would be together forever. She and Kyle were too young to make that kind of commitment to each other. Kyle wasn't a virgin, but the one thing Chanelle liked about him was that he respected her.

“Maybe you were waiting on me.” Justin began kissing her again. This time he took it a lot further, groping her breasts and rubbing that sensitive spot between her thighs.

Chanelle squeezed her legs together. “Stop it!” She tried shoving him off of her, but his football-chiseled body was much stronger than her petite one and he remained fixed.

“I'm not going to hurt you, just relax.”

“I don't want to do this !”

“Why not?”

Chanelle had planned to save her big lecture for another time, but she had to get it out now. “I just don't like you that way!”

“You're kidding, right?”

“No. I think you're a really cool person and I enjoy hanging out with you, but I don't like you enough to do this. You're more like a brother to me.”

BOOK: In Times of Trouble
13.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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