Authors: Nikki McWatters
Tags: #Fiction, #Psychological, #Retail, #Suspense, #Thrillers
‘When I realised I was built to give or receive pleasure?’ she asked, narrowing her eyes.
‘What do you mean?’ I asked.
‘Well, I can give pleasure and take it and they are different things.’
‘Are they?’ I asked, intrigued.
‘Sure,’ she shrugged. ‘Like you give a guy a blow job so he’ll like you or something or because he’s got something on you and blackmails you. So that is my body giving pleasure. Turn that around and some guy goes down on me. That’s my body giving me pleasure and he’s just doing it because I want him to. No guy really likes going down on a girl and blow jobs suck!’ she laughed out loud, raucously. ‘Blow jobs suck!’
‘So why does anyone engage in oral sex? Just as currency to get something from the other person? Other than mutual pleasure?’
‘Isn’t sex always a transaction or because you want something from that person?’ she frowned. ‘Because if it’s just about orgasm, then you don’t need anyone else at all . You’re a self-contained pleasure unit.’
‘So you prefer masturbation to actual sexual acts with another person?’ I asked tentatively.
‘Doesn’t everyone? Isn’t that why porn is the biggest thing ever. Like it rules the internet and is just huge and everywhere?’
‘What about love?’ I asked, sad that she was again exhibiting such toxic narcissism.
‘Ha! Happily ever after love? It’s a fairytale like Santa or God.’ She said and her face darkened.
‘You don’t believe in God?’ I noted.
‘Nup and not Santa and not true love! No siree!’ she snapped and gave me a salute. ‘People get married and then they screw other people, young girls, so you’re doomed because from that moment, the moment you get married, the clock is ticking and the husband just keeps looking back over his shoulder. At those younger and hotter girls.’
‘You’re talking about Chris Bergin?’ It was a natural assumption.
‘I’m talking about all men,’ she frowned at me. ‘Are you married, shrink? Where’s your husband?’
Jesus Christ. She had me there. Kevin left years ago and is now living with a younger woman and has four year old twins.
‘So that’s it for you then!’ she smiled. ‘Where’s your true love now? You’re not going to pick up ever again probably.’
To be honest, I didn’t like Libby O’Neil. She was a manipulative girl. Too intelligent and astute for her own good. Everything was a game, a competition, for her, including our sessions together.
‘You don’t like men much, do you Libby?’ I made an observation.
‘What’s there to like?’ she laughed. ‘Chicks can plot and plan and think and nothing derails us. Guys can be in a great place, doing something great and get derailed in an instant by a pretty girl! How lame is that? Talk about the weaker sex!’
‘How do you feel about the charge of sexual assault against you?’ I steered us back to the reason we were meeting once again.
‘Totally stupid. We were just mucking around. He didn’t get hurt.’
‘I’m sure his marriage took a hit. His daughter and your families are suffering.’
‘Because he is a man who cheated on his wife?’ she laughed derisively. ‘That’s all his fault. We offered. He was like a salivating dog. If you throw a dog a bone, he’s always going to chew it because that’s his nature. And as soon as chicks realise they’re the bone and that the bone is mightier than the dog, then men will be
‘Interesting analogy,’ I pondered uncomfortably.
She seemed to be goading me. Being deliberately confronting and aggressive in her speech.
‘And the dog is always, and I do mean always, gonna go for the fresh, meaty bone over the dried up chalky ones. Jesus,’ she stood up and pumped her fist in the air. ‘Listen to me. I should take this show on the road.’
‘No remorse? What about the drugs. You gave the man a combination of drugs that might have killed him.’
‘What!? He was gonna die of a permanent hard-on?’ she laughed. ‘I don’t think so!’
‘He might have been allergic to an ingredient in either of the drugs you’ve admitted you supplied.’
‘True. But just for the record I did not get charged with that!’ she said.
‘What about your parents, Libby? They got married and had you? They fell in love once upon a time.’
She stared at me, mouth open.
‘You have no idea, do you?’ she barked. ‘There aren’t two people on the planet who hate each other more than my parents. Well, maybe Chris’s wife hates me about the same,’ she sat back down and I was surprised to see that there were tears in her eyes. I passed her a tissue.
‘My mum used to be really hot,’ she told me. ‘A gorgeous little blonde. Great bod. Funny. I’ve got early memories. I remember back way more than other people do. Dad says it’s just from seeing photos but I do remember her smile.’
It was nice to hear Libby saying something nice about someone for a change. There was some genuine emotion playing on her face and in her voice. Something that I’d not seen before.
‘But then she changed. She broke. My Dad broke her,’ she said and began to really cry.
‘How do you mean?’ I asked gently.
‘He cheated on her with a teenage girl and she found out.’
BOMBSHELL! It hit me so hard and from nowhere that I felt winded. Breathless. What an incredible breakthrough. I let her calm down while her words reverberated about the room in silence and yet loud with their power.
She was acting out. She was avenging her mother. She was also paying back her parents for having abandoned her to focus on their own pain. She was out to destroy lives because she had become obsessed with the cause of her parent’s unhappiness.
I was actually horrified that the O’Neil’s had not come forward with this information. They cannot be oblivious to the emotional confluence of these two circumstances. It would have been a mighty defence for her. They kept it quiet, I could only assume, to save their own reputations, at the expense of their daughter’s.
‘This is great, Libby. Thank-you for sharing this with me,’ I said, swallowing hard, trying not to show how much this meant for her case. ‘May I ask if I might share this in my report. I think it could work for you. It might go some way toward showing the Magistrate what pain and confusion lies beneath your behaviour. If nothing else, if everything does not go well, it will definitely lighten any sentence you might be given.’
‘My parents would kill me,’ she frowned and then looked at me levelly. ‘But they already have. They can’t kill me twice, can they? Yes, share it. I do want people to know this. It’s gonna be a closed court so it won’t have to be like totally public.’
‘I will be very gentle with the way I write it focussing on your reaction to the situation,’ I said scribbling notes so that I had all her exact words.
‘Funny,’ she gave me a strange look, ‘now the old fart can’t get it up and lives in his den with his Viagra and his Barely Legal porn stash.’
‘If you could say one thing to Chris Bergin now, what would it be?’ I asked.
It was the money shot question. Any remorse? Come on Libby, I thought. I’d love to stick the word remorse in the report somewhere.’
‘Check!’ she smiled.
‘Check?’ I asked, confused.
‘Like in check-mate,’ she said cryptically.
‘Not check-mate? Just check?’ I enquired.
‘No just check. I’m saving check-mate for the hearing next week!’
I looked at her and felt a shiver of dread. What did she still have up her sleeve. Nothing was as it seemed with this girl. She unnerved me and it brought me back to our earlier conversation.
What I had picked up, in a startling case of obvious Schadenfreude, was that the girl was actually enjoying the negative impact this whole business was having on those around her.
‘Now about your suicidal thoughts,’ I said, frightened she might have been thinking of that as her coup de tat.
‘Oh I wasn’t serious,’ she smiled. ‘How could I? I’ve got this on board. That’s all that matters to me right now.’ She patted her stomach. ‘None of that other stupid crap.’
‘You can call me any time if you do have thoughts like that Libby. Any time.’ And I meant it.
‘Nah,’ she shook her head. ‘I’m good. It was good to get all that off my chest, you know?’
When Libby left, I wished her luck with the birth of the baby.
‘It’s a boy,’ she told me.
Afterwards, I cried. Libby, poor, broken, angry, vengeful, narcissistic Libby who was soon to become a parent. They should issue licences for such a huge responsibility. It’s the toughest job in the world and without intentional cruelty or even awareness, the O’Neil’s had managed to destroy the one truly loveable thing they shared. Libby O’Neil was a spoiled child. Spoiled beyond repair. Perhaps that little baby might be the catalyst she needed for healing. But I doubted it.
The case got the whole world talking. Here we are talking about it now.
Of course, I wasn’t involved any more. I’m a defence lawyer and having previously been the counsel for the now complainant, there was no role there for me. It was one of those cases that people obsess over and want to debate at every opportunity. The media and the public were all out on their soap boxes, shouting. The social media had exploded with misinformation and there were even conspiracy theories circulating that the girl had been a CIA plant. I kid you not!
There weren’t many folk out there that were sitting on the fence. There were the ‘Bergin champions’ and the ‘Bergin haters’ and even the girl, Libby O’Neil had found herself something of a celebrity among teenage girls. That was something I couldn’t have seen coming. I’d spoken to Chris about it and he agreed that it was quite possibly the most disturbing aspect of the whole drama. It was inconceivable that the pregnant girl had become something of an antihero for her alleged sexual assault on Chris. I’d seen a girl in a t-shirt with a picture of Libby with a slogan reading ‘Bitch on top!’
The committal hearing was due to take place the following week and I was confident that the Magistrate would set the proceedings for a trial. I’d seen the film footage, the key evidence in the case, and had that girl been a teenage boy and Chris an adult woman, it would be have been cut and dry. The spate of alcohol-fuelled teen sexual assault that ended up on mobile phones and shared on social media was a worrying trend and up until now it had always been the teen boys as perpetrators. Now I feared that rather than being the awakening that these kids needed, it might work in the reverse.
With the reversed gender roles, the true face of sexism was showing and it wasn’t attractive. On the spectrum of opinions there were the men who thought Chris had sold out and been a big girl’s shirt for pointing the finger at the girl and calling what she did
There were those who thought he was actually an arse for putting the girl through the criminal justice system when she was pregnant and clearly had emotional problems. There were many women who still believed he was a scumbag who had used the young girls and then abused them further by accusing them when he had clearly not been physically harmed. Other’s called the girl’s crime, a lack of ‘politeness’ rather than rape. But then you had those who saw this for what it was. A benchmark case for sexual equality. A fight against the extremists in the feminist camp who have swung the zeitgeist toward discrimination against men.
Hey, we blokes have been arsehole cavemen for centuries and we’re adjusting to this new social set-up. There are still plenty of Neanderthals out there. But some of the man-haters out there like to think of us all as paedophiliac rapists or wife-beaters and that’s not the case. I’m not perfect. I’ve probably been guilty of judging women on their appearance or sometimes considering a man might be better for a job. But when I realise it, I call myself up on it and I do, I self-correct. I know plenty of women who judge a man for his bank balance. None of us are perfect and we do have some adjustment issues still plaguing us. It’s only been seventy odd years since the fifties where men were the bread winners and women danced around the shiny new kitchen appliances. I’m pushing sixty. In the space of my life, but a pin drop in the ocean of history, women have called us up and shown us how stupid we were to underestimate them. And I am proud to have been alive to see it.
With power comes responsibility. And also remember that absolute power corrupts absolutely. For some women equality wasn’t enough. In society today, I’m afraid of going to the beach with my grand-daughter. It’s gotten that bad. It’s gotten so bad that many women are suspicious of men and men are afraid of being accused by women for perceived sins. We’re not all lechers and we’re not all violent. Some of us can be sensitive and share our intimate emotions with women we feel safe with. I know so many strong and wonderful women.
When men are bad, we are made accountable as it should be. Sometimes women will challenge their accountability by being deluded that their femininity gives them ‘special’ rights.
It was a beautiful day on Sydney Harbour. Colourful vessels skated about the blue expanse, sails flapping, seagulls squawking, the smell of salt sprinkling the air. The sun was shining and it was my favourite time of the year. Those last mellow days of Autumn when the air was still crisp and didn’t matt your clothes to your skin or shiver in the creases. When mornings were still cuddleable and nights wore comfortable dinner suits.
I was hosting a seafood buffet on my yacht,
The Silver Lining.
Just a few dear friends, eight of us. Madeleine had taken care of the catering and we had dropped anchor near Whiting Beach, just around from Mosman Bay. It was one of my favourite spots on the Harbour that had not become over-exploited.
Out came the king prawns, the Balmain bugs and some chilled champagne and ice-cold beer.
I sat next to the Iver’s. Karen is a high-school teacher and her husband Jim is a partner at the firm. I was keen to get Karen’s take on the Bergin Melodrama.
‘Totally in Bergin’s camp,’ she told me firmly. ‘Young girls today really have no boundaries and think they can get away with murder.’