Authors: Nikki McWatters
Tags: #Fiction, #Psychological, #Retail, #Suspense, #Thrillers
‘Not really. They’re more like mates.’
‘So, you’ve not been sexually active with boys from school?’
‘No!’ she snapped and I could see a change in her demeanour. ‘If you’re trying to make out that this is someone else’s baby, you’re wrong. There was only Chris Bergin. He’s the father and that’s that!’
I raised my eyebrows. I hadn’t insinuated such a thing. I’d asked the question in a very benign manner and it was Libby who jumped immediately to that assumption. Her eyes left mine as she said the words ‘someone else’s baby’ and I was struck by the very real possibility that this was what she subconsciously saying. I made a mental note and filed it away.
‘I’m not suggesting that at all, Libby. Just getting to know more about you.’
‘Well, I don’t see what that’s got to do with anything,’ she mumbled. ‘I’ll tell you more about what happened.’
It was clear that the girl really did want to talk about that night with the band and I sat back and let her continue at her own pace. She stood up and walked around the room, looking at my bookcase and various objects as she spoke.
‘Abigail was a little bit pissed and she’s a bit of a flirt. She’s really pretty and all the boys love her.’
Did I detect a hint of jealousy there?
‘She’s blonde and she’s got massive boobs and she was all over Chris. He seemed to be a bit annoyed by her. She was giggling and being a bit of a pain. But I love her. She’s just like that. I’m used to it. Sometimes she’s a bit of a queef.’
‘Queef?’ I frowned. I hadn’t heard that one.
‘A bit of a slut. It’s actually a term for a fanny fart, you know?’
‘No,’ I said levelly, trying not to smile. ‘I did not know that.’
She seemed to enjoy trying to shock me with her liberal vocabulary but in her voice I had detected a scintilla of ‘Abigail envy’. It was subtle but I suspected that like an iceberg there was far more of that beneath the surface.
‘The drummer, Clayton was there and his girlfriend or wife or whatever was getting pissed- off and kept saying she wanted to go.’
Libby was talking quite fast now, gaining momentum.
‘They were the last ones to leave and that left just Chris and Abbie and me. The drummer’s girlfriend came over and told Chris to send us away. She was a total bitch. She called us scrags or something like that. Sluts. Groupies.’
‘How did that make you feel?’ I asked.
‘Like shit. Like ‘who are you bitch’ to call us scrags when you’re banging the drummer?’
‘Did Chris respond when she spoke like that?’ I enquired.
‘He just laughed and called her Yoko Ono who is like the chick who broke up the Beatles.’
‘Yes,’ I smiled. ‘I know that story. The Beatles, now that’s more my vintage. I had a crush on Paul.’
‘Nah..George Harrison. He was cute,’ she smiled.
I was surprised a girl her age would be conversant about the Beatles. But she did attend a Performing Arts High-school, I had to remind myself.
‘You’re quite the music expert aren’t you?’ I smiled. ‘Do you play any instrument?’
‘The piano. I’ve had six years of lessons and I guess I’m pretty good,’ she nodded and sat back down on the chair in front of me. ‘The Beatles were total hipsters.’
‘So you girls were alone with Chris?’ I said steering the conversation back on topic.
‘Yeah,’ she said. ‘He was getting more wasted, snorting cocaine off the coffee table and he started being stupid and tipped champagne down Abbie’s front and she pulled down her top and he started licking her…you know…licking her boobs and stuff.’
‘How did you feel about that?’ I asked.
‘I was surprised but they had been getting more…affectionate.’
‘Now Libby, Chris is set to stand trial for rape but Abigail has not made that same claim. So when did his attentions turn your way?’
‘Well. Things got hotter and Abbie got on the bed and started coming on real strong and Chris …well you know….went all the way with her and I was watching. It was interesting. Like live porn but stupider and messier.’
‘You’ve seen pornography have you?’ I asked.
‘Yeah,’ she shrugged. ‘Everyone has. It’s all over the internet and people at school are always flashing some sick thing on their phones. I’ve looked at some.’
‘Do you get aroused by it?’ I asked.
‘Turned on?’ she frowned. ‘Yeah. Sometimes.’
‘Do you have fantasies? Masturbate?’
She hooted and laughed and buried her face in her hands before looking up at me.
‘I can’t believe you asked me that, but yeah, doesn’t everyone?’
‘Did watching Abigail and Chris arouse you?’
And then she snapped. I was taken aback because just a second before she had been laughing.
‘No! What, do you think I’m a lesbian? Getting off on watching my best friend fuck someone? Watching her big tits bouncing while she ground herself onto his cock like some porn whore?’ she jumped up and began pacing, her little fists balled at her sides.
‘Libby? Calm down,’ I soothed. ‘It was a fair question. Looking at people engaged in intercourse is more often than not, arousing. I’d be aroused, possibly. It’s just natural.’
‘Well, I wasn’t. I was a bit grossed out by it,’ she said, sulking back into the chair.
I waited, watching her calm down.
‘Just curious,’ I eventually said. ‘Did Abigail use protection?’
‘A condom?’ she said. ‘Yeah. Abigail carries them in her purse…just in case.’
‘So it wasn’t Chris who had the condoms, but Abbie?’ I asked. ‘Had you girls ever talked about the possibility of meeting the band and even going further with them?’
‘No,’ she said quickly. ‘Oh you know in the past we’d say stupid things like…he’s hot or I’d like to do him and we used to say that about Chris I guess but we didn’t really think that would ever happen.’
‘So in some respects, Abbie was living out a fantasy,’ I suggested.
‘I guess, I guess she really wanted to do it and she did,’ Libby shrugged.
‘So there was no force? She was willing?’
‘Yeah but it was different with me.’ Her face clouded over and she looked to the carpet.
‘How so?’ I asked gently.
‘Well, Abbie went to the bathroom and she was gone a while. I was worried she had passed out,’ Libby spoke in a lower voice. A flat mono-tone. ‘I got up and went toward the bathroom and then I felt an arm around my waist and Chris was pulling me back onto the bed. He was naked and I could feel that he had an erection.’
‘What were you feeling?’ I said in a whisper.
‘Scared. I was a virgin and I didn’t want to have sex.’
I watched her fold in on herself in the chair. She twisted her body so that she was no longer facing me and pulled at her fringe which hung over her face. Her body language was indicating that she was not being completely honest with me. I’ve seen it enough that I’m very, very good at determining when someone is lying or being creative with the truth. And yet there was some trepidation as she spoke. A flicker of disgust and shame in her eyes. It was ephemeral. Just a glancing fleck. But I believed she had been hurt. There was pain there. But Libby was guarding that shadow closely.
‘He got on top of me and said that I was the one he really wanted. He didn’t like Abigail and had just gone along with it to shut her up. I said I didn’t want to but he ripped open my stockings and pulled aside my G and forced himself inside of me and then he just kept on until he was finished and then rolled away.’
‘Did it hurt?’
‘Yeah. A bit.’
‘And Abbie?’ I asked.
‘She came out of the bathroom straight after and I told her I wanted to leave.’
‘And did you?’
‘Yeah. We left Chris on the bed and just went out the door. It was nearly morning anyway and so we caught a cab back to Abbie’s cos my mum was picking me up from there at nine.’
‘Did you tell Abbie about what had happened?’
‘Yeah, I guess. I think I told her in the lift at the hotel and she was still a bit pissed so I don’t know if she really understood that I was like fully raped.’
‘How were you feeling when you left the room?’
‘Freaked out and spaced out a bit. Shocked. And it made me feel a bit sick like I wasn’t in control of my own body because he had made me do something that I didn’t want to do. I felt cheap and dirty.’
‘That’s very common and normal to feel that way after such a situation,’ I nodded.
There were no tears and no overt anger being expressed by Libby while she recounted that evening’s events. What I was picking up was some deep-seated, unexpressed animosity toward her friend Abigail.
‘Did you keep your torn stockings and knickers?’ I asked her.
‘No. I threw them all away.’
To be completely honest? I wasn’t buying the rape story. At least not the way she was telling it. There was still some awe and warmth in her voice when she said the word Chris. But I had to remind myself that he was a huge celebrity and must have had some powerful presence and Libby may still have seen him as something special despite what might have happened. She claimed to be carrying his child and that could imbue her with a sense of forced closeness to the man. It occurred to me that she had been raped but not by Chris Bergin. I have seen accusations transferred before. A long time ago in London. Perhaps her memory was blurred from drugs and alcohol. There was just something not sounding right. I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was nothing I could report clearly. It was just a hunch. But I trusted my intuition. It rarely let me down.
‘Did you talk further with Abigail about this?’
‘Not really. I tried to just get on with it and block it out. Pretend it never happened.’
‘Were you worried about pregnancy?’
‘A bit. I knew I was in the middle of my cycle so it was a possibility but I was just waiting to see if I was. I did the pregnancy test as soon as I realised I was late and then I told Abbie.’
‘How did she react?’ I asked.
‘A bit shocked.’
‘When did you decide to go through with the pregnancy.’
I was intrigued to hear her answer. It is a difficult situation for a woman who finds herself carrying the child of a man who has forced sex upon her.
‘Pretty much straight away. I’m not hung up or anything about abortion. I know some girls from school who’ve done it. I just didn’t want to. There was some deep sort of reason and I just really wanted this baby. Because it is my child and I’m going to love it and it will love me, no matter what.’
‘Love. It’s wonderful isn’t it?’ I smiled.
‘Don’t really know,’ she shrugged and started to tug at one of her fingernails with her teeth.
‘Who else do you love? Who loves you and how does it make you feel?’
‘No-one. My folks are too busy to even notice me and Abigail is fun but I don’t think she loves me or anything. There’s Chester who says he loves me but he’s an idiot…’
‘Chester McNaughton. He’s a senior and his parents are friends with mine. He’s got a crush on me but he’s just annoying.’
Well now. Her body language at this point was very telling. Speaking of Chester raised her anxiety levels and she was literally wringing her hands and doing some shallow breathing. She did not look up at me but seemed very absorbed in her own discomfort. I let it rest and went on in a different direction.
‘Have you thought about how you will finish school with a baby? It’s going to be tough,’ I asked.
‘Yeah. I’m going to do my studies through TAFE and just do it at home. Mum said she might kick in for a person to come and help out at home…like a nanny I guess…a few hours a week to let me study.’
‘Mum and Dad? How did they react to the news? Have they been very supportive?’
‘No, they’re ashamed and I don’t think they really believe I was raped. It’s like they seem to think that I raped Chris. How stupid. Like they don’t believe, just like Abbie, that someone like Chris Bergin could want someone like little old me.’
‘Abigail said that?’
‘No,’ Libby backpedalled. ‘No. Not really. She just… I think she thought that he was only interested in her and she was in the bathroom so she doesn’t understand how he was so full-on into me that he just had to force himself on me.’
I looked at her and frowned, waiting to see where she was going with this.
‘Just because I’m a bit of a tomboy and the only boy who’s ever shown any interest in me is that big nerd, Chester. He’s just embarrassing. If I went out with Chester, I’d get laughed at. But Chris Bergin. He’s like the hottest, coolest guy on the planet and he totally wanted me and I think Abigail is a bit jealous of that and I think she’s jealous that I’m pregnant with his baby.’
‘Do you ever have any feelings of jealousy toward Abbie?’ I asked, expecting a fiery reaction.
‘Abbie?’ she laughed derisively. ‘Abigail Proudfoot? Never. She’s pretty and blonde and funny but that’s not real beauty. She’s a bit tacky really. Her mum is a total slut and both of them are a bit too ‘Barbie’ sometimes, you know what I mean? The way she was all over Chris was embarrassing and even he seemed a bit grossed out by her.’
I was watching her closely. She was staring widely at me, her face animated.
‘Abbie wants to be a beautician! Really!’ she was laughing and her eyes were flashing. ‘A beautician. I mean she’s my friend and all but after school, I am not going to be hanging out with a beautician. I’m going to win an Academy Award. I really am. I don’t want mediocrity, you know. I don’t want to grow up to be ordinary, some housewife married to someone like Chester, having a normal job. I want to be a superstar, a millionaire, an A-lister who is worshipped by people all over the world. You know, I want to be married to someone like Chris Bergin. He’s a total god!’
‘And your child?’ I asked tentatively. ‘Where will he or she fit in to your plans?’
Libby O’Neil was making me very uncomfortable. There was something about her that made me feel uneasy. She was exhibiting some very real signs of a narcissistic personality disorder and I was beginning to sense that an anti-social or sociopathic disorder may also be present. In patients with these fractured manifestations, the person is there but there is a cold and icy personality beneath that is incapable of empathy with others. There is just ‘self’.