Part One

Everyone has an embarrassing moment in their life that they wish had never happened and failing that, wish they could forget. Most of us can take these memories and either cringe or laugh. I however had never got over mine and I neither laughed nor cringed for many years.

Miami Senior High School meant to be the best years of your life. And for the most part I enjoyed school. I wasn’t a cheerleader, far from it but nor was I a nerd. I kind of slotted in somewhere in the middle. Neither bone thin nor morbidly obese, I guess I had what the English call, an hour-glass figure. I always hated it, although looking at such shapes as an adult, past my adolescence, I kind of like the curves these girls proudly possess. Apparently no man likes a stick insect anymore?

I kept myself to myself at school, studied relatively hard and partied as much as any teenager can. I was in love with JJ from the minute I set eyes on him. And yes it was love, not a silly crush, but full blown, bam, kaboom love. I always thought he was pretty much out of my league in terms of me being girlfriend material, I mean JJ and I shared classes, so, more often that not, he would pass conversation with me when walking through the halls in between classes.

When I say JJ was gorgeous, I mean he was literally male model material, star football player but academic too. He was followed around by so many love-struck teenagers; I am surprised he didn’t have a stalking complex.

But JJ, I thought was special. He was from a different life as far as I was concerned. Lived in a beautiful house, holidayed in Aspen and wanted for nothing. A far cry from the miserable existence I lived at home. Living in a trailer with my mom who was never, ever meant to be a mother. And my father, one of many possibilities who had passed through the state over the years.

So when JJ asked me to a party at his place over Thanksgiving holiday, I had to check I had heard him correctly. Not only was the love of my young life inviting me to his party, it meant I would spend a few hours in the lap of luxury. A pool party, no less and lots of food and drink whilst his parents were away. Obviously, I didn’t hesitate in accepting his invitation.

The house was all I imagined it to be. It stood in its own grounds, a gated entrance allowing only those privileged enough to be invited. The view from the front porch was breathtaking, overlooking the ocean with a loan sail boat floating far out on the horizon. I waited for a response to my knock on the double doors.

JJ opened the door and smiled at me warmly.

“I’m so glad you could make it” he said, drawing me into an embrace whilst kissing my cheek. He smelt of alcohol and cigarettes mingled with some expensive cologne I no doubt had never heard of. I breathed in his scent and hugged him back, my heart feeling as if it would explode.

“Thanks for inviting me. Where is everyone”? I asked.

“Well Jane, there is no everyone. It is just you and me honey” he said as he released me, held me at arms length and sent a slow, admiring glance up and down me.

“Oh” I said “I thought you were having a school get together, I brought my swim stuff and everything” I replied holding my bag with my beach towel sticking out.

“Plenty of time for swimming later honey, I wanted it to be just you and I, but I wasn’t sure you’d come if I asked you, on a like, kind of date” he raised his eyebrows in question.

“A date? You and me on a date” I asked.

“Sure honey, you must have known I’ve always liked you” he said grinning from ear to ear.

“Erm……no I didn’t” I laughed. I was feeling a little subconscious as he was still holding my arms and giving what appeared to be admiring glances.

“Well, what are we waiting for, let’s get this party started”. He entered the huge hallway and led me into the den. Sounds were coming from the iPod, sitting in the most expensive docking station I had ever seen.

I started to relax, sat down on the plush, feather filled sofa and accepted a drink from JJ. I sniffed it and JJ laughed.

“Let yourself go, it’s about time you let your hair down, literally” he said, as he unclipped my hair from its vibrant flower clip that I had spent hours perfecting. My long, brown curls tumbled onto my bare shoulders. In an instant, JJ was on his knees in front of me. He tilted my chin, looked into my eyes and then he kissed me, softly on the lips. I felt my insides ignite like a firework as his soft, full lips moved onto my neck and shoulders.

I had only had one sexual encounter and it was nothing like this. One kiss had me pulsing in all the right places. JJ, still kissing my shoulders, slipped my dress down to my tummy revealing my bra which he quickly unhooked. He placed my hand on his groin and his pulsing hardness matched mine easily.

I was breathing more rapidly as JJ slipped his finger inside my panties and probed at the soft, wet mound. I moaned into his neck and he kissed me harder. Pushing my dress up with one hand, and slipping his pants off with the other. He pushed me down onto the sofa and lay on top of me, his hardness pushing at my wetness.

He was then inside me, gently at first and then harder, as I linked my ankles around his back pulling him in deeper. After a while he stopped and went onto his knees, licking my wetness until I could stand it no more, legs spread and feet flat on the floor, I came hard holding onto his head. He flipped me over and took me from behind before finally, standing before me, pushed himself into my eager mouth. I watched his face as he ejaculated over me before collapsing onto the sofa beside me.

I busied myself getting my underwear from the chair and my dress from the floor. Weak with love making, I dressed myself.

“JJ your cell is ringing I said”. He got up and grabbed his cell phone and I could hear his muffled voice as he had a conversation that sounded heated.

“Jane I am sorry, my parents are coming back, they will be here in ten minutes, and you are going to have to go. Do you want me to call you a taxi?” he said, looking anxious.

“Oh no, its okay, I can walk it from here, its only just dark” I said.

“Ok well, I’ll call you tomorrow and see you on Monday at school” he kissed my cheek and walked me to the front door.

“Bye JJ” I said and he smiled, almost sympathetically as he waved me off from the doorstep.

I made my way home, with shaky legs and a happy heart. He liked me. JJ really liked me. I was floating as I walked up the steps to our trailer. Even the sight of my mother, asleep on the couch, a bottle of vodka overturned on the table, couldn’t dampen my mood. I went to bed, still able to smell the scent of JJ in my hair.

The weekend passed with a long drawn out battle. A battle by midday Sunday when I still hadn’t heard from JJ. I made every excuse under the sun; his parents saw me leaving and had grounded him, that had to be it. But I still hated the feeling beginning to grow in the pit of my stomach. I had loved JJ for so long that when he made advances towards me, I’d been too smitten to be sensible.

Monday came too quickly, still no call from JJ and it was now time to face him in Algebra. I entered the classroom and searched out his face. He was there, with his usual crowd. As I walked to my table, people were sniggering and laughing at me. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, so I ignored them and set about organising my textbooks.

I waited for JJ to come over but he didn’t. I was crushed. I spent the whole lesson desperately trying not to cry and taking no notes. My cheeks were flushed and first chance I got I went to the restroom to sort myself out. Walking in the restroom, my friend Maggie was surrounded by a group of our other circle.

“Hey” I said sadly.

“Jane” a few murmured before scuttling off out into the halls. The noise from the halls burst through the open door but abated once it swooshed shut.

“Hey Maggie, what’s going on” I asked.

“You mean you don’t know” she looked incredulous.

“Know what Maggie” I replied.

“Oh Jane” she said putting her arm round my shoulder. “I am so sorry to have to break this to you. It’s JJ” she said.

“JJ? What you mean asking me out on a date and then ignoring me, I am so over that already” I said none too convincingly.

“Jane, it’s not just that” she said. “He has a video of…erm….you and him…..doing it”. She said, heat flaring at her cheeks.

“A video, what do you mean” I asked.

“It was all a set-up apparently. I knew nothing about it until this morning mind you. Liam bet him he couldn’t get a girl to go to his house whilst the rest of the guys hid in the house watching and filming him getting it on with her, the whole thing, its all on video and Liam is texting it to everyone in his contacts”. She squeezed my shoulder. “I’m so sorry Jane; I know how much you like him”.

I literally felt like my life had ended. I stood there open-mouthed not knowing what to say. I looked at Maggie who was looking at me with tears in her eyes.

“Jane, he’s not worth it, ignore it, it will be old news by tomorrow” she said.

I wasn’t really hearing what she said. On legs like jelly, I purposefully strode out of the restroom, along the corridors to jeers of ‘slut’, ‘slapper’ and ‘easy lay’, As I got to the exit to the parking lot, JJ leaned on a wall watching me. He didn’t try to speak to me; he didn’t say he was sorry. What he did do, was absolutely nothing other than stand there and smirk. I held my head high, pushed through the doors and round the corner and then I ran as fast as I could, back to the trailer park - trailer trash, just like everyone thought.

Part Two

With my newly highlighted hair, swishing in rhythm to my purposeful stride, and the buzz from my early morning gym workout, I walked into the glass fronted building. Up in the elevator and along the plush carpeted hallway to my office. I sat at my desk, smiled at the photograph of my husband and daughter, buzzed through to my assistant for a large skinny latte and started to review my files for the day.

What clients did I have today? Mason Grimes. His last appointment with me, having come so far so quickly, I was ready to let him try the real world on his own, without my help. Devan Kowbozki was far from finished with my help. He needed to address so many issues that we had at least six months ahead of us before he was ready to move on. He’d been assigned anger management and counselling after beating his long suffering wife, one time too many. And I was his counsellor. We weren’t making a lot of progress so far but it was early days.

And a new client was due today. Jonathan James. I didn’t have a lot on his file other than he was a private client who after a promising football career was launched, was tackled diabolically, only to have his dream taken away from him overnight. He then turned to alcohol and drugs to stem the reality of his life. Same story I have heard a million times, just a different face.

“Jane, your 3’o’clock is here” my assistant said through the intercom.

“Send him in Shelby” I said and released the button.

Jonathan James walked into my office looking like the drug addict he purportedly was. At least four days growth grew from his chin. Dead eyes and dark circles against a washed out complexion completed the look I had seen so many times.

I indicated for him to sit opposite me. And then my heart stopped beating for a second. The appearance was all wrong, gone was the boyish good looks, designer labels and sparkling eyes. But undoubtedly the man before me was the boy I had spent years trying to run away from. JJ.

I watched him fidgeting, his legs bouncing nervously as he waited for me to speak. No doubt he had heard the opening from numerous Doctors over the years and was wondering what was taking me so long. I had to pull myself together.

After years of counselling in my youth, I had put the dark days of ‘the incident’ as I referred to it, behind me. This man no longer filled me with a self loathing that caused me to hurt myself to ease the pain. He no longer made me feel ashamed of myself. It had been a long road to free myself of the humiliation and anger that had consumed me but I had made it and looking at the broken man before me, I knew I had an enormous task ahead of me. Maybe I should have turned him away the minute I realised who he was but curiosity and the pure disbelief that the man who had taken most of my life, was sitting before me, had me asking the first question.

“Mr James, when was the last time you used” I asked.

He looked at me but there was no recognition. Hell I bet he even had trouble recognising his own mom at the moment.

“I haven’t used for three days, that’s the truth. I want to get clean this time. I need to, I’m going to be a father” he said this almost helplessly.

“And Mr James what substance is it that you used” I asked keeping my voice steady.

“JJ…….” He said

“I’m sorry”?

“Please call me JJ” he said looking into my eyes.

“Mr James, I am not here to judge you, merely help you, so please to enable us to move forward, I need to know which drug you have become addicted to”. There was no way I was going to call him JJ. The last time I had used his name aloud was as it was on my lips as he used me for his sick game so many years ago.

“Cocaine. Socially to start with. But I ended up using more and more until I am what I am now” he said not meeting my eye.

“And what is it you think you are now Mr James” I said.

“Look at me, I have nothing, I am NOTHING” he shouted.

For so long JJ had been dead to me and was indeed nothing in my eyes too. But professionally I had a duty so I spent the first forty minute session discussing his past and making notes as I went. He shook my hand, not noticing my shudder, as he left, vowing to be back the next day. And for some reason I believed he would. After years in this game you could tell those who would return and those who were merely there as part of the bigger game plan.

Entering my beautiful house that evening, I whooped as my eight year old daughter ran into my arms, regaling me with stories of her day. How Millie had been horrible to her at school but how Miss Longman had told Millie off much to the delight of Emily! But of course, Millie and Emily were friends once again.

I found my husband in the den, files of his own strewn around him, half his police issue uniform strewn across the back of the sofa.

“Hey gorgeous” he said, standing up to give me a kiss.

Tom was an angel sent to rescue me, I am sure. He appeared at my lowest point in life and he picked me up, allowing us to be friends for so long until I trusted him enough to tell him my story in my words. The reason why I was so sad and afraid. He encouraged me to seek counselling and it was there the key to my life was given. I had met a man who cared and was kind. And I found a career I was interested in. Helping others overcome what I eventually did. Until one day, I let Tom in completely. I let him make love to me and found myself enjoying it as much as him. Afterwards as we lay in each others eyes, Tom wiping the tears from my cheeks, he asked me there and then to marry him. He had told me he loved me and had loved me for so long but that he had waited patiently for me to be ready to trust again but that he was tired of waiting and wanted to spend every minute of his life with me from that moment on.

So started the beginning of the rest of my life and I never looked back.

“What’s wrong? Has something happened” he asked eyes full of concern.

I had never kept a secret from Tom, not when we were friends and not since we were lovers and then partners.

“It’s nothing to worry about but I had a blast from the past today” I said laughing and then quite suddenly crying.

He didn’t need to ask; he just took me in his arms and held me while I cried silently against his shirt.

“What do you want to do about it” he asked once I had calmed down.

“Nothing. I’ll help him the same way I help everyone else. He is a paying client and his money is as good as anyone else’s. I can’t turn him away because he needs my help and I think me seeing him again for the first time has broken the last barrier I had up”. I looked at Tom who nodded in understanding.

“I don’t like the thought of you talking to him, let alone helping him Jane” he said “but if this helps you then it has to be a good thing right” he said smiling.

I hugged him to me and as usual marvelled at how men can be so similar yet so different.

The next few weeks Jonathan visited every day. Slowly the dark circles started to fade and the sallow complexion was replaced by rosier cheeks. Jonathan talked about his past. Talked about his life long dream of being a football star. Talked about his high school days and referred to the incident that had ruined his life. The pain in his eyes was genuine and I felt he had paid a price as high as I had for ruining my life.

You see Jonathan didn’t come out of ‘our incident’ as scot free as you may have thought. I never saw him again after the day I walked from the school and ran back to my trailer. I begged my mother to move me to another school and for once in her sorry life, seeing the pain I was in, the alcoholic haze cleared and she agreed.

Maggie my friend from Miami High kept in touch and visited me. She told me that Jonathan had bragged about what he had done to anyone who would listen. He uploaded his video onto his computer and invited people round to watch. This went on for a few weeks until, as rumour has it; his Mother came across the film whilst cleaning his room. A family discussion ensued with both parents, Jonathan and his older brother discussing the matter.

I used to envy the big family meetings that all the rich kids seemed to have. Thought they were very diplomatic and sensible. But as I have since learned, nothing is quite what is appears to be.

It was decided that the matter would be swept under the carpet and after a weeks grounding, also decided that Jonathan, the superstar football player had suffered enough.

So his life went on for a short time. But someone else was at that table that night and didn’t like what he had heard. He didn’t think Jonathan should be allowed to get away with what he had done, given a punishment usually fit for being late for curfew. But to degrade and humiliate a girl with such bare faced audacity was a little too much for Jonathan’s older brother.

On the hottest day of the year, the family had a cook-out and invited all the family. Relatives came and as usual, a family game of football started on the lawn. Everyone was in good spirits apart from one person. Jonathan’s brother. He went in for the tackle, harder than he ever had in any competitive game and Jonathan went down. Only Jonathan didn’t get up as quick as he would usually because he had broken his shoulder in two places.

Family rushed to Jonathan. His brother was outcast. Just like that. He knew what would happen if he hurt the wonder kid but he wasn’t about to stand by and let justice go.

It was on that very day that I met an angel, who saved me from myself. An angel who had no one else either. An angel who came into my life and started the healing process. An angel who felt he had to explain the whole story to me from the beginning. And an angel who felt he had to apologise on behalf of his brother.

It was a shock, I won’t pretend it wasn’t. I thought it could be another sick game. But in time, as the story unfolded, I realised there can be good and evil in this world. I faced the evil and then I found the good.

“So Mr James, I really think you have made a good recovery and are ready to move on from our counselling sessions” I said, thankful the time had finally come to once again leave this man in my past.

“Thank you, Doctor, you have been a real help. This counselling lark isn’t so bad after all” he laughed. “I wonder, if perhaps you would like to go for a drink, strictly of the soft variety of course” he said with the same twinkle he had used all those years ago.

“JJ” I said

He turned to look at me and suddenly realisation dawned.

“JJ” I repeated “I wouldn’t go for a drink with you, if you were the last man on earth. Unfortunately for me, I had the pleasure of your company one time too many in this lifetime. Now if you’d please, I have a husband and daughter to get home to” I said as I turned the photo frame round to face him.

“I wish you luck, and I genuinely mean that, please make sure you shut the door on your way out Mr James, goodbye”.

With that I sashayed out in my high heels, shapely legs and newly highlighted hair. Sashayed right away from the demon and back to my angel.
Thursday 17th February 2011