A/N: I found this story in an old notebook. My computer died shortly after I had started writing fanfic almost two years ago, and I wrote some stuff in a notebook and then forgot about it. At the time, I had recently posted The Year's End, a not-so-happy Christmas story about Joan being abducted. I opted against going down a really deep dark path with that story, and apparently went on ahead with it in this tale, which is completely unrelated to The Year's End. I don't know what exactly was going through my head at the time, but this ain't a pretty bedtime story, folks. I'll post additional chapters as I get more of the story typed up. Without further ado, here's the first installment.
"Oh crap! I'm gonna be late," Joan exclaimed as she looked at her watch. It was going to be impossible to get home by her curfew. "I'm sorry, Adam. I've got to go. Maybe if I'm only a couple of minutes late Mom and Dad'll let it slide." She quickly kissed him goodbye and hurried toward the car and home. She'd just gotten over being grounded after going to the concert with Adam, and she didn't feel like getting grounded again.
As she stopped at a stop sign a few blocks from Adam's house, she pulled out her cell phone to let her parents know she was on her way home, hoping to preempt any possible punishment. She didn't notice a man approach the car from the passenger side until he opened the door and got in. She looked up in shock that quickly turned into fear as he pointed a gun at her and barked, "Drive!"
She drove a couple of blocks, turning where he said until they approached an alley.
"Turn in there," the man ordered.
Once she had done so, he spoke again. "Ok. Turn off the lights and put the car in park, but leave the engine running."
Joan did as he commanded, but the way he looked at her made her skin crawl, and she hoped he just wanted the car and would let her go.
"Get in the back seat," he ordered.
Joan just stared at him, wondering what was happening.
"Are you deaf? Do it! Now!"
She did as she was told, but she knew she had to get away. Everything her father had taught her about the dangers of being taken to a second crime scene began to run through her mind. She slowly began to slide toward one of the back doors, but suddenly found the gun pointed at her head.
"Don't even think about it."
Joan sat very still and watched as he climbed into the back seat with her. He began to push her down onto the seat and she started to struggle. The gun was back up against her head in an instant.
"Don't move or you'll get it. Understand?"
He kissed her, hard and rough and sloppy, and she had to fight back the urge to vomit. As he began to pull at her clothes, she began to panic. This couldn't be happening. Ignoring his earlier warnings, she tried to push him off of her. "No! Let me go!"
She froze in silence as she heard the distinctive sound of the safety on the gun being turned off.
"The next sound, the next move you make, will be your last," he growled as he forced her legs apart.
When he yanked up her skirt, she felt the cold hit her legs and then settle in the pit of her stomach. She felt sick, knowing what was going to happen. She heard a zipper being undone, and she shut her eyes and turned her face slightly away. She was aware of the cold, damp night air, the hard barrel of the gun pressing against her cheek, the man's crushing weight on her chest, and finally, a tearing, searing pain. Their skin slapped together in a sickening rhythm as he brutally thrust himself inside of her over and over. The agony was unbearable, and Joan shut her eyes tighter and tried to wish herself away. She didn't want to think. She didn't want to feel. She began to focus on other things, anything but what was happening to her. The air freshener her mom had just put in the car (what scent was that?). The song playing on the radio (she had never liked that song).
When the third song started, he stopped. Joan didn't move when he got off of her – she couldn't. And even though he was no longer lying on top of her, the suffocating feeling in her chest was still there.
She was barely aware of what was happening when she found herself being shoved roughly out of the car and onto the ground, used and discarded. She looked up and saw the taillights fading and disappearing as the car quickly pulled away. She didn't know how long she sat there before she realized she had to try to get home. Still in a daze, she got to her feet and began walking in the general direction of her house. She looked at her watch as she passed under a street lamp, and irrational worries filled her mind. She was so late, and Mom and Dad were going to be really mad at her for missing her curfew. And what was she supposed to tell them about the car? She was sure they were going to kill her.
Joan approached her house and saw several lights still on. Shit. She went around to the back door, hoping that she could sneak up the back stairs and into bed. Then in the morning, maybe tonight would just have been a bad dream, something that had never happened. She opened the door quietly and stepped inside, shutting the door behind her just as quietly. Before she could turn around, the sound of her mother's voice made her freeze.
"Joan Girardi, where the hell have you been? Do you have any idea what time it is? And why didn't you call?"
Joan turned to face her mother, but stayed silent.
"Well? Joan, I'm waiting for an explanation."
Joan didn't know what to say. How was she supposed to explain this?
Helen approached her daughter, who still hadn't moved into the kitchen but stood in the shadows of the entryway. "Joan?"
Joan suddenly felt like she was about to shatter into a thousand pieces. She opened her mouth, and words came pouring out. "I'm sorry, Mom. I'm so sorry about the car. I'm –"
"Wait, wait. The car? What's happened? Did you have an accident?"
Helen stepped closer to Joan and saw tears streaming down her pale face.
"I'm so, so sorry! I should have locked the doors. Then none of this would have happened."
"What happened?" Helen asked again. "Joan, tell me. Did the car get stolen?"
"I'm so sorry. He had a gun. I had to let him do it."
"Oh, God. Honey, are you alright? Did he hurt you?"
Joan looked away, and Helen felt her heart stop. "Please, God, not my baby girl…" she pled silently. "Come in here, Sweetheart. Tell me what happened." Helen saw how her daughter held herself, how she moved, and her heart broke. She knew what had happened.
Will came into the kitchen minutes later. He took one look at Joan and immediately went to her side.
Joan turned tear filled eyes up to her father. "I'm sorry, Daddy. I'm really sorry."
Will saw tears in his wife's eyes as well, and knew this was something far more than Joan just being late for her curfew. "What's going on?"
"The car was stolen. The guy threatened her with a gun," Helen answered. She couldn't bring herself to say the rest.
"What? Are you ok, sweetie?" Will asked Joan as he put a hand on her shoulder. He was shocked when she flinched away from him, and he gave Helen a questioning, disbelieving look.
Tears escaping down her cheeks, she replied, "After you call this in, we need to take her to the hospital."
Will looked back at his daughter, who was noticeably trembling from fear and from shock. He felt sick as he knelt down next to her.
She looked down at her father's face. "I'm so sorry about the car, Daddy. Please don't be too mad at me," she choked out.
"I'm not mad at you, honey. Don't worry about the car. It doesn't matter." He spoke gently, hoping to avoid frightening her further. "Can you answer a couple of questions for me?"
He waited until she nodded before continuing. "Where did this happen? On your way home from Adam's?"
Joan nodded again. "He made me drive to an alley… H-he told me to get in the back…"
Will already knew the answer to his next question, but he had to ask it anyway. "What did he do to you?" Did he, did he rape you?"
His heart broke as Joan's face crumpled and she drew in a couple of shuddering, choking breaths before answering. "He put the gun by my head. I wanted to push him away, but he said he'd kill me, so I didn't move again. I'm sorry, Daddy, I didn't fight him like you taught me."
"No, honey, you did the right thing. You're here, and that's the most important thing. Can you tell me what he looked like?"
Joan described him as best as she could, but the memory of his face made her shake even harder.
Will desperately wanted to hug his little girl close, to comfort her. But remembering her earlier reaction to his hand on her shoulder, he instead rose to his feet and went to make the hardest report of his life.
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