A/N: *All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of Stephenie Meyer. I own nothing but an over-active imagination. No copyright infringement is intended.*
This story is rated NC-17 for language, mature subject matter and lemons. Oh, and I feel like I need to drop a warning about the Canadian spelling too. Canon pairings, eventually.
NOTE: In later chapters there is mention of rape, but not in detail. Child abuse, but nothing detailed or heavy, as well as some physical violence. At the beginning of each chapter, I will warn you if there's subject matter that you have a difficult time with.
On a personal note, I've injected a lot of personal details in to this fic. Friends encouraged me to write about my experience, knowing damn well it would serve as a leaching ritual for me. Each chapter slowly draining the poison from my system. So I truly hope you enjoy the journey and stick with me through it.
Fear and Doubting in Port Angeles
I watched as the computer generated a list of websites recently viewed and in many cases, frequently viewed. Less than five minutes ago it had prompted me to re-start the computer because it was looking to remove temporary files and free up some disk space on the hard drive.
So, I sat there with my cup of peppermint tea and watched the list of websites scroll past.
Then my eyes widened and a breath caught somewhere deep inside my chest.
Who the hell had visited that site? I racked my brain trying to remember if perhaps I'd visited that site.
I don't remember going to a site like this, but I suppose it's possible.
Maybe on one of the many nights that Mike had been working late and I'd had my second glass of red wine. Maybe. "I'll just check it out, see if it jogs my memory or something," I said out loud to no one.
I waited for the machine to finish what it was doing and then re-booted the computer again when it finally prompted me - nearly twenty minutes later. Yeah, I was feeling a little jumpy at this point.
I opened the browser, clicked on the address bar and typed in reallybeautifulmen(.)com and held my finger over the enter button like a storm cloud waiting to destroy a perfectly sunny day. I took a deep breath, clenching my eyes shut and let my tiny finger descend on the waiting key. The sound of the key being depressed was loud. Far too loud for such an insignificant act. It made my stomach curl in on itself.
After a few seconds, I opened my eyes to a page full of men in various stages of undress. All of them exactly what the site proclaimed them to be, really beautiful.
I flipped through a few pages -pages upon pages- of chiseled men, all displaying their rather prominent hard-ons. None of it rang a bell in the slightest.
When the fuck would I have visited a site like this?
Why the fuck would I have visited a site like this?
I took a sip of my rapidly cooling tea, my leg shaking nervously. I clamped my hand down on it, willing it to stop. But it kept right on going, shaking my whole body in the process. My mind whirled around in circles as I tried to find an explanation for the images before me.
"Mike couldn't have been on this site," I whispered into the hand that had found its way to my mouth. "Not on purpose," I mumbled, my finger absently tracing over the lines of my lips.
No he must have accidentally clicked on it or something. Or maybe...
My thoughts trailed into silence as I contemplated that scenario.
Could it have been an accident? Could he have slipped with the mouse? Sure, maybe. Why not? I've done it myself. Accidentally clicked on an advertisement banner and end up looking at website for some ridiculous 'As Seen on TV' type product.
Sure, yes I think it must have been a slip of the mouse.
The voice in my head sounded uncertain and small despite my efforts to be confident in this explanation.
I shook my head to free it of the looping and growing doubt and logged onto the Port Angeles School Board intranet to check my email. Most of it was union related junk. I clicked on the reply email from an incident report I'd filed with Dry Creek Elementary the day before.
As a Behaviour Specialist, working mainly with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, incident reports are pretty much a daily occurrence. I read through the report and return comments posted by the school board's current Clinical Psychologist. My mind flung picture after picture at me, and I had to work to suppress the images and focus on what I was reading.
'Given the sudden increase in the behaviour, what I believe you've rightfully determined to be an extinction burst, I recommend that you and the team assigned to Tyler continue with the newest protocol. If it is indeed an extinction burst we are witnessing, then I am confident that the targeted behaviour will soon end. As always, if you require further guidance please don't hesitate to contact me.'
Right, so same old, same old tomorrow. Good, because the school year was almost over and writing and implementing a new behaviour protocol at this point would have been an immense pain in my ass.
Being done with that, I surfed through my Gmail account finding a rather hilarious, if only slightly inappropriate, email from Rosalie. The very same professional who's eloquent words had just told me to keep up the good work. Well, more or less.
As far as Clinical Psychologists went, Rosalie was fantastic. She had a wonderful way of cutting through bullshit and really getting down to the heart of a behaviour in a child. She was also a fierce advocate and team leader. Outside of work she was the saucy, smart mouthed, take no shit, bitch I'd met in my first year at university. While she went on to get her masters in clinical psych, I went for behavioural psychology with an emphasis on special needs.
I loved what I did even on the days that a small, strong jaw was clamped down on one of my body parts, or a child was throwing juice in my face. Sounds crazy, I know. What kind of person willingly signs up for that shit, right? Nothing a good rant with my best friend and Educational Assistant, Angela wouldn't fix.
Bad day's aside, it was the days when a kid I'd worked with suddenly learned a new skill. Even if it was something simple like zipping up his coat without assistance. It was learning all the same and that was what kept me coming back.
Mike didn't understand it. All he saw were the bruises and scratches and the unpaid hours spent creating learning programs for the Educational Assistants to implement. And sometimes, the days of frustration when those programs weren't shaking down so hot. Mike didn't understand autism or learning disabilities. Mike understood numbers, revenue, merchandise, and customer service. That was his world, Newton's Olympic Outfitters- All your needs for the great outdoors. That was what he understood.
What I didn't understand was sitting behind a desk every day, crunching numbers and staring at inventory lists. But he loved it, so who was I to judge.
Could it really have been a mistake?
I slowly started to roll through the list of internet websites the program had generated and it struck me that all of them were sites that either Mike or myself frequented.
The word percolated in my mind. Frequented. All of the sites were visited on numerous occasions.
Panic suddenly gripped me. Ice shot through my veins and my stomach rolled. I made a beeline to the bathroom, having made it just in time to spill the remains of my dinner into the toilet. I sat on the cool tiled floor for a few moments, pulling in deep but ragged breaths. My throat burned and my stomach muscles were tight and sore from the sudden contraction. A thin layer of sweat coated my face, and my hands were trembling slightly.
Once I cleaned myself up, I went back to the office determined, somehow, to find something that would silence my racing thoughts. I pulled up the user history and found that with the exception of my surfing session this evening, the history was blank.
Next, I went to the settings to see how often the history was set to delete. My mouth formed a small, tight 'O' when I saw that it had been set to clear with each session end. The only reason I saw today's history listed was because I had yet to exit the browsing session. The window was still open to my email in-box.
Nothing would ever be filed away in the history. Nothing would ever be found that way. Someone set it up that way. Someone made sure there would be nothing to see. Again the images of men, oiled bodies, tiny underwear... no underwear, filtered through my brain.
A meager and hollow "no" escaped my mouth.
I quickly fixed the settings so that the history would be made available for one week before deleting. I trashed the junk mail and then closed the session out, clicking on the red X in the corner. Then I opened a new page and checked the history, everything from this evening was still there.
I pulled up my MSN Messenger and clicked on Rose, who, although often not home was always online and reachable via instant message.
I quickly typed: Rose, do you think Mike is gay?
And hit send.
Chapter End Notes:
I hope you're enjoying the read so far. Review, if you're so inclined, I'd love to hear what you think. Hopefully you stick with me for the next leaching... so much more poison to rid myself of.~MissJanuary