Author's Note: Trigger warning: Date rape.
Casey swayed to the sound of the music pumping from the speakers as she drank her beer. She felt confused and out of place, but was determined to have a good time. She couldn't even remember the last time she genuinely had a good time. As she was finally starting to relax, a guy approached her. At first, he caught her glance. Then he nodded towards her. Then, he made his way towards her. Casey smiled into her beer bottle as he headed over towards her. He was wearing dark jeans and a dark t-shirt. His hair was gelled and Casey couldn't help but find him handsome. She mentally slapped herself. This school year is about school - not boys, Casey attempted to remind herself.
"Hey," he nodded to her, "What's up?"
"Um...not much," Casey brought her eyes up to meet his. She couldn't help but blush. He really was quite handsome. Maybe she could put aside that mantra of 'no guys while in college' at least just for tonight. Two seconds, and this stranger had already captivated her.
"My name is Anderson," he looked at her beer bottle, "A cup is really easier to drink out of at these parties," he explained.
"Oh...it's um...my first," Casey admitted, feeling again like slapping herself. She knew she must have sounded so stupid to Anderson. She knew better than to think she could ever blend in at a party like this. Already, she was making a fool of herself. Casey wished she could just melt into a puddle on the carpet.
"First beer, or party?" He raised a coy eyebrow.
"Um...both," Casey blushed furiously.
"Well, you're in luck," Anderson grinned, "I happen to be an expert at these parties - and, I accidentally grabbed two cups," he pulled off an outer cup from the cup he was drinking from, "Good insulation, but you'll be better off drinking it from a cup so here," he took her beer, poured it into the cup, and handed it back to her, "There you go."
"Thank you," Casey took a sip, "You're right."
"Easier than holding a heavy bottle during the party too," Anderson explained, "I don't believe I caught your name."
"Casey. That's a pretty name. What's your major, Casey?"
Casey told him, and together they talked about classes. Anderson was premed. He was looking forward to getting into his upper level courses. He was also looking forward to being a neurologist and helping to heal people. It was all so captivating. Casey could feel herself clinging to every word until she could feel her legs wobble a bit underneath her. It's just the beer. Maybe I should take a little break. Anderson also explained that he was going to start student shadowing a neurologist over winter break. If only I was feeling better...I would find him attractive, Casey thought to herself. She couldn't explain it, but she was starting to feel as though her head was a helium balloon floating above her neck. The pit of her stomach felt hot from the alcohol. She wobbled again. This time Anderson caught her.
"You okay?" He asked.
"Yeah, it's just..." Casey lifted her hand to her head. She felt so incredibly foggy. She began to wonder where Derek was. She shouldn't have left. She should have stayed in the kitchen, "I...I need to find Derek," Casey mumbled.
"Let's just get you laid down, okay?" Anderson offered, "There's a bedroom this way. I'll help you lie down and I'll go find Derek for you," he said, holding on to her and helping her towards the bedroom. Casey thought about objecting, but the thought of a bed sounded nice. She felt so dizzy and weak. It would do her some good to lie down. Anderson knocked on the bedroom door. When no one answered it, he opened it. Casey was relieved at the sight of the king sized bed. It looked so comforting and inviting. Anderson steered her towards the bed and helped her lay back. As soon as she felt the mattress on her back, Casey knew this was a bad idea. Getting up would now be impossible. The bed felt like heaven.
"You'll go find...Derek?" Casey asked weakly, "Derek...Venturi."
"Yeah," Anderson stood from the bed, "I'll go get him for you and tell him you should head home."
He headed towards the bedroom door and Casey closed her eyes. The bed felt incredible. Like heaven. Or a hammock. She felt her thoughts go cloudy again. Her head felt swimmy. She almost couldn't make out the sound of the lock clicking. When she finally realized what the sound was and opened her eyes just enough, she saw Anderson coming towards her.
"What...are you doing?"
"It's okay," he said, getting nearer, "You won't remember anything."
Derek was pacing around the living room, trying to search through the hordes of people for Casey. He was beginning to panic. Surely she wouldn't have tried to leave without him. He finally found Brian and Crystal.
"Hey, are you okay?" Crystal asked, taking a sip from her red cup, "You seem flustered."
"Have either of you seen Casey?" Derek asked, almost out of breath. His head was spinning with different thoughts. He wanted to hit himself to letting her take off like that. He should have gone after her quicker. He shouldn't have let Brynn get inside his head like she always did.
"I thought I saw her talking to this one guy," Brian offered, "They seemed to be having a good time. It looked like they were headed to the bedroom together, actually."
"What?" Derek shouted, surprised by the decimal of his own voice. Brian looked taken back too, "What do you mean she was headed to the bedroom? That makes no sense. Casey wouldn't..."
"Just telling you what I saw," Brian raised his his hands in surrender, but Derek was already headed off down the hall.
I shouldn't have let her wander off like that. I should have been there for her. Why did I let Brynn get inside my head like I always do? This is Casey's first party and I needed to be there for her. In case...in case something like this happens!
Derek found the bedroom and went to open the door. It was locked. No, no. This doesn't make any sense. What the hell, Casey? What is going on?
"Hey!" Derek banged on the door, "Open up! I know Casey is in there!" There was no response. Derek slammed his fists against the door to no avails. He couldn't hear what was going on inside but he knew it was nothing good. He knew he needed to get inside. Derek took a deep breath and stepped back. He worked himself up a bit before making a running start for it. He slammed his whole shoulder into the door until it sprang open. He steadied his balance and saw red at what he saw.
Casey was lying on the bed, her hair was messy and tangly and the guy with her was in the process of taking off his pants.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Derek shouted, pulling the guy off of her, "What the fuck did you do?"
"Nothing, man," Anderson laughed, holding up his hands, "Nothing she will remember, that is. Care to join?" He winked at Derek suggestively.
"Fuckin' creep," Derek shoved him, "I should break your god damn face!"
"I'd like to see you try," Anderson zipped up his pants.
"All I want from you right now is for you to get the fuck out of his bedroom. And don't even look back. Think you can handle that?"
"Want her all to yourself, huh?"
Derek's hands tightened into fists at his sides. He reminded himself that he needed to check on Casey. Casey came first. Right now, he didn't have the time to worry with beating the scumbucket to a pulp. He just needed to make sure Casey wasn't hurt. Anderson gave up, shrugged, and headed out the bedroom door. Once he was gone, Derek rushed over to the bed. Casey appeared to be asleep. He must have put something in her drink. God damn it, why did I leave her alone?
"Casey?" Derek shook her gently, trying to wake her, "Casey, are you okay? Case? Case, come on. Get up, Case." When he realized just how out she was, Derek began to check her over. Her dress was still intact. He breathed a sigh of relief and reminded himself that he had come in just in time. Anderson wasn't all the way out of his pants when he had barged in. If I had just been a minute late...or a second sooner..
Derek thought about something else. He drew his attention to her lips. The lipstick she had worn - a brick red color that probably had some fancy name to it - was still perfectly painted on her lips. No smudging. Derek sighed another sigh of relief. He still wanted to go after Anderson and pummel him to a pulp, but he knew he couldn't leave Casey. Instead, he sat down on the edge of the bed next to her and waited for her to come to. He passed the miserable moments by brushing the hair from her face.
"I am so sorry, Casey," he said, unsure if she could hear him or process what he was saying, "I should never have left you like that. Here you were...wanting this to be an awesome night and...I left you alone for that creep to find you and do this to you. What the hell was I thinking? Nothing. Nothing like fucking usual!" Derek ran a hand through his hair and felt the anger rage through him. He shook as he forced his hands into fists and tried to get control of himself. Pummeling Anderson wouldn't help Casey at the moment. Right now, he knew he needed to stay with her.
Gently, he shook her shoulder again, trying to wake her. She moved slightly, and mumbled something about Marti and a purple crayon. Derek winced and glanced around the room anxiously. His eyes landed on an attached bathroom. He quickly headed towards it and rummaged through the cabinets until he found a stack of washcloths. Running one under the cold setting of the tap, Derek peeled his eyes upward towards the mirror. He grimaced at the reflection glaring back at him. How could he have left Casey at a party like this? He had heard rumors about girls not remembering what had happened the next morning, but he always assumed they had just regretted what they had done willingly and used the "I don't remember" to cover up their actions. Now, he felt sick with himself for even thinking that. There was no way Casey had gone willingly with this guy. Derek wrung out the washcloth, imaging the permeated terrycloth was Anderson's neck.
Derek headed back to Casey and gently eased himself next to her. He folded the washcloth in half and placed it on her forehead. Honestly, he didn't know what else to do beyond that. Derek felt suddenly very stupid for thinking that the washcloth would magically remedy anything about her current situation. Maybe he should go find Anderson and give him a nice little talking to.
As Derek was genuinely considering turning Anderson into pulp, Casey started to stir. She moved slightly and opened her eyes just barely. Her sight was fuzzy and she blinked again, trying to clear her bleary eyes. Her head was pounding as though a jackhammer was going through her skull.
"Case?" Derek whispered.
"Derek? What...what...where am I?"
Derek winced. He hadn't thought he would have to tell Casey what had happened. He took a deep breath and said, "I found you in here. Passed out. This guy had locked the door and was...was on top of you. I uh...I had to break down the door."
Casey looked confused, "That...that can't be right."
Derek nodded, "I'm sorry, Spacey. It is. I had to pretty much force him to leave you alone. God, Case...if I hadn't come in time..." Derek didn't dare finish his sentence.
Casey motioned for Derek to help her up. He helped her prop up against one of the pillows. She was shaking, but something inside Derek told him she still wasn't quite comprehending that had happened, "Case," he said, gently again - scared he would break her, "We should get you out of here. Or do you want me to take you somewhere or..."
"I want to go back to my dorm," Casey nodded, picking at a cuticle, "But can we just sit here for a moment."
"Of course," Derek leaned back next to her, "Take your time."
"Derek...are you sure nothing more happened to me? I mean...before you came?"
Derek inhaled sharply, hoping he was right when he said, "No, nothing happened."