Lost in you: A Short Story Part 3
"Sarah thought, this can’t be happening to me."
He whispered in her ear in Spanish, “You be a good girl and stop fighting and this will be over quickly. But if you scream again, I will kill you.” She shook her head fiercely and began kicking him again. He grabbed her breast roughly while trying to kiss her. He jammed his tongue in her mouth and she bit it and he slapped across the face. She cried out in pain. He began to unzip his pants.
Sarah thought, this can’t be happening to me. She started to feel herself zone out when Marc's face appeared in her mind. What is Marc going to think? Her attacker had one hand on her breast painfully hard holding her in place and the other unzipping his pants. She tried kicking him again, but this time he caught her leg and shoved his hand up her skirt and roughly fondled her there. He pushed her against the building hard and was just about to attempt to penetrate her when there was a sound at the end of the street. He looked up and she kicked him in the groin and screamed, “Help! Help!” He fell backward from the kick, just enough for her to run away. She ran so fast that when she finally stopped in front of the Starbucks near the Plaça, her lungs were burning. Tears were burning her face, and it took all she had to not sit down right there and cry. She looked around and didn’t see anyone, so she walked back the rest of the way to the hostel.
When she came in, she saw Esmie at the desk and started balling. “¡Ay dios mio! What happened?!” She came around from behind the desk and guided Sarah downstairs to the employee office. “Stay here for a second. I need to get someone to cover the front desk.” She was back in five minutes with a first aid kit and a bottle of water. “Here. Drink this while I clean you up.” Esmie cleaned all the cuts and abrasions on Sarah’s elbows and knees and gave her an ice pack for her face. “That’s going to be a nasty bruise, unfortunately. Now, tell me what happened.”
Sarah was still whimpering and trying to catch her breath but she attempted to tell her. “A man. attack me. La Ramblas.”
“Okay take a deep breath. Where did this happen exactly?”
I don’t know the name of the side street he pulled me into but it is near that sunglass store, the one with the big Donald Duck statue. He…” she took a deep breath and began again, “…was following me just after I left the bar and I tried to lose him and I thought I had but when I stopped to check he grabbed me from behind…” she started to break down again. The tears just kept coming.
“Okay, Sarah, we need to call the police.”
“No! They won’t do anything except blame me.”
“Sarah, we have to report this! Tell me, did he…” she hesitated, “Did he…rape you?”
Through shuddering breaths, she replied, “No, just before he did, someone came down the street and I kicked him and escaped.”
“Still Sarah, this is assault. We need to report this.”
“I can’t remember anything about him. It would be pointless.”
Esmie sighed. “Okay, but you’re sleeping in my room tonight.” Esmie had a double private room. “I want to keep an eye on you.”
Sure enough in the middle of the night Sarah woke up screaming and Esmie crawled into bed with her and held her until she went back to sleep. When Sarah woke up she was alone but Esmie had left her a note on the nightstand. “No work this week. Please go see this counselor and reconsider reporting this. I can’t force you to do it, but think about it.”
Sarah called the counselor and she had a cancellation that morning, so Sarah got up and quickly got dressed and went over there. Fortunately, it was around the corner, because she felt afraid all the time now.
“You know I am always here for you. We women have to stick together.”
After the counseling session, she felt a little bit better. She knew it was going to take a long time before she could feel ‘safe’ and unafraid like she did before but at least after talking it through she didn’t feel like she was going to fall apart. She checked her phone and saw a message from Marc. Shit. She was going to have to tell him. Knowing how he was, he was going to flip a gasket. Hey hon, I miss you. I am looking forward to tonight. How about seeing a movie?
She knew she wouldn’t be able to venture out at night alone to meet him. She typed back, How about Netflix and chill? Also, can you come and pick me up? I’ll explain when you get here.
She walked back into the hostel. She went to find Esmie. She was in the lounge vacuuming. She turned it off when she saw Sarah. She gestured to the couch. “So, how’d it go?”
“Thank you for giving me her number. It went okay. At least now I don’t feel like I am going to fall apart.” Esmie hugged her. “Have you thought more about reporting it? Longer you wait, the harder it is.”
“Esmie, I just can’t right now.”
Sarah stood up, “Thank you for everything. I don’t know what I would have done without you last night.”
“You know I am always here for you. We women have to stick together.”
Sarah hugged Esmie and went upstairs.
When she got to her room, her phone pinged and it was Marc. “Sweetie, are you okay?”
“I promise I’ll explain when you come.” She wrote back and then collapsed on her bed and fell asleep for 4 hours. When she woke up, she realized how late it was and quickly jumped in the shower. By the time she was finished she had five minutes to get downstairs before Marc arrived; except he had arrived early. When she entered the lounge and he saw her face, which was now a lovely shade of purple and her other injuries, he immediately hugged her and then looked at her again and cursed in Spanish. “¡Hijo de la chingada! How?! Who?!”
“Marc, I promised you an explanation but can we do it at your place, please?”
“Sí, mi amor. Vamonos.”
"Oh, honey, you have nothing to be sorry for. This was not your fault.”
Marc hailed a taxi and told the driver where to go. He took Sarah’s hand to help her out of the taxi and put his arm around her and guided up the stairs to his apartment. He gestured to the couch in the living room and she sat and he went into the kitchen. He came back in a few minutes later with a tray with tea and cookies. He grabbed a blanket from the chest in the corner and sat down and pulled Sarah to him and put the blanket over the both of them. He gave her a cup of tea and when she settled in the crook of his shoulder, he said, “Tell me.”
She relayed the whole story with silent tears running down her face. She didn’t look at him while she told him but once it was all out, she looked up into his eyes and saw fury. Marc carefully extricated himself from Sarah and got up and paced. “Did you report it?”
“No. Esmie tried to get me to do it, but I don’t remember much about him. I don’t have many details. It would be futile.”
“Goddammit, Sarah. I told you not to go on Wednesday!”
Sarah started to cry, “Are you blaming me?”
Marc moved swiftly back to the couch and held Sarah, “No, mi corazon. I just feel so helpless. You won’t report it and I can’t do anything to help you.”
“There is something. Just hold me. Let’s watch some movies and cuddle. I can’t sleep well anymore, so just hold me until I fall asleep.”
Marc swore under his breath and held Sarah tightly. “Alright, cariño.” He turned on the TV and flicked to Netflix and chose a comedy. He caressed her face and played with her hair. He took a deep breath and exhaled resignedly that there was nothing he could do tonight except comfort her. They fell asleep like that. At midnight, Marc woke with a stiff neck and carefully moved out from under Sarah and slipped quietly into the bathroom. He came back and looked her. Her pretty face was all purple and red and yellow on the right side. He winced. It must have really hurt. It brought all of his protective instincts out in him. He bent down and slid his arms under her and lifted her up to carry her to bed. He laid her in bed and then removed his clothes, but kept his t-shirt and underwear on and slid into bed. He pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her and fell asleep.
Sarah had another horrible dream about that night and she woke up screaming and flailing. But this time, Marc was there and held her tightly and she quickly calmed down.
“Sarah, my love, you didn’t say it so I have to ask, did he…did he hh…hurt you? Take you against your will?”
She couldn’t look at him, “No. He almost did but someone came down the street and distracted him and I kicked him and got away.” He hugged her tight.
Tears ran down her face. “I am so sorry, Marc.”
“Oh, honey, you have nothing to be sorry for. This was not your fault.” He kissed her head. They laid like that in silence, lost in their own thoughts until a little while later, Sarah said, “Will you kiss me? I need to know you still want me.” Marc turned Sarah to face him and kissed her gently and deeply. Sarah pushed her tongue in and deepened the kiss. Marc was powerless to her. She was hurting and he felt helpless. He wasn’t going to push her away no matter what they agreed to. He began to caress her arms, slowly moving toward her breasts and Sarah moaned. “Are you sure about this?”
“Yes, I need to feel human again, to feel wanted and not violated. Please, Marc.”
It was a slow and passionate lovemaking. Nothing like the first time where the world seemed to have exploded and yet, it was more special for it. In that moment, a bond was created, it changed everything between them.
Sarah began sleeping at Marc’s every night. It appeased his worries about her safety and her nightmares were better with him next to her. He picked her up every night at the hostel and they took a taxi back. They went on dates occasionally but only in his neighborhood or near the hostel. She was continuing with therapy and everyday she felt a little stronger. Initially, she couldn't tell Ana and Ana thought she was mad when she wouldn’t come out for girls' night. Finally, one night she agreed to meet but she warned Ana that Marc was coming. By then, the bruises were almost completely gone. When she told Ana, she was crying and mad at Sarah for not confiding but she understood. She started coming to Marc’s house to hang out instead, particularly when Marc traveled for business.
"It was time, though, to talk to Marc about their future together."
Things went on like for another month and it was almost summer. She would finish her program soon and then after summer she was supposed to move to Aragon and she and Marc hadn’t discussed any type of plan for that. She felt anxious about that. Well, ever since the attack, she felt anxious over pretty much everything these days, but she didn’t tell anyone but her therapist that. It was time, though, to talk to Marc about their future together.
One day, when she was walking back to the hostel from therapy, she saw a scruffy man hanging out at the small triangular part across from the hostel and chills went up her spine. Even though she could not really remember the man, she felt sure it was him. She ran back into the hostel to tell Esmie.
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