|General Fiction posted November 8, 2017||Chapters:||...10 11 -12- 13...|
Jessica, Krystal, and Ambrose continue their recounting
A chapter in the book Want and Resent: Phoenix
Family Therapy, Part 1
Last chapter: Sooyoung stops Jessica from killing her sister's fiancÃ© before working to reassure the splintered woman. Sunny comes home to help as well.
Ambrose speaks for the first time in almost an hour. “H-hey, so, now that you’re here, SunBeam, can we do that whole family therapy thing now, S’youngie?”
Jessica’s spine stiffens while Krystal shoves her fiancé and cries, “Aw, Stupid! Way to ruin the moment!”
He chuckles when everyone else does. “Sorry, Princess.” His arm around her shoulders pulls her closer to kiss her forehead.
Sooyoung answers his question after a few moments. “I don’t know if we should right now. Today’s been a particularly hard day for my little buddy, and she probably needs rest...”
The blonde floors everyone when she quietly says, “No. I want to do this. Let’s get it over with.”
For the rest of the evening, almost everything gets put on the table. It isn’t easy, but it also doesn’t end prematurely.
After a mini recap for Sunny’s benefit, Krystal and Ambrose pick up where they left off before Jessica stopped her brother-in-law-to-be. They tell of how they came home to Tyler seconds away from raping his girlfriend. When they start to recount the visit to the hospital, Jessica grabs their hands and then takes over after a long pause and a lot of encouragement.
She had been so against going and even more against getting checked out, but the nurses finally got her to consent to a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination. During it, she had begged for KryBer to leave of the room and for them to come back in, on and off. She reports humiliation at letting the couple see the evidence of all that Tyler had done to her, hear about it too, but also fear at being alone with people who had coerced her into undressing for them and allowing them to document every single injury and drop of seminal fluid that Tyler had left on her.
Vividly, she remembers removing her torn clothing slowly and carefully over special floor mats, being made to stand fully naked in a starfish position while they photographed and ran a UV light over each part of her, and then being given a paper gown only to have it become a symbol of her dignity, flimsy and easily taken from her at any time even when she tried to hold onto it. The medical staff systematically bared each part of her yet again to check it for injury and to measure each wound while continuing to photograph the whole process despite her discomfort with that. Even painfully, samples and evidence were extracted from her, like when they pulled out several strands of both major kinds of her hair to exclude her from later DNA analysis. The second tuft ended the exam for her. She hadn’t wanted them anywhere near her pubic region to begin with and then vehemently refused any further action once they hurt her there, screaming and crying until KryBer rushed to her rescue again.
The first few weeks after her visit to the hospital are mostly a blur for her. Having been forced to face every hurt that she had hidden even from herself, especially all the stains glowing in the purple light, is the only thing that embedded itself in her mind other than the times that she had scrubbed her skin relentlessly when she couldn’t scrub her mind of the image. That part, at least, Jessica remembers clearly.
Krystal shamefacedly takes the conversational baton despite Jessica saying that they don’t have to talk about what happened next. The brunette speaks to how intolerably furious she felt following Tyler’s last assault, heartbroken and guilty too. Mostly though, she remembers her frustration turning on Jessica when she simply couldn’t understand: How could her once strong, even violent, sister have allowed all those things to happen to her, for so long? Why was she so against getting justice by releasing the rape kit and pressing charges against the bastard? Would she have just let him put her in the ground next to their parents if KryBer hadn’t come home that afternoon? Did she like what Tyler did to her?
In the falling out which estranged the sisters for years, the younger plagued the elder with her burning questions to no response. She recounts fighting dirty in a desperate attempt to get the older girl to snap out of it and just talk to her, asking if Jessica really was a slut or a deviant. She had always just let Tyler humiliate her to no end. And it wasn’t like the man had broken any of her bones or too much of her skin, or that she washed herself between sessions, obviously. Was it all part of their sick sex play? Was that why she had acted even sluttier when it was just the three of them at home? Did she like having his nasty juices all over her? Did she need attention that badly, like when she had so wanted to be a celebrity that she had degraded herself even without Tyler’s involvement before ultimately causing their parents to go to graves with hurt in their hearts?
The older sister finally screamed back, not entirely truthfully, that she did and allowed it all for Krystal. Jessica had done everything she could to get Tyler’s focus back onto herself whenever his unrelieved lust strayed toward the younger girl instead, with or without his threats. She even admitted, for the one and only time, that she had first let Tyler force oral sex on her in order to save her sister from being violated, that giving in then had opened the doorway for him to not allow her to refuse doing it any longer and that things just got worse for her from there. Too, Jessica said, she knew that if she ever kicked Tyler out of her life after he started mistreating her, that would have either given him sole custody over Krystal to do as he pleased with her or put the girl into foster care where she could be placed into a separate situation where she’d be the one getting abused.
The sixteen year old had packed up and ran away within an hour of their fight and never went back, unable to bear all that she had been the cause of, to both their minds, she says. “I didn’t leave because you did anything wrong, Jess; I was the guilty one,” she stresses further.
“No, you were just a little girl. I shouldn’t have-”
“At least I left my locket on your pillow that night?” Krystal tries to laugh.
Jessica feels the little metal heart’s empty space before despondently letting her hand fall into her lap. Then she finds something much better to hold.
The two women cling to each other as they cry.
Not long after their estrangement, Jessica says as she takes over the retelling again, she sold their childhood home, got rid of just about all that remained within it, put the money into the bank as trusts, and ran away too. Right after then is more or less blank for her too, but somehow, she met Tiffany, Sunny, and Taeyeon in that time. They knew nothing about her past and she had no reminders of it— the injuries had healed and faded; Krystal had disappeared to Ambrose; and almost everything that they had ever owned was no longer in her possession. She didn’t want to think about her previous life anyway and even worked at forgetting it.
The three friends more or less took her in. Tiffany especially was difficult to be anything less than cheerful around, Taeyeon played and joked around incessantly, and Sunny was very sweet to her too, even calling her a pet name and eventually asking if she wanted to be roommates.
Blushing, Jessica admits to sort of falling for all three of her new friends. They were so loving while she was so starved of affection and were small, upbeat women instead of big, unhappy men. As she got closer to Sunny and saw how much she loved Taeyeon, however, she put aside all romantic feelings for the pair rather than get in their way. Her more than friendly intentions turned entirely on Tiffany, even after TaeNy became a couple, partly in hopes of helping Sunny.
SunSica had to concede defeat in the end, of course.
“Oh, oops. Anyway, that’s how, h-how I didn’t tell you, Bunny. I know you’ve been wondering about that. ...As far as I was concerned, it happened to another girl— J or Jess— but I was Jessi, Sica-ah, and SicaChu. I just... became the person I might have been had my parents not died and- or... or at least, if Tyler had never been a part of my life, I-I guess.”
“Mmm.” Sunny nods. “I remember that ...I could hardly imagine you being a person anything bad had ever happened to. I mean, sure, you startled easily and were really timid, but some people are just like that. ...You were— are!— so pure, cute, and funny. It shocked the Hell out of me when I asked if you were going home to see your family for the holidays and you just emotionlessly said that you didn’t have a family. ...I figured that you were born into and grew up in foster care, after that. It made it less of a shock when a sister I never knew of or heard about walked back into your life. I thought that you must have grown up apart...”
“Y-yeah,” is all Jessica says.
“I found you again, but you were a totally different person, Jess. ...And I was happy for that but worried too. But I didn’t want to ruin your happiness. ...Failed again, huh? I- ...I’m-”
The elder sister only answers the younger by pressing her lips together and shaking her head, so Sooyoung re-enters the conversation.
“Actually, as hard as it is right now, it is good that you are finally dealing with everything, Little Buddy.”
“I-I thought that too,” Krystal interjects before Jessica can answer. “I always thought that. I wanted to bring things up and sometimes couldn’t help it, but you refused to acknowledge it, j-just like before. And I didn’t want to lose you again, so I backed down whenever you started getting too upset. Am and I even talked about what to do but decided that we shouldn’t press you or each other. I guess we just ended up trying to do things your way since it seemed to work so well for you. ...I-I almost forgot it all too, but then I couldn’t; not really.”
“But why did you have to push it so hard now? Things were going so well. I-I- You-” Jessica says with a lot of feeling, none of which is accusatory, however.
“I was scared to death, Jess! Those who ignore the past are bound to repeat it. ...And the chance that it could happen to you again; and with me just allowing it, again... I-I couldn’t! I had to make you see even if it hurt you and made you kick me out of your life for good... just as long as he got out of it too...”
“But Yul would never hurt me!”
“Maybe you knew that, but I sure didn’t. You told me so many times, for so long, that Tyler wasn’t hurting you! ...I didn’t know that Yul was okay until Am became your guys’ wingman.” A faint smile lights Krystal’s face before sliding away. “But by then...”
“I’m really sorry, Jess... I forgot that Ty- that jerk came into your life through the talent show and that you and Krys had fought about it until she and I were trying to figure out what the Hell just happened after, um, my USB broke. I try not to think about ...that stuff too. I just saw you at the salon that day, looking so... lost? Haunted? ...Like you hadn’t actually moved on after all, and I wanted to remind you of a happier time, of what you had overcome... a-and who you used to be, could be; again. And I knew Yul would do everything he could to help you find and be that girl again.”
It is both easy and difficult for his sister-in-law to be to not smile. “You just happened to have that video on you? How did you even get it?”
“Dude, I was on lights that day, remember? And camcorder! ...I always have- had that USB card on me. It held all my favorite memories on it. ...Jess, you’re important to me, really important to me. Sometimes I’d watch the video on my own, like Yul said, just to see you smiling and being ...fearless. I’ve missed you for years but didn’t want to, I don’t know... You’re my sister too, Jess. To me, anyway...”
Jessica only cries more and moves to hug the man. “I’m really sorry I wrecked your thumb drive, ’Bro. And I’m really sorry for hurting you, both of you...”
Ambrose smiles widely. “Don’t worry about it! We understand. ...And besides, it was just a USB keychain; one of many. I have all the files from it on my computer and external hard drive too.” He cracks a teasing smile. “You’re gonna have to work a lot harder than that to get rid of that clip.”
“Damn.” The eldest woman smiles wryly in return.
“What’s this video you guys are talking about?” Sooyoung asks after a few minutes.
The man’s grin gets even bigger. “Well, let me tell you- No, let me show you!” With that, he pulls an identical USB drive to the one that got broken out from under his hoodie by a lanyard.
“No!” Jessica cries, diving for it.
Seeing that her roommate is playing, Sunny snatches it and runs away, sending a, “But first let me download it onto my computer! Then I’mma send it to Minnie Mouse, Yul, Fany-ah, Taeyeonie... Mm-mm!” over her shoulder.
“NO!” The blonde jumps up. She even does Krystal’s flail and scream of frustration outside of Sunny’s locked door when she gets to it too late. Passingly, she entertains the thought of strangling her sister’s fiancé again but then decides against it.
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