“Help me get her dress off,” Steph says.
My eyes flutter, and I try to shake my head, but it doesn’t work. Nothing works. Dan is going to force himself on me, I know it. This was Steph’s plan for this party. It was never meant to be a going-away party for me. It was meant to destroy me. I have no idea why I ever thought she was my friend.
Molly’s hair falls onto my face when she climbs onto the bed next to me, and Steph pushes me up and rolls over to get better access to the back of my dress.
“Why-y-y?” My voice is broken, and I’m vaguely aware of the tears on my cheeks, now wetting the sheets on the bed.
“Why?” Dan echoes, bringing his face close to mine. “Why? Your asshole boyfriend taped himself fucking my sister—that’s why.” His warm breath on my face feels like mud.
“Whoa!” Molly says loudly. “I thought you said you were only taking some pictures of her!”
“We are . . . and maybe a little video,” Steph responds.
“No way! Hell no, dude—you can’t have him rape her!” Molly shouts.
“He’s not . . . Jesus. I’m not, like, psychotic. He’s just going to touch her and make it look like they’re fucking so that when Hardin sees the tape he’ll fucking lose it. Just picture his face when he sees his innocent little whore of a girlfriend getting fucked by Dan.” Steph laughs. “I thought you were into this,” she hisses at Molly. “You said you were.”
“I’m into pissing him off, but you can’t tape this shit.” Molly is whispering, but I can hear her clear as day.
“You sound like her.” Steph turns me back over after removing my dress completely.
“Stop,” I whimper. Steph rolls her eyes, and Molly looks like she might vomit any second.
“I don’t know about this anymore,” Molly says, panicked.
Steph grabs her shoulder viciously and points. “Well, there’s the door, then. If you’re going to be a pussy about it, go downstairs and we’ll join you in a few.”
Another knock at the door, and I hear Tristan’s voice. “Steph, are you in there?” he says through the wood. Not him, too.
“Shit,” Steph mutters. “Yeah, um, I’m talking to Molly. Be out in a minute!”
I open my mouth to scream, but her hand clamps down over my face to silence me. It’s sticky and smells like alcohol.
I try to look at Molly for help, but she turns away. Coward.
“Go downstairs, babe. I’ll be right there. She’s . . . she’s upset. Girl stuff, you know?” she lies, and despite all of this mess, I can’t help but be relieved that Tristan seems oblivious to his cruel girlfriend’s intentions.
“Okay!” he shouts.
“Come over here,” Steph quietly instructs Dan. Then she touches my cheek. “Open your eyes.”
They open, barely, and I feel Dan’s hand trail up my thigh. Fear shoots through me, and I close them again.
“I’m going downstairs,” Molly finally says when Dan brings the small camera in front of his face.
“Fine, lock the door,” Steph snaps.
“Move over,” Dan says, and the bed shifts under me when Steph climbs off and he takes her place. “You hold it.”
I try my hardest to replace Dan’s hands with Hardin’s in my mind, but it’s impossible. Dan’s hands are soft, too soft, and I try my hardest to replace them with something, anything. I picture the softest blanket that I had as a child touching my skin . . . The door closes, signaling Molly’s exit, and I whimper again.
“He’s going to hurt you,” I choke, keeping my eyes tightly closed.
“Nah, he won’t,” Dan replies. “He’ll want to make sure no one sees this, so he won’t do shit.” His fingers trace along the top of my panties, and he whispers to me, “This is the way the world works.”
I gather up all the strength I can and try to throw him off me, but I only manage to make the bed shake a little.
Steph laughs some evil sound. “Hardin is a dick, okay?” she yells, putting the camera in my face. “And he’s always fucking with people: he fucked with Dan’s sister, he fucked with me, he led so many girls on, fucked them, then tossed them aside. Until you, that is. Why he likes you so much will never make any sense to me.” Her tone is full of disgust.
“Tessa!” Zed’s voice booms from somewhere, and Steph covers my mouth again as I hear pounding at the door.
“Keep quiet,” she commands. I try to bite her hand. She reaches over and slaps me across the face, but fortunately I barely feel it.
“Open the fucking door, Steph—let me in!” Zed shouts.
Is he in on this, too? Was Hardin right about him? Is everyone around me trying to hurt me? The thought isn’t impossible: nearly everyone I’ve trusted since coming to college has betrayed me. The names just keep piling up.
“I’ll break the door—I’m not fucking around. Go get Tristan!” I hear him yell, and Steph immediately removes her hand from my mouth.
“Wait!” she yells, going to the door. But it’s too late. The door bursts opens with a loud crack, and Dan’s hand is no longer on me. When I open my eyes, he’s backing away from me quickly as Zed strides into the room, his presence filling it.
“What the fuck!” he yells, rushing toward me.
A blanket is thrown over my body by someone as I try to reach for him.
“Help me,” I beg him, and pray that he isn’t involved in this nightmare. That he can actually hear me.