(21) Secrets, Lies and Love

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Chapter 21

"It was the summer before ninth grade," I started, "and this new kid moved into town. He was seventeen years old and I was just a few months short of fifteen, but I was completely infatuated by him. At the beginning of the summer, I started following him around like a puppy and I think he liked the attention because he let me. No one knew that I was hanging out with Jeremy, they just thought I was walking around town with some of the kids who lived there that we went to school with. 

"It was the night of the Fourth of July and I was going to meet Jeremy and his cronies. They had cans of beer scattered all around them and they were smoking joints and taking pills. When I got there, they tried to get me to join in. I saw how it was affecting them so I said no. Jeremy was upset; that might be an understatement. He was furious that I was refusing what he wanted me to do so he had some guys hold me down so he could force some pills down my throat. 

"When I was thoroughly subdued, to the point where I couldn't fight back, he straddled me and began touching me underneath my clothes. Before I could comprehend what was happening, I was lying there in my underwear and he was starting to take his clothes off. The guys around him looked horrified but they weren't doing anything. It was at this point that I tried to fight back; my attempts were futile. 

"I was terrified, but then something happened. Red and blue lights appeared and I could hear sirens. Being as high as he was, the police were able to arrest Jeremy before he could get too far. The ambulance came and got me to the hospital where the immediately took me to the emergency room. 

"I woke up four days later to the worried looks on my parents' faces. I had an allergic reaction to whatever it was that they gave me. I was later told that Jeremy had died of an overdose and the other guys would spend a couple months in juvenile detention. It turns out that there were a bunch of other drugs that Jeremy had been taking that night and those were the reason he died that night. 

"I explained what happened to my family and after some time, they began to trust me again. I found solace in my books and that is why I love them so much now; I depend on them. 

"This whole situation is what caused me to have so much caution when it came to Michael. I never told him and I hadn't really planned on telling him either." 

I waited in silence for Chris to comprehend what I had told him. 

"So, if you didn't tell Mike after two years, why tell me after two months?" 

"I care more for you than I ever did for him. You need to know this so you can understand why I am afraid to more than kissing. Or, why I read obsessively. Or even why my brother and father are so insanely protective. I am going to push you more than you are going to like and I will test your patience. All of my personalities stem from this incident. But lately, I have come to learn to trust and to love again; I have you to thank for that." 

When we finally got to the restaurant, Chris spoke. 

"You have been through hell and I can see that. I understand why you do the things you do Andy and I will never push you away for being who you are. Who you are is who I care deeply for. 

"I suppose that you would like me to share my story now that you shared yours?" 

"Chris, I don't want you to do anything that you don't want to do. When you feel comfortable enough, then you can tell me." 

"Thank you, Andria." He kissed the back of my hand before getting out of the car to open my door. 

We walked to the front door of the restaurant hand-in-hand. This time, the paparazzi took more of an interest in me. There were shouts demanding my name and where I was from. We paid them no attention as we entered the establishment. 

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