Seventeen-year-old Andrew uses girls for sex, and Julie is his next target. Will he treat her like the others, or will she find a way into his heart?
Dark Romantic Fantasy
Andrew looked up at the sound of giggling.
‘Can you believe it?’ he heard his sister tell her friend through his door. ‘He told me he likes me. I feel like I could fly.’ Renee’s bedroom door banged shut behind them.
Andrew snorted and switched on his iPhone. Girls. They had no idea. Guys wanted one thing and one thing only. He should know, he was seventeen and had already fucked ten girls. In fact, he could go for one right now.
He rested back into his pillows, turned his music up and pulled his cock out. ‘Bring me the Horizon’ pounded in his ears as he masturbated.
He groaned, thinking of his next target—Julie: tall and slim, blond, with tits so perky they could have pierced holes in her school shirt. Rumour said she was still a virgin. Not that it mattered. A wet cunt was a wet cunt no matter if it had been already poked or not.
He froze at a pounding at his door. The door jumped in its frame. The knob twisted. ‘Andrew!’
‘Jesus.’ He shoved his erection back in his pants, popped out his earphones and stumbled to his feet as he struggled with his fly. ‘What do you want?’
‘You said you were going to mow the lawn,’ she shouted through the door.
‘For fuck’s sake.’ He unlocked the door and yanked it open, but only partway so it concealed the bulge in his pants. ‘I said I’d do it, and I will.’
It was midday and yet his mother was still dressed in her robe, looking every bit her forty-five years. She had a cigarette pinched between her fingers and her lank blonde hair spilled in an oil mess over her shoulders, the dark roots showing. He really wished she would see a hairdresser. It annoyed him. Maybe if she took better care of herself Dad would still be home. Then again, the years of alcohol abuse and smoking had shrivelled her into something a simple cut-and-dye job couldn’t fix.
‘Oh, yes,’ she snarled. ‘Just like you said you would the weekend before and the weekend before that and the weekend before that.’
‘I said I will do it.’
‘Do it, now.’
‘Oh, get out of my face you ugly cunt.’ And he slammed the door.
He dropped onto his bed with an angry grunt, shoved his earphones back in and turned up the volume some more before unzipping his fly again.
‘Come on, Andrew,’ Julie giggled. ‘Class is in.’
She tried to open her locker, but he pressed his full weight against it. Andrew was so cute: six-foot, sandy hair, blue eyes, with a smile that made her heart flutter. He was smiling now, deep dimples in his cheeks.
‘Mr Dooben hates tardiness,’ he said. ‘Do you really want to get into trouble just because you won’t go out with me?’
Biting her lip, she curled her fingers through the end of her braid. ‘Okay.’ I can’t believe I’m doing this. And with Andrew Beatman! She smiled up at him, and it took all her effort not to burst into giggles.
‘Good.’ He pulled away from her locker and opened it for her. ‘Saturday, then? Five o’clock? I’ll pick you up from your place.’
‘No,’ she said quickly. ‘Why don’t you pick me up at Bennington Park?’ There was no way she was going to let her father know about this.
He shrugged. ‘Okay. Bennington Park it is. Five o’clock. Don’t be late.’
He winked, and heat flooded Julie’s cheeks.
Julie couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the week. Classes sped by in a whirl, her time at home was a blur. It was as though she was floating. When she saw him, she would flush and quiver, and her friends would notice and tease her about it, and all she could do was blush deeper. At night she barely slept, staring at the ceiling as she imagined what it would be like holding Andrew’s hand, hugging him, kissing him—and more. To have his arms wrapped around her—oh.
Then Saturday arrived, and she was dressed in the little pink dress she bought earlier: mid-thigh, tight around the waist, strapless. It was sexy but cute. Something which said ‘I want to give myself to you but not straightaway.’
She tugged at her bra, adjusting it, as she sat waiting on the bench. The sun was setting, a pink glow splashed across the horizon. Her father thought she was out with Kelly tonight. As long as she was back by eight, he would think nothing amiss.
Julie’s heart leapt as a car pulled up at the curb. She stood, recognising Andrew’s sandy hair through the window.
He opened the door and stepped out his tall taut body, grinned his sexy smile as he met her at the bench. ‘You look beautiful.’ He held out his arm. He was smartly dressed—and staggeringly handsome.
‘Thank you,’ she smiled, hooking her arm in his.
It was the date of her dreams. He was funny, kind, patient—perfect. He paid for dinner, held her hand, looked at her with eyes she could melt into. By the end, she knew he was the one.
Over the next three weeks they spent as much time as they could together. At school everyone knew they were a couple and it pleased Julie to stir such jealousy in the other girls. When she knew they were looking, she would bunch up close to him and squeeze his hand tightly. Andrew was her first real boyfriend, and she never would have thought she would be so lucky.
They even spent time together after school. Her parents didn’t know. It was easy to fool them into thinking she was out shopping with her girlfriends. Julie had always been a good girl and had never caused any trouble.
Once, they went and saw a movie where they shared a popcorn and drink together and held each other’s hands at the scary parts. Another time he drove her to the beach and they swam in the water together. She had loved that day, seeing him bare chested with the water rushing over his biceps and rippled abdomen. That’s where he had held her properly for the first time, his strong arms wrapped around her waist, sending shivers down her spine as they leapt over the waves.
But it was their time at the park which she remembered the most. The sun was about to set, and they were strolling through the gardens when he pulled her over into the trees and kissed her. Her very first kiss. And it was wonderful. His tongue was slippery and sweet, his grip gentle as he pressed his soft wet lips against hers. And when he was done he pulled her against him and kissed the top of her head like she was the most precious thing in the world.
Julie was lost after that. By the end of the three weeks, how could she refuse him?
She stood in the hotel room at the foot of the bed, dressed in only her underwear, hands folded in front of her, so nervous she could barely hear anything but the blood thumping in her ears. It was a standard room: beige carpet, simple furniture, king-sized bed, en-suite. But she had never been in one without her family and certainly never with a boy. The lights were off, the room dark, but moonlight filtered in through the curtains, illuminating him. He was lying sprawled on the mattress, naked. She stared at his penis, afraid, disgusted and aching for it, all at the same time.
He patted the bed beside him. ‘Come on, Jules. You don’t need to be scared of me.’
It had never been her plan to make love to him so soon, but Andrew was insistent and after all his love and patience, it was only fair.
She eased in beside him, her shoulder against his. Glancing at him, she smiled, then looked away, pretending to be fascinated by the curtains. A cool wind blew, making them flutter.
Andrew slipped his hand into hers. He squeezed and she squeezed back. Then he leant in and kissed her. He was tender at first, lips soft, tongue sweet, but grew more passionate, kissing along her collarbone, sucking at her neck, as he undid her bra. Then his mouth was on her nipples, licking, sucking, teasing until she was sopping between the legs.
Julie arched her back, lifting her bottom, as he dragged down her knickers. Then they were both naked, and Julie stiffened as he opened her thighs and slid his body between them.
‘Oh, Julie,’ he groaned.
The feel of his penis pressing against her navel turned her stomach. Bile swelled in her throat. Something switched in her brain, and suddenly she didn’t feel excitement anymore—only terror.
‘No,’ she gasped, as he dragged his fingers along her opening. He didn’t seem to hear her, eyes closed, breaths wet against her throat.
‘No,’ she said again, louder.
His eyelids flickered but he didn’t stop; she gasped as he pushed his finger inside her. His finger was hard and deep, and it stung.
She tried to slide out from under him, but he pinned her wrists to the bed, his fingers wet with her come. He kissed her hard on the lips, silencing her protests, as he positioned his groin above hers. She tried to relax but his thrust stung so bad she cried out. Andrew didn’t even notice—or more likely ignored her. He wasn’t kissing her now, panting into her ear as he flexed and plunged.
Julie turned her head and screwed her eyes shut, unable to do anything but brace herself against the pain. She had always known it would hurt, but she always imagined that whomever her first was would be gentle and understanding, even a little regretful that he’d hurt her.
She never imagined it would be like this.
With a groan and a shudder, he was finally done. The moment he released her wrists, Julie scrambled out from beneath him.
Andrew rolled onto his back and folded his hands under his head, looking pleased with himself. ‘What’s wrong? Didn’t you like it?’
Julie pushed her back against the wall, panting. Then the tears began to flow. She felt something warm trickle down the inside of her thigh. With a sob, she raced into the bathroom and slammed the door shut.
She sat on the toilet, knees together, her head in her hands. From outside her door the room was quiet. What was Andrew doing? When would he leave? She couldn’t face him again, couldn’t look at him. The very thought of him made her want to curl in a ball and scream.
Julie wiped at her face and tore off several slips of toilet paper, then cleaned herself. She looked at the paper in dismay, fresh tears swelling in her eyes. Blood, the sheen of Andrew’s come—was this what their great love amounted to?
She looked up at the sound of the outer door slamming shut. Julie finished wiping herself, then gently eased the bathroom door open. Her clothes were strewn all over the floor but Andrew’s were gone. She could hear a woman laughing somewhere out in the carpark, the distant sounds of traffic. A horn blasted. Clutching at herself, she glanced at the bed, then quickly began gathering up her clothes.
Feeling numb, shaking all over, she pulled on her knickers then picked up her dress. She gazed at it a moment. It was the little pink number she had worn on their first date. She recalled the thrill of picking it out, her excitement. Shame squirmed in her stomach at the memory. She had been such an idiot.
With nothing else to wear, she pulled it on, hating the feel of it against her skin. Then she fetched her shoes. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she tried to get them on, but it was impossible; she was trembling too hard and everything was a blur behind the wetness in her eyes. Releasing a shuddering breath, she gave up on them. I won’t cry, I won’t cry, I won’t cry. But she dropped her head into her hands and burst into tears.
She called a taxi home. Pausing at the front door, she straightened herself out and checked herself in her compact mirror. There was still some redness around her eyes but not enough to cause suspicion.
Taking a breath, she opened the door. ‘Hi, Mum, Dad, I’m back!’
Her mother twisted on the couch and smiled. ‘Did you and Kelly have fun?’
‘Yeah, lots!’ She feigned a yawn. ‘I’m really tired though. We were shopping all night. I think I’m going to turn in early.’
Her mother looked her up and down, frowning. ‘But you haven’t bought anything.’
Julie hesitated. ‘You don’t have to buy anything to go shopping.’
‘I suppose,’ she said doubtfully.
The moment she closed her bedroom door, Julie crashed onto the bed and wept herself to sleep.
She spent most of the weekend locked in her room, tucked under the covers and holding herself as she relived the night over and over. A hard knot tightened in her belly and it was all she could do not to vomit.
She tried her best not to leave her room but whenever she had to, she would do so quickly and would force a sickeningly happy pretence that fooled no one.
‘What’s wrong? Are you sick?’ her mother asked, feeling her forehead as she caught her on the way to the toilet. ‘You’ve been stuck in your room almost all day and you’re really red in the face.’
Julie let her face fall into an expression of misery. ‘I think I might be. I don’t know if I’ll be able to go to school tomorrow.’ Please don’t let me go to school tomorrow.
Her mother gave a faint smile and kissed her on the forehead. ‘Of course, honey. Take all the time you need. We know how hard you’ve been working at your studies. Perhaps it’s now finally caught up with you.’
Julie gave her a quivering smile in return, holding back a wave of tears. It hurt to think her parents had such trust in her. And now I’ve betrayed that trust.
But she couldn’t keep up the lie for long. Sooner or later she had to go back to school.
It was Thursday when she finally picked up her bag and headed out the door.
Her heart pounded, her stomach churned, as she walked up to the front gates. She looked around in confusion. Everyone was looking at her: students she knew, students she didn’t, friends and strangers alike, juniors and seniors. Some were shaking their heads, some were sneering, others were whispering behind their hands:
‘That’s Julie Charters.’
‘She had sex with Andrew—’
‘Wasn’t even good, I heard—’
She rushed to her friends, but there it only got worse.
‘Kelly?’ Julie called. Her friend looked up and Julie paused, something foul gnawing at her insides. The look on her face. That look of disappointment, even disgust, like Julie was something wet and slimy Kelly had scraped off from the bottom of her shoe. The rest of them stared at her with varying degrees of the same look, then one by one turned their backs and walked away. ‘Kelly?’ Julie called again, but her best friend just shook her head and followed.
The rumours spread so quickly, and they were disgusting. The kind of things Andrew said she did—
At lunchtime, Julie rushed into the girls’ toilets and locked herself in a cubicle, her classmates’ sniggering chasing her inside. Letting her books slip to the wet floor, she sat on the toilet and dropped her head into her hands, weeping quietly, much like she did that awful night at the hotel. She tangled her fingers into her fringe and pulled. How could she have gotten everything so wrong? Clutching at herself, she rocked back and forth. Her world was crashing down around her and there was nothing she could do to stop it.
The teasing, the snide remarks, the isolation didn’t stop for the next two weeks. And each day she dragged herself to school: head down, books crushed to her chest, hair draped over her face so she wouldn’t see anyone. But what made it so much worse was Andrew’s presence. She tried her best to avoid him, but it was only a small school and it was inevitable they’d see each other. And when she did, he’d always have that smirk on his face, that satisfied glint in his eye. It made her feel so dirty all she wanted to do was crawl up into a ball and die.
And yet, though her days at school were agony, the nights were by far the worst. Out of all the sneering comments, bullying and harassment, nothing bit so deep compared with what she thought of herself, particularly while alone in the darkness. Burying her face in her pillow so her parents wouldn’t hear her tears, she relived that night: the way he felt inside her, the agony, how he grunted in her ear at every thrust, the pain of his grip as he pinned her down, the feel of his come trickling down her thigh, the bloody toilet paper…
Every little detail was like a knife in her guts: humiliating, disgusting. The word rape hid in the shadows at the back of her mind and it gnawed at her. I should tell someone. If I told the truth maybe everyone would see me differently. But she couldn’t. She shoved the thought away. All it did was make her feel dirtier than ever. And she would have to talk about it with the police, her parents, her friends … She grimaced. No! And besides, would anyone believe her? After all, she had willingly joined him at the hotel, knowing exactly what they were going to do. Nobody will believe me and I will just humiliate myself more. She tried to be angry at Andrew for what he did, and she was, but it came nowhere close to how angry she felt at herself. She had fallen for his charms like a slut, like an idiot. She should have known better and deserved what she got.
Her parents could see something was wrong but whenever they asked about it, Julie would mumble she was fine and shut the door in their faces. She hated that look on her mother’s face, that concern—the fear. It took all her might not to simply burst into tears where she stood and tell her everything. Julie never used to have secrets and they had always gotten on so well. Not anymore. I ruined that. I ruined everything.
One night the pain got too much. She carefully eased her car out of the driveway, her lights on low beam so she wouldn’t wake her parents. Once she reached the road, she accelerated. She was still only on her Learners but what did it matter? She was beyond caring about anything anymore.
Copper Cliff was as beautiful in the dark as it was in the day. She used to come here a lot with her parents for picnics when she was little. There was a pang of guilt at the thought of them, but it was swiftly gone. They’d be better off without me. The waves crashed like thunder, the grass beneath her feet rippled in the wind, the surface of the big smooth rocks shone in the moonlight as she approached the edge.
Dressed in only her nightie, barefoot, she shivered and clutched onto herself, hair whipping and twisting around her in the wind. Far below, the waves smashed against the rocks, sending mists of spray into the air.
Julie glanced at the moon, took a deep breath and closed her eyes.
Julie’s death shocked everyone, including Andrew, but he didn’t let it get to him. It was not like he had killed her. Though you wouldn’t think it by the way everyone was treating him—like he had just stepped out of radioactive waste. They all watched him as he strode past, keeping their distance, even his so-called friends. He scowled at a couple of girls as they stared and whispered. The school was going to hold a memorial service in a couple of weeks. He would not attend.
Back home, his mother was talking quietly on the phone. She looked up at him, then away again as he walked past her to his bedroom. The whole community was talking about it, about Julie and Andrew both. It had been three days since the news of her suicide got out, and the police had already questioned him. He had told them the truth, or at least the truth as he saw it. Julie might have said no, but he hadn’t forced her to do anything. He hadn’t forced her through the door, hadn’t ripped her clothes off her or thrown her on the bed. I didn’t rape her, he told himself. A girl can’t say yes then take it back. Though they didn’t say it to his face, he could see the police despised him.
Fuck ‘em. Who are they to judge? And Mum—fuck her too.
Andrew always went to sleep well after his mother and sister: lights out, dressed in his singlet and boxers as he lay his six feet diagonally across the bedspread. Often he would be listening to music and playing on his phone, the little rectangle of bright light burning into his corneas. On a weekday, it was usually around one-thirty when his eyes drifted shut and he would sleep the night away.
But that Wednesday night was different.
He woke with a start and sat up, his phone slipping into his lap. Something had startled him, but he didn’t know what. He blinked in surprise, squinting against the light.
‘What the—?’ He looked around; his lamp was on. He flicked its switch off. Nothing. He flicked it on and off, but it only seemed to make the light glow brighter.
He gave an annoyed grunt, chucked aside his phone and swung his head over the edge of his bed, peering beneath. His mouth went dry as he stared at the electric cord hanging loosely on the floor, far away from the power point.
He sat up. ‘What the fuck?’
He tried to unscrew the lightbulb, but it was too hot to touch. He tried the switch again. Still, nothing. Heart pounding, he slid to the other side of his bed, staring at it wide-eyed like it was about to grow legs and bite him.
There was a faint ding, and the light went out.
Panting, pulse hammering in his ears, he groped for his phone amidst the folds of his bedspread but couldn’t find it. He looked up at the sound of a creak and froze. There was a figure, a silhouette in the darkness standing beside the lamp. He stared at it and it stared right back. He could hear it breathing, and the sound of it filled him with icy terror.
He dropped to the floor with a cry, lurched to his window and ripped open his curtains. Moonlight poured into his room, glancing against silvery hair and eyes and a face as pale as the moon itself. A face he knew.
‘Julie,’ he breathed.
She wore a long nightie, hair tumbling down her back. His heart thundered against his ribs. He broke out into a cold sweat. He could see straight through her, to his cupboard behind.
‘You’re a—you’re a—’
He swallowed, shook his head. Impossible. There is no such thing as ghosts.
A strange iciness filled the room. His breath started to mist, and he shivered. She simply looked at him with that silvery gaze. Then she moved, a slow drift through his bed, her bottom half dissolving into the bedspread. His phone lit up as she passed through it, then darkened again.
Andrew pushed back against the window as she approached. She was too close, a wall of air against his face. He could smell her—a light, flowery perfume that tickled his nose.
‘Andrew,’ she whispered. She lifted a transparent hand, and Andrew banged the back of his head against the window as she brushed his cheek. A shiver ran down his spine. She dragged her fingers down his throat, his chest. Then she stopped—right at the level of his heart.
He shook his head. ‘No.’
She looked into his eyes. ‘Know me.’
And she plunged her hand into his chest, into his heart. He instinctively grabbed at her arms, only to seize empty air. He dropped hard to his knees, squirming and weeping and gasping at the pain as she twisted. It wasn’t a physical pain. Guilt, sadness, misery—he knew them, though he hadn’t felt them since he was a child, not since before his father left, before he had learnt to keep them way down deep and locked away. Then there was the love, a hot flood of feeling that made his heart ache, and he hated that most of all.
Tears flowed down his cheeks. ‘Let go!’ And she did. He dropped to all fours, panting, clutching at his chest. ‘What have you done to me?’
She didn’t answer.
He sat on his knees, wincing as a fresh flood of tears coursed down his cheeks. It was as though her hand was still plunged in his heart, twisting and twisting and twisting some more. He groaned and craned his head back as he tried to stem the tears. It didn’t work. The problem was in his chest, not his eyes.
He dropped his chin, intending to beg her forgiveness, to beg her to leave him alone, but she was gone.
Andrew stayed home the next day. There was no way he could go to school, not with the way he was: a wreck, weeping like a girl. He tried to smoke and drink the pain away, but it only dulled it to a throb. He rubbed at his chest, clutched at his stomach. He was so nauseated; he couldn’t eat, even the whisky he could barely stomach. Was this really the way she had felt? How could anyone feel so much? Because he knew, he knew what she had done to him. Know me. She seemed to whisper it in his ear at every nasty throb, at every painful twist. Know me before. Know me after. Know me.
Why couldn’t she have just killed him instead and be done with it?
He waited for her that night, in the darkness. At every creak, every whisper, he would stare into the night, terrified, hopeful. But she didn’t return.
She didn’t show the next night either, nor the next. To keep himself occupied, he mowed the lawn his mother kept pestering him about, cleaned the house, washed the dishes, anything to help keep his mind off the pain. But the days were nothing to the nights. He kept his lights off, hoping to see her again, but it only festered his thinking, making his guilt, his sadness, his misery, his need to see her again, so bad he curled up in a ball and wept himself to sleep.
It was a week before she finally reappeared. The light pinged on, then off again, and Andrew sat up. She was there, a silvery silhouette, just like before, and for the first time in days something other than pain filled his heart.
She didn’t respond. He slipped off his bed and dropped to his knees. ‘I’m sorry. I’m really sorry, Jules. I didn’t know you’d do that. I didn’t mean for—’ he took a breath ‘—please make me me again.’
She gazed down at him with her transparent eyes, and he almost lost hope. Then she gestured him to rise. He scrambled to his feet. She put her hands against his chest.
‘Thank you,’ he said, his breath misty, shivering in the sudden cold.
He sighed in relief as the pressure in his chest eased. Thoughts that had been eating at his mind vanished. He collapsed onto the bed. Smiling, he smoothed his hand down his chest, enjoying the feeling of nothing—well, almost nothing.
The burning sensation was still there deep in his heart, and now that he was free of despair, it was hotter than ever. He held out his arms to her. Her image wavered, as though she was considering. Andrew gasped as she fell into him. It was the most erotic, the most sensual, the most incredible feeling in the world. It was far beyond the physical. Their hearts touched, their minds were one. He could hear her thoughts, smell her all around him. More than that—he could almost taste her, feel her in his pores. He wrapped his arms around himself, as though he was embracing her. He shivered as hot come jetted into his pants.
He lay in a daze, eyes closed, panting, a wildfire burning a hole in his chest.
‘Julie?’ He opened his eyes and sat up.
She was gone.
Everybody stared, whispering to each other, as Andrew made his way into the auditorium. Pictures of Julie, some framed, some tacked to the walls, some dangling from the ceiling, watched him pass, each one driving a pin into his heart. There were flowers everywhere, mostly red and pink, in vases or pots. They should have chosen daffodils or sunflowers; yellow was her favourite colour. Petals were strewn over the floor. Music played quietly in the background, and it was the wrong music. Julie hated Casey Maree. She loved Mariah Carey. Didn’t they know her at all?
He chose a spot at the back, well away from everyone. Andrew’s old gang of friends looked back at him, then turned quickly to the front again. Andrew ignored them.
The memorial didn’t even reach an hour; the teachers looked bored; kids were talking, even giggling. A waste of time.
At the end of the service Andrew stood in front of the stage, gazing at her pictures. He hadn’t seen her for over a week, not since that night. Every night he sat waiting for her, hours ticking by, staring at his lamp in the darkness. He knew he was wasting his time. Somehow he knew she wasn’t going to return, and yet it didn’t stop him from hoping.
‘Andrew, what are you still doing here? Class was in forty minutes ago.’
Andrew looked up. Mr Dooben: short, fat, bald patch, white fuzz above his ears, pale as a sheet. Andrew smiled, recalling how Julie liked to tease him: ‘He reminds me of a giant marshmallow.’ Mr Dooben frowned at him.
After three more nights of waiting, Andrew decided to act; if she wasn’t going to come to him, then he would go to her.
It was a Thursday night when he kissed his mother on the cheek. ‘Good night,’ he said. ‘Love you.’
She touched her cheek in surprise. ‘Love you too.’
By midnight Renee finally went to bed and Andrew could sneak out the house without detection. He left dressed in only his thongs, boxers and singlet, swinging his keys around his finger. It was a new moon, and he used his phone to light his way, Julie’s picture smiling up at him.
He switched on the engine of his Holden V8, put it in reverse and eased out of the drive. Twenty minutes later he arrived at Copper Cliff, though it felt like only a few minutes had passed.
Andrew stood at the cliff edge, hair and clothes whipping about in the wind. It was only fitting he should go the way Julie did. He briefly wondered how she must have felt standing here all alone, desolate and despairing. As for himself,he felt almost happy. I’m going to see her again.
He could barely see, so dark it was almost black. The waves thundered like a storm far below. There was the hiss of spray. A strong wind gusted, carrying the scent of the sea, and it reminded him of their time together playing in the waves. She had been so happy then.
He closed his eyes and took a breath.
© Morgan Tonkin 2018