Bikini Beach and the Nerds - Date Rape Avenger


Bikini Beach: Nerds — Date Rape Avenger
ElrodW

When a friend of the nerds is date-raped, the nerds decide to help see that justice is done.

This tale is part of the continuing tale of the Nerds and their adventures with Bikini Beach. Earlier installments define the characters, which are very loosely based on Revenge of the Nerds. This is a necessary prequel for the the next in the series, Vicky's Tale.
Warning - this tale contains sexual assault and date rape. You have been warned.

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Bikini Beach: Nerds — Date Rape Avenger



This story is copyright by the author. It is protected by licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Vicky wiped her brow and glanced at the clock once more. It wasn't that hot outside, but inside the ticket booth, the sun gave no quarter. It beat mercilessly on the glass, turning the small booth into an oven. For security reasons, the door was shut, cutting the ventilation down to a barely perceptible breeze that managed to sneak through the cash and speaker openings in the window.

It was almost closing time, Vicky reminded herself. Sure, she could have turned on the air conditioner, but when it was only eighty degrees outside, Vicky thought it would be hard to justify to the boss. Ten more minutes. Then she could get back to the dorm and see what the party scene for the night was. Vicky figured she could cope with the hotbox for another ten minutes.

The sudden opening of the door caused the tiny breeze to stir into a whirlwind by comparison; cool air poured through the slots, washing over Vicky and evoking a loud sigh of relief as she basked in the cool air. Only after a few seconds of bliss did Vicky turn toward the door. She wasn't alarmed; only a few employees had the access code for the door's keypad, so it was very unlikely that it could be any danger to her.

"You know," the old woman said as she stepped into the booth, "you could turn on the air conditioning." She smiled at Vicky. "It's not like I've never spent time in booths; I know how hot it can get." She gently pulled Vicky out of her chair. "Now, it's close enough to quitting time, and it's a slow evening. So why don't you run along?"

Vicky smiled. "Thanks, boss." She bent over and pulled her purse out of an alcove. "I've still got a few minutes to wait for my ride."

The old woman smiled. "Rob will be here in a few seconds." She watched Vicky's surprise with amusement; there were advantages of magic use. "Oh, Melanie isn't coming. She got a date, and when she asked Rob ...." She got a wistful look. "Rob is such a nice boy." She sounded like a Jewish grandmother, giving Vicky a hint.

Almost on schedule, Rob's car turned the final corner and rolled slowly to the booth. Vicky stared for a moment at the car, and then she shook her head, smiling. "No matter how many times you do that, it's still kind of spooky." She stepped out of the booth but glanced back. "Yeah, Rob's nice. But boys just aren't ... interesting. Not to me." Her brow wrinkled with worry. "Are you sure ...?"

The old woman smiled. "Go. Have fun. Dance." She shooed the girl out of the booth. "Before I change my mind ...." Vicky grinned as she stepped around the booth and climbed into Rob's car. She smiled and waved as Rob eased the car into gear. A sudden frown appeared on the old woman's face. "Be careful!" she called out toward Vicky. And even as she spoke the words, she knew that Vicky couldn't hear her. She dropped her head, sighing heavily.

**********

Vicky smiled demurely at her dance partner as the booming music faded away. Around her, the motion of the pairs of people slowed, eventually halting, and some began to drift from the dance floor. She read the questioning look in her partner's face — was it Jeff or Jack? — and she shook her head, indicating that she really didn't want another dance. "Thanks," she said rather loudly; even though the music was at a lull, the Coconut Club was still a noisy place, and she had to talk loudly to be heard.

The guy nodded deferentially and walked away, leaving Vicky to go back to her table. Norma and Marta, co-workers and friends, had decided to come to the club with her, and they occupied a table waiting for her.

Vicky slid into her seat. "Well, aren't you going to dance some more with him?" Norma asked with a sly smile.

Vicky shrugged. "Later, maybe."

Norma grinned. "Well, he's got a friend," she said, suddenly increasing her volume as the music restarted. "I think I'll go see if his friend wants to dance." She got up from the table and sauntered across the floor.

Vicky watched her work; she brazenly walked up to the table with the two guys, and leaning over the table, exposing the maximum cleavage her dress would allow, began to talk to the guy. Within moments, she was holding his arm as they walked to the dance floor.

Marta shook her head. "I don't believe her," she said simply. "She's acting so...."

Vicky smiled and nodded. "Like she's getting used to it."

Marta shuddered visibly. "Maybe she is. I know _I'm_ not." Marta, like Norma, had until recently been guys. A very costly prank at Bikini Beach had cost them their.manhood. They owed the old woman thousands for damage they'd inadvertently caused to the park, and were working for her to pay it back. Until it was paid in full, they were stuck — as girls. Marta seemed genuinely shocked at how well Norma was adapting to being a girl. "It was nice of Rob to drop you off."

Vicky shrugged. "Yeah, I guess." She turned to watch the couples dancing, her head bobbing slightly to the beat of the music.

Marta grinned. "You know, I think he was hoping you'd invite him dancing or something."

Vicky's jaw dropped, and her head snapped around to stare at Marta. "What?" she demanded, her tone seemingly angry. Still, a hint of surprise, and possibly even delight, came through her mock distress. "He's not ... my type!" She turned back to the dance floor, as much to hide her mixed emotions from her friend.

Marta tilted back her head and laughed. "Methinks thou doth protest too much," she quoted.

Vicky turned again and shook her head. "Oh, I like him. He's nice." She smiled faintly. "But I'm not interested in him. Not romantically, anyway."

Marta laughed again. "Well, I think he's crazy about _you_! In fact, you make an impression on guys everywhere you go. Like the guy you were dancing with. Don't look now, but he's coming over."

Vicky's head started to turn, despite Marta's admonition. Before she could, though, Jeff Miller arrived and plopped on Norma's vacant chair. "Since our friends are out dancing, maybe we could share a table while we wait for them?"

Marta wrinkled her nose and frowned, an expression unseen to Jeff. "I've got a test to study for," she announced with all the distaste she could muster. She stood and grabbed her purse. "See you later, okay?" She turned and stomped out of the club, leaving Vicky stranded with Jeff.

Vicky wasn't enjoying Jeff's small-talk; the only thought in her mind was for Norma to get off the floor so they could leave. Jeff was a pompous, arrogant Alpha, a stereotypical example of that self-absorbed group of guys that plagued the university. He was smooth, sweet-talking Vicky, flattering her, and trying to convince her to go home with him. Her three gentle but firm rebuffs hadn't stopped his advances; if anything, they'd made him even more determined.

Vicky sighed with relief when Norma returned from the floor. Before Norma could even sit down, Vicky grabbed her elbow. "Ladies room," she whispered in Norma's ear.

Norma turned to her guy and smiled. "We'll be back," she said sweetly. It was obvious that she was enjoying the evening.

Nothing Vicky could say would convince Norma to leave. Not while there was dancing, anyway. And since Norma had driven, Vicky was stuck. Vicky started to wish she were with some of her room-mates friends, the Nu Rho Delta fraternity, or nerds. Like Rob. She didn't feel nervous around Rob, not like she felt around these two guys. But she couldn't convince Norma. After a long discussion, they returned to their table, where the guys were waiting with smiles.

Vicky sat down, while Norma took her guy's hand and led him back to the dance floor. As she watched, amazed at Norma's rather forward behavior, Vicky took a sip of her cola. She glanced at Jeff, and saw a curious smile on his face as he quickly looked out to the dance floor. Vicky took another sip as she began to wonder about Norma and Jeff and the other guy.

**********

Rays of sunlight stabbed Vicky's eyes, causing her to flinch, screwing her eyes more tightly closed and turn her head. For a few long seconds, she fought waking up, but eventually, she pulled herself to a sitting position, her eyes still closed. Then, ever so slowly, she opened her eyes, giving herself time to adjust to the light streaming through the blinds.

For several seconds, Vicky sat, rubbing her eyes, as if dumbfounded. Then she slowly opened her eyes again, and flinching from the pain of a severe headache, scanned her surroundings.

"Welcome back to the land of the living," a familiar voice called out.

Vicky turned, and decided that even that motion was too much. "Ooohhh," she moaned. "Oh, my head!" She sighed. "I don't remember coming home," she muttered.

Melanie Lewis, Vicky's roommate, sighed. "Can't help you on that one," she answered. "The Gammas had an all-night rush party. You were here when I got in this morning." She glanced up from her books. "You look like hell, too. Where was the party?"

Vicky started to take inventory. "Norma and I went dancing at the club," she replied softly and slowly. Every motion, every word, no matter how faint, seemed a new adventure in pain. "Funny, we weren't drinking," she observed softly.

Melanie bit her lip. "And you don't remember coming home?" she asked, suddenly sounding more than a bit worried.

Vicky started to look at herself. Her clothing was in disarray; she could tell, just from the feel, that her bra was missing, and her polo shirt was unbuttoned and not tucked in. Her skirt just didn't feel right. Though she couldn't see it, she strongly suspected that her hair was thoroughly mussed, and her makeup smudged badly. A slow, sinking feeling started to form in the pit of Vicky's stomach. "No," she answered. She lurched to her feet, and slowly paced down to the bathroom.

Mel turned back to her studies. It was only when she heard the door close again and Vicky slump against it that Mel turned.

What she saw frightened her. Vicky sank slowly down the door until she was sitting on the floor, her legs splayed open. Her skirt was crooked, and from the way she was sitting, it was obvious that she wasn't wearing any panties. She was trembling, as if fighting an impulse to cry. "I think I've been..." Vicky started to sob, unable to continue. "I think I was ..." she bit her lip, "... raped," she finally said, and the sobs gave way to tears.

**********

"I want those bastards to pay," Vicky hissed. "Pay big time."

Melanie shook her head. It was late, and they should have been studying, but they were sitting on their beds talking. Melanie knew, somehow, that Vicky needed to talk. "I know, Vicky," she soothed. "But it's not going to happen, you know."

Vicky glared at Mel, then her expression faded and she looked down. "I know. They cleaned me up, so there's no evidence. And no doubt the whole pack of rats would give him an alibi." Vicky shook her head sadly. "Maybe I should just put this behind me," she said softly, more to convince herself than Mel, "and get on with my life." She stared at her bedspread for several minutes, but then she looked up suddenly, her eyes alive with the passion of her emotions. "But I can't. Those ... animals ... raped me!"

Mel nodded. "But the Alphas are the Dean's and the Coach's pet fraternity. Even if there was evidence ... even if the Alphas didn't have alibis ... those two aren't going to take you seriously."

A knock at the door gave Melanie a welcome reprieve. It had been a long day. "Hi, Mel," Rob called cheerfully as she opened the door. "Is Vicky in?" It was clear to Melanie that Rob was smitten with Vicky.

"Shhh," Mel hissed, glancing sharply over her shoulder at Vicky. She pushed Rob into the hall and closed the door behind them. "She's had a rough day," Mel said softly. "We think she got raped last night by one of the Alphas."

Rob's eyes narrowed and his jaw clenched. "I don't understand?" he finally said. "You think?"

Mel dropped her gaze. "They didn't leave any physical evidence. And we think they used some kind of date rape drug on her." She sighed. "And we all know that the administration isn't going to do anything against the Alphas."

Rob exhaled heavily, a perfect metaphor for the frustration he felt whenever anyone mentioned the Alphas. He knew that Melanie was right. "So what can I do?" he finally asked.

Mel sighed. "Right now, she needs friends."

Rob nodded. Then his jaw clenched again, and Mel could tell that his mind was working feverishly. "And the best friend she could have would vindicate her."

**********

"Are you sure you know what you're doing?" Anya's question was simple and to the point.

Rob clenched his jaw. "Nope. But that's never stopped me before."

Anya shook her head. "You know this could be dangerous."

Rob nodded slowly. "But someone has to stop those bastards."

Melanie shook her head. "Don't waste your breath, Anya. I can't talk him out of it, either."

Anya glanced at Rob, then at Melanie, then back to Rob. Slowly, she handed him a pass. "It's for two days. You'll need the extra day if anything happens. You wouldn’t want to change ... in the middle of ...." She let the sentence hang, unnecessarily. They all knew what Rob was up to.

Rob glanced at the card, and then nodded. "Okay." He squared his shoulders and marched to the gate, to where he would swipe his card, shower, and become...bait.

**********

The girl sat, smiling, enjoying the attention. Guys were coming out of the woodwork to talk to her, to ask her to dance. She smiled coyly, turning them down. And then one guy came over. She positively grinned at him, and then nodded as he suggested they dance. She joined him on the floor, smiling happily as they danced. Still, there was something behind her eyes, something wary, cautious, predatory. Like she was the one doing the hunting, and the guy had fallen into _her_ trap. They danced, sat at her table and talked, and danced some more. It was becoming clear that she was not interested in the same thing he was, namely to get her back to his place. Still, he kept making his moves, trying to pressure the girl into sleeping with him, despite her steady and firm rejections. And as the night wore on, his seeming desperation changed, became a devious confidence, a dangerous cunning of its own.

**********

Mel held Rob's tightly, letting Rob sob from frustration on her shoulder. Rob was ... female. Still, totally, completely female, thanks to the magic of Bikini Beach. Stunningly curvy, with a figure most women would die for, he'd picked his form carefully, designed to maximize his appeal. Every single detail was chosen for maximum appeal, from the wavy shoulder-length auburn hair to his supermodel features, from his tall athletic build to the sexy contralto voice. Everything. He was a perfect lure. And apparently, it had worked. "I don't get it," Rob cursed angrily. "I didn’t' touch anything! Nothing!"

Mel nodded, holding the girl tightly. "Are you sure they gave you something?"

Rob nodded, sitting back from Mel's comforting hug. "I don't remember anything. We were dancing, and then the memories fade off. After that...nothing. Just waking up this morning with a hangover."

Mel sighed. "And you're sure something happened?" She was grasping at straws here. "You could have just fallen asleep. Or...."

Rob shook his head vigorously, ignoring his swirling tresses. "No. They did me. I'm sore. Really sore." He looked away, embarrassed. Even though Melanie had until recently been Paul, a fraternity brother and male friend. "And you saw how I looked. No underwear, clothes messed up. Makeup messed up." He shook his head. "You can't convince me that I wasn't screwed. And against my will." His use of coarse language was a clear indication of the distress he felt.

Mel stared for a few seconds, then nodded slowly. "Okay, so what did they use? Rohypnol? Ketamine? GHB"?"

Rob looked thoughtfully at the wall for a moment, but then he shook his head. "Not likely. That stuff has been pretty hard to get around here since the Feds and the state ran that sting. And I had Pete run a titer against it."

Mel nodded. Pete, a member of the fraternity, was a budding biochemist, a genius in fact. "If Pete says no, then that's it."

Rob nodded slowly. "He's over in the chemistry labs now, trying to see if he can come up with anything."

"Hi, Mel," Vicky called even as she swung the door open. Her voice betrayed a sadness, a melancholy that had pervaded her very being for the past week — ever since the incident. She stepped through the door, but then stopped cold. "Uh, hi," she said, not recognizing the new girl with her roommate.

"Hi, Vicky," Mel stammered. "I didn't expect you back for a while." She glanced over her shoulder at Rob nervously. "This is my cousin, Theresa Shultz."

Vicky stared evenly at Rob. "Hi, Theresa."

Rob felt the awkwardness of the situation; he knew he had to act, and quickly. "Vicky, maybe you can help me. I'm trying to talk Mel into spending the rest of the day, uh, out having some fun. She said you work at some kind of water park. Is it any good?"

Vicky glanced at Mel, and her caution fell away. "Yeah, I think so. But then again," she flashed a smile, "I work there, so I'm paid to say that it's a nice park."

Rob glanced at Mel, and then smiled at Vicky. "Well, I think we should go spend the afternoon there - where we don't have to think about things like classes." He looked pleadingly at Vicky. "What do you think? You want to come with us?"

**********

Vicky's mood had lightened considerably by the time the sun was setting. The trio had spend the day frolicking, seeing if they couldn't ride every single ride by closing time. They raced on Pele's Race, rode the group tubes, slid down the speed slides, and bobbed in the wave pools. They floated around Old Man River, swung on the tire swings at the Swimmin' Hole, and even ate their dinner on the verandas overlooking the river. Rob felt the fatigue clear to his bones by the time the loudspeakers announced closing. They changed, and Mel drove them all back to the dorms.

Vicky was about to go into her room when she turned suddenly and gave Rob a hug. "I needed a day like that," she said. "Thanks, Rob."

Rob stiffened, and his jaw dropped. "How...how did you know?"

Vicky smiled and shrugged. "Somehow, I just knew." She opened the door, but then turned again. "Thanks. That was a sweet thing to do." She let the door close behind her, leaving Mel and Rob in the hall.

"Cousin!" Rob hissed. "What a lame excuse!"

Mel glowered at him. "Well, you certainly weren't acting very much like a girl!" she spat back. Then she got a broad grin. "But she did say you were sweet."

**********

Weariness was written all over Rob's pretty female face — fatigue from the day of fun and play at Bikini Beach, and emotion-sopping tiredness from not having any answers. Bert and Brandon, his roommates, were studiously ignoring him, absorbed as they were in their seemingly perpetual chess game.

"No joy?" Chuck asked from the door, staring in at Rob.

Rob shook his head. It spoke wonders that his being a girl for a couple of days was causing no stir in their fraternity house; most of the guys had experience Bikini Beach in one way or another, and thus Rob's current state was no surprise. "Nothing. They slipped me something, so I’ve got no evidence."

Pete's small, round pink face peeked around Chuck. "Rob? I got it."

Rob's head perked up. "What?" He didn't want to believe what his ears had told him.

The kid grinned. "I got it. It's a variant of Rhopynol, around a different base. Actually, it should be faster acting. But the formulation is different enough that the standard tests didn't catch it."

Rob smiled and vented a sigh of relief. "At least I wasn't imagining that part." Then he noticed Pete’s face. “And...?”

Pete gulped. “This stuff isn’t too pure. It’s base is...well, it looks like it’s home-cooked. In fact,” he glanced at Brandon, and then continued, “it’s pretty dangerous stuff.”

Rob frowned. “Dangerous...how?” His senses were alert; they had given him some of the drug, and this news was not good.

“It looks like they were in a rush; the distillate wasn’t completely washed from the solution. It’s pretty heavily laced with the initial solvents.” He glanced at Brandon again, his forehead wrinkled with worry. “It’s...well, the solvent is a pretty potent...it can cause some severe neurological damage.”

Brandon glanced at his roommate, Rob. “Is he okay?”

Pete nodded quickly. “Oh, yeah. I’ve figured out what the concentration was, based on an estimate of kidney extraction and liver metabolization. Which, by the way, is damned slow. Very, very slow. It’s going to take a couple of weeks for your body to get all the traces out of your system.” He looked confident. “Anyhow, the dose you got wasn’t too large. But a larger dose? Or a repeated dose before your body eliminated it?” He shook his head.

"But how did they get it to you?" Brandon was curious enough to glance up from the board.

Rob shook his head. "I don't know. And that's the frustrating part! I was being careful about that!" He sighed again. "Now I know what they used, I can watch for it. But if I try again, and we haven't figured out how, then it'll be a bust again!" He ignored the leering stares at his very curvy chest, the jokes at his admittedly poor choice of words. "Knock it off, guys!" he protested, slapping at Bert's hand making groping gestures toward his bosom.

"Sorry," Brandon said for the group. "So I guess we're stuck?"

Rob bit his lip. "No, I'm going to see this one through. We're going to nail that bastard." His eyes narrowed. "And here's what we're going to do."

Brandon touched his arm. “Rob, you heard what Pete said. You can’t risk it.”

Rob’s eyes narrowed. “So what do we do? Sit back and wait until someone does get hurt?” He shook his head. “I’m not going to let those bastards kill someone because I wimped out!”

Bert put his hand on Rob’s shoulder. “I think you’re taking this one a bit personally,” he said with a grimace.

Rob spun, his nostrils flaring, his eyes focused like laser beams. “Damned right, I am!” he snarled. “You know what those guys did to me? And to Vicky?” He shook his head. “It ends.”

Brandon stared at Rob for several long seconds, and then he nodded slowly. “Okay, we’re in, too, I guess.” He glanced around, and saw the other guys nodding their agreement.

**********

The old woman was waiting at the ticket booth; it was nearly closing time for the park, and as he parked the car, Rob gave a sigh of relief. "That was close," he said as he stepped to the ticket window.

The old woman smiled. "Actually, I was going to close about ten minutes ago. But I knew you were running late."

Rob smiled and shook his head. "You and Anya," he muttered. "I can't fool either one of you." He looked up. "So you know what I'm going to do?"

The old woman smiled. "Yes, and I must say I admire your tenacity. Anya warned you that this could get dangerous."

Rob nodded his acknowledgement. "But I've got to do it."

The old woman smiled. "I know. Now, you're going to need a different look. They may be dumb, but even the Alphas would probably get suspicious if you had the same appearance." Rob started; he hadn't considered that angle. The old woman smiled again. "And you can go two ways with this. First, you can go after the rape itself, which may be difficult to prove. Also, if you go that way, you may have to change a few times for testimony to the DA, the indictment, the trial, and so on. It can be done, but it could get messy."

Rob looked crestfallen. "I didn't think of that," he admitted.

The old woman grinned. "I didn't think so. So you can go the other way. Go after this on possession of a controlled substance."

Rob smiled as her words sank home. "The standard of proof is lower..."

"...so getting a conviction, or at least a plea bargain, would be a piece of cake. And the dean couldn't ignore this one." Her tone went deadly serious. "How sure are you about the compound Pete found?"

Rob grimaced. "Pretty sure," he lied. "It's a natural substance, and it should preferentially bind with the date rape drug."

"Should is no guarantee," she said cautiously. "You know that this is going to take a three day pass? With the testimony and police reports and report to the dean?" She saw from Rob's face that he hadn't contemplated being changed this long. She also saw that this new data point hadn't changed his mind. "And you know that there is a possibility that, with the extra time, you could become pregnant — if you’re not careful? If that happens, you'll be stuck like as a woman forever?"

Rob closed his eyes for a brief moment, and a rough shudder coursed up his spine. "I’ll have to get some precautions, then. Okay, let's do it," he answered with grim determination. He reached up and took the card from the old woman.

**********

Rob, going by the name Julie to match his feminine body, looked nervous, even through her smile. Like the previous week, she was in a dynamite body — D-cups, narrow waist, nicely flared hips, tall and lithe, with very blonde and very wavy locks trailing off her shoulders down her back. Full pouty lips, enhanced with her red lipstick, soft brown eyes, perfect complexion accentuated by a light tan — Rob had gone all out for sex appeal. And it didn’t stop with the physique of the body; she wore a clingy red dress, with a scoop neck to emphasize her cleavage and a hem that ended inches above her knees. High-heeled pumps gave back a couple of inches that Rob had lost to her five foot five body.

The effect was plain to see. It seemed that every guy in the club wanted to chat, to get her to dance. Still, she waited, deferring politely but firmly, and she watched. And then one guy came up. A momentary terrified look flickered across Rob’s features, but it passed, leaving a sexy, smiling, happy girl. There was something about this guy; as soon as he approached, the other guys left her alone, as if he had declared the girl to be his property, and had the clout to back his claim. “I’m Julie,” Rob introduced herself shyly, evoking a charming smile from the guy. “Jeff,” he replied easily as he slid into the vacant chair across the table from her.

After a couple of dances, Rob excused herself. Inside the ladies' room, she took a small vial from her purse and, after a reflective pause, gulped the contents. She wrinkled her nose at the bitter taste it left, and for a few moments, she thought it might make her retch. But it stayed down, and after letting the taste fade a bit, she strode back to the table, taking care to paste on her happy carefree smile.

As the evening wore on, Rob danced with Jeff, sat at the table and shared drinks, and chatted. The talking was the worst part for Rob; he intended to give the full impression of an airhead, a friendly sort of girl out for a good time. Rob saw cunning in Jeff’s eyes, and she knew that if Jeff suspected that Rob was playing a game, that he could turn into a dangerous opponent. And so he struggled, fighting his instincts and normal behaviors to remain the ‘ditzy blond’ that Jeff wanted to conquer. And so Rob force herself to talk about the other girls, their clothes, how some looked and acted stuck up, and a myriad of other topics that she thought a girl would talk about. And while it appeared that Jeff was hanging on her every word, Rob realized to her satisfaction that Jeff was merely play-acting, that he really didn’t care what Rob said as long as he could get his chance.

Around midnight, Rob noticed something else. Jeff was starting to act nervous, like something was wrong. Rob had been extremely careful up to that point — never leaving a drink alone, getting a new drink after every trip to the bathroom or dance. Now she realized what she’d inadvertently done. Jeff was nervous because he was missing his chance. She hadn’t given him any opportunity to slip her the drug. And Jeff’s nervousness — was he getting ready to give up on her? Or something worse? Rob gulped and realized she had to give Jeff his chance.

She excused herself with a smile and a slight giggle, and then went to the bathroom, deliberately leaving a half glass of soda on the table. Even though she didn’t really have to pee, she waited in the girl’s room, taking time to freshen her makeup and comb her hair. Finally, she emerged, and after suppressing a shudder of fear, pasted on her dizzy smile and sauntered back to the table.

Jeff’s demeanor was changed. The nervousness was gone. In its place was the look of a hunter, a predator. He smiled, trying to look pleasant, as Rob tilted her glass to take a drink. But Rob saw through his smile — he was now dangerous to her.

Within a few minutes, Rob let herself be helped from the chair and guided out of the club. She stumbled a bit, leaning heavily on Jeff’s arm as he led her to the parking lot.

As if on cue, a van screeched to a halt beside them. The door slid open, and four rough hands grasped her and pulled her inside. Jeff quickly clambered in, and the door slid to a close even as the van lurched and accelerated quickly from the club.

**********

Across the parking lot, four guys sat quietly in a dark car, one of them wearing a headphone and listening with visible concentration.

“Anything?”

Chuck shook his head, scowling. “No. No signal from Rob. But something is interfering with the signal; it’s kind of jumbled.”

In the front seat, Bert scanned a monitor. “Signal strength is okay. Same direction, same distance.” He looked up. “Rob’s still inside the club.”

Brandon felt like smacking the steering wheel. “Damn. What’s taking him so long?”

**********

Rob let herself be led inside the cheap motel room. She let her lead loll around a bit, taking in her surroundings surreptitiously, trying to hide just how alert she was from the guys. The motel was at best a one-star affair, one story and with peeling paint, a gaudy neon sign with half the tubes burned out, the other half flashing alternately as they tried to call attention to this tiny establishment, tucked as it was off a side road of the not-very-busy business loop freeway. Progress had long since bypassed this part of town, and the fact that this motel hung on was a tribute to its ability to adapt by renting rooms hourly, satisfying the demand of the merchants of flesh operating in the area.

Even as one guy closed the door and flipped on the light, Rob felt rough hands groping her chest, feeling up her curvy boobs. Again, her head flopped, and she counted eight guys. Already, they guys were roughly stripping her, ungently removing her dress. Hands clasped at her thighs, tugging at her panties, rubbing her coarsely in her crotch. She allowed her mind to grasp all these facts, to mentally observe as the guys unzipped her dress and tore her bra off, freeing her boobs. In a strange detached manner, Rob noted as the guys pressed her to the bed and then fought briefly among themselves. As she expected, Jeff, the hunter, took her first, mounting her roughly, pumping almost violently as he took care of his own passion first and last, caring not one whit for her body. To these guys, Rob realized, she was just a cunt, an object to be sexually taken.

As the third guy mounted her, Rob felt fingers tugging in her hair, twisting her head. She allowed herself to be manipulated without fighting, but she couldn’t stop the whimper of shock as a large erect dick was shoved in her face, toward her mouth.

“What the hell?” The guy’s voice was concerned, expressing a sudden concern which shoved aside his carnal needs.

Rob let her head roll, and saw from the corner of her eye. His dick still pointing toward her, the guy scowled down at her, concern etched on his face. And then, without warning, he slapped her hard.

Rob screamed, reaching instinctively for the stinging cheek, and even as she cried, she knew what she’d done. The guys knew. They couldn’t help but know. She wasn’t drugged.

The guys leaped back as if stung. Except for the one currently screwing her, all the guys huddled, staring warily at her. Rob couldn’t make out everything, but some words came across. “Didn’t it take?” “Did she get it?” The voices lowered. “What do we do now?” Mumbling took over, and Rob knew the guys were discussing her fate, her future. She was no longer an innocent victim; she was a real threat.

Rob felt a real shudder of terror; in this body, she was small and weak, unable to fight if these guys decided to get rough. And based on what they’d done so far, she realized with a chill that these guys might be capable of anything — including disposing of an inconvenient witness.

Hundreds of images, none of them particularly pleasant, raced through Rob’s mind, adding to her terror. She was nothing to these guys, and if she didn’t think of something fast ....

Rob turned, and reaching up with her arms, she encircled the neck of the guy currently on her. She pulled him down even as she lifted her head, her lips parted in a sexy pant. Roughly, she kissed him, her instinct for survival forcing aside any thoughts she might have had about the propriety of what she was doing. As she kissed him passionately, she began to pump her hips, accepting his thrusts and matching them.

After he came, and disengaged himself, she propped herself on the bed, licking her lips in a sexy gesture, wiggling with mock passion. “Like, don’t tell me you guys are all done?” she asked in as sexy a voice as she could muster. She ran her fingers through her hair, pushing aside the tangle from her face. And her fright increased to a bone-chilling terror. Her fingers brushing across her ear delivered potentially fatal news. Her earring was missing. The bug, the tiny electronic listening device, her lifeline to the guys, was missing. It was gone, absent from her ear lobe.

She glanced back, and saw the panic of the guys starting to abate. She spread her legs, knowing with sickening certainty that her ability to act like a sex-starved bimbo was her only hope of living. “I need it, like, really bad,” she pouted. “I really, really want it ...”

One guy took her up on her invitation. In seconds, she was being screwed yet again, pumped, used as a sex toy by the eight horny Alphas. And as she accepted him, another knelt by her face. Rob’s mind cried in shame as she let the erect dick slip between her lips.

**********

“I don’t like it,” Brandon finally said, punctuating the silence of the car. The parking lot was nearly empty, and still the signal showed that Rob was inside the club. “I’m going in.” Before any of the guys could stop him, he lurched from the car and stalked toward the doors.

It was late enough that Brandon didn’t have to pay a cover charge. He stormed into the main club, where the bright lights and loud music momentarily stunned him. As he stood, his eyes searching the remaining guests, he felt someone brush his side. He turned, and was relieved to see Bert with his small electronics box.

Both guys turned back to the crowd, searching and scanning the faces. “I don’t see her,” Bert yelled over the music.

“Me neither,” Brandon shouted. “Maybe in the bathroom?”

Bert glanced at his box, and examined the indicators. “Nope. She’s over there.” He pointed to a row of booths, mostly empty by now.

The two nerds walked directly across the dance floor, dodging around the few remaining dancers. Bert stopped at an empty booth. He waved around his box, searching for the strongest signal, trying to locate the strongest source. Then he bent forward, and after a quick prod in the cushions, he pulled an earring and held it up for Brandon to see.

“Shit!” Brandon cursed aloud, echoing the sinking feeling he knew Bert had.

**********

Rob let herself be led out of the motel. She was stiff and sore; these guys had done her over and over, vaginally, orally, and anally. As she climbed into the van, she forced a smile to her face. “Like, thanks for the great time,” she said, trying hard to sound like she was both satisfied and ditzy. A couple of the guys grinned at her, while Jeff and another of the Alphas glanced at her, then at each other, their faces etched with worry.

She knew she wasn’t out of the woods yet. These guys could still change their minds. “Are we, like, going back to the house to party some more?” she asked, trying to sound eager for more sex.

Jeff’s eyes narrowed, ignoring her distraction of rubbing his crotch. “How do you know ... uh, what makes you think we’re Alphas?”

Rob giggled. “Silly! Like every girl knows the Alphas.” She rubbed Jeff’s crotch more insistently. “And most girls want to, like, get to know you better,” she added, cooing. “Like me.” Her voice was dripping with what Rob hoped was sex appeal. “Except for those stuck up bitches in the Eta sorority.” Trembling, she knew she had to complete her role. Without the bug, there was no way the guys could find her, and thus no way to make any kind of drug charge stick. It was a whole new game, and it all rested on her now.

“Bitches,” one of the guys snarled, echoing Rob’s view of the Etas.

“Like, I’d like to see those cunts get what I just got,” she cooed. “I’d love to see them try to, like call me a whore after getting screwed all night!”

The guys perked up visibly, and Rob knew she’d struck a nerve. Now the question was — did these guys want to prove something by conquering the Etas, or were they going to defend the sorority. “There’s an idea,” Jeff sneered. He reached down and unzipped his pants, freeing his member, and then he placed Rob’s hand directly on it.

Rob giggled as she began to stroke Jeff’s manhood. “I wish I could, like get my hands on some Roofies or Special K,” she said absently as she rubbed Jeff. “It’d be, like so easy to slip it to them.” She giggled again, and then started to lean toward Jeff’s crotch. Do or die time. Either they’d take the bait, or they wouldn’t.

Jeff caught her head as she was about to start sucking him. “Could you really get something to them?” He sounded eager.

Rob felt his heart steady. He was taking the bait. She glanced up and giggled. “Sure. I mean, like my cousin is a member, it would be so easy to get in. I mean, like she asks me to help them set up for their parties and stuff all the time.” Rob feigned a scowl. “I think she likes bossing me around, you know. Like she’s so much better than I am!” Rob giggled again. “And it wouldn’t even matter if I was there. Like, that stuff doesn’t work on me, you know.”

Jeff grinned a vicious, evil grin, and then he pushed Rob’s head back into his lap. As she took Jeff’s member in her mouth, he laughed. “Guys, I’m getting a plan.”

**********

Rob glanced over her shoulder, trying to look casual, and slipped into the dressing room. Even before she could hang the dress on the hook, she collapsed on the bench, every muscle in her body trembling with fear. Sobs wracked her body, shaking her to her very soul, as she convulsed, as if her body were desperately trying to shake off the terror of the past twelve hours. Her mind whirled in a jumble of images, some real, some imagined, as she contemplated what she’d done, and how very real was the danger she’d put herself in.

After nearly half an hour, an attendant knocked on the door. Rob wiped her eyes, and with a final shudder, she pulled herself to her feet. She assured the sales clerk that she was fine, and then she remembered what she was there for. She carefully put on the dress and walked slowly, carefully out to the mirrors. She whirled and turned, eyeing the fit of the dress carefully. Or so it seemed. The mirror gave her a perfect means to check. She knew, she’d seen, that after the Alphas had dropped her off at the mall, one of them followed her. Perhaps they didn’t trust her completely. Or perhaps it was a coincidence. In either case, Rob wasn’t about to take any chances. She ducked into the first shop she found, and made a show of examining the dresses, searching for outfits, oohing and ahhhing over the fabric or the style or the color. Finally, she collected a dress and ducked into the changing room.

And now, the mirror showed that the coast was clear. The guy was gone. Whether coincidence or not, she felt a final shiver of relief. Then she borrowed the store’s phone — persuading the clerk by buying a dress. She called the house, and after a very brief and cryptic conversation, she hung up, smiled at the clerk, and rummaged in her purse.

Her purse! What a mess they’d made. Rob shuddered yet again. These guys — they weren’t stupid. Not at all. And that made them doubly dangerous. While she’d been occupied pleasuring some of them, Jeff had thoroughly and methodically searched her purse, tearing through it. Rob knew what Jeff was doing — he was searching for bugs or wires. Her sole remaining earring and her tube of lipstick had been smashed. Jeff had clumsily claimed it was an accident, that they’d spilled her purse and in a scramble to gather her stuff, they’d stepped on a couple of things. His apology was as transparent as his soul was black.

**********

Rob strode confidently into the food court, and after buying a salad, she scanned the crowd. The guys stood out, easily recognizable, and she walked over, easing herself into a chair as she set down her salad.

The look on Brandon’s face said it all. “What the hell happened?”

Rob felt his knees turn to jelly. “I ... lost my earring,” he began. “And then they took me to a motel.”

Brandon’s eyes narrowed. “Are you okay?”

Rob felt herself trembling again. “It’s a long story.” She looked down and stabbed some of her salad. “They found out the drug didn’t work.”

Bert blanched, as did Brandon. They stared at Rob, speechless. “So all that was for ... nothing?”

Rob ate a few bites in silence, chewing to hide her anger and fear. Finally she looked up, a grim determination on her features. “No. It can’t be. It’s got to stop.” She glanced around the table, to Bert, to Brandon, and to Chuck.

Chuck finally nodded his understanding. Rob had been humiliated by those guys. Twice. It was personal to him now. “Okay, so how do we stop them?”

Rob glanced around the food court, and then leaned forward. “I think I got them convinced to try the Eta house. Here’s the plan.”

**********

Perhaps the Alphas were nervous about using the Coconut Club twice in a row, or perhaps they didn’t fully trust Rob. In either case, when Rob showed up at the Coconut Club, she was given a message to go to the Beach House.

Before she got to the door, Jeff intercepted Rob. Again, the van materialized, and she was hustled inside.

“Hi,” she said cheerfully, sounding all too pleased to see them. She glanced around, and saw the expressions. The guys were wary of her, and it showed. “Damn, like I thought we were going to have some fun, not go to a morgue!” she complained.

“We got to blindfold her, man,” the driver reminded Jeff.

Jeff glanced at him, and then he nodded. Rob felt a stab of fear as the guys slipped a blindfold over her eyes, shutting out the light — and her awareness of what was happening. She fought the impending sense of terror, and tried to sound innocent and dingy. “Okay, but like I can think of a lot more fun ways to distract me.” She leaned toward where she thought Jeff was, trying to rub her body against his. Inwardly, she felt wave after wave of panic crash against her. Had they found out? Did they suspect something? Were these their normal precautions, or were they going to dispose of her?

“Sorry,” Jeff said, sounding disappointed. “Our contact has some rather strict rules.”

The van ride was long, and judging from the way the van lurched around corners, it was tortuously convoluted. If the guys were trying to spot a tail or shake off pursuers, they couldn’t have done a better job. Again, Rob was reminded of how dangerous these guys were — and what she’d gotten herself into.

**********

The knocking was clearly a code, and a primitive one at that, Rob realized. But it was answered, and then she was shoved through the door. As the door slammed shut, she felt someone fumbling at her head, and then dim light stabbed her eyes. She rubbed them, and then looked around cautiously.

The house was fit only for condemnation and destruction. Cracked plaster hung from the walls, leaving ugly gaping holes. The paint was long-since faded, and the floor was in as bad, or worse, shape than the walls and ceiling. A single dim bulb glared nakedly from a tiny fixture in the ceiling, shedding barely enough light to reach the corners of the room.

And the smell! A horrible, sickly chemical smell permeated the air, like a chemistry lab without ventilation. Rob felt her stomach convulse, and she fought the instinct to retch at the awful smell.

Through a small door lay the kitchen, only partially visible to Rob. A table, low and as decrepit as the rest of the house, squatted in view, its top covered with tubing and flasks and jars. A burner, connected by a tube to a gas supply elsewhere, flamed away, boiling a foul black mixture in one flask, cooking who-knows-what kind of drug. Rob suppressed her shiver. This was far deeper than she’d intended to get. This wasn’t distribution or possession. She was in the supply part of the drug chain. And she’d heard all the tales about how ruthless the drug business was.

“So this is the bimbo you told me about, huh?” Rob snapped her attention back to the room, and spied a large thuggish man staring at her. He wore a tank top, proudly displaying his powerful arms and the garish tattoos. His head was bald, shaven clean, which made a powerful contrast to his reddish-brown mustache and goatee. His sneer, an intimidating, angry expression, revealed one gold crown, and a jagged scar on his left cheek attested to a brutality that exceeded what Rob had imagined.

Jeff stepped forward, almost meekly. Even he was intimidated by the brute before them. “She’s going to help us with a big party...”

“I don’t give a shit!” the brute snarled. “She clean?”

Jeff glanced at Rob, then nodded. “We checked her out. She’s clean.”

“How much?” The thug’s question was directed at Jeff, even though he was sneering lustfully at Rob.

“Uh, thirty-five or forty drinks?” He, too, was glancing at Rob, but he was trying to get information about how much to buy.

Rob trembled inwardly; outwardly, she screwed up her face as if trying hard to think. “Uh, yeah. About that.”

Jeff smiled at her, and then turned to the dealer. “Let’s go for fifty. Just to be sure.”

The dealer nodded slowly, then he bit his lower lip. Finally, after a few moments of thought, he grinned wickedly. “Four hundred bucks.”

Jeff’s jaw dropped. “Four hundred?”

The guy shrugged. “Take it or leave it.” Then he glanced at Rob and grinned again. “Or two hundred and the girl.”

Terror gripped Rob. Now she was being treated like disposable property. That’s all she was to the thug - an object to be traded in a drug deal. She reflexively backed up a half step, and bumped into one of the Alphas. Sheer terror was etched on her features.

Jeff glanced at her, and then he looked back at the dealer. “She’s not for sale. She’s mine.” He glanced at Rob, and the lust in his eyes was plain to see. “Besides, without her, we can’t do the job.”

The dealer scowled. He glanced at Rob once more, and she could see just how much he desired her. Then he frowned at Jeff. “Okay, three fifty.”

Rob watched in shocked disbelief as Jeff pulled out several large bills and handed them to the thug. In response, he stalked into the kitchen, his lab, and returned with a vial of crudely pressed tablets, his drug supply.

“Appreciate it,” Jeff said, trying to sound nonchalant, as the group turned to the door.

“Thanks for the business.” But then the thug snarled. “Next time, come alone.”

Rob could see the tremble in Jeff; despite all his bravado and air of dominance, he was as scared of the dealer as Rob was.

As they got into the van, Rob started to vent a sigh of relief. Only a little more to go. Then it would all be over.

**********

Rob sat on the hard bench, staring morosely at the cell bars. Beside her, a hooker sat, patiently examining her nails and snapping her bubble gum as she waited for her pimp to make her bail. Rob took a deep breath, and tried to sort out all the details. It had happened so fast.

As the van pulled away from the dealer’s house, they were suddenly surrounded by police cars. Even as they were forcibly dragged from the van and spread against the cars, more cars and a SWAT van swooped into the neighborhood. With practiced precision, the cops leaped from their vehicles and crouched behind them, their weapons ready. A few cops vanished, obviously taking sniper positions, while the rest of the SWAT team prepared. Then with a sudden rush, they smashed through the door into the drug dealer’s house.

From within the house, gunshots rang out. Two, three, then a burst of automatic fire. And within seconds, the drug dealer was stretched on the driveway, blood seeping from wounds in his leg as they waited for the ambulance. A cop had been hit, and in the aftermath, he and his buddies poked and pried at the bulletproof vest that had saved his life. Drug-sniffing dogs pored over the house, and crime-scene yellow tape quickly cordoned off the house.

The detectives had been thorough, and professional. Rob’s statement was taken, and then they put her in the cell. Even now, reflecting on the events in slow motion, Rob was amazed at how quickly the entire bust had gone down.

And now she sat, waiting while the detectives checked her story. It was Rob’s plan that had enabled them to break up a major drug ring; the guy was a major supplier of methamphetamines and a host of other drugs. But she was a suspect. Then a new worry came to Rob. Sometime around midnight, the Bikini Beach magic was going to wear off. And then she’d be Rob, a guy in the women’s cell at the jail. And that was going to take some serious explaining.

**********

The clinking of the keys stirred Rob from her deep funk. She turned, and saw the door open and the policewoman gesturing to her. “Come on. A friend is arranging your bail.”

Rob frowned; the guys didn’t know she was down here. Did they? And surely her bail was going to be enormous — given the seriousness of the drug charges. Still, there was little to do. She slowly rose and followed the policewoman.

Inside the captain’s office, the old woman was sitting, chatting pleasantly with the captain. The policewoman gestured at a chair, and then closed the door behind her as she left.

“Are you okay?” the old woman asked Rob, her demeanor changing instantly to reflect her concern for Rob’s well-being.

Rob shivered involuntarily. “I’m scared,” she admitted.

“I imagine you are, dear,” the old woman said warmly.

The captain watched the exchange with a neutral expression. “Okay, now that the greetings are over, would you mind explaining this rather...strange request?”

The old woman smiled. “Look, Al, you got your guys. You got one of the biggest rings in the area. This little girl didn’t do anything wrong — except maybe to not include you in her plans at the start.”

The captain frowned. “But...I can’t just let her go,” he protested.

The old woman smiled again. “Al, you know how I work. She was caught up trying to stop a fraternity using a date rape drug. It went way beyond that. You got your drug dealer. I got the girl back safely. Let’s leave it at that, okay?”

The captain shook his head. “According to one of the guys, she’s an accomplice.”

The old woman sighed sadly. “Look, if it weren’t for her — and her friends — you’d still have a dealer out there. With her help, you’ve got an air-tight case. And not just against some college punks for possession, but against their supplier!” She sighed again. “Look, Al, in a few hours, their supposed accomplice isn’t going to exist.”

The police captain paused visibly, and then he turned to Rob. He stared at her, and she realized he knew. She dropped her head, suddenly ashamed that she was a guy who’d been changed to a girl. He turned back to the old woman. “Okay,” he finally said, gruffly. “You can go.”

The old woman stood, and took Rob’s arm, helping her to her feet. “Thanks, Al,” the old woman said pleasantly. She started toward the door with Rob. From the open door, she glanced over her shoulder. “I owe you one.”

The police captain scowled. “Damned right, you do.”

**********

Rob lay on her bed, her blanket tucked tightly under her chin. Though it was late, and the lights were out, her eyes were wide open. She trembled slightly, nervously, as the implications of what she had done came back with a rush, a flood of terrifying possibilities that Rob had been able to bury under his obsession with vengeance. Well, now the vengeance part was over, and the horrifying possibilities hit him like a thunderclap.

“You okay, Rob?” Brandon, from his bunk.

Rob sighed. “Yeah.” Then she started shaking badly. Tears started flowing, torrents of liquid pouring from her eyes. She sobbed, shaking with fear, unable to control herself any longer.

Brandon leaped from his bunk, and sat down beside Rob. Instinctively, he pulled her head onto his shoulder. For a long time, Rob cried, thinking nothing odd of crying on his best friend’s shoulder. The fact that Rob was really a guy, temporarily in a girl’s body, was irrelevant to the friends. Finally, Rob’s body stopped convulsing. She sat back from Brandon, wiping tears from her eyes.

“I’m scared,” Rob finally said. “I got...I could be...” She couldn’t finish her sentence, so horrible was the thought. And she didn’t have to. Brandon knew, and he understood. Rob had been multiply raped, forced to perform countless acts of sex. And now she could easily be pregnant. She’d gotten only one dose of birth control before the weekend spun out of control and took away his planned access to the pills. The old woman had warned Rob, and now she had to wait those last painful moments. She _hoped_ that the one pill was enough. In a few minutes, the spell would wear off, and Rob’s fears would be laid to rest. Or a whole new nightmare would begin.

The two sat silently. Words weren’t necessary. Finally, Brandon spoke, his words soft and hopeful. “I think it’s happening.”

The magical transformation, so often a source of wonder and fun for the guys, was now Rob’s lifeline. And as the magic began to unweave, the spell expired and broken, Rob’s body began to shift.

Within a minute or two, it was over. Rob was back to being Rob. The male Rob. His nightmare had passed.

**********

Rob glanced around awkwardly. The note he’d gotten was cryptic — meet me at the burger shop. No signature, no hint of the author. And so, curious, he went, but not without a little nervousness. The events of the past four days had rattled him thoroughly, scaring him more than he’d ever though possible. Last night, he’d awakened in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, his pajamas drenched in perspiration. The nightmare. His dream crossed that confusing line where it's hard to tell what's a dream and what's real, where the dream contained a dream, layer upon layer of illusions within the mind. In his dream, he was sleeping and dreaming about changing back. He dreamed that he'd awakened to find that he hadn't changed back — that the change was an illusion, and that he was stuck as the girl — and pregnant - and servicing a long line of Alphas. When he finally broke out of the complex web of dreams within dreams, he was thoroughly confused and frightened. It took him a long time to calm himself to the point he could sleep again.

“Hi.”

Rob snapped back to reality. He’d let his mind wander, and completely missed her approach. “Oh, hi. I was...uh...daydreaming.”

Vicky smiled as she eased herself into the empty chair. “Right,” she said, sounding a bit skeptical.

“You wrote the note?” Rob asked warily.

Vicky nodded, and then frowned. “You sound like you were expecting someone else.”

Rob trembled, and he knew that Vicky had seen it. “No. It’s just, well, with everything that happened, I’m just a bit nervous. Scared, actually.”

Vicky smiled. “I can understand that. You heard the news? The Alphas are on suspension, and some of their members were arrested on drug possession charges. Date rape drug.”

Rob felt another shiver, and then he nodded. “Yeah, I heard. Even the dean couldn’t protect them this time.”

Vicky reached out and gently touched Rob’s hand. “I just wanted to say thank you.” Rob’s eyes narrowed, and his mouth started to open in protest. Vicky placed her finger across his lips. “Melanie told me what you did, so don’t try to act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.”

Rob dropped his gaze, his face reddening with embarrassment. “I ....”

Vicky cut him off. “I know what you went through. It had to be worse for you. I wasn’t really conscious like you were.” She waited for Rob to glance at her again. “Why?” she asked simply.

Rob took a deep breath. “I don’t know,” he mumbled. “I couldn’t let those guys get away with what they were doing.”

Vicky waited. “Is that the only reason?”

Rob caught her eye, and then dropped his gaze yet again. “No. I think ... well ... I think you stole a piece of my heart. I couldn’t stand the thought of them doing something to you and getting away with it.”

Vicky’s eyes fell, and tears started to form in the corners. “Rob ...” she started to protest.

Rob saw her reaction, and his heart fell. It had taken everything for him to admit that he was smitten with her. And now .... His face fell, his hopes shattered.

Vicky looked up, seeing the pained expression. “No, Rob. Please. You’re so sweet, and so caring.” She waited until he looked at her again. “It’s just that ... I don’t deserve ...." She dropped her gaze.

Rob could see that her body was shaking; she was either very nervous, or crying. He reached out his hand, resting it on hers, trying to reassure her.

Vicky's head snapped up, and Rob's suspicion about tears was confirmed. She snatched her hand from under Rob's, and then started to rise hastily, awkwardly. "I'm sorry," she muttered, averting her gaze from him, as if she were afraid to look in his eyes.

Rob slowly retracted his hand, stunned and embarrassed. His mouth opened to speak, but words wouldn't come out. He sat in awkward silence as Vicky scrambled from the table, her pace quickening as she bolted for the door.

Rob sighed heavily, his heart weighing a ton or more. It had taken all his courage to tell Vicky how he felt. And this was his reward — she ran away. He'd frightened her. He dropped his head, catching it in his hand, his elbow propped on the table. He felt his eyes stinging, echoing the pain in his heart.

Rob felt a hand lightly touching his shoulder, startling him. He glanced up, wondering who might have been able to sneak up on him like this. His fear-filled eyes softened when he recognized Anya.

"Hi, Rob," she said simply.

"Hi," Rob answered, sounding as dejected as he felt. His head drooped again, weighed down by his sadness.

Anya slid into the seat Vicky had just vacated. "I know that was hard," she said softly.

Rob looked up, then back down. It just didn't seem right for Anya to see the tears trickling from his eyes. "I don't understand," he said softly.

Anya clasped his hand. "Hey, listen up Rob." She waited for him to look up at her. "You're a very special guy. Not many guys would do what you did for Vicky."

Rob lowered his eyes. "So why is it that whenever I'm nice and sweet, the girls always leave me? Why is it that I always end up alone and hurt?" Rob knew he could confide in Anya; she was the kind of girl that made a wonderful friend.

Anya smiled sadly. "Some girls never learn. You treat them nice, special, and they go for the guys who dump all over them. And you wonder if you shouldn't start being nasty, too. Right?"

Rob's jaw dropped; she'd read him like a book. A spark of wisdom lit Anya's eyes. "Somewhere out there is a girl who will appreciate you for you, who will be tickled by being treated like a queen, and who won't take advantage of you. She's out there. The hard part is being patient enough to wait for her."

Rob stared into her eyes for a long time, absorbing what she'd said. He dropped his gaze again. "It's so hard. I thought Vicky ... I guess I hoped she'd appreciate me."

Anya waited for Rob to look up again. "I know how you feel about her. But right now, she's hurting inside. More than you can possibly imagine."

Rob nodded. "The rape..."

Anya shook her head. "It's more than the rape. Much more."

Rob looked bewildered. "What?"

Anya dropped her eyes. "I can't tell you," she answered softly. "If she wants you to know, it's her place to tell you." She watched the sadness creep into Rob's eyes. "All I can say is that you scare her right now." She watched Rob's reaction, the sudden shock. "Yes, you scare her. Because I don't think she knows how to deal with her feelings."

Rob shook his head, fighting back tears of frustration. "So what can I do? Leave her alone? Forget her? Try to find somebody else?" He shook his head more emphatically. "I don't want to find someone else. I ... I fell in love with her."

Slowly, Anya nodded her agreement. She knew — she could feel Rob's emotions. "Give her time. Give her space so she doesn't feel crowded. And most of all, be a friend."

FIN



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