Venus Cursed! - Chapter 67

Venus_Cursed_4.jpgby Saless
Chapter 67

"What the hell is that?!" Sarah exclaimed angrily after a long moment gazing in shock at Jill's painting.

"This is the memory you've been hiding from." Jill replied. "It's time you stopped hiding."

Sarah shook her head violently and jabbed her finger at the painting. "That is no memory of mine! My mother would never do something like that!" Sarah yelled angrily.

Erica was looking in shock from the painting to Sarah and back again. "You didn't say anything about how you were dressed." Erica said softly.

"Huh?" Sarah said, looking in confusion at Erica.

"Sarah, you're wearing your mother's dress!" Mike exclaimed. He never would have imagined seeing something like that, but the details were too perfect to not be accurate.

"It's just a picture Jill drew, it doesn't mean anything!" Sarah replied stubbornly. "Why would I be wearing my mother's dress? It's ridiculous!"

Jill went to put a hand on Sarah's shoulder but she shrugged it off. Jill sighed and said, "Sarah, I don't know why you were wearing that, but you were. I don't know why your mother was treating you like that, but she did. This is your memory, as you remember it. I didn't embellish anything. I made this as accurate as I could."

Sarah snorted, "Yeah, right!"

"Sarah!" Erica said softly, "she's telling you the truth. That's the memory I got from you! Please stop denying it. I promise you that it doesn't change anything for me. I love you for who you are! I don't care if you cross dressed, or if your mother was a monster, or anything else!"

"But…but…" Sarah stammered, looking around her in a panic.

"Look, Sarah, what Erica said goes for all of us. We're not going to hold anything against you. You're our friend! You've been my best friend for years and I'm not about to turn my back on you now!" Mike said earnestly.

"That's right! We're family, remember? We love you no matter what!" Jill added.

Sarah laughed at that with a tinge of hysteria to her voice. "Family doesn't love no matter what! They only love if you're what they want you to be!" she yelled. A lone tear rand down her cheek.

Erica shook her head, "No! That's your parents! Real family will accept you and love you for who you are, like we do! If your parents couldn't do that, that's their loss!" Vash purred and butted his head against Sarah's hand to emphasize Erica's point.

"But…" Sarah tried to protest, but her voice was getting weaker and more tears were following the first.

"But nothing! You're a wonderful person, who happens to have been mistreated by the woman who should have loved you the most. That's not your fault! Your mother is the one with the problem, not you!" Erica said.

The tears poured down in earnest now, and Sarah hiccupped as she said, "Bbbut…I'm a freak! And he…he tried to…to rape me…just like she said! She was right! And…and they'll kill me!" She tried to say more after that, but her hiccupping and sobbing turned it into an indecipherable jumble. Erica pulled her close and held her for a long time, much longer than it took for the tears to stop.

"You're not a freak, you're a beautiful person! I love you so much, please don't put yourself down like that, okay?" she murmured into Sarah's hair.

"Sarah…I'm really sorry." Mike said sadly. "I should have realized."

"Huh?" Sarah asked weakly, still in Erica's arms.

"Your dad, he said the kids at school were beating you up all the time. For some reason, I never really thought about why you got into so few fights after I met you. But he was lying, wasn't he?" Mike said.

"He said that?" Sarah asked, confused. Mike nodded. "Why would he say that?"

"I…I think he was covering for your mom, or himself. When he realized that I was keeping the other kids from hurting you he realized it couldn't go on anymore without being discovered. That's why it stopped happening. Right?" Mike replied.

"What stopped happening?" Sarah asked with a confused look.

Jill sighed, "Oh Sarah, Vash and I have known your father beat you for a while now. I know that memory isn't as well repressed as the other one was!"

"WHAT?!" Erica yelled angrily, rounding on Jill. "You've known something like that and didn't tell me?!"

Jill winced but held her ground. "Yes, I did. Mostly because I didn't want you or Mike going after him." she replied as evenly as she could.

"Mike?!" Erica said, confused.

"That's right, he didn't know either." Jill said.

Erica looked over at Mike and noticed he was looking rather red and seemed to be grinding his teeth. "That was probably a good idea." he rasped, clenching his fists. Erica was startled to see his right hand had shifted into a claw that looked like his first dragon form's claws, except for the size.

"Are you okay Mike?" Jill asked worriedly.

Mike took several deep breaths and forced himself to relax. His hand returned to normal and he sighed, "Yeah, I'm okay now. It's just…he acted so happy that I was watching out for Sarah, and all along he was the one doing all the damage!"

Erica put her hand on Mike's arm and smiled weakly at him. "You were just a kid yourself, Mike, don't beat yourself up. Save that for Sarah's dad!" she said. Even she wasn't sure if she was joking or not about beating up Sarah's father.

Mike smiled weakly back, the smile crumbling quickly as tears streaked down his face. Erica felt a little uncomfortable with this, as she wasn't used to seeing men show their emotions so openly. She wasn't totally surprised, though, as Sarah had said he never held back when he was amongst friends. When she thought of that she actually felt honored that Mike trusted her that much.

Jill hugged him to her and he cried on her shoulder. His obvious empathy for Sarah was more than she could handle and she ended up crying on Erica's shoulder again. By the time they'd composed themselves Jill and Erica had shed quite a few tears as well.

Sarah looked around at her friends, all with red, puffy eyes and tear stains on their cheeks and said, "We're all a right mess, aren't we?" They all looked around as Sarah had and soon they were all laughing. The laughter went on for a long time.

"So…" Jill gasped, trying to get her breath back, "do you believe us now?"

Sarah shifted uneasily and glanced at her friends. "I don't understand." she said softly.

"What don't you understand honey?" Erica asked.

Sarah smiled wanly at Erica and said, "Why are you guys still here? Mom was right, I'm just a freak and don't deserve friends like you."

Erica pulled Sarah to her chest and held her. "You're not a freak, Sarah, you never were. We're here because we love you. Your Mom was wrong." Erica said lovingly.

"Would you tell us what your mother said?" Jill asked. "What happened?"

Sarah burrowed into Erica's arms, but nodded. She began speaking in a very small voice and the others had to lean in to hear her. "Obviously, she caught me wearing her clothes. She had never even raised her voice to me before that, but she was screaming at me the moment she saw me. I backed away until I ran into the wall. Somewhere along the line I picked up Jaime, but I don't remember doing it. I was holding her against my chest when Mom suddenly grabbed me by the throat and lifted me up. I dropped Jaime and thought I was going to die. Mom said, "You're not a girl! I don't want to ever see you in my clothes again! If I ever see this again I'll have your father treat you like a girl and see how you like that, you freak!" She didn't say it outright, but I knew what she meant. And it happened, just like she said it would…" Sarah trailed off as a new bout of tears shook her. Erica rocked her back and forth and whispered encouragement in her ear.

Mike looked helplessly at Jill and she held his hand in hers. Don't blame yourself. You had no way of knowing. Jill told him.

But, I was at her house dozens, even hundreds of times! How could I have missed everything that was going on? Mike protested.

From what you've said it all ended soon after you met her, and because of you no less! You may not have known what was going on, but you made the situation better just by being her friend! Jill replied.

Mike snorted, Some friend I was! My best friend was in so much pain all this time and I never even had a clue!

You've been a wonderful friend, Mike, don't blame yourself! This is all my fault! Sarah thought sadly.

To Be Continued…

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This story is 1523 words long.