The envelope was worn and crinkled in my hand. Clearly it had been opened countless times before now. I began to wonder how many times my mom had reread what she wrote. Then I pulled out the paper inside and began to read. The paper was tear stained and some of the words were faded.
The night of the attack was August 18th, 1990. I was currently in college and dating Theo Mendoza. It was a Friday night and it was 2 days before his birthday. I was cooking dinner at my dorm room for Theo because he was going to be gone over the weekend to play football out of state. I had everything ready and he had come over. He had asked me to sleep with him for his birthday, but I didn't want to. I told him that I was saving myself for marriage and he said okay. So when we had finished eating dinner, I handed him a present. I had bought him some expensive cleats that he had wanted for a long time. When he opened the box he was excited, but then he was angry. He became mad and said that it was his twentieth birthday...that he deserved sex. I told him no and he became angry. He jumped and me and I kicked him in the balls and ran to my room to phone the police, but when I reached the phone he grabbed me and threw me onto my bed. He ripped my clothes and beat me until I couldn't fight back anymore. Then he raped me. When I woke up, I was in the hospital with my roommate. She had found me alone and naked with multiple bruises and wounds.
I folded the paper up and tried not to cry. I began to wonder if I really wanted to meet my dad. If he was one to lose his temper easily, then what would happen if he became angry with me? Would he beat me too? I began to cry. My mom had gone through so much pain. I had been conceived that night by force. I was unplanned and possibly unwanted. That thought slightly hurt and awed me. My mom had decided to keep me. I was wanted. Turning off my radio, I dialed Seth automatically.
"Audrey? Hey, what's up?" he asked, fumbling with something.
"I...I found out who my dad is...I...can I stay the night with you? Please? I'm scared...I don't know what to do. Everything is so confusing and this wasn't how things were supposed to happen," I sobbed, writing a note to my mother.
"Yeah, of course! Hang on..." he stated, talking to someone.
I began packing my bag and getting ready to leave. The shock of all this was still getting to me.
"Audrey? Brice is on his way to come pick you up. He says I have to stay here and wait for the pizza," explained Seth, tossing keys. "Just wait outside for him."
"Okay," I replied, heading out into the living room.
We hung up and I tip-toed quietly to the living room. My mom was asleep on the couch and snoring lightly. I laid the note on the ottoman by her head and went to the front door. Grabbing my key, I went outside and locked the door. The sky had gotten dark quickly. As I stood there in the cold, I watched as a butterfly fluttered in the grass. I pulled a sweater out of my bag and put it on. Then I gently nudged the butterfly on my hand and held it up to my eye level. It was dying. The poor little insect was so beautiful and now it was dying. I bet that was what my mom had felt like. Beautiful on the outside to others, but dying on the inside because of what Theo had done to her. I set the butterfly on the ground just as it stopped fluttering. Brice pulled up and waved for me to get in.
"What happened?" he asked, taking off.
"I'll explain when we get to your house," I whispered, feeling the tears go down my face.
He looked over at me and then back at the road. Normally, Brice was a dick, but what he did next made me rethink that. He pulled me to him and hugged me while he drove.
"Thank you," I whispered, pressing my face to his shoulder.
"No problem," he replied, speeding up.
We reached his house at record time. When we got there he parked in the drive way and walked up with me to the door, carrying my bag. As soon as we got in the house, the smell of pizza overwhelmed me. Brice rushed me into the living room and brought me straight to Seth.
I plopped down next to Seth and began to sob. They listened quietly as I explained everything that had happened. Seth was holding me and Brice's face looked shocked.
"It's okay, Audrey. Everything's gonna be okay," stated Seth, rubbing my back.
"Look, I can understand that you're scared, but I still think that you should meet your dad. If you talked to him, maybe he'd realized what you and your mom are going through," replied Brice, handing me a slice of pizza. "If you want, I can drive you to where he is."
"We can't go, we have school," replied Seth, glaring at him.
"No we don't. It's Christmas break on Monday," snapped Brice, wiping a tear from my cheek. "Audrey. Audrey, look at me. Where does he live?"
"Newport Beach. She didn't give me an address, but I know his last name. It's Mendoza. Theo Mendoza," I replied, taking a bite of pizza.
"That's a day and a half drive!" yelled Seth, exasperated.
I looked up at him. "Please?"
He stared into my eyes and then sighed. "Okay. We'll take you."
I smiled and thanked them both. As soon as Brice left to go find Theo on the computer, Seth spoke up.
"I'm not sure this is a good idea. He's a rapist, Audrey. What if he tries to hurt you?"
"I'll have you and Brice to protect me."
He stared at me. "I don't want to make any promises. I don't know if I can always be there, Audrey. You know how I get. Sometimes I won't be able to talk to you because I'll be high."
"Don't bring weed."
He sighed and held his head in his hands. "I have too."
"No you don't. Please don't bring it."
He didn't answer. He just sat in silence holding his head.
"Please, Seth. I need you one hundred percent."
He didn't look at me. "Fine, I'll leave it."
I pulled his head up to look at me. "Thank you."
He smiled and hugged me. Tomorrow we were going to leave and my mom would be left behind. I called her cell phone, knowing that it would be off, and left a message. I let her know what was going on and that we would probably be gone for a while. She would be worried and she would cry, but I let her know that I loved her and that she was my everything too. Then I fell asleep on the couch with Seth. My dreams were empty. Tomorrow would be the start of something new and slightly scary.