She didn't turn her head as she felt the mattress shift underneath her from the weight of another person. If Jill had come to apologize to her, forget it! She wasn't going to get away with it this time.


Gary? It had to be Gary. He was the only one who called her Trace instead of Tracy, as was her name. It had always made her feel special somehow.

"Come on Trace, what's wrong?" Gary's large hands nudged her sides, as if debating whether to start tickling her or not, but then he changed his mind and put his hand on her lower back instead.

"It's Jill," Tracy mumbled into the pillow.

"You and her fighting again?" She nodded. "What is it this time?"

She turned her head slightly and looked at him. It was so obvious why they were fighting, why they were always fighting. Tracy had never kept it a secret from Jill that she had a crush on Gary despite the age difference between them.

Gary was twenty-seven and she was thirteen. She knew the crush would lead to anything, which was why she didn't understand Jill's fear against the crush. Jill had warned her never to tell Gary that she did have a crush on him although she wouldn't explain why. She just closed her eyes and shook her head before she turned away or changed the subject. It was why they were always fighting. If Tracy didn't know Jill any better, she would say it was because her friend had a crush on him herself, but she never seemed to care about him. In fact, whenever he was around, she kept her distance from him and hardly said a word in his direction. It sometimes worried Tracy, but she thought nothing of it as Gary lavished her with praise and flattery.

"What?" he asked, his gray eyes widening slightly as if he was trying to read her mind and preen it for answers.

"I have a crush on you," Tracy said, feeling angry enough with Jill to defy her for the first time in all their friendship. "Jill doesn't think it's right, but I know it won't last long, so I don't see her problem."

"You have a crush on me?" Gary asked and his eyes twinkled as his mouth turned up in the corners in a smile. Tracy nodded.

"That's why Jill and I are..."

She didn't get a chance to finish her sentence as Gary drug her into his arms and kissed her. His hands clasped her sides near her waist and would not release her even as she tried to pull away. This was wrong!

"Gary! Stop!" she cried and shoved him off her.

He released her suddenly, as if she had slapped him, his face aghast. She trembled with shock. Was this why Jill hadn't wanted her to tell Gary she liked him?

"But... you said you have a crush on me."

"But I am not going to act on it!" she said.

"Why not?"

"There's a ten year difference between us!" Tracy cried growing scared.


"That's disgusting!"

He looked confused for a moment as he pondered how to take this information, and then he grew angry, which Tracy had never seen him before. His gray eyes smoldered with anger as he frowned at her.

"So you're just going to act like a little tramp around me, and then when I show interest in you, you're going to turn me away?" he asked.

"What?" Tracy asked, confused. Gary stood up and glared at her.

"You have been acting like a little tramp every time I am around, Tracy. You wear your jeans tight enough an old man with blinding vision couldn't miss what you have underneath." Tracy stared at him in horror. "When you and your little bitch of a friend run around under that sprinkler outside, you wear that little string bikini just so you can shake what you have under my face. Whenever I am over and you are getting ready for bed, you wear an oversized tee shirt I gave you with nothing underneath, so I won't miss looking down it to see what you're hiding."

Tracy stared at him in horror. Was he really suggesting that she was flaunting herself just for his sake? Was he really suggesting she was a slut?

"How dare you?" she snapped at him when he took a breath and looked like he was about to continue.

"How dare me? How dare you?" he snarled and looked like he was about to reach out and grab her, but she slapped him and scrambled off her bed and out the room.

"Get out!" she screamed. "Get out! Get out! Get out!"

Gary glared at her where she stood, shaking, holding the door open for him. She glared right back, looking him in the eye defiantly.

"How dare you accuse me of such things, Gary. I called you a friend, and I yelled at my best friend because I thought her warnings were without meaning. Now I know better. Get out, and don't come back."

"You'll be sorry, Tracy, you and that little bitch."

"That 'little bitch' happens to be more of a friend than you will ever be," Tracy snapped and pointed out the door. Her neighbors were watching what was going on, curious and confused, as all neighbors were.

Gary left, and Tracy shut and locked the door behind him, checking the back door to make sure it was locked as well. Her parents had keys. They'd be able to get in when they returned.

She sat down and called Jill on her cell phone.

"Jill, I'm so sorry. Can you forgive me?"

"Of course I can, Tracy! What's wrong?"

"You were right about Gary. He's a creep."

"Oh my God, Tracy! He didn't do anything did he?" Jill asked, and Tracy could hear the worry in her voice, knew it was real.

"No, he didn't try anything," Tracy lied and then felt that was bad, so decided to tell her the truth. "He kissed me, Jill, and then called me a tramp when I told him no."

"He's not there anymore, is he?"

"No." She was silent for a moment, listening to her friend breathe out in relief.

"Jill?" she asked after a while. "May I ask how you knew about Gary?"

For several minutes, Jill didn't answer, and Tracy chewed on her lip as she tried to figure out if she was going to answer or not.

Finally, Jill took a deep breath and said, "Because, Tracy, two years ago, Gary raped me."