Janice's Secret (PG-13)

I was fifteen and in the tenth grade when Janice moved to town and enrolled in my grade at Hillsboro High School. She was very pretty and the guys at the lunch table quickly determined that she had the nicest breasts of any of the girls in our class and

her hips were well rounded too.

But Janice was a quiet and shy kid who never made eye contact. She seemed sad and moody and I felt sorry for her even as I was attracted to her from the start. Unfortunately, she quickly developed a reputation of being anti-social, unapproachable and no fun and it wasn't long before she was a shunned new kid that not many paid attention to.

I wasn't exactly Mr. Personality myself but for some reason I felt sorry for the kid and I wanted to befriend her in some way and get to know her so I started talking to her in earnest. She gave me the cold shoulder at first and it took me a long time – months of constant interaction, saying hello, sitting next to her at assemblies and other activities – before she finally started to give me the time of day.

By spring, Janice actually started talking to me like she trusted me. A lot of kids at school said she was weird and even psycho – that she had been seen leaving classrooms in tears, that she was out sick a lot, and that she wasn't a very personable person but I thought she was nice and I liked getting to know her. I heard all sorts of rumors – that she had been in rehab and even the mental health unit – but I wasn't sure what to believe.

I had never had a serious girlfriend before so the first time I actually "went out" with a girl was with Janice when I invited her to Johnny C's after school one day. I was surprised yet flattered when she said okay.

We held hands while walking to the diner and when we were done with our chocolate shakes I walked her home and I was surprised when I found out where she lived – not far from the trailer park, in a dumpy old house down by the river.

It was not the kind of neighborhood my mother would want me hanging around. I once played Pop Warner football with a kid named Tony who lived in that area and my mother got mad at me when she found out I had ridden my bike to his house.

"That's not a nice neighborhood," My mother warned. "You have Tony come here. You don't go there."

I didn't mention where Janice lived to my mother for obvious reasons.

Janice and I started sitting together at lunch (the guys called me a turncoat), we hung out at Johnny C's Diner frequently, and we started going to the movies together every Friday night.

Janice was the first girl I went to a movie with alone – before that, it was always groups of kids going together. "Safety in numbers!" was always my mother's mantra.

My mother insisted that she meet this new girl that had struck my fancy and so Janice came for dinner one night – wearing a conservative dress, no make up, and her hair plain. She was polite, well-mannered, sweet, friendly, and helpful and my mother immediately fell for her almost as easily as I had!

"My mother likes you," I told Janice when I walked her home after dinner.

"I don't know why," Janice sighed.

"Well, why wouldn't she?" I asked with surprise.

"Your mom thinks you're dating the girl next door, right?" Janice remarked.

"Right," I agreed. Then I looked at her. "Aren't you the girl next door?" I wondered.

She shrugged. "I don't think so," she admitted.

I wasn't quite sure what to make of that.

It was Friday night and we were at the movies and I found the courage to put my arm around Janice's shoulder but I could feel her tense up immediately so I backed off and I didn't say anything even though I felt kind of hurt by her apparent rejection. The next time we went to the movies I didn't try to put my arm around her but I kept staring at her shoulder and down the front of her low cut sun dress. I was desperate to feel the cushiony swell of her breast knowing that was what kids our age were supposed to do but because Janice showed no interest in such activity I didn't pursue any potential groping in the darkness of the movie theatre.

I just wanted Janice to want me. And like me. And want to be with me. I was thankful for our hand-holding when we walked home from school together and even in the movies a few times but I wondered if we would ever take to the next level. I wasn't experienced in this department and Janice seemed resistant to any sort of physical contact so I wasn't sure where that left us as far as a potential relationship went.

After the movies one night, my father picked us up and took us to Janice's house. I knew he was surprised when Janice rattled off the address and the neighborhood had an even more ominous look to it at night as we approached. I wanted very badly to kiss Janice goodnight but I couldn't with my father watching not that I would have even had we been alone anyway given our history so far.

Janice gave me a bold smile when we reached her front steps. "Good night, Grady," she said sincerely. "I enjoyed the movie. I hope you ask me again."

"I'm sure I will," I replied, unsure what else to say or do so I nodded goodnight and returned to the car.

"Does you mother know she lives down here?" My father asked.

"No," I admitted nervously.

Thankfully, my father didn't say anything in response. I'm sure my mom had already given him the seal of approval so what was he going to say anyway? Hey, Bev, Janice lives in the swamps!'

One afternoon after school, I walked Janice home. We held hands and talked all the way and I realized just how much I enjoyed being in her company. She was an interesting and intriguing girl. As we approached her house, Janice looked at the area across the street at an undeveloped heavily wooded area and she asked me what was in those woods.

"Well, the Blue River isn't all that far from here so there are a couple of brooks and creeks in there," I said. "I think there's a pretty good swimming hole close by. I remember going there a few times with a kid who used to live around here."

She got an interested expression on her face. "Will you take me to the swimming hole and show it to me?"

The thought of getting her in the woods alone intrigued me. "Sure," I agreed.

The path into the woods was just a little ways further and crossing over to the other side of the street we walked into the woods. After about a quarter mile we came to the creek and we followed it for about another quarter mile until we came to the place that I remembered swimming with Tony Olson before he moved away. It was a wide place in the stream and the water was crystal clear and about three feet deep. One creek bank had a large oak tree with a natural lawn of short green grass under it. It was really a beautiful spot for swimming.

Janice was amazed. "Oh, Grady, this is really nice. I can't believe its just a little ways from my house and I didn't know about it."

We walked down to the creek and looked at the water. It was a warm May afternoon, warm enough to take a dip if we really wanted to.

Janice gave my hand a squeeze. "I want to go swimming," she announced as if she had read my mind.

I was completely dumbfounded. "But we don't have suits." I stated the obvious, dumbly.

Janice grinned, that twinkle back in her eyes. "I don't think suits are needed here." She rubbed her hand across my chest. "I won't tell if you won't," she whispered.

I was practically inarticulate with excitement. After months of strange awkwardness between us with little to no physical interaction here Janice was willing to take all her clothes off and get naked right in front of me? I had never seen a naked girl and I felt hot and trembling all over at the thought that I was finally going to get the chance.

"I won't tell a soul," I finally managed to respond.

She smiled, her dimples showing prettily. "Good!"

She reached for the top button of her blouse and undid it. "Last one in is a homo," she said, continuing with her buttons.

My hands were shaking so hard that I had difficulty with my buttons. Finally, though, I got my shirt off and I sat down and took off my shoes. Standing again, I started to undo my jeans but my hands went into slow motion just fumbling with the buttons of my fly.

Janice was standing there in front of me in just her bra and panties and she was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. Seeing her like that made me so excited that

I could hardly breathe. She reached behind her and unhooked her bra and then shrugged it off into her hands, baring her breasts completely.

"Holy Cow!" I managed to say in a strangled voice.

Janice didn't say anything as she put her hands on the top of her panties and pushing them down over her hips.

As she pushed them down, her pubic hair came into sight and then the vee of her

crotch with its little crease showing through the blonde hairs covering it. After she stepped out of her panties, she moved a hand down to the top of her pubic hair. "Come on, slowpoke," she urged.

I wasn't sure what to do. Should I really get naked in front of a girl? I realized I was probably being unfair considering she was already naked so I quickly peeled off my clothes and my prick stuck out in front of me more rigid and hard than any other time I could remember.

Janice's eyes went wide and she was looking right at my throbbing prick before she turned toward the water. "Come on, Grady. Let's swim."

With her back turned to me, I had an unobstructed view of her ass. Even though Janice's ass was the very first one I ever saw I knew it would be the most perfect one I would probably ever see. It was firm and tight and soft and squirmy all at the same time.

I quickly got my feet out of my jeans and I joined Janice in the water. She splashed water on me and I made a grab for her. Wrapping my arms around her, I pulled

her in close, so close that her nipples brushed across my chest and my prick bumped up against her stomach but she pushed me away as if I was poison.

"Just swimming," she said bluntly.

Once again, I felt hurt and rejected. Was she teasing me? Playing with me? Torturing me? I wanted to touch her. Feel her. Be with her. Kiss her. Her lips were so pretty and inviting that I was desperate to taste them. I had been plain horny before but now I was inflamed with lust for the unbelievable girl swimming naked in front of me.

Janice gave me a look that was both shocked and confused. She swam away quickly and I wondered if she could read my thoughts. She seemed afraid and timid all of a sudden.

I really didn't want to swim but I didn't want to come across as a horny brute either so I swam with her around the quaint little swimming hole. There wasn't a whole lot of room to maneuver and we kept bumping into each other like two fish in an aquarium.

After a while, Janice walked out of the water and up the bank to the grassy area where she stretched out, her face looking up to the sky as if I wasn't even there. I followed her out of the water and I lay down next to her but she didn't even acknowledge my presence.

I ached to touch that body so close to me, to touch her in the places that were now naked before me. I hardly knew where to start but I hungered to see her lying still as she was and just examine her in detail and note every feature of her revealed femininity. I sat up next to her and silently feasted my eyes on the glory of her nudity.

Seeing my first naked girl was exciting and being able to do so with a girl as pretty as Janice made it so much better. I saw how her calves went into her knees and then flared out into full thighs that rounded out and then dipped into the small

circumference of her waist. Her breasts were full and they were topped with round circles of slightly darker skin. In the center of each circle, her little nipples rose stiff and erect.

"You can look but you can't touch," she whispered.

"What?" I groaned, almost wanting to cry as my penis flinched. "What do you mean?"

"I can't have sex with you," she whispered.

She spread her legs apart and let me look down there. I felt little goose bumps spread across my body and she quivered. My breath was held in anticipation of finally realizing I was seeing something magical and special. I let my breath out slowly and I looked into her eyes once I was done examining her womanhood.

"Grady, I want you to know that you are real special to me," she said in a soft voice.

"Oh, Janice!" I muttered.

The excitement of seeing my first nude girl had me so aroused that I was just seconds away from exploding.

"I'm sorry, Grady," she said.

"What?" I asked. "Why are you sorry?"

"Because this is it," she revealed sadly. "We can't go any further than this. Looking, seeing, but no touching."

"How come?" I sighed.

She put her hand over her mouth. "Because I just can't," she let me know.

I sat up and looked at her. "This isn't your first time being naked with a guy, is it?" I deduced, for some reason sensing there was something big she wasn't telling me.

Janice shook her head. "No, it isn't my first time," she mumbled.

"When was your first time?" I asked with concern.

"With my brother," she whispered.

"You got naked with your brother?"

She nodded affirmatively.

"You mean just skinny dipping, right?" I swallowed hard.

"He took care of me."

"What do you mean took care of you?" I asked with confusion hoping she wasn't trying to tell me what I didn't want to hear.

"Don't make me say it, Grady," she said quietly.

She quickly stood and went to her clothes.

"Where is he now?" I asked, standing and following her.

"They call it a special school," she said.

"You mean a pervert place," I said, more angrily than I meant to. I was surprised I figured it out so quickly.

Tears were in Janice's eyes as she quietly dressed. I dressed too as my mind flashed with all sorts of images and scenarios.

"This was a mistake," Janice told me painfully. "I never should have done this."

"I'm glad we did," I said not wanting the most wonderful moment in my life turn suddenly ugly.

"You don't want to be with a girl like me, Grady," Janice warned. "I'm damaged goods. I'm screwed up. Messed up in the head. Just leave me alone."

She ran up the path and disappeared before I could say anything.

Janice was absent from school the next few days and I felt awful. After the third day of her absence, I walked to her house after school. I had never been inside the place before.

The front steps were old and rotten and the porch blanks groaned as I walked across them. The front door was open and a screen door hung loosely on its hinges. I knocked on the door but nobody answered. I opened the squeaky door and stuck my head inside. It was dark and grungy.

"Janice?" I hollered. "Janice, are you here?"

"Go away!" I heard a muffled voice from down the hall.

I let myself into the house and walked across the faded carpet. The furniture was old and sparse and nothing hung from the walls. I found my way down a dusky hall to a bedroom at the end with its door ajar.

"Janice?" I asked tentatively, sticking my head into the door.

"What are you doing here?" She demanded.

"I came to see you," I said quietly.

"Why?" She wanted to know.

I finally figured out that she was lying underneath a mound of covers on her bed. There was a ratty looking dresser and a night stand and nothing else in the room. Clothes were piled in boxes and spread around the floor.

"I missed you," I said as I stepped into the room. "I wanted to make sure you were okay."

"Do I look like I'm okay?" She said sarcastically.

I sat on the edge of the bed and looked at her. "Do you want to talk about it?"

I saw the top of her head pop out from under the covers and her squinting eyes glare at me. Minutes seemed to pass before another word was spoken.

"I never thought I would do this," she sighed.

"Do what?"

"I don't like to talk about what happened," she said softly. "I really have no-one to talk to."

"You can talk to me," I said gently.

"If I had been stronger then nothing would have happened," Janice told me. "It's all my fault."

"What's all your fault?"

"Being molested by my brother," she whispered.

"Why is it your fault?" I asked.

"Because I didn't stop him," she answered. "I basically gave him full access to me whenever he wanted. I would let him touch me and play with me. I hated it. I wanted to throw up. He would come to my room in the middle of the night." Her voice broke with a sob but I didn't anything although my hand found her foot under the covers and I squeezed it.

"He molested me for years," Janice continued. "When I was thirteen he decided that I needed to know how to have sex so he took my virginity one night. How could I have been so stupid? He raped me that night and told me that he could have me anytime he wanted. I knew this was true and I thought I was going to die that night it hurt so bad. He continued to rape me whenever he wanted."

"I'm sorry." My head was spinning and my stomach hurt.

"Our father died years ago, so it's just us and my poor mother," Janice told me. "She works hard and barely makes ends meet. She drinks too much and she has a hard life. How could I tell her what her son did to me?"

I chewed on my lip and I felt dizzy. I had no idea what I was supposed to say. You hear about this sort of stuff sometimes but you never think you're going to have to deal with it.

"When I was fourteen I met a wonderful guy, Tim," Janice said. "He was a true friend. He finally asked me one night what was wrong. I told him about my brother and he never talked to me again."

"Is that what you thought was going to happen with me?" I asked quietly.

She nodded her head. "But you came back," she said with surprise.

"I never left," I assured her and I saw her eyes water up.

"I thought about killing myself so my brother couldn't hurt me anymore," Janice revealed. "He had started to rape me anally so that I wouldn't get pregnant. I thought the pain before was bad but it was nothing compared to being raped anally. One night he came into my room and he was going to rape me again. I had hid a knife and I told him if he came near me I would use it. I had been feeling very powerless before then but once I stood up to him that first time he wasn't so quick to abuse me."

I nodded but didn't say anything. I wanted to cry. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to run from the house and never look back.

"But I was unable to motivate myself to do the necessary things in life," she sobbed. "I'm plagued by feelings of inadequacy. I feel anxious all the time. I started to cut myself. I would use a razor blade to cut deep marks into my arms. But I was a straight A student and I was popular at school so nobody really knew my story."

"What happened to your brother?"

He came into my room again a few months after the knife incident," she revealed. "He told me about how pretty he thought I was and how he thought that God wanted us to be together. I told him to leave but then he kissed me and shoved his hand in between my legs. I tried to yell but he was kissing me so hard I couldn't. I tried to fight him but it just happened so quick. After it was over he just got up and left. I just lay there in my bed. I couldn't even cry. I didn't know what to do. Then the next night he tried to do it again. I had hid a frying pan under my pillow and I tried to hit him with it and he started choking me. I passed out. I guess my mother was half way sober that night and she heard something and she came in and found him on top of me, both of us naked."

"I'm sorry that happened to you," I said quietly.

"They sent him away but people knew what happened so we moved here," Janice told me. "It was supposed to be a new start with a clean slate and no problems but within days of getting here I met you."

"I wanted you to like me," I said, trying not to sound hurt.

"Oh, I do, Grady," Janice said as she lay on the bed looking up at me. "But come on, skinny dipping? Spreading my legs and letting you look at me? Is that the kind of girl you want to be with?"

"I thought it was natural," I admitted. "I thought it was just part of the process."

"I don't know what's natural or normal any more," Janice confessed.

"I never even saw a girl naked before, Janice," I told her. "I think I'm pretty average and normal."

"I write poetry about everything I've been through and it gives me the strength to continue every time I want to give up," she told me. "I'm getting past what he did to me. I am not saying it's easy because God knows it isn't. I've been a basket case for three days."

"How come?"

"I feel guilty and ashamed and perverted and wrong," she told me honestly. "I feel like I lost control of all my temptations and did exactly what I shouldn't have done. I still have nightmares and bad days and I shouldn't be hanging out with you and dragging you into my cesspool."

"Maybe with the help of friends like me you won't be so depressed," I offered. "And think of the good stuff. You didn't go all the way with me so that's something."

"I guess," she said. Then she looked at me and sighed. "You probably really hate me now."

"Not at all," I told her. "Listen, I won't lie. All of this is so far out of my area of expertise that I can't even comprehend it. I thought I was seeing a naked girl for the first time and that maybe she was being naked for me for the first time. I thought it was all sweet and innocent and natural. I never would have imagined in a million years what happened to you."

"Look at where I'm living, Grady," she sighed, finally sitting up in her bed and showing the first signs of life.

"You can be poor without being an abuse victim, Janice," I replied.

"All I want to do is look forward to my future and I want to forget about the past," she told me. "I want you to know my story even if risks losing you. I know there is hope and that people really can care about me. I don't ever want to believe that what happened to me was my fault, because it wasn't."

"I know that."

"Thank you for listening and for not being critical or judgmental," she said, staring at me. "I knew there was a reason why you were special and why I picked you."

"Have you been to a therapist?" I asked. "I know my mom went to one after her kid sister got killed by a drunk driver."

"Can't afford it," Janice sighed.

"There's a free clinic in Greenville," I said.

"I don't want them medicating me or putting me on an anti-psychotic drugs," Janice said forcefully.

"I meant just to talk to someone," I said.

"I'm talking to you."

"Yeah, but what do I know?" I asked.

She burst out laughing at that one and it was nice to see her smile again.

"Or maybe a priest or minister or something," I suggested.

"I'm scared to go back to school," Janice told me.

"Why?"

"Because I'm afraid people are going to find out about me," she sobbed.

"It's not your fault."

"I think I will always feel like it is my fault," she confessed. "It began when that guy I liked wanted nothing more to do with me. I was beside myself and angry and I was very deeply hurt.

"I'm not leaving you, Janice," I let her know.

Two tears appeared from her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. "You will," she whispered. "When you know the truth."

"Didn't you just tell me the truth?"

"I mean the truth about how I vomit violently trying to throw up the 'thing' that was shoved into my mouth. The truth that I trust nobody. The truth that I don't know anything about love. The truth that relationships totally terrify me. The truth about the panic attacks. The truth about the heart rending pain that makes me feel like my heart will break in two."

"I bet you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," I said. "My mother had that because she witnessed her sister being killed."

"The living through it was the worst, but I survived," Janice sighed. "I share all of this with you painfully so you will know about my imperfections."

"None of us are perfect, Janice," I said.

"I've seriously been tackling the issues of what happened to me since I moved here," Janice said. "I don't want to hate men and I'm not as scared of them as I used to be. The fact that I actually went to the movies with you proved to me that I could get better, that I could socialize, that I could try to be normal."

Suddenly I felt guilty for wanting to put the moves on her in the darkness of the movie theatre.

"Your Dad seems nice," she remarked.

"He is," I let her know.

"You seem nice too," she smiled.

"I am," I said with a blush.

"Are you willing to deal with this?" Janice asked. "It's going to take patience and time for me to find my way back."

"I'm not going anywhere, Janice," I said. "I've been waiting for you all my life and I can wait for you a little longer."

She burst into tears and hugged me.

I'm not sure how long we stayed like that on the bed but it was a long time.

My mother got Janice some help. Some sort of twelve step program. A counselor. Janice also started seeing the counselor at school and she seems to be doing better mood wise.

We still hold hands when we walk home from school together. We still go to Johnny C's Diner for chocolate shakes. And we go to the movies on Friday night and we hold hands there too.

We kissed for the first time in my backyard one warm July evening.

I thought it was all about sex when I first met Janice and was attracted to her. I thought it was all about sex when we got naked at the watering hole together but now I know that sex has little to do with real emotions and real feelings. These days, I know Janice's heart and her soul and her smile and her beauty, both inside and out.

We'll have sex someday, when she's ready, but until then, we'll just hold hands and smile and tell each other our secrets.