Chapter 31 ~ Mf, Ff, ff
Chief Larry Hawkins and Doctor Linda Marcus boarded their flight, trading in some frequent flier miles for First Class seats. When they were finally settled they resumed the conversation they'd been having on the way to the airport that morning.
She started, "So the mayor told you to lay off the Erin Banks case, and that's why you're using personal time again." He had already told her that, but it just seemed so odd to her that she was repeating it to make sure she understood.
"Right," he answered. "It was the damndest thing. I get called into the mayor's office, and I'm told to bring copies of all the files we currently have as well as all the old Circle case files. So I go, and at first he's glad handing me, telling me what a great job I've been doing as Chief. But then he asks about Erin Banks, and what leads I am pursuing."
The flight attendant came around asking them if they'd like any refreshments, they both chose sparkling water.
"First class is nice," Larry said to his girlfriend, who smiled at him as the attendant handed them their beverages. "Anyway, I pull out my files, and immediately his assistant takes them and leaves the room. I'm looking at the mayor, he's just looking back at me like nothing strange is going on. So I just do it from my head, tell him how Erin fit in with the rest of The Circle, and how she may have been kidnapped to some school out west. With her mother now in your hospital thinking it is 1976, we're getting nothing from her. And that school isn't dealing me straight, and on top of everything else I suspect there may be another girl in Utah. I explained how I went through the doctor on-call records for three different hospitals until I found the connections that fit. The mayor is just looking at me as I talk, that weird, wide smile on his face, nodding here and there. And I finish my story, and he tells me that I'm a great cop.... but don't I think the city has had enough of this embarrassment? He says we just barely managed to keep everything covered up last time, due to the girls all being underage, and we may not be so lucky if I 'start dredging it all up again.'" Larry shook his head at her. "I'm telling him we have one missing, possibly abducted girl and another who may still need help, and he's worried about bad publicity. "
Linda took his hand. "So just so we're clear.... this is why we're going to Utah today on 'vacation.' You're going to talk to the father and I am going to find the girl on campus, talk to them separately, ascertain the situation?"
"Thank you so much for agreeing to this. I can't do anything officially, but I couldn't live with myself if I didn't at least look into it. To be honest I am not even sure what I can do, if I decide something needs to be done. Possibly just visit the local police station and tell them what I know, then come home."
"You don't need to thank me, honey," Linda answered. "There are all kinds of morally gray areas here, and things that I wouldn't want to be publicly known.... I am... and you are... by law supposed to report all cases of statutory rape..."
"I know... I know. I still feel terrible for putting you in this position. I just don't want to definitely do anything until I see how it is with them. I mean... there's a small chance they have a healthy relationship, right? The only reason I am giving this any consideration at all is because of Lucy and Nora. I've come to trust that they have a better view of the Circle girls than I do."
"Well..." Linda looked away, collecting her thoughts. "Everyone is different, and sometimes you have to look at things relative to everything else. Maybe the girl is happy, and maybe her father... loves her as a woman.... but even though that is highly abnormal, putting him in jail may not be the best decision for her. I've never liked that knee-jerk reaction to every situation like this. I think sometimes... even if only rarely... it does more harm than good."
"I know...." Larry trailed off. "The homosexuals argue that they are born loving who they love, and as a society we've accepted it. But a pedophile can't seek help for who he or she loves because it is an automatic jail sentence. It's insane. Literally insane."
"Yeah," Linda responded... "I don't ordinarily like using that term, but in this case it seems to apply. There certainly seems to be a break in the logic of it." She paused for a moment, "Oh, you were going to tell me about Erin?"
Larry shifted gears. "Uh, yes. I've looked into that school in Oklahoma I think she's at... and surprise... it doesn't seem to exist. I mean, it has credentials in Oklahoma, and is accredited, but even that took a court order to get unsealed from their state house.... that may be what caught the mayor's attention, I don't know. Hell, I even pulled up the public satellite photos of where this place is supposed to be, and that location is just grayed out. Maybe it's corn fields, maybe it's a small city. No idea. It seems a lot of powerful people don't want this place to be public knowledge. I called them back, asking to speak to the head administrator... 'Sorry, not available at this time.' A vice-principal, 'sorry, not available at this time.' A teacher, a janitor, 'sorry, not available at this time.' It's hard to not take their insult of my intelligence personally. I don't know what is going on there.... but the place is air-tight as far as people not talking about it, and Erin may be there. Anyone could be there. And as I was about to see about an official visit, the mayor tells me to lay off." He squeezed Linda's hand lightly. "It's very frustrating."
"I know it is," she answered, "And it doesn't make sense he'd tell you to lay off." She leaned back in her soft seat and stared at his profile, this wonderful man who was risking his career just to help a girl he was ordered to not help. She was considering asking him to marry her.
Chief sat back in his comfortable chair, interlocking his fingers with Linda, the woman he was thinking about asking to marry him. His thoughts again turned to Erin, wondering how things would be with her if she could have kept John, like she wanted.
The school Elders were gathered around their table, the man with the notepad had called a special meeting. "Thank you for convening," he told them.... they all knew it paid to be polite to each other, no matter how much despise they may have actually felt for one or the other. "The subject today is Erin Banks," and he looked over to Mother, who was still and held his gaze. "How is she doing in Torchlight?"
"Very well," Mother replied evenly. "As I predicted, she is bringing the other girls closer together and they have all officially adopted her as one of their own."
"Is she going on engagements yet?" the man asked her.
"Not as of yet, there has been a hiccup in her training that Sister is trying to work through. We don't want to send her out until we have complete confidence in her abilities, as with any other girl."
"I'd like to suggest we not start sending her on engagements without council approval. She's been getting heat from the outside."
Mother raised her eyebrow.
"As you know," now addressing the rest of the men, "I went to Florida last week. That cop down there has been pushing, and he even got the Oklahoma state house to release the compound's records."
"And the state complied?" an old, cadaverous man with slicked-back gray hair and a strong voice asked.
"It was a federal court order served by federal marshals. And they gave legit information, they didn't have time to produce anything fake as a decoy. But this information alone shouldn't lead to anything. So yes, officially he knows there is a school here. So what. He still has no legal standing to follow up with anything."
"And what did you find out in Florida?" another man asked, this one somewhat portly.
The man again referred to his notebook. "The mayor, the Chief of Police's boss, is a Friend of the Compound." He looked up meeting their eyes, making sure they knew what he meant. "The mayor assured me he would order the Chief off the case, and not only that, I got complete records of everything the Chief has been working on.... including plenty of information about Erin Banks." He looked up at Mother, "We were all wondering why she acts like a hardened 35 year old woman in a 13 year old package.... it appears our little Erin is no stranger to sexual servitude."
Mother held his gaze, but it was difficult. She was shocked, but didn't want to show it. But act like I knew all along...
"She was part of a sex slavery ring, and somehow she was left out of it when it was officially uncovered. She had friends in the ring and they hid her. But now I know who those friends are," tapping the pile of folders in front of him. "If Erin decides to be clever or otherwise difficult, we now know where to apply pressure." He then looked again at Mother. "I'd like to talk to her soon, make sure she understands the situation."
Mother just held his gaze again. I may not be able to shield her from this.
"Does she know her mother is in a mental hospital, yet?" he asked.
If I just keep staring they will know how ignorant I am of all of this. "Obviously not, you just sent the email out last night."
"Then I guess you're going to have to have a little talk with her. Let's hope it doesn't disrupt her training," and he gave her a smirk. Turning back to the room, "As I said before, before she begins going out on engagements I recommend we meet one more time, by then I will have assets assigned. I want her double covered, not just one escort. I have a bad feeling about her, I always have, and I don't trust her. She will bring in a lot of money but even then I am not sure the risk is worth it."
"Do you have any concrete evidence that the girl is as dangerous as you think she is?" undead thin man asked.
"Just my hunch," he answered.
"Those have been wrong before," Mother challenged.
"But not often," he replied with a half sneer.
Their plane landed in Provo, Utah and they rented a car. Larry was driving, Linda was looking through the folder Larry had prepared for her... containing Laura's class schedule, a map of her college campus, and a picture of her from her 9th grade yearbook, the most recent one he could find. She'd be two years older, now.
He pulled to the curb next to one of the buildings. "If anything besides talking happens, call me. If anything...."
"Sweetheart, it will be fine. I should be able to approach her calmly, and get her to talk. It's sort of what I do," touching his arm.
"I still don't feel entirely right about this... but I can't think of any other good options," Larry said to her.
"I know, but I am on board with your idea. If it goes bad, it is on both of us."
He looked her in the eyes, "I love you."
She smiled, "Me too. But you be careful. Just because he's a doctor doesn't mean he might not get violent when he feels desperate."
"I will honey. But call me."
Linda left the car and walked onto the campus.
She found the life sciences building, Laura was scheduled in an "Intro to Human Anatomy" class at this time and day as part of her pre-med program. So far it didn't seem to Linda that Laura was in any kind of distress if she was pursuing a PhD. She peeked through the narrow glass window in the door to the lecture hall, but there were too many students. She waited in the hall again studying the picture she had.... red hair, freckles, glasses, and a large smile full of braces. She would have been in The Circle for years when this photo was taken... After about 20 minutes the class let out and Linda was a little panicked to see half the students were leaving by a different exit... but before she could try and decide how to cover both doors, Laura walked out next to her, talking to another girl, backpack over her shoulder. Linda followed.
She was talking to a brunette girl, and Linda could see from the back Brunette was pregnant, maybe 7 or 8 months. The girls talked about class, and about a study session later, and when they came to a crosswalk they split up and went separate ways.
Now is my chance, Linda thought. She sped up, touching Laura's arm from behind. "Excuse me, Laura Turner?"
Laura stopped, turned to her and smiled, "Yes?" and Linda started thinking well she isn't afraid of strangers... when she noticed Laura's baby bump under her top, maybe four months along. Oh my god.
"Hi... I'm...Linda Marcus.... I'm a psychiatrist from Florida... I wonder if we could sit and talk a bit. I know your next class isn't for an hour."
The smile left Laura's face at the mention of 'Florida,' but she kept her bearing. "What do you want to talk about?" she asked softly.
"I think you already know that," Linda answered. "But please... you aren't in trouble, and I am not here to cause you trouble. But I have to talk to you, and see how things are with you. Please... just talk to me. That's all I want."
Laura forgot herself for a moment... instead of asking about her husband, she asked, "Where's my father?"
Linda put her hand on Laura's arm softly. "Please. I see a bench over there in the shade, away from the sidewalk. Let's go talk." Linda saw that now she was thinking of her father, she couldn't hide her distress.... and that wont be good for the baby.
By the time they sat Laura was making a call.... as Linda predicted, there was no answer. Larry must be there by now.
"Laura, please, listen. Your secret is out. But we aren't arresting anyone. Do you understand me?"
Laura was looking a little panicked now... she looked at Linda, letting her words sink in. "You aren't...."
"No we aren't. But we know your friends, Lucy and Nora, and even Erin. All of your secrets are out."
Laura looked confused. "Lucy and Nora would never have..."
Again, Linda was ahead of her. "They didn't. They don't even know I am here today. We care for those girls too much to let them know they were caught in another impossible lie, like they were with Erin."
"You.... care for them?"
"Lucy and I got close when Mary was still at my clinic. I was Mary's doctor. Lucy and I stayed in touch after Mary moved to Texas."
Laura mumbled something.
"What was that?"
"I already knew everyone knew about Erin.... has anyone found her yet? And you're not taking my Daddy away?" With that last question a tear fell from her eye.
"That isn't why we're here today, no.... unless we both determined you were still in this relationship against your will."
Laura put a hand on her baby bump, and looked at this older woman, taking her in for the first time. Older, pretty, her eyes.... I don't think she is lying to me, because she isn't smiling. "You said we both.... does that mean someone is with him now?" It's his day off....
"Yes..." the chief of police... "my associate is talking with him now, trying to see what kind of person he is. When he learned you were out here, a former member of The Circle, he couldn't just leave you here, not knowing." Linda looked at Laura now, too.... more mature than in her school photo, she looked gawky, then. This woman before me... is beautiful. And obviously very happy. And pregnant. "Your baby... his?"
Laura looked her in the eye and nodded.
Linda considered.... "There are risks. Have you both been checked for DNA disease markers?"
"Yeah Daddy had us checked before we started trying, we didn't have any recessive genes for disease."
Linda looked at her. "You planned on getting pregnant?"
Laura looked back at her firmly, "Yes we did, because we are in love and this is forever."
Linda collected her thoughts for a moment. She certainly seems happy... I don't think she is that good of an actress to fake it. "You realize that if you need to get out, this is the way, right now. I can make one phone call and you'd never have to be in the same room with him again, ever. If he is threatening you, just tell me now and we can play it all kinds of ways to make sure he never, ever hurts you." And the more she talked, the more Laura's eyes filled with tears.
"Please, no. I am here because I want to be with him. We are so happy... my life is perfect, until now.... please don't take him away..." tears now running down her cheeks.
"Honey, I'm sorry for this," and Linda produced a tissue from her bag. "But we have to be sure this is what you want."
Laura wiped her face.
"Just one more thing," Linda decided. "I assume you talk to Lucy and Nora?"
"And Mary now, and Erin before she disappeared."
"So you know about Erin.... and you know we know about Erin."
"Lucy and Nora told me."
Linda nodded. They hadn't wanted to confront Lucy and Nora with the knowledge that they knew about Laura, both because they didn't want to confront them with the fact they'd kept another secret, and they didn't want Laura getting warned about today. "How do Lucy and Nora feel about your father? He used to rape them, he did for years."
Laura looked away now, Linda thought she might actually see shame on her face. "This is the time to tell the truth, isn't it," she said to the ground.
"Maybe the most important time for it ever," Linda responded.
Laura began telling her story from the beginning, adding in the things she didn't remember but her father had told her.... about her mother leaving, and her father's problems with drugs, and how they'd begun their love affair by accident.... so that when Lucy's grandfather, the former chief of police, confronted him with his drug abuse, he felt the only way out was to join them to The Circle.
Linda listened, the phone in her bag recording everything. This was unofficial, she and Larry were acting on their own.... the recording was for their own notes, to make sure they made the correct decision, today.
"So now if we're all skyping together at night and I am in bed with daddy.... he just doesn't interact with them. He knows they don't want to be with him, and he is ashamed of what he did with them. I really believe this. If I felt he still wanted them at all, there would be problems and I would tell you to save me right now. I swear." Laura paused for a moment. "Think about who I am, for a second. I was in The Circle, I was for years... and their stupid collars never worked on me. I knew what I was doing every time. Erin didn't save me from my collar, she saved me from myself.... I thought I was ugly, and she showed me I wasn't. But I did it with those other men every single time because I love my Father and I didn't want him to get hurt. Everything was worth it if I got to be with him. If you take him away from me now then it was all for nothing and I just don't know what I would do then."
She sees Erin as a savior, too... interesting. Linda considered everything Laura had told her. She doesn't seem scared at all, she almost seems angry at me, with that last story. She doesn't seem like a victim. And in college, and in pre-med... to be a doctor like her father. She saw Laura looking at her now, pleading for an answer with her eyes. "You promise me you aren't playing, that you don't need help. This is truly where you want to be. You're 17.... there's not even a glimmer of curiosity that your life might be better, another way?"
"No, never, not at all," Laura answered. "My life is perfect."
Linda couldn't think of a reason to drag it out. "I wont leave you hanging, I don't think anyone would be served by having him arrested. I'll notify my associate." Linda grabbed her phone and texted Larry, This girl seems genuinely happy.
Doctor Mike Turner didn't live far from the campus, so Larry pulled into the driveway behind the blue BMW seven minutes after he'd dropped Linda off. He took a deep breath and collected his thoughts... he knew this could go well, or poorly. Possibly very poorly. He got out of his rental car, walked up the sidewalk, and rang the doorbell.
A trim man answered, short sandy hair, clear eyes. About 5'9, much shorter than the chief. "Hi, may I help you?"
"Doctor Mike Turner?" Chief Hawkins asked.
Here we go. "I'm the chief of police from your old home town. I wonder if I might come in so we can talk."
Laura's father hadn't exactly been smiling, but now he looked absolutely grim. "Where's Laura?"
Thinking of her first.... "She is fine. She is currently with my partner."
A hesitation. "Am I under arrest?"
"I don't know yet." And he repeated himself, "May I come in, please?"
Mike Turner held the door open and the chief entered, but didn't turn his back to the smaller man.
"We can talk in the kitchen," Laura's father said as he closed the door. Chief let him lead.
Mike sat at his kitchen table, the chief looked around to see if any weapons were in arm's reach, there weren't. Just to be safe he also looked under the table when he sat, no weapons taped to the bottom of it.
"Are we a little paranoid?" Doctor Turner asked.
"I don't know you, and you know what this is about. People panic. Do foolish things."
"Do you mind if I call Laura?" he asked, and just then his phone was buzzing in his pocket.
"Don't answer it yet. We're going to talk, first."
Turner took the phone out of his pocket, saw Laura was indeed calling.... and it took all of his effort to not answer it. Chief's hard eyes stopped him. He put the phone down. "So I assume one of the girls talked. I didn't think this could last forever."
Chief looked at him steadily. "Does that make you angry? Do you want to get back at them?"
Mike tried to look the chief in the eyes, but couldn't. He looked away. "No..... no. I never really understood why they kept me out of it at all, after what I did to them. I know I don't deserve their mercy. Laura said they kept silent because she asked them to. But I guess I never really thought this could last. Everything was too perfect."
Chief just sat there, letting the man talk. This is why he came.
"Listen.... and I'm asking you man to man.... please make sure Laura is taken care of. Obviously I am the one at fault, here... but please don't make her suffer. I have assets, please liquidate them and make sure she has them... don't let some lawyer bleed her dry."
Chief sat back and folded his arms. "What kind of man molests his own daughter?"
"It isn't like that," Turner answered, with heat in his voice. "It.... I mean, I know what the law says. It's always rape. But it just isn't true, not all the time. I have always loved her, and...." he exhaled. "What's the point. If you are going to arrest me, arrest me. I won't fight anything, I know you have me, if you managed to find me out here. Just please see that Laura is taken care of. Please." And with that last word, he managed to look the chief in the eye.
Hawkins considered. He seems to love her, that's a fact. And he didn't seem to be angry at Lucy and Nora, or want to get back at them. Interesting. And he is admitting it, and not trying to lie to me. Smart. But I have to hear his story, his side of it. "How did it all start?"
Mike Turner told him the same story that Laura was currently telling Linda, and when they listened to each others' recordings later, they agreed that they were getting the same story from each of their perspectives. Mike Turner had been hurt by his wife's abandonment of him and their daughter, and he admitted that he didn't even realize he was having a sexual relationship with his daughter at first because of his drug abuse... he just hadn't realized it was Laura, and not his wife. But when he finally started cleaning up, what was done was done, and Laura was happy with their new relationship and he hadn't had the will nor desire to end it. Then The Circle came into his life and when faced with the prospect of prison and losing his daughter, or sharing her from time to time in a sex ring, he had chosen the latter, with her blessing. He hadn't said it was with her blessing, but Laura had, to Linda. That more than anything helped chief make the decision he made... he hadn't tried to lay a single thing on his daughter.
As Mike Turner was nearly finished with his story, the chief received a text message. He looked at it, making sure Turner couldn't see... This girl seems genuinely happy. He decided to try one last thing to expose a lie. "This is my partner. She says Laura is happy to have been rescued, is going to press charges, and they are on their way to the police station, and I need to take you into custody."
The complete confusion in his eyes as he heard that told the chief a lot.... never in his wildest dreams did he think his daughter didn't want to be with him.
"She... said that?"
Chief just looked him in the eye. Mike Turner held his gaze. Larry picked up his phone, dialed Linda. "Bring her home, please." Waited for a response, hung up.
Linda and Laura arrived about 10 minutes later, it had been silent and awkward as chief stared at the man who had been fucking his own daughter... and was a member of The Circle, and he couldn't believe he was thinking of letting it slide. Laura entered the room first, and she went straight to her father who stood and they held each other, so tight. He put his hand on her stomach, "Is everything ok?" he whispered to her, and she just nodded and hugged him again. Chief saw she was beautiful in spite of her red eyes, she had been crying. He also thought he saw a pregnancy. He looked over his shoulder, Linda was there outside the kitchen, watching. He stood and went to her, and they went a little bit away to the front door and talked in hushed tones.
"What is he like?" she asked him.
"Polite and guilt ridden and very concerned for his daughter's well being. What is she like?"
Linda looked at him, and considered. "Polite and upset and very concerned for her father's well being. Also pregnant, and they planned it."
"Is that... safe?" he asked. He always heard that would produce deformities.
"It can be, but they seem to have taken precautions. She is very much in love with him. I gave her every chance to tell me she needs help, I practically begged her, promising her she'd be safe and taken care of. Nothing. She wants to be here."
Larry looked away from her. "The first thing he asked me was to make sure his daughter was taken care of. He begged. He thought the other girls turned him in, and when I asked he didn't have any hard feelings for them, and even wondered what took them so long. I even tried tricking him, when your text came I told him she was happy to have been rescued. He gave me a look like I had just told him it was going to rain chocolate syrup tomorrow.... it was just a simple impossibility."
She looked up at him, "I don't think anyone is going to be better off if he goes to jail. Lucy and Nora kept their secret, they don't seem to be craving justice... and face it, he owes them the most. If he goes to jail I think Laura wont finish school, I think she'll end up in a state home until she's 18, and I think she would hate us for the rest of her life, rightly so."
He closed his eyes, and nodded. They went back to the kitchen together where Mike and Laura were sitting next to each other, holding hands.
"I'm not turning you in," Larry Hawkins said to Mike Turner. "It goes against everything I believe to be right, morally and professionally, but..." he looked at Linda. "Life sometimes doesn't make sense. I.... I don't even know what to say."
Linda stepped forward. "Doctor Turner, I trust you are going to do everything in your power, for the rest of your life, to make sure your daughter has a good life?"
He looked at her, eyes wide, and swallowed. "Her happiness is all I've ever wanted," he said with a cracked voice.
"Are you going to help her finish school, and get her PhD?"
Linda stared at him, looked to Laura. Linda produced a business card from somewhere and handed it to her, "Take this, hide it. It has my cell phone number on it. If you ever need me for anything, even if just to talk.... but also if you need to get away from him," and she gave her father a sidelong look. "Call me. We'll figure it out."
Laura took the card and gave her father a look, and a smirk. Chief saw it as, ha ha, now I have something on you... in a cruel, yet playful way. Chief then knew she wasn't lying... she really was happy, here.
"We have to go. I just had to make sure of this for myself. Oh, for the record..." and he looked to Mike. "Lucy and Nora kept your secret, I figured this out on my own. I'm going to consider this matter closed, unless we hear otherwise from Laura."
"Thank you," Laura said to them both, putting her arm around her father.
Chief nodded to her, Linda reiterated, "If you need anything," and made the telephone sign with her hand.
"I will," Laura said.
They went out to the rented car, Larry said to her, "We're going to tell the girls that I found Laura. If they want him punished, I'm going to see he is. Is that fair?"
She took his hand, "I think it's more than fair." He smiled at her, nodded, and drove off.
It turned out not even Mary wanted him punished, it would hurt Laura. "But if he hurts her, nail him to the wall," Nora said to him. That sounded reasonable to him.
It was Saturday, their half day. Open study for whichever class a girl may be having trouble in, and a run before lunch, but after they had the day to themselves while looking forward to having their Sunday free. On nice days they would sunbathe on their private patio. Erin said goodbye to Kaye... she was going on an engagement... and then she went to find Mother, who had summoned her.
It had been several months, and though Torchlights did not need to be escorted through the halls as the regular "Guests" did, Erin wasn't sure how to get back, there were too many unfamiliar turns and hallways. She ended up having to ask an old man mopping the floors who at first would not answer her question, "Which way is it to Mother's office?" When he didn't answer Erin approached him and asked again sweetly, touching his arm lightly, "Excuse me," she said again, softly, "but I am lost, and I don't know where Mother's office is." She had been learning a lot about gentle persuasion, and the appeal of a helpless young girl, in her "sex classes," as she thought of them. Sister called them "Practical Application."
This time the man stopped mopping, looked at her... with pity? and sent her back the way she had just come from, telling her a couple lefts and a right. Erin thanked him with a smile, and thought he might have smiled back at her a little, and made sure he could see her wiggling her butt in her track suit as she walked away from him.
Finally Erin began recognizing hallways, and when she found the dining area she managed to find her way to Mother's office. She knocked, and was granted access.
Mother stood from behind her desk smiling as Erin entered, and walked around it and held out her hands.... Erin was surprised to see she wasn't in her nun habit, but just a severe gray dress and white blouse. And her hair... was brown with highlights, and past her shoulders, had a few waves, and it framed her face beautifully.
"What is it?" Mother asked as she took Erin's hands, noticing the young girl gawking a little.
"Your hair... is gorgeous," Erin smiled at her.
Mother smiled back. "Oh, that's right, you've never seen me out of uniform." She let go of her hands. "Please, sit," gesturing toward the couch along her back wall. "Tea? I was just about to have some."
"Yes, thank you," Erin smirked, catching Mother's eye.
Mother prepared a tray and carried over, this time adding a sugar to Erin's, who smiled and said thank you. Mother sat next to her. "How are you finding your training?" the tall woman asked, sipping her tea.
Erin sipped hers as well, thinking. Is she playing games? How would I know? "It's fine... the running is getting easier. The girls are nice, and.... I'm learning a lot, I guess. Akimi teaches a Japanese class and Adriane teaches French."
"Aimez-vous incliner le franšais?" Mother asked.
Erin listened, repeated it in her head, and smiled. "Oui."
Mother smiled back, "Bien. We have a sister school near Paris, sometimes we exchange... guests... for the Summer."
Erin noticed her hesitation. "Are there French Torchlights?"
Mother just nodded slightly, and took another sip of tea.
After a few moments of silence, "You know, I don't know what to call you. I've already said what I'm not going to call you... so what's your name?"
Mother just blinked at her. There was already no precedent for a student to refuse to use Mother's proper title... and now she was so bold as to ask her name. She wasn't irritated, she just wasn't sure how to respond. The informality of it could get back to the Elders, and that wouldn't be good. I will change the subject. Maybe she will forget she asked.... as if.
"Erin, I asked you to come here because I have two things to discuss with you. The first is your mother... she isn't well."
Erin blinked at her. In her mind, on her first days here, she had shut off the part of herself that felt the pain of her mother's betrayal, but she would never forget how her mother just stood in their living room while she unsuccessfully fought the two men who had taken her from her bedroom that night. She had put away that pain, as with the pain of her mother's absence for most of her life. But still... it was her mom.... "What do you mean she isn't well?"
Mother took a deep breath. "I just learned of this last night. She overdosed on heroine soon after you were brought here, and she was unconscious for almost a week. When she woke up she thinks it is the 1970s, and she is a 16 year old girl in her home town. She is in a mental health facility, now.... the best one on the east coast, I have been told. I'm very sorry to be the one to tell you this."
Erin was taken aback. Overdosed? 1970s? Mental health.... "Are you serious right now?" Erin asked.
"I'm afraid so," Mother said. She wanted to reach out, to take her hands.... why do I feel this way for her... I'm not the one who comforts. Her thoughts confused her.
"My mother never used drugs...." did she? How would I even know? She remembered the slumber party, how strange her mother had been acting, and staring at Nora. The thought of Nora made her heart hurt, a little... she'd had to not think of her friends for so long; thinking of them hurt.
"It can come as a surprise, even to those closest to them."
"So, she's in a hospital, and she thinks she is 16?"
Mother sat back in the couch, smoothing the dress she was wearing over her thighs. Stop fidgeting. "That is what I understand. She thinks she is 16 years old, and she keeps asking about a girl named Louise. I understand that Louise was her lover, when she was a girl."
Now Erin's mouth did drop. "What?"
Mother took a deep breath. "Erin, what I am about to tell you may be a little shocking. Again, I just found all this out myself, I am not part of the process for accepting new guests. But when your mother first contacted us.... she told us she had been a guest here, in the past. I went down to our records room and I found her. She was sent here by her parents when she was 17 years old when she was caught engaging in sexual relations with her best friend, who was named Louise."
"No... way." Erin replied. Her mother had seemed so shocked when Erin admitted to having sex with her girlfriends... why would she feel that way, if she liked girls, too?
"I read her file... back then the compound was often used to... pray the gay away, is a common term these days. Homosexuality was often frowned upon in smaller communities, and your mother... and father.... were both sent here to be converted away from homosexuality."
Erin went from stunned to more stunned.
"Yes, your father, too. Once I saw that your mother was married to another guest, I looked up his file, as well. Same home town, same circumstances, caught in a sexual embrace with his male friend. Our techniques back then were more rigorous than you've seen, as hard as that may be to believe."
"It is hard to believe."
"Trust me, there are much worse things, and back then many of our guests left completely broken. When that started affecting the bottom line, the Elders made some changes. Things are a little more gentle, now. We don't actively break people any more... just condition them a little."
Erin had an image of the dog cock approaching her salivating mouth. Uh huh.
"So let me get this straight... both my mother and father were guests here, and they were gay for other people... but then they got married to each other?"
Erin stopped to think. Pray the gay away, she said... breaking minds.. if they got both my mom and dad... and brainwashed them into thinking they were straight... then all this time... they had my brother and sister, then me... I never saw them really show affection to each other, even though they never fought and were always friendly... they were gay the whole time? It sort of made sense, to Erin. She'd seen the effect of the brainwashing and conditioning of the collars. And what would... 40 years? of denying your true yourself... what would that do to a person? Would she finally break down?
"You said the compound broke some people... like... how? How did they break?"
"I never saw this first hand, they were softening up by the time I was a guest here, but back then the rumors among the girls were that some past guests suffered complete breakdowns. There was voluntary torture... sleep deprivation... long periods in the Room of Reflection.... sometimes a girl would just snap, sometimes screaming continuously so she had to be sedated, sometimes retreating into herself, rolling up into a ball, and quitting the world. There were lobotomies," and when Erin showed confusion at that word, Mother explained it. "Some killed themselves. The notes I read from the woman who was Mother for your... mother... said that she was very proud of her progress, and was deemed to be completely cured of her homosexuality and 'walking in the light of God,' was how she wrote it. Though, now, I don't think that is the conventional wisdom, any more. I think maybe she wasn't cured, just rewired to think she was. And maybe after 40 years... the temporary fix just stopped working."
Erin listened, considered.
"Can I see her?" She didn't really think she would be allowed, but felt like she had to ask. She wasn't even sure right at this moment if she wanted to ever see her mother again... she would have to plug all of this new information into her notions... her idea of the person her mother... and father... were. It was all very disturbing.
"I'm very sorry. If it were up to me... but it isn't. And you make some of those in charge here very nervous."
Erin's eyes closed a little. "Good." But she was still in her thoughts. "Wait... my mother has been in the Room of Reflection? Is there more than one?"
"There is only one."
"Did she...." suck all those cocks....
"No, that little affectation was only introduced about the time I came here. Your mother never had to feed that way... back then it was several days of no food and water, and complete isolation. And people were different back then, young people didn't have the presence of mind to meditate and fill the hours with exercise like you did. It was really quite terrible, and went a long way to breaking them in the first days they were here. Being finally let out was usually enough to make them promise good behavior forever... none of them ever came out with a challenge, like you did."
Erin blinked at her. "You almost sound impressed."
"I am. You were very vexing."
Erin smirked. I'll think about mom later. "What is your name?"
Mother blinked at the sudden subject change.
"I'm not calling you Mother. But I need to call you something. And my tea is cold," and she held up her cup with a smile.
Mother smirked, rose and took their cups back up to the service to refill them. "There was something else I wanted to talk to you about, while you were here," she said with her back turned. "Sister informs me that you're having trouble with your assertiveness. She says you have top marks when you confront someone who is already hungry for affection, but you have been unable to persuade the Partners when in a 'Difficult Engagement' scenario."
Erin grunted and sat back. "It's so dumb... those guys... if I am on an engagement, it is because they want to fuck me, right? Why would I ever have to talk them into it? And when we practice... I can tell they want to, but all they keep doing is brushing me off. Sister says I need to be able 'to turn ice to water and water to stone....' pretty sure she just means their penises... but they know they are supposed to make it difficult, so they just do on purpose. It's dumb. I even think they might be gay."
Mother handed Erin a fresh cup, and sat next to her, taking a sip. "They aren't completely gay, I can assure you," looking away.
Erin looked at her, and grinned. "You slut," and it was such an inappropriate thing for Erin to say that Mother nearly spit the tea she had in her mouth, laughing.
"We are in the middle of nowhere, and a woman has needs, and all they do is work out all day...." and for the first time since she became Mother, she shared a laugh with a Penitent. Who is this girl...
"Which one is your favorite?" Erin asked.
"Jonathon, for sure," Mother replied.
"Oh, of course you like the huge one," and again they laughed. "I could feel it for two days when I had to ride him while everyone watched and take him all the way in. Sister gave me an icepack after!" and again, laughing.
The thought of little Erin riding big Jonathon made Mother feel a little warm. "Erin... sometimes the Engagements are like that. You'll arrive and slip into something comfortable and mix him... or her... a drink... and they will be cold toward you. They will be distracted by something... business, personal problems, maybe even the fact they engaged a Torchlight and resent themselves for doing it."
"If they don't want a Torchlight then why would they get one?"
Mother sat back again. "Some people don't know what they want... they want to make a connection with someone, even if only for a day, but another part of them sees it as a personal weakness, or failing. 'Strong men don't need anyone,' is what they tell themselves. But part of them, deep inside, does need someone... and a young, enthusiastic girl with perfect understanding... with absolutely no dangerous strings attached... is exactly what they want, just for a little while. And sometimes longer. I am told we often get queries about permanent placements, when an Engagement falls in love with one of us."
Erin's eyes narrowed, "You would never sell a girl, would you?"
"I wouldn't, no."
Erin wasn't sure if she wanted to follow up on that question. But she couldn't help it, "But has it ever happened?"
Mother hesitated... she didn't know why she felt compelled to answer this girl's questions. "Sometimes an arrangement is made, but it is the Torchlight's decision. Her status here is terminated, and she moves on."
Since she had made friends with them the other girls were beginning to share information, and the ones that had been there longest shared stories about girls who had gone on engagements and never returned. There were fears that they were killed... but this was a much nicer theory. "Huh," Erin said simply. She looked at Mother, it was hard not to. Her dress and blouse, unlike her flowing robes, did not hide her figure. Erin didn't know what a 38 year old woman was supposed to look like, but this one seemed to have an amazing body. "So I suck at persuading someone who isn't feeling it to have sex with me."
"I wouldn't put it in those words," Mother looked at her.
"And I can't even get you to tell me your name."
Mother just looked at her evenly.
Erin looked back at her... and Erin's eyes began to fill with tears... and suddenly she was weeping, her face in her hands.
Mother slid over to her on the couch, their thighs now touching, and put her hand on the smaller girl's back. "Erin, what's wrong?"
"I just can't do it," Erin said into her hands, crying.
Mother put her arm around Erin's slight shoulders. "You'll get it... you just need a little more practice. I have faith in you."
Erin suddenly fell on Mother, almost curling up in her lap, her face in Mother's neck. "I'm just so scared... this is all so much harder than I thought it would be. I don't know if I can do this. I act like I can, but... sometimes I just don't know what I am doing at all!" and she cried more.
Mother was a little taken aback... she wasn't sure what to do with this suddenly frightened girl... but she was right there, and it felt so easy... Mother put her arms around Erin, put her cheek against the back of Erin's head and comforted her. "No, sweetheart... you're doing fine. And you're so much stronger than you think..." her arms around Erin, caressing.
"But I just can't do it... I've tried to be persuasive with every guy, and they just all reject me, even after I had sex with them during different training. They just don't like me at all... I'm unlikable. I don't mean to be. I want to be nice."
"Sweetheart," Mother said softly, "You don't have to be nice to be an amazing girl. Often times when a woman is deemed 'nice' they think she is a pushover. I think if anyone ever thinks you're soft, they will be making a terrible mistake."
Erin opened her eyes, saw Mother's skin between the open buttons of her blouse... and looking down into it she could see a green colored, lacey bra. "You don't think I'm not good enough to be a Torchlight?" with heartbreaking uncertainly...
Mother wasn't thinking, she kissed the top of Erin's head, on her beautiful blonde hair. "Of course not, Erin. This place has been adapting to you since you got here." Now why did I tell her that?
Erin kissed her softly, right at the base of her neck. "You aren't just saying that?"
Mother froze... she immediately felt chills up her spine when she felt Erin's lips against her skin. "I... yes... I mean no... I'm not just saying that."
Erin kissed her again, right where her collarbones met at the base of her throat. "You promise? You aren't just being nice?"
Mother's heart fluttered... No... I can't let her do this..."No..." her voice was almost a whisper... she wanted to continue it with you must stop... but she felt the beautiful, strong girl's lips on her neck, up near her jaw.
Erin adjusted herself next to mother, now holding her body against her, just a little, as she kissed her way up her neck. "I need you to be honest with me," Erin whispered, now into Mother's ear, right before she kissed it.
Mother's eyes closed on their own, it had been so long she had been with someone like this, the thick-headed muscle men didn't count at all. They were just self-propelled dildos. But Erin... who reminded her so much of herself... Erin knew what this life was like... was maybe one of the few people in the world who could really understand... but with an enormous force of will, she stood, "No!" she almost shouted, stepping away from the small girl. "I mean..." softer... "No. Erin." She took a deep breath, getting her body under control... her legs felt like jelly, and between her thighs.... oh my god.... "Erin.... we can't.... it would..."
Tears came to her eyes again, "I knew it... I don't belong here.... if you want to send me to the kitchens, I understand.... I won't be able to disappoint anyone there...." and was crying into her hands again, melting Mother's heart.
I shouldn't sit next to her again... I won't... as she sat next to her, again taking Erin in an embrace. What am I doing....
Erin again fell into her, this time sharing the hug, the women now holding each other. Erin moved closer so her breasts were against Mother's... but the woman was so tall, her torso so long, Erin really had to sit up and stretch to make that work. But she felt them, big, soft, against hers... and she felt the tingle between her own thighs. She made her move, kissing Mother's neck, her cheek.... "Please... just show me that... I am good enough for...." and then her lips found Mother's... and Mother didn't stop her.
Their first kiss was a shock even to Erin, who was initiating. She had kissed so many girls over the last months, but this was different... with Mother, it felt like.... she was kissing fire. Not just the heat of it, and of that there was plenty... but the danger of it. The wrongness. Not even the married man, she couldn't remember his name right now, had felt like this, he never really had any real power over her aside from how he stoked the fires of her lust. But now, in this place that sometimes did such horrible things... to be kissing a woman who was part of it, running it, she felt the real danger in her kiss. She felt her vagina begin to flood.
Mother was lost, her head spinning. What am I doing... I can't do this... as her tongue reacted to Erin's, slipping in past her lips. She held Erin harder, breath coming faster through her nose, Erin's tongue flicking against her own, body melting... I can feel her... I can feel her body against me.... she suddenly realized her door wasn't locked... and in years, no one had ever entered without permission... but if that were to ever happen, now would be the time. She was about to break the kiss when she felt Erin's hand on her breast, over her blouse, and instead she moaned into Erin's mouth. Oh my god....
Erin heard her moan into her mouth, and she squeezed her breast, so much bigger than even Nora's and Ashley's... but still so perfectly proportioned to Mother's still-feminine 6'1" body. Erin pinched where she thought her nipple would be inside that green bra and Mother moaned again into her mouth. Erin felt Mother's hand slide down her back and grab the top of her ass. Erin didn't hesitate... she straddled the older woman on the couch, looked into her eyes, and kissed her again with great hunger, Mother kissing her back, now holding Erin's small ass in both hands as Erin squirmed on her lap. Erin undid the buttons on Mother's blouse, opening it, exposing her bra, and kissed mother's chest and tops of her soft breasts.
Oh god I just can't stop.... I give up... Mother thought as Erin kissed her hot skin. She let go of Erin's amazing ass and cupped her 13 year old breasts over her track suit, feeling them, squeezing them, hearing Erin sigh against her skin. Her fingers found the zipper on the front and pulled it down... sliding her hands inside, Erin now again kissing her lips... she felt the heat of the young girl's skin, and then felt it... so soft... and it took her a moment to realize Erin wasn't wearing a bra. Her hands immediately cupped Erin's small breasts, she could feel her erect nipples, and Erin moaned into her mouth.
Erin broke the kiss, riding mother like she had one of the Partners recently, demonstrating that she was comfortable with the 'woman on top' position. "Is there someplace... more comfortable..." Erin whispered into her ear.
"Yes.... come..." Mother moaned back. Erin dismounted, she saw Mother's cheeks were flushed. She got up and walked to the hidden panel... Erin took her hand, causing Mother to turn and smile at her... and Erin saw Mother's private quarters for the first time. She took a quick look around as Mother was closing the paneled door behind her. She could see a space for meeting visitors, a kitchenette off to the side with a table with two places, and in the back through an arch was a bed. She turned to Mother who was starting to say, "No one disturbs me in here, they know to call first..." but Erin had moved up to her, stood on her tiptoes, and they were again kissing, Mother having to bend down to reach her.
This time Erin's hands roamed... one had held Mother's ass, and the other reached down to find the bottom of her dress. She slid her hand up the back of Mother's thigh. She felt stockings... and garters. Oh wow.... Mother moaned into her mouth when Erin's fingers slid under her panties and squeezed her firm ass.
"Oh fuck it," Mother moaned, breaking the kiss. "Penitent, with me," she took Erin's hand and rushed back to the bedroom. For once, Erin didn't argue.
Mother pushed her back against her bed and before Erin was even done bouncing mother was on top of her, straddling her, kissing her and taking the top of the track suit off her shoulders. Erin allowed herself to be undressed, her breasts felt cool in the open air and she felt her nipples harden. Then she felt mothers lips on them, suckling, and she moaned and held the back of her brunette head against her. She raised her knee between Mother's thighs, but that dress was too confining. Erin remembered a zipper down the side of it, blindly undid the button covering the pull tab, and unzipped. She was too short to be able to push it off her hips so instead she unbuttoned the rest of her blouse... she thought she may have popped the last button.... and pulled it off Mother's shoulders... the older woman helped her shrug it off her arms and they were kissing again. Erin found the snaps on the back of the bra, undid them, and Mother broke the kiss as Erin slid the straps off her shoulders, seeing her breasts for the first time. Hanging over her face they looked enormous, full, and round, and perfect. She had reddish brown nipples, they were very erect, and Erin took one into her mouth as Mother fed it to her from above.
Mother reached down between Erin's legs as the sensation of her lips sucking her nipple made her skin tingle... she rubbed Erin's pussy over her track suit... "Oh god, I can feel your heat through your clothes," and Erin just moaned, and switched nipples. Mother, with her long arms, moved her hand up to Erin's tummy... and then slid her hand down into her bottoms, into her panties, and felt Erin's wet pussy for the first time. Erin moaned under her, arching her body up against her. Mother was out of her mind... she kept trying to realize Erin was a guest... and a Torchlight... and only 13... but this was the compound, and the rules the rest of the world followed simply didn't apply here; they never had. Mother suddenly felt completely at ease as she slid her fingers up and down inside Erin's slippery labia.
Erin sighed as Mother gave her pleasure... she whispered, "Yes.... yes...." as the older woman caressed her wet vagina. She suckled her nipples... kissed her lips... and reached her hand down her tummy, learning that Mother was ticklish when she giggled softly.... and slid her hand into her unzipped dress, and her panties, and soon they were touching each other, giving and receiving pleasure.
After a few moments Mother sat up on her knees, straddling Erin... "Too many clothes," she said with aggravation, and began pulling down the bottom of Erin's track suit. Erin pinched her own nipples as she raised her hips, to help. Mother then stood, finished unzipping her dress, and let it fall off her hips. Erin helped her step out of it, and then looked up... this Amazonian woman in the emerald green lingerie, lacey panties that matched the bra on the bed next to Erin, green garters holding white stockings, looking down at her, breasts heaving... Erin held out her hand, "Please, lay with me..."
Erin was fast, she squirmed out from under her as the tall woman lay down, Erin was now on her side looking down at Mother. "You're so beautiful," she said, brushing some hair out of her eyes. "I thought so even on that first day."
"You're sweet," Mother returned. "And you're so strong... I've never seen anyone like you. Even in a completely hopeless situation, you turn it on its head."
Erin reached her hand inside Mother's panties again, masturbating her. "I didn't see this coming... I didn't know I would end up feeling this way for you... I hated you, at first..."
Mother looked up at Erin, feeling the pleasure the young girl was giving her. She put her hand on Erin's cheek, Erin pressed her face against it. "It is ok if this is just for fun, little one. I am enjoying it, but you don't have to pretend this means something to you if it doesn't."
Erin never stopped moving her hand, "Does it mean anything to you?" she asked softly.
Mother looked almost stricken.. confused... distracted by the pleasure... "I can't... I shouldn't, but.... but I...." and she couldn't finished, but Erin saw it in her eyes.
She shouldn't, but she does.... they didn't completely erase her, back then... Erin pulled her fingers from between Mother's thighs, saw them glistening with her wetness in the dim light. She put her wet fingers against Mother's lips, moistening them, letting Mother taste herself, as Erin then leaned down and kissed her, sharing her taste in the kiss. Mother moaned.
Erin and Mother made love for hours, through the afternoon and into the evening. Taking a break and sharing some fruit from her refrigerator, they laughed and talked in bed, Mother interested in what young people out in the real world were like these days, Erin asking about Mother's past, what she was like before and after she was a "guest" in the compound, always learning all she could. That isn't to say she didn't feel genuine affection for the older woman, she did, but in the back of her mind she never let herself forget who had the freedom to leave this place, and who didn't.
At some point Erin had peeled off the rest of the older woman's lingerie and they shared a shower together, again making each other moan under the hot water. After, both of them feeling they'd hidden from the world for too long, Erin put her panties and track suit back on while mother slipped into a silky robe and they stood holding each other for just a few more minutes, just inside the hidden panel to Mother's hidden quarters.
Erin was struck again by how tall this woman was, her face was nestled between her breasts... easy to forget when you'd spent the previous several hours horizontal in bed together.
"Please don't tell anyone," Mother said to Erin with her eyes closed, holding the little blonde girl so tight. "It has been so long since I let myself feel close to anyone, and for some reason I chose a guest... and that is so stupid of me... but my name is Rebecca. After today... I want you to know."
Erin smiled, and held her closer. I know that was scary for her. But it was time for Erin to say what she needed to say. "Maybe you need to talk to Sister, tell her to reevaluate how persuasive I can be with someone who doesn't think she wants me." She felt Rebecca stiffen in her arms, but Erin held her so tight. "No, that isn't what this was about. I want to see you again, soon, I hope. I mean it. Today was the first day since I've been here that I've felt like I was just being myself."
Erin couldn't see that initially, Rebecca's face was stricken by her words, and she was glad Erin hadn't let her go so she could see that.
"From now on, out there, I will call you Mother. When you hear me say that word, you will know I am thinking about what you mean to me. In my heart you're Rebecca."
Rebecca's heart was beating in her chest. I could fall in love with this girl.... they shared one last, passionate kiss before she showed Erin out.
Erin didn't need directions back to the Torchlight area, she didn't think about it at all and let her feet float her home.
Copyright 2017: "Marissa Banks." Rights reserved. Not for reuse without express written consent of the author. All content is purely fictional; any similarities to actual persons or events is pure coincidence. Reader must be of legal age in the judicial area he/she resides. Reproductions of the fiction contained herein or linked from here may not be used in whole or in part without express permission from the author.