A drizzly Wednesday. Bekka and I had to be at the studio, then were headed up to LA for a business dinner with Angel. Jane was excluded from business dinners. My guess was Angel needed us to mule Smiley again, and there would be some complexity with how things would work. If we were just being glorified bag men, he'd have talked things over on the phone.
Around 5:30, Jane had already knocked out her homework and done a bit of tidying around the house. Nude as always, she sprawled on one of the sofas with an Anchor Steam, debating whether to go pick up some dinner, or just forage through the leftovers in the fridge. The doorbell rang. Not expecting anyone, Jane pulled her robe on and headed down to the front door.
Standing there was Lance, and another dude who Jane recognized from the Carlsbad High track team, a pal of Lance's. They both seemed to be in high spirits, chuckling over God knows what. Jane fixed Lance with a cool smile and said, "Hello. What's up?"
When Lance spoke, Jane knew the reason for their merriment. She could smell alcohol on his breath, and something stronger than beer. He said, "Hey sweetie, how's things? We wanted to stop by and say hi, you know? See how you're doing. Are Lenny and Bekka gone? I didn't see either of their cars in the garage, so Vance dropped his car in there...."
"They're up in LA, having dinner with their boss." A casual lie popped into her head, and she said, "You caught me at a bad time, I was just about to get dressed and head for Huero's Taqueria for some dinner."
"Naw, we should hang out instead," said the one known as Vance. "Lance has tole me a lot about you, and I wanna see how much of it is true."
"Is that so," Jane purred. "The accuracy of what Lance has said may be in question. When Lance has told other people about me in the past, I always seemed to be painted in a rather negative light. Strangers held a poor opinion of me."
"Aw, don't be a bitch," Lance chuckled. "Water under the bridge. Lookit the bright side, Debbie isn't still all worked up over you. You know she was gonna call cops on you for that time you punched her at the UTC mall? You should be happy, I talked her out of it. If I didn't still care about you, would I have done that?"
"Whatcha got on under your robe?" asked Vance.
"'Member? I told you she's a nudist now! She walks around the house with nothin' on all the time! Lucky Lenny, he gets front row seats."
Jane rolled her eyes and said, "Lenny and Bekka are both used to me now. It's a non-issue."
"Really?" Lance exclaimed. "Lenny don't care? Damn, I never got bored of seeing you naked when we were still together. What the hell, let's relive old times, drop the robe, okay?" Both him and Vance let off peals of laughter.
"Lance, I'm going back up now," Jane sighed. "Get a hold of some breath mints. Your mouth smells like either really good acetone or really bad gin."
"We wanna come in," said Vance. "We still got something to drink, you can have it. We wanna hang out with you, Lance says you're pretty wild to hang out with."
"Is that so," commented Jane, hood-lidded.
Lance was leaning against the door jamb. He said, "Hell yeah. I was telling him about the sort of stuff we'd get up to when Lenny and Bekka were gone, y'know? You're fun to hang around with, and we wanna hang around with you some."
"Lance, go brush your teeth and take a nap, goodbye." Jane started to swing the door shut. Lance put a foot out to stop it.
"We wanna party with you," Lance said in a smooth voice. "I know how you like to party. Well, shit, there's two of us, you'd have a great time, you know?"
"Do you really take it in the ass?" asked Vance. "I've always wanted to try that."
A cold finger ran down Jane's spine. She stared at the both of them. They were fairly drunk, and were assessing her like a beef cow at auction. "Move your fucking foot, Lance, I'm headed back up. Good night."
Lance stepped forward and grabbed a tie on her robe. "We'll come up with you," he said. "We'll have some fun...."
Lance grabbed at Jane's arm. She stepped back to avoid his grip. Since he was still holding the tie on her robe, it came loose and parted. Vance stepped up to her and said, "Well, all right." He grabbed the top of her robe and pulled to one side, exposing her. He briefly ogled.
Jane gave him the warmest smile she could muster, and said, "Well, I think I can guess what's on your mind." Then she spit in his face. Vance grunted and wiped at his face, stepping back a bit. Jane used this interim to turn and bolt up the stairs. Both young men followed.
While she charged up, she was racking her brain for the location of the .380 revolver that was kept as a spare, a light piece which fit in a pocket. Lenny and Bekka's room? No, it was someplace where all three of them could easily get at it. Lenny's office? No, that's not it. Kitchen? Kitchen.... The stash drawer. In the back.
She threw herself into the kitchen and grabbed the drawer, the young men ten feet behind her. She shoved her hand into the drawer, groping for anything made of metal. There it was. She pulled it out, grasped the grip, and pulled back the hammer. "Get the fuck out!" she yelled. "This thing is real! Get the fuck out!"
Cocky, Vance rolled his eyes and said, "Aw, shit. Like you're gonna just blow us both away. Yeah, right. Here, I got better things you can play with...." He unzipped his fly and pulled his dick out, mostly hard. Lance saw Vance do this, let off a burst of laughter, and did the same. He said to Jane, "Look, you got a two for one deal. Put down that thing and get over to the sofa, let's have some fun, you horny bitch." He stepped forward.
Jane put a shot directly between Lance's feet. He jerked back, giving an annoyed frown at Jane. She said, "Five shots left. There's only two of you, and at this range, my aim isn't a big deal." She thought quickly, then said, "Both of you, walk backwards into the living room and sit on the sofa closer to the entryway."
Lance began slowly moving backwards, but Vance stayed put. Jane motioned at him with the gun, but he just said, "You dumb slut, you haven't even cocked the thing yet."
Jane replied, "Well, you pencil-dicked loser, this is a double-action revolver. I don't need to pull the hammer back for each shot, I just have a heavier trigger pull when I fire. You watch too many cowboy movies. Now get moving backwards."
Vance took a step forward, and Jane fired, aiming at his right arm. For better or worse,the bullet just grazed him. He jumped backwards, feeling the burning sensation from the grazing. He yelled, "You dumb slut, you shot me! I can't believe you shot me!"
"Just a scratch," Jane observed. "If I'd put a hole in you, there would be a whole hell of a lot of blood running down your arm, and you'd be in much more pain. But now you understand I'm not kidding. Get moving, you fucking mook, backwards to the sofa."
With a pouty look, Vance did as instructed. When both young men were seated, Jill picked up the phone on the coffee table and dialed 911. The operator answered, and Jane said, "My name is Jane Osborne. I am at 816 Neptune Street in Encinitas. I am holding two men at gunpoint right now, as they were going to rape me. I was able to grab a gun and hold them off. Send police now. I have a gun, but no clothes. And if they decide to rush me, I can only point in one direction at a time." She hung up. Jane knew the response would be faster if the incoming call was cut off.
With an expression of anger and disgust, Lance said, "I can't believe you. You're calling the cops on us? You bitch! We never laid a hand on you."
"Both of you grabbed at my robe, and you both pulled your cocks out when you thought I was cornered. The obvious conclusion would be you both intended to attempt sexual contact with me, whether I was willing or not...."
Lance laughed harshly. "Hey, you could have lived out those kinky little fantasies you told me about, where one person restrains you while the other fucks you. Come on, you've got two dicks to play with right now, I know you think that has appeal. Call the cops back...."
"Oh, shut the fuck up, Lance," Jane hissed. "So I gotta ask, was this little plan to try and double-team me an idea you two just had today while you were drinking, or have you been knocking it around for a while? Lance, are you really so desperately horny you'd try to force yourself on me? And you brought a friend? I'm guessing Debbie still isn't coming across with any play...."
"Maybe Debbie has class," snapped Lance. "Shit, you jacked me off in the hot tub the very first time we hung out together! Me and Debbie are, uh, you know, taking things slow. Slower than you ever would. Debbie has class, she's not some crazy nympho bitch who sits around watching porno movies all the time. She doesn't own goddamn sex toys, like you. Does any other girl at school own two vibrators? You think everyone else is repressed, or something. Yeah, well, everyone else thinks you're a nympho. I'm probably lucky I never caught anything from you."
In a bored voice, Jane said, "Lance, I've repeated this ad nauseum. I was monogamous with you, I was faithful. Even in Europe last year, I didn't fool around, even though you were at drama camp. I gave my blessing for you to fool around at camp. You never overtly gave your blessing to me, so I didn't even kiss a guy all summer. You calling me a nymphomaniac just shows how little attention your really paid to me when we were together. Yeah, I'm a damn horny person. But nymphomania implies a lack of control, an impulsive behavior. Please, name one instance where I behaved like that, besides when you and I were alone in my room."
Vance suddenly leaned over and whispered in Lance's ear. Lance nodded, then turned and did the same to Vance. The front door was still open, and Jane could just hear the sound of a car stopping directly outside. Two car doors slammed, then a voice called up, "Encinitas police! Anyone here?"
"Come up!" Jane yelled. "We're right here in the living room!" She said to the other two, "Whatever you were planning, too late. Don't worry, you'll be in good hands."
Two cops appeared at the top of the stairs, both resting their hands on the butts of their sidearms. The one in the lead saw Jane, holding a gun, and began to unsnap his gun. Jane put both hands in the air and let the revolver dangle from her finger by the trigger guard. She said, "Relax, relax! I'll put it down, I was using it to keep these two covered. Watch, the gun is going down on the coffee table..." She slowly brought the hand with the gun forward, then down onto the coffee table. She set the gun down, and gestured for the cops to approach. They did, looking mildly curious as to why Jane was nude. She said to them, "You passed my robe when you came in. May I go get it?"
Ninety minutes later, Jane was alone in the house again. It had been a bit crowded for a while. First the two original cops, then two more, then a detective. Jane ran through what had transpired three different times. Lance and Vance had been cuffed, but not taken out. They simply stood near one of the book cases, silent and sullen. They were looking at a slough of charges: both had been drinking underage, with Vance hit for being a minor in possession of alcohol. Also, forced entry, assault, and attempted rape. (Their dicks were still hanging out when the cops arrived.) After the boys had been taken out and it was down to two patrolmen and the detective, Jane asked to use the phone. She paged Angel, who called back a couple minutes later. He went and got Bekka. Jane gave a condensed version of what had happened. Bekka said they'd be headed home almost immediately.
After the last cops left, Jane lit a cigarette and stared at the blank television screen for a while. Then she sighed and picked up the phone, dialing a number she had well-memorized. When a woman answered on the other end, she said, "Hello Vicky, it's Jane."
There was a pause, then, "Oh. Hello, Jane. How are you? Lance isn't home right now..."
"Yes, I know. Vicky, I'm the bearer of really, really shitty news. Um, you need to call Encinitas PD. They have Lance, and his friend Vance. They're under arrest."
Jane exhaled and said, "Because they were going to try and rape me."
Another pause, then Vicky said, "Jane, this isn't funny."
"It's not meant to be. I don't feel very jovial right now. Look, Lance and Vance came over here drunk. They started talking nasty, then pulled my robe off. I ran upstairs with them after me. I got to a gun we keep in the kitchen and held them off, and called 911. Lance is almost certainly at the Encinitas PD station right now, him and Vance will be headed to juvie in a bit. You need to call the cops and see what's going on."
"What is Lance charged with?" Vicky quavered.
Jane sighed and replied, "Besides attempted rape? Forced entry, assault.... Both were minors who'd been drinking, and Vance had a half-full bottle of Gibley's with him."
Vicky rattled, "Why did they do this? Why did they go to your place? Why did they want to see you?"
With another sigh and some force in her voice, Jane said, "Because they were drunk and horny, and I guess Lance had been telling Vance what a horn-dog I am. They were both gonna fuck me, with or without my permission. Vicky, get off the phone with me and call Encinitas PD, I'm surprised they haven't called you yet."
A few beats of silence went by, then Vicky snapped, "My husband was right about you. He always said you'd ruin my son. Now you have, haven't you?" The phone was slammed down.
Jane sat and morosely stared at the floor for a bit. Then she lit another Newport and called the neighbors, Joan and Grant Keillor. When Grant answered, Jane said, "Hi Grant, it's Jane. Um...."
Grant cut in. "Um, why were the cops at your place? Is everything okay?"
"Things aren't great. Look, here's what's going on...." Jane summarized what had happened, and told him Lenny and Bekka were headed home, but were coming from LA, so they'd be a while. "Look, can I ask a favor? Would you and Joan mind coming over and hanging out with me until Lenny and Bekka get home? I just.... I'm not feeling comfortable, being alone right now."
In a voice that carried surprising empathy and caring, Grant said, "Absolutely. We'll be there in two minutes."
"The front door will be unlocked, just come up."
In under two minutes, Joan's voice called from below, "It's us! Jane?"
"Come on up," Jane replied.
They arrived in the living room. Jane offered them drinks, both accepted bottles of beer. Joan said, "Grant told me what happened. My God, your ex-boyfriend? And he'd brought a friend? That's insane!"
Jane stared into her beer bottle and said, "I warped Lance. His perspective of sex is totally out of whack with every other guy his age in Southern California. Starting in eleventh grade, Lance was getting laid almost every day after school, with me. Other guys at my school aren't getting busy all the time like that. Grant, how much fun were you having in high school?"
Grant said slowly, "I lost my virginity over the summer between eleventh and twelfth grades. I was at a resort in Mexico, on vacation with my parents. It was sort of a chance encounter. The girl was from Seattle. We exchanged addresses. I wrote her several times, but she never responded, so I stopped bothering. I got my first 'real' girlfriend just after the spring semester of my senior year started. We... Uh, we were, you know, getting together, but we had sort of worked up to it, it's not like we both were naked on our first date. Um, I guess I was, uh, 'having fun' as you put it, four or five times a month between January and June of my senior year."
Jane said slowly, "The problem is, when I started dating Lance, I was specifically looking for a sexual partner. Lance was cute, sweet, a little geeky. He was also a virgin, which I relieved him of about ten days after we first started seeing each other. Shit, the first time we were alone together, out in the spa at the mansion, I gave him a handjob. I kind of blew his mind. I was happy he was a virgin, for selfish reasons. First, it meant zero chance of contracting anything from him. Also, I'd be able to.... Well, mold him. Basically, I was training him to be my own version of a damn good lover. And we'd have our 'training sessions' nearly every damn day after school.
"Joan, Grant, my libido is not a secret, I know that. For whatever reason, I have the libido of a guy my age, maybe even stronger. Okay, teenage guys are horny all the time, but they never get a chance to act on it. Well.... Because of the roles guys and girls play in this society. it's real damn easy for me to act. If a guy walks up to a girl and directly propositions her --- not being crude, just saying what is on his mind --- the girl is gonna shut him down. That's how we're trained to respond to direct requests for sex from near-strangers. But if a girl does that to a guy, the guy is gonna be all, 'Well, hell yeah, where and when?' I could walk up to a teenage boy and say, 'I think you're a cutie, and I'd like to get naked with you and see what transpires.' He could be standing there with his girlfriend, his mom, and his priest, and he'll still probably say, 'Ready and willing, ma'am! Let's go!'
"When I was still in Florida, it really was that easy. I loved sex, why would I go without it? The social stratas in Southern California are more nuanced, and also more conservative than what I was used to. In Gainesville, there were virgins and sluts. If you were a virgin, you were at home with your parents, watching TV. If you were a slut, you were out in the swamps, drinking beer and making out with boys. The thing is, our labels didn't really mean anything. You could be a slut, but have been dating the same guy for three years and been faithful. You were that guy's slut, no big deal.
"I got out here to California, and Lenny and Bekka had to really make me change my way of thinking and acting. The sort of shit I'd do back in Gainseville wouldn't raise an eyebrow there. At a school like Carlsbad High, not only would I be in major trouble with the administration, I'd also be known as not just a slut, but a crazy, reckless, craven slut. People would probably think I was genuinely mentally ill. Lenny and Bekka explained how much trouble I'd have, just going through my day-to-day life, if I picked up that sort of reputation. So, I toned things way down, behaviorally at least. And I took their advice, which was to find one boy, capture him, and train him. That was Lance.
"So I'm being a relatively good girl, at least in school. This may sound totally warped and wrong, but I didn't have sex from the time I left home until I got together with Lance, a period of about six weeks. I know everybody else on the planet would be all, 'Okay, a six week dry spell. What are you complaining about?' I was going crazy. Me and Lenny or Bekka would go to Safeway or something, and I would be blatantly staring at men's crotches, trying to tell what they had. I'd stand on the bluff and watch the surfer boys, in their wet clingy trunks and nice bodies, and I'd get so horny my legs would shake. Then, finally, I have a boy. Lenny and Bekka had warned me to not move too fast too soon, I'd just scare him. So we worked our way up to fucking over a week and a half. Then, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.
"It just never occurred to me that the variety, and frequency, of sexual encounters Lance was having with me was an incredible aberration for any guy his age in California. He'd never had a girlfriend before, so when we started dating, and I'm constantly dragging him into my room so we can have a good solid suck and fuck session, Lance simply assumed, 'Okay, this is what it's like to have a girlfriend.' I'd totally warped his perspectives. I guess I sort of spoiled him. What every adolescent guy wished they were doing on a very regular basis, Lance really was.
"Over the summer, Lance fucked a girl at drama camp. I'd given him permission to do so, it was fine with me. The problem was the girl is from La Jolla, is rich, and has connected parents. The long and short of it is Lance decided to do some social climbing, and ditch the blue haired weirdo he'd been dating. There was a problem, though. The girl Lance threw me over for seems to have the sex drive of a stick of gum. I have no idea why she fucked Lance at camp. But they get home, Lance and her start seeing each other, and any contact more lewd than holding hands is now forbidden with her, she won't even jerk him off.
"So here we are. Lance became very accustomed to a shitload of sexual activity in his life in eleventh grade. He threw over the girl he was having all that sucking and fucking with, and now finds twelfth grade to be a vast desert stretching out, no available pussy anywhere. He tried to talk me into basically being his mistress. I told him I was fine with polyamory, he could date the La Jolla girl and me, and us two girls would also be social together. Nope, no way. Lance talked a lot of shit about me while at camp, it would seem. The girl held a poor enough opinion of me just from hearing Lance talk about me. Then, the one time we met, it was not a good scene at all. I ended up putting her on the floor, because I was sick of her snide comments. The La Jolla girl is grade A preppy, she thinks plaid socks are a bold fashion statement.
"I disabused Lance of the idea he could date this other girl, but still come to me on the low-down for some pussy. If him and me were getting together at all, the whole world would know, including this other girl. Lance learned, a bit too late, that I am a damn mutant. Other girls are not like me at all, they don't have minds like a play-by-;play of the action in a porn loop. I feel a bit sorry for the next girl Lance dates. Let's say she's a much more sexually active person than the La Jolla girl. But sooner or later, Lance will hear five words come out of her mouth he never heard out of mine: 'I'm not in the mood.' He will take this common and temporary rejection far too personally.
"I don't think Lance and I have exchanged fifty words since before winter break, until tonight. Has he been brooding over me all this time, like I control the world's nookie supply and was cutting him off from it? Or did him and his friend just get drunk and stupid, and delude themselves into thinking I'd be happy to have a three-way with one guy I don't like --- Lance --- and another I don't even know? I'm being rhetorical, don't worry about trying to formulate a response."
The three sat in silence. Finally Grant said, "Jane, could I trouble you for a scotch? That seems like the only reasonable course of action right now."
Jane chuckled, stood up, and kissed Grant on the forehead. "I believe you're right," she said. She headed for the kitchen and loaded three glasses with Johnnie Walker and ice.
When Bekka and I got home, we found Jane, Joan, and Grant had gotten into the cocaine, along with the scotch. I was surprised: Grant had always refused us when we offered in the past. Now all three of them are sitting around in the living room, well-geeked.
I coaxed Jane into my office and laid it on the line: did she want Lance disposed of? Given our associations, having that happen was a perfectly viable option.
"No," she told me. "Lance has never had a day's trouble in his life. Now he's going to have to deal with the juvenile court system, facing a couple decent felonies. School will certainly get fucked up for him, as he makes court appearances and serves his time. I"d like to hate Lance, but the only feeling I can come up with is a sense of pity. His life is going to be very messy for a while, and that's good enough revenge for me."
The phone rang just as we were stepping out of the office. Bekka picked it up, frowned at the receiver, then said, "Jane, it's Vicky."
Jane walked forward to take the phone, breathing "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck...." as she approached. She said hello, then stood and listened for a while. She finally said, "Vicky, given what Lance and his friend had planned, there were no options. I wasn't about to pat them on the head and send them home. I will ---"
A pause. Then, "Vicky, Lance came to my house with the intent of committing an act of sexual violence against me. There would have been no consent on my part. They were.... I've spoken maybe three sentences to Lance since before Christmas.... Vicky, that's ridiculous. How can.... Okay Vicky, you're very upset right now, I know you better than to think you really feel that way. I'm going to hang up now, please try to get some rest. Goodnight."
"What was it?" asked Bekka.
Jane said, "Okay, first off, Lance and Vance are in juvie at least for the night. There is no such thing as 'bail' in the juvenile court system, so they'll be there until a judge releases them to their parents. All charges are remaining in place. Apparently neither of them can handle being interrogated, I guess the cops squeezed them, and they began to tell all. The two big charges, attempted rape and assault, would have been my word against theirs. Only now, they've pretty much confessed, or at least said yeah, Jane's version of things is accurate. Lance has no record --- he's never even been in detention at school. --- so he'll be released. But he will have to face the charges."
"I'm sure Vicky and Ross are already beginning to budget for a good lawyer for Lance," I said. "He may really need it."
Frowning down at the coffee table, Jane continued, "Also, Vicky feels this is my fault. She knows I was sexually exploiting her darling baby boy the entire time we were dating, I must have baited him --- and his friend --- into coming to the house, somehow. My feminine wiles goaded Lance and Vance into a hormone frenzy, they believed I'd be up for what they wanted. After all, being as sexually hyperactive as I am, I'm up for anything, with anyone, any ol' time.
"And, if you haven't guessed, I'm a slut. Of course. And I'm evil, I set Lance up so he'd wreck his life. When Vicky told me I should be forced to have a radical hysterectomy and hormone treatments so I'd never use my body to hurt another man again, I told her our call was over." Jane shook her head. "It's a little odd to hear a woman using the 'Blame the 'Bitch' defense strategy."
"She's upset," said Bekka. "She'll calm down and look at things objectively in a couple days, when Lance is home and they've formulated a legal strategy. Just the same, don't call her or visit. You're going to be a sore subject for her, and for quite a while."
Shaking his head, Grant said, "I've always understood rape to be an act of hate. Does your ex-boyfriend really hate you, and that much?"
Jane considered, and replied, "I don't think so. I believe what transpired tonight was a combination of alcohol in the systems of inexperienced drinkers, and also what is essentially a male rape fantasy coming into play. Sure, they're having to force me right now, but I'm a total slut, so I'll really get into it in a little while. I'll be happy they did it."
"I can be happy about one thing," I stated.
"What would that be?" asked Joan.
"Richard Ross, Lance's stepfather, is no longer employed by the Encinitas police department. Can you imagine the games that would get played if he was?"
Bekka wrinkled her brow and replied, "I'm not sure what games they'd play. There is no physical evidence to lose or destroy, there are no witnesses to tamper with, and Ross would know we don't intimidate easily. There is no fast one to pull."
Joan said, "Don't worry, Lenny. This is Encinitas, not Chicago."