Statistic. I’d been one of those my entire life. From my parent’s unwanted pregnancy, to being raped at the tender age of thirteen. The tolerable childhood I had known disappeared, and the road I was on took a wrong turn, right into the bare wasteland of fucked-upville.
No amount of counseling could help me, and my parents didn’t insist that I go. When my father said my rapist had been taken care of, the incident died in their eyes. It wasn’t to be talked about again and I was meant to move on with my life. As if a child of thirteen could forget that the bodyguard she’d trusted had practically torn her apart.
It didn’t end there.
Isolated. Completely withdrawn. Four years dragged on at a torturous pace. At seventeen, I stayed out of the public eye as much as possible. My deep thoughts consumed me and I basked in them. They were all I had. With my father being a political figure, people were always watching. That’s probably why when the BDSM club I had snuck into with my fake ID got raided, my father’s cronies knew right where to find me. They had swept me out of that back room so fast it made my head spin. I hadn’t even had a clue they were there. Or maybe they were the ones who caused the raid. I never discovered the truth.
To my family, I was broken. A disgrace. The biggest embarrassment to hit since my mother’s adulterous affair was exposed in black and white photos, plastered to the massive pillars that framed our front porch. Like with me, the black stain on my father’s reputation magically disappeared with no front page headlines. It took a few weeks, but everything went back to being perfect for them and, once again, I became the outcast.
They couldn’t understand how a rape victim would have an insatiable need for sexual acts. Really dark, twisted ones. But I did. The hate I held for myself knew no bounds and I needed control. Even if it was being the consenting party to things most people wouldn’t dream of. I was ruined. It took me until I was twenty-two to realize that I wasn’t as damaged as I had always believed. Technically, I was still a virgin. That was a gift. Maybe time had healed a piece of me and shown me the light. Or maybe I had completely disassociated myself. Regardless, I was free of the guilt. But not of my nature. That became my secret, balled up deep inside, wrapped in leather and latex.
I forged ahead, beginning my new life with renewed vigor. It didn’t matter that it was all an act. College became more of a necessity than a way to waste my time or my father’s money. My grades improved dramatically. The dark clothing I once sported turned into sundresses and jeans with cute matching tops. Life was looking up. The bond between my family and myself was strengthening for the first time in as long as I could remember. It was probably the reason Bethany had invited me out on her husband’s yacht for a trip down the California coast.
Truthfully, I hadn’t wanted to go. Boats and I agreed about as much as eating ice cream in the rain. But, I accepted her invitation. After all, I didn’t know my sister. Not really. She was older by almost ten years. I figured it’d be a good thing, but I was wrong. So, so wrong. The trip didn’t turn out the way I expected. Why? It happened. Again. I became another statistic.
At the hands of a killer—kidnapped.
The sight of the large yacht down the length of the pier had my chest aching. Bethany beamed ahead of me, turning to throw me a huge smile like this was the best thing that’d ever happened to her. Bright, white teeth caught my attention as her platinum blonde hair blew across her flawless face. A face that belonged on the cover of a glamour magazine, and could have if she would have wanted it. Too bad she’d won the genetic lottery, because I sure as hell didn’t get her long legs or perfect figure. At almost six feet tall, my sister towered over my five-foot-three inch frame. I hated it. Every time we were around each other, she made me feel like a kid, and the memories of my childhood were the last thing I wanted to remember.
I’d woken up this morning with a gut wrenching feeling warning me not to go. Everything inside of me was throwing off red flags, warning of danger. I knew it was nothing more than an overwhelming sense of dread. The last time I was on a boat, I’d been so sick that it took me two days to fully recover. And that had been on a two hour trip, over ten years ago. If that happened again, this excursion was going to be quite the doozy.
Itching took over my skin like an addict desperate for a fix. All the while, I plastered a smile on my face and held tighter to the handle of the suitcase. Dammit. Why had I agreed to this madness? Stupid, stupid, girl. Because you’re a glutton for punishment, that’s why. And perhaps, I was. No. There was no perhaps about it. I loved misery. Pain. It fed the constant need in my core. At twenty-three, I was still just as obsessed over sex as I had always been. Just picturing being away from my private erotic haven for the nearly three weeks caused me to break out in a cold sweat. My apartment had everything to satisfy to the fullest. To keep it private, like I’d done now for years. What calmed me wouldn’t be found on this boat, and I couldn’t stand it.