Content warning for: sexual assault/sexualized violence against a woman, lots of blood.
I still didn’t think Gene was guilty, even if he was the only possible culprit.
I hadn’t seen him in days. If only we had a closer meeting place to Uptown. It was a dreadful day and the rainy season in the state, and I still had to walk from the train to Gene’s house.
But what if he was guilty? What would happen to me, or to Junior, or to Gene’s family? Would Kari ever forgive me if I discovered that her dad tried to kill a whole family? His kids would be there too. I hated the thought of talking about this in front of them.
“Weird time to visit my dad.” Ryu greeted me at the door, while having a snack and wearing nothing but a pair of boxers. His hair was down from its half-bun too.
“It’s an emergency, I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m also sorry that I have to see everyone like this.”
“Nah, my dad’s definitely worse off.”
My throat tightened because I had no idea what Ryu meant by that. The house was dark, as usual, and some packed boxes were off to the side. Gene never told me that this was a plan of his.
His bedroom was on the ground floor, and I could hear something in there. But I could go outside onto the deck and see him through the window, packing a suitcase and having a beer close by. There was another woman in there with him too, and she looked like the one that Kari saw and described some nights before. Well, she didn’t look like his type. That much was right.
I didn’t care if Gene was dating another woman, especially if she was his age. She had lots of charcoal-colored hair pulled into one braid. She might have looked even older up close. But I could focus on that, and had to get his attention instead. If he was moving, the court wouldn’t like that! He was digging himself into a deeper hole.
I knocked on his window. There were weirder things I could have done. I didn’t want to yell anything incriminating where the whole neighborhood could hear it.
His companion let me in on the inside.
“See Laura, I told you I’m the luckiest man in the world,” he said. Laura still had her arms folded.
“You’re not,” I said.
“I’m about to run away and my favorite troubled Asian comes back? I’m thrilled! We have room in the truck for you and everything.” He even grabbed me before I could keep a distance between us.
“This is crazy, why are you even doing this?” He couldn’t have known about the arrest warrant, right? “No matter what’s going on, you don’t have to run away.”
“The Armenian Embassy isn’t that bad,” Laura said. Her voice was calm but very hoarse. “Does this kid not know embassy rules yet?”
“Pack up the truck, looks like I have some stuff to tell her,” said Gene.
I liked having Laura around more, whoever she was. Being alone with Gene in his bedroom was awful, even if the door was left open. No wonder Kari had to talk about her, but she also missed some details. She sounded like a magician that would make Gene disappear.
“I have so many questions,” I said. He had turned around and grabbed me closer to him. It was close enough to feel his hot, alcoholic breath.
“Don’t worry, we’re not fucking if that’s what worried you. I mean, she’s Asian but she’s not my kind of Asian. You can still have me.”
“I don’t want you and I don’t care about that! I had news to tell you but…something’s worse. You didn’t tell me you were moving.”
“We’re moving. I tried to call!”
Even if I thought of another sentence, I couldn’t say it. Gene could throw me around like a sack of rice. He always could. He was so much bigger than me, so there was no way I could act in an instant to stop him.
Gene pinned me down to the bed, just using the force of his own body. I could flail my legs but it was useless against Gene. He probably couldn’t even feel me if I kicked him. His belly was on top of mine and his heaviest part, so my own core was powerless.
The worst part was that I could feel how erect he was. Under my skirt. He even drooled a little from the beer, with it dripping onto my collarbone.
“So what if I did a bad thing, or a ton of bad things? You’re at my right hand and you’re gonna to be the next one to be investigated,” he said, grinning. I would have yelled and screamed to get him to stop saying those things, but he smothered half of my face with his large hand. I had trouble breathing. So all I did was cry. My makeup ran, and unlike with everyone else, it didn’t get him to stop and listen to me. “You don’t want that, and you don’t want to waste more of your life in Uptown anyways. And I’m going to have you.”
The worst part was how he read my mind, or he did at some point. I used to want to leave Uptown, but in a hearse. If he asked me that just after Axel left, I would have followed Gene to any crazy place. But Uptown was now full of family and friends. It was looking more lush. I’d even sit on my bed and look out my window in case there were any stars.
I pushed against his arm. I wanted to say anything. Gene never acted like that, even at his most despicable. But after what he admitted to…
“…did you try to kill Joseph?” I asked him, after I pushed his hand away.
“Do you mind that I did? He didn’t leave us another choice.” His breath was warm and seductive, but I didn’t want that anymore. I was done with people seducing me just to fix their own problems! If I was alone I’d scream and curse Gene and Axel for using me like that! But Gene scared me, more than ever in his bedroom. And I was as scared of his children too, who were nowhere to be seen.
“I do! I didn’t want him to be hurt, I promised him I’d try to find justice…shouldn’t you?”
“Can you fuck me one more time?” he asked. “Please Thu, I don’t want to leave my life behind having missed out on your sweet Viet pussy again! And you’re right in my bedroom. It’s perfect.”
The lights were bright and his bedroom was just like those many rooms that Matteo had. I’d spread my legs in one for the man who would shower attention and care onto me…
…did that life even help me? Not like Gene was asking before dry-humping my inner thighs. But all the other choices in my life, even right down to if my mother sold me as a sickly bride, were as bad as where I actually was. I was always the miserable doll to everyone. Even Axel, who was kind and special and treated me like a goddess, still liked Thu the miserable doll. He even wanted to be her.
I finally found a way to push him off me, taking advantage of the alcohol. Pushing his chest was able to set him off balance.
“I’m done with you!”
I wanted to say so much more to calm him. I know you’re being arrested, but I won’t say a word, it’ll be like we never met. Most people are better off without meeting me. But acting fast was more important. I ran to the corner, with my hands free, and couldn’t find a way to open his window and run.
He kept a spider plant in a stone pot on his desk. It looked heavy, maybe too heavy for me to pick up.
It was hard to pick up, but not impossible. It added so much more force to my tiny body and I could keep him away! I just needed to position it right so I could hit him in the head or balls. He was running towards me. I had one chance.
“Oh, so we’re doing this tonight? That’s almost hot,” Gene slurred as he came closer and closer to me. He sounded drunk but he had a sinister smile. It was full of teeth like a shark’s mouth.
I tried to lift the plant as high as I could and scream. I decided to try and aim for the head because I didn’t think sore balls would stop him as much. Gene ran towards me at full force. I didn’t even know what he planned to do with me against a window–
There’s this feeling with a deep cut where they don’t bleed immediately. I did that to my legs a lot. But I still thought that I might not have been cut all over from broken glass until I felt the wet blood. My head and neck hurt the most from the fall though and I was seeing static and stars. My chest couldn’t move either from pain. And then Gene landed on top of me with full force.
He was in bad shape too, drunk and full of cuts. But he wouldn’t get up and trust that I’d tell no one what happened to Joseph, or to me. And he wouldn’t let go with all that evidence I had against Joseph and myself. My blood was on his clothes and his patio. His kids would eventually notice…I hoped they would.
I regretted not wearing pants to Gene’s house, but I didn’t like pants that much. I thought a long skirt and tights would protect me. I couldn’t fight back at all while paralyzed under him. My chest couldn’t even inflate correctly. It felt like a popped balloon and I didn’t know if glass or a bone broke it. I couldn’t walk if I tried to get away. But I feared what he would do to me. He could do anything.
But he wasn’t reaching up my skirt again. Gene laid on top of me and was laughing. He still had his erection and it felt like he was touching himself, but that was better than the alternative. I was afraid of how he’d try to get his last touch of Viet pussy.
“Stop laughing,” I whispered. It really hurt to whisper. “This is hell.”
“Ugh, oh man, I disagree,” he said. He came in his pants. I hoped someone would call an ambulance because I was feeling worse and worse. For once, I didn’t want to die. It was glamorous to overdose or bleed out in a fancy penthouse, but not to be an almost-raped corpse on Gene’s patio. His kids didn’t seem to pay attention to this either, not even–
“Don’t move your head,” Kari said softly. She did everything to hold her dad back and get him off me, and she smelled like hibiscus shampoo and wore only a towel.
Kari didn’t have a place to put Gene either. All she could do was hold her drunk father away from me. He didn’t even care about how she felt, did he? Gene was hanging off her grasp and looked dazed, but he didn’t do anything to comfort her. Wouldn’t she be torn up inside knowing what he did?
I lay there with my mouth open and trying my best to breathe, but I was feeling it become even harder and the sharp pain worsened. I didn’t believe the life flashing before your eyes thing about dying either. It had to happen to some people, but my cha? He didn’t expect to die and slept through it.
It was feeling like my death was going to be bleak, more and more. The world started to look like static, or like our old TV when I was growing up. I was dying like Cha after all. My chest felt wet and heavy, my memories started to slip…
…but I was awake enough to hear crying and sirens. Crying and sirens. Maybe my life was flashing before my eyes after all.