bitter Chocolat: Pre.

Black Woman Pencil Drawing by Shahrzad Ranj

Black Woman Pencil Drawing by Shahrzad Ranj


Beauty provokes harassment, the law says, but it looks through men’s eyes when deciding what provokes it.
— Naomi Wolf

When Leila was sixteen years old she lost her virginity...and her memory of it. One weekend, while Leila’s parents were out of town, she stayed over her best friend Didi's house. Didi and Leila had been as thick as thieves since the 2nd grade.  Although they both attended different high schools, the girls spent as much time together as possible. Didi went to the public high school in the neighborhood, while Leila attended an all-girls prep school for the gifted on a full ride academic scholarship. This dynamic could have hurt other best friends, but not Leila and Didi. Something else entirely, that no one could ever have predicted, would be responsible for that destruction.

Leila and Didi were hanging out in the living room watching Gossip Girl when Kelley, Didi's older brother, burst in the front door.  Kelley, a very popular, charming, and handsome senior in his last year of college, was sort of like a big brother to Leila. Leila, an only child, was genuinely happy to see him and rose to give him a hug. After a long stint away from the neighborhood, Kelley had decided to come home for the weekend to do some laundry and grocery shop from the family kitchen.  He did a double take when he saw Leila not only because it had been awhile since he last saw her,  she had blossomed overnight. Leila, along with Didi, rushed to greet Kelley.  It didn’t occur to Leila, when Kelley rested his palms on either side of her frame to take a good look at her, that he was checking her out. She also didn't notice that he purposefully grazed the side of her breasts with his palms.  Leila was shy and naive and did not spend a lot of time around boys not only because she went to an all-girls school, but also due to her academic commitments. Because of this, she did not think anything of Kelley's actions.

Kelley knew he was being very inappropriate. He was five years older than Leila and his sister, but he just didn't care. Kelley had always been a charming and handsome guy, but he had a dark side to his personality that he kept very well hidden. However, his careful veneer was about to crack and Leila was the trigger. Kelley plastered his practiced smile all over his face and hopped onto the couch in the living room where Leila and Didi were once seated. Kelley asked the girls if they were going out for the evening, or were they planning on being lame high-schoolers all night. Nonplussed, Leila told Kelley that she was staying over because her parents were out of town, unwittingly giving him the opening he needed for his predatory desires.

Kelley told the girls that he was going to invite a friend over to hang out. He knew that his sister Didi had a crush on one of the brothers who recently crossed his fraternity. Didi had fawned all over the newbie when she visited Kelley on campus the previous month. He texted the newbie to invite him over and also keep his sister occupied. Kelley told Leila and Didi to pick a movie and order some food, while he left to get drinks.  By the time he got back, his frat brother had arrived and was chatting up both girls.  Kelley, a territorial and jealous man, was pissed the newbie was even speaking to Leila and gave him a deadly stare behind the girls back. Leila and Didi finally noticed that Kelley had returned and became increasingly excited at the prospect of hanging out with college guys and drinking alcohol.

Kelley told them to start the movie as he went into the kitchen to make drinks. After handing a glass to everyone, they gathered in the basement to watch the movie. Didi got flirty and tipsy very quickly, but Leila stayed measured in her drinking.  Kelley maintained the "big brother" farce rather than hitting on her to keep her at ease. A third of the way into the movie, he offered to make everyone another round of drinks which they all accepted. When Kelley got to Leila's drink, he took a small vial of Rohypnol from his back pocket and snuck some into her glass.  He handed everyone their beverages after returning to the basement, occasionally glancing over at Leila's consumption.

Remembering his parents, Kelley rushed back into the kitchen to clean up and hide any liquor bottles to avoid being interrupted. Although he was twenty-one, his little sister and her friend were only sixteen. Like the predator he was shaping up to be, Kelley wanted his plans for Leila to go smoothly, and was doing everything to ensure his parents headed straight for the bedroom upon their return home. Once he was done cleaning, he went back downstairs noting that everyone was in various stages of inebriation. Leila was precariously close to losing consciousness, so Kelley told her he would take her to the spare bedroom where her overnight bag was. After mumbling in agreement, he then scooped her up, took her into the room, and locked the door behind him.

Leila was unconscious when Kelley sexually assaulted her.  She was sixteen years old when she lost her virginity and she didn't know it.

The next morning, Leila woke up in her pajamas but had no recollection of even putting them on. She felt sore all over her body and a little dirty even though she was clean. Leila felt something was off and began crying.  She then rationalized that maybe she was hungover and simply had a bad reaction to drinking alcohol for the first time. Leila's parents were foreign and extremely old-fashioned, so they never thought to talk with her about these things.  Leila instinctively knew something wasn't right but she had nothing to hang her naive hat on. She gathered her composure and went to the bathroom to brush her teeth because Didi's mother was calling her name for breakfast.

Leila headed to the kitchen. She lowered herself into a seat at the breakfast table as Kelley walked in.  Kelley said "good morning" and smiled at Leila as her body reflexively turned ice cold. A confused Leila whispered good morning back to Kelley. Suddenly, Leila became afraid of him and she had no clue, save for this nagging intuition, that Kelley was someone to be feared.

 

FOUR YEARS LATER…

 

We ah sip that Henny for the day baby

Come my, my way baby

Top down on the highway baby

And if you let me love you, wait

Shawty she ain’t even got a visa

Out of town, one night teaser

Need to tell them other…ease up

I’m falling but everyone falls…

The two moved like they were made for each other, in tandem, to the song.  Some partygoers were equally feeling the groove and grinding to the music. Others watched Ike and Leila dance, sensing something special, different, and beautiful between the two and were unable to tear their eyes away. One partygoer, however, was hidden in the shadows and not so enchanted by their connected and magnetic pairing. He seethed with a dark foreboding promising pain.  His furious gaze and intense anger was unstable and focused entirely on the couple. Kelley was not done with his sweet Leila. He was never going to be done with her. No one was going to have her…except for him.

…TO BE CONTINUED.

bitter chocolat (2017)

xoxo, theMND.