Guilt by any other name is still guilt.
Kani Rutherford was reacquainted with her guilt quite unexpectedly on a sunny Friday afternoon at precisely six twenty six p.m. Its arrival had been most unanticipated, popping up after the server brought the appetizer, and just as she prepared to take a sip of her drink.
Her guilt didn’t ooze up from some dark recess, slithering into view quietly, to present her with a glimpse, as if an old acquaintance had waved from across the room. Neither did it give a twinge of warning, in the form of a small prodding, as if someone behind her had used a sharp stick to get her attention.
Instead, she was inundated, as if a tsunami had burst upon her, in an instant soaking her completely, with water as cold as the arctic. She sat, as if time had stopped, frozen utterly. She vaguely felt herself tense, felt her butthole clench reflexively. She desperately wished to make no sound, to convey not the least hint that she was afflicted.
She could have felt no worse, no more shamed and mortified had she pooped her panties in front of a thousand people, all of whom knew her.
What she most wanted to do was to leap up, burst into tears, and run from the restaurant, to flee the evil that had suddenly materialized between her and the man sitting across from her. He had uttered only one small sentence, while casually watching the TV over the bar, which was running a news show.
The news anchor had been relating the tale of a woman who had been beaten by her husband, after he had discovered that she had been a prostitute in the past, and had hidden this awkward fact from him. Her boyfriend had shrugged, and sighed, glancing at her, and saying, “I couldn’t put up with a woman that lied to me about that!” So simple, so inescapable.
Now, Kani sat, evaluating a hundred choices, a zillion possible responses. What should have been a simple task was now made impossible by one wicked, evil fact; Kani had herself been a prostitute when she was young, had hidden that fact from everyone she knew. That her record had been expunged, stripped away, rendered as if it had never been, after she had gotten herself on a better path, had gone from a GED to college, had been a law abiding, productive woman now for many years, suddenly seemed to be irrelevant. She knew what she had been and done, now understood that the guilt of it had merely been out of sight, not eliminated.
And the man she thought she loved had just declared that he likely wouldn’t forgive her if he knew.
Kani shifted position, and took a sip of her Margarita, desperate to gain every second with which to think. Setting her drink down, she looked pensively at Rob, and said, “Really? That doesn’t sound very charitable or forgiving!” she sighed, praying she didn’t look as guilty or miserable as she felt.
Rob found this amusing. “Oh come on! Lying about a traffic ticket is one thing, but being a hooker…and not admitting that? What a piece of crap! Can’t expect a man to just wave that away, can you?” he asked, eyeing her. Kani felt her heart pounding, feared that Rob could somehow notice or hear it. She kept her eyes downcast, focused on stirring her drink with her index finger, instead of the plastic stirrer.
“You do understand that most of them…the girls…are just that? Girls, helpless and miserable, mostly addicted to drugs, and having no one to help them? Well, until some nice pimp comes along, and saves them?!” she declared, her voice suddenly displaying an energy and anger, which seemed odd to Rob.
“Don’t take it so personal! Were you ever one?” he asked, clearly teasing.
Kani was so tense, so tight, she was holding her breath.
“Of course I was!” she finally declared. Rob turned almost white.
“You were a…a…a hooker?!” he hissed, shocked. Using her will alone, Kani giggled.
“No silly…I was a girl! Young and stupid, like everyone else! But I did one of my projects for school on the working girls; they’re not wicked…just miserable victims, for the most part!” she insisted, giving him a stern look.
“Sorry…I suppose I’m uninformed. Still, I don’t know how anyone could just overlook that sort of thing…especially if he was thinking of making babies with a woman,”
“And are you thinking of making babies with someone…or just going through the motions…practicing?” she demanded. Rob sensed a trap, and grinned.
“Nice try! I don’t know about the rest, but I do like the practice runs…don’t you?” he countered.
“Maybe. But tonight may not be good…I’m getting a headache,” she lied. Rob looked disappointed, but soon shrugged it off, moving on to other subjects. Kani let herself be dragged along, desperately wanting her worry and guilt to go away.
It was bad enough to be surfeited with her guilt, but now she had a worse problem; the fear that somehow, Rob might find out the truth of her past. She was no longer just guilty of the sin of omission, for not being honest earlier. Now she had been presented with the chance to confess, a chance to explain, and she had done neither. She had sat calmly on her cute ass, and lied to the man she was falling in love with.
You were a hooker? he had said, shocked and accusing.
No, she had replied, boldly, foolishly, perhaps unforgivably, dishonest.
I’d be better off if God just struck me down! she thought on the ride back to her apartment. She had fallen into a quiet funk, which Rob took to be proof of her having a headache. Giving her a warm hug and kiss, after walking her to her door, she whispered, “Thank you…for understanding…about my head!” Promising to call the next afternoon, and cautioning her to drink water and get a good night’s sleep, he departed, and she closed the door.
Kani tossed her purse and keys down on the coffee table, heading to the bedroom. She was stripping off her clothes as she went, feeling constricted, and simultaneously bursting into tears.
She cried unabated, once she was naked, continued her teary fit while perched on the toilet to pee. Her sobbing got so intense, so strong, that she managed to make herself sick. She ended up leaping up, to turn around, and falling to her knees, she retched into the commode, before finally hurling up her dinner and drinks. Miserable, still weeping, she rested her cheek against the cold porcelain.
When she finally realized what she was doing, and felt no further urge to throw up, she climbed to her feet, and turned on the shower. She stood, leaning against the tile, letting the hot water run over her back a long time. When the water got cold, she still stood, letting it go until she was miserable from the cold. Only then did she turn it off. Toweling herself, she looked in the mirror, noting her red eyes. Her thoughts came as random snippets.
The water can’t take the dirt away…can it? You’re a fucking mess! So much for being over your past! You still feel dirty, don’t you? You think Rob would want to do it with a whore? If alcoholics are always alcoholics, and drug addicts are always drug addicts, aren’t whores always whores?! And you, Kani, were a dirty whore! You let men pay you to fuck you! You sucked their dicks for cash…to get money for heroin! You let them have your butt…because you made more money! Now you want to pretend you’re a nice girl, a decent woman…someone a man would want to marry and make babies with! What a liar! You aren’t honest, aren’t even honest with yourself! You’ve been lying all this time, pretending to be someone you aren’t! What a piece of shit you are girl!
This self recrimination seemed familiar, was something she had oft spoken to herself, back when she was an addict, a whore, desperate for the next fix. When she was high, she hadn’t cared what it took to get the drug, only on the way down, and before the next fix hit her was she so brutal towards herself.
Kani looked in the mirror. She was a pleasant looking woman, neither short nor tall. She had a soft, curvy bottom, which men now liked, and nice breasts which most admired. Kani saw none of that at the moment, seeing herself as she had been, severely underweight, scrawny, her arms tracked with needle marks. She had almost died twice from overdosing, was finally shocked into seeking help when a nun, shaking her head, had looked upon her, having seen her pass through the emergency room before, and said, “Let me give you last rites, honey…you’ll likely be dead before I see you again!”
I thought that was the hardest part…getting clean, going to school, making new friends. It wasn’t, was it? It’s living with my nasty secret…with the past I just want to go away! But no matter how hard I try…how much I pretend…its still there! What good is it to have God forgive me if I can’t forgive myself?! she wanted to scream. Instead, she moaned, and tossed her bare body on the bed.
I don’t want to lose Rob! But how can I expect him to not feel the way he does? I think I’m a nasty whore…what else would he think of me? she sobbed, her face buried in her pillow. I just want to be loved…to be considered a nice person…to be desirable…not some degenerate reject!
The idea that she alone was responsible for her past decisions cut at her. She sighed, remembering how easily it had been, to let someone she knew talk her into trying heroin.
It made me feel so fucking wonderful! Made me forget I was lonely, forget I had a shitty family. Made me forget how much I missed my father, she thought, the memory of her father’s passing when she was barely nine still a deep and abiding wound that would not heal.
I loved it…was such a fucking dunce! I wanted it so much…what did I care if someone wanted to put his dick in me, if I was high? I didn’t give a shit! Do me, just give me more! But then, I started to hurt without it, and that’s when it got wicked. I was such a lousy junkie! Once I was hooked, I didn’t care what it took to get me high! She shuddered at the memories of what she had done, feeling as if her body was on fire from her sense of shame.
No one should have to go through that…feel that bad! she lay still for several moments, trying to stop her mind, but failed.
Desperate to push away her memories, her feelings, she turned over on her back, and began touching her breasts, wanting to fantasize, to masturbate, if that might give her some relief from her guilt.
She pictured Rob, and how he played with her, so gentle and skilled. She had never had an orgasm during intercourse, until he had applied his efforts to her body. The sensations of sexual arousal she experienced with him had been almost as shockingly good as the heroin had seemed at first, but unlike the drug, his pleasuring of her had not turned either addicting or painful. She smiled at this, but was distracted by memories of her days as a whore…the dirty motel rooms, the loathsome men, who paid money to use her hard, these flashed into her mind, and she lost her sensual feeling, in a flood of shame.
Disgusted, she got up, and went to get her phone. Retrieving it, she came back to the bed, and plopped down. It took a moment to find the number she was seeking, to touch the button to dial it, and on the fourth ring, an instant before voice mail could snatch the call, she heard the voice she most needed.
“Mara!” the voice breathlessly spoke. “What are you doing?” she added, having glanced at her phone and seen who was calling. Kani, overwhelmed by a wave of relief, burst into tears.
“Mara…get over here! Now! I need you! I’m miserable!” she gasped, before her sobbing made talking impossible.
Mara, the magic one.
Mara was in some ways an exact opposite of Kani. Where Kani was blond, Mara was a brunette with very dark hair. Kani was middling in height, but Mara was short, lacking two inches of being even five foot in height. Kani had full breasts and a moderately wide butt, Mara was small of breast, and had a round, but boyish ass. Blue eyes; brown eyes. Quiet and reserved, versus loud, boisterous and out going for Mara.
In spite of being so unalike in appearance and temperament, they had meshed perfectly, intensely, inarguably so. Not that they didn’t argue; they did so almost non-stop, bickering like sisters. If one declared a thing to be a certain way, the other seemed to obsessively say otherwise. Yet in spite of this, or perhaps in perverse reason, because of it, they seemed inseparably close and dependant on each other.
They had met in college, Kani, because of her detour through whoredom and addiction, being several years behind where a normal girl might have been. Mara was four years her junior, and like her, a former junkie, who had become an addict in high school, but having a functioning family, had lost only a year to her problem, before being rescued.
Mara had never needed to turn to prostitution to afford the next fix, having mooched money from her relatives when she could, stolen when she couldn’t, and chosen shoplifting as her go to means of making cash. This had spared her the necessity of being a whore, but had not allowed her to avoid a record; she had been picked up several times for her shoplifting. It was in court, sweating, sick and miserable, having been stuck in juvenile detention all weekend with no way to get high, that she faced a judge with the insight to ask her why she was stealing. Mara, who had been suspected of being a junkie before, but had lied so emphatically that her parents believed her, was now miserable and desperate, had confessed to the obvious cause, and was sent to rehab. Her first walk on the road to hell proved informative, and she returned clean but didn’t stay that way, the lure of her dubious friends dragging her back into trouble. It took a second trip on the road to hell, to save her.
Kani and Mara had been friends nearly a year, before they confessed to each other their respective pasts, after a night of drinking with friends. When the last friend had departed, they ended up snuggled in bed, laughing and talking, They had occasionally slept together, never doing anything sexual, being merely close and warm. It was Mara who first blurted out her secret, being more blatant and less reserved. This had engendered a teary fit on Kani’s part, and a sobbing admission of her own sordid past. They found this providentially perfect, a sign of their alignment and belonging with each other, and they had pledged their undying love and friendship on the spot, which they sealed with a small, hesitant kiss. Pleased by their openness and forthrightness, they had cuddled and prepared to sleep, secure and content. They had then promptly passed out.
They awoke late the next morning to find that they had slept so deeply, they had both wet the bed. Hung over, half embarrassed, they had laughed hysterically, finding this just one more reason to belong with each other. Ever after, they cryptically referred to their night of confession as the time we peed together, and any who overheard them were completely clueless as to what might have occurred.
Mara wasted no time in arriving at Kani’s apartment, and she didn’t even ring the bell. She had a key, which she used to open the door, just as Kani had a key to Mara’s place. They continued to be roommates, even when living separately. Rob had quizzed Kani deeply about her friend, having awoken one Saturday and wandered to the kitchen naked to get a drink; he encountered a mostly bare Mara rummaging in the fridge. He found this perplexing and odd, suspected that something kinky might be involved, but likely because Mara was not only outgoing and calm, but rather cute to look at, especially uncovered, he listened to her quick explanation of both who she was, and why she was in Kani’s apartment in nothing but her panties.
Rob had more or less gotten used to Mara’s comings and goings, had gotten to enjoy the view of her bare, since she had as little urge to be dressed as Kani exhibited at times. Rob was getting an eyeful of her friend’s charms, but other than being told, look but don’t fondle, by Kani, she seemed to have no concern or jealousy of her friend, or worry that she might run off with him. Even though he thought their behavior a bit weird, he shrugged and did what almost any man would do, and simple enjoyed it.
When she reached the bedroom, it took no time for Mara to gauge the depth of Kani’s crisis. Stepping close, she hugged her friend strongly, kissed her cheek, and stood up, to strip off her clothes. She ran to the bathroom to potty, and ran back, to slip under the covers; with just one bedside lamp on, so she could watch Kani’s face; they snuggled close.
“Okay…spill your guts! What happened, to make you this fucked up?!” she demanded.
“Nothing! Everything! I…I…Rob…he said…how he feels…I…” Kani got no further, bursting again into sobs. Mara sighed, having dealt with Kani’s hesitation to speak more than once.
“Take a breath, and calm down. It isn’t the end of the world…is it?” she asked.
“Could…could be!” Kani moaned between sobs.
It took time for Mara to get Kani to disclose her main fears, even longer for her to confess all of her utter shame and guilt, which had reappeared so unexpectedly to assault her. She was saddened, but a good bit annoyed too.
“Look at me! Aren’t you the girl who told me you were over your past? That you’d let it go, moved on and buried it firmly away? Someone’s lied to me…and herself, hasn’t she?” Mara suggested, playing with Kani’s hair. This engendered a mournful sigh.
“Maybe,” she whispered, looking at Mara with teary, red eyes.
“I should spank you!” Mara suggested sternly. She was surprised at how quickly Kani blushed.
“Tell me! You like being spanked?” she demanded, her mouth wanting to fall open. Kani shrugged, before Mara poked her ribs.
“Don’t!” she quickly cried. “Alright…I suppose I do…I had a guy who did that, and then…you know…played with me…I was being a naughty schoolgirl, if you must snoop!” she said, and finally giggled.
“You ever play naughty girl for a teacher for real?” Mara wondered. Kani blushed again, and hide her face with her pillow. Mara pried it loose, and threatened her with it.
“Stop being so embarrassed about everything you’ve ever done! Dear God, everyone does slutty things when they’re young and stupid!”
“So what’s the worst thing you’ve done, Miss Bossy One!” Kani retorted. Mara had to consider this for a time.
“Well?” Kani prodded.
“Don’t rush me! I’ve done a lot of slutty things…”
Kani snorted at this. “Bet you never got paid to let a guy piss on you…did you?” she slyly asked, grinning wickedly.
Mara shrugged. “Worse…I let a guy pee on me for free…just to see what it would feel like. I peed on him too, then we took a shower, and fucked. It was pretty slutty,” she sighed, looking amazingly unembarrassed.
“That’s the worst?”
“Oh God no!” she sighed, falling silent. Kani waited patiently several moments, and when Mara said no more, she poked her ribs just like Mara had done her.
“Well?!” she demanded. She was surprised to see Mara, who normally seemed unflappable and much less sensitive to embarrassment than Kani, blush strongly. She managed to look much like a naughty three year old.
“I…I fucked a cop, so he’d let me go…once…he caught me with a bunch of heroin…actually, I…I offered to blow him, but he made me spread it…at a cheap motel,” Mara admitted, her voice a whisper.
“And that’s the worst thing you ever did?” Kani snorted, her own memory making light of this act.
“Well…not…actually…I uh…the worst…I let my brother fuck my ass!” she managed to gasp, before hiding her face under the pillow.
“Oh, wow, you were a slut!” Kani sighed. “How’d that come to be? I can’t imagine you’d just go volunteer? Hey brother, want some of my tight butt? Really? Explain that to me…I’m just dying to know!” she teased.
Mara, still under her pillow, mumbled. “Oh, fuck you!” halfheartedly. She emerged, her resolve more like normal. Looking intently at Kani, she said, “I was already screwing him…it’s just…one night, I was high, and he fingered my ass. It felt good, so when he suggested it, for like the hundredth time, I thought, why not?” Kani’s mouth dropped open reflexively. When she finally managed to close it, she tried to reply calmly.
“You had sex with your brother? Real…dick in pussy, lips on dick sort of…really? And you didn’t find that…odd? But giving him your ass was somehow…slutty?” Oh, holy shit! How is that possible?!” she demanded. Mara shrugged.
“He was sorta…blackmailing me. No, that’s a lie. He was covering for me…helping me hide my heroin addiction…you know, from my parents. I was sixteen, and dumb as a rock! He caught me shooting up one night, and was going to rat my ass out. I’m sure he thought I was a complete loser…a piece of shit! I begged him to wait, to not leave the room…while I thought of something to deal with. I couldn’t bribe him with money…it took every cent I could beg, borrow or steal to keep me going! I cried a bunch. About that time the smack kicked my ass, and I felt wonderful!” Kani giggled at this, more than familiar with what that felt like.
“You wanted your puss played with, didn’t you?” she slyly suggested.
“Sure did! I thought, maybe he’ll want some pussy?! I thought I was a genius; get laid and bribe him to shut up!”
“So you offered it?” Kani whispered.
Mara shook her head sharply. “I stood up, and stripped…I basically begged for it. Got it too!” she laughed a moment, before sobering. “My parents never knew I was paying protection with my pussy. They haven’t got a clue…think Tom’s an angel. Course I do too! He took good care of my horny little snatch.” Kani shook her head.
“Good thing you didn’t get pregnant! That would have been wicked!” Mara suddenly turned pale.
“No…I did…I just lied, and claimed I’d been screwing a whole bunch of different guys and got dad to pay for an abortion. That’s…that’s how they found out I was a junkie the second time; a nurse spotted the needle marks between my toes, while I had my feet up and bottom spread!”
“So it was easier to have your parents think you were a complete slut, than admit your brother was plowing you? Wow! He should love you!” Kani sighed.
Mara shrugged. “I’ve made a comeback, from my wanton, stupid youth, but he’s still the golden one! I think he’d murder someone for me, from pure gratitude.”
“Have you given him any more pussy?” Kani wondered. Mara shook her head quickly.
“Hell no!” she insisted, but then looked guilty again.
“Tell me!” Kani prodded.
“I…I sometimes…you know…fantasize about doing it…with him. He taught me a lot!” she insisted. “What are you laughing at?!” she indignantly wanted to know.
“You….you’re such a slut! God, I wish I was so easy about my sexuality!”
“You said you had trouble doing it…after being a…whore?” Mara gently asked. Kani nodded, the feelings reminding her again of her problems.
“Oh, I had no trouble doing it…I just didn’t feel anything! I didn’t have an orgasm…you know, while screwing, until Rob…” she said, and began sobbing once again, terrified of what she might lose.