Chapter 16: You’ll Never Look at Me the Same!
Caution: This Coming of Age Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including mt/ft, mt/Fa, Humor, Sports, School, Slow,
Desc: Coming of Age Sex Story: Chapter 16: You’ll Never Look at Me the Same! - David's Junior Year is beginning with a sharp edge to it. His best friend is dead. The girl he'd thought he would spend the rest of his life with is now lost to him as well. He's facing new challenges and pressures due to his rapidly increasing fame. He doesn't just want to survive - he wants to excel. He'll have to reach deep inside himself and find the inner strength and toughness, the resolve and focus, to achieve his dreams. The continuation of the award winning Stupid Boy saga.
Monday October 26
I was still in shock that Pam would accuse me of rape. It had to be her dad’s idea, because we’d never even had rough sex. Furthermore, Pam wasn’t shy around me. We’d been friends for almost a year now. She knew me well enough to know that if she were pregnant, I’d support her. Pam knew my family. She knew how my brother had done the right thing, and stepped up and married Angie. She also knew about the charity I helped Angie organize for pregnant teens. I was simply mystified at the allegation.
The only thing that made sense was that Cal, Pam’s dad, had to be the driving force. He had not been happy when we were caught having sex. So much so that he’d sent Pam and Lacy, Pam’s mom, on a vacation for the rest of the summer to keep us apart. If the baby had been conceived when I thought it had, it was the day she came home. I could see where that might set him off.
I would think that, being a lawyer, he would know that an allegation of rape would be hard to sell. First of all, the act that caused the pregnancy was two months ago. In addition, Pam and I’d had sex since then at least a couple of times. He would need her to go along with the rape accusation for it even to have a chance of sticking.
There wasn’t much sense in worrying about it right now, but it did piss me off. I was sure that it was just a wild claim Cal had made in the heat of the moment when he talked to my mom. The problem was he’d said it. I left my apartment and found Rachel was ready to run. I didn’t really feel like it, but I needed to keep a consistent schedule. Rachel also had sectionals this week, so I ran our normal mile and then I quit.
I took my shower and got dressed for school. I went down to the house for breakfast. Mom and Dad were cooking, so I sat down and waited.
“I think it would be a good idea to avoid Pam this morning,” Dad said.
“But I need to talk to her.”
“Yes, I agree, but let things cool off first. I’ll see if I can get the Bells to come over for dinner and we can discuss this tonight,” Mom said.
“What if she comes to me?” I asked.
“Then talk to her, but don’t make her feel uncomfortable. She’ll be the mother of your child, and the last thing you need is for her to be mad with you already,” Dad said.
“You make it sound like I’ll piss her off.”
Dad looked at Mom and they both nodded.
“I think that’s exactly what I meant,” Dad said.
I was smiling inside, but didn’t need to encourage my parents. I just nodded and ate my breakfast.
When I parked my Jeep in the student parking lot, I took a moment to collect myself. My parents were crazy if they thought I wouldn’t talk to Pam. I was about to get out of my car when my phone rang. It was Frank Ingram, my PR Agent. It must be the crack of dawn in LA. I wondered what could have gotten him up this early.
“David, I wanted to catch you before you got your day started. I worked with Range Sports and we have a couple of video packets that we’ll be releasing later today. I wanted you to be aware in case you had any press requests.”
“Can you send them to me?” I asked.
“Of course. If you do get any calls from the media, be sure to call me first so we’re on the same page.”
“Why don’t you put together some talking points for me?” I suggested.
“I thought I was going to get to teach you about that,” Frank said. “I should’ve known you would already know about our dirty little secret.”
“Hey, before you go, there’s something you need to know,” I said, and then told him about Pam.
“I’ll be out on a flight later today,” Frank said, which made me nervous. “Don’t talk to anyone in the media until I get there.”
“Don’t you think you’re overreacting? High school kids have accidents all the time.”
“David, this is what you pay me for. You should’ve called me last night when you found out. This is the type of thing that can cause you serious trouble if it isn’t handled correctly. All it’ll take is some bad press to snowball into a complete mess,” he said.
“I was planning to talk to Pam this morning and get this straightened out. I’m sure her dad’s rape charge was just him being a drama queen.”
“The problem is you have to take it deadly serious! Regular people have their lives ruined over something just like this. Let’s nip this in the bud before it gets out of hand.”
When I finally hung up, I was late for class and missed my chance to talk to Pam.
I forwarded the videos to Brook, Halle and Zoe. I probably should have looked at them first, but I was in a hurry to get to PE. I think Coach Diamond was harder on football players when they were late than anyone else. He explained that we were supposed to show leadership. I was glad I hadn’t done my full run this morning, because I was sent out to run for the full hour. I vowed not to get pissed and instead to look at the bright side. At least I was able to get my run in today.
My next class was AP Trig. Zoe gave me a weak smile, which I couldn’t understand until Alan went into full bulldog mode.
“Does your mom know you almost died this weekend?”
“Yes, she was there.”
“And she let you come to school?”
“Yes, Alan. My mom thinks school is a good thing and I should attend every now and then.”
“Does she know about you riding motorcycles?”
She did. What I didn’t understand was how Alan knew. Then I looked over at Zoe and she turned her head away from me. Okay, that would explain how he found out about the wingboard. The only place I had the video for the motocross was in my Dropbox account. Then it came to me. Frank had asked for all my social media, picture and video storage passwords. I suddenly wondered what all was on the videos I sent the girls.
Alan was irritated, but I ignored him as I brought them up and played them. Of course, I hadn’t noticed that Pam Lowden, my teacher, had entered the room.
“David, if you’re watching videos, do you want to share with the class?”
“No, ma’am,” I said.
“Up front,” she ordered.
I began to play it for her. It started out showing me play football and baseball.
“That’s you, right?” she asked.
“I think the whole class should see this. Is this for one of your ads?” Ms. Lowden asked.
“I’m not sure what they’ll use it for. I haven’t seen all of it yet.”
It was just raw footage without any music or voice-overs. It showed me get creamed on the football field a few times. Then there was footage of me as I was beaned in a baseball game. The next scene was of me as I made one of my huge motocross jumps. Someone had video of Cassidy as she kicked my ass at the dojo. The next scene showed the jet waterboard as it broke. I winced when I saw that one. That was followed by the wingboard incident. I felt a little bit like I might throw up when I finally landed.
The video switched to a more positive note. There was a clip from my music video as I ran. Then it showed me hit a home run, followed by a long pass for a touchdown. We switched to winter sports, showing me on a snowboard as I cut through virgin snow, and racing on a snowmobile. The next-to-last scene was of the four stooges, the young wolves, as I drove them off. The final scene was of me as Stryker from my upcoming movie. I hadn’t seen it with all the CGI added. It was damned cool as I looked out over a burning town with both of my guns drawn. It was so friken cold there was steam coming off of my head, and there was smoke coming out of the barrels of the guns.
“Was that really you? That wasn’t a stunt double?” Ms. Lowden asked.
“I saw him fall out of the sky,” Zoe said.
Of course, they showed me dry heaving. Needless to say, we didn’t get much math done today.
By lunchtime, the Lincoln High Gossip Network was in full swing. I’d forgotten to order lunch for my college test prep class, so I was in the lunch line. Alan was stuck to me like glue. Some days I missed Jeff like crazy. When Alan was like this, I was afraid I’d punch him. Then the lunchroom went quiet. I turned around to see why, and Billy, our local police officer, was behind me.
“Can you come with me?” he asked.
“What did you do now?” Alan asked.
I ignored him and went with Billy. I didn’t want to feed the masses any more gossip than was necessary, so I figured it would be better to talk to Billy in the hall. When I stepped out of the lunchroom, there was a detective. I assumed that because he was older and in a well-worn suit.
“Thanks, Billy, I can take it from here,” the detective said. “David, I’d like for you to come to the station and we have a talk.”
“How can I help you?” I asked.
“You tell me,” the detective said.
Cute. If he had something on me, he wouldn’t be so nice or playing any games. I decided to jerk his chain a little bit.
“I can’t just leave the campus. We have to go to the office to sign me out,” I said, and started in that direction.
“I don’t think that’s necessary,” he said.
“Am I under arrest?” I asked.
“Then I’m not getting into more trouble just to help you somehow.”
I loved our school secretaries. They made him show them ID and sign me out. I now knew he was Detective Christopher Kitchens. While he did that, I sent a text to my mom and dad to let them know I was being taken to the police station for questioning.
When we arrived at the police station, I said hi to everyone there. They all knew me because they worked security at the games. I was put into an interrogation room and left to stew. I knew the drill from the last time I’d gotten into trouble. They had made me sweat for a half hour, and then started the interrogation. Since I wasn’t arrested this time, they hadn’t taken my cell phone. I called my mom.
“Where are you?” she asked.
“In an interrogation room.”
“We’re almost there. I’ve called Tom and put him on standby in case we need him,” she said. “Okay, we’re here.”
I heard my mom’s loud voice through the wall. The door opened and the detective’s face was red.
“Give me your phone,” he ordered.
I quickly shut it down. The new iPhone was hack-proof. I had no intention of giving it up and having them try to find something to pin on me. I wasn’t really sure they could take it from me, but at this point I wanted to cooperate so this whole mess would go away. The longer it went on, the more damage it could do to my career.
I handed him my phone, and a moment later, my mom and dad joined me.
“What’s this all about?” Mom asked.
I could see the detective’s plans to scare me and ask me some questions without anyone else in the room had gone out the window. I saw a momentary sign of irritation, but he quickly covered it up.
“I was hoping David could help me clear up a matter, so I brought him down to answer some questions.”
“Does he need an attorney?” Mom asked.
“No, but if he has something to hide, he might want to get one,” Detective Kitchens said. “You don’t have anything to hide, do you, David?”
“Of course I do,” I said, and the look on the detective’s face was worth it. “I’m a teenager!”
Mom gave me a look that told me to stop messing around. I put on my best little angel face.
“Right,” Detective Kitchens said, and I was glad I wasn’t alone in the room with him. “Well, then, let me ask you some questions.”
Dad’s phone buzzed. He looked at it and excused himself.
“Do you know Pam Bell?”
“Yes,” I answered.
“What is the nature of your relationship?”
“How good of friends?”
“I don’t understand the question.”
“Have you had sexual relations with Pam Bell?”
“Pam claims to be pregnant. Is it your child?”
“I would have to talk to Pam to be sure.”
“She claims it’s yours.”
“If Pam says the baby’s mine, then I’d have to agree.”
“So you’re admitting to having sex with her and getting her pregnant?” he asked, and seemed to be surprised. “Don’t you want some kind of proof other than her word?”
Dad came back in at that point, and he was pissed.
“This charade is over. I got a call that told me the press was gathering outside. I went out and the first question thrown at me was why David had raped Pam,” Dad said, as he stared at the detective. “What I want to know is: how did they know he was here? And second is: how did they know you were trying to pin a rape charge on him?”
“I have no idea. Can you give me a moment?” Detective Kitchens said, and then left the room.
“Call Frank. We need advice,” I said.
Mom talked to Frank and he suggested that I make my escape out the back. I would get Billy to give me a ride and my parents would pick me up away from the press. The detective came back into the room.
“There’s more going on here than I knew about. I apologize for putting your son in this position. Get him a lawyer, and then I’ll arrange to interview him at the lawyer’s offices. Could we set something up for tomorrow?” he asked.
“Of course. Thank you for understanding,” Dad said.
The way I had been treated told me two things: the first was whatever proof they had was weak, or Detective Kitchens would never have helped us. The second was we were in a small enough community that everyone knew my parents and me, and they knew I wasn’t about to take off. The police cars were kept in the back in a fenced in area. Billy had me get in the back seat and lie down. I would have to add this to the list of firsts. I had never snuck out of a police station before. Mom and Dad were waiting at an office complex up the road. I thanked Billy and then we went to Tom’s office.
“So let me get this right. Pam Bell, Cal’s daughter, has claimed that you raped her,” Roy Thompson, a name partner of Rigby, Thompson and Associates, said.
As soon as we told Tom what was going on, he had invited Roy and Don Rigby to the conference room. They both seemed worried, because Cal was a lawyer on their staff. The potential for serious conflicts could arise because they represented me.
“We think that Cal has forced Pam into making the allegations. David never forced her to do anything,” Mom said.
“Is it your baby?” Don blurted out.
“Yes. Pam says it’s mine, and there is a possible opportunity about eight weeks ago when it could have happened,” I said.
“You’re dealing with two separate but related issues here,” Don said. “The first is the criminal matter. That’s not our specialty, and I’d advise you to find someone good to defend yourself. You being a high-profile person in the community means that shortly you’ll be on the front page of every newspaper across the Midwest. The DA won’t want to be seen as soft on crime, and may charge David and let the system figure it out.
“The second issue is the baby. Pam may be looking for a payday. In the long run it might be cheaper to marry her.”
“Do you have any suggestions as far as an attorney to represent David against the rape allegations? Detective Kitchens wants to interview David tomorrow,” Dad said.
“We only have a handful of lawyers in the county. We really don’t have any I would suggest for something like this. The only one I might suggest is Thomas Fox. The only problem is he’s wet behind the ears, and from what I’ve heard, plays it a little loose. If you needed an attack dog and weren’t worried about collateral damage, he’d be who I would suggest,” Roy said.
“That isn’t what David needs. Mr. Fox is a bull in a china shop, and this needs some finesse. We’ll make some calls. There are some very good firms in Springfield,” Don assured us.
“We need to talk to Cal,” Roy said.
“You need to be careful with that. We represent David in other matters, and we have a duty to him as our client. Cal can’t be involved in any capacity other than as a father,” Tom said.
That comment made me nervous. If Tom had to remind Roy and Don that I was their client, it didn’t sound good for me. I would have to keep an eye on things.
Roy and Don left the room leaving Tom and Kendal. Everyone just stared at each other for a moment.
“This is bullshit. There’s no way Pam is behind this. It has to be Cal intimidating her,” I said.
“Why would Pam go along with something like this? I thought she had a level head on her shoulders. Why wouldn’t she have just told you she was pregnant?” Kendal asked.
“She’s acted strange for a couple of weeks. I guess she’s been avoiding me. I had a weird conversation with some of the other cheerleaders. I suspect Pam has known she was pregnant for three or four weeks,” I said.
“Cal has had it in for you ever since the summer,” Mom said.
“But that still doesn’t explain why she’d tell the police,” Kendal said.
“Pam has a problem when confronted. I saw it when we went to the Thunderbird. It was the same night Cora ran up the bar bill and tried to have me pay for it,” I said.
That was when Cora had become my PA and shortly thereafter ran off with Devin.
“I went to the restroom and came back to find a fraternity guy hitting on Pam. She just sat there and allowed him to put his hands on her. Even when I walked up, she didn’t say anything to the guy who was pawing her. I thought she’d invited his advances. I found out later from Lacy, Pam’s mom, that she freezes up. The only thing I can think of is that Cal has scared her into doing it,” I said.
I received a text.
“Frank’s here,” I said as I got up, and then found him in reception.
I introduced him to Tom. Kendal had met him at the Range Sports shoot.
“I talked to one of the press who was at the police station. They were fed the story. She, of course, played it coy as to who had given out the information. It didn’t seem to come from the police. That leaves two possibilities. It either came from the DA’s office, or someone from Pam’s camp. They’re the only ones who would have anything to gain from this,” Frank said.
“So what should we do?” Dad asked.
“Get out in front of this. Right now they have very little to go on and will start digging. By this time tomorrow, we could have a full-blown crisis on our hands. I can’t stress enough how serious this is. If we let them set the narrative David’s future could be in jeopardy.”
“Seriously?” I asked.
“David’s the ideal target for something like this, as far as the media is concerned. He’s a high-profile athlete who’s also a model and actor. This plays right into a scenario some in the media love to exploit. A rape allegation against him highlights gender-class-power-jock issues, in a small town where things tend to be covered up. Combine that with someone spoon-feeding them information and it’s the perfect story. They don’t even have to work to figure it out.
“This story writes itself, and they have no interest if it’s right or not. What we have to do is make so much noise they’ll look like idiots if they don’t at least show some balance. Believe me, it makes a much better story to show the All-American boy who has a secret dark side.
“I’m getting way ahead of myself, but if we play this right it might be the best thing to happen to you. I just described the man that women will throw their panties at. It’s a hard balance to pull off, the good/bad boy. It is very easy to slip too far to the bad-boy side, and then it becomes a liability,” Frank said.
Kendal waggled her eyebrows at me, which made me smile.
“Sorry, I got off track and time is limited, so I’ll get to the point,” Frank said. “When we have a new agent, we teach them about two cases that directly pertain to what you are going through. The first is the University of Colorado rape story. This happened back in 2001. Two women claimed to have been gang-raped by football players and recruits at a party. In that case, the media was given information by a PR firm that was hired by the two women. This caused the case to explode in the eyes of the public, which ultimately had the university settle for nearly three million dollars.
“When the dust finally settled, the university was only found to have done one thing wrong: an assistant coach had made a phone call to the escort service on a university-supplied cell phone. Nevertheless, because of the work of the PR firm, those facts never came out. The thing that sunk the university was a comment the head coach made. If you listened to the full comment, it made perfect sense and was well thought-out. The problem was the media looks for sound bites. The sound bite, out of context, sunk them. In the end, the football coach lost his job. The Colorado legislature got involved and the university president resigned. As a side note, the coach never found a job after that, and all because a sound bite was twisted to fit the narrative the PR firm had pushed,” Frank said.
“Did anyone get convicted of rape?” Dad asked.
“You know, I don’t know. The point I make to my new agents is that if we can control the story, we can satisfy our client’s needs. In this case, the two women, who were also students at the university, earned a nearly three million dollar payday,” Frank said.
“But I don’t want to make any money off of anyone,” I said.
“This isn’t about you making money right now. If we find the DA leaked the information about your questioning and the nature of it, we might go after him, but that’s the small picture. I would think you’d be more worried about your future income and visitation rights.”
“Why wouldn’t I be able to see my child?” I asked, suddenly concerned.
“If her father is as mad as I suspect he is, he would have no problem blocking access to the child. She may also use the baby as a bargaining chip as far as child support goes.”
I could see the wheels grinding in my mom’s mind. Cal would regret it if he tried to keep her away from her grandbaby. She wouldn’t give a damn what any court said.
I guess I wasn’t built to think in the terms Frank was laying out. I could never believe that Pam would not want me in our baby’s life. I also hadn’t believed that she would accuse me of rape, though. I wondered if it was a Midwestern thing, where we thought the best of others. Pam was from California. I was afraid it was just that I was naïve, and this was the start of a painful life lesson.
Frank then reminded us of the Duke University lacrosse case. This one had racial undertones as the girl was black and the boys were wealthy white jocks. The prosecutor had fed information to the media that caused a media storm. It turned out the girl had made false accusations. The case ended in the resignation and disbarment of the lead prosecutor.
For the three players, they were suspended from the team. Shortly thereafter, their coach was forced to resign and the athletic department canceled the rest of the season. Everything was made worse when many persons involved in or commenting on the case, including the District Attorney, suggested that the alleged rape was a hate crime.
Duke and the city of Durham eventually reached out-of-court settlements with the accused players. As an interesting side note, the girl who made the accusations stabbed and killed her boyfriend five years later.
We then created a game plan. Mom and Dad would find me a lawyer. Tom offered them office space if it ended up they needed it. I suggested they call Bev Mass, Cook County State Attorney, and Governor Higgins. Between the two of them, they’d know whom I should hire.
Frank and I would work on the media. Frank planned to call his contacts through IDC – Public Relations and I suggested we talk to Jeff Delahey, our local sports reporter. He had treated me fairly when the steroid scandal happened. I promised him I would be open if anything else ever happened.
Frank also called his office to start to investigate the different players in this little drama. I now saw why Frank had put the scandal clause in his contract. This was going to cost me a fortune.
I called Coach Hope and told him what was going on. The one thing I learned from the stories Frank had told me was that the head coach could be fired in a situation like this. I didn’t want that to happen and Frank agreed to help Coach Hope and the rest of the staff with the media. Coach gave me the day off to take care of what I needed to do. I promised to keep him in the loop.
This time we went to Jeff’s office for the interview. Someone in management for the paper joined him. As we sat down my phone rang, and it was my mom.
“Sorry, I need to take this,” I said as I got up.
“I’m about to do my interview with the paper,” I said.
“We hired a lawyer for you, a Ms. Dixon out of Chicago. Both the Governor and Bev had her on their short list.”
“Is she related to Senator Dixon?” I asked.
“She’s his daughter. She wants to talk to you and Frank before you do the interview.”
Mom gave me her number, and I went back into the meeting.
“I hate to do this, but my lawyer wants to talk to me before she’ll let you loose on me.”
“She must have read my hard-hitting articles about you. If you want, you can use the room to talk,” Jeff said, as he and his boss got up.
When we were alone Frank asked for the number.
“I think I can put her mind at ease. She’s worried you’ll say something to implicate yourself,” Frank said, and then smiled. “This isn’t my first rodeo.”
I listened as Frank gave her his credentials and then outlined what I would say in the interview. He took some notes and then handed to phone to me.
“Hi, this is David,” I said.
“Ms. Dixon. Just say what Frank has told you. Only answer what is asked, do not embellish. Treat this as if you have just come home drunk and your parents’ car is missing.”
That made me smile. I could play that role.
“I’ve made arrangements to be in town tomorrow so we can talk, and then meet with Detective Kitchens,” she said.
“Okay,” I said.
“One last thing: as of this moment Frank and his firm work for me. The reason we need to do it that way is because it will render all communication between his firm and you as confidential or privileged under the umbrella of attorney-client privilege,” she said.
“Does that mean you get to pay him?” I asked.
“Yes, but you’re not getting out of it. We’ll just pass his bills through.”
I wondered why Tom or Kendal hadn’t thought of that. We wrapped up the call and Jeff came back in alone and sat down.
“I’ll begin by reading a prepared statement,” I said.
“Just give it to me. That way I won’t misquote you,” Jeff said.
I looked at Frank and he just shrugged, so I handed it to Jeff. Jeff spotted my talking points and held his hand out.
“Let me see those, too.”
Frank just nodded his head and had me give them to Jeff. He spent a few minutes reading what was on the paper.
“So you haven’t been charged with anything, you’ve only been questioned. What about the tip we received that you were being charged with rape today?” Jeff asked.
Frank handed me another sheet of paper. These were my talking points in case that was brought up. I handed it to Jeff, who read it and started to laugh.
“Do you have any other sheets of paper?” Jeff teased Frank.
“I might,” was his cryptic answer.
“Can I attribute David as saying everything in the notes you gave me?” Jeff asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“Just tell me one thing: did you do anything that’ll come back and bite you in the ass as far as Pam is concerned?”
“I wish I knew, but those notes have everything I can say right now. My goal is not to trash Pam, as she’ll be the mother of our child if what her dad told my mom is true. Frankly, if Pam says it’s mine, I believe her.”
“Don’t you want a DNA test to confirm you’re the father?” Jeff asked.
“Did you need one for your children?” I asked.
“No, but what does that have to do with ... Oh.”
“If I had to ask, it would tell Pam that I didn’t trust her. Even if it were someone else’s baby, I’d treat it like my own because Pam told me it was mine. If she had any doubt, she would’ve told me. I’d hope Pam knows I would do what’s needed to support her and our child,” I said.
At first, Frank had been against what I said about not having to prove paternity, but he soon saw the light. I was amazed how he could spin-doctor anything into a positive. He reasoned it showed I really cared. I just shook my head in disbelief that I would feel any other way. Frank told me I was actually in the minority on that point of view, as far as young men were concerned. When I thought about it, he was right. Mitch had run off to Arizona State as soon as he found out Peggy was pregnant.
Jeff then wanted to talk about football. We played St. Joe on Friday. It would be senior night, so I told him about Jim. We had already wrapped up the conference championship. The only thing the game could help us with was how we’d be seeded in the state playoffs. It was also Halloween, and Brook Davis was my date. I was pretty proud of myself for both asking someone and having a costume to wear. Frankly, I didn’t trust Tracy to figure out one for me. I still shuddered at the Superman costume she’d talked me into wearing.
Both Frank and I were impressed when we were done in less than twenty minutes.
When I finally made it home, I’d just sat down to eat dinner when my dad jumped out of his seat and turned up the TV. I saw my picture on the screen. Dad normally would have it turned on so he could see the weather report. I think he just liked the weather girl.
“ ... Dawson, the starting quarterback for Lincoln High and currently rated the number 1 football recruit in the junior class, has gotten himself into some trouble. It seems he has been accused of getting a fellow classmate pregnant, and there are rumors that he may have raped her.”
The scene changed and Detective Kitchens was caught as he walked from the station. He held up his hand.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.”
Then the picture switched and we were all shocked to see Angie.
“Family spokesperson Angie Dawson had this to say.”
“Ms. Dawson, were you aware that your brother-in-law has gotten one of the cheerleaders at Lincoln High pregnant?” she was asked.
“That wouldn’t surprise me. I think all the Dawson men can now claim at least one child out of wedlock.”
Mom and I looked at Dad, and he didn’t look good. They showed a reaction shot from the reporter and she was stunned.
“What about the allegation that David raped the girl?”
“That’s just silly. David would never resort to force. He’s one of the sweetest guys I know. I would also bet he’s excited to be a dad. He’s always treated our children as if they were his own. They all love him to death. He’ll be a great daddy.”
Guess which answer would be repeated on the evening news without the second one? Angie was so dead. I wasn’t sure who would kill her first, Mom or Dad. They had worked to heal the wounds my dad’s infidelity had caused, and Angie had shouted it out to the world. At least for a few minutes my own problems didn’t seem so big.
Tuesday October 27
I sent a text to Pam last night before I went to bed. Everyone had told me not to, but I knew if we talked, we could work this out. I was surprised when I actually got a reply. All it said was I can’t. That told me Cal had told her that she wasn’t allowed to talk to me. It was starting to become clear that her dad was our biggest issue. I wasn’t sure what good it would do for either of us to have him drive a wedge between the mother and father of his grandchild. He obviously wasn’t thinking clearly.
During my run in the morning, I told Rachel that she might not want to run with me while this was going on, because I’d been warned that the press might start to show up and make her uncomfortable. I told her that she should talk to her parents and get their permission if she decided to continue. Actually, my mom insisted on it. I had to agree that Rachel was too young to have to face the scrutiny it would bring. She was a day away from running in her first sectional, and she didn’t need the added pressure.
When I got to school, there was a TV truck there, and several reporters waiting on the sidewalk at the front of the school. Both Frank and Ms. Dixon had instructed me just to walk past them without comment. I was not happy when I saw them bunch up to try to prevent my entry into the school. I continued to walk towards the school and someone shoved a camera in my face and almost hit me. They were all shouting rapid-fire questions, when a young woman stepped in front of me.
“Are you David Dawson?” she asked.
I stopped because it was a strange question. I nodded.
“May I see some ID?”
I saw she had a manila envelope. I took a deep breath, pulled out my wallet, and showed her my driver’s license.
“Mr. Dawson, you’ve been served,” she said, as she handed me the envelope.
I was almost to the doors when I saw Billy and a young man in a suit, waiting at the front door.
“Officer, do your duty.”
Billy had a pained expression on his face.
“David, you were just served an Order of Protection, or restraining order. It orders you to stay at least 100 yards or 300 feet away from Pam Bell, her home, job, school, and car. I’m sorry, but you’re not allowed to be at school while this in place. At this time I must ask you to leave school grounds,” Billy said.
“And you are?” I asked the smirking suit.
“Thomas Fox, I represent Pam Bell.”
I looked at him closer. The first thing that struck me was he was completely forgettable. You would never pick him out of a lineup. He was short, maybe five-eight and if he were a girl, you’d say petite. I imagined he relished taking down a jock. I couldn’t really imagine a lawyer showing up to make sure a restraining order was enforced. This seemed too personal, unless Cal was really that mad and had wanted to rattle me.
“I don’t think this will work out quite how you want it to,” I said as I walked away.
I could just imagine what would happen when the town found out that I couldn’t attend classes or play football. Things might get ugly if we lost in the state playoffs because a cheerleader’s dad and lawyer prevented the star quarterback from playing on a trumped-up charge.
Up to this point, I had been calm about what was happening. My mom was not the only one who had a temper. I just normally controlled it better. I’d blamed this all on Cal, but at some point Pam had to take some responsibility. I sent her a one-word text.
I went to Rigby, Thompson and Associates, because they had arranged with Ms. Dixon’s firm, Dixon and Dixon, to rent them space while she was in town. I found her and Frank Ingram, my PR agent, talking over a cup of coffee.
“Good morning,” I said.
“I thought you were in school this morning,” Ms. Dixon said.
I handed her the envelope and she read it. Then she handed it to Frank to read.
“Well, that’s a bit of dirty pool. It claims that your friend fears for her safety. We’ll need to get into court and get this revoked. I’ll make some calls and learn some information about the judge that granted it. It looks like he just rubber-stamped the Order of Protection. Based on what they filed, I think they know their rape charge won’t stand up,” Ms. Dixon said.
“Why’s that?” Frank asked.
“There is a different order for sexual assault called a sexual assault civil no contact order. It would have been harder to get past the judge, because it’s a more serious matter. They would have had to give him more information. With what they did, he probably decided to be cautious and grant it. I would doubt they would fight me to get it removed. If they did, they would have to reveal information they plan to use in their civil suit,” Ms. Dixon said.
“Civil suit? Who said anything about a civil suit?” I asked.
“Why else would they be doing this? Yes, it will give them some satisfaction to tarnish your good name, but ultimately they’ll be looking for a payoff. The only way to do that is to get you to either voluntarily write them a check, or to sue you.”
“And how would they ever get me to write them a check?” I asked.
“What would you pay right now to make this to go away?” Frank asked.
“I see your point. I would have worked with Pam, until this morning. Being served, and then having the police waiting for me with a pack of reporters dogging me, was a complete setup.”
“They were trying to embarrass you and make you more willing to bow to their demands. I’ll start making some calls and we’ll get the order removed so you can get back into class tomorrow,” Ms. Dixon said.
Then I had a bright idea. Of course, Tami always said I should ignore my first idea because it was always wrong, but I liked this one.
“I think we should leave it on,” I said.
They both looked at me and just blinked.
“This is a public relations war, or so you’ve told me. We need the community to support us. So far, they’ve sat back and enjoyed the little show. We need something that will get them to actively support me. Tell them that their starting quarterback can’t play because of a trumped-up charge, and they’ll be up in arms. If they don’t believe us, let me miss this week’s game. If the team struggles, they’ll be in front of Mr. Fox’s office, and I’ll bet the order will be removed before the weekend’s out,” I explained.
“What’s he paying you for?” Ms. Dixon teased Frank.
“Besides my good looks and boyish charm?” Frank asked.