Ever been a pet? I have. It isn't fun, believe me. But I can only blame myself. I let it happen.
I arrived on campus for my first year of University rather unschooled, socially. I'd slipped through high school practically unnoticed. I had a small circle of friends, but that was pretty much it. And my personality didn't help-I'm a conciliator. I don't like confrontation. I back down, hoping to blend into the crowd. Unfortunately, I fell right out of the crowd.
I was hoping college would be different. Then, the first week I was there, I met Sydney.
Sydney was a Goddess-there's no other way to describe her. She was gorgeous, vivacious, the center of attention-the Homecoming Queen stereotype writ large. I was gone.
And she noticed me. Out of all the well-wishers genuflecting at her magnificence, she picked me out. She needed help with a paper, and asked me.
I was so thrilled she noticed me that I barely noticed that I didn't help her with the paper so much as flat-out wrote it for her.
This began the pattern. She noticed me, asked me to do something, and I gladly complied-bowing and scraping while I was at it. This went on for, believe it or not, two and a half years.
What happened, however, is that I gradually started changing. Being sucked into Sydney's orbit put me in contact with people. Now, while many of them thought I was a laughingstock-which I was-not all of them did.
Coley, for example; Coley Davenport. Coley-that's short for Nicole, and don't call her Nikki-had been Sydney's best friend since high school. Coley was a Sidekick. You know the type; every Goddess has one. Not quite as pretty, not quite as popular, not quite as vivacious. The almost-but-not-quite reflection that the Goddess could bask in. Sometimes, there's even genuine friendship. As far as I knew, that was the case between Sydney and Coley.
Coley, however, was one of the first to warn me about what Sydney was doing to me. I, of course-being blind as a bat when it came to the foibles of my Goddess-disagreed. I got to know Coley, though, and as long as we didn't talk about Sydney, we got along great.
Coley was cute and sexy, both being embodied in her eyes-big huge soulful liquid green things. But, she had a boyfriend, and I was blinded by Sydney. I noticed Coley, but I wasn't interested. I did like her, however, and we quickly became friends. As I occupied myself waiting for Sydney's beck and call; and as Coley occupied herself waiting for her boyfriend to pay attention to her, something that happened far too infrequently to my eyes-we talked. We talked about anything and everything. I'd never talked to anyone as easily as I talked to Coley. Especially if you narrow it down to girls.
But I was still stuck in Sydney's orbit. I wasn't there for Coley, I was there for Sydney. And Sydney took advantage.
Things started to change junior year. It started, actually, at Christmas break. Suddenly, back home, surrounded by the same people that had barely noticed me my whole life-I made friends. I ran into people I had gone to high school with, and somehow found myself holding up my end of the conversation. I even got invited to a New Year's Eve party. When there, I found myself in a heavy make-out session with Tina D'Alessandro, a cute girl two years younger than I, that I'd known a little bit but never dared approach. Tina made it clear that she'd like to pick up where we had left off, when we both got back the next summer. Amazing.
So, I went back to school full of newfound confidence-and found myself sucked right back into being Sydney's gopher. I didn't even think about what I was doing.
Until the beginning of February. That was the first time I woke up. The occasion was Sydney's 21st birthday party. Her parents came up to campus, rented out a hotel ballroom-they went all out. Anything for their princess. There were 200 people there. I was thrilled to be invited.
Of course, I wasn't invited to be a guest-I was invited to be a slave. It was the most humiliating experience of my life. Sydney had usually done her you're-my-pet routine in private, or in front of her inner circle. Now she was doing it in front of 200 people. The snickering laughter started to get to me, especially when I saw Sydney joining in. Coley gave me a pitiful glare. Even Sydney's mother looked at me in something approaching horror. I finally got it. It finally sunk in. Halfway through the party, I did what I should have done long ago. I walked out.
Sydney tried her best to get her pet back. She called me incessantly. Of course, my Goddess's attention showered upon me made me start to waver, much to my shame. But I was considering returning to her orbit, idiot that I am.
Until three weeks after the party. It finally sunk in what she was really like. And it wasn't even something she did to me.
It was The Video. It spread all over campus like lightning. I saw it. The rumor was that Sydney herself filmed it and made sure it spread. It was flat-out porn, starring Sydney herself. It was a video of Sydney getting her brains fucked out.
You'd think I would've been thrilled to see my Goddess in all her glory, in the throes of passion, even if it wasn't me fucking her. I wasn't. Because the shock of the video wasn't what she was doing-it was who she was doing it with.
Max Schuller. Coley's boyfriend. Poor Coley. And I thought Sydney had humiliated me-Coley was supposed to be her best friend!
That's the moment I stopped thinking of Sydney as a Goddess. I finally saw her as the small, sad, viciously cruel person she really was. And I felt so bad for Coley. For three days after the video had spread, I didn't see Coley around at all. And that was unusual-we had classes close by to each other, and we often ate dinner together.
On the fourth day, I finally saw her. I was eating dinner, and she appeared in the dining hall and got in line to get food. She looked awful. And then I saw the other people in the dining hall react to her presence-with staring, pointing, and snickering. Coley looked like she was going to cry. Finally, she got out of the line and fled.
Damn. She looked like she hadn't eaten in three days-or slept, for that matter. I had to do something. Coley was my pal. She didn't deserve this.
I got up and walked over to Yin Mao's, the Chinese take out joint favored by a lot of students, including Coley and myself. I'd been there with her so I knew what she liked. I got her favorites and headed for her room.
She didn't want to open the door. I knew she was in there, I heard the sniffling. Finally, I yelled, "Coley, it's Hunter. Come on, open up. I'm worried about you."
She finally did. Seeing her close-up, she really looked bad. She had a single room, so there was no roommate to check up on her. I had this awful image of her sitting in this room all alone for three days, crying.
She let me in and slumped into her desk chair. I sat on her bed. "I saw you in the dining hall just now. I was worried."
"Oh, God, it's all so humiliating," she moaned.
"When was the last time you ate?"
"Well, I had some soup," she said feebly.
"Coley, you need to eat."
"I can't go back down there!"
"You don't have to." She hadn't noticed the bag. I walked over to her, plopped the bag down on her desk, then walked back to the bed. "I went to Yin Mao's for you. Shrimp fried rice, Moo Goo Gai Pan, chicken wings. All your favorites."
She looked at the bag, then at me, then back at the bag. Then she flashed me a genuine smile. "Hunter McKinley, you're a saint!" She ripped open the bag, then tore into the food like-well, like someone who hadn't eaten in three days.
"Want some?" she asked.
"Nah. I already ate."
After she had filled herself, she put the leftovers in the fridge, and came over to me. "Hunter, you're the nicest person on campus, and that's a fact. Thank you." She leaned over and gave me a peck on the cheek.
I smiled, and said-rather unthinkingly, "What are friends for?"
"What are friends for?" she said bitterly. "Fucking your boyfriend, apparently." Then the tears started, and just wouldn't stop. Before I knew it, she was in my lap, holding on for dear life. I just put my arms around her and let her cry it out.
"Thank you again," she sniffled after she had calmed down.
"I'm just so humiliated. How could she do this to me? We're supposed to be best friends!"
"I don't know how either of them could do it."
"Oh, Max I can almost understand. He is a guy."
"So what? It doesn't matter. I know all about the temptations of Sydney, believe me, but if you have a girlfriend, you keep it in your pants. If you treated him like shit, I might almost see it, but you don't."
"He might disagree with that." She took a deep breath. "What was on that video? Max and I never did that." I looked down at her. "We've done everything else, but I'm still, you know, a virgin."
"Waiting for the wedding night?"
"Not at all. Waiting for the right time. I guess Max figured, if two years wasn't long enough, it never was going to happen." She sighed. "He was probably right."
"It just never felt-well, it's this. I want my first time to be special, you know? I want it to be good." She sighed again. "Hunter, Max is selfish. It's all about Max. Even when we were just fooling around, if he was satisfied, that's all that mattered. Even out of bed, he's like that."
"Why on earth did you stay with him for two years?"
.... There is more of this story ...