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Authors: Victoria Wakefield

Dark Moon

BOOK: Dark Moon
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Dark Moon

By Victoria Wakefield

 

 

Text
copyright
© 2014

[email protected]

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Rights Reserved

Prologue

Even though it’s
been five years, I still remember the moment my life was permanently changed.
There isn’t a way to erase the past, pretend it didn’t happen. No, the ugly
truth is here to stay, to haunt me, for the rest of my existence.

I was fifteen at
the time, excited to go to summer camp with my friends and – more
importantly – my boyfriend, Damon. We would be like adults. No parents to
tell us what to do. No school taking up the day and homework filling up the
evening. If I wanted to cuddle with Damon from dawn to dusk I could.

Boy, was I dead
wrong. I had neglected to factor in the nosy, bossy camp counselors that watched
us like hawks. My fantasies of snuggling with Damon under the stars were
unceremoniously squashed.

And to add insult
to injury, the majority of the activities were gender specific. On the days
when I was swimming in the lake Damon was learning outdoor survival
skills.  When he was playing softball I was playing volleyball. Yeah, that
summer was destined to be dubbed The Crappiest Summer Ever. Until It happened.
And when It happened, well, my life was changed forever.

Part One
Chapter 1

“Are you here?” I
hissed, squinting into the dark night. The moon was only two days away from
being full, and I was thankful for the extra light.

“Lana!”

“Where are you?” I
called.

No answer.

Did I dream
that I heard his voice?

I was nervous,
more so than I had admitted to my best friend, Carrie, when I told her I was
sneaking out to meet Damon.

“But what if you
get caught?” she had asked, her eyes huge with worry. Carrie couldn’t believe
that the sweet girl she had known since second grade was about to sneak out to
meet a boy.

I had laughed
flippantly. “It’s fine. I’ll be back in a couple of hours. Don’t wait up for me.”
I had suggestively raised my eyebrows. I was acting like a big shot, but in
reality I had no intention of doing anything more than kissing Damon. That was
all we ever did – we were fifteen years old for fuck’s sake – and I
was happy and naïve enough to believe that kissing was all that Damon would
ever want from me.

I snapped back to
reality as I felt Damon wrap his arms around my waist, pulling me closer to
him. “Trying to sneak up on me?” I whispered.

“I want you so
bad, Lana,” was Damon’s response.  And then, before I knew what was
happening, Damon was caressing my shoulders, my neck, kissing me feverishly. I
responded to his touch, electric currents running up and down my body.

I lost track of
all time, like I always did when I was kissing Damon. He was my first
boyfriend, and sure to be my one and only. Tall, with jet-black hair and
piercing blue eyes, Damon was everything I’d ever wanted in a boy; no, a
man
.

And imagine my
surprise when I found out that he wanted
me
as well. Damon and I had
been dating for exactly six weeks, four days and five hours. And I was positive
it was destined to last forever.

But, as I later
found out, forever is just a word, and it’s thrown around much too casually.
That summer was one of the last times I would ever see Damon. I’ve been trying
to suppress the memories of that awful night, forget what it exposed about me,
ever since.

###

Our moonlight
trysts quickly became a nightly affair. We were monitored so closely during the
day, but no one seemed to give a shit what we did after dark. The only time I
almost got caught was during the second week there. Renee, one of the
overbearing camp counselors, had decided to do a check of the rooms at eleven
that night. Although Carrie wasn’t thrilled about my secret meetings with
Damon, she would never rat me out.

As Carrie told it,
Renee burst into our room, probably
hoping
to catch us not adhering to
the ridiculous rule of lights out at ten-thirty. Carrie quickly told Renee that
I’d contracted a twenty-four hour stomach bug. When Renee tried to go check on
me in the communal bathroom down the hallway, Carrie had insisted that she
not
go in there, that it was a gruesome scene (but ultimately I’d be fine).

Normally, I
wouldn’t appreciate her painting a mental image of me vomiting and shitting my
guts out, but the way she described it to Renee kept her from insisting on
seeing me, and that was all that really mattered.

So it went off
without a hitch; night after night was spent with the love of my life. And Damon
was such a gentleman. I quickly figured out that he wanted more than I was
ready to give, but he never pressured me.

Caught up in the
throes of young love, I did more than I had planned. We touched each other,
slipped hands underneath sweaty clothing, but that was it. No penetration.
Nothing more than the foolish lust of two awkward teenagers.

Me, in my young
naivety, thought I was becoming a woman. At fifteen. Yeah, right. At twenty, I
still feel like a fucking kid.

The second to last
night of summer camp was when It happened. Damon whispered in my ear how turned
on he was, how he wanted to become
one
with me. I knew what the meant,
of course. I’d been through sex-ed classes. And he’d said these things before.

Caught up in the
moment, I told him that I wanted that, too.

Before I
understood what was happening, Damon’s pants were coming off. Jeans, to be
precise. His sexy, fitted jeans that showed off his perfect ass.

“Wait,” I said
nervously.

“For?”

“I – I’m not
ready,” I stuttered.

“Don’t be a baby.
You know you want this as much as me. You’ve been teasing me all summer.
Leading up to
this
moment,” Damon said.

As he was talking,
Damon was trying to pull down my red and black striped skirt. I struggled to
keep it on my hips. Realizing that he didn’t need to pull it off to get what he
wanted, Damon flipped it up onto my chest, exposing my pink underwear. I loved
those pink underwear before It. After It, I burned them in my parent’s
fireplace.

This is where it
becomes hazy. I remember slapping Damon, pounding him with my fists, crying for
him to get off of me. But no, it doesn’t end how you expect. I wasn’t raped.
Instead, I beat the shit out of my boyfriend. I hit him so hard and for so long
that I almost killed Damon.

Chapter 2

I’m in college now,
studying Economics. Boring, but I had to get my undergrad degree in
something
before I applied to med school. And Economics had seemed like a decent
choice although, ultimately, I want to be a doctor, to
help
people.

After my parents
told me the truth, and I finally understood how it had been possible to nearly
kill my boyfriend, I struggled for a long time. Their confession explained the
sheer strength I had felt that night. But I still resented them for telling me
so late. They should have either embraced my true identity and had a talk with
me as soon as I was old enough to understand, or kept it from me forever.

No, instead they decided
to tell me the truth shortly after my eighteenth birthday. I’d been torn about
leaving for college. I was an only child and my parents were older when they
had me (or so I thought until that dreadful talk). How could I leave them as
they were embarking on their senior years?

When they first
broached The Talk, I actually thought it was going to be about sex.
Conservative, standoffish, I could never imagine my mother having sex a day in
her life (eww), much less talking about it.

“Lana,” Mom had
started.

I’d looked at her
expectantly.

“We need to talk
to you about something…” Her voice had trailed off.

I’d rolled my
eyes. “If you’re trying to have the sex conversation, don’t bother. We have
classes for that in school.” I had crossed my arms across my chest defiantly.

Mom’s eyes
registered surprise. “Lana, are you having sex with someone?” she’d blurted
out.

Feeling my face
flush a hot red, I had forced myself not to answer defensively. The truth was,
at eighteen, I’d never had sex, but I wasn’t about to tell my parents that.
Instead, I said, “That’s a personal question. Are we done here?” I stood up,
ready to retreat to my bedroom.

My dad’s face was
grim. “Sit down, Lana. Obviously we need to have a talk about your sexual
activities and if you’re using protection, but this is neither the time nor the
place. We have to tell you something. Something very important. You’re eighteen
now. You deserve to know.”

They had my
attention. I sat back down on the couch.

###

I didn’t date
anyone after that. It wasn’t fair to put the burden of my curse on someone
else. Instead, I retreated into myself as much as possible. When I got to
college, I vowed not to befriend my roommate, but it turned out to be next to
impossible. Maryanne was friendly, outgoing and despite my efforts, I instantly
liked her.

Maryanne was
popular with everyone – unfortunately, a little
too
popular. The
only time she got on my nerves was when I’d try to come home after class and
find an envelope with my name on the front taped to the door. It always said
the same thing and it always meant the same thing. There was nothing inside the
envelope, but Maryanne thought the traditional sock-on-door was way too
obvious. She didn’t have ‘guests’ all the time – she’s not a slut –
but it was frequent enough to make it annoying.

Whenever I’d see
the envelope, I’d go eat dinner or head to the library for an hour, hoping the
guy would have left by the time I got back.  Maryanne was always grateful,
and had told me she would repay the favor if I wanted to have company over.

I had to stifle a
laugh every time she said it. I hadn’t had a boyfriend since Jeff, the guy after
Damon, and, before I learned the truth about myself. I think I dated Jeff to
get over Damon, or at least forget about him. Jeff was the polar opposite of
Damon. Tall, skinny, with shaggy blond hair; he was the class clown.

I liked Jeff, but
not the same way that he liked me. And not the same way that I had liked Damon.
We would kiss, and it was nice, but it didn’t send chills up and down my body.
I always felt guilty about that, but Jeff didn’t seem to notice. He’d follow me
around with that big dopey grin on his face. I knew he’d like to take our
relationship to the next level, but I made it clear that I was saving myself
until marriage.

A complete lie, of
course. I had no religious morals. It was just an easy excuse to hide under,
because I most definitely
did not
want Jeff to be my first.

When I ended it
with Jeff, he was devastated. It had been the right thing to do. It was sad, in
a way. I was never going to date anyone again. My human body would die a
virgin.

Chapter 3

It was the first
day of my volunteer work at the hospital. I hadn’t wanted to work in a hospital,
but my academic advisor pushed me to do it. “Med school is already extremely
competitive,” she said. “You need volunteer work, activities to put on your
application. You’re not going to get in on good grades alone.”

I knew she was
right. The problem was, I hated hospitals. Hated the sick people, the feel of
death lurking at every corner. When I became a doctor, I was going to be a
pediatrician. Administering vaccines and writing prescriptions for antibiotics was
more my speed. And besides, I loved kids with a passion. I’d never have any of
my own, so why not spend my days with other people’s children?

Like all first
days, the one at the hospital was nerve-wracking. I felt out of place, unsure
whom to ask for direction, and no matter how many times I washed my hands I
couldn’t get rid of that icky germy feeling that the hospital left me with.

By the time I got
back to the campus, I was mentally and physically exhausted. I was just about to
unlock the door and go inside when I noticed the white envelope.

Fuck. Of all
the days…

Oh well, I would
be a good sport about it. I turned around, trying to decide where I wanted to
go. I wasn’t hungry – in fact, I felt a bit sick. And I was in no state
of mind to go study. The best bet would be to camp out in the student lounge
for a while and watch the TV there.

Which is exactly
what I did, and no one bothered me. Even though I’d been at school for two
years, I knew very few people. The only time I interacted with my classmates
was when I was forced to during the dreaded group project. A few guys had tried
to befriend me, but I knew what they wanted, so I acted as cool as ice.

By the time I got
back to my room, the envelope was off the door. Maryanne was eating a sandwich
when I walked in.

“How was your
first day at the hospital?” she asked cheerily.

“Blah.” I started
to sit down on my bed but thought better of it. “I’m going to get a shower,” I
said.

I went into the
bathroom and turned the shower on full blast. After half an hour of scrubbing,
I finally felt like I had washed the imaginary stench of sickness and old
people off of my skin and out of my hair.

“I’m really
tired,” I told Maryanne. “I hope I’m making the right choice about med school.
Being at the hospital was awful.”

“It will get
better,” Maryanne said encouragingly. “First days are always the pits. Who
knows? You might even find out you like it.”

“Yeah, right,” I
said morosely. I forced a feeble smile. “But I’ll try to keep an open mind. I
don’t think it can get any worse.”

It was only nine
o’clock and Maryanne had the TV blaring, but I easily fell asleep anyway. Which
was odd, because I’m typically the one up all night climbing the walls, my head
filled with worry.

I didn’t have
another shift at the hospital until Friday. My schedule was Monday, Wednesday,
Friday and I could come help out on other days if I had free time.

“They need you on
floor six,” Nurse Evie told me when I checked in that afternoon.  “Talk to
Nurse Barbara at the nurses’ station. She’ll tell you what to do.”

I obediently took
the elevator to floor six. As soon as the doors opened, I saw the huge
lettering that read ONCOLOGY WARD on the wall.

Great.
I
really was going to be surrounded by death and depression.

But that’s what
you’re supposed to thrive on. That’s your destiny.
I pushed the disturbing
thought out of my mind.

Nurse Barbara was
an older lady. She wasn’t chatty like Nurse Evie; no, she was all business.

“One of the
orderlies called in sick today,” she told me. “We need you to get the lunch
trays ready and take them to the patients.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I
said obediently.
Ma’am? Where the hell did that come from?
I had never
called anyone ma’am before in my life. But Nurse Barbara made me nervous, as
though she were going to give me a lecture if I did something wrong.

She showed me to
the kitchen area and instructed me to remove pre-made trays from the
refrigerator, microwave five of them at a time, then add a roll and pudding cup
to each tray. I was supposed to prepare ten, deliver those, and come back and
do ten more.

Nurse Barbara
handed me a sheet of paper. “Cross off the room numbers after each delivery,”
she instructed before heading out the door.

I quickly got to
work. Microwave for four minutes. Remove. Add roll. Add pudding. Cover. After
the first ten had been loaded on the cart, I hesitantly pushed it back through
the kitchen doors and into the main hallway. Room 625 was directly in front of
me.
This is as good of a place to start as any.

The room was
occupied by a man who looked to be in his late forties, but the toll of
chemotherapy and sickness could have easily made him look a lot older than he actually
was. For someone so ill, he was surprisingly upbeat.

“You look like my
daughter-in-law,” he told me.

I forced a smile
and a polite thank you.

“She’s so pretty,”
he continued. “You have that same long black hair and pale skin. Striking.”

I willed my face
not to turn red. An annoying side effect of being so pale. “I’d better get
going,” I said. “Lots of lunch to deliver. You have a nice day.”

Nice day.
What
a joke. We were in a hospital for Christ’s sake.

The next nine
deliveries went without a hitch. Two of the patients were sleeping. I wasn’t
sure if I was supposed to wake them up to let them know that lunch was ready,
so I just left it on the tray next to the bed.

One man was
comatose. It was obvious he was close to death. His breathing was labored and
fast. Sweat trickled down his forehead and his fingers had started to turn
blue. I looked away.

How can that
really be my fate? To cause chaos, death and destruction?
I couldn’t stand
being here. I had a good heart. Right?

It was a question
that plagued me often, ever since that talk with my parents.

Once I got into a
rhythm, delivering lunch wasn’t so bad. Most patients didn’t want to chat,
which suited me fine.
Only four more deliveries to go.

I pushed open the
door to room 602 and instantly stopped. Someone was standing by the bed.

“I’m sorry,” I
said. “I didn’t realize anyone was in here.”

The man turned
around and I could see the patient on the bed, a frail old lady with no hair.

“Just doing my
rounds,” he said, holding out his hand for me to shake. “I’m Dr. Reynolds.
Michael Reynolds.”

I forced myself to
let go of the cart and step forward to shake his hand. Dr. Reynolds was quite
possibly the most attractive man I had ever seen in my life. He looked like an
actor who plays a doctor in a movie. He had thick, dark brown hair, a chiseled
face and beautiful hazel eyes.

“And you are?” Dr.
Reynolds was looking at me with a bemused expression. Had he noticed me
studying him?

“Lana Luna,” I
said, shaking his hand.

“That’s a very
pretty name,” Dr. Reynolds said with a smile. He turned to the woman in the
bed. “Mrs. Watson, this lovely young lady has brought you your lunch,” he said
in a loud voice.

I walked back to
the cart and took off a tray. Mrs. Watson smiled faintly. “Maybe later. If you
could just leave it by the bed, dear.”

I did as I was
told. “Nice to meet you,” I said, looking at Mrs. Watson. But I didn’t mean
her. I could sense Dr. Reynolds watching as I left. I hadn’t felt that strong
of an attraction to anyone before, not even Damon.

Don’t even let
yourself think that way, Lana.
No, I would forget about Dr. Reynolds. Because
not forgetting about him could only lead to trouble.

###

I had to go back to
floor two to sign out when my volunteer shift ended. “How was your day?” Nurse
Evie asked me.

I shrugged.
“Fine.”

“Did you get to
see Dr. Reynolds?” Before I could answer, Nurse Evie continued, “Believe me, you
can’t miss him. He’s a Greek God.”

“Oh yeah,” I said
nonchalantly. “I met him.”

Evie leaned in and
lowered her voice. “Isn’t he hot? Have you ever seen a man like that in real
life before?”

I didn’t answer.
She was annoying me. So I said the most obnoxious thing I could think of to
say. “If you like him so much, why don’t you date him?”

“It doesn’t work
like that,” Nurse Evie snapped. “Have you never had a boyfriend before? It’s
not like you can just go to the store and pick one out.”

Now it was my turn
to bristle. “Of course I’ve had a boyfriend.
Lots
of boyfriends.” I
needed to chill. I was sounding really defensive. I laughed, hoping to break
the tension. “He’s probably married anyway, right?”

“No,” Nurse Evie
said. “Can you believe it?”

“Hmm,” was all I
replied.

“And he’s super
duper nice. A lot of the doctors up here are real dicks. They’ve got a God
complex and treat the nurses like garbage. But Dr. Reynolds is different. He
always comes down to say hello when he’s at the hospital, unless of course he
gets crazy busy. And he’ll do things like bring the nurses bagels or donuts.
He’s such a great guy,” she gushed.

“That’s very
thoughtful,” I agreed. “Maybe he likes you, and that’s why he does it?” I was
humoring Nurse Evie. It wasn’t my proudest moment, but I knew she’d be
flattered if I thought she was in the same league as Michael Reynolds.

There was nothing
wrong with Nurse Evie, but she’s more what you’d call
cute
than
pretty
or
stunning.
She was petite, with a headful of ringlet curls and an
upturned nose.

“Do you really
think so?” Nurse Evie squealed. I had made her day.

I shrugged again.
“You never know,” I said vaguely. “What days does he come to the hospital?” I
heard myself asking. I immediately regretted the words.

Evie’s eyes
flashed triumphantly. She couldn’t understand how I didn’t have an instant
crush on Dr. Reynolds, and now I’d let her know that I did.

“Usually Tuesdays
and Fridays,” she replied.

“Oh, okay. Well
I’d better get going.”

“See you Monday!”
she called.

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