This is the rework of a self-published auto-biographical story (2008), rewritten for this blog. Names of characters have been changed.
Content warning: mental and physical abuse, misogyny.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
The work trip (part 1)
16 to 22 March 1994
Continued from… Hasty decision
Annie was on her way to the smallholding again, after she had dropped her kids off at a friend’s house where they would stay the weekend. Annie had to go on a work trip to the south of the country early the next morning. Not only Tina would join her the next morning, but so would Fred and his lieutenant. The day after Fred had heard about Annie’s trip, he had arranged for his unit to send a delegation too, and of course made sure he was part of it. Fred invited Annie to stay the night at the smallholding, and Fran would drive them to the airport early the next morning.
Annie was very excited about her visit because she would see all her friends again, as she used to work where she would now be a visitor. The working part of the trip was more or less a cover-up for the fun and games that were planned for the long weekend down south.
That night Annie didn’t sleep next to Fred.
Early the next morning, both Fred and Annie gave Fran a kiss just before boarding the plane. Annie had quickly gotten used to greeting Fran with a kiss when she arrived at or left the smallholding. Fred and Annie sat next to each other on the plan.
“This is our honeymoon, my love,” Fred whispered in her ear, just when the plane was airborne. Annie’s heart melted. It took them four hours with the military plane to reach their destination. They were taken to their reserved rooms in the barracks when they arrived, and after dropping off their bags, they went for lunch. From there on they had to go to their respective army units to officially sign in. Tina and Annie returned to their barracks with the car Annie had borrowed from her good friend and ex-colleague. Fred asked Annie to move her stuff into his room, which she didn’t mind at all.
As they walked on the beach that evening, it was not difficult to believe that they were actually on their honeymoon.
This was a normal working day for all of them, except for Annie. While Tina discussed several problems people had and tried to solve it, Annie chatted to everyone she knew and used to work with. She loved seeing her former colleagues and they liked having her there. When Annie left the office that afternoon, she was already looking forward to the beach barbecue that they had planned for the next evening.
Fred ‘kidnapped’ Annie just before midnight that evening to go dancing. He didn’t want anyone else to join them, which was why he waited until the others had retired to their beds before they drove off. Just before they left, they bathed together. It was years since the last time Annie had shared a bath with a man. She didn’t feel comfortable, even more so because Fred openly and intensely watched every move she made. Annie made sure they didn’t share another bath for the rest of the weekend.
The four of them had breakfast together in a restaurant in the city center, and that afternoon Annie and Fred took a nap, as they only had about three hours of sleep the night before. Both of them wanted to be rested for the barbecue that evening.
Unfortunately, the evening almost ended in a disaster.
Annie was so glad to see all her friends. She wandered from one group to the other, talking to everyone. When standing at the fire between two friends, another colleague-friend of Annie, walked over towards them. He squeezed in between Annie and the other person and put his arm around their shoulders. Annie leaned into him, as he had always been so special to her, but not in a romantic kind of way. All of this was just a friendly gesture. She laughed and talking to her friend, but her laughter stalled when her eyes caught those of Fred. From the look on his face, she could clearly see that he was furious.
Without making a scene, Annie excused herself from the group. She walked over to Fred. His hand clasped her arm painfully and he roughly steered her to a darker area.
“What the hell are you doing?”
Fred was fuming. Not knowing why, Annie felt fear.
“Nothing,” she carefully answered.
“Why did you let that bloke touch you?” he hissed.
“I didn’t let him touch me,” Annie defended herself. “He’s a good friend. And you have nothing to fear,” she sarcastically said, “because he is gay.”
She had no idea why she even had to say that…
“I don’t give a damn what he is. If you allow other men to touch you, it’s over between us!”
Annie panicked. Over? No! She sarted to cry.
“Please Fred, I am sorry. It will never happen again,” she whined, “I love you.”
“Then don’t ever let any other man touch you ever again. Remember, you’re mine! Mine! Nobody, absolutely nobody, is allowed to touch you. No-bo-dy at all!”
With these words, he turned around and walked back into the ring of light coming from the barbecue fire. Annie stayed in the shadows, crying. Her best friend found her there. Annie shortly told her friend about the argument she just had with Fred, fully blaming herself for what had happened.
“This is no way to start a relationship,” Annie’s friend warned her, but it was clear that Annie wasn’t listening anymore.
What is Annie’s obsession with this man, her friend wondered.
To be continued… The work trip (part 2)
© Rebel’s Notes