'You're goddamned right I'm going to tell him!' she hissed, dashing for the bathroom.

Chapter 2

But Sue didn't tell her husband. She was too ashamed because of the way she'd turned on to being raped. When Doug got home that evening, Sue gave him his supper, and saying she wasn't hungry, sat down to have a cup of coffee with him while he ate. Only she couldn't meet his gaze as they sat across the table from one another, and it was impossible for her to make small talk.

'What's the matter, honey?' Doug Fletcher, a handsome, brown-haired young man of twenty-two who was a Vietnam veteran, finally asked his bride.

'Nothing,' Sue mumbled, staring at a spot on the table halfway between them as she absently twisted a strand of her naturally curly blond hair which cascaded sexily down over her shoulders.

'You look like you lost your last friend.'

'It's nothing,' she snapped. 'I'm just, ah, not feeling so good, is all. In fact, I think I'll just go to bed now, if you don't mind, dear.

I've got this splitting headache,' she lied, because she needed an excuse to get out of his sight before she burst into tears again, as she'd been doing on and off all afternoon.

'Sure, honey, go ahead. Don't worry about the dishes, I'll wash them.'

'You're so good and kind,' Sue muttered, getting up from the table. 'I don't deserve a husband like you,' she added whiningly as she darted from the room so he wouldn't see the tears welling up in her eyes.

It was nearly nine that night when Hubert (Hub) Copeland came staggering bleary-eyed into the house after spending hours in a bar belting down straight shots of whiskey with beer chasers. He weaved his way into the lighted kitchen, where Doug was studying. Bracing himself against the table, Hub leaned over in front of Doug and stuck out his chin.

'Take a poke at me,' Hub said, his words running together, barely intelligible because of the amount of alcohol he'd consumed. 'Kick my worthless ass good, 'cause I got it comin' and I know it.'

Doug grinned good-naturedly. 'You're drunk, Hub. Go to bed, why don't you, and sleep it off.' Doug had joined the service only a couple of months after Hub had married his now deceased mother, so he and his stepfather were pretty much strangers to one another.

'You ain't gonna let me get away with it, are you?' Hub asked incredulously.

'Get away with what?'

'Then I guess she didn't tell you after all, huh?'

'Tell me what? Who, Sue? Hub, what are you talking about?'

'Should'da kept my big mouth shut,' Hub mumbled, sinking dejectedly into a chair. He leaned forward with his elbows on the table and craddled his rather coarse-featured face in his huge hands. 'No, I should'da kept it in my pants, that's what I should'da done… and wish to God I had,' he muttered, looking as well as sounding like a man in misery. 'I gotta tell you, boy. I done somethin' awful and I gotta tell you 'cause my cons-conscience is givin' me fits.'

Sensing that something really was wrong, Doug began to tense up.

'Finished that remodelin' job early,' Hub began. 'Me and the boys tipped a few to celebrate. When I got home, it was in the middla the afternoon, Sue was takin' a nap. She was layin' on the couch. All she had on was a pair'a panties and, well, I couldn't help gettin' me an eyeful, now could I?'

Doug began to squirm uneasily. 'Aw hell, Hub,' he said, trying to make light of it. 'I don't guess you seeing her that way hurt anything. She shouldn't have been on the couch, anyway. If she wanted to take a nap, she should've gone to our bedroom and closed the door. I'll talk to her. It won't happen again.'

'You don' understand,' Hub replied impatiently. 'I done more than just look at her, goddamn me. A whole lot more. I ought to be horsewhipped for what I done to that poor sweet innocent little wife of yours! I was drunk. I lost my head. I didn't know what I was doin' till I'd already done it!'

Automatically Doug's hands clenched into fists. His eyes narrowed down and the right corner of his mouth began twitching spastically. 'Maybe you'd better tell me just exactly what happened.'

Without holding anything back except the way Sue had turned on to being manhandled and taken against her will, Hub told Doug everything, as best he could recall it himself. He kept repeating over and over that it was all his fault, that Doug shouldn't blame Sue in any way for what had happened. He never used the word rape, but he did admit to ripping Sue's underpants off her and holding her down to get his dick into her.

To prove that Sue had fought against him, he showed Doug his toothwounded forearm.

At first Doug couldn't believe his ears. He sat there in a state of mounting horror, literally shaking with rage. But then, as Hub went on speaking, Doug could almost see it happening in his mind's eye and, to his embarrassment and shame, he began to experience a vicarious thrill.

His heart beat faster. His prick sprang up hard as a bone. The most delicious ache held ever known spread through his loins and tugged at the pit of his stomach. Doug was mortified by his perverted emotional response but, God forgive him, he secretly wished he could've seen his big brute of a stepfather cramming that great dong into his pure and innocent bride, the way he'd seen Hub cramming it to his pleasuresobbing mother when he'd sneakily spied on them in bed after Hub had married his widowed mother – for his father's life insurance money Doug had thought, until he'd observed them making wild passionate love.

'If you want to kick the pure old shit out of me, I won't lift a finger to you while you're stompin' on my worthless ass,' Hub offered, after he'd confessed in full. 'I'll let you tie my hands behind my back 'fore you start in on me. Honest to God, I deserve it. God knows, I deserve it!'

Doug agreed that his stepfather deserved a thrashing. He was tempted to give it to him, too, to tie Hub's hands and beat the sonofabitch to within an inch of his vulgar life. But he couldn't stand up. Hub would notice that he had a hard-on, and that would never do. Doug couldn't stand the thought of anyone's discovering his unnatural excitement at learning of his wife's rape, and most certainly not the man who'd raped her! Not only would this cause Doug to suffer an unbearable amount of mortification, but it would be virtually giving Hub a license to throw Sue down and stick it to her again when he felt like it!

'You're just like your mother, God rest her soul,' Hub sobbed brokenly, shedding real tears of shame and remorse when Doug declined the assstomping invitation. 'She was a good Christian, too. You and your maw is a whole heap of a lot better people than I can ever hope to be. But I promise you one thing, it won't never happen again. If you take your pretty little wife and move out right now, I wouldn't blame you none, boy. But I wish you wouldn't. I like having you here, the both of you.

Gimme another chance, Doug. Please? I won't screw Sue again. I swear you that on a stack of Bibles. And may God strike me dead if I don't live up to my word. I mean it. I ain't never been so sorry or ashamed of myself over anything in my whole rotten life as I am over this.'

'It'll be up to Sue. I'll talk to her.'

'You do that, Doug, and tell her not to worry none. I'll start datin' again, right away, so's that devil's pressure won't built up in me no more like it did today. Sue'll be safe here from now on, just as safe as if she was sitting in class in Sunday School.'

Having overheard part of her stepfather-in-law's and husband's conversation, Sue was wide awake when Doug entered their darkened bedroom. She cowered beneath the covers as he undressed in the dark.

How much did Hub tell him? she wondered anxiously. Dear Jesus, I hope he didn't tell him I came! If he did, I'll deny it. I don't want Doug to know that! It's bad enough that he knows I've been raped. Why, oh, why couldn't Hub have kept his stupid mouth shut?!

'Sue? Are you asleep, Sue?' Doug called softly from across the room.

She started not to answer, but this was something that would have to be faced and now was as good a time as any. 'I'm awake,' she replied nervously.

'Hub told me about, ah, this afternoon,' Doug said as he crossed to the bed.

'I wanted to tell you myself,' Sue whined. 'I meant to as soon as you walked in the door. But I just couldn't, Doug! I was too ashamed!'

Sue couldn't help cringing when her husband crawled into bed with her.

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