I can’t believe what happened today….I’m shaking and crying so hard right now. I went on a date with guy this from work. Kind of creepy and strange, but I try to give everybody a chance. We didn’t even go on a real date. He parked his car and started kissing me. He grabbed my butt and put his hands all over me. I cried and asked him to stop and he called me a slut! He kept trying to get me to have sex with him. I was so scared he was going to hurt me. I cried and begged him to take me home. The whole way back he just kept telling me I was slut and saying he knew about other guys I slept with. It was the most violating thing that ever happened to me.
I knew this guy was a virgin. Everybody says he’s never had a girlfriend and he’s really weird. His car is covered in anime stickers. That was how he asked me out. He asked me if I like anime. I knew he was odd. I didn’t think he’d attack me though.
Not much else happened. Nothing serious. But he did put his hands all over me. I just started this job. I don’t want to have to leave it, all because of something someone else did. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. I only tried to be nice to him.
I’m going crazy over here! What do I do????????
There was a moment of clarity, in that moment before Adam looked down at the comments. One sparkling moment of pristine clarity.
His heart thumped. It thumped in his ears.
Spots in his vision.
It’s over. Buddy Boyo. Over……Over.
The world sped until time bled.
Baby girl, you didn’t do anything to deserve this. Who is this asshole? I’ll kick his ass! Becca, that’s so scary! You were assaulted! Call the police. I know who she’s talking about. Dude looks like a serial killer. Fucking incel. I know you have a big heart, B. This is why you can’t trust anyone. Especially don’t go trusting weirdo virgins. Women have a second sense about men. If no other woman wanted to be with him, you know there’s a reason. They could sense the creep on him. I’d have maced the lousy prick. Were you raped? Call me if you need to talk! You’re so brave to come forward. Let’s make a plan. We’ll go to the police. No! Do NOT quit your job, Becca. Misogynist pigs like this have no right to make you feel unsafe and uncomfortable at work. Sketchy motherfucker. Dirty neckbeard. That guy looks like a school shooter.
And in the sea of vitriol, one comment standing up for him.
That doesn’t sound like Adam. I’m sorry, but I’ve worked with him for two years. This doesn’t sound anything like him.
A surge of hope. A thread dangled down to the sea he was suddenly drowning in. How could he be safe in his house feeling like he was about to die? His heart sprinted erratically with every comment he read. He felt sure if he moved his body, the lightheadedness would send him reeling over. Yet…someone knew he wouldn’t do this. Emily was still on his side.
Comments turned on her.
WTF is wrong with you? Were you there? Believe all women. This is exactly why we need to say it. There’s always someone to doubt victims. The fuck do you know? Were you there? Way to be a fucking rape apologist.
Rape…What Becca had accused him of was bad enough. All of it was fake, but even the lies weren’t rape. Already her lies had been twisted into more lies. Rape. Rapist. He was now a rapist.
It didn’t matter that he’d never do something like that. It didn’t matter that he’d worked so hard to keep himself from snapping at her, because he didn’t even want to hurt her feelings. He was the type of guy who felt bad if he hurt a girl’s feelings. He would never. Fucking never.
With shaking hands, he dialed Dick’s number. Dick picked up on the third ring.
“Adam, how you hanging in there?”
“I didn’t do it, Dick. I swear I didn’t.”
Dick sighed. “This is a real mess, ain’t it?”
“I…I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I don’t know how she can go and say things that aren’t true.” Adam winced at the way his voice cracked.
“Look, we need to sit down with H.R-”
“Oh fucking God.”
“It won’t be so bad. Cheryl already sat down with Becca.”
“I can’t believe this,” Adam whispered. Two tears dropped from his left eye. He didn’t blink.
“We probably need to start out by switching up your schedule. Think the plan is to keep you two separate and see how it goes.”
Adam swallowed. His spit tasted of bile. “I don’t think I can do it. I can’t come back to work with everybody thinking I’m a monster.”
A long silence from the other end.
“I know, Adam,” Dick said finally. “I know it’s hard. I can’t…I can’t really say my opinion on the situation. You know that, don’t you?”
“Guess I figured.”
“But I think I can say, keep your head up, kid.”
“I think…I think I have to quit,” Adam said. He didn’t know what else he would do. He’d never worked anywhere else.
“That might be for the best.”
Two more tears hit his cheek. He was so pathetic.
“I didn’t do it, Dick.” He was full-on crying now. It came on so suddenly, and he knew that Dick could hear it in his voice. “I didn’t and I wouldn’t.”
“I’ll give you as good a reference as I can, kid.” Dick’s voice was low, sad.
By the time Adam hung up the phone, he was sobbing uncontrollably. He hated himself for it. He lay on the floor and let the hot tears coat his face.
This was what he got for trying. He tried to make his life better and it only made everything worse.
He lost track of time. He dozed.
Eventually, there was a hand on his shoulder shaking him out of his confused state of half-sleep.
“What do you want?” Adam grumbled.
Chuck stared down at him. “You okay, man?”
Adam didn’t even try to hide the tears still trickling from the corners of his eyes. He blinked through the puffiness.
“I’m a virgin being accused of rape.”
“Yep,” Chuck sighed. “What a bitch.”
Adam pulled the hood of his sweatshirt over his face. “Just leave me here to rot. It’s fucking over.”