avatarMarie A. Rebelle


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Away From Home, He Showed His True Colors

No Consent #12: 16 to 22 March 1994: The work trip — Moments of anger and intense jealousy colored their time away

Series content warning: Mental and physical abuse, grooming and
gaslighting, bigotry and shaming, naivety and immaturity.
This is a fictionalized story of real events.

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16 March

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 for the weekend, as she had to go on a work trip to the south of the country early the next morning.

Not only Tina would join her, but so would Fred and his lieutenant.

The day after Fred 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 had then invited Annie to stay the night before their flight at their place, as Fran would drive them to the airport.

Annie was 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.

17 March

At the airport, 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 plane.

“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 hand-in-hand on the beach that evening, it was easy to believe they were actually on their honeymoon.

18 March

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 enjoyed having her there. When Annie left the office that afternoon, she was already looking forward to the beach barbecue 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.

19 March

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 special to her, but not romantically. All of this was just a friendly gesture.

She laughed and excitedly talked to her friend, but her laughter stalled when her eyes caught those of Fred. From the look on his face, she could clearly see 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 didn’t know 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 started crying.

“Please Fred, I am sorry. It will never happen again,” she whined. “I love you.”

“Then let no other man touch you ever again. Remember, you’re mine! Mine! Nobody, absolutely nobody, may 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 had just had with Fred, fully blaming herself for what had happened.

“This is no way to start a relationship,” Annie’s friend warned her in vain, as Annie wasn’t listening anymore.

What is Annie’s obsession with this man? her friend wondered.

20 March

The next morning, everything seemed to be good between them again. Fred and Annie hadn’t talked about what happened the evening before, but he seemed to be back to his charming self when they walked on the beach, hand in hand.

About a year after Annie’s divorce, she had a ring made by a jeweler, who transferred the diamonds of what had once been her wedding ring into the new ring, and she had asked the jeweler to add an amethyst to the setting.

She was fond of the ring, and the only sentimental value it had to her was that it was hers. During their walk on the beach, Fred slipped this specific ring off her finger. He put the ring in his trousers’ pocket.

Annie panicked, afraid that he might lose it.

“Come on Fred, give me back my ring. Please?”

“Later,” he said and kept on walking without looking at her.

“I’m afraid it might get lost. Give it back. It’s my ring!”

“I said: later!” Fred’s voice was firm and calm.

Annie didn’t stop moaning about her ring.

Not only was she fond of it, but she also knew the ring was of high value. The more she asked for it, the more Fred ignored her. When she was almost in tears, he at last gave it back.

“I think you attach far too much value to that thing,” he snarled.

Nothing Annie said after that could convince Fred the ring had not been a gift from someone special. He was insanely jealous. Annie realized he might have lost the ring on purpose if she had stopped pushing him to give it back.

21 March

With the weekend over, it was a working day for them again, but only for half a day. That afternoon, they went out for a drive.

In the car, Annie and Tina persuaded Fred to join them for a trip in the cable car. This would take them to the top of the mountain. From up there they could look out over the city and the sea, and if the weather was clear enough, they could even see Robben Island.

Fred didn’t enjoy the ride to the top of the mountain — in fact, he clutched Annie’s arm all the way to the top. Once on Table Mountain, he loved the sight from there. From the mountain, and since they were in an adventurous mood, they drove out to Hout Bay and made a boat trip out to the seal island.

That evening, the four of them dined together in a special restaurant, as it was their last night before they had to return home the next day.

Their so-called working trip was about to end.

22 March

She sat with her eyes closed on the plane during their flight back home. Annie wasn’t sleeping, but pretended to be so she could think about the last couple of days.

During their trip, she and Fred had shared a room, and they had slept in the same bed, despite there being two beds in his room. Of course, they also had sex, but once again, it didn’t leave a deep impression on Annie. Repeatedly, it had followed the same routine and every time it was over almost before it had begun. It was much more exciting when Fran was part of the game.

Something else that bothered Annie immensely was Fred’s unreasonable jealousy at the barbecue and the episode with her ring. This made her feel unhappy.

Fred refused to talk about it.

Nobody may touch you and the ring means too much to you, was all he continued saying about it.

The two incidents cast a shadow over what should have been a special weekend with whom she thought to be a wonderful man.

Would it be a good idea to live under the same roof as this man? Annie asked herself.

At times, Fred had been downright unfriendly and rude towards her. Maybe he regretted ever getting involved with her?

Still with her eyes closed and silently talking to herself, Annie decided postponing her move to the smallholding was the way to go. She needed more time to see how their relationship developed. If she still felt uneasy in a month or two, she would stay in her own house. After this silent decision, some of her confidence returned.

Fate caused Annie to reverse that silent decision.

When she arrived home that evening after picking up her kids from her friend’s house, an unpleasant surprise awaited her. Someone had broken into her house while she was away.

When she quickly looked around, she missed only a couple of her things, but the mess in her kitchen was nauseating. Opened cans with leftovers were everywhere. Pieces of food were on the sink, on the table, and even on the floor. Fatty fingerprints were all over the doors of the cupboards in her kitchen.

None of her doors had been forced, but Annie immediately noticed the key to her backdoor was gone. Somehow, someone got the key through the crack between the door and the floor under it. Slipping the double page of a newspaper under the door, pushing the key out of the keyhole from the outside and then pulling the newspaper page out from under the door, was a trick Annie knew too. She suspected this was how the burglars got in.

Annie immediately called the police. They promised to be there within a couple of minutes.

Then she called Fred. He didn’t offer to come over. He was tired and wanted to go to bed. She was too upset by what had happened to realize Fred wasn’t offering any support.

When the police arrived, they dusted everywhere for fingerprints. Afterwards, Annie didn’t know what she found more disturbing: the mess the burglars left or the mess the police made.

After everyone was gone, Annie started cleaning up. Her children didn’t want to sleep in their own rooms. They were scared and both of them cried. Annie didn’t feel safe either.

Even though she had put a special lock on her backdoor, she was still anxious knowing someone out there had a key to her house.

Continued… No Consent #13

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This is the rework of a fictionalized auto-biographical story, self-published as a book in 2008, and rewritten for this platform. The story comes with a content warning of mental and physical abuse, misogyny. Names of characters have been changed, not to protect them, but to protect me.

Another series written by me:

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