Hi readers, turns out my hiatus is on hiatus! Couldn't stay away, truth be told!
My thanks as always to the incomparable no1Ukno. He happily(?) edits and improves my work despite not loving all my topic choices. Sorry man, I've gotta go where my muse takes me 🤷.
(I work so hard making sure his ramblings are readable. But it's worth it because I get to read these great stories before you do … no1Ukno).
Thanks are also due to ChancesAre who was kind enough to give me some crucial pointers. He made me see that sometimes less is more, for the benefit of the story. The good news is I now have some cool material to use somewhere else!
This is a proper story, not a quick, Penthouse Forum stroker. So, I recommend you set aside a quiet hour, settle in with your favorite tipple, and enjoy.
I have no knowledge of Hawaii other than viewing it enviously from the other side of the world. Please excuse any errors resulting from my sloppy research. All mistakes are my responsibility.
All characters having sex are over eighteen of course.
"No frickin' way man," I exclaimed into the phone, "I can barely look after myself! How the hell can I take care of a teenage girl?"
"Please Bill, we've got nowhere else to turn. It's Caroline man. I know you love her as much as we do. Please do this for us… for her. We're beyond worried at this point. Sal and I agree this is the best thing we can do for her."
Caroline… my niece. I was talking to my elder brother David, her father. He was asking me to take her in before she got into more serious trouble. Take her in, to live with me, here on Oahu. Me, her unmarried waster of an uncle who lives in a creaky shack by Nānākuli beach.
"Do you mean for the summer? Before she goes to college?" I asked him.
There was a long pause. It was worse than I'd thought.
"No, it's for college Bill. She's already applied to the University of Hawaii as one of her alternates. It's one of the best schools in the country for her Applied Science major," my sister-in-law Sally replied. David and his wife were on speakerphone with me, from their home in Nebraska.
"You're talking years guys!" I exclaimed.
"Yes, it would be four years Bill, but she needs a fresh start. The small-town life she has here is too restrictive. She's fallen in with a bad element at school this past semester.
"We've got to get her far away from here, to somewhere she can recover her perspective. Hawaii is perfect for that and it's the only place we know she'll be safe… with you." David sounded plaintive now, not something I could remember hearing from him before.
"Is she even on board with this?" I asked.
"She knows we're at our wit's end with her at the moment. She doesn't know that we're thinking of a drastic solution though," Sally responded.
"We haven't brought it up yet because it very much depends on you," David said.
"No pressure then dude," I laughed. "I'll want to talk to Carrie myself. I'll present it as my idea. If she responds well then we can start making more concrete plans."
"You're serious? You'll do it?" David sounded as if he was almost in tears now.
"Of course I will kid. Jeez, I know I'm a lazy bastard, but I'm not a complete monster! Carrie is the most precious thing in my world, you know that. I hope it doesn't ruin my relationship with her." I hadn't considered fallout from the plan. Painful as it might be though, even that would be worth her future well-being.
"I hope not too, but there are no guarantees Bill. She's become like a stranger to us in the last few months. We need her back and I know deep down she needs us too. We somehow have to find a path to get her there," David said.
"Do you want me to take the phone up to her now?" He asked.
"No, you dick, I'll hit her up on WhatsApp or something, do a video chat. I can't believe a top business guy like you is such a tech dinosaur," I teased my brother.
"As opposed to being an actual dinosaur like you!" His comebacks had always had a little zing to them, ever since childhood.
"Touché bro. I love you guys and I promise I'll do whatever I can to help you and Carrie through this. I'm sure it's only a rough patch. Uncle B will soon have things back to normal. You watch! Speak soon." With that I hung up, staring out at the pristine white sand and azure blue Pacific beyond.
What had gone wrong for Caroline? She'd been here with David and Sally at Christmas just over a year ago and we'd had a terrific time. She'd always seemed to enjoy my company. I'd begun teaching her how to surf and she'd dragged me up the Palikea Ridge for a strenuous hike more than once. It was exactly what I'd needed as I tried to combat the dreaded middle-aged spread.
Caroline and I had never exchanged an angry word that week. We'd laughed and teased each other throughout. Now I was hearing that she was staying out after curfew, smoking, drinking, and Christ knows what else. Simple teenage rebellion? Or something more sinister?
I thought about how shy she had seemed when they'd first arrived. She'd worn thick glasses and her face had been ravaged by acne. She'd been what… sixteen then? Tall and broad, toned from endless hours in the pool. She was all-state in swimming and was such a natural in the water. Her boundless energy had almost embarrassed me on the steepest sections of the ridge!
She'd always been a tomboy, doubtless the result of being an only child. She wore her hair short, for ease of maintenance I assumed. While her exercise had kept her fit and strong there was nothing feminine about her looks. I wondered if she was struggling with her sexual identity. Rural Nebraska was not a place I would want to grow up gay!
How the hell could I broach that subject? Jesus, get a grip sergeant. You haven't even talked to her yet!
I had to reach out to her, but carefully, I admonished myself. This wasn't some balls-out ground assault but a delicate diplomatic mission. I'd been on plenty of those during my military career, but I'd been the guy carrying the big gun, not the one doing the talking.
I sent her a message,
"You up for a chat cadet? I can't decide which dolly to buy for your birthday. Hit me back for a video call before bed. I love you, Carrie ❤️"
It only took about twenty minutes to write it, draft seven was as good as it was going to get!
As I waited for Caroline to reply I poured myself a stiff bourbon and went out to the pool. I thought about how long it had been since we'd last spoken. One quick phone call at Christmas was all I could remember. How had I become so absent from her life? How had I let that happen? I was ashamed, unable to shake the feeling that some of this was my fault.
There was a sultry heat in the air, a storm was coming. Literally and figuratively, I thought. I lazed on a lounger and sipped my drink, waiting.
It was about an hour later when I was awakened from a doze by the familiar FaceTime warble. I scrambled to answer, surprised to see a complete stranger staring out of the screen at me. It had been her caller ID, but this was not the Caroline I knew.
"Caz? Is that you?" I asked.
The stunning blonde staring into Caroline's phone giggled and said "Yes silly, of course it's me! Wait, you haven't seen me since the boob fairy visited in the fall. Let me give you the rundown of what she did. First, there was the LASIK surgery, but that was mom and dad I suppose. No more glasses though – sweet!"
There was a rustling sound and the screen flickered while Caroline got up off her bed. She stood in front of the mirrored wardrobes in her bedroom. She switched cameras and I was looking at her reflection in the full-length mirrors. I gasped.
Gone were the glasses, the acne, the flat chest. Now I saw a beautiful face with flawless skin, long blonde curls, and some very fetching C-cup breasts.
Chill out, she was fully dressed!
Jeans and a crop top thing which showed off her taut belly. At almost six feet and I guessed a little over 140 pounds she was gorgeous. Cinderella had nothing on my Caroline. What a transformation! She did a slow twirl, looking over her shoulder as I gazed at her plump ass… I mean bottom, erm backside.
I only glanced anyway, honest!
She had stopped talking as I gawked at her and I realized I needed to speak,
"Wow, you look great honey. Amazing in fact. Wait, is that a belly button piercing? What did your mom say about that?"
"She doesn't know and don't you dare tell her! What about you, is that a beard? How did you manage to bleach those bits so white?" Caroline was smiling as she teased me.
"I practiced on my pubes first, so they match now, which is nice!" I'd blurted that out without thinking, causing her to laugh out loud. As she settled back onto her bed I said, "I was joking about your birthday; I need to apologize for not being there. I'm so sorry, but I do have something that should make up for it."
"Ooh, is it a car? That would dig you out of that hole pretty much. Especially if it's a new one!" she said joking. I hoped!
"Erm, no honey, but my idea does involve a car. I wondered if you'd like to come to stay with me for a few weeks this summer, before college. We could work on your surfing and get you started on that triathlon training we talked about. My old car would be yours for the duration," I said.
"Oh B, I'm not a little girl anymore, I don't have time to waste swimming and shit now. My friends and I already have plans for this summer. We're going down to Florida, the party scene there is off the hook. I can't wait, we're all going to Florida State next year anyway. It will be good to get to know the area beforehand," Caroline gushed. Did David and Sally know any of this?
"You can still do your Applied Science degree there? That's lucky, I thought that was a pretty niche course," I enquired.
"No, it's only available in a few boring places. I've switched to finance and business, it seems far easier, so more time to party! Yay." was her response.
"Oh, well I hope you know what you're doing. It seems I have missed out on you growing up, did it all happen overnight? You'll think about coming to stay with me? I'd love to spend some time with you before you disappear off to Florida," I floundered. This was not the conversation I had expected to be having at all.
"I don't know, I've got to go. We're all heading to a kegger tonight and I'm late. I thought you wanted to talk about my birthday present but if not I've gotta go. Bye B."
With that, she was gone and I was left shell-shocked. That was the first time I could remember that we hadn't finished a call with a couple of 'I love yous'. Caroline had bloomed very late in her teenage years. I thought she must have been trying to make up for lost time. I couldn't believe she could be mature enough to cope with it. That face, that body at a student kegger? There would be horny men queued around the block trying to get a crack at her. Fuck, no wonder David and Sally were so worried.
I called them back and related what had happened. I told them everything and was saddened to learn that they knew nothing of her plans. We agreed that we needed to intervene and get our girl back on track. We could only hope that would be before things went off the rails. Over the next hour, the plan we called 'Tough Love' was born.
David and Sally agreed to have a proper talk with Caroline about college. They had every right; they would be funding her adventures after all. They did it the night before her 18th birthday in February and it sounded like it was very uncomfortable. She hadn't run away but she had fought back hard and been pretty sullen ever since. I'd tried to FaceTime on her birthday but she ignored my repeated calls. That hurt, a lot.
I actually had bought her a birthday present. I'd scoured the island for an authentic 1930s 'Waikiki' paddle-board. It had been a bit banged up but my friend Milo and I had spent a month refurbishing it. It was a beautiful object, a work of art I thought. It was a little heavier than a modern fiberglass board but it was so much more interesting and beautiful. Caroline had admired the one hanging in the surf club last year and I'd thought it would make a memorable gift. Now I wasn't so sure.
I got Milo to record a short video of me showing it off. I finished by telling her it would always be here for her, just like I would.
That was the plan. Cast me as the caring, cuddly uncle while mom and dad began to crack down on the discipline at home. We hoped to tout the idea of me and Hawaii as an escape route. Well, that was our intention anyway. I sent the video but never got a reply; well not for a few months anyway.
As time passed it seemed that our plan wasn't working at all. Caroline was retreating further and further from family life. Somehow her schoolwork didn't suffer, her report cards were always exemplary. She was spending no time at home though, always going out to this party or that.
She got accepted to all her colleges, including Florida State. Unfortunately, she still seemed dead set on going there. The trip she had mentioned to me turned out to be a week-long jaunt with her friends. Ostensibly it was to visit the campus, leaving a few days after her High School graduation. But, it didn't take the FBI to work out the real reason. Florida State had a reputation as a raucous party destination.
It looked like David and Sally only had one play left, the Nuclear Option! They had decided as a last resort to refuse to fund her attendance at any college other than Hawaii. They'd withheld this news from Caroline so that she didn't have time to apply for scholarships.
As so often happens, life threw us a curveball when everyone was expecting the heater. My phone rang, it was Caroline. I knew she was in Florida visiting the school. Which was why I panicked when the call came in after 10 pm – that was three in the morning in Florida!
"Caz, are you ok baby?" I cried immediately.
"Sir, this is officer Mendez with the Tallahassee Police Department. Are you Mr. William Branford?" spoke a strange voice.
"Yes officer, is Caz, I mean is Caroline ok?" I asked. My pulse was racing, my body vibrating from the adrenaline surge. The policeman responded,
"She's about to leave the scene and be taken to the emergency room. Her injuries are severe, but not life-threatening."
"Injuries?! What the hell happened down there? She's only a kid!" I exclaimed, fearful now.
"It appears she may have undergone some sort of sexual assault. The details aren't clear but she insisted that I call you. Are you her father?"
"Uncle," I replied," her parents are home in Nebraska. Did she not want you to call them?" I asked.
"No, she was very specific about that. It had to be you, sir," he said.
"They've been having some problems; I'll contact them now. Have you got a case number officer?" I asked.
"Not yet sir but I'll text you my own cell number from her phone so you can contact me in the morning."
"Thank you, which hospital will she be going to?" I asked, trying somehow to think if there was anything else I needed to know.
"Tallahassee Memorial. It's nearby; she'll be there in less than ten minutes."
"Thank you for calling, officer do you have anyone in custody?" I asked.
"We have detained several suspects. There's a large pool of witnesses, but there is no clear picture of events at this point. I haven't interviewed the victim yet as she needs some medical attention," the cop replied. He seemed pretty competent so I thanked him and hung up. I didn't want to delay Caroline's trip to the hospital any further.
David took a few extra seconds to answer his phone, I suppose he had been asleep. After some initial panic, I calmed him down and relayed what few details I had. He and Sally decided to travel down to Florida the next morning. With that, we said our goodbyes and hung up.
My phone woke me at 4:30, this time it was Caroline.
"Uncle Bill?" she asked, quiet as a mouse, her words muffled and distorted somehow.
"Yes baby, it's me. How are you feeling? Are you ok? Still my girl?" I asked, annoyed at slipping into the childish vernacular.
She laughed, "Always your girl B, but a pretty fucked up one this morning."
I winced at the language, but she was an adult now I supposed.
"Was it bad honey? Were you… did they… Shit, what happened? Did they hurt you?" I struggled to be direct with her, she was still a little girl at heart. Well, in my heart anyway.
She replied slowly, still shocked. "I'm not sure I can tell you B, it was all my fault. I was so excited to be at a big college party. I overdid it I guess."
"That's not your fault. That's what happens at parties. You don't have to tell me but your parents are on their way. If you tell me I can explain it to them for you. That might be a bit easier, cut down on the third degree a bit," I said.
"Dammit! I told that stupid cop not to call them. Shit, that's the last thing I need in the middle of this clusterfuck. Goddamn June and Ward Cleaver and their holier than thou act!" She was getting agitated now.
"Caz, baby, I called them. They're your mom and dad. They love you like nothing else in the world. They're not coming to give you shit, they want to support you and look after you. They're not going to judge you. You're the victim in all this," I replied, trying to keep her calm.
"I'm not so sure about that Unc. It's all a blur but I think I might have consented to some of it. I can't remember." She sounded forlorn and quiet again now, her anger extinguished.
"Tell me what you do remember. The police are going to come and question you later anyway. It might help to go through it now beforehand, to clarify it in your mind." I wasn't sure if that was correct, but I wanted to keep her talking somehow.
"I guess. I'll try and remember. I just feel so stupid because… I got pretty wasted. Actually, I was annihilated. The X down here must be a lot stronger than ours back in Nebraska. We were at a fraternity house. The Greek scene is huge down here, that's one of the reasons we were so excited to be coming here.
"I was talking to these frat guys and got separated from my friends. They brought me drinks and flirted with me. It was fun but I got sleepy and they offered to let me lie down. Long story short I ended up in some sort of sex game. I was tied to a chair, groped, and touched on my… you know, my privates. My clothes were gone, then guys were jerking off on me. It all started to get a bit scary. Shit, I just remembered, some people were filming it on their phones. Oh my god, what happens if it ends up on the internet?
"Uncle B, what will I do? It's horrible. People will see it. People I know!"
I assured her it would be ok; we would make sure that wouldn't happen. It was nonsense, of course. If someone uploaded it, it would be out there forever. We could sue the originator but we couldn't stop it from spreading; especially if it was on social media.
I asked her to continue with her recollection and haltingly she did.
"As I sobered up I began to complain more and more. I was screaming at the end until I managed to bite some guy's wiener, that's when someone called the cops."
"You bit it off?" I exclaimed.
"No, no doofus, that's gross!" she laughed, although I could hear her wincing in pain. "I just scared him, so he hit me in the face a few times. I was tied to the chair so I couldn't avoid him. When I fell over and hit my head someone realized it had all gone too far".
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