Grant was holding me down with a hand on each of my shoulders, kneeling on my abdomen to keep me from squirming away. I was on my back on the deck near the stern of his dad’s boat, and I could taste the saltwater on my tongue as I gasped for breath. Grant wasn’t saying anything, just looking down at me with an enraged, feral gleam flashing in his baby-blue eyes. He didn’t need to speak; it was pretty clear what he wanted.

I screamed at him wordlessly. It wasn’t a terrified kind of scream, or a scream for help–there were no other boats for miles. It was just a release valve for the pressure of frustrated turmoil that builds up when you find yourself restrained and in imminent danger. It has to go someplace.

“Shut up,” said Grant. His voice was husky, full of desire and aggression but tinged by a note of fear. I thought it was weird that he was the one feeling afraid. Maybe he’d never done this before? What a strange thing to be thinking about. Would I have preferred an attacker who knew what he was doing, who wasn’t all wishy-washy about it? At the time it upset me in a weird way, as if he was annoyingly dragging things out.

He shifted his weight slightly, relaxing his grip on my right shoulder, and I surged upward, freeing my right arm. I tried to punch him in the face, but due to our relative positions and my lack of leverage all I managed was half-fisted slap. It stunned him for a moment and I rolled to the left, throwing him off me and into the starboard railing. I got up and started running towards the cabin–not that I had any place to go besides over the side into the Pacific. Before I could take four steps Grant’s hand caught the hem of my dress. I lost my footing and toppled forward, upending the bottle of brut and the ice bucket. Frothy champagne sloshed onto the deck amidst a clatter of ice cubes, and me on top of it.

The wind was knocked out of me again, and this time Grant climbed on my back with one knee on either side of my spine. I could feel a sharp pain in some organ or other–spleen maybe?–but didn’t even have the breath to cry out.

“Bitch!” shouted Grant, half anger, half triumph.

My left cheek was pressed against the now cold and wet deck, and to my right I could see the overturned ice bucket and a shiny, six-inch chrome-handled pick. I wasn’t particularly religious, even back then, but to me that was a clear sign from the universe that it I was supposed to stab Grant with it. I grabbed the pick and since I couldn’t see Grant from my face down position I just swung blindly toward the source of the weight on my back. Grant yelp in pain as the pick stuck into his flesh.

He rolled off of me and I crawled forward out of some instinct to get away from him and the brut-covered section of deck. It took me a moment to realize that he wasn’t pursuing me, but moaning pitifully. When I stood up and looked around I saw him sitting against the starboard railing, a shocked expression on his face. The ice pick had punctured right through his Tommy Bahama shirt and into the supple flesh of his side beneath it. He wasn’t all that tall, and I’d stuck him under his right shoulder. There was a lot of blood seeping out of the wound, down onto his khaki shorts and the deck below.

“Fuck Sarah,” he said, wheezing. “I think you punctured my lung. We gotta go to a hospital.”

I thought pretty hard about what he was saying as I stared down at him. There was a nice breeze that pushed my hair into my face, and I had to brush it back.

“C’mon,” said Grant. “I’m not fucking around, I think I’m really hurt.”

He did look really hurt. If I’d really gotten his lung, he needed to go to a hospital for sure. I looked back east towards the distant harbor and couldn’t even make it out in the amber evening glow.

“Well, we’re twenty miles offshore,” I said. “Spending the night out here, remember?”

“Please,” he said, desperation leaking into his voice. “I’m sorry, Sarah. I’m sorry I tried to rape you. I lost control, okay? When you said you didn’t want to do it, I snapped. I thought ‘why is she doing this to me, why did she come all the way out here with me just to turn me down.’ I just. . . look Sarah, I know it wasn’t right, I fucking know that, okay? You have to save me, Sarah. You can’t let me die. Please Sarah. Please fucking save me. You have to fucking save me, Sarah.” There were tears streaming down his cheeks by the end, and he started letting out pained, raspy sobs after he stopped talking.

I listened, and considered what he was saying. No lie–I really, really thought about it. I even felt a little bit sorry for him.

“What happens when we get home?” I eventually said. “If you live, which is a big if, I get charged with attempted murder, right? You deny the attempted rape, and your dad sics the DA on me. That’s how it’d go, right?”

He was shaking his head, bawling. “No, I promise, I’ll tell them everything. I promise, Sarah. I fucking swear to you, I’ll tell them everything.”

I sighed, because I actually sort of believed him. “Here’s the problem, though: what if you don’t live? What if you die on the way back, and your dad doesn’t believe me? He’ll see your corpse with a stab wound and me without a mark. Then I’ll be fucked, Grant.”

“You bitch,” he said between sobs. “You’re killing me. You’re fucking killing me.”

“You killed yourself,” I said. “You just got too drunk after I turned you down and fell over the side while I was sleeping.”

Grant struggled when I grabbed his shoulders and lifted him up, but he was too weak from the pain and the blood loss to do much but flop around a bit. When he was high enough I eased him over the railing and watched him slide down the side of the boat into the water. He’d gotten blood all over my dress, so I peeled it off and tossed it in after him. Then I mopped up the blood on the deck with a towel and threw that in too. Grant hadn’t sunk immediately, and I could still see him bobbing in the ocean, trying to curse at me but only managing to gargle salt water. I realized that it might actually take him a while to die, so I crossed over to the controls and fired up the engine. The boat slowly started to move as I throttled it up, and I walked back over to the stern to watched Grant drift away behind me. As his blood mixed in with the churning water, the propeller whipped it all into a fine pink foam.

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