The mood was strained. Emotions were filled with anger, revulsion, and the need to go hit something until it broke. The house’s living room was quiet but for the crackling fire and the distant sound of a barking dog.
The three women sat on the center sofa, staring at the BFTV (big fucking television) and its screen saying only a DVD logo, waiting for another film to start.
Janet got up and took out the DVD, putting it back into its case. She said nothing, but her stomach was queasy.
Sam clenched a fist and let out a breath. She couldn’t talk.
Cassie, now twenty and home during college break, felt smug satisfaction. She’d warned Mom and Sam that these were violent, nasty films about revenge toward rapists. That they’d feel sick, horrified, and filled with anger. Sam and Mom had scoffed. They could take anything after all the shit they’d experienced. Now they were sitting there, too stunned to move. They’d made a bet, saying they could sit through the films. Now they knew she was right.
Cassie, too, felt angry and sick, but with it was a need to go out and hunt down the rapists and give them what they deserved. Just like in the films. Whoever said films affect people’s lives were bang-on dead right.
Sam cleared her throat, trying to find the words. Hating to say them. “You were right.”
“I—“ Cassie started to say.
Janet, crouched on a knee, looked over her shoulder at her daughter. “If you even say it, I will lower your college allowance.”
Cassie tightly pressed her lips together.
The doorbell made all three jump. Cassie, with wide eyes, frozen and staring at Janet, then Sam. Both women had automatically reached for their purses, where their guns were.
But the purses were in the kitchen.
“This is stupid,” Sam said, walking around the couch. She took a deep breath and looked at Janet, then Cassie. “The barbecue, remember?”
Janet relaxed, then Cassie.
A knock on the door, and someone called out, “Carter? Fraiser?”
It was Jack.
Sam took another breath and opened the door. “General,” she said. “We’re not really—“
“No, Sam, we’re just fine,” Janet interrupted, appearing behind her.
Sam looked over her shoulder. “You sure?”
“We need air.”
Sam took another breath. “You’re right.” She looked at Jack, who had a puzzled look on his face. “We’ll follow over in my car, sir.”
“But I thought—“
“No, really,” she said, trying for casual. “We’ll follow over instead.”
Jack frowned, spun the keys in his hand, and shrugged. “Okay.” He wasn’t sure about the looks on their faces, but he let it go. “See you there.”
After he left, Sam turned to Janet and Cassie. “Some air.” They nodded and grabbed their purses.
“Around men though,” Cassie said as they climbed in Sam’s car.
“Well,” Janet said, putting on her seatbelt. “None of them had better give us any shit.”
Sam burst out laughing, followed by Cassie, then eventually Janet.
“Not if they know what’s good for them,” Sam said as they drove off for the team barbecue.