Shortly after my Roomate From Hell and I parted ways, I was struck by love and spent the next few months in a long distance relationship with a soldier. After he dumped me through a MySpace message – what a coward! – I ended my first year of college and moved back into my mom’s house for the summer. My overwhelming feeling at first was a mixture of anger toward and longing for my ex and I was determined to get over him as quickly as possible. I had dated, but never had a steady boyfriend before, so I credit my inexperience with why I listened to the worst advice of my life: have a rebound fling and move on with my life.

I resolved to find a decent fling as soon as I could find someone, anyone that could string two words together and wasn’t interested in anything serious. I found my opportunity less than a week after the breakup. I was parking in front of my mom’s house after work when three guys who lived in the house across the street called me over. They said some flattering remarks about my eyes that was balm to my wounded pride. After some joking around, they asked my age. I was a few days away from my 19th birthday so I rounded up. I asked theirs and they dared me to guess. I gave answers in the early to mid twenties and they easily agreed. That probably should have been a warning sign – what are the chances that I would guess all three ages correctly? But I was young, stupid and feeling better than I had all week. They invited me to come over later and have a beer and I agreed, giving them my number and telling them to text me later.

After a few hours, I received a text from CM instructing me to come over around 9. I prettied myself up, told myself that this was the best way to get over my ex and headed out the door and across the street. Most of the house looked dark, except a small lamp shining brightly and the eerie luminenscence of a large fish tank near the door. CM invited me in and set about making me comfortable. I was running on nervous energy and I never noticed that the other two men were absent. Why didn’t I foresee how I had been manipulated…