She was living with her controlling father Steve (William Petersen) and young stepmother Laura (Amy Brenneman).
Steve was critical of the way his daughter sluttily dressed in a short skirt - like when she was 12, although he had endearing names for his 'Daddy's girl,' such as "my little sugar plum."David met Nicole in a rowdy downtown Seattle bar-club and dance hang-out.
He seemed to respect her when she denied him touching her breast when they first kissed, and he impressed her with his response: "That's one more perfect thing for me to admire - and respect - and wait for." During a later rollercoaster ride (to the tune of a remake of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses"), she let him touch her between her legs - she orgasmed and entirely fell for him, literally.
If you don't disappear from my family's life, I'm gonna rip your balls off and shove 'em so far up your ass they'll come out your f--kin' mouth! "David methodically and repetitively punched himself (self-flagellation?
) to fake bruises (and gain Nicole's sympathy and confession of love).
However, she had a change of heart when (from outside David's house) she witnessed her best friend Margo (Alyssa Milano), an adventuresome party girl, carried off in a thong bikini and raped by David.
She finally realized that he was actually dangerous, jealous, violent and psychopathic when he beat up her platonic friend Gary (Todd Caldecott) after she gave him a perfectly innocent hug.
Nicole also was pushed and received a black left eye.
[Later in the film, David killed Gary by snapping his neck in the woods near the school.] He also beheaded the family pet - a German Shepherd in this case named Kaiser.
The menacing and intimidating stalker David told Nicole's father that he had unfortunate "inadequacies" and wasn't keeping up with his own "missus" - "'Cause if you were, she wouldn't be all over my stick." Nicole's beleaguered father ordered him to stop seeing his daughter - in no uncertain terms:"I want you to understand somethin', pal.
The most memorable scene in the psychological thriller was the 'bunny boiler' scene of scorned Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), a book editor who experienced a fling with errant philandering husband and successful New York lawyer Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas).
Afterwards, she took predatory revenge on his daughter Ellen's (Ellen Hamilton Latzen) pet rabbit (named Whitly) by making 'hare stew' (filmed with suspenseful cut-aways of the child running to the empty rabbit hutch).