Trashed / Page 59

Page 59


And then I’m done and she’s letting me go, moving to straddle me, taking my face in her hands. “How was that?”

I blink up at her blearily, woozily. “Jesus, Des.” I rest my forehead against her mouth. “I wasn’t expecting that.”

“I know.”

“But it was…I can’t even move.”

She kisses me, and I taste myself on her, but I don’t care. She’s on top of me and I feel her core against my softening member, but her tits are brushing my chest and her mouth is insistent on mine and I’ve got her full hips in my hands, and I know it won’t be long before I’m ready for her, before I can take her the way I need her.

* * *

He stands up with me in his arms and carries me across the apartment, into the bedroom. Lays me down, plants a hand on the bed beside my face and kisses me while caressing my breast with his other hand.

And then he’s gone, but only for a moment, returning with the package of condoms.

My heart seizes, and my core goes damp.

But he’s not ready for that yet. He rips the box open, pulls one square free and sets it aside, then sprawls out on the bed beside me. His hands trace my ribs beneath my tits, down, and find the edge of one of my tattoos. His eyes go to mine, and I see the question.

I roll into him, resting a hand on his stomach, just above his nascent erection. “‘The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned,’” I recite. “Maya Angelou.”

He nods. “I saw it when you were sleeping. What’s it mean to you?”

I rest my head in the crook of his arm. “It’s just about…home. About belonging. I’ve never belonged anywhere. Growing up in the system, none of the placements ever lasted more than a year at most, so there was never home. Everywhere I lived, it was just a house. A place to sleep. So that’s what I’ve always wanted more than anything, is to feel safe, and…to have a home.”

He traces the tattoo on my hip. The scar beneath it. “And the scars the tattoos cover?”

I close my eyes and bury my face in his skin. His arms curl around me, shelter me. Protect me. “I was sixteen. I’d just been moved to a new family. The dad was…bad. Real bad. On disability, wasted all the time. Got violent. Usually he only went after his wife, but every once in a while, he’d go after their daughter. Her mom would get between the girl and the dad. But once…he hit his wife too hard, knocked her out. Michaela, the daughter, started screaming. He was just…crazed. I don’t even know what the fuck got into him. I think he was a Desert Storm vet or something, maybe it was a flashback? I don’t know. There was this extension cord on the table, an orange one. Michaela went after her dad, and he knocked her to the ground. Just laid her out. And he grabbed the cord, started hitting her with it. It was long, and he just had a doubled-over section of it, about three or four feet long. He started hitting ’Chaela with the cord, and I just couldn’t let him—I couldn’t. So I laid over her, covered her. And he just kept hitting. I’d just gotten out of the shower, and all I had on was a towel. The towel fell off, and he just—kept hitting me. I don’t think he even knew what he was doing. Maybe he did. I don’t know. Part of me thinks he did know what he was doing, because he kept hitting me in the same place, over and over, and then he’d hit in a different spot. Left those fun scars.”

“Fucking hell, Des.” Adam’s arms tighten, his lips touch my temple. “What stopped him?”

“A neighbor. Heard the screaming, realized it was worse than usual, I guess. It took the neighbor and three cops to get me off Michaela. I wouldn’t let go of her.”

“Des, god, babe.”

I lift up and look at him, let him see into my eyes. “It’s fine, Adam. It was a long time ago. And honestly, I’d do it again, if I had to. Michaela is just the sweetest girl you’d ever meet. I stayed there…for her, even after that..”

“What?” He gives me an incredulous look.

“He spent six weeks in jail, got probation, a tether, addiction counseling, mandatory AA, all that. My caseworker wanted to move me, but I refused. I was sixteen, so she could’ve insisted despite my protests. Before that, I didn’t care. It didn’t matter; one home was as good as another. But Michaela…she needed me. Her mom wasn’t much good on her best day. She needed a friend, and I was all she had.” I smile, thinking of Michaela. “I still visit her, sometimes. She was only five when that happened. She’s eleven now.”

“And you got the tattoos to cover the scars?”

“Sort of,” I answer. “But more out of a need to turn something that came from ugliness into something beautiful—more than because I was self-conscious about the scars or whatever. And that quote…I came I across it my senior year of high school. I was doing a paper on Maya Angelou, and I read a whole bunch of stuff she’d written. I came across that quote, and it just stuck in my head. It resonated with me on a really deep level. Maya, she got it, too. She had a hard life, and she turned all that pain into so much beautiful poetry.”

“So have you,” Adam says.

I glance at him. “How do you figure?”

He smiles, traces my lips with a thumb. “Just you. Who you are. The fact that you can be such a beautiful person despite all that you’ve been through, that’s poetry too, Des.”

“Jesus, Adam. You’re gonna make me cry.” I sniff.

“That wouldn’t bother me,” Adam says. “You don’t have to be strong all the time, you know. It’s okay to show weakness. To show emotion.”

I shrug. “It’s ingrained.”

“Un-ingrain it,” he says.

I can’t help but laugh. “Yeah, lemme just flip that switch real quick…”

Adam laughs with me, letting it go. He knows it’s not that easy. He brushes a lock of my hair out of the way. “Des? I have a question, and you have to answer it truthfully. You’re gonna want to dismiss it as stupid, but please don’t.”

I lean back to look at him. “Okay, I’ll try.”

He takes a deep breath and lets it out. “Why me?” I frown and open my mouth, but he covers my lips with his finger, and then traces my jawline, my lips, the column of my neck. “You’re a gorgeous woman, and as ill-fated as it was and as horrible as the industry can be, modeling has to have shown you that that’s not just my opinion. So why me? Why did you trust me? Why did you let me take your virginity?”

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