I don’t think Nikki was capable of registering the feeling of hunger. Given the option, she chose a quick high over a full stomach. Every single time. A sad fact made obvious by her sharp cheek bones and dark circles under her eyes. In the short time I’d known her, I’d never seen her ingest anything but coke.
I judge her and I feel shitty about it. But something inside me tells me that she’s better than the thing she does. When I’m not extremely irritated with her I feel almost protective of her. I was fighting for my own survival and I wanted to fight for hers, but the problem was, she didn’t want to fight for herself.
I opened my mouth to lecture her. I was about to tell her that she should lay off the dope and change her main priority to food and her overall health, when she turned toward me. There I was, my mouth agape, ready to rain down judgment on her regarding like I was better than her. The truth was that I could’ve been knee deep involved in the same shit before I lost my memory.
I closed my judgmental mouth.
Nikki eyed me up and down, appraising my appearance. “I guess you’ll do,” she said, blatant dissatisfaction in her tone. I refused to cake on makeup or pluck out all of my eyebrows just to draw a thin line in their place like she did. Instead, I’d washed my hair in the sink and used the hand dryer to speed along the drying process. My face was makeup free, but it would have to do, because if I was going to do this, I was determined to do it my way and without looking like Nikki.
Yep, I am a judgmental asshole.
“How is this going to work again?” I asked. She’d already told me ten times, but she could tell me ten thousand times and I still wouldn’t feel comfortable.
Nikki fluffed out her limp hair. “Seriously, Doe, do you ever listen?” She sighed in annoyance but continued on. “When we get to the party all you have to do is cuddle up to one of the bikers. If he likes you there is a good chance he might want to take you in, keep you around for a while, and all you have to do is keep his bed warm and a smile on his face.”
“I don’t know if I can do it.” I said meekly.
“You can do it, and you will do it. And don’t be all shy like that around them, they won’t like that. Besides, you’re not the shy type, that’s just your nerves talking. You’re all rough edges, especially with that horrible case of foot-in-mouth syndrome.”
“It’s eerie how you have me pegged in the short time you’ve known me.” I said.
Nikki shrugged. “I’m a people reader, and believe it or not, you are very easy to read. Like for example, right now you’re super tense. I know this because your shoulders are all hunched over.” She presses my shoulders back. “Better. Stick out your chest. You don’t have much to work with up top but without a bra, if you keep your shoulders back, they can catch a glimpse of a little nip, and guys love the nips.”
That was it. I could get a biker to like me, he would protect me, hopefully long enough for me to figure out plan B. “Worst case scenario is that he’s only looking for a quick one-time thing and he’ll throw you a few bucks and send you on your way.” Nikki made it sound more like a vacation than prostitution.
I could fool myself into thinking that if I wasn’t soliciting on the street then I wasn’t like Nikki, but the truth was no matter which way I twisted the facts, this plan would turn me into a whore.
When I wracked my brain for other options, I’d come up as empty as my stomach.
Nikki pushed open the door, and sunlight invaded the dark space as it swung back and forth. With one last glance at the plain-faced girl in the mirror, I whispered, “I’m sorry.”
It was a comfort knowing that whoever I was before my slate was wiped clean didn’t know what I was about to do.
Because I was about to sell her body.
And whatever soul I still had.
I sat in the back seat of some bald guy’s ancient Subaru, willing myself to become temporarily deaf so I wouldn’t be forced to listen to Nikki suck off the driver. He was taking us to the party, which was in a house in Logan’s Beach. When we finally came to a stop, I leapt out of the car like it was on fire.
“Bye, baby,” Nikki said sweetly, wiping the corner of her mouth with one hand and waving with the other as our ride pulled away. When he was out of sight, she rolled her eyes and spit onto the ground.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” I said, trying not to gag.
“Well, I didn’t see you offering to suck his cock for a ride,” Nikki snapped. “So shut the fuck up about it. Besides, I got us here didn’t I?”