She did not call him. She leaned back, listened to the music and examined the ceiling.
beauty and envy in one frame.
“I’m here,” she tossed.
“Yeah. In the Red Room.”
Her pink, dainty pumps wept silver jewels in the fronts. Her hair was maybe too big but it worked. The drive had been defined by the sum of
: a loop of CDs
: a series of upturned redbulls
: a sore ass from punching the gas 290 miles
She, like her father, was appalled by cruise control. A dangerous overachiever on the road. It should have taken 4 hours but she carved a quick icy imprint down I-94—too fast for a teeny tiny winter morning hour.
Over three hours passed. Glancing in the rearview every so often she wondered: “If I’m the only one on the road am I really here?” Twenty minutes. Passing 94’s landmarks:
: the airport
: the UniRoyal tire
: the pink pseudovillage
Downtown was frigid and mostly paralyzed by the plentifully dumping snow. But the cars were stacked tightly outside the place like a usual Saturday night. She applied a face full of makeup in the rearview mirror before stumbling out and up a sidewalk that felt like a distended loop of stairs baptized in filthy slush.
A night of deafening noise: pounding beats, clinking glasses, a luminescence that always fades when morning comes but somehow always seems to glamour us.
beauty and envy in one frame. but who can tell the difference?
He was around, she knew. The Red Room was smoky and she sat on the floor in tight jeans and wondered where that was. Around could mean anywhere or with anyone and she trusted him but it was these men and these women—these desparate bloodthirsty vampires of the underworld dressed in high tech sneakers and cliche satin camisoles—that she did not trust. She imagined him in the storage room—accosted by an indiscreet vixen, the girl presses her breasts and her mouth on him and he succumbs—trapped between flesh and wall—just like any man would.
He called her two vodka tonics later and after she smoked half a pack of Hope regulars she called him back.
She tucked the Hope regulars snugly between the tweed cushions when she felt his eyes on her. He had seen her smoking and she thought, Damn . . .
But his eyes were soft and gorgeous and he opened his arms. In front of everyone. She fell into his arms. Fuck all of them, she thought, and his arms were strong.
that was all there was then.