I stood in the dark alley, my hands clenched by my sides. Nicole was beside me, trembling so fiercely it was as if the cracked asphalt shook beneath us. This wasn’t the place for ladies to be, but we were far from ladies.
Raul stood front and center with a gleam in his beady little eyes. Dollar signs flashed before him as the men drank their fill. Our sequined dresses and flashy costume jewelry looked the part, but we were far from it. None of us had come from money. Not like Raul and his buyers who were worth millions. Nicole had escaped an abusive father, Carmen was an orphaned teenage runaway, and me? I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don’t have a pathetic life-story; no reason to have been on the lamb like the others, but it wasn’t a life filled with a white-picket fence either. My father was nice enough, but he knew nothing but work. My mother had been a socialite in her younger years and spent more time worried about appearances than the fact her daughter was unhappy. I wondered briefly if they’d even been looking for me.
I also thought about Blake. The man that had taken me. The man that promised he was on my side and that this was all for the greater good. The sexy son-of-a-bitch that had promised he’d get me out of this mess and yet here I stood; a whore waiting to be devoured by the devil. Blake had turned out to be just like every other man in my life. An arrogant, self-serving bastard who’d done nothing but make promises and then break them. And because I’m pathetic, part of me missed him. I missed the way he would sneak to check on me; the look in his eyes as if he knew every part of me, the good and bad, and saw something worth saving. In the end, however, his good intentions meant nothing.
Startling me to attention, one of the unknown men circled me with intent, running his chubby fingers down the back of my bare arm. Nicole flinched when another grabbed her breasts roughly. She let out a slight whimper, so low that I was sure only I could hear. I clasped her hand in mine and then jutted out my chin in a show of defiance. It might cost me later, but I’d deal. I was no stranger to abuse at the hands of Raul and I’m sure whoever bought me would be even less pleasant. Honorable men didn’t hang out in back alleys and empty warehouses, and they sure as hell didn’t make deals like this. I quit believing in Prince Charming years ago and I damn sure didn’t believe in happily-ever-after.
©Kelly Miles 2014