I didn’t need to work on my face any more. The murderous scowl that I crafted so carefully when I first got inside now came naturally. People were afraid to look me in the eye. People were afraid to be alone with me. My rage and contempt were naked before everyone. I made no effort to conceal them, especially not from the man with the clipboard. Then again, I was faking it before, so he probably didn’t notice the difference. Bobby would have noticed, but Bobby wasn’t around.
Because everything was going the wrong way, I got my reward. Tanya and I spent another glorious night together. I put aside my feelings of frustration. I didn’t want her to see me like that. I found that I could box up my feelings and set them aside, not because I wanted to, but because I loved her. I really did. And I was afraid that if she saw that side of me, she would never love me back.
When she started to cry, the box opened a crack.
“What’s the matter, girl?” I asked. “Why the tears?”
“It’s my boss,” she moaned. “Fucking asshole. He’s selling me to a place in Las Vegas. He says I have to go, he says I’ve been paid for.” And then she did it. Tanya hit me full in the face with those big brown eyes and said, “I don’t want to go.”
Well… I didn’t want her to go either.
The box opened a little bit wider.
“You can run away,” I said. “I have friends. I can make a call. You can go to them. They’ll keep you safe, I promise.” I didn’t really know what I was talking about. I was frantic. But I was sure I could arrange something. I had to.
“But if he takes their money, they’ll come after me. They all will,” she wailed. “They’re going to transfer it to him tomorrow night! I can’t put your friends in danger like that, I won’t!” She was so adamant about it that my heart melted on the spot. But she had given me an idea.
“What if he doesn’t pick up this transfer?” I asked her. “What then?”
“Oh baby, no! You can’t,” she wailed.
“I can,” I assured her. “In fact, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now.” I could feel it on my face. The box was open now. She looked at me, and I could see that she knew.
“Here,” she whispered. She handed me a little plastic baggie. “He won’t be able to taste it. Just don’t get caught,” the tears welled up in her eyes again. “I couldn’t bear it.”
“They’ll search me when I go back.”
“No,” she told me. “They won’t.”
I was so full of rage, it had been building in me for so long that I didn’t even stop to ask myself what was happening. I had completely lost perspective, and the wall that I had built between myself and the world wasn’t helping. I’m definitely a narcissist. All I could think about was being the hero. Not just to her, but to Bobby too. Shit, to everyone. Everyone had seen that smug motherfucker smiling in the cafeteria. Nobody smiles inside. He should have known better.
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