Carrie was 26 and knew she was hot. She had dark brown hair that hung below her shoulders and wore sweats with a tight tank top and bare midriff that made it hard to avoid admiring her Survivor abs. Her face was also clear and beautiful, which made it easy to miss the fear in her eyes.
"They gave me your number from the hotline," she said as she selected the chair furthest away from me.
"How are you feeling?"
"Like shit. How are you feeling? Must be hard helping people fix their lives."
"I don't fix people."
"What do you do?"
"Listen to their stories, try to understand them."
"Why would you want to listen to my story, let alone understand it?"
"I like listening to stories. And it's a mistake to think I won't be able to understand yours."
"So what're you? Like a biographer who identifies with his subjects then grows to like them?"
"I don't always like them. When I saw Silence of the Lambs, I identified with Hannibal Lecter's alienation. That doesn't mean I want to have dinner with him."
"You wouldn't wanna have dinner with me."
"That's when he beat you, isn't it? When you were having dinner."
"What's the point of going over it again? It never lessens the pain."
"No, but it lessens the loneliness." She looked at me for a long moment like a terrified child.
"I keep hearing Samantha screaming. We were at the kitchen table. I'd baked chicken with mushrooms and broccoli. Sam's just three years old. She was scrunching her nose at the broccoli and I told her she'd have to eat it with her chicken. I asked Carl if he'd emptied the vacuum cleaner, knowing he hadn't done it. It must have been my sarcasm, the way I looked at him. He grabbed my hair, slammed my head down on the table. Sam started screaming. He must have grabbed her and locked her in her room. He dragged me to the basement door and pushed me down the stairs. I remember crawling back up, blood dripping on the steps, crying out to him I was sorry. I don't know how much later it was when I realized he'd unlocked the door. I saw him lying on the sofa. I almost went to him to promise him it wouldn’t happen again. But I thought of Sam's screams, the way he sometimes smacked her." Adrianna broke into sobs. "I had to get my baby out of there," she said as tears streamed down her face.
Carrie was tough. She grew up in Bed-Sty and never took shit from anybody. Once in her junior year in high school, on the subway returning from a football game, a guy in her algebra class started squeezing her thigh. She dumped her hot latte on him and punched him hard in the face. When he hit her back, she kicked him in the balls and the guys on the train had to keep her from stomping him. With most of the other guys at school it was different. She delighted in the horny way they looked at her, and she'd let them slide their hands down her pants and touch her ass. It didn't matter if she wasn't attracted to them. How they loved her ass. And when her breasts grew larger she felt awesome. She'd let them suck her nipples as they massaged her ass and made her come. But the orgasms were nothing compared to the feeling she got when they gave in to her, the way she could manage them. Every day when she returned home, she'd savor her conquests — in the cafeteria, a supply closet, the boys' locker room. The power she had over them. It was the best part of her homework.
Carrie admired her father. He was tough and buff and riveted bolts on a New York City skyscraper. Before that he drove a garbage truck for the city but got fired for punching his boss for giving him shit about putting in too much overtime. Once he told her you learn a lot about people from picking up their trash. He'd never finished high school but was clever enough to buy a rundown bar in Green Point, just before the neighborhood was invaded by people hungry for cheaper rents and more closet space. He made a shit load of money, but blew most of it on drugs and gambling. When he was high, he had rough sex with Carrie's mother and sometimes beat her. It infuriated Carrie when she had to listen to her mother's cries and sobs at night. Her mother was weak and passive and resented Carrie for being so much like her father. Carrie could tell by the way her mother looked at her, with a mixture of resentment and disgust. She knew her mother hated her. That's why it amused her when she lectured her mother on how to handle her father. "If you punched him hard in the face, just once," she told her. "It's a management problem." Carrie knew how to manage her father, not by punching him in the face but by letting him hug her, dry rub her ass and sometimes more. The same strategy she used at school. When her mother finally left her father, Carrie stayed with him because he told her he needed her. He'd also saved enough money to pay for her four years at NYU.
Carrie met Carl at a theme party in his dorm. The theme that night was Gold Pros and Tennis Hos. She noticed him staring at her, legs splayed, swiveling her hips on the dance floor. He started to dance with her, cupped his hands around her ass and pulled her tight against him.
"You're as subtle as a garbage truck," she said.
"I can't wait to own your gorgeous ass," he answered.
She let him drag her to his room, excited by playing the sleazy slut. What turned her on most was the power she knew she had over him. She let him pull off her clothes and throw her down on the bed. When he moved to take her she flipped over suddenly and let him do doggy. She came quickly as he thrusted into her. Her pleasure was intensified when she imagined her mother watching.
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