But there was still another way out, she realized. Another door that led out to the front of the building. All she had to do was beat him to that door by the driveway and she could make it up to the street. There'd be people there. Someone to help her. There'd be light.
But she didn't know if she could make it. She wasn't dressed for running.
She had wanted today to be so perfect. She wore his favorite blouse, a flowery Donna Karan, very flimsy and practically see-through. She had tried on two different pairs of pants in her apartment, then decided that pants weren't right, she really wanted to go sexy, so she wound up with a short black skirt. Straight, no pleats, linen. It came down to the middle of her thighs, and she knew he really liked her thighs; even in public he could barely keep his hands from brushing up against them at dinner, sometimes being as daring as he could be, squeezing them under the table and lingering.
The bra had been easy. It came from the Bra Store, in Manhattan, on Madison in the East Sixties, practically her favorite place on earth. Today's choice was very daring. It was flesh colored and revealed a lot of cleavage. Under the Donna Karan it would look, at first glance, as if she was naked, and she knew he'd really, really like that. Leaving her apartment, she'd thought about how he'd look at her in mock disapproval, shake his head, and say something like "That should be illegal." She'd look concerned and maybe say, "Do you want me to go home and change?" And, of course, he'd grab her then, because he couldn't help himself, and she'd let him hold her, touch her, for a long time, and she'd kiss him, once or twice, slowly lick the inside of his upper lip, he loved that so much, and when he groaned with pleasure, she'd say, "Did you do it? Did you tell her?" And this time she knew the answer would be yes. Because this time she really had something for him. She had some real information. She would show him once and for all that she was not just a piece of fluff or merely the object of his lust. She had a brain. A good brain. And she was important to him. Useful.
Because this time she could give him what he wanted, something besides the sex.
He'd given her a name.
And now she knew what it meant.
She could, even in the darkness of the garage, picture his eyes, the way they'd shine when she told him what she'd discovered. And she imagined his voice when she finally heard the words she'd been dying to hear for so many months now.
Yes, I told her. Yes, we can be together.
Yes. I love you.
Yes . . .
It was going to be exactly how she'd dreamed about it. That's why she'd had to get the shoes just right, too, of course. He liked spike heels, all men did. God, men were fools sometimes. It was still the middle of the afternoon and she didn't want to look like a hooker, but what the hell, she'd decided to go for it. She wouldn't wear them when he took her to the White Houseand he was going to take her to the White House, he'd all but promisedbut today wasn't for meeting presidents and senators. Today was supposed to be for something altogether different, so she went for the Jimmy Choo eggshell-colored heels. Why not? They showed her ankles off so perfectly and that was the best part of her body, she knew. She might be ten pounds on the plump sideokay, fifteenbut her ankles were perfect. So that was what she was wearing with her tight skirt, and that was why she was not dressed for running.
Her ankles just might get her killed, she thought. . . .
Where was Hector? Why hadn't that occurred to her before? He was always in the garage during the day. He complained about it all the time. Sunny outside but I'm underground all day long, that's what he constantly said to her. He'd leer at her a little bit, especially when she looked like she did today. He'd leer and complain about being inside and underground breathing in car fumes. Where was he now?
Copyright © 2004 by Peter Gethers.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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