We’ve gotten hot and heavy a few times but I always pull back. Just when things start to go to the next level, I push him away. I’m going to have to meet him for lunch and end things. It’s not right leading him on when I don’t think this can go anywhere. I know he wanted the whole marriage and babies thing because we’ve talked about it before. I want that too, but I want it with a man I can’t live without. A part of me loves that Justin is so laid-back and doesn’t push me, but another, bigger part of me thinks I can’t keep going on like this. Maybe I should take the coward’s way out and just send an e-mail…no, I can’t do that.
Glancing back at the clock, I see I need to get a move on so I’m not late for work. I grab my work bag and head out the door without packing a bag for tonight. If I want to start making changes, maybe it won’t be so bad to see what Jeanette has planned for me. If I don’t pack a bag then at least I’ll have to wear what she brings, and there will be no backing out.
When I get to work, the day seems to fly by with seemingly endless groups of students and reading sessions. I try to set up a lunch date to meet with Justin but he tells me he’s too busy with work and that we’ll talk later. After clearing out the last bunch of students and locking up the library for the day, Jeanette drags me into the bathroom for a quick make-over.
She puts me in a black minidress and I protest that everyone can see my underwear if I bend over. Her only suggestion is that I should take them off. Well then, I guess I’ll just risk people seeing my underwear because ditching my panties is not an option. The dress fits me like a second skin and I feel totally exposed.
We leave our cars at the library and grab a taxi to a local steakhouse. Jeanette has somehow snagged us a last-minute reservation and we’re swiftly seated. Having skipped lunch to play the piano over at the high school, I’m starving and hope that the steak I’m about to devour will fit into this dress with me.
All through dinner I fidget with the dress. The only thing that makes me feel comfortable is my footwear—five-inch spiked heels. They’re the only things that feel like me, at least. I’m going to have to sneak to the bathroom before we head to the Kat House and maybe tone down the make-up Jeanette put on me. I swear my dark-red lipstick is screaming “I love to suck cock. Does anyone have one I can use?”
“Stop fidgeting, Lays,” Jeanette admonishes, taking a long sip of her cosmo. “You look sexy as all fuck.”
Maybe that’s the key, I think, grabbing my own cosmo and shooting it back. I need to relax and enjoy myself. I relish the burn and buzz of the alcohol but something is bothering me. I’m not sure if I’m fidgety because of the dress or because I feel like someone is watching me. I’ve had the feeling for a few weeks now, but lately it’s been constant. I can’t help but think my father has found me. I’ve done my best to hide my tracks using a few tricks I learned from the boys back home. I kept my first name but I thought it would be hard for people to track me with just that alone. I considered dyeing my hair to change my look when I first ran away. My red hair always seems to attract attention, but whenever I looked in the mirror it reminded me of my mother. She might have been a shit mom but it made me feel a little bit closer to her.
I always thought it was a matter of time until someone found me—either my father or someone looking to use me against him. That’s the reason my father says he kept me so tightly locked away. He did it because he has so many enemies who could use me as leverage against him. As the years have passed, nothing has happened and I’ve started to think he either gave up or he just didn’t care enough to find me. Maybe he even thought it was for the best I was gone.
“Sorry! I just feel like a slut,” I say, tugging my hem down my thigh once more.
“Hey bitchness, that’s my dress you’re wearing,” Jeanette responds, giving me a little smirk.
“Yeah, but it looks longer on your skinny ass whereas my size twelve sucks up some of the important ass-covering length.”
Jeanette snorts and sips at her drink. She’s the definition of beautiful. She’s the picture in your head when you hear the word ‘model’—long, flowing, perfectly tousled blonde hair, sun-kissed skin that makes her aquamarine eyes almost glow. She makes men take notice when she walks into a room. She looks wholesome and sweet when she’s dressed casually, but tonight she’s done up like she’s about to pound the runway. I’m not sure how she pulls off that tiny waist because the girl could out-eat me any day of the week. Some girls get all the luck.