Short Story Sunday - Protected - Chapter 3
I stared at the phone as bile rose in my throat. I should have ran, on my own. I had enough money. I could have just disappeared. My body begins to shake uncontrollably. I rush to the bathroom and began retching. After a few minutes I can feel myself start to calm. I look in the mirror. I am no longer myself. Long gone is my red hair. Long gone is Charlie/Cinnamon. Rebecca is a no-nonsense elementary grade teacher. Short brown hair cut into a pixie cut. No one could change my piercing blue eyes. Except now they look huge in my gaunt pale face. Scared. They look scared too. I miss my life. I miss being me. Sure I had to put up with assholes almost on a nightly basis but I was in charge of my life. I made my own decisions. And I was good with putting up with assholes. I was going to be a lawyer after all. As I continue to stare at my almost unrecognizable self in the mirror I remember one of my first nights working as a dancer. That night I was a school girl, a young college student, dressed the part. No far from the truth.
“Little girl, come sit in my lap,” some drunk patron yelled with slurred words. I already learned what to look for. Was he dressed in a suite? Expensive watch? Leather shoes? Manicured nails? If yes, then he would get my attention. Those were the big tippers. Did he have one drink on the table or the whole bottle? That made a difference. Drunk patron smiled and waved me over. He ticked off most of the yes on my mental list. An expense bottle of scotch was on the table and I am pretty sure that was a Rolex he was wearing. “Tell me your name,” he slurred while grabbing at my waist. “Cinnamon,” I whispered in his ear. “No, no, no. Not your stage name. Your real name,” he said. “Charlie,” I blurted out. I never told my real name but he was different. I don’t know why I was drawn to him but I was. “Damon. Nice to meet you Charlie. Keep me company,” Damon requested as he laid a stack of hundreds on the table. I was good at guesstimating. It was at least $2000. “Keep you company? That’s all you want?,” I questioned him. I was a tad skeptical. “Yes darling. You are beautiful. And I am willing to pay for a night of just conversing, dinner and to not be lonely,” he said with sadness in his voice.
Damon became a regular of mine. At least once a week he would come in. I would spend the evening eating dinner with him, discussing stocks and trades and listening to him talk about his week. I learned in a short time he was recently divorced, was rich (old money rich), his family was in the oil business. He was good looking, 20 years older than me, had adult kids and a gambling problem in the past. I shared my story with him. My real story. Just a girl working and paying her way through college.
Would Damon recognize me now? I don’t know how. I barely recognize myself. Tears roll down my face. Stop crying Charlie I say out loud. No not Charlie. Rebecca. I am now Rebecca. I will treat this like my old job. I will pretend. Just like I pretended to be Cinnamon. It was the only way I could stay protected. Or at least that is what they keep telling me.
I hope you are enjoying this short story. Please leave comments as I love to read them. Where does Damon fit in? I am not even sure what happens yet. Tell me what you think. Don’t forget to subscribe, share, and like. Help me grow a bigger audience. Check back next Sunday for Chapter 4. And check out my latest novel, Coming Home, it can be purchased here. XOXO