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Refraction-2

    And Robin wasn't the only one going through Hell that night.
    "Look at her, Elliot," Roland said, lightly caressing Adrienne's limp, lifeless hair. "Aren't young women just the most beautiful creatures in the world?"
    Elliot said not a word and barely looked in the boss's direction. He stood next to Roland's chair, feet firmly planted, arms crossed, and stared out at nothing. He had his shirt off for some reason, and his arms and stomach muscles reminded Adrienne of steel bands.
    "Of course they are." Roland answered his own question. "And Adrienne's even more beautiful than most, aren't you Adrienne?"
    She smiled. For the moment, this was the man she most wanted to impress, that she most wanted to be nice to because he had in his possession the thing that she most wanted in this sweet world, that magic powder, that magic heroin powder, the powder she could melt down and drive into her veins so that the pain would stop, her skin would stop itching, her muscles would stop twisting like angry snakes trying their best to writhe completely free from her body.
    "Give Roland a kiss, darling," Roland said sweetly so that it wouldn't sound like the command that it truly was. 
    A look of disgust crossed Adrienne's features before she could think to hide it. Kiss Roland? Damn it, no. Roland sat alone on a sofa designed for three people, and he took up the whole thing. He was that fat. He was by far the biggest man Adrienne had ever laid eyes on. She remembered the night, not that many months before, when she'd first met him. She'd almost laughed out loud he was so ludicrously huge. It had never occurred to her that anyone could get so gigantic and live, yet here he was, living proof that such a thing was possible. And now he wanted her to kiss him? Well, okay, she'd do it, she'd do it and even  pretend that she liked it so long as, in the end, he'd slip her just the slightest bit of that magic powder, just enough to get comfortable again, that's all she wanted, just enough so that she could think clearly again and plan her next move and maybe, just maybe, think about quitting for awhile. Yet, even as that thought passed through her mind, she thought, well, that would be nice, getting just the slightest bit to clear her head, but what would be even nicer would be to get a real shot, a real punch in the arm that would send her reeling, that would put her there, right there, right in that most perfectly wonderful place in the universe where she could be so happy and so high and everything would just be so fucking great, but to get there she'd have to get Roland to give her enough stuff to get her there because she didn't have a penny to her name and all she had  was herself to barter with for what she needed, what she craved, so Adrienne kissed Roland even though oily sweat oozed from his pores and even though he smelled like salted, oily rags, and she kissed him soft and then she kissed him hard, and she kissed him long and deep, and he crammed his tongue down her throat until he just about choked her, and she let him do it, and if he wanted to fondle her she would've allowed that too, and if he wanted to stick his thing in her she would even have allowed that because by then her need for her drug was so overwhelming that she could think of nothing else but getting some, although there was still some part of her deep down that was terrified and disgusted and screaming, "What are you doing to yourself? How could you hate yourself so much? Help! Please! Somebody, anybody, please help me."
    "You like what Roland is doing to you?" Roland whispered in her ear between kisses.    
    "Oh yes," she cooed back, egging him on. "But you know what would help me enjoy it even more?"
    "What's that, darling?"
    "You know."
    "I sure don't, darling. You tell me."
    "A little bit of the...you know...the stuff."
    "Oh. I see." Roland pushed Adrienne away from him with such force that she landed hard on her butt on the hardwood floor. "It's not Roland you like, it's what Roland can give you, is that the idea you fucking whore?" He spat on the floor next to her feet. "You want my stuff you got to pay. You got any money to pay me for my stuff? I'll bet you don't. I'll bet you've got nothing but what you got on, and that ain't for shit. I'll  bet you came here in the middle of the night to smile your sweet smile in your old buddy Roland's face and wiggle your sorry little ass so that maybe I'd give you something for free, isn't that right?"
    Adrienne cried. "Oh please Roland, just this once. I'll pay you back. I swear to God I'll pay you back. I'm feeling so sick, Roland. I need something so bad. I do. I really do."
    "Now you knock that shit off right now! Right now!" Roland yelled, suddenly quaking with anger. "I won't have none of that around here! You got a problem, you handle it! I've seen enough tears to last me a lifetime, and I won't have it no more!" Then, just as abruptly, his anger vanished. He smiled and reached to help Adrienne back to her feet. His features positively beamed as he said, "Hey, I've got an idea, darling. I've got an idea that you're going to love." Roland looked over at Elliot, his bodyguard. "You're going to love this too, Elliot. You've always had kind of a thing for this woman, haven't you Elliot?"
    "Oh no," Adrienne couldn't help but mutter. She couldn't even pretend to be happy about this latest development. Elliot was a sadist. Everyone knew that. He never said a word, and Adrienne had never actually seen him hurt anybody, but she had seen Roland make this same offer with other women before, women who were every bit as desperate as Adrienne was now, and she'd watched Elliot take them into one of the back bedrooms of this old, decrepit house that Roland used for his headquarters, and then she'd heard the whimpers and the screams and the pleas for mercy, and a lot of times when the girls came out again they were bleeding, and there'd be bruises and a lot of times there'd be broken bones, but a word was never said by anybody and the women would then get their drugs, and as Adrienne would watch this spectacle she'd think, I will never get that desperate. I'd kill myself first.
    And now...
    Elliot said nothing but stared with fierce intensity at Roland's blank living room wall.
    "Well?" Roland asked, smiling that snaky, slimy smile of his. "Don't make me wait for an answer. We'll forget the whole thing if you want. You go on home, and that will be that."
    She couldn't bring herself to look him in the eye. She felt so ashamed of herself, so low and ugly. A tear slid down to the tip of her nose. She wiped it away quickly so that Roland wouldn't see it.
    "Okay," she said, her voice sounding so defeated and weak that she barely recognized it as her own. "Whatever you want, Roland. Whatever you want, that's what I'll do." 

                                                                                            

                                                                              CONTINUE