20. Dirty Details

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I watched in mild fascination as Eve spoke freely about her life for the first time. She was looking at the flames, as though her memories were playing within them, and the corner of her mouth became a small smile, which turned into a reminiscent grin. She caught me looking at her and turned her face, hiding for reasons I wasn't quite sure of. She had a lovely smile.

"It must be strange to miss such an awful place." I tried to understand.

"It was more strange finding out that that awful place wasn't even the worst out there." She admitted, provoking my morbid curiosity about the Garden of Eden. I wanted to know what she had seen, why she had gone there and what they had made her do, but I knew I couldn't.

The train of thought obviously reminded her of what we had come out here to talk about, because she sat up a little straighter, and turned to look at me.

"So, I'm not good at this stuff," she began, "So I'm just gonna be blunt."

"Okay..." I waited, preparing myself mentally.

"Is it true. You, uhm- essentially, bought me. From Samuel?" The distaste was clear in her stuttered words. "Is that right?"

"Essentially, that's correct... but I don't want you to think I- own you or anything." I followed rapidly. If that was what this was about...

"NO. No. Sorry. That's not what I mean." Her eyes widened at the thought, and I could see it was just as absurd to her, "I'm just, well I'm wondering if there's any chance at all of getting my boxes from Eden. Since you paid fair and square-" her voice grew smaller, losing confidence as she went, I could tell there was more to what she was asking, but I also felt a pang of dread at the thought of trying to collect her things. She thought she was as good as free. She didn't know that come Friday, they would be expecting her to work... compliantly.

I took a deep breath, unsure of how to answer her.

"Um, well... there are a few things to work out still. I'm finalizing the details this week." I still needed to speak to my lawyers.

She didn't say anything, just stared up at me, asking me for more with just a look.

"They didn't exactly, sell you to me... not permanently." I regretted saying it instantly, as horror and realization dawned on her, "but you're not going back there Eve-"

"When you return you're going to do so much better." She whispered, a far off look in her eyes. I tried to think of what to say, but she turned to me.

"They're expecting me to come back?" The fear was in her eyes, the same fear I'd seen when I found her in the back of Martin's car. "And you're just going to- to not bring me? Apologize for the inconvenience? Do you know who you're dealing with?" She asked, astounded that I would even try. I couldn't think of words fast enough to calm her down.

"Harry those people will kill you. And maybe kill me. They had me starving on a floor just because I stole that cell phone. They told me I was lucky to be going on stage, because it meant they couldn't leave more noticable bruises."

I had to shake my head as her confession processed. What kind of person would find enjoyment in hitting a girl? I felt horrible for her.

"Eve, I have a plan okay?" I placed a hand on her quivering knee and forced her to look at me. "I don't know if I can get your things, it might be pushing my luck to try, but I know you're never going back to that place." Rage rose up within me, for the people at Eden and the things people would do to each other. It made me see red.

Eve's expression read nothing but pain, and with a clenched jaw, she placed her small fists in her lap and stared down at my hand on her knee. I took it off.

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