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I couldn’t quite imagine what she was talking about, but I figured she might tell me if I kept my mouth shut.

“He… it’s like he knows me somehow, knows the sick corners, and he gives me what’s there. So I’m totally obsessed with him for knowing me so well, totally wanting and needing that, and yet totally scared of it, too, totally scared of what he’s capable of talking me into.”

Nope, I couldn’t guess. I resorted to asking. “Like what?”

She crossed her arms over her chest and spoke with her chin down, the cigarette burning down between her fingers. “Like when he won’t use a condom, Daron. The first time I thought he was just teasing, you know, playing around with how far I’d let him go and the next thing I know, he’s inside and he just… Once we start, he’ll just keep going and going, even if I start to struggle like I want him to stop or pull out, he’ll just fuck and fuck and fuck until all my resistance breaks down and then I’m like somehow totally fucking grateful when he does pull out and comes all over me, instead.”

“Oh jeezus. What if he gets you pregnant?”

“I’m on the fucking pill, stupid. Don’t tell me you aren’t scared of AIDS though.”

I said nothing.

“Oh jeezus yourself, Daron! When was the last time you were tested?”

I said nothing.

“Oh fuck,” she said again and hid her eyes with the hand that was cigarette free. Then she took a long drag and sat up. “What would you do in my position? I don’t even know if it’s me he’s interested in, or if I’m just convenient. Like he’d do this to whoever was at hand. I’m like totally obsessed with him, though, too. That’s why I have to leave. I mean, what am I supposed to do, reason with him? Ignore him?”

I looked at my hands, at the calluses on my fingertips that looked yellower than the rest of my skin. “I’ve tried reasoning with him, and I’ve tried ignoring him. It can be done, Car’. If you want to keep up with him…”

“I don’t. I have a boyfriend, Daron. I don’t want a rock singer for a relationship anyway. I’m not looking to get anything out of this; I’m just looking to get out of it.”

“So why’d you start sleeping with him in the first place?”

She blew smoke in an exasperated stream. “Call me weak. Temptation. Oh come on, you know how he can be when he turns on the charm. Irresistible.”

“When, when did it start?”

She bit her lip in a guilty look. “The night after you and I did.”

“Do you think that’s why…?” Now for some reason I felt guilty, too. “Wait. Was that you two in the men’s room tonight?”

“Yes.” She didn’t blush or anything. “He won’t take no for an answer, or even a ‘not now.’ Not from me, anyway. Do you want more details or is that sordid enough for you?”

“I’m convinced.”

“He didn’t even come. He just got me off again and again like I was some kind of insatiable slut. No wonder I’m confused. I spend years fucking rock stars who think of nothing but their own squirt and kind of resenting them for it but using them anyway… you know? And along comes one who’s different…”

I held up my hands. “Stop. Don’t even try to unravel it. This is Ziggy’s specialty–making you think you’re the one who’s guilty, like he’s totally doing it for you, so you’ll come begging back to him.” I couldn’t, at that moment, remember just how he’d done the same to me, yet as I said it it sounded so fucking right.

“You want to know what’s sick? Here I am complaining to you about him, and just thinking about it’s making me horny.” She ground out the cigarette with a growl.

“Have you really, really tried to say ‘no’ to him?” I asked, a little timidly.

She put the ash tray down and crossed her arms. “Not exactly.”

“Not exactly?”

“It’s… it’s hard to say no when I want him so much,” she said. “And I’m kind of afraid that if I do say no outright either he’ll stop completely and leave me high and dry, or maybe worse, that he won’t stop at all, and then we’re talking a really awkward situation if he actually rapes me. Which I don’t think he’d do. There’s too much at stake. But… fuck.”

“This is my fault,” I said. “He’s only paying so much attention to you because he’s not allowed to chase me anymore.”

“Whoa whoa,” she said, waving he hands. “Didn’t you just say that’s what he’s good at? Making you blame yourself?”

“Oh. Yeah.”

“This isn’t your fault, D, and it’s not mine, either. There’s only one answer. I’ve got to get away from him,” she said finally. “For my own sanity. I’ve got to get back to reality.”

Yeah, reality.

Reality was dinner and a midnight blow job at a truck stop off the interstate. Yeah, I was worried about being shot up by rednecks, but I wasn’t. I would have rather found somebody like Mr. DC Townhouse, but you take what you can get.

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