James Andrus: The Perfect Woman

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James Andrus The Perfect Woman
  • Название:
    The Perfect Woman
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  • Жанр:
    Полицейский детектив / на английском языке
  • Язык:
    Английский
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James Andrus


The Perfect Woman

One

Lee Ann Moffit sprawled across the slick leather couch with a brown stain on the middle cushion and let her head slip onto the guy’s broad shoulder. Why not? It was a clean house, and he’d been nice to her all evening. He bought her a fried shrimp dinner at Popeye’s (the big shrimp dinner, not the snack meal), gave her a couple of Vicodin to keep her sane, and now he sat quietly with her as she drank a Rolling Rock and watched some cheap rip-off of America’s Next Top Model. It had been awhile since she was someplace she could watch TV this time of night, especially a show like this. One of the few fantasies she still held was being a supermodel on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Everyone at Sandalwood High had told her she was pretty enough to model. She was convinced of it too until she scraped together three hundred bucks for a “photo-shoot.” She believed the tubby, bald photographer when he said she could be a star. It wasn’t until she found out what kind of star he meant that her dreams came crashing down.

Now she realized that at an even five feet she was too short to be a model, even if God had given her good cheekbones and an athletic body. Her high school career had been as successful as her attempt at modeling. Aside from playing lacrosse, she didn’t accomplish a whole lot in school. She was nice to people and loved kids, so why was it so important to find France on a map or know that President Reagan didn’t free the slaves?

She had fights with her mom and new stepdad that she now understood were useless. It was just her way of showing she was growing up. Her stepdad wasn’t that bad of a guy. Even her new stepbrother and sister didn’t seem so annoying. Lee Ann had to prove she was independent and knew what was best, so she moved out (her mom called it running away) at fifteen. She’d been on her own for a few months when she was found dancing at a strip club off the interstate and sent back home.

Then, at sixteen, she moved out for good. Or so she thought. It was frustrating six months later when the same cop found her, bought her lunch, then took her back home to live. She even knew the cop a little. She had played lacrosse in the same league as his daughter, and that embarrassed her mom.

The third time was the charm. She was close enough to eighteen that her mom didn’t even bother calling the cops. She’d moved out and was on her own. Now, Lee Ann didn’t like where she had ended up.

It felt like her luck was changing. The right guy might give her the chance to turn things around. Lee Ann was working two different jobs. During the day she was a clerk at a copy/printing place. She liked the word “clerk,” and that’s what she told people when they asked what she did for a living. It was nice to have a legitimate job. A couple of nights a week she still worked as a dancer. The money was too good to ignore, and she no longer looked at it like a lifetime job, what most people called a career.

She didn’t have a drug habit like a lot of the dancers at the Bare Belly Club. She only used prescription drugs, because they were safe. A few painkillers a day, some Oxy when she had the cash, and then the Lunesta to sleep. It all helped and kept her drug-free. That was important to her. She always bought her “safe” prescription drugs from the same two guys. One was a friend of hers named Malachi and the other guy, Ernie, was a sweet college kid who made sure she only took pills that wouldn’t hurt her long term. He always stressed that she couldn’t get addicted to pills; that’s why he sold them instead of crack.

Now, in this pleasant house she felt a thick arm wrap around her bare shoulder. This guy was quiet but smart, really smart. His whole house was wired with cool electronics and he used a few words she had never even heard. He was some kind of teacher in college and seemed just that brainy. The guy also worked at a pharmacy, and that’s what interested her. If she got a good hookup in a pharmacy and introduced him to Malachi, things might get better for her. She told Mal she’d met a pharmacy worker, but he told her to play it cool for a few weeks before asking him about supplying some pharmaceuticals or “Farm Aids.”

This guy was built too, with a hard strap across his shoulders and biceps she couldn’t fit both hands around. She knew how much dedication it took to put on muscle like that. Her old manager, Jamais, who now went by his real name, Franklin, had the same kind of build, only a little taller.

“You okay, Lee Ann? Can I get you anything?”

She purred and gave him a peck on the cheek.

He held out his hand with a couple of Oxycontin pills.

She just nodded and he set them on the coffee table, then used the bottom of his glass to mash them into a light powder. A black cat scurried past when he started to grind the pills.

The guy said, “That’s Mr. Whiskers IV. He’s a little skittish.”

Lee Ann smiled, scooped up the powder, then licked her hand to take in every grain of it. She gulped her beer to wash away the bitter taste.

The room already had a hazy quality to it, and she felt a slight whirl. This was some good shit. She reached for the green Rolling Rock bottle again and knocked it onto the throw rug on top of the hard, cold terrazzo.

“I am so sorry.” She meant it, but the words sounded slurred. She hoped she hadn’t frightened the cat even more.

He shrugged. “Don’t worry about it.” He stroked her face, then added, “You wanna go into the bedroom?”

She didn’t really, but he’d been so nice. “Maybe just to lay down for a few minutes. This stuff is really hitting me.”

He stood and helped her to her feet. Earlier she’d stepped off the path to the front door and her left foot slipped out of her shoe into the decorative sand. Lee Ann was afraid she had twisted her ankle, but now with the Oxy in her system she couldn’t tell. Since then she’d carried the shoes around the house with her. Now she discarded the clogs with three-inch heels next to the old couch and allowed him to lead her through the small house. She tripped twice on funky little steps between rooms. It was weird that each room was on a different level. She stumbled once more as they stepped through a doorway near the front of the house.

She paused as he flipped on the overhead light. The room was bare except for a mattress on the floor. Her knees buckled and she lost her balance, but he steadied her. What a gentleman.

An empty duffel bag lay on the terrazzo floor next to the bed.

Lee Ann said, “I’ve never had Oxy hit me like this before.”

“That’s because it’s not just Oxycontin.”

She stared at him, but her eyes couldn’t focus well. She felt herself falling, but he helped her land on the soft mattress. In an instant he had slipped off her tank top and was working the hook on the back of her bra.

Before she could protest, her breasts swung free as the room seemed to turn at odd angles. For the first time, she was worried, twisting her head around to see where he was standing. Her heart started to pound.

He chuckled and said, “Lay down. This’ll be fun.”

His powerful hand pulled her flat onto the bed, then jerked her arms over her head. A pinch around her wrists made her squirm to look over her shoulders. Now her stomach had a block of ice in it as she realized the guy had handcuffed her to some kind of hook in the wall. Fear washed over her, making her head spin faster, like the whirly-wheel at the fair.

She lost track of where he had gone. Her jeans were unsnapped and roughly yanked off along with her favorite pair of panties. She tried kicking her legs, but they felt like cement as he secured her ankles with another set of steel cuffs. Lee Ann thought she might vomit from fear.

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