There’s a laugh outside the stall door. ‘Mike’ is closer than I thought. Steve appreciates his audience; his smile is full of smug achievement.
Wait… What had he said before? ‘Send that note’?
Shoulders slump, eyes half close, head tilts down… I’m trapped; I’m trapped; I’m trapped.
Steve's hand is hot yet soft against my face, brushing back my messed hair, but it's not relaxed. The violence won't wait for long.
“Don’t worry.” His voice is sick with reassurance. “He’ll make sure no one comes in. See, this is all about you knowing one thing—you will pay for what your mom’s done.”
His voice becomes stronger now, angry again, but he checks it. "She had no business coming here." Doesn’t let it get too loud. Loud voices echo in bathrooms. “That job was meant for my dad and she knew it.”
His eyes have that crazy thing going on, like they’re amped with a thousand volts—not made any prettier by the swelling, the shot veins, or by his bruise’s purples, reds, and browns. But there’s more… Like he's pleading for me to believe him. Like he wants me to agree that I deserve his rage. Then his eyes go dead and as cold as his voice.
“She’s nothing,” he states. “Nothing. My dad should be in that office right now—not some clam loving freak!” The last word rings. He quiets a bit.
“You see this black eye? Do you?” He slams my head against the wall. My involuntary wince is his only reward. But it’s not enough for Steve.