I sat with my little son in my arms, red and blue light washing over me from the window. I sat in shock as the police started routinely questioning my involvement in my boyfriends drug ring, DRUG RING! I couldn't believe it. I had always had terrible luck with guys, my last boyfriend left me and our son shortly after I took a job as a stripper in order to support us, but I would never have thought James would be in a drug ring! He had always seemed so sweet and innocent, granted we did meet while I was at work... But he had always acted differently than the other customers had. He didn't leer at the dancers, but seemed to just appreciate the movement and the precision of the dances we preformed.
When he finally approached me in the parking lot, I stood there on edge with my keys balled like claws between my fisted fingers. I had many men approach me after the shows with a dominant stride. They had harassed me because they thought I would be weak and easy, but my line of work doesn't define my personality. They always seemed surprised when I fought back against their advances and then slammed and locked the car door in their faces. James was different. He approached me with the gentleness and caution one might show when approaching a wounded animal in the wild.
What got my attention was that he started with an apology. "I'm sorry," he said, "I'm sure you're sick of men coming up to you after shows, but I just wanted to ask you a quick question if I might." Instead of sliding into the car like I would usually do, I hesitated at the door. He had asked permission to speak to me. He had recognized that I wasn't property to be exploited; that I was human. I met his soft brown eyes and gave a slight nod of my head. I was pulled in, and there was no turning back.
With James, I had been happier than ever before, even though I still had to go to the club every night for work. Life finally seemed to be picking up, and I was debating going back to the local college. Then James was arrested. Look back now, his arrest was the beginning of all my problems. The problems that resulted to where I am now, running through the desert trying to escape James's ex-cellmate who claims he works for the FBI.