Karen literally quaked. That rodent Irwin had discovered she was all but naked in her storage unit. Her just deserts for wiling away the time till she was strong enough to leave by imagining a conversation with a building.
She’d spoken aloud. To a building. Idiot, she reprimanded herself… although she imagined the building unleashing a whole torrent of formal Edwardian English, protesting that she was still too weak to know what she was doing.
Irwin hadn’t yet spoken or moved or taken his eyes off her breasts.
San Francisco… Again she imagined seeing it from Frank’s apartment across the bay in Sausalito. But…where were the tall buildings? Why was she thinking about mud and Jack London?
Karen tried to shake herself out of what must have been some kind of dream state, so she could deal with Irwin.
Irwin’s eyes, as they moved to compensate for the motion of her breasts, widened. He took in a deep breath then exhaled, flooding the tiny storage unit with the stench of rancid oil and cheap cigars.
Karen imagined the building wanting to shudder. She wanted to shudder. After all she’d been through, all the sorrow and terror and pain? She’d thought she’d never again have the energy for rage. Yet…oddly…insanely…it was some sleaze staring at her breasts that finally brought a blind fury gushing up from she didn’t know where. “Get away from me, you ugly rodent!” Had she actually managed to scream?
Was she still imagining the building was sentient and that it was laughing at Irwin?
But the moment the words left her mouth, she regretted each and every one. She needed Irwin’s help. To survive! Now it was too late. She braced herself as best she could for all possible reactions except the one she got.
First he looked stunned, then fitful tears erupted, and then he pouted. Finally…not in his usual slimy/oily voice but sounding like an irate toddler…he snapped, “I am not a rodent!”
Where did that come from? Karen saw a ray of hope in the ancient hurt she must have channeled. “No, no,” she crooned. “How could I have even entertained such a thought?”
Too effective. His leer was back. “Way you shook them titties at me? I know what you want.” He grabbed her, clapping a hand over her mouth so roughly she bled. “And screaming at me like that? I know how you deserve to get it.”