I, Porn Star (I #1)(8)

By: Zara Cox

What could happen to me should I be discovered is an outcome I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. So I keep my head down, the soiled tips of my worn boots guiding my feet on the wet sidewalk as I speed walk.

The train ride from my ratty, roach-infested Queens motel to Wall Street is thankfully uneventful, but I’m even more nervous when I exit the subway station. In the sea of suited stock market traders and high-fliers, my cheap clothes and poor disguise stands out. Not enough to attract notice unless you were really paying attention.

Problem is, someone is paying attention.

Clayton Getty is looking for me. So is the man I grew up thinking was my father. Between the two of them, they have endless resources with which to find me, regardless of where I am.

Right now, the problem isn’t if they find me, but when. It’s the time between now and when that I’m desperate to prolong. It’s the when that drove me to the pay phone on the street corner near my motel, where I risked precious money to make a frankly absurd phone call and send my picture to an unknown social media account. It drove me to risk leaving my cell number on a stranger’s voicemail in the hope that I’d land a job that promises a ridiculous payday.

Even as I told myself I was old enough to know better than to fall for a scam, the fear and desperation that gnawed like acid in my stomach spurred me on. It led me to a sterile room that reeked of money and sinister intentions in a Midtown penthouse, and a mechanical voice that still echoes in my head and sends shivers down my spine.

It could all be for nothing. The voice that has haunted my dreams the last three days could be the perfect fuck you to the cosmic fuck up that is the sum total of my life. But I can’t get it, and the possibilities, out of my mind.

That cryptic article in a discarded newspaper started a chain of events that I know deep down could be my undoing.

It’s given me hope.

And right now, hope is all I have left.

One million dollars.

For sex. For my life.

It’s unthinkable to me that anyone would pay that much for sex. Back where I’m from, lap dances cost sixty dollars, blow jobs are ninety-five. Sex attracts the princely sum of a hundred seventy-five, often negotiated down to a flat one-fifty if your belly’s full. If you were caught in the gleeful talons of starvation and you were stupid enough to let your desperation show, you’d be lucky to walk away with eighty.

Unless you were fortunate enough to be promoted to a job at The Villa. The special wing at The Villa is where every girl aspires to be. The Villa is where Clayton Getty rules his kingdom with titanium fists, aided and abetted by my father, his second-in-command.

It was where I was born and where I lived until I was five, when my mother was unceremoniously tossed out, and I was introduced to Trailer Trash Central.

I didn’t know how thankful I should’ve been with my lot until Ma died and my absentee father reappeared and dragged me back to The Villa.

Initially, I thought that karma decided to stop shitting on me. The food was great, the showers hot, and the bed gloriously lump-free. Little did I know that karma was merely taking a short nap while the clock, and Clayton, counted down to my seventeenth birthday; that the six months between Ma succumbing to her fucked up liver and my seventeenth birthday was just a pit stop between Armageddon and Hell. A mere dress rehearsal for the patrons of The Villa.

And what a show it was. I was dressed up like a doll every night. Paraded before hungry assholes while closely guarded by Ridge, Clayton’s top dog. The months’ long look but don’t touch threat sent them into a frenzy by the end, and on the morning of my seventeenth, Clayton was all but salivating. His disappointment that I wasn’t a virgin was obscenely palpable. Still, he had every sleazy patron eating out of his hand.

The night my father delivered the news that I was elevated to Clayton’s Top Whore, I vomited all over his shoes. That earned me a backhand, the sting of which I can still taste. The ones that came after have faded with time, but, as the song goes, you never forget your first…

I round the corner onto Wall Street and get hit in the face by a cannonball of chilly wind. A shiver rattles my teeth. I’m not used to freezing conditions. The town outside Fresno, California, where I grew up may have been a shit hole, but at least it was a warm shit hole. Going from perpetual sunshine to interchangeable weather has been a body shock. But the weather is the least of my worries.

There are even more street cameras here and fewer people dressed like me.

I raise my head a fraction and see the building I’m headed for two blocks away.

Blackwood Tower.

More specifically, the basement.