IN THE BEDROOM
"We don't have all day. I have plans tonight and need to get ready. It's not a good idea for you to delay my routine."
Craning his neck to scan the bedroom, he takes a tentative step from the marble hallway onto the cherry wood floor of my quarters. "Am I ever going to leave this room alive?"
Sighing, I push him inside and slam the door shut. Peeling my clothes off, I walk into the bathroom and spin the nozzle to start the shower. I want to wash the memory of the FBI man from my mind. Standing under the scalding water, I hear music begin to play. Bach, solo for Cello. I approve of the selection and can't deny that Charles does have his uses.
"There is one question I've been meaning to ask, but haven't mustered the courage." I hear him inside the bathroom and turn towards the direction of his voice. Grabbing the scrubby brush and body soap, I squirt a generous amount on the soft bristles and begin washing my legs.
He clears his throat and a few moments pass while I enjoy the heat of the shower. "Your story, Birthday Cake. The one about killing your father."
I stop and wait for him to continue, but I hear nothing more. "Go on."
"It didn't happen that way, did it?"
Placing the brush down, I put conditioner in my hair and take my time rinsing it all away. I turn off the water and open my eyes. Stepping from the shower, I stand naked on the fluffy rug outside the glass enclosure, letting him look at my body for a few moments. "No."
Grabbing a towel, I squeeze the excess water from my hair before approaching my dressing table. His eyes study me, watching me go through my routine. I grab a round bristle brush and my blow dryer, which I set to cool air. While I pass the brush in gentle strokes down my head, I dry the tips of my hair to keep it from frizzing.
"My father found the cake Ray got for my birthday and was going to call the cops. He'd been threatening to do it for days, but that was the last straw for him. It took...." I stop, not wanting to speak the rest of what happened that day.
Glancing at Charles in the mirror, I watch his eyes examine my body, but I don't smile. Thoughts of father anger me.
"You have beautiful hair," he says, his voice soft and sweet. I don't know if he means to compliment me or coax me into continuing my story.
Closing my eyes, I pull the brush through my hair several more times. "Father always wanted my hair to shine, for me to be his little movie star. He made me brush it every night before bed. The routine was non-negotiable."
Putting the brush on the table, I walk into the dressing room. Running my hand along a row of identical white gowns, I pull one from the wall and hold it against my body.
"What's the significance of the white dress? I keep reading about it."
"You're about to find out," I say, studying myself in the mirror. "It's time to get ready for a trial."