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he really thought they were going to come and save her.

After she pulled herself on board the drifting boat, she huddled wet and shivering under a blanket until she felt more disgusting than battered. Then she peeled off her wet clothes and tossed them overboard. She dried herself off as best she could and scavenged warm clothes from what George had left behind. Crawled into bed as if it were any normal night and went to sleep.

It was crazy, the way your entire world could be blown apart and you could still sleep as usual, your brain shutting down, leaving your body vulnerable to a world of threats. But Taryn had known that for a long time, since she was a child; had come to count on it, even. No matter what kind of hell your waking life gave you, at night you could reenter the gates of heaven.

When she woke, the sun was blazing and the boat was rocking on the open water. She remembered immediately where she was and what had happened, but she felt strangely more optimistic, stretching luxuriously and going out on the deck to admire the view. It was actually nicer out here, the water stretching for what seemed like miles all around, the hills with their spring fur of green beyond, protection from the wider world.

She didn’t blame George for freaking out, really, after all she’d put him through. What was he supposed to think, when he saw the safe open, the pills gone? And the truth is, she had been playing around with the oxies. How was he supposed to know that she’d thrown them away, that she’d actually managed to pull back from the precipice that so many others had hurtled over?

It was weird, how calm she felt, how optimistic. Her car would be found, near the dock, keys still in the ignition, purse inside, and someone would get worried about her and call the police. Or somebody, anybody, would spot the houseboat bobbing on the open water and realize something wasn’t right. Or George, most likely, would put it all together and sound the alarm himself. Whichever, she wouldn’t be stuck out here long, and while she was, she might as well enjoy it.

She took off her sweatshirt and lay flat on the deck, below the wind, sunbathing. When she was hungry, she went inside and scavenged food. Thanks to the solar panels and wind generators that thrifty, ecologically-conscious George had installed, the little refrigerator was still humming along, the stove still worked. Hell, she could probably stay here for days with no problem.

It wasn’t until the third day that she began to feel seriously unsettled. The sky had turned cloudy, threatening rain, the wind cold again. Power boats zoomed by and no one gave her a second glance. What was wrong with these people? What was wrong with George, to not care whether she lived or died?

Maybe George hoped she was dead. That would solve a lot of problems for him. Imagining this, she wished the safe was still full of pills so she could drink them all down, die for real, show him what that felt like.

But instead of dying, or falling unconscious, or even getting high, she had no choice but to lie there alone on the big bed, stone sober and wide awake. Sleep wasn’t coming, this time.

How could she get back at George, for doing this to her? Make him sorry, make him take her back? She’d get high, the minute she was off this fucking boat, smoke some crack, shoot some junk, pop some pills. She’d get back up on stage humping her pole, or she’d become a ho for real, fucking anybody who’d give her money for more drugs. That would teach him.

Though somehow, in the absolute solitude and clarity that was that moment, she found herself unable to believe that. George had given up on her, on them: The boat was proof of that. Getting high, whoring and dancing, letting herself descend yet again, that would just be playing into everything he already believed about her. She was smarter than that.

She didn’t fall asleep until dawn, and it was early afternoon by the time she woke up, the sun out again, the sky blue and summer on the wind. She stepped out on the deck and waited for a speedboat to come toward her. Then the pulled over her tee shirt, unhooked her bra, and waved it in the wind.

They gave her a ride back to her car, still sitting in the same place, purse on the floor, beer hot on the passenger seat. She removed the beer and flung it to the ground, glass shattering on the rocks. Then she drove into town, no music playing this time.

The Go Go was shut down, as she knew it would be. But she could see DaShawn sitting at the bar, looking forlorn, Llewellyn standing glumly by his side.

She rapped on the little diamond-shaped window until he looked up, came and let her inside.

“So DaShawn,” she said, certain now that her plan was the right one. “I have a business proposition for you.”

Read Taryn’s side of the story.

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