My Wicked Virgin

Page 15

“All kids are narcissistic; it’s totally normal.”
“Not like me. My father checked out of the picture when I was nine. My dad decided he didn’t want a family and just headed back to Mexico. No warning. One day he was there, the next he was gone. No goodbye or anything.”
“You must have been devastated.”
“Yeah.” He was quiet, reliving those terrible days when his world came crashing down around him. “Not long after he left, we had to move. My mom couldn’t afford the house we’d grown up in, and she had to sell it for pretty much close to a loss. We moved to a rough part of LA, the kind of place where gunshots and sirens became part of the background noise.”
Sunny rested her head against his shoulder then slowly rubbed his arm. “That sucks.”
“It did. My mom worked two manual labor jobs, having no education beyond high school and no desire to get one while my dad was still around. With her having to work so much, raising my little sister fell on my shoulders. We lived in a shit part of Los Angeles, and it didn’t take me long to fall in with some guys who were bad news, but offered easy money. I was fourteen, I knew selling drugs was wrong, I knew what I was doing was breaking the law, but I had money. The kind that could pay our bills, put food on the table, and give my mom a break. The manual labor was hard on her, and her back hurt her all the time. She’d never complained, but I could tell. Using the money I’d earned, I got her into a chiropractor who did her a world of good.”
“I can’t believe you used to be a drug dealer.” Sunny gasped. “You’re so…good. I can’t imagine you doing that.”
He tightened his grip on her hand, worried that she’d pull away. “I’m not proud of who I was, and I worked hard to change.”
“What happened that made you give it up?”
“Over the next few years, I started to make good cash, good enough to get us out of the ghetto and into a nice house in suburbia. My mom drove a shiny new car, and I felt like the man of the house. Like I was providing for them, doing good. It made me proud of myself. Fuck…I was proud of myself for poisoning people. For killing them. I was so fucking stupid back then, just a seventeen-year-old kid who thought, because I grew some hair on my balls, it made me a man.” He took a deep breath, wishing he could go back in time and beat the shit out of his younger self. “It didn’t really hit me that what I was doing was wrong, not until I found out my sister started using. Or had been using.” He sighed, and Sunny curled into his side. She rested her head on his shoulder, and the car engine worked harder as they began the climb into the mountains. “Finding that heroin…with my maker’s logo on it—I couldn’t pretend anymore that what I was doing was right anymore. That living only for today was a good thing. I’d hooked my own fucking sister on drugs in my greed for a quick buck.”
“Now, I know that’s not true. You told me in the past that your sister started using when she was really young. That she was already a solid addict by the time you found her stash.”
She was right, but it didn’t make him feel any better. “It was my heroin, Sunny. I thought I was so fucking cool, so macho for having risen high enough in the ranks of drug dealing that I had my own logo. The Crazy Injun.”
“Like I said, I was young and so fucking stupid.”
“How did you get out? I mean, obviously you’re not dealing now. What happened?”
“My sister overdosed for the first time. One of the guys that helped me move product called me to tell me my sister passed out at some house party with a needle in her arm. No one would call for an ambulance, so it was either I come get her, or she’d be dropped off on a street somewhere.” Darkness prevailed outside the windows of the limo, broken only occasionally by the golden glow of distant houselights. “I thought it was too late when I got to her, and my boys, my friends who I thought were tighter than family, told me to just let her die. That it wasn’t worth the risk of taking her to the hospital. That she was just some fuckin’ junkie whore now.”
“But you took her anyway?”
“I did. They managed to revive her with Narcan. The instant she was sober, she started yelling at me for killing her high.” He let out a shuddering sigh. “I can’t tell you what a fucking nightmare that was. My sister screaming at me because she was sober and being sober hurt.”