The water was so cold, it felt like Katie was bathing in ice. But she didn’t mind. Her plans for the evening demanded that she be fresh and clean.

Dressing up was another story though. Katie was the 5th of 7 children, so all of her clothes were hand-me-downs. She couldn’t count on her parents for shopping money either.

Her father, a carpenter, was barely making enough for their meals. Her mother was busy spending their father’s hard-earned money in the lottery.

Katie sighed. She only had one skirt that didn’t look like a rag, so she wore that one and paired it with a black spaghetti-strapped shirt. Katie put on some lipstick, a little bit of mascara, and a lot of powder. She learned how to apply makeup from her classmate, Sheila.

“As 9th graders, we should already know how to make ourselves pretty,” Sheila had said while they worked on their eyebrows one afternoon. “Boys only look at pretty girls.”

Katie thought that this was shallow. Didn’t attitude matter too? But Katie learned the hard truth when her boyfriend broke up with her and hooked up with Amy, the prettiest girl in school.

So yeah, makeup was important because it makes girls pretty. And when you’re pretty, you get what you want.

Katie looked at hereself in the mirror and smiled. Though the clothes were old, they hugged her teenage figure perfectly. She liked what she saw and hopefully, somebody else will like it too tonight.
________________________

They were hidden in the shadows, thanks to a tree blocking the streetlamp. People passing by could see three women standing by the old bridge, but they couldn’t make out their faces. They wouldn’t know that two of the women were actually girls ages 15 and 16 – Katie and Sheila.

The other girl, Janice, was already 23 years old. Janice told the girls that they were waiting for a certain Dennis. Dennis had said he will come by the old bridge at 8.30 in the evening.

Katie pulled out the old nokia phone that she got when her sister managed to buy a touchscreen phone. The screen said it was already 8:35. Any minute now, Katie thought, as her heart beat loudly. Whether from excitement or fear, she didn’t know.

A motorcycle suddenly skidded in front of them, its headlights momentarily blinding the girls.

“Who am I getting, Jan?” The man on the motorcycle asked, without any preamble.

“That one okay with you?” Janice briefly glanced at Katie who could barely hear anything over the beating of her heart.

But Katie nonetheless heard Dennis whistle and she saw him hand some bills to Janice. Deal closed.

“Yo, Katie. Hop on the bike. Dennis will give your share after.” Janice said.

Katie did as she was told and Janice’s last word echoed on her mind.

After.

After the deed. After Dennis’ fantasies were satistfied. After his needs were met. After he’s done with Katie.

Katie looked at Sheila for a moment and their eyes met.

“See you at school tomorrow, Kate.” Sheila said as she waved goodbye.

“Yep, see yah!” Katie nodded, knowing that there is another motorcycle coming for Sheila.

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