“Come upstairs and we’ll see if we can make some arrangement,” he said; Alice had been afraid that he would say something like this but his wolfish smile made the proposition even more terrifying.
A narrow staircase lead up to a hallway of several rented rooms above the cafe. Mr. R.’s subterranean voice beckoned her to the doorway of the room at the hallway’s end.
“What about Elijah?” she asked him at the threshold.
“What about him?” he responded, “ He doesn’t even need to know about this.”
Mr. R. gently put the red scarf he was wearing around Alice’s neck, winked, and beckoned for her to come in.
Say No, Alice thought. Run!.
The room had little in it beside a bed, a nightstand with a lamp, and a dressing table: all that was needed, no more, no less. Wrapped up the red scarf, Alice was powerless as Mr. R lead her over to the bed and snuck his hands under her skirt. She flushed as red as the scarf, threw it off, and stood up again.
Now’s your chance, get out!
“What’s the matter, kid? Not chickening out now, are you?”
He caught her up again in the red scarf and drew her close. His thumb was pressed against her chin to keep her from turning her head away before he kissed her.
“Pretty little Alice,” his other hand undid the buttons on her dress with great skill and let it fall to the floor.
Mr. R. had the dark, brooding good looks of a fallen angel and could easily seduce prettier girls than her. Alice knew that this was just business for him as well, business mixed with pleasure. He never did a favor for anyone without a favor in return.
After kissing and undressing her, he sat down on the bed and took off his shirt.
“Come here, kid. I don’t bite.”
Alice tried to imagine Elijah in his place. The experience in itself was not so bad; she might have enjoyed it if she didn’t hate herself. All she could think about was Elijah and how he would hate her for this. Would it make a difference that she had only betrayed him to save him.
Mr. R got out of bed and began to redress. Alice picked up the red scarf off of the floor and handed to him.
“Keep it,” he wrapped the scarf around her shoulders.