"Got myself a cryin', talkin', sleepin', walkin', livin' doll." Living Doll, Cliff Richard
She had seen the photos of Aaron holding her.
Us Weekly had gone to the house to take photos of Logan when he was born, a full spread of his nursery and a radiant Lynn and Aaron.
(The albums from Logan's childhood were blue calfskin, monogrammed in one corner.)
She'd had a single column in the same magazine, her tiny body in Aaron's arms as her starlet mother looked over his shoulder, under the headline Daddy's Girl.
(The album from her childhood was pink plastic, with a popper fastening that no longer closed.)
She asked her mother once, whether Aaron had put her to bed, had read her a goodnight story. Her mother laughed, head thrown back so that Trina could see the faintest crust of white powder in one nostril.
Cabbage Patch Kid
Her mother took her shopping before she started school. She came to pick up Trina from the Echolls mansion, and Trina left Logan playing with his trucks on the living room carpet and ran into her mother's arms.
They spent all day shopping, trying on dresses, and coats, and shirts, and skirts, and pants, and shoes. Her mother bought her lunch at her favourite place, and a shiny pink notebook, and the cutest red rainboots.
Then her mother took her back, up the crunching gravel, to the Echolls' house, and stood, awkwardly in the lobby, surrounded by the bags that the housekeeper carried from the car.
Aaron stroked Trina's hair. "Did you have a good time, pumpkin?"
Trina squirmed under the heaviness of his hand on her head. "Sure, Daddy. I got lots of pretty things."
"I can put those in her closet," Lynn walked towards her mother, and the bags, one hand stretched out.
"Thanks." Her mother bit her lip. "Aaron, I can take her to school tomorrow."
Her father smiled, and the skin around his eyes crinkled, but there was something in it that made her skin shiver. "I appreciate you taking her shopping, but we've got it from here."
"Aaron, as her mother—."
Lynn looked at the floor, face smooth and blank as a store mannequin.
Aaron's smile widened, and Trina's mother's cheekebones striped with red. "I said, we've got it."
The next morning, Lynn held one hand and Aaron held the other, and Trina could feel the faint tremble of Lynn's against her own as they all smiled big smiles for the paparazzi.
She was never fat exactly. She was just solid, with dimples and a gently curving stomach.
She was proud of those acid-washed jeans, too. The first thing that she'd picked out herself at the store during the latest of her shopping trips with Lynn.
(Kady Williams in tenth grade had a pair, which she wore with Miu Miu shoes and a Louis Vuitton purse. Trina would have given her eye-teeth to be Kady Williams, with her perfect blonde hair, and shining blue eyes.)
The first time she wore them, going past her father in the hall, Aaron's eyes narrowed.
She walked into the kitchen, to pour herself some chocolate milk.
"She has a fucking camel -toe, Lynn," Aaron hissed. "You need to talk to her."
"Aaron," Lynn started to reply, voice so low that it strained Trina's ears, but he slammed into his study.
Trina's hand froze on the door to the refrigerator.
By the time ninth grade finished she was thin. Thin enough to wear slashed-to-the-waist Versace to the end-of-year dance that she had no intention of actually going to.
Getting ready took less time than she though, and she wandered through the house, Chanel purse she'd managed to stuff cigarettes, and condoms, and a hip-flask into, dangling from her wrist.
Aaron and Logan were sitting on the sofa, two yards of upholstery between them, when she walked through the den. Their mouths dropped open, and she checked surreptitiously that she'd taped her dress all the way down.
"You look nice, baby," Aaron said, standing up. The look on his face made her skin tingle, like she'd just brushed up against a live wire, and she fought down the irrational urge to put her arm across her chest.
Logan's mouth twitched, and he was standing too, skinny and awkward.
Aaron picked up the box on the end table nearest the door, and held it out to her with a flourish. She opened it, with shaking fingers, and the string of black pearls was beautiful, but it was so much. She suddenly felt like she did when she was six, and Aaron had taken her to Disneyland, and she'd wanted to get off the rollercoaster they were riding, and Aaron had laughed.
Logan's brows knit closer together.
Aaron lifted the pearls out of the box and sketched a bow. "Allow me, madam." He stepped behind her, and swept her hair to one side, like they were in a movie, and she shivered at the heavy coldness of the necklace against her skin.
He rested his hands on her shoulders, and she met Logan's eyes.
"Dad," he said, looking at her. "I broke a window in the poolhouse."
His voice slid up an octave on the final word, but Aaron lifted his hands off her shoulders, and she made herself a promise that she wouldn't tease him about that for a couple of days.
There were slivers of time, little moments spun like cotton candy, where her life kind of made her want to puke.
Standing on the terrace, while her father kicked the crap out of Dylan Goran, was one of those moments. It wasn't the violence, the sound of her father's breath as his belt slashed through the air. It wasn't even the sight of Dylan squirming on the ground, glib patter already evaporated in the face of her father's fury.
It was the realization that Aaron had created this whole scene like she was a doll, posing her arms and legs just so, in order to build to the instant where he could ride in on his white horse and steal the moment.
I am Maximus Decimus Meridius. Father to an ungrateful son. Husband to a suicidal drunkard. And I will have my vengeance against you, upstart boyfriend. And you'll never work in this fucking town again.
She rolled her eyes, and ignored the faint fizz in her stomach.