Lori Lyn was not a bad girl.  She was just a little girl whose mother loved her.  That certainly wasn't her fault, was it?

     Lori was born soon after her parents were married.  She'd heard her mommy talking lots of times about how daddy started running around, whatever that meant.  Lori didn't understand all of the grownup things yet, and she wasn't sure she ever wanted to.  Grownup problems and grownup love.  It was sad, if you asked her!  She didn't want to love anybody, but she did...  She loved mommy.
     Daddy used to love mommy.  He showed her lots of times.  First he'd make mommy cry because he wouldn't come home when she expected him to.  When he finally did come home, they'd fight.  Real fights too, just like in the movies!  He'd knock her around and hit her.  Sometimes her nose or mouth would bleed.  One time mommy had bruises on her arms and face.  She even had a black eye!  Lori Lyn remembered lots of times like that, but afterwards everything was okay.  Daddy would hold mommy in his arms and kiss her.  He'd tell her how much he loved her.  Love...

     She knew mommy loved her too.  One time mommy loved her so much that she took her cigarette and burned Lori's cheek in three places.  One time mommy hit her with the buckle of a belt until it cracked the skin open on her back.  And of course, she knew mommy really loved her the time she held Lori's hand over the open flame on the gas stove.  Then she soaked her hand in a bowl of alcohol.  That had hurt so bad!  Lori didn't remember anything after that, for days!

     Lori heard the front door open.  She ran into the livingroom just in time to see her mother going across the hall to Mr. Wybeck's apartment.  Lori knew her mother would be there for quite awhile, so she decided to play dress-up.
     She went into her mother's bedroom and opened the double closet doors.  She pulled out a light blue floor length dress.  It was soft and kind of shiny.  Mommy looked so pretty in it!  Lori slipped it over her head.  Of course it was way too long on her, so she opened the bottom vanity drawer where her mother kept her belts.  She ran her fingers over the wide leather one with the heavy metal buckle.  Then she pushed it aside and pulled out a dark blue elastic one.  It had sparkly sequins all sewn together.  Lori hiked the dress up and hooked the belt around her middle.  Then she picked out a pair of silver high heeled shoes from the floor of the closet and slipped them on her tiny bare feet.
     She clattered back over to the vanity and sat down on the ruffled stool.  She opened the big musical jewelry box and the soft tinkeling melody of "Love Story" filled the room.
     Lori removed her own little heart shaped earrings from her pierced ears and laid them down on top of the vanity.  Then she fingered the assortment of earrings in all of the little boxes in the top shelf of the jewelry box.  She finally decided on a pair that had pearls dangling from delicate wires.  After she had them hooked through her earlobes, she pulled out the next drawer.  That one held rings.  Lori selected several and soon her fingers were laden with jewels.
     The music from the jewelry box was putting her in a fairytale mood and she imagined that she was Cinderella preparing for the ball.  She did look pretty!  A touch of mommy's make-up and she'd be simply beautiful!  Lori pulled the tray of make-up in front of her.  She started with the blue eyeshadow stick and covered her eyelids.  After looking in the mirror and seeing how pretty she looked, she decided to add more, so she smeared it all the way up to her eyebrows.  Then she picked out a bright red lipstick and applied that.  She must hurry!  Soon her prince would be here to take her to the big castle over the hill.

     She selected a berry red cream rouge and rubbed it into her cheeks.  There!  Just a touch of powder on her shiny nose and she'd be ready.  As she dabbed the powder puff, she heard someone coming down the hall and her mother entered the room.
     "Lori Lyn!  How dare you touch my things!" Jessica shouted as she stormed over to Lori.  "Get out of that dress now!"  She slapped Lori's cheek and bright red lines filtered through the milky white skin.  "You are a terrible, rotten little girl!  I leave you alone for a minute and what do I get?  I find you ruining my things.  I'll never have anything as long as you're around!"
     Lori began to cry and rub her cheek.  "I didn't break nothin' mommy.  I was just lonely and I wanted to look as pretty as you do."
     Jessica slammed the lid on the jewelry box and the music stopped.  "Get those rings off of your dirty little fingers and put them back where they belong!  What else did you take?"  She spotted the earrings.  "My pearls?" she shrieked.  "You're playing with my pearls?"  Jessica grabbed them and jerked them straight down.
     Lori screamed as she felt her earlobes rip and felt a warm wetness run down her neck.
     "Shut up, you little witch!"
     "It hurts, mommy!"  Lori's fingers pinched her bleeding ears.  "You ripped the skin..."
     "That's not all you'll get either," Jessica said as she dragged Lori into the bathroom.  "Strip down!  You take off every stitch of clothing immediately!  You're taking a shower!"
     Lori undressed and stood naked before her mother.  She knew a shower was not all she was going to get.  Mommy loved her too much to let her get off so easily.
     Jessica grabbed Lori Lyn by the shoulders and shoved her under the showerhead.  She turned the cold water on and it beat down on the little girl, unmercifully.
     Lori screamed and tried to avoid the icy spray, but her mother held her there.  At least the cold water stopped the bleeding from Lori's ears.
     Finally Jessica released her grip on the child and Lori stumbled out of the bathtub.  Her mother wrapped her in a big fluffy towel and carried her into the livingroom.  "Lori, baby," Jessica crooned as she sat down in a chair and began to rock the child.  "I'm sorry honey.  It's just that you always do naughty things so I have to punish you.  If I just let everything you do go, you'd grow up thinking that I didn't love you."  Lori Lyn was still shivering.  "I love you so much, baby."  Jessica rocked until Lori drifted off to sleep.  Then she carried her daughter to her bed and gently tucked the blankets around her.

     When Lori awoke, she heard her mother humming in the bathroom.  She pushed the blanket onto the floor and grabbed her robe.  Then she walked over to the bathroom door.  It was slightly ajar.  As Lori looked through the crack, she saw her mother step into the tub.  She also noticed her mother's eyes.  They were still red from crying.  Mommy really loved her!  It was hard for her to hurt Lori, but she had to!  Suddenly Lori had a thought.  She'd never done anything to show her mommy just how much she loved her!  As she looked around the room, she had an idea...  She'd seen it on t.v. once.  She knew how to show mommy.
     Lori pushed the door open and stepped into the room.
     Jessica looked up, startled.  "Lori Lyn, you're up!  Are you feeling any better?"
     "Yes, mommy."
     "Did you want something?  What do you need honey?  Mommy will be out in just a few minutes and I'll make us a special dinner.
     "I just wanted to tell you something," Lori Lyn said as she picked up her mother's electric razor and flipped the button on.  A hum filled the room.
     "Sweetie, turn that off and put it down.  You might drop it," she explained.
     "No I won't...  I love you mommy," Lori Lyn said as she tossed the razor into the tub.

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