It was while Mrs Ford was in the back of her shop that Billie - though she had no name then - opened her eyes for the first time. She looked around at all the linens and haberdashery, the ribbons and worsted yarns, and the selection of gloves spread out on the counter. Her first conscious thought was that this was the most boring place imaginable, and that she needed to find some excitement.
So she did.
She walked for a while, some instinct drawing her out of the Victorian district. It was getting dark when the door of a nightclub opened, and dance music poured out.
She said I am the one who will dance on the floor in the round...
This was what she'd been looking for, and she brazenly headed in. The bouncer looked at her Victorian clothing, and almost stopped her, but something about the way she moved didn't fit with the clothing. He decided to let her in.
She told me her name was Billie Jean, as she caused a scene
She went straight for the dance floor, and moved with perfect freedom, as one who has no fear of herself. This confidence drew men to her, and she welcomed the attention. She accepted drinks, dances, even kisses and gropes.
"What's your name, sweetheart?"
one of them asked.
She didn't have a name until then, but she didn't hesitate. "Billie Jean,"
she said with a cheeky grin. It was an obvious alias, lifted straight from the music. Everyone knew it, and nobody called her on it.
Then every head turned with eyes that dreamed of being the one
She had many propositions that night, and accepted the one from the man with the best hands. She left the next morning while he was still asleep, helping herself to some of his clothes and leaving behind Elaine's dress.
The next few weeks passed similarly - in and out of bars, in and out of beds - until she fell in love with a manipulative man who lured her into prostitution. By this time, she'd dropped the 'Jean' to simply go by Billie. Her pimp used every emotional trick in the book to tie her to him, and she did whatever he wanted of her.
Then one rainy night she came home without the money. She couldn't remember what had happened to it. Maybe she'd mislaid it. Maybe someone had stolen it. He got angry and hit her. She hit him back until he was dead.
When Billie saw what she had done, she fled in shame and terror into the pouring rain.
It was daylight. There was a different man, holding her by the upper arms. "Who are you? What did you do with Elaine?"
Still fresh off the memory of murder, she only hurt Henry Stevenson enough to make him let her go. Until she had to hurt him some more to keep him from following. She was in another one of those stupid dresses, with a bag of some sort in her hand.
Billie stepped outside the door and found herself in a hotel, with a train station nearby. She was far from Inside now, but she didn't know it. She simply used some of the money in her reticule to buy a train ticket away from the man who wanted her to be someone else.