A/N: Sorry for the wait! And thank you to Ellen as usual :)
Apparently one of the girls had an early client in the backroom downstairs because Brittany woke up at 6am, her eyes fluttering open slowly to the sound of exaggerated moans and grunting. She sighed heavily, reaching for her iPod at the sound of a high pitched moan from downstairs.
She quickly threw her earphones in, pressing play and turning the volume up to the highest setting. She stayed like that for a few minutes, closing her eyes and willing sleep to come again. She was almost sure that it wouldn't but she was willing to wait. She had a client at two, but until then she was free.
It didn't feel like it though, especially when that client was one of the high court judges that lived a few towns away. He lived in some big, swanky house with his wife and three children. He had been coming to Brittany for over four years now, she wasn't sure whether she was thirteen or fourteen the first time, though it didn't really matter. He liked it when she 'played' resistant and nervous, though she's sure that he took that from their first time when she was resistant and nervous. She was surprised he hadn't looked elsewhere, considering she was older now and no longer a minor. She was still one of the youngest girls that worked in the area though. She had met a few that were in their early twenties, though none younger. It was intimidating when she had been even younger than she was now, even the girls that she lived with would hardly acknowledge her. She wasn't sure whether it was the age gap, the fact that Matt was her uncle, or the fact that she was pulling in so much business because she was thirteen.
She had never really stopped to think about it, it didn't matter either way. She didn't really have friends, though she had a few acquaintances. A few of the girls would act civil and help her out when she needed it, especially now that she was older and had been here the longest out of everybody bar one. Cindy had been here for a year or two longer than her, though she was in her late forties now. Brittany found it kind of sad that she had never had a husband or kids, had just always done this. Slept with people, took money from them and then moved on to the next. She wondered whether she would be doing the same when she was forty-seven. She couldn't imagine a way out of it now anyway, and she hadn't finished high school, which meant no college. There was really nothing to do except what she was doing, getting money and being looked after in return.
With another sigh she sat up, pulling one earphone out slightly to test whether things had quieted down. When she heard no noise she pulled the other one away, getting to her feet and stretching. She winced, instantly slowing her movements and trying not to double over from the pain. She could feel her skin stretch where the cuts were and suddenly her head pounded. She closed her eyes, pulling at the hem of her shirt and dragging it slowly over her head. It felt a little better when the cuts were left uncovered.
She turned to look in the mirror for a moment, focusing on her bruised midsection. She doesn't remember it ever not being bruised, there was always some part of her body that was black and blue. Usually it was her chest, her torso and her inner thighs. She had kind of become used to that pain; a few pills usually helped.
She walked over to her dresser, careful not to look at her face in the mirror as she did so, and pulled out two small pills. She swallowed them quickly, no longer needing the assistance of water, and began looking for something to wear.
- LL -
She walked into the small kitchen area, looking into the almost empty cupboards for anything that she could eat. She hadn't eaten since dinner time yesterday and her stomach was aching. She pulled out the bread, only two slices left at the bottom of the bag. She pulled one out, placing the bag back and beginning to pick at the slice, breaking some off and throwing it into her mouth.
"Hey, baby," a voice came from behind her and she turned, smiling politely at the familiar face. "Sorry if I woke you up this mornin'," the woman laughed, walking over to the open window and placing a cigarette into her mouth, lighting it swiftly.
Brittany shrugged, taking another piece of the bread into her mouth. "No big deal. Six is early to have someone over, though."
Cindy chuckled, taking the cigarette from her mouth and blowing the smoke through the window. "Apparently he's taking the family away on holiday. Their flight leaves at nine, but he had to leave to take care of some 'work issues' for an hour or so."
Brittany nodded, looking down and choosing to eat rather than talk. She hated that, knowing that they were having sex with people's husbands and boyfriends, that she was helping to ruin the marriage of some kid's mother and father. She was used to it though, so it didn't get to her like it used to. She used to cry about it at night, though really that was only because one of the girls had made a comment about it when she had just finished with what was now a regular client.
Apparently his wife still had no idea.
"You okay, hon?" the woman asked, interrupting her thoughts. She was standing with her arms crossed, leaning against the counter and holding her cigarette loosely between her fingers. Her top was skewed, her laced bra visible, and her skirt was on a little wonky. Her eyes looked as tired and worn as ever. Brittany didn't remember ever seeing Cindy not looking tired.
Brittany nodded, deciding to smile in spite of her thoughts. She glanced at the clock. "I should go get ready. I have Johnson at two."
Cindy nodded, her face falling a little. She remembered Cindy being against her starting at such a young age. She had heard Cindy and Matt arguing about it, though there was the sound of a loud slap and then nothing more was ever said. She had been kind of confused at the time, having no idea what 'clients' were and what exactly was 'perverted'. She kind of figured it out herself over time. "Good luck, Britt."
Brittany smiled back, throwing the rest of the bread into her mouth. "Thanks," she spoke with her mouth full, Cindy breaking into a laugh at the sound and at the small bit of bread that she had accidentally spat from her mouth.
- LL -
He hadn't noticed the scratches and bruises too much, which was good. He liked her to look made up and 'perfect'. She had painted the make-up onto her face, wincing when she covered the small cuts. She hadn't worried too much about the cuts on her back. He was was different from the other clients in the way that he treated her. He would act like he was some sort of father figure, wanting to keep her safe and calm her down. She figured it was because of their first time, her first time. She had cried and tried to cower away and he had pulled her into his arms, the arms that she thought genuinely cared for a second. She had wrapped her arms around him and sobbed into his chest, gripping onto him like she used to when her father would do this.
But then his belt was undone and his zipper was down and her panties had been pushed aside. It hurt a lot the first time, like she was being stabbed and kicked at the same time, over and over again.
She had cried harder and he had cradled her again, still pushing himself into her. It was weird, the fact that he was causing the pain and trying to soothe it at the same time. She didn't know what to think. She had managed to stop thinking after the first ten or so times. She just switched off and did whatever they asked, took their money and went back to the house.
She remembered when she used to call it home. She also remembered the place that she used to call home before that, too.
She took the money from the dresser, rolling it up and shoving it into her bag. It was only 4pm now, and she was showered and cleaned up when she left the room. It was a much more impressive place, the hotel that he always chose to use. They had a large suite, and he would always allow her to use room service or any of the other things that she could find around the room. She never did. She just showered, took the money that he would leave neatly on the side and then left.
She did take the dresses that he would buy her, however, though they were really for his benefit. Brittany's usual attire was revealing; short skirts and low cut tops that were always skin tight. He didn't want to bring her here with the possibility of people knowing, so he bought her clothes. Nice clothes, too. She had on the red dress that he had bought her. It was an evening dress, though not too elaborate or fancy. It was simple, but it had a feeling of class that he was clearly trying to maintain. She would meet him in the room and leave after him. Nobody would see them together, and if they did then it could easily pass off as some sort of business meeting, with her dressed up and looking passable.
It worked out.
She was pretty certain that he would probably be her favourite client if it weren't for the memory of the first time, and the subsequent others. He had sort of distanced himself now that she was older. He always tried to get her to act younger, appear younger once the door to the hotel room was closed. It was like he was constantly trying to recreate that first time, though she was certain that he never had. He had never come like he did that time. She remembered it, though she wasn't sure if it only looked that way because she was so much smaller.
She felt a little better about walking down the street when dressed like this, like she fit in amongst everybody else. She looked like some sort of professional and she kind of liked that, the feeling of being someone. She felt childish, like she was playing dress-up, but that was always her favourite thing to do back home when she would prance around the house, dressing as a princess and demanding that her mother and father play the king and the queen. It made her feel important, like she was something bigger than who she was. Old habits die hard.
She walked into a small diner a little further down the street, remembering Matt insisting that she took some of the money for herself yesterday. It wasn't the same money but she doubted he would mind. She'd just tell him and have him take it out of yesterday's. She took a seat at a booth, still that nervous pride bubbling in her stomach. She looked up at the people sat in the booths in front of her and nobody was looking. Nobody knew what she did, what she was, nobody could see the cuts and bruises on her face. She smiled and looked back down at the menu, her eyes quickly scanning the burgers. The bread she ate this morning really hadn't done anything for her hunger.
"Are you ready to order?" a young girl asked with a smile, stood bedside the table with a notepad in hand.
Brittany thought for a moment, looking at the menu again briefly. "Can I just order a drink first?" she asked, kind of wanting to stay here for a while. She hated going back to the house, though she knew she would have to. She didn't have another client today. The sun was out, and her red dress was settling the usual anxiety that she felt while out in public, and this place seemed kind of empty anyway. She could do this.
The girl nodded with a smile. "Sure. What's it gonna be?"
"Diet coke, please," Brittany smiled back, placing down the menu on the table and watching as the girl left with one final nod.
It felt nice to be smiled at like that.
Her own grin quickly fell when she heard her phone beep in her bag. Her brows furrowed and panic quickly overcame her. She kind of didn't want to look. She could use the 'I didn't have my phone on' excuse later when he asked, but he only ever texted her when he had a last minute client or had a problem that he needed to see her about. He was usually pretty angry when he did, too.
Regardless, she reached into her bag and pulled out her cell, flipping it open hesitantly.
When she was met with the name Santana Lopez, however, her brows furrowed further.
Are you stalking me?
Brittany frowned, looking it over to make sure she had read it right. Confirming that she had she quickly set about replying.
No. What? I dont rlly know how to stalk somebody.
She waited for a moment, holding her open phone in her palm. It beeped a few seconds later.
I think you do. You look nice by the way. Red is good on you.
Brittany felt herself panic a little when she read it. Why had she given her number to a complete stranger? It was dangerous. People never meant well, not people that took your number from your cell phone and then texted you about things that they shouldn't know.
What? Are u stalking me?
She replied quickly, her confused frown still in place. She was staring intently at her cellphone, not noticing when a figure approached her table. She didn't hear the chuckle or see the roll of the eyes. A hand moved over, flipping her phone closed in front of her.
Brittany jumped, snapping her eyes to the figure to find Santana standing beside the table with a raised brow, a glass of coke in her hand. "Space out, much?" she chuckled, placing the glass on the table and taking a seat opposite Brittany. "Tina tells me that's yours. And I ordered you a bacon and cheese burger with fries."
Brittany furrowed her brows, staring at the glass of coke for a moment before looking up into amused brown eyes. "Why?"
Santana shrugged. "Call it intuition."
Brittany shook her head, trying to shake away the confusion. She had no idea where Santana had come from, who Tina was, why she had her coke and how she knew that her favourite burger was bacon and cheese. She had also never heard of 'intuition' but it sounded intimidating.
"Been somewhere fancy?" Santana asked, interrupting her thoughts.
Brittany tried to ignore the instant panic at being asked the question. This was why she didn't do this kind of thing. She didn't talk to people, thiswasn't her thing. She shouldn't have come here. She didn't understand why she kept getting herself into such stupid situations. She was so stupid. "No," she said finally, not really sure if that was right.
Santana watched her curiously for a moment, looking her up and down. Brittany shifted at the sight, folding her arms a little to cover herself. "You dressed like that to come to this diner?" she laughed, her skeptical brow raised again.
Brittany nodded defiantly with a shrug, picking up her glass and taking a sip to avoid having to speak.
Santana shook her head eventually, releasing a short laugh as she did so. "You're a little odd, aren't you?" she said simply.
Brittany frowned as she placed down her glass. Santana was still just watching her. "Everybody's a little odd," she said firmly, meeting her eyes. If there was anything that she had learnt from having done what she had for so long, it's that even the people that look 'normal' had their secrets. Everybody has weird things about themselves, whether they're big or small. Sometimes they were on their body, things that they were shy of. They would buy sex rather than try to actually find somebody that would willingly have sex with them, convinced that such a girl didn't exist. Brittany didn't agree. Everybody has somebody. She thought for a moment, wondering whether the same was true for her. If it wasn't for Cindy then why would it be for her? Cindy was still alone.
"Hey," Santana's voice sounded through the haze, catching Brittany's attention. "Are you always this spacey?" she asked with an amused edge to her voice.
Brittany shook her thoughts away, shrugging. "I like to think."
Santana nodded, the corners of her mouth lifting slightly. "You look much better than last night, by the way," Santana commented, leaning back into her chair a little and making herself comfortable. "You seemed pretty panicked."
Brittany felt her cheeks burn instantly, her hands clasping together at her lap and her fingers entwining with one another, twisting and turning. "I had been out. Long night."
Santana accepted the answer with a nod, though she was almost certain that it wasn't the whole truth. "As long as you're okay," Santana smiled. "Nice make-up on the face."
Brittany lifted her eyes to find Santana winking back at her, a smug smile on her face. Like she had figured something out that she shouldn't have. Brittany's heart raced, though she knew that she would have clearly seen the cuts last night on the street. She nodded. "Girls punch a lot harder these days," she tried with a timid smile, again picking up her glass and taking a quick drink from it. She needed something to do to distract herself. Or distract Santana.
Santana nodded with a laugh. "Very true."
The girl appeared after a few moments of silence, placing the burger and fries in front of Brittany with that same kind smile on her face. "Thank you," Brittany offered, eyeing the food like a savage dog.
"Thanks, T," she heard Santana say softly, Brittany looking up to see the other girl nod in response.
"You're still coming around later, right?" she asked, picking the notepad out of her front pocket. "Puck's obsessed with you coming over to see the new place."
Santana nodded. "If you make it a party then I'm there." Tina rolled her eyes, clicking her pen and readying herself to take the order of a nearby table. "Come on! You need to have a house warming. You're eighteen years of age."
"And you should be maturing. You're almost twenty."
"Blasphemy!" Santana gasped, though the amused smile was still on her face. "I'll mature when I wrinkle."
"You're going to be having botox until you're eighty."
"Then I will mature when I'm eighty," Santana shrugged with a smirk. "Get booze and friends and make this fun. Fuck Puck."
They both paused for a moment, just staring at each other, before breaking into laughter. Brittany felt herself chuckle along, partly because their laughter was infectious and also because really, 'fuck Puck'.
"See you later, whore," Tina whispered, shuffling away from their table.
When Santana turned to find Brittany staring intently at Tina's back with an unmistakable scowl, her own expression quickly changed. "You okay?" she asked, confused.
Brittany watched Tina for a moment longer, looking down at her food quickly and picking up her fork. "I don't like that."
Santana glanced behind her and then back towards Brittany, even more confused than before. "...Tina?" she asked curiously.
Brittany shook her head, placing a fry in her mouth and staying silent. She chanced a look up towards Santana when she placed the second fry in her mouth, finding the other woman simply looking on at her and waiting patiently. Patience. Another thing that Brittany had never known anybody to have when it came to her. Santana didn't even look annoyed that she was being quiet, usually there would be another red hand print on her cheek by now. "That word," she admitted finally, her voice low and eyes dropped again.
"Oh," Santana voiced in recognition, continuing to watch Brittany for a few moments before nodding her head. "Sorry," she offered sincerely, leaning forwards a little. "That's just the way we are. We insult each other all the time, but we're friends." She paused for a moment, watching Brittany's face contort a little in confusion. "That's a little weird, huh?"
Brittany smiled when she heard Santana chuckle, nodding in agreement. "A little."
"But I'll make sure she doesn't say it when you're around," Santana added with a smile.
'When you're around'? She expected Brittany to be 'around'?
Santana glanced at her watch quickly, groaning when she read the time. "I have to get back," she said apologetically, Brittany pulling the burger away from her mouth as she began to chew the huge chunk that she had just bitten off. "It was nice running into you again. Maybe we should organise it next time?"
Brittany eyed her for a moment, silent as she did so. She held her burger in her hand, her chewing having slowed down considerably. She didn't understand what Santana wanted, what she was getting from this. She was definitely getting something or else she wouldn't have even considered meeting Brittany again, let alone actually voicing it.
"You have my number," she said with a friendly smile as she stood, looking down at Brittany for a long moment as vulnerable blue eyes looked back. "Give me a call any time. Even if you just need to talk."
Brittany nodded, sending Santana a small smile as she did the same.
"See you around, Brittany."
And then she was gone.