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Brooklyn had only been back in the flat for a few minutes when she heard a knock at the door. Opening the door, she was met by a very exuberant young woman holding a small case.
“Hi, I’m Kylee. I’m here to zap all your hairs off,” she said with an infectious smile.
The girl had strawberry blonde hair, was the same height as Brooklyn and about the same build, which was to say short and thin. Kylee seemed incapable of not smiling and bounced up and down on her heels as if trying to shed excess energy.
“I suppose you found the right place then,” laughed Brooklyn, letting the girl enter.
“Thank you so much, Brooke—can I call you Brooke?” Kylee asked without waiting for an answer. “I just need a small table—oh, this will do just fine,” she said, setting her case on the table next to the sofa. “I can’t believe how lucky I am—I need so many hours—thank you so much—And I don’t have the virus, at least as far as I know…”
Brooklyn stood and watched as the girl talked non-stop and bounced around the room like a molecule under too much heat.
“…if you want to lay down on the sofa, that might be best—but I guess I better ask where you want me to start.”
Brooklyn sat on the couch while the would-be-beautician opened the case and plugged it into the wall. Kylee pulled up a chair, a small probe held in her hand. “Uh, I’m not sure,” Brooklyn said, a feeling of anxiety starting to form in her stomach. “This is like forever, right?”
Kylee nodded, “I’m not very experienced yet, so it might take me a couple of tries, but yeah, if you let me, I can make it so you never have to shave anywhere, ever.”
“That would be nice,” Brooklyn admitted to herself, speaking her thoughts out loud. “I’ve got the time, I guess let’s start with the legs.”
Kylee’s smile grew even bigger, which Brooklyn didn’t think was possible, “Brilliant! I promise to be thorough.”
Brooklyn leaned back into the couch while Kylee set her leg onto her lap. After getting settled, Kylee placed the tip to her leg, and a moment later Brooklyn felt a sharp, stinging sensation where the probe met her skin. “That’s… not pleasant.”
Kylee shot her a sympathetic look, “Sorry, electrolysis does sting a bit. Let me know if it gets to be too much and we can take a break.”
Brooklyn inhaled deeply and tried to focus her mind elsewhere. Soon the pain became continuous enough that it blended together and numbed her lower leg. The skin where Kylee had done her work looked like it had a bad sunburn, and Brooklyn wondered again if letting Kylee practice on her was the best idea.
“You’re not going to suddenly disappear on me one day are you? I really don’t want to end up with one leg that I have to shave and the other not,” Brooklyn said with a strained voice.
Without looking up, Kylee shook her head, “No chance. In fact, I’m going to try to talk you into removing everything but the hair on your head and your eyebrows. I need to practice.”
“Everything?” Brooklyn asked in surprise, thinking of what the girl meant by everything. If Kylee heard her, she didn’t make any sign of it as she continued to concentrate on her work. Brooklyn rested her head against the back of the sofa, she’d definitely need to get a book to read.
Three weeks passed in the same monotonous routine of morning exercise, several hours of electrolysis session, to be followed by reading anything and everything Brooklyn could get her hands on. She watched hours of news, hoping the pandemic might finally end and the world open again. But if anything, governments were becoming more and more authoritarian in their rule and closing even more businesses and requiring more people to stay quarantined in their homes. Brooklyn was thankful to be where she was to ride this out, but each passing day was becoming more and more difficult. Even Jennifer seemed to be showing signs of stress and had been growing more and more subdued.
“Wow, your skin is so smooth,” Jennifer said, inspecting Brooklyn’s lower leg after the final electrolysis session, “You’ve got a pretty high pain threshold to endure that little sadist for two weeks. I was dying after only a few minutes.”
Brooklyn shrugged, trying to discern the older girl’s mood. She’d felt distant lately, and Brooklyn wasn’t sure how to fix it. She said, “Once Kylee started, I figured I was already committed, so I might as well get it done as fast as possible.”
“And I can’t believe you had her remove this, too,” Jennifer said, cupping her girlfriend’s sex and shaking her head, “You remember that it’s permanent, right?”
Brooklyn smiled hopefully at the touch and nodded, “I decided that I like the way it feels.”
Jennifer gave a forced smile as she sat at the table and picked up a baked green bean from the bowl between her thumb and forefinger. Brooklyn noticed her sigh, and that her smile didn’t quite reach her eyes.
“What is it, Jen?” Brooklyn prompted, setting her foot back on the tile floor.
For a long moment Jennifer didn’t casino oyna answer, and a dozen different expressions passed over her features, finally saying, “Sometimes I feel like a total arse,” she sighed and set the green bean back into the bowl. “Brooke, I’m sorry if you feel I’ve pushed you into this relationship… I don’t know why, but you provoke something deep in me, and I selfishly want you all to myself. But I also see that that’s the old me, and I’m trying not to be that person any longer.”
Brooklyn inhaled deeply, trying to find her thoughts was difficult enough, but finding words for those thoughts felt impossible. “Jen… I don’t feel like you pushed me into this, but yeah, it has all happened very fast. I don’t fuuly understand what this is,” Brooklyn motioned between the two of them, “But I do feel something for you I’ve never felt for anyone before… I think its love… actually, I want it to be—but if I’m honest with myself… I don’t know really know.”
Jennifer nodded as she reached out and took Brooklyn’s hands into her own, “This is what I mean. I’m so sorry, Brooke. I’m in a different stage of life than you are, and I’m supposed to be more mature—able to make better decisions, but I think I’ve managed to make a real mess of things.”
“That’s not true,” Brooklyn protested. “And you’re sounding like you’re going to break up with me. I don’t want that.”
“I don’t either,” Jennifer agreed, “but I need to do what’s best for you, and not be so focused on what I want.”
Brooklyn blinked her eyes rapidly, trying to wick away the threatening tears, “Where’s this coming from?,” she demanded, sitting up in her chair, “You have looked out for me, Jen. When I asked you about being an escort, you pushed back and told me no. You haven’t broken the trust I’ve put in you.”
“I’ve tried not to, but I haven’t always put you first. And I think you need the freedom to live a little; have some experiences, maybe even with a guy,” Jennifer said, a tear running down her own cheek.
“Why are you doing this to me?” Brooklyn spat, pulling her hands away and standing from her chair. “I thought things were going really well. I’m happy—or at least I was a few minutes ago.”
Jennifer looked crestfallen but resolute, “Something happened recently, and it took until just now for me to know what I needed to do.”
“Are you breaking up with me?” Brooklyn demanded, wiping several tears from her cheeks but refusing to cry outright cry.
Jennifer’s shoulder’s slumped ever so slightly, like an involuntary motion made to show that she’d already made her decision. “Brooke, listen, I think it might be for the best if you went to stay with mum and dad for a while. Just while I work through some—”
“—Fuck you,” Brooklyn said coldly, her voice now like steel, hard and cold. Without listening further, Brooklyn strode into the older girl’s room, grabbed her rucksack, and started stuffing some of her effects into its pockets.
“Brooke,” Jennifer said, entering the room, her voice filled with frustration, “Stop this. What are you doing?” The redhead tried to step in front of the younger girl, but Brooklyn moved quickly around her and picked up her trainers from under the bed. “Brooke,” Jennifer said more forcefully, “I need you to stop and listen to me for a minute.”
“I’m listening,” Brooklyn said, sitting on the floor to put the shoes on her feet.
Jennifer gave a sigh of exasperation, “Don’t be a child. I need you to listen.” Brooklyn shot the older woman a scathing look, but Jennifer pressed on, “Damnit!” she swore, finally breaking through to the dark-haired girl. “I’m not bloody playing around. A man is coming here to the flat to talk to me in a few minutes. I need you to stay in the other room while we’re talking. But I promise that once he leaves, we’ll talk. I’ll drive you up to mum and dad’s and I’ll try to explain everything.”
Brooklyn rolled her eyes and looked away. She felt betrayed and angry. And despite having very little money, she didn’t care where she went, as long as it wasn’t here. “I’ll do you one better,” Brooklyn spoke hotly but didn’t elaborate further as she grabbed her rucksack and turned for the door.
“Brooklyn!” Jennifer cried, grabbing onto the younger girl’s rucksack. A sudden knock at the door stopped her in her tracks, “Brooklyn,” Jennifer whispered loudly. “Just wait!”
The dark-haired girl stood in place and stared hard at who she was already starting to think was her former girlfriend. Fuck this, she thought over and over. But the knock sounded again, so she decided to wait at least for a few minutes before she fled the flat.
Seemingly convinced that Brooklyn wasn’t going to run off—at least for the moment, Jennifer went to the door.
Brooklyn watched as a tall, well-built, dark-skinned man entered the flat. He almost filled the entire frame of the door as he stepped inside.
“Long time,” the man said to Jennifer in the lowest voice Brooklyn had ever heard, and even though the man had only spoken two canlı casino words, she could tell he was American.
“Long time,” Jennifer repeated closing the door once he’d passed the threshold.
Brooklyn’s eyes met Jennifer’s and she felt some of the fight leave her. It was obvious this man held some power over her.
“Brooklyn,” Jennifer said, gesturing toward the massive black man, “This is Deacon. Deacon, this is Brooklyn.”
The man nodded once at Brooklyn, and if felt as if his eyes were boring directly into her soul. “And how old are you, Brooklyn?” Deacon asked her.
Brooklyn’s lip’s pursed. Who the bloody hell was this, and who asked someone their age when they first met? Despite the man’s size, Brooklyn wasn’t going to bend like a blade of grass. “Younger than you obviously.”
The man chuckled, his bass voice a rumble like boulders rolling down a mountainside, “Fair enough firefly.” Deacon slowly turned toward Jennifer. “We have business to discuss.”
Jennifer nodded and then looked at Brooklyn, “Please wait,” she pleaded, and the look of desperation in her eye poked something in Brooklyn’s heart, but still Brooklyn stood her ground, not giving the older girl any kind of answer.
With a heavy sigh, Jennifer motioned towards their—no, her room. It was her room now, Brooklyn thought to herself, a renewed flash of anger filling her guts.
A moment later Jennifer shut the door, leaving Brooklyn standing alone in the middle of the flat. Brooklyn took several deep breaths, steeling herself for what she wanted to do, but at the same time didn’t want to do. She turned to the door and was a second away from leaving when an idea struck her.
Quickly, Brooklyn moved to the kitchen table and grabbed Jennifer’s mobile from her purse. She knew the security code and had it open and was searching for the security app just as inaudible voices began to sound from under the bedroom door. Seconds later she could see everything in the room. Deacon sat straddling the desk chair so that his arms rested atop the chair’s back. Jennifer sitting on the edge of the bed, looking apprehensive to the point of fearful.
“…business for myself I hope,” Deacon spoke, his tone low, but loud enough that Brooklyn could understand if she kept the phone close to her ear.
“Lovely,” was all Jennifer would say, her form stiff as if she wanted to be prepared to jump in a moment’s notice.
Deacon’s shoulders rose and then fell sharply, “Jen,” he spoke, his voice filled with familiarity. “I don’t blame you for avoiding me, but you need to remember what I did for you.”
Jennifer’s posture softened, “I remember.”
“Good,” the large black man said, “because I’m going to need you to return the favor.”
What the bloody hell? Brooklyn thought, straining to hear every word. What did Jennifer owe this man?
“How can I possibly repay you, Deacon,” Jennifer said, her tone and facial expression further softening Brooklyn’s heart. There was something serious going on, Jennifer was telling the truth about that.
“…It’s not like it was,” Deacon said, Brooklyn only catching the end of the sentence. “I got my own shot here, and I’m gonna take it.”
“Good… that’s great. So why are you here?”
“Always to the point, eh Jen. That’s one of your many assets I like,” Deacon said, speaking the work, assets, slowly and deliberately. He looked to smile, but the angle of the camera didn’t capture his face well enough for Brooklyn to be sure. Then, “I’ve done some poking around since I got out, and it looks like you’ve built up your own little business.”
“It’s just me, and it’s just sex,” Jennifer said quickly. “I’m not running girls. I just take care of a few clients to make ends meet.”
Deacon gestured toward the door, “Oh? You’re not recruiting that cute little number out in the kitchen?”
Jennifer shook her head, “No,” she spoke sharply, but then seemed to pause for a moment before saying, “She’s a friend of my sisters. That’s all.”
Brooklyn felt a punch in the gut at what she’d heard. She was just Aimee’s friend. The thought made her angry. No, they hadn’t been together long, but she had let herself open up to the older girl. She’d trusted her.
Looking at the phone’s screen again, she saw the behemoth of a man splay his hands and speak, but she was done listening. Dropping the phone to the table, Brooklyn picked up her rucksack and strode for the door. Everything in her screamed at her to stop, but she wasn’t listening. She walked past the elevator and instead headed for the stairs. Descending the steps two at a time, she hit the ground floor and started walking away from the building, forcing herself not to look back.
It didn’t matter where she went as long as it was away from here. How could she have been so stupid? She asked herself as she began to jog. Tears streamed down her cheeks and she was glad that it was dark out and the lockdown kept people in their homes because it meant that no one was in the street to see her kaçak casino cry. Brooklyn hated crying and she angrily cursed herself now for doing it.
“Where in the fuck am I going?” Brooklyn said, voicing her frustration. She had jogged and then walked for over an hour, and now the River Thames was directly in front of her. The evening’s mist had turned into a light rain, and her jumper was starting to soak through, the cold beginning to seep in. She had never felt more helpless or more alone. She was acting like a child, she knew, and it was only her wounded pride that kept her from going back to Jennifer’s flat, but knowing it didn’t seem to make any difference.
Finally, the rain became too much, and so Brooklyn found a temporary construction walkway to take to take shelter in. It was at least covered and had walls on two sides. Squatting down, Brooklyn wrapped her arms around her knees to try and warm herself. She should have been in her warm bed at school, her only worries being over University acceptance exams. Her dream of attending University felt like it only slipped further and further away the harder she tried to hang onto it.
A scuffling noise sounded to her right. She looked down the walkway and spotted a bearded man dressed in all black. He looked like a fifty-gallon drum with legs. A pang of fear and panic made her stomach turn cold. He was effectively blocking the far end of the walkway, but at least he wasn’t approaching. She stood and turned to walk the other way, but as soon as her eyes focused on the path, she saw that someone else was blocking the other end of the walkway.
“Oh fuck,” she whispered to herself, trying to force the rising fear away.
“Miss Ryan,” the second man spoke, his voice a low rumble, but easily heard over the rain hitting the plywood roof overhead.
Brooklyn recognized the voice before her eyes could make out his face. It was Deacon. What in the hell did he want? And how had he found her?
“What do you want?” Brooklyn said, moving to where she was equidistant to the two men.
“Only to take you home, girl,” he said, his voice calm and unhurried. He took a step into the end of the walkway.
“Stop, or I’ll start screaming,” Brooklyn threatened.
“Maybe for a few seconds, but only the homeless are gonna to hear it. Do me a favor and just chill the fuck out. I’m only here to take you back home.”
The large black man started walking toward her. Brooklyn looked frantically for an escape. Staring at the plywood wall in front of her, she could tell that it had been exposed to the elements for a long time. The faded white paint had almost all peeled away, and a seam was visible between two sheets where a supportive stud was missing. Knowing she had no other options, Brooklyn kicked at the wall with the heel of her foot. The seam became slightly wider. She doubled her effort and kicked again, pushing the wall covering out almost enough to fit herself through. One more kick and she’d—
A heavy hand with a vice-like grip grabbed her suddenly by her upper arm. The black man had been impossibly fast to have gotten to her already. Brooklyn pulled away as hard as she could, but the reaction only caused her shoulder to protest in pain. She scurried frantically, her feet failing to find purchase against the smoothness of the plywood floor as Deacon almost effortlessly pulled her along. She began to scream, but the massive hand shook her so hard that she abruptly stopped. She’d never been manhandled like this in her life.
“Just don’t,” Deacon said, pulling her towards an SUV. Brooklyn knew nothing of cars, but this one did look expensive. “I’m only taking you home.”
Brooklyn stopped fighting and the man’s grip eased enough that she could feel the blood begin to flow down her arm again. Her hand tingled from the sensation.
“That’s not my home,” Brooklyn cried, letting herself be pulled along like a powerless lamb. She hated this feeling of helplessness.
The bearded man she’d seen earlier climbed into the car’s driver seat, while Deacon pushed her into the backseat, following directly behind her and only letting her go once he had taken his seat.
“Bloody pedos,” Brooklyn spat, rubbing the already forming bruise on her upper arm. The car quickly retracing her route back to Jennifer’s flat.
The man named Deacon only chuckled at her insult. They drove in silence for several minutes before he reached into his jacket, removed a small card, and handed it to her, “If you ever want to make some good money, give me call.”
Acting without thinking, Brooklyn took the card. The car stopped and the doors unlocked. The large man made no move toward her but motioned to the door with a slight uptick of his shaved head. Brooklyn held her breath and got out of the car.
“Brooklyn,” Jennifer cried, running out into the rain as the car sped off behind her. “Oh, thank god they found you.”
The older girl stopped when she saw Brooklyn step back into the street. It was obvious Jennifer had been worried—even crying as her eyes were red and the skin around them was puffy.
“I’m fine,” Brooklyn said, turning and walking away, her pride and anger still too fresh to let her reconcile with her former ‘girlfriend.’
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