I've decided to make use of a writing thing to help me warm up into my writing. It's one of the 100 Themes Challenges from deviantArt, and I'll be posting them here. It's not edited or anything, barely even checked through. Just something to warm up with.
001 - Introduction
“My name is Valerie Carr; you can call me Val.”
The woman was about my height; that was what struck me first. I’m quite tall for a woman, and it’s strange enough to make mention of it.
“Your name is… Natalie? Natalie Langbon?”
I nodded. We were sat either side of a desk in a small office, off from the main foyer. She seemed so normally dressed for this place.
“How old are you, Natalie?”
“Fifteen, Miss Carr.”
She looked over the top of the piece of paper she was looking at, and I cringed inwardly. “Um, Valerie. Val!” Stupid mistake. My hands began to grip and pull the fabric of my dress.
Her eyes flicked back to the paper.
“You understand what Miffins is, yes?”
“Yes,” I said, and then, when the silence stretched, I added, “It’s a brothel, Val.”
The piece of paper went down. Ohhh shit, I thought. But she was smiling…
“Miffin’s is not just ‘a brothel’,” she said. “It’s the brothel, the most prestigious and well-organised Guild House of Courtesans. Our workers have satisfied nobility, graced the beds of princes… made royalty kneel.” She smiled wickedly. “You’ve come here of your own volition?”
I frowned; what did ‘volition’ mean? “No-one has forced you to be here?” she added.
I shook my head vigorously. “When Mother died, Father joined the priesthood and-“
She cut me off with a wave of my hand, and I bowed my head, not wanting to irritate her.
“I don’t need your life story, Natalie. Have you done this sort of thing before?”
“Are you still, ah, intact?” Her eyebrows shot up.
I nodded. I could feel the blush rising in my face; stupid, stupid me, thinking I could join a place like Miffin’s with no experience at all! I’d come close, but Bran had been too drunk, and he’d just bragged to everyone that he’d done it anyway. There hadn’t seemed any point in protesting.
“Good,” she said, and I gasped. She cocked her head to one side. “You’re surprised?”
“I thought that…”
“Don’t worry, I know. There’s more to what we do here than screwing. In fact, you can earn a bonus; we serve a very discrete clientele who value women of your disposition, but it doesn’t come cheap. You’ll need training first, of course, but not too much; they like the idea of naïve young virgins. Sign here.” She pushed the piece of paper towards me, a pen on top of it.
At the back of my mind, a small niggle of doubt was irritating me. It had my father’s voice. As I had so many times in the past I shouted it down, signing my name with a flourish.