Chapter 10: Hannah Alone?

We had time for supper, but then Innu had to work upstairs in the brothel. She spent a while getting ready, and left at around 6:T6 on the watch. “Behave for me, Hannah,” she said a she headed out the door.

I had no intention of behaving. I have a chance to be on my own now, for the first time since yesterday morning, and I intended to take full advantage of it.

I was going to escape.

# # #

My plan for the night was simply to gather information. I found myself heading towards the construction area, which had big plastic sheets hanging in the hallway. If there was a way for me to get out, I figured it would be here. There was security everywhere else, after all.

I was careful to avoid the few areas, including the lifts, in which I heard the warning beeps Innu had told me about. Instead, I headed through stairwells up towards the processing level.

I was caught off guard when I saw the clerk from the outfitter’s, heading down the stairs.

“Oh, hi there. Hannah, right?”

I froze up, and nodded reflexively. “Y-yes. I didn’t get your name. Sorry.”

“I’m Erick,” he said. “Got some business upstairs?”

“Er, I’m meeting Innu for a drink between appointments,” I said. I hoped I was convincing.

“Hmm. Has she shown you the bar upstairs yet?”

“Er,” I paused. I wanted to stop at the processing level, not go all the way to the brothel, but. . . “Actually, no. Would you mind showing me?”

He smiled and held out his hand. “Sure. It can be a little bit dangerous to be up there in the training uniform,” he said. “Some clients can get a bit impatient waiting their turn.”

He escorted me upstairs, and we stepped out in the ring, which looked very lively. There were slaves, obvious from their collars, mostly wearing the skirt and tummy-baring top I had on. There were also clients from all walks. Men in suits, men in jeans, women in formal wear, women in tight pants. The brown haired woman from earlier was here too.

I panicked. I didn’t know much about her, but I knew she was an owner. Would she recognize me from earlier? Was it really okay for me to be up here? She was approaching, and I had nothing.

“Good evening, Erick,” she said.

“Good evening, mistress Sarah,” he said.

“I think the commons would be a better place for a date,” she said.

I squirmed a bit. Did I look like I was on a date up here?

“Hannah wanted to try and visit Innu between clients, ma’am,” he said, squeezing my hand gently. “She wanted to see this area during our busy hours, too.”

I nodded and smiled. “G-good evening, mistress Sarah.”

She looked me over for a moment and I felt naked. “Well, I could order you downstairs. Still, if Erick is willing to pay, you can stay up here for one hour, Hannah.”

Pay?

“Of course I’ll pay,” Erick said. He bowed, and I imitated his action. Then mistress Sarah went on her way.

# # #

Erick led me into a bar. It was a real bar, too. I noticed that most of the clients in here seemed to be single — the clients outside had been a mix of alone or with a slave on their arm, but there were only a few slaves in here.

“Two juices,” Erick said to the bartender. He held out his arm and the bartender looked at his bracelet. In a moment, he had two juices ready shortly, though they were both fizzy like a cider. Erick took me to a seat and sat across from me. “We aren’t allowed to have alcohol, but these have the same taste with none of the benefits. Cheers.”

I looked at it and raised my glass before taking a sip. It did taste a lot like the cider upstairs. “We aren’t allowed to have caffeine either, right?”

“You can get a medical allowance for caffeine,” he said. “Also, I heard that mistress Sarah doesn’t prohibit caffeine. Course, it’s still not available in the caf kitchens.”

I nodded and sipped again. Knowing there was no alcohol let me enjoy the drink more than I usually did. We talked for a while, until Innu, surprisingly, actually did come into the bar.

I tried to hide my face. “What’s the matter?” Erick asked.

“I lied about meeting Innu,” I said. “But she’s here now.”

Erick laughed and smiled. “You know, you may have had three glasses, but shouldn’t be quite so red,” he said. “So you don’t want to see her?”

“I! Wait, I didn’t say that,” I said, looking from Erick to the wall.

“But you’re trying to hide. Innu!”

And in a moment, Innu was at the table with us. “Ooh, hiya. What’s going on here?”

“Well, I was heading downstairs from work when I saw Hannah,” Erick said. “And she said she wanted to see you between clients. So I decided I’d be a responsible big brother and protect her from impatient clients.” He winked at me as he said it.

“Sorry miss Innu,” I said, wriggling in towards the corner of the booth on my side. “I really just wanted to see how this place looks when it’s busy. Didn’t mean to be a bother.”

Erick slid in on his side, and Innu sat next to him. “Oooh. Thanks Erick.” She looked at me and smiles. “Nope, my next client requested me and should be here in a bit over twelve minutes, if he’s not late. Don’t worry, I’ll know if I have to go earlier. Besides, it’s nice to see you, Hannah.”

I nodded and smiled. “Okay. As long as I’m not. . .  y’know, bothering you. Are the workers here slaves?”

“Not right now,” Innu said. “Mostly special employees who come in during our peak hours.”

Erick laughed a bit. “Yeah. Mistress hopes to have enough staff in the right fields to have all but the managers down here be slaves, once we’re at full capacity. Right now, most of the slaves here are on duty as pleasure workers.”

“I see,” I said. “So, Innu, can you tell me anything about your last client?”

“He was a cuddler,” she said. “Enjoys foreplay and aftercare more than the sex itself. Very snuggly himself, too.”

“Not sure if I’m more surprised he wanted to cuddle, or that he didn’t care about the sex,” I said.

“Well,” Erick said. “Innu tends to do better than a lot of us with more emotional clients.”

I nodded. She seemed like that type. “Still, if he’s a cuddler, couldn’t he just find a real girlfriend?”

They both shrugged a bit. Innu was the one to talk, though. “Dating is not a guarantee of sex. As much as he loves cuddling, he still needs that sex to facilitate his full enjoyment of the cuddling, and the cuddling to get him ready for the sex.”

“But, that means he finds sex special, doesn’t it?” I had to understand this. “You can’t just buy cuddling and love and sex. I mean, obviously he did, but it’s fake, isn’t it?”

“Sex is never fake,” Innu said. “And people need to have sex or it starts to take them over. With a girlfriend, they would both need to want it. Here, he knows he can pay our rate, and since there’s nothing exotic or fancy about his sexual desires, he’s guaranteed it with anybody he gets paired with.”

During all of this, Erick got a waitress over and three more juices ordered. “She’s right. Love and sex can go together, and they’re like pretzels and mustard. The fact is, sex is physical, and it’s about bodies. Love is about everything else that makes us who we are. If you can satisfy your body with money, your mind is free to find love without relying on money.”

I blushed enough to know I was blushing at this point. “Okay, but. . .” I wasn’t sure I had an argument to counter that. “Look, I just feel like I don’t get a choice in whether or not I’m going to be a. . . prostitute.”

“Well, you have plenty of choices apart from that,” Innu said. “Focus on the choices you do have. Like who you enjoy spending time with, and what you do in your free time. Or the wolfcock vibrator you asked me to get you.”

I was glad the drinks had arrived, as I used mine to delay answering this statement. I drank it, not pausing until it was empty. “Okay, I wish this was alcoholic, because I’d be a lot less embarrassed about this if I were drunk.” I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself. It only worked a little bit better than the drink had. “I masturbate because I love myself. The toys I use or don’t use for that are my business, even in here.”

Erick blushed a bit as he spoke up. “There’s nothing wrong with loving yourself, Hannah. Outside of lessons, yes, it is your choice how you pleasure yourself.”

Innu piped in, “That’s right. It’s your business and your choice. Nobody has taken away your choice about your private time, except for when it is. You may have no choice in some things, but you still do have choices in a lot of personal things.”

“I. . .” I paused. “I just wish I had a choice about working up here. Miss Geneva said that regardless of my specialty, I would be trained to work here, and would be required to do so.”

“I understand your nerves about it,” Erick said. “I felt the same way. Especially since. . .  well, I was nervous about being a prostitute too. Please let me show you some of the choices you do have tonight.”

A faint buzzing started, and Innu looked at her bracelet. “He’s here,” she said, smiling. “And I don’t like to keep my clients waiting any more than he likes being kept waiting. Fun, but very demanding for time, this one. See you after work, Hannah.”

She and Erick exchanged kisses on the cheek before she stood up, then she looked at me. “By the way, Hannah. Please, I ask that you stay with Erick until you’re ready to go back to our room. I’ll have a couple of gifts for you when I get home.”

I nodded. “Okay. I’ll think about it over one last drink, Innu.”

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