Mid November 2011
‘R’ told us we were being hysterical. He was so skilled at ‘Gas-lighting’
“It was probably a fake plastic gun, fuck it, move on, you will get this from time to time, he was just a chancer who has probably been here before and knew there was money on site”
‘R’ was probably right but it didn’t make it ok. He’d told us there was no way we were ringing the police because they’d laugh at us anyway. It made sense. What the hell would we say anyway?! ‘Excuse me but a bloke just robbed me of all my hard earned cash, do you know how many men I’ve slept with for this?’ It just didn’t sound good did it? We all believed that this was a seedy under-ground operation which it definitely was but not in the way he made out.
“Ash, you ok Hun?”
“I’m alright ya know, a bit shaken up, deffo don’t wanna be here alone but it’s fine. He got off with that 800 quid though and I needed that badly, I need to buy furniture for me new place”
“Oh Hun I’m so sorry I sent him to you, he seemed fine, I’ll do my best to get you as many jobs as I can”
“Ta love, It’s sound, you didn’t know”
I didn’t know, but I did feel responsible. I kept thinking if I’d have taken the call instead of messaging the creep then I’d have sussed out if he was ok or not. Normally I had procedures in place and a rule that no one could book unless they had a saved number in the phone and we’d seen him before. This number was new but I took the risk and I fuckt up. My paranoia was so bad I had genuinely begun to wonder if ‘R’ had set this shit up to prove a point to me and so he could steal money back from the girls as he was money and ego centric. Getting back to this life after a relatively serene few days in Cornwall was awful. I felt more crap than ever and so nervous about my future, I was finally happy with a wonderful man who I knew for once loved the bones of me and I him. That was getting me through, I was at the point where I felt I couldn’t do anything positive by myself and everyday that went on as Robs girlfriend I felt stronger. We shouldn’t rely on another person to make us better but sometimes someone comes along and makes us see sense. My road ahead was long but I didn’t give a shit about material things right now, I realised I’d been working to strive for this unobtainable life a life that measured success by your bank balance. It was time to sit and ask myself some honest questions like had I achieved what I wanted financially from this? No. In the beginning I told you Belle had lied… this industry wasn’t glamorous nor was I ending up like Julia Roberts, though I’d found my Richard Gere in Robbie – perhaps a poorer, hotter version. I knew that the sooner I got this over and done with the better, yes I’d be poor as hell but I wouldn’t fear for my life everyday or feel the suffocating shame that I felt because of what I did or didn’t do.
Oh remember ‘Norwegian Bex’ ? I mentioned her briefly in the post titled ‘The Girls’. Bex had been set up with forged pay slips and a fake position as a Personal Assistant employed by one of ‘R’s’ bogus companies. She had taken a second Liverpool flat out in her name to be paid for by ‘R’ under the condition that she allowed the place to be used for ‘meets’ by other girls. I advised her against it when we were alone, I told her if she did that he’d own her. I was right. He would go over there and fuck her, she’d been here for a few weeks and had I had watched a rapid decline in her physical and mental state. Initially I had really liked her, I’d taken her round the shops in ‘L1’ and showed her where she could buy her ‘snuff’ as she called it – which is a chewing tobacco that she said ‘everyone’ in Norway chewed. I personally thought it looked gross and when she did chew it she would get black teeth! The impression I got when we first met was that this was an educated girl from a good home in Norway. She had previously been working in a bank in Norway and was paid good money but she’d come here to see friends and look at studying here and getting a job. Why oh why she had walked into this place was beyond me… but it wasn’t really was it? We all had our reasons and our back stories. She was kinky and she was very willing too, she was more hardcore than Susie and so she smashed the money-making. Cocaine seemed to be her thing and she was hitting it hard most nights alone or with other various girls sent to work from her flat – it showed on her face so much she had aged almost overnight. Bex had started to act up, often looking totally off her face and not making much sense – this was a girl who needed sorting out. Once a week I was to collect the money from Bex’s and bank it in Halifax on Bold Street along with the Renshaw street cash. I was shocked at the state of the place, it looked like an absolute shit-tip and there were takeaway boxes everywhere, Bex was barely awake and looked exactly like what she had become – a coke whore. Seeing Bex like this scared me, she looked like how I did just before I was admitted to hospital.
“Bex, you need to lay off the coke hun”
“I know, I know, I am so fucking over this shit”
“Go home then! You can go home right? lets be honest your not making any money its going up ya nose”
“Yeh, I’m gona leave soon, my mums coming over to take me home for Xmas then when I get back I’ll get my shit and be gone but Im scared to tell him”
This flat was probably bugged too but I now knew that ‘R’ didn’t like confrontation and actually he thrived off the bitching we did about him. I think it made him feel ‘hard’ and more ‘gangster’.
“Fuck him, he doesn’t care about you and he owns you and your body, get the fuck out asap, this is no life”
Bex looked at me with a wry smile and said
“Lauren..you too! why you still here? You have Robbie now”
“Don’t you worry about me babe, I have a plan”
“Good, let me know what it is but not here yeh?”
“Bex, I might look stupid and I might act it, but I know what to do, lets go for ‘all you can eat’ this week with Susie yeh?”
I loved the way the foreign girls would pick up the scouse sayings such as ‘sound’
“Now lay off the coke Bex! I’ll see u soon, ring me on my personal if you need me”
Every day that went by I gave myself a little pep-talk and told myself to just get gone BUT it wasn’t just me I had to think about, I was potentially putting girls out of work and putting them at risk of being investigated by police. Some might hate me for it and I knew who and I was prepared for that but I’d always been taught by mum that if its wrong you tell someone. Xmas was looming and they would be relying on the work to provide for themselves and their family over the festive season. We all needed a good Xmas and I had been invited by my auntie to go to Sheffield for a few days – they had no idea what I was doing and they certainly didn’t know about Rob. Telling them about Rob would be a hard task as how the hell was I going to mention he was still married and had a son? My old-school family wouldn’t cope and I needed approval, I always sought approval even when making the wrong decisions; I agreed to go for four days. Urgh I was so sick of lying.
‘After Xmas’ I told myself and theres no going back on this Laura! You WILL get this done straight after. I still needed to plan it anyway, my head was clear these days and it felt so good to finally feel more like ‘me’ whoever that was, but I knew I was better than this piece of shit I had been. Anxiety levels were higher than Bex but in a weird way I felt I deserved the self-loathing and panic attacks and I was good at hiding how I felt. 4 more weeks, 4 more weeks.
On a brighter note though, love was now my drug and I loved coming home to Robbie. The simple things in life were finally making me happy. I’d even looked at college courses and one in Southport College took my fancy. It gave you enough credits to get into a university and was only a year long! I couldn’t wait to apply so did so that night. Thank the Lord that the private school fees had gotten me a damn good set of GCSE’s.