As soon as she handed me my prescription I legged it. Thank the Lord! This was a day I genuinely didn’t think I’d see in the first 3 weeks of my 6-week stay. I had truly believed I might die, I knew at times I’ve been a ‘DQ’ (as my sister used to call me which stood for ‘Drama Queen’) but I had felt really frightened as I’d never been unwell like that. I’d had the shock of my life and realised it was my body reacting to the way in which my mind felt. I’d worked myself into this situation because I was messed up and knew it too. Allowing myself to be abused by men, as well as abusing myself and I knew it would end badly but I couldn’t let it. I’d accepted I was weak and an easy target so had let myself become his ‘modern day slave’ – frightened to go home to my own bedsit and scared to even go to the shop for milk for the girls.
Now I was out I didn’t know what to do, in my head a plan to go the police would happen but I had no idea when or how to execute this. In less than 24 hours I was on Mersey rail travelling back to the only ‘friends’ I had in flat 16. Disappointed but reminding myself every minute that I was going back with purpose which was to gather support from the girls so we could all go to the police; power in numbers. ‘R’ had reminded me so many times that ‘we’ had police protection and the fact that police officers used our ‘services’ meant we were left alone. Whenever he spoke about it, it felt scripted like an episode of Prime Suspect but I believed him, I believed everything he said because that’s what ‘men’ like him do. Constant mind games; I was so on to them now but still had to amuse him by playing along, just for a little while until we could break free.
I was glad to see Susie, Serena and even Ash, my first day back ‘R’ made me feel special and threw a little party for me. He announced in front of the girls how he’d missed me whilst parading his fresh meat ‘Baby Angel’ in front of us telling her she was in safe hands now I was back. Serena was right, she looked pre-pubescent, minuscule like a Bratz doll with a big head and tiny figure yet HUGE tits! I was jealous of someone with such a natural well-proportioned figure and ‘R’ was openly all over her in front of us like she was his girlfriend, we’d not seen this before by him. It was weird. I found it weird because she seemed to like him, either she was a shit-hot actress or she bloody liked him?! Poor girl I thought. Off he slinked into the spare room with Angel to go and dip his dick. Serena and Susie rolled their eyes knowingly whilst Ash looked relived. Ash had, had it pretty bad since being on ‘tag’, he’d punished her pretty bad daily and forced her to give him what he wanted telling her that now she was on tag she was drawing more attention to the apartment and could only stay if she ‘apologised’. I had no words, just rage and sadness.
I still felt rough and had lost a lot of weight, ‘R’ had agreed I could just do the day shifts from the flat and go home at night but I must stay on the phones still. Great, no rest for the wicked! That first day back after he’d left, Angel was back to back with bookings. They came in non stop for her because ‘R’ knew what the men wanted and that was ‘young’ he told me that the younger they are the more money they make and we needed ‘cash cows’. It never failed to shock me that there were so many men wanting to pay for sex with a girl who was advertised as a ‘barely legal teen’ offering A-levels. The phone was hot just for her and one request from a total freak really got me that day. This creep rang up asking to book Angel for 1.5 hours with A-levels included however he also had a special request; he wanted her to wear a maternity bra and pretend to breast feed him! ‘What the actual fuck is wrong with him?’ I shrieked and we all giggled like nervous schoolgirls. Angel was up for it which shocked me even more, I wondered if she really needed the cash or was just into that?! Bizarre.
Though the girls all got on pretty well they were after all, only at the flat for the mere fact they needed cash. When they sat around ‘dead’ and one particular girl was getting all the bookings there was an obvious scent of jealousy in the air and they would start getting agitated meaning I was under more pressure to get everyone at least one booking in a shift. I especially felt the pressure from Susie and Ash, after all Susie sent hers home to Hungary where her mum and sister ran a nursery and Ash was a single mum who had a gorgeous little boy and dead wood family members to support.
That first day back was made a whole lot better by bald-nursery (who’s name btw is Robbie) asking for my number on FB. I liked his name so much because I liked Robbie Williams which sounds pathetic but we do associate people with names and that’s why I hated Jessica’s because to me they were husband-stealing prune-eating freaks! Obviously I waited ten minutes before replying, I didn’t want to look too desperate but also didn’t want to seem like I wasn’t interested! 10 minutes to me seemed like a good amount of time to make someone fret but not sweat! Within two minutes he’d text me, asking how I was and whether I wanted to meet for a coffee the next day. Dammit, I’d never be allowed to get out of working so I had to construct a reasonable and credible story that ‘R’ wouldn’t ask too many questions over. If he got wind of me having a boyfriend I was toast! Just like he reinforced his BS beliefs on us, having a boyfriend was a no-no. We were told men were no good for us and stopped us making money, that as feminists we shouldn’t allow any man to tell us not to do this line of work. Ha! Feminists? Now whilst I truly believe there are some strong characters in the industry that are feminists and do the job to feel powerful, us girls certainly were not. We were all controlled by ‘R’ he was our pimp and even Susie needed him yet she was the strong one. It was obvious he didn’t want us having boyfriends because they got in the way of his criminal activity, there was just too much at stake for him, he didn’t give a fuck about us earning money for ourselves, it was all about him. Narcissistic, egotistical, sociopath ‘R’ with his harem of girls.
He wasn’t having it, and I couldn’t be bothered constructing a lie that made me more anxious than I needed to be so I arranged to meet Robbie 2 days later for coffee at his house. I found it strange that he would invite me to his house he shared with his wife and son but I figured that meant maybe he was a respectful man who was literally inviting me round for coffee and a chat. Someone wanting to be my actual friend was a hard concept to grasp, I was so used to people having ulterior motives; especially men. Robbie didn’t make me feel scared or unsafe normally my mind would be racing with all possible worst-case scenarios but not this time. I had nothing to wear and by now it was September and I hadn’t realised how much harsher the north was compared to little ole Norfolk with its hazy Indian summers that I remember stretching to the beginning of October. It was much colder and drizzling daily, permanently grey and I had realised why they said “Its grim up north”. One thing gave me comfort and that was that he’d already seen me at my worst so anything more was only a bonus. Spending money on new clothes to meet him for coffee wasn’t an option; I needed to save every penny I got from the flat so I could do something with myself. Unsure what the hell I would do but somewhere in the back of my mind I still wanted to get a degree in Veterinary medicine so I could hug dogs all day. Ha – no way! I didn’t even have any A-levels due to my dad’ moving us to NZ right in the middle of 6th form and just before my mum would have qualified for a fat-as pension.
I couldn’t wait to see Robbie and knew he felt the same; I was going to go be respectful and not sleep with any man in the house they shared with their wife. That was scummy and though I’d made some questionable choices I wasn’t a bitch like that I wouldn’t have done that to any woman – even ‘Jessica’. If Robbie and I were going to be together there was no way I was going to be easy, I didn’t want to be like that, I’d learnt from my mistakes? Robbie wouldn’t have thought like that though but still, I wasn’t doing it, I was going to attempt self-respect in some areas of my life – even if there was none in my ‘work’ life.
I was actually pretty put off sex, I was around it 24/7 and it had started to knock me sick, most men had started to make me angry too and I had begun to stop believing that the men coming through the flat were a ‘small percentage’ of the male population. In fact quite the contrary, I realised most men coming through wouldn’t have been described as the ‘type’ to see escorts but that’s just it, who is the ‘type’? Us girls saw them all; truckers, barristers, factory workers who travelled from Ellesmere port to spend their wages, politicians , business men, footballers as well as Police officers.
One notorious criminal in Liverpool used to book girls all the time to various hotels in the city centre, I had no idea who he was but the girls explained quickly realising he wasn’t ‘small-time’. I’d not known it but I had bumped into him whilst walking to the shop one time and Susie had said it was him, he’d developed a bit of a ‘thing’ for me, always trying to persuade me on dates with him. I knew he was a ‘wrongun’ and he definitely terrified me, so much so I’d crane my head out the flat’s Juliet balcony to check he wasn’t standing outside the shop so I could go in peace without fear of being harassed. I’ve always known crazy when I came across it, he was always coked-up, agitated and paranoid, one time during my hospital stay I’d sent Susie off to him but this time he was in a shit-hole hotel. Susie had text me saying she was scared and was leaving, she was never scared so I knew this was bad – turns out he choked her threatening her that she’d better do as he said. I believed her. Susie never lied. A few days before I’d gotten sick I’d gone to get provisions for the girls from the corner shop, two pubs at the end of the road stand opposite each other and he was stood outside on that hot summers day on his phone. As I went to walk past wit my head down he grabbed me. Nobody had ever grabbed me like that before, hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I felt genuinely fearful
“Darling, where you going? I’ve not seen you in ages, why don’t you call me ever?”
“Oh sorry I’ve been working non-stop, I promise to call you soon”
“Babes, you wouldn’t need to work if you were my girl, take my new number now, where you off to now?”
“To the shop then I’m back to work, I will call”
“Ok make sure you do beautiful, I’m off, the fucking Busies are flying round here and I can’t put me ma through this shit again, don’t forget to call me tonight”
Promising him I was going to call him hopefully was enough for him to believe me and piss off hounding me, I’d never been good with saying no to men either, worried that rejecting their advances would hurt their feelings or make them mad so I’d given in many times before to men who made my skin crawl. I was glad he was the type to have a new number every couple of days, was he being paranoid about the police looking for him or not? No idea, but what I did know was there was a bloody helicopter circling and I didn’t want to be in their eye-line so was lucky to have escaped his grip on my hip that day. Now he was the type to use our services, I sensed danger all around him yet he was handsome and charming in his own way. Not long ago I saw him on the TV coming across as a totally different character to what I had known.
One more day to wait until I saw my true love, excited was an understatement; I was so glad that the hospital had given me an outpatient’s appointment for that afternoon. I was going to skip it and instead go to his then get home in time to get back on the phones. I had two precious hours alone with him until ‘R’ would start bitching at me again. I realised how much I’d enjoyed my break in hospital, though terrified and sweating like a beast it had been such a relief from this hellish existence and the only thing keeping me going was Robbie and the belief that what ‘R’ was doing was wrong and I would put a stop to it. It had been so busy in the flat in the few days I’d been back and was feeling exhausted already but hadn’t been tempted by the coke offered to me immediately upon my return. Susie seemed to be sniffing a lot more these days; her light was dimming more each day. ‘R’ said it was busier now because the poor sex-starved men had survived the summer holidays with their wives and kids and were now desperate, oh the poor men. Bastards. Angel was coining it in still and Ash’s bookings had soared because the disgusting ‘men’ seemed to be into hot felons. I started working it into my sales pitch too! We all found this hilarious making jokes that maybe we should all go out and commit some crimes as crime paid. I wondered if anything else could shock me. A part of me hoped not yet I was always intrigued by their odd requests and fantasies.
During my teens I’d developed some OCD tendencies, one included praying seven times each night that I would live a long, happy, successful life (I actually chanted those words) and then I’d cross the fingers on my left hand at the same time. If I messed up I’d start again and wouldn’t sleep until I was satisfied it had been done correctly. Now at night I found I was chanting again but this time it was
“Please help me get out and make everything ok and ‘R’ go to jail and let me live a long happy successful life”
Love Lo xx