Early November 2011
Well of course I’d lied to ‘R’
“I’m just going to visit my auntie in Cornwall for 4 days”
“Fine but you can work the phones right?”
“Yeh. ‘Course, no probs”
That was a rhetorical question, there was absolutely no room for ‘no’ and the only way he’d agree was if I agreed. ‘Tactics’ – manipulation, preying on people’s weaknesses, knowing that you don’t dare challenge them because you will be ‘punished’. I’d have rather died than be ‘punished’ by him. Seriously. You know the stories of women in violent relationships and we all sit wondering why the hell they put up with it? People point the fingers at the women and start to wonder if she ‘likes it’? Until you’ve been there it is very hard to comprehend but its very real and it feels like theres no way out.
Hmmm.. I wondered if Cornwall had good wifi, I’d have to pray to god it did and hoped Rob’s mum had high speed internet or I was in for it. Part of me thought ‘Fuck it’ whats he going to do when I’m here anyway, but I didn’t trust him – evil is never to be trusted. I felt a million miles away – bliss. The last time I’d been to Cornwall was in 2002 when I was 17 with my mum, dad, granny and my Auntie Jackie. It had been an ‘eventful’ holiday with my teenage rebellion being my downfall – I’d gone off with the barman who seemed to be the only young person about. He invited me for a joint on the beach and we laughed and joked watching the sea… he was cool, not a sleaze and we were just being friendly…the police however didn’t agree as they banged on the car window at 2am.
Cornwall is stunning, dramatic, extreme, rugged, unspoilt she was the best of England before people came along and fuckt it up, she was very much like New Zealand and both places reminded me of each other . Both places where I feel a physical calling but places I get frightened to stay too long in case I miss out on life or end up settled into the provincial lifestyle that had always terrified me in my twenties and yet now seems so appealing and is all I want. The dream is to write, have a pack of dogs, live in a country cottage in Sussex or Surrey and be near the resting place of my mum.
We were met from the airport by his mum and sister which was pretty nerve wracking to say the least. I was fully aware that I would be seen as ‘the other woman’ and that in all fairness to them they were being very kind considering how they could have been. His mum was small like all mums of that generation seem to be, short cropped hair, a hard but welcoming face and a look that said “Don’t mess with my son”. She wore a fleece, jeans and sketchers – mum attire. His sister was much more open to me, she lived in the middle of nowhere and we all went back to hers to devour the cornish pasties that they had picked up especially for Robbie who had demanded that we have them for tea. Boys always get what they want. I liked Jodie immediately, she reminded me of Phoebe from friends, instantly I could tell she didn’t have her shit together at all, its always reassuring to know someone is in your boat too. She was the opposite of Rob and their mum, Katrina.
This would be a make or break holiday, I’d either leave loving him entirely or leave because something tiny he did would piss me off… I’d been put off really nice guys because of stupid things like the way they ate at the table or the way they held their knife and fork. I might be many things but I do have table manners and I find it such a turn off when I realise someones mother hasn’t enforced them!
“All joints on the table shall be carved…. so elbows off!”
It was all very nicey nicey and so far so good, I was just waiting for THE question. The one that scared me the most … oh there it is
“So what do you do for a job? What are you plans for the future Laura?”
“I work as a PA for a guy who runs an glamour modelling agency, but its just a fill in job at the moment, I’d love to go back to college though and actually get a degree in Vet med or something working with animals”
Every job I’d had since leaving school I would immediately feel the need to follow my answer with a reason as to why I wasn’t flying high. The pressure I felt to do well, to be successful, to have a ‘proper’ career had always been with me and contributed to my feelings of rejection and uselessness. I had felt a failure for many many years.
“Oh, well whatever pays the bills”
“Yes, its pretty full on and I unfortunately have to work while I’m here a little bit too but I will make sure I don’t let it disrupt my holiday. I enjoy helping the girls though – I like to help people” I smiled politely, it was true I love to help people and I guess thats another reason that I stayed for as long as I did.
I’d been gone from Renshaw Street for less than 6 hours, by the time I dared to look at the work phone there were 54 missed calls and numerous texts from punters requesting girls. 16 of the calls were from ‘R’ and a few BBM messages asking me where I was and why I wasn’t answering.
“Lauren, why you not answering the fucking calls? Do I need to tell your family?”
These were the kinds of threats and manipulation techniques that scared me into staying, they are the same ones used by groomers, domestic abusers and sociopaths and although I knew that I had been taking it for months. I truly believed that in no way shape or form was I worthy of anything better than this miserable existence though Robbie had given me a glimmer of hope. Just before we’d come to cornwall he’d moved into a tiny one bedroom flat costing £380 a month including bills bang smack in the middle of Southport. He was serious. So was I, I longed for something to be proud of, something that I had worked hard for and nobody could take away from me. I longed for a career where I could afford nice things without having to sell my body or my soul.
I BBM’d Serena and asked her to take over the calls and I would handle the messages and bookings on the ‘Bookings channel’. Thank god she had agreed and thank god she was in one of her ‘I need money’ weeks which meant she would stay all weekend while I was away. I was feeling relived that the ‘OG’ crew were there; Original Girls or Original Gangsters as I affectionately named us. It made us feel like we were in something together- like a club, we might not have had much but we shared common ground and at the end of the day everybody just wants to fit in whether they like to admit it or not. Susie, Ash and Serena were on the whole dependable, the rest would cum and go… literally. There were a few new girls there that weekend too and so I would always start the new girls with the safe-bet regulars who came solely for a shag and were clean and polite. I hated scaring the new girls off by giving them difficult clients asking for A-levels, Scat (You google scat, even my foul mouth can’t cope with this today) or weird domination sessions. One ‘weird’ regular would come weekly and ask to have his balls literally kicked in by one of the OG’s they would laugh about it being a way to vent their anger towards the men and let out their frustrations. He’d beg to be bruised, battered and left with bloody bollocks! I could no way on earth do that, I hate to hurt a mouse let alone batter some twisted bastard for 30 minutes. Standard jobs for the newbies, weirdos for Susie, those wanting the ‘Girlfriend’ experience for Ash and any other freaks to Serena. Safe.
The first day in Cornwall had been spent driving to beauty spots of which there are many to choose from, we walked from Marizion to Penzance in the blistering cold whilst Robs mum who is called ‘Kat’ showed us St.Michael’s mount. It was stunning even through the grey clouds. I love to see the sea when its wild, its exciting and the salt spray hit my face almost snapping me out of my stupor. Its a fucking cliche isn’t it but having spent the day with a ‘normal’ family doing ‘normal’ things I realised just how twisted my life had become and as I gazed out at what I thought was in fact ‘Mont Saint Michel’ only to be corrected by Robbie who told me that was the french version I must be thinking about, I realised that upon my return my plan would be actioned sooner than I had anticipated. There was no cocaine, condoms or creeps here! Maybe there was but I wasn’t looking for it this time. It was truly bliss. The BBM’s had been coming in thick and fast but it looked like everything was under control. For the first time in a long time I had really enjoyed myself and felt somewhat a part of a family. Cheesy but true. Our grandmothers don’t lie when they say things like
“That’ll be the sea air! It’s knackers you out”
It had well and truly shattered me and I’d allowed my body to somewhat relax. I fell into a deep sleep on Kat’s couch only to wake the next morning with missed call list longer than my arm and the most terrifying message from Serena…
“Ash has been robbed at gun point! He’s tied her up and stolen all the money and got off”