No more ‘jobs’ for me. Nope never again the guilt from doing them was overwhelming and made me feel so worthless. It always had done since I’d started there and now I was engaged I wasn’t going to risk jeopardising my relationship with Rob. I’d felt so much guilt over the weekend and it was really affecting my mental health more than ever. As I say I’d never been thrilled with the idea and I was crap at it anyway literally the worst. Even though I needed and wanted the money I decided that no amount of money was worth feeling that shit and no amount of cash was going to make up for the fact I was technically cheating on rob – even though I never did anything sexual with any of the punters after meeting rob but it wasn’t the point. It was still lying to the man I loved and it was wrong. I wanted to believe it could be ’empowering’ but being controlled by a pimp certainly wasn’t empowering it was bloody degrading, terrifying and soul-destroying, I often wondered if it was just me who felt like that. Fuck that, for the remaining time I’d given myself before I would go to the police I decided I’d just live off the commission that ‘R’ paid me for every ‘successful’ booking that went through but even that didn’t sit well with me, I was no better than him whilst doing that.
The flat was quiet, Susie had gone home for Christmas and I’d never seen her so down as late. She lived with her Hungarian boyfriend who was a chef and knew what she did, he didn’t like it but tried to be supportive he hated her doing it. A month or so earlier ‘R’ had encouraged him to do ‘duos’ with Susie and be hired out as a kinky couple for available for bookings together, ‘R’ made them do some sleazy photo shoot in the flat and I’d watched thinking oh ffs here we go again. Susie was trusting though but they never got a single booking – probably because ‘R’ only did it to keep her boyfriend happy he had no intention of advertising them as a couple as he didn’t want our boyfriends hanging around. He just didn’t want to lose his ‘Porn Star Susie’ his ‘Bread and Butter’.
Susie sent her money home to build a house and because her mum and sister owned a nursery for kids so helping her family was her priority. Susie had also bought a little kitten named ‘Billy’ as she loved animals and she’d told me she felt lonely but sadly just before she went home he’d climbed off the balcony and fallen to his death it was so sad and we cried together. We cried and cried not just because of the kitten but it was one of those moments where you just let it all out. Bex had also buggered off back to Norway and I was pleased for her hoping she might not return for her own good, though she did. It was just Ash and a few others left working up til Xmas. We’d had a new girl named ‘Kitty’ and her male friend who was a ‘twink’. I’d never had to deal with a gay male escort before he was nice though but loved to party. I think he was a breath of fresh air at the time and it was nice having a bloke that wasn’t ‘R’. It was crazy how many calls we got for him from married men who fancied having a young teen lad with them for some forbidden fruit. Kitty was very young too and of course ‘R’ had gotten his claws into her. She made no secret of the fact she thought he was grim, she was scouse and straight to the point so I spent time bitching about him with her which felt good as besides Serena and Penny I often felt alone in my hatred of him. I’d started to withdraw from the girls a bit because I knew I would be blowing this place out of the water very soon and part of me felt bad for them. I was getting ready to go to Sheffield for the few days and I noticed a massive change in ‘R’s’ behaviour again. He was acting crazy and becoming more and more unstable, I found it hard to believe he could act ‘normal’ at his day job. I don’t know whether he really was getting more wild or maybe I was just a lot more clear-headed these days? Still, I hated him, I was growing stronger by the day and we were getting in arguments regularly. Every morning on his way to work he would call me for a ‘briefing’ and tell me if there were new girls coming to the flat and what he wanted me to do. We’d end up rowing because I couldn’t stand the way he spoke about the girls, it was pure hatred and misogyny as well as entitlement and it had really started to hit home what a dangerous psychopath he was. I also realised that none of us really knew anything about him but he knew everything about us. It was his way of having power over us. All we knew was that he was a successful accountant who’s staff members knew what he did on the side and seemed to all be cool with it. Surely he must be leading either a double life or he wasn’t any of the things he’d made out he was. ‘R’ painted himself as a ‘rags to riches’ success and that was his USP so to speak – his way of getting the girls to do more fucked up shit because he made us believe that in order to be rich and successful we must do things that ‘ordinary’ folk would never do. ‘R’ had told us how he had worked Indian aeroplanes for years as a chef and host and he knew EVERYBODY worth knowing always dropping big names.
I couldn’t wait to get away for the few days over Xmas, to connect with family in a ‘normal’ environment. I’d have to stick to my story though and knew it would be exhausting as I was getting to the point where I couldn’t lie anymore. I couldn’t lie to myself, Rob or my family for much longer and I wanted to relieve myself of this lie. I was also nervous about going away as ‘R’ had started to create a divide between me and the girls by making me out to be the ‘kill-joy’ over exaggerator – the hysterical one. I didn’t care anymore though and knew that in the grand scheme of things I’d rather the girls hate me for a while than live with the fact I let this continue. It’s fair to say I was looking forward to telling the police. I now had what I felt was sufficient evidence to take and I’d planned to keep the ‘work’ phone too so that I could hand it in to them. For months I’d feared ‘R’ to the point where I believed he would harm me physically or even have me killed. It sounds crazy but I genuinely felt after everything I’d seen him do he was certainly capable of that but something inside me had given up caring about what he would do to me and I realised that this puny, short, 9 stone man wasn’t as scary as he’d once seemed. I also felt invincible having Robbie by my side as I knew this was a man who would probably die for me – though I definitely didn’t want him dying christ no! ‘R’ always made out that he had police protection and yes it was true there had been many officers use our ‘services’ but there hadn’t been any sufficient evidence of back up or the gangs that helped him as he’d made out. He told me that he had to pay money to people for protection and that he also paid a percentage of the takings to gangsters so that they’d leave us alone.
“Turf wars are real Lauren, you know how many fucking pimps hate me because I’m the best?”
“No, what do you mean?”
“I control the sex scene here in the North West and they hate me for it because I’m some Asian dude who came from nowhere”
I didn’t know if that was fantasy or true but I started to believe the former. There had been a few occasions where he’d made out situations like the gun toting thief had been set ups by the other pimps but I was questioning everything. ‘R’ was unravelling quicker than a cheap dress from ‘Missguided’ and I couldn’t keep up with his Bull shit.
Yes he had a lot of websites at the top of google and would show me regularly how his SEO skills were big reasons as to why our phones rang constantly. But in all honesty most of the business came from Adultwork – a site where anyone can advertise their sexual services. He would get me to create numerous profiles on there and would regularly do ‘photo’ shoots with the younger girls so he was also making money from selling the content on various sites too – none of which he gave to the girls who’s photos had been bought. In fact the girls didn’t know where their images were being used and again that was just bloody wrong. He’d taken various photos of me in the beginning and had gotten me to agree by charming me and telling me he needed them as I was so beautiful and would attract a lot of attention. It was all just bollocks and another way in which he groomed us and exerted his power. Power is gained often through fear and by keeping others around you in the dark , we were ignorant and he loved it that way. I’d had some really nasty messages from my ex who had found me on a site offering my services with full face pics that I hadn’t agreed to being published but ‘R’ had done so anyway. I was fuming and asked him to take them down immediately but he just blurred my face out.
I felt so guilty leaving Robbie on our first official Xmas together but it had to be done, next year would be different I promised him but thats the wonderful thing about Rob, he always just let me figure shit out for myself and was always there if I needed him. He’d agreed to work Xmas and Boxing day so he could get more money for us, he really was that wonderful. I’d gone with him to the Disney store a few days earlier in L1 to get stuff for his son, I wrapped them because like most men he couldn’t wrap to save his life. Rob’s face was lit up with excitement when we took them round only to be abused and screamed at by his ex who then said she’d tell their son they were from santa and not him. My heart broke for him and his son and I thought no matter whats gone on women who do that are only hurting their kids. I knew it was because she was angry at me and just punishing him but it made me mad.
I once again agreed with ‘R’ that in order for me to go away and enjoy my Xmas then I would come back and do the New Years eve shift when all the main girls like Susie would be back. We were going to be crazy busy he said and I didn’t doubt him. I knew Serena was staying in the flat a few days over Xmas because her relationship with her family was strained and she as always she needed cash. I took the work phone and she and Penny handled the other ones while I was away. It was going to be quiet over the Xmas week so I wasn’t needed which I felt relieved about. My Auntie A is old school and there was no way she’d stand for me sitting there staring at a phone! I was going to stay with her in her new flat round the corner from her eldest son’s home who has the quintessential middle class wife and life. The plan was we’d sleep at hers but stay at theirs for the celebrations. Auntie A also loves walking so I knew we’d be doing some serious walking through the countryside which I was excited about as I am just a Norfolk country girl underneath it all.
I caught the bus to Sheffield and was so happy to just be away from the North-West I felt like the place was bad for me and though I had become fond of some parts of it I also began to hate it due to everything I associated with it. My cousin’s lovely jolly ‘Olivia Coleman’ lookalike wife collected me from the station and I instantly felt different like I was in the right place. When we got back to her beautiful victorian home with curtains that looked like they were made to measure I was thrust with ‘Blinis’ and Vol au vents and by god were they nice. I knew she’d probably spent the majority of the day hand making them and the house stunk of Xmas giving me all the feels. This was the life I wanted for Robbie and I, the one where you send ’round robins’ at Xmas and where shopping in Waitrose isn’t a big deal because ‘Darling why shop anywhere else?’.
This life was worlds apart from the shit dingy flat where men came to pay for sex and my daily duties included changing sheets stained with lube, wiping down glass tables sticky with booze and lines of coke. I only wanted to go back for Robbie. This glimpse of what I could have if I sorted my shit out was driving me even more to get the hell away from this mess, I watched my cousins daughters play happily and innocently and I realised how lucky they were compared to the girls back home. Everything I planned to do now felt completely right and I realised I had only one more week to go!