Chapter 7: The Unexpected Offer
Raena moved closer to the mirror, inspecting the dress once again. The darkest one Kara had found was in imperial blue color with a square neckline and a corset, which her maid tightened so much that it felt like Raena’s back was going to break. The dress showed just the top part of her cleavage, but it wasn’t nearly as revealing as she expected it to be. Her maid had returned with a set of earrings and a necklace in the same color, so all that remained now was to put on the veil.
“Don’t cover my entire face, just everything below the eyes,” Raena instructed.
“You’ll be recognized,” Kara insisted. “Better to keep your entire face covered.”
“No one is going to take me seriously if they can’t at least see my eyes,” Raena said. “Besides, we’ll need my charm to do half the work.”
After Kara adjusted the dark veil over her nose, they headed out. They met no one as they stepped outside, so they hurried to the entrance of the brothel. The building next to the restaurant was about the same size, although narrower, and the inside was no better than the outside. It smelled of cigars, sweat, and sex, and the lighting was so poor that it almost looked like it was dusk outside.
They hadn’t made more than three steps when a woman appeared to greet them, smiling from ear to ear. Her long red hair fell almost to her waist, but it looked like it hadn’t been combed or washed for at least a week. Her face was beautiful, but her age showed despite the heavy makeup.
She was wearing a black dress with two long slits on the front that revealed her lean legs all the way to the middle of her thighs. The upper part of the gown exposed her shoulders and a big part of her breasts.
“Welcome, ladies,” she smiled at them. “What can I do for you?” Her eyes darted towards Kara in her maid uniform, then back to Raena, her eyes flashing with curiosity. “Are you looking to have some fun, beautiful lady? Or maybe you’re here looking for a job. We do have an opening if you’re interested.”
“Is the owner here?” Raena asked, looking around. A woman passed in the back, dragging her feet, her breasts hanging out of her dress. She gave them an uninterested gaze, and Raena couldn’t help but notice her unfocused gaze.
“The owner doesn’t serve clients,” the woman replied with the brightest of smiles.
“Well, I am here about a job. Don’t I have to speak with the owner about that?” Raena insisted. The red-haired woman looked surprised for a moment. Her eyes inspected Raena from head to toe until she tilted her head, the seductive smile back on her face.
“Please, follow me,” she said, motioning towards the stairs. She took the lead and Raena was surprised by how gracefully she moved. She somehow twisted her hips and gave a great view of her ass without making it look forced or tacky. She led them to a door at the end of a long corridor and knocked. There must have been some reply, because she opened the door and thrust her head inside, saying something to whoever was in the room. A moment later, she opened the door for them. Raena glanced at her, then stepped inside with Kara right behind her.
The room was rather big but poorly furnished, with only a bed by one of the walls and a small table with two chairs opposite. The door closed behind them, and Raena instinctively turned to look at the man in the room. He was standing by the bed with his shirt open and his pants down, pounding into a naked woman from behind. The girl was positioned on her hands and knees in the bed, moaning a bit too loudly. Raena wondered for a moment if that was the same person who they heard on the other side, but she doubted either of them could keep it up for that long.
“Good god,” Kara muttered, and Raena glanced at her just as she was looking away, her face red as a tomato. Raena smiled and returned her attention to the couple.
The girl on the bed looked up, letting out another loud scream as the man increased the speed of his thrusts. Her hands were shaking and her face looked tired, but she kept moaning as if her life depended on it. The man had turned his eyes towards them, completely unashamed by the sudden audience.
“I heard you are here for a job,” he said, panting slightly. He looked Raena up and down and smirked. “Why don’t you take your clothes off and we’ll start your audition? You can help Janine over here.” “Sure,” Raena said, and she felt Kara grab her elbow. Raena patted her hand without looking at her. Instead, she looked down at the girl that was staring at them so intensely she forgot to moan. “Janine, curve your back toward the bed and lift your ass a little more. He’ll be able to go deeper and he’ll finish faster.”
The girl blinked at her, dumbfounded, then looked over her shoulder toward the man. He was staring at Raena, so he didn’t even notice. Instead, he leaned forward, pushing the girl’s head against the bedding and pulling her ass higher. Raena noticed Janine arch her back as she was advised, her hands squeezing the sheets as he resumed his pounding.
“Squeeze him a little, and it will be over in fifteen seconds,” Raena said with a smile. Janine’s body tensed a moment later, and Raena turned her attention to the man.
“No, wait!” he said angrily but then gritted his teeth as his body turned stiff and his hands squeezed her waist tighter. A few seconds later, he came with an angry growl, panting heavily. He shoved the girl on the bed, picking his pants up and buckling them. His eyes returned to Raena, and he glared at her. He glanced back at Janine, who was sitting awkwardly, looking between him and the two women at the door. “Get out.”
The girl picked up her dress, slid down to the floor, and ran for the door, disappearing stark naked into the corridor. When he looked back at them, his anger was gone, replaced by an arrogant smile.
“If you think you’ll get the job without performing first, you’re wasting your time.”
“I’m not here for that kind of job,” Raena smiled as he made his way to the table, picking up a cigar from a small wooden box on top of it and lighting it up. He puffed it a few times before taking a big pull and exhaling its smoke. It smelled like stale tobacco and something sweet she couldn’t quite name.
“What are you here for, then? Instructing the whores how to do their job?” He took another puff, shamelessly looking her over. For a second Raena felt like being dressed didn’t really mean that much when she was standing in front of that man. She shook those thoughts away.
“Not really,” Raena laughed, taking a couple of steps inside the room. “She just seemed to be struggling a bit. It happens when men only think about their own pleasure.”
“Are you sure you know the meaning of the word ‘brothel’? People come here for their own pleasure, not to make some whores feel good.”
“May I?” Raena asked, pointing at the chair on the other side of the table. He paused, but then shrugged, leaning back and letting out another cloud of smoke. Raena tried not to look bothered by it, even though she felt like coughing. “I’m here to make you a proposition.”
“Really?” He laughed. “And what do you have that you think I want?”
“A way for you to turn this dump into a gold mine.”
The smile froze on his face, and Raena almost laughed at the expression he made next. His confusion and inner struggle showed clearly despite his attempt to appear unaffected. Finally, he looked away from her and chuckled.
“A whore with a sense of humor. We have a few clients that will love that.” He said as if to himself. His eyes stopped on Kara, and he snorted. “Get rid of the maid and I’ll listen to what you have to say.”
Raena looked at Kara, nodding. The latter hesitated, but then slipped out of the room, closing the door behind. Raena returned her attention to the man.
“Shall we start with introductions?” Raena asked. “You can call me Lydia.”
“Marden,” he said after a long pause, rubbing his lips with his fingers.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Marden,” Raena smiled. “I’ll get straight to the point, then. My offer is as follows: I will increase your revenue at least twice in the next three months, then five times in the following six months. I’ll raise your reputation and make your brothel the most renowned pleasure house of the capital.”
She waited as he weighed her words, his eyes flashing greedily, but at the end he shook his head, laughing.
“Damn, I don’t know where you get that confidence from, but it’s a great turn-on,” he said. “The most renowned pleasure house of the capital? Hahaha.” He leaned over to the table and put down his cigar. “This keeps bothering me, so I have to ask. What’s up with the veil?”
“My beauty is too much for the mortal gaze,” Reana said, trying to keep a straight face. “Be glad I’m covered, or you might fall desperately in love with me and pledge to do everything I ask.” He burst out laughing, shaking his head. “So I suggest you accept the offer while I’m still asking.”
“I don’t know where you came from, but you sure have some balls.” He got up suddenly, taking a step towards her and leaning over. He grabbed the armrests of her chair, lowering himself until their faces were just inches apart. Raena felt her heartbeat quickening, but she made sure to keep her expression blank. She met his eyes directly, trying not to inhale his breath that still stunk of that horrible cigar. “Then, Lydia, how about this? I’ll agree to your deal if you service me right here, right now. You can even keep your veil on if you like.”
She didn’t reply right away, looking for the right words. She needed him to agree, or at least to think about it, but she didn’t want to come on as desperate. And while in her world she probably wouldn’t have said no to passionate sex with a good-looking guy, her current body was a virgin and a married one at that. She had to be careful, at least until she got divorced. The third prince might not be interested in her as a woman, but he was still a man in a male-dominated society. It wouldn’t be surprising for him to get mad if he found out she’d slept with another man. He’d probably kill them both.
“Desperate men bore me,” she sighed, shrugging. “I guess there is no point in lingering here any longer. If you’re not interested in my proposition, I have more important matters to attend to.” Marden pulled away slowly, and she rose to her feet. “It was a pleasure talking to you, Marden. Good luck with your future endeavors. We probably won’t be seeing each other again.”
Raena headed for the door, gritting her teeth in frustration. She had hoped he’d bite, but she had overplayed her hand. She’d have to figure out some other way to shut them down.
“Wait.” Marden’s voice stopped her, and she sucked in an excited breath. “I have a question.” Raena turned, waiting patiently. “What do you get out of this deal?”
“Didn’t I mention?” Raena smiled. “I’m going to be managing the building next door. The person who owns it entrusted me with making sure the venture was successful. And with your establishment as it is, that would make my job really hard. So I either have to drive you out or help you step up to the plate. I’m fine with either, but when I think about all the fun stuff that this place can offer… let’s say I’m a firm supporter of anything that brings pleasure.” For the first time since she met him, Marden’s expression was unreadable. She decided to let it lie for now and see if it would bear fruit. “I’ll come back in one week to give you time to think. I’m looking forward to all the fun times we’ll have together, Marden.”