A Woman For Every Man
I walk up the stairs to the gym, a hand towel over my shoulder. It is the weekend, meaning that I didn’t have any chores to complete. I’m finally able to wear something other than heels, so naturally, I put on some trainers that had been hidden behind the wedged shoes.
I push open the door to the well-lit room the morning sun casting its rays through the floor to ceiling windows, covering it in a hazy yellow.
“What are you wearing?” Dominic’s breathy voice tickles the back of my neck as his hand ran down the lavender sports bra tugging slightly on the matching leggings.
“Gym wear.” I walk in kneeling to grab a bottle from the mini-fridge I stocked two days ago.
“I can see that, but why are your legs covered?” Dominic stands to my left as I survey my options. I take the water out and stand up facing Dominic, whose eyes continue to take me in.
“I can’t exactly wear a skirt. What is your thing with the no covering of legs policy?” I unscrew the water bottle placing it to my lips.
“Easy access,” Dominic smirks a brow raised as I try my best not to choke. I put the bottle down on the bench.
Deciding that he got the reaction he desired, Dominic gives me one last lingering look before going to the rowing machine.
I take my spot on the treadmill. It is very similar to my own at home so programming it for a short to fast journey was easy enough.
I catch sight of Dominic as he powered away on the machine his Bluetooth earphone flashing blue as he listens to whatever he needed to listen to. A podcast perhaps. I can’t imagine Dominic listening to music for pleasure, in fact listening to anything for pleasure seems below him.
I turn my gaze to the garden, focusing my attention to the sway of the barren maple tree as the treadmill began to move.
“You’re pretty good at this.”
I blink a few times before tearing my gaze away from the maple tree to Dominic, who speaks from the bench wiping his face on the towel I had brought.
“What do you mean?” I ask.
He stands up, pulling his damp shirt off and dropping it onto the bench. His sweat makes his body shine. Droplets falling under the creases of his muscles and sliding down to rest on the band of his shorts.
My eyes linger on his body for a while longer watching them stretch and contract as he walks over to me, leaning an arm on the side.
“Keeping your stamina up, I need a woman who can keep up with me.”
“I don’t think there’s much keeping up with,” I argue.
Dominic rubs his chin. I slow down the machine to a slow jog as he speaks, “Mae, you’re knocked out after one session, I don’t think you’d survive two.”
“It could be that, or it could be that I’m also a part-time maid. Besides I don’t keep in shape for you, I keep in shape for me.”
Dominic raises a brow at me, something close to curiosity coating his eyes.
“Is that so?” he questions.
“Do you know what Moekbang is?”
“No, can’t say that I do,” he replies.
“Well, it’s a Korean originated trend where people watch others eats ridiculous amounts of food. Almost like the rise of ASMR, it just blew up one day. Like anything, people always find a way of sexualising it. There was an introduction to Moekbang in the escort business. Men would pay generous amounts of money to watch a slim girl or guy eat.”
“That’s all?” Dominic says, almost disappointed.
"That’s all?” I roll my eyes at him. “I have a friend who was hired by such a person-- for a month, he didn’t touch her, didn’t have sex with her, not even a handjob. All he required was for her to eat and all he wanted to do was watch. At the end of the month, she was 23 stones. 23 stones Dominic! She had to have a tummy tuck and surgery to remove all the excess skin. Thankfully Magenta polished her up, but the girl can’t look at food the same anymore. Not that I didn’t keep in shape before, but seeing Quinny being returned to us on a gurney was horrifying.”
Dominic’s eyes furrow as he processes it.
“As weird and unfortunate as that story seems, some men love the power to force people to change sometimes specifically women. The thought of bringing down a strong woman or at least an independent one is a notch in their masculinity.” He shrugs his shoulders no longer bothered by the topic and stepped on the treadmill next to me, programming it to match my speed.
“How did you get into this line of work Mae?” He asks me suddenly.
I look at him as I reply simply. “Like any person, I needed the money.”
I sit with my head against the window as the train rushes past-- the vast fields and tumbling hills that seem to stretch on for eternity. My mum’s hand strokes the back of my head, bringing me back from the landscape. I turn to face her, pulling out my earphones.
“Are you still mad at me?” she asks quietly. I could see the creases between her brows form as I think about my answer.
I had done my screaming at her months ago when she told me we were relocating to Scotland. Rent had become so unbearably high that every month was a case of rent or utilities. Not to say that we were poor but living in London had become almost elitist. With support from the government, we could manage on month by month basis providing that the house didn’t need repairing which it always did.
Soon my mum said ‘fuck it’ her job allowed her to relocate. Thankfully meaning she could work in Inverness as the dance lecturer and luckily for her I had just finished my last year of secondary school and could start sixth form up there with her.
But in no way did that mean I am happy. In fact, throughout the whole process, I went out of my way to avoid her. I refused to speak more than ten words weekly to my mother and would spend all my time away from her. Being an only child meant if she wasn’t at home, there was no one there to talk to, so it wasn’t hard to keep myself isolated.
Then as the ‘to let’ sign went up in the front garden I lost it, I trashed the house. I was angry at my mother for making life-changing decisions without any consideration to me or my own life that I had been living. The fact this wasn’t the first time she had done so. She shipped us from the states to live in the UK when I was three.
After the death of my father, she didn’t want to be away from her family any more. So we moved here, and now we were moving away from those people to the middle of nowhere with no one. That night had been the closest that either of us had gotten to it becoming physical.
But now I was just tired.
I just about scraped through my exams, spent as much time as I could with friends knowing that by the time, they could visit me in Scotland our friendship would be reduced to nothing but pleasantries, and had applied to start sixth form in September.
I bite the inside of my cheek as my mother waited for an answer.
“No, I’m just tired, mum.” I can see the relief wash over her as her shoulders relax holding in tension for the last three months. She pulls me close as we sat in the aisle of the train stroking my hair, caressing my face and whispering apologies as the train approaches our new life.
A.N. Some backstory to Mae, as the story progresses we will learn more how she became a FolkWhore. What did you guys think? Let me know. Most importantly thanks for reading.