"Congratulations on being acquitted, not that you needed it." Natalie pulled away from the hug, stroking my arm.
"Thank you, I'm just glad it's over with. Though reporters are still hanging around the bar. Looking to catch sight of me."
"Well, you won't ever have to go there again. You work here now."
This month could not have gone better—receiving my contract with FolkWhore and handing in my resignation felt like I was truly moving past it all. Mum could not have been happier, her and Marlene—her carer—had noticed a positive change in me.
"You applied for the designer position which is great, I'm always looking for fresh ideas for designs, luckily for you, I am the manager for this shop, so you'll shadow me when you come here. Have you found what uni you'll attend?"
"Yes, I explained my situation to the university, and I'll be enrolling in late September."
"Excellent, well seeing as you'll mainly be in Scotland you can send in any designs you have via email or we can facetime if that's easier. You'll also need to come to the shop once a fortnight for company lessons.
Natalie took me through the back of the shop, we headed up the stairs, and she immediately opened the door to her left. Stepping aside so I could see inside.
Four other people were sat down in a row in front of a projector, most were talking while one was in a corner scrolling through their phone.
"To learn about supernatural creatures," Natalie finally replied. I frowned, turning towards the woman.
"I thought that was a joke, a curveball question in the interview."
Natalie laughed, closing the door while the eight pair of eyes watched on. Natalie opened another opposite ushering me into the empty fabric room.
"What exactly did Adele and Magenta tell you?"
"Not much, I didn't want to get my hopes up with the trial, so I didn't really ask too much."
Natalie mumbled a few profanities before leaning against one of the shelves.
"On the outside, we are a luxury costume store, sometimes we dabble in streetwear and or designers do projects with other companies on some occasions. However, behind the scenes, we offer a more intimate service, a fantasy that's quite bespoke."
The words settled in my brain for a while before the gears began to turn.
"This...this place is an escort business?"
"Particularly tailored to werewolves, vampires, fae the like." Her sentence seemed to fly over my head as I was still spinning from realising that I had just been employed to be an escort.
"I-I have to have sex with people?" I whispered, my stomach turned as imaginary hands caressed my body, making me squirm.
"In time, yes."
What should've been a great opportunity suddenly turned very sour.
"Then I can't work here, I'm sorry, but this won't work." I smiled weakly at Natalie, who had a piercing gaze on me as I headed for the door.
"Then we'd have to ask for the expense of your legal fees returned to us."
I spun around gobsmacked.
"What?" I was stunned, they were sinking that low.
"We hired that lawyer and paid those fees for an employee of the company as we would do any employee. As you are handing in your resignation without a month's notice, we will need that money returned."
"Then here is my one month's notice," I replied, I guess in some case I was lucky to be in Scotland I could just avoid their calls and start searching for a new job.
"One month's notice is for employees who have completed their six months probation after they become a full employee. As you will spend the next couple of years studying, you are not regarded as a full employee until after your studies have finished."
"So you're saying that I can't leave for the next five years and seven months?"
Natalie nodded, a flicker of emotion went through her eyes other than indifference.
"You must see that this company is flawed right? You can't honestly expect to manipulate me into having sex with men or whoever."
"I have not done anything Mae, you're free to leave we just expect our money back."
"And you know damn well I can't afford that." I could feel a rise of heat from my chest, what I thought was a beacon of hope had now become a cloud of raining shards of glass.
"Then am I really forcing you? If you are worried about the escort business, I can assure you that you will not be having sex with clients until after you've completed your studies supernatural and otherwise and that won't happen for a long time."
I don't know how she managed to spin this situation into a positive, but I relaxed slightly, the knowledge of knowing that I wouldn't be having sex with strangers until five years from now was somehow comforting. At least by then if I left, I could've saved some money to pay the legal fees back.
"Your safety is our utmost priority, you may attend a few parties, be a bit of arm candy but nothing more, and all events you will be with an experienced member never on your own. Clients are contracted to treat our employees with respect and kindness. No one would tarnish that. You'll be safe with us."
Of course, no one would hurt me with the devil in my corner.
A.N. And now we know how Mae came to join FolkWhore. Take note of the manipulation. Let me know what you think and most importantly, thanks for reading.