Feeling drained, Anna leaned against the kitchen counter. Her emotions were shooting off everywhere, robbing her of her concentration and poisoning her heart with all kinds of bitter thoughts.
“Both of you seem to be drifting apart; is there anything wrong?” Karmen asked, bringing Anna out of her usual daydreaming.
“No, nothing’s wrong.”
It has been like this for the past three days. She had thought that her last question that night would have helped in bringing her closer to Samar yet instead, they seem to have drifted apart from each other. Samar had just walked out of the room without saying a word and had been ignoring Anna since then regardless how often they bumped into each other.
Their unusual silence in each other’s presence did not go unnoticed by those around them, however no one seemed to be daring enough to ask Samar anything about it. The injured-puppy-look on Anna’s face was disturbing to the rest; they never expected a whore house to witness such an episode of heartbreak hotel. When it did happen, it was usually the clients that were crying over them; the deadly look on Samar’s face told them that whatever that was going on had a mutual impact on both parties involved.
Karmen blew an impatient sigh. She was tired of babysitting Anna; kitchen duty wasn’t something that she loved doing, even as a kid. She wanted to go back to lounging in her room, reading all those Japanese hentai that one of her regular clients used to bring around when he came for his weekly visits. That at least had an impact on her work, unlike what she was doing now. It’s not as if she was going to be a homemaker or something.
Anna tried to pay attention while Karmen taught her some of the basic meals that were easy to prepare. Petite and delicate, Karmen appeared to be slightly shorter than her, though Anna knew that she wasn’t as she seemed to appear. She had heard the stories about Karmen’s ‘speciality’ in this brothel house. Karmen’s chestnut long braided hair flowed until her hips, swaying softly with her every movement, framing her bare peach neck. Anna noticed a few faint lines on Karmen’s wrists but dared not to ask anything about it.
“So,” Karmen began, wanting to break the silence around her. “I heard you’ve been going around asking about everyone’s backstory here – as if why they’re doing this.”
Blushing, Anna nodded. “Yes, I did ask a few of them.”
Anna blinked, momentarily unsure of the answer she was supposed to give. She was sure Samar wouldn’t want her to let her feelings be known to others; she was, after all, oblivious to the fact that her feelings for Samar had never been a secret to those around them. Anna was like an open book; in fact, at the exact moment, Karmen could guess the thoughts that were running through her mind.
“I guess, I was curious as to the reason you guys are doing this. I wanted to know why, yet at the same time, I wanted to know about all of you too. I never expected them to share their stories with me, to be honest. I’m quite surprised actually.”
Karmen nodded. She had the same thoughts as well – why would they spill their secrets, their stories to someone that they barely knew? Yet standing in front of Anna at the moment, she felt like she could relate to them as well. Anna looked like a lost deer in a den filled with tired, old lioness. While they would like pounce on her for their meals, at the same time, the reckless energy that she oozed out was quite refreshing.
“You do know that you probably wouldn’t get to know everyone’s story right?”
“And also, there are quite a few of us that you probably would never meet. Those who are allowed to stay here in these buildings are considered Madam’s elite workers; there are other street workers who roam around the back alleys, finding clients and finishing their job on site. They would never step into this building unless there’s a reason for them to do so. It has to be for a very good reason – for those workers aren’t the kind you’d want to be associated with if you’d like to market yourself as an elite brothel house.”
“On the streets? But wasn’t there where I met Samar?”
“Samar was probably out there looking for one of them when she found you. You could probably guess by now but Samar is considered an important person in this place; you could say she’s Madam’s right hand. So it isn’t unusual for her to be running around on Madam’s orders or handling the administrative work of the brothel. Even this,” she said, spreading her hands to indicate the kitchen, “is something that she wanted to be in-charged of as she has a weak stomach and needs proper nutrition.”
‘So even a right hand needed to serve customers?’ Anna thought but did not dare ask, lest the answer triggered her somehow.
“There’s a story that you might like to hear; about one of the street sex workers. Of course, you’ll never meet her, so you can doubt my story, but I assure you, this is a real story – a story that I somehow have the misfortune of knowing.” Looking at Anna, she asked, “do you want to hear it?”
There wasn’t anything extraordinary about her back then when she was a child. To everyone around her, she was a little pipsqueak; her hair was often tied up in twin braids as she frolicked around in her t-shirts and suspenders. Despite such, she was very close with her sister; they had a three-year age gap and being the youngest, Inness completely idolised her sister. At first, it seemed harmless; all she wanted was to spend more time with her sister and well, it was natural – wasn’t it, for sisters to shower together, eat their meals together and to sleep on the same bed? It happened everywhere else so why was this any different?
Well, that was the excuse that Inness gave to her sister – and it was an excuse that she believed in too. She thought it was natural for her to want to be in her sister’s presence all the time; after all, she spent the bulk of her childhood with her sister as there weren’t any other kids that were the same age as her in their old neighbourhood and so her sister was the only one she could play with. She would wait for her sister patiently after school, refusing to have a meal unless they had it together. As clichéd as it sounds, it never crossed her mind that things would change.
Over the years, Inness had blossomed; the pipsqueak was now a beautiful, tall, lanky freshman at her high school. Her growth spurt was such that she even towered her sister, coming off as someone much older than her actual age; yet, despite her popularity as a cheerleader, she was still clinging onto her sister.
Inness never thought that her sister’s enrollment into college would change things drastically. At first, it was decided that she would still return home every day, yet the daily traveling was taking a toll on her physical health and on the quality of work she submitted in – it seemed to be the best solution for her to move into a hostel nearby. This of course, did not sit well with Inness; she was already losing her mind ever since her sister started college as their time together was cut short considerably by her sister’s heavy study load. The pent-up frustration that she had, her longings, her despair all came to an ultimate climax one night.
Sorry for the late update – my semester’s catching up on me. >_<