I strip and weigh in, again. It seems redundant since I was here last night, but since Sean let me leave for the middle of the day, Miss Black does everything again. I’m wearing the same dress as yesterday. I didn’t have anything else.
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Miss Black holds it out and shakes her head. “This is a major infraction.” She takes the dress and tosses it onto her chair. It sits behind her desk getting wrinkled. I’m standing in front of her in my freshly laundered lingerie from the other night. She’s not happy about that either.
“I haven’t been paid, yet. I took this job because I’m broke. This is all I have.”
“Yes, well. Be glad that we have some wardrobe for photo shoots.” She plucks something from her closet. “Put this on.” It’s a tiny black piece of fabric that looks way too small to be a dress.
I eye it and do what she says. As I’m wiggling into the dress, Black takes a box from the bottom drawer of her desk and unlocks it. She removes cash and the book I saw the first night that I was here with Mel. I barely have the dress on when she says, “Leave it. It’s supposed to sit high on the thigh but this—” she tugs the neckline, straightening it. The dress is form fitting. I feel like a sausage shoved into a balloon. There’s no way I look hot, but I don’t comment. The black dress clings to me. There’s a keyhole opening that reveals my cleavage. The skirt hugs my hips tightly and barely covers my panties.
“There, that’s better. Now turn.” I do as she says. Miss Black grabs my shoulders and I stop. feel her gaze on my back. She thrusts her hand forward. “Give them to me. You can’t wear that kind of panty with this dress. Panty lines are ungodly.”
I freeze. I am not going commando in this tiny skirt. “I don’t think—” I start to say, but she cuts me off.
Snapping her fingers, Miss Black huffs, “No one cares that you were prude, Avery. Hand over the panties so we can get on with things.” Reluctantly, I shimmy them down and fork them over. I tug at the hem of the dress, but Miss Black slaps my hands away. “Leave it. Oh, and before I forget, here’s an advance on your paycheck. Spend it wisely.” She hands me several large bills. I reach for the money and stuff it in my purse.
Miss Black continues, “You can pick up your clothes tomorrow when you check in. One more thing before you leave. Here is your next client.” She turns the big book toward me and points to a page. “I need you to update your preferences sheet and sign.”
I glance at the papers. The man is a little older, but still attractive. He’s not Sean. With every fiber of my being, I don’t want to do this, but I have no choice. I lift the pen and sign the contract. There. Done. I start to walk away.
Miss Black stops me, “Avery, your preference sheet?” She pushes it toward me and sits down
behind her desk. I look back at the paper.
“I don’t care. Whatever he wants.”
Black looks at me like I don’t understand what I’ve said. “Avery, dear, I think you’ll—”
“I don’t care,” I say more poignantly this time. “Whatever he wants. It’s all the same to me.”
Black smiles like she won the lottery. “I’m pleased to hear it. You’ll fetch a higher price with that attitude.”
I smile back at her like I’m excited, but I’m not. I leave the building and duck into the lime waiting at the curb. I slip back into my seat and slouch. I pick at my nails for a moment and then stop so that I won’t ruin the polish.
How quickly things change. A few nights ago I was so nervous that I nearly puked. Now, I just want to go and get it over with. Staring out the window, I remind myself that this isn’t real. It doesn’t matter what Sean says or does, this isn’t love.