My life was progressing as Meg's had at the beginning. I had hit the six month mark. I was making enough money that I no longer had to live with my parents, so I didn't. I no longer had to go through Mama to get my appointments just as I no longer bothered going to school. I had big plans for this week. First, it was becoming obvious to me that my black hair was a bit overwhelming for my skin tone. I had one too many clients complain about it, so I had my contact at the agency arrange to have it softened up a bit. I just didn't want my hair to wind up damaged from stripping it. My hair had been the only rebellion I had shown towards Mama. Otherwise I would have been the bright blonde that Cassie was. For the change, though, I settled for a rich chestnut brown. It was very good for my image.
The second matter of business was finding a hotel/apartment that would take me without balking at my age. I was in half a mind to have the agency contact register it under his name. Speaking of him, he was my only 'friend' in the business. Luke was pretty bright eyed despite what he did. Maybe he didn't understand exactly what went on, but I could always count on him to lift me up when the day was particularly shitty. Sometimes I thought he didn't know that I was actually sleeping with the clients. I did a hell of a lot more than just take them out to fabulous parties. I was literal candy. They could have whatever piece of me they wanted.
All of this was running through my head as I got ready. Today would be the last day I spent in my parent's house if I had anything to do with it. I had my mid length black hair curled softly around my face. My eyes popped with the light dusting of makeup I had applied. I had learned that less is more. My body had become more toned as I hit the gym more and more often. I didn't want it to get too hard, but I needed to keep up my physique too. I ran most of the time. Cardio was everything to me. It kept my body lean. I had on a tight black dress that accentuated that fact. I topped off the look with my signature red lipstick. The client I was entertaining today was running on a tight schedule. I had around thirty minutes to get to midtown to meet her for lunch.
When I walked downstairs, Mama was waiting for me as always. She gave me a once over and shook her head. There was something wrong with what I had going on. If there was one thing I knew, it was that Evelyn Russo would speak her mind whether you wanted her to or not. Today was one of those days where I'd rather her keep her mouth shut. She was standing there with her arms crossed under her breasts. The look on her face was disapproving at best.
"Lily, what in the world are you wearing?" The words carried almost no emotion.
"I have a meeting." I said tightly. She never approved of any of her girls wearing a little black dress. This one was more modest than the rest of them because the dinner wasn't overly formal. The only requirement I had was to show up looking the part.
"You have nothing else in your closet?"
"Not that would work for this. Plus I'm meeting a realtor afterwards. I want to look professional."
"That's rich, honey. You look like a cheap whore." A peel of laughter came from her. I fought to keep a cool demeanor.
"Well, I love being in a world where being paid 10 grand is considered cheap," I snapped back. I didn't continue the conversation. I walked out the front door and down to the limo waiting in front of our townhouse. Fuck a little privacy would be nice.
Lunch with Marie was always fun. She was one of the few clients I had that didn't want sex as well. She never wanted more than a couple hours of my time, and when I was with her that seemed like nothing. She let me get wrapped up in the life of a socialite with all the luxuries that the life had. So far this little get together was the least formal of her events. Marie had just graduated from Columbia, but her family name guaranteed that she would never have to work a day in her life. She lived on the prestige alone. If I had known her before this, I could consider her a friend. The only problem was the age gap. That seemed to put a damper on things. Maybe that was something I could have Luke work on. A fake ID. I was actually shocked I hadn't thought of it before.
I was going to meet Luke and the realtor now. They had found a nice little apartment on the lower side of the city. Rent there wasn't quite so bad. I arrived at the agency about ten minutes later. Luke was standing on the curb, tall and handsome, with his arms open. I walked over to him and let myself be enveloped in his arms. It was kind of like home there. Luke was the first and last person every single one of my clients had to get through. So far he hadn't let me down.
"Are you ready for this, Lily?" he asked with a smile on his face. I nodded in response. I still didn't have the courage to ask him to lease the place for me. The ride was slow. Traffic through midtown was a nightmare. Gridlocked for over forty minutes before I could even think of getting past Times Square. I'll never understand what tourists thought was so great about it.
"Luke, can I ask you a question?" I said quietly. He gripped my hand. I knew he had reservations about my age. I knew he hated that Mama recruited so young. Luke was truly my protector.
"Shoot," He replied.
"Is there a chance that you can help me, you know if they won't rent this place to me." I just let it tumble out of my mouth. If my closest friend couldn't help me then I didn't know where else to turn. His hand closed around mine.
"Lils..." He was hesitant.
"Look, you know what it's like living with Evelyn. You know what happened to Meg. Please don't let me go through that, too. I'm just looking out for myself."
"I know that. But you're not even seventeen yet. Don't you think you're moving too fast?" He made a valid point.
"Maybe. But I don't want to ruin myself." I squeezed his hand.
"Why don't you just stay with me until you're old enough, babe. I have a spare room."
The suggestion shocked me. While we were close, I didn't know he thought of me enough to let me be his roommate. I knew that if I stayed with him, I wouldn't worry about anything. I would never have to worry about him hitting on me. I would be safe. Was it something I should think about? I wouldn't be able to rent this apartment. I already knew that. What was the point of this whole excursion? It had basically rode on whether or not Luke would help me. Now I had a solution, so..
"Sure," Now my adventure really begins.