LAURA TAYLORFantasy and Romance Writer
Not Always the Bad Guy
Silas let himself out of the bedroom, checking to see his pants were fastened before he headed down the dim, narrow stairs to the reception area. Jodie, the woman he had hired, was an amiable sort, brunette, chatty, and curvy in all the right places, but once his allotted half an hour was up, he was more than happy to vacate the place.
“Have a good evening,” the Madam of the brothel farewelled him as he reached the front desk, and he nodded respectfully to her. While there were plenty in this industry ready and willing to screw their employees over just to make a quick buck, this woman was both sharp and compassionate, providing sexual services to the men who frequented the establishment, but always ready to boot the trouble makers. There were strict rules here for the safety and protection of the women and the Madam didn’t tolerate anyone who thought themselves above those rules, and so Silas respected her for her role as a result.
He was about to head out the door when a shriek sounded from the first floor, and he tensed, turning around to see a tall, seething woman marching down the stairs, only half dressed, with a balding, red-faced man behind her.
“You get back here, you bitch!” the man snarled at her, hurrying to catch up. “I paid my fee, and you can damn well spread your legs for me-”
“The fee you paid says you’re supposed to wear a fucking condom!” the woman yelled back. “If you can’t follow the fucking rules, then you can take your ugly ass somewhere else.”
The security guard who routinely loitered in the reception area stepped forward, no doubt hoping the guy would just demand his money back and leave, but prepared to intervene in case things got ugly.
“You’re just a filthy whore anyway,” the man sneered at the woman. “You’ve probably got a dozen diseases, so what fucking difference does it make?”
To the woman’s credit, she didn’t rise to the bait, didn’t even attempt to defend herself against the vacuous accusations. “Get the hell out,” she demanded, pointing to the door.
The Madam stood up, not the slightest bit angry at this display of temper by one of her girls. The woman was new – Silas had never seen her before on his occasional visits to this place – but if she worked here, then the Madam would have her back.
“I’m sorry, sir,” the security guard said, politely but firmly, not liking the way the man was glowering and flexing his fists. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“I’m not fucking going anywhere until I get what I came for,” the man snarled. “That black bitch owes me a good time, and I’ve got an eight inch hard-on that needs satisfying.” He cupped his groin crudely, attempting to step around the guard to get to the woman.
The guard was quicker, placing himself bodily between the pair. “You’re going to have to leave.”
And that was when the man pulled out a knife.
Silas could see in an instant that the security guard wasn’t quite prepared to deal with that one. The guy was no doubt no stranger to fist fights and customers shouting and breaking things – even with the rules explained plainly to each and every customer, some people just didn’t get the message – but a knife in an enclosed space could well spell disaster, and Silas didn’t give himself time to think about it all too closely. He moved, with the speed and skill of years in the military, and a moment later, he had the knife-wielding man in an arm lock, the weapon lying useless on the floor, the Madam and the prostitute both gaping at him in shock.
“I’m going to explain this once,” he said to the man, “and you’re going to listen real closely. Now, you might have paid for this woman’s time, and you might think that puts you above her, but she’s still a human being, and that means she has the right to be treated with respect. And pulling a knife on an unarmed woman is the act of a gutless coward. So are you going to leave quietly, or is this nice lady going to call the cops?” He nodded to the Madam, who put her hand on the phone beside the front desk, ready to follow through on Silas’s threat.
The man hesitated, and Silas braced himself for a struggle. It came right on cue, but with the man’s arm firmly in his grip, he simply had to tug it a little higher before the man was yelping in pain, far less courageous than he no doubt believed himself to be.
“Last chance. Go quietly, or go out in handcuffs.”
A moment’s more hesitation… “I’ll go quietly. But I want my money-”
“Out!” Silas ordered, his patience wearing thin. “You’ve well and truly forfeited your refund tonight.”
Silas nodded to the security guard, who obligingly opened the door, and Silas escorted the man outside. He shoved him away, giving himself space to move should the idiot try anything stupid, and he was pleased to note that the guard had followed him outside. Though he might not be the most experienced fighter, the man clearly took his job seriously.
“Off with you,” the guard ordered, and the man resentfully slouched off down the street. Silas took the opportunity to duck back inside the building.
“You okay?” he asked the prostitute, and she nodded.
“Fucking asshole. I should have kicked him in the balls and watched him scream like a soprano.”
Well, she had a hearty attitude, that much was clear, and Silas found himself reluctantly admiring the woman. “What’s your name?” he asked softly.
“Raniesha,” the woman replied, still glaring at the door where the man had disappeared.
“If I’m not out of line in saying so, it would seem you’re not entirely happy with your current line of work.” Silas was no fool. While some women saw this as a legitimate way to make money, there were plenty of others who felt they’d been forced into prostitution through a lack of other viable alternatives, and for those who didn’t want to be here, it could be a grim and depressing task indeed.
Raniesha looked at him with a defensive glare, and when her reply came, Silas didn’t kid himself that she was making polite conversation. Some of the women here were chatty, happy to while away the minutes in idle conversation, while others preferred to keep to themselves, not sharing even the most mundane of details about their daily lives beyond the services they were paid to provide. And he was entirely certain firstly that Raniesha fell into the latter category, and secondly that it was only his actions in booting the unruly customer out the door that had earned him a few scant minutes of her time.
“It puts a roof over my head and food on the table,” Raniesha said, trying not to sound too bitter about it, and failing. “What else can you really say about it?”
What else indeed.
The security guard came back then, and he shot a grateful look Silas’s way. “Thanks for the help,” he said. “I’m pretty sure the guy’s gone, but you might want to watch yourself when you leave.”
Silas nodded. Raniesha was still standing there, fuming in her bra and skirt, but there seemed little else to say. “Take care,” he told her, opening the door to head outside… and then another idea occurred to him.
“If you’re interested,” he hedged, turning back, entirely unsure as to how Raniesha was going to respond to his next suggestion, “then I wouldn’t mind showing you a few basic defensive moves. Just in case you meet more assholes like that one.”
“I’m not spending a damned second of my time on you without payment,” Raniesha snapped. But the refusal did nothing to dissuade Silas. Her attitude was, in fact, a serious argument in her favour. His Den generally didn’t have a surplus of women, and one who was willing to get in a man’s face and tell him what was what would be an asset to their eclectic group.
“What if I pay you for it, then?” he asked. He couldn’t recruit the woman without permission from Kendrick, but there was nothing to stop him from spending some time with her, digging into her past a little, and then approaching Kendrick with the results. “I’ll pay you the normal hourly fee and you get to learn to fight.”
Raniesha sneered at him. “You get your rocks off by beating up women, then?”
The Madam stepped forward. “Silas isn’t like that,” she said, in her usual calm, poised voice. “He’s a perfect gentleman to all the ladies. Never gets rough, never breaks the rules. Not everyone who walks through that door is a bad guy,” she reminded Raniesha, though Silas could well understand her perspective that the men who paid to have sex with women were pond scum.
Raniesha looked at him sceptically. “You’re serious?”
“As a grave,” Silas replied.
Raniesha hesitated a moment longer. “Fine. Then yeah, you can teach me to fight. But you start up with any weird kinky shit, and I’ll call the cops on you quicker than you can blink.”
Silas smiled. “We have a deal.”