The voice behind the screen chapter 2
~~~Later that day, in your room~~~
"He told you his name?" Elena asked you after your shift ended. You nodded, deep in thought. You replayed what happened over and over again in your head. The only thing you knew about him was that he was very rich, he was French, and that his name Francis Bonnefoy, and that should have been enough, if not more, for a regular, but you wanted to know more about him. You wanted to know what he looked like. Elena stood up from her place by your writing desk and sat down on the bed next to you. The temperature dropped a few degrees as she got closer, as what happens with all spirits. "I'm really happy that you have a new regular, and that he pays you so handsomely." Elena said, then she saw the faraway look you had in your eyes. "You're thinking about him, aren't you?" she asked slyly. "Am I really that transparent?" You asked in disbelief. Elena smiled in that friendly way she did back when she was alive, nodding. You felt yourself blushing. Suddenly, you heard the chiming of a bell, and the sound of the other girl's feet dashing and walking through the halls. It was lunchtime already.
I walked back to the market, the mysterious young lady from the song parlor on my mind. Her speaking voice sounded like a young girl, but her singing voice was strong and womanly. "'er name is (Name), eh? Hmm...Per'aps I could find 'er adress...With a little 'elp of course." I muttered to myself. I was going to have to ask a friend with connections. Walking through the market, I spotted M. Spain in his little booth selling tomatoes to a pretty Spanish girl, he winked at her and said something in his Native tongue which made her blush, and giggle. She gave him a little piece of paper, probably with her adress on it and walked away. I approached him, and we started to chat. "Did you see that beautiful girl, Francis? I bet I could talk her into a, how you say, Menage a trois. You would like that, no?" I hadn't really heard him that well, you were still thinking about (Name). "Are you okay, amigo? You look a little sad today." I sighed heavily. "I know what will cheer you up! Why don't we head down to The Demon's pit and pay some pretty ladies to...You know." I snapped out of my trance, smiling at Spain and saying, "Oui. Zhat would be great." What was wrong with me? What were these weird feelings I was having? As far as I knew, I had never felt these things before.
The Demon's pit was a bar/brothel located in the red light district of town. It was one of my favorite places to go when I needed to be with a woman, mainly because most of the women in that particular part of town were prostitutes. The bar had some nice drinks, but it was the women that everyone came for; the pit had some of the most beautiful women in town. Spain and I entered the bar part of the building first, ordering a few drinks. I was starting to get a little drunk, the thoughts about (Name) fading very fast, when suddenly, I felt a hand tap my shoulder. I turned around to see a pretty brunette woman with green eyes. "Hello." She said suggestively. "My name is Melissa, and I couldn't help but notice you were sitting here all alone. Would you like...some company?" I looked to the empty seat where Spain had been sitting. I turned back to Melissa, and said, "Oui. I would like zhat very much." At this point, I was very drunk, and I had completely forgotten about (Name), so, for a little while anyway, I was like myself again. I ended up accepting an invitation to Melissa's room.
~~~You can imagine what happened next...I'm not going into details~~~
I woke up the next morning in my bed without any clothes on, my head already pounding from a hangover. Memories of what happened last night were foggy, but I knew Melissa was gone. She left me a note on my bedside table, saying she had an amazing night, and a few other things I probably shouldn't mention. "Hm." I said. I put on some clean, stylish clothes and checked my wallet, to see just how much I had payed her.
I nearly screamed. That whore had taken nearly every cent in my wallet! I strode into the kitchen, where my telephone was located, getting ready to call the police on Melissa, when suddenly, there was a knock on my door. I went to the front door, and opened it. "Yes?" It was Spain. "Hola, Amigo!" He said casually. "I heard that you were with a woman last night...What happened?" I looked down, giving straight answers. "I was too drunk to remember, but zhe bitch stole some money." Spain's smile didn't fade. "Look on the bright side, amigo! Technically, you actually paid a call girl without her having to hold a knife up to your throat!" I smiled a little bit. "Feel better, amigo?" I nodded. Antonio smiled even wider. "Great! Now, you know that place you told me about the other day...You know, the one Germany recommended? I want you to take me there." The mention of the song parlor stirred up memories of (Name), and her beautiful voice. I sighed in resignation. I knew I was going to have to go back to the parlor at some point. "Alright. I'll take you." I said, and off we went.
That morning, you were assigned to booth number five again. Yesterday, during lunch, you told Madame O'Reilly the good news, only leaving out the part about him telling you his name. Her reaction was, just as you had anticipated, one of great pleasure and excitement. "That's wonderful, dearie!" She exclaimed, then she hugged you tightly, her warm embrace making you reminiscent of the time before your parents' deaths. They had never cared that you were ugly, and niether did Madame O'Reilly, or Elena. You held back the tears of the past like you had taught yourself to do, then you got your lunch and sat down to eat.
As you sat down in the plush armchair in booth number five, you thought about Francis, hoping he would show up today, hoping that you could impress him again with another song. The temperature of the room dropped, as if a cold wind had blown through it. You stood up and, looking toward the back entrance, saw Elena standing in the doorway. "Hello, Elena. What are you doing here?" You asked politely. Elena smiled briefly, saying in her wispy voice, "I wanted to be here when your regular came in." You nodded, then heard the sound of the front entrance opening and closing, and then the familiar sound of money being dropped into the dropbox. Elena stood in the corner of the room silently. The customer had paid enough for one song. "What would you like to hear today, sir?" you asked automatically. When he answered, his voice was soft and gentle. He spoke with an american-like drawl, but it sounded different somehow. "I would like to hear, 'O Canada' please." Perhaps he was Canadian...hmm... Anyway, you sang the song like you always did, and the customer thanked you, though it was hesitated, as if he was being pulled out of a trance. Then he left, just as fast as he came in.
It had been a while, but Francis finally came in to your booth. You had just finished singing a song for a Spanish man with a kind voice. After about five minutes, you heard the entrance open and close, and then the sound of the money. This customer had paid enough for at least TEN songs! Your eyes widened at such a large amount of money. "'allo, (Name)." Francis said. You felt Elena's presence reappear from behind you. "Hello, sir." You said shyly. He had called you by your first name! He was very bold, because, as Madame O'Reilly had taught you, a gentlemen never called a lady by her first name unless they were extremely close. "What would you like to hear today?" You asked, though your voice may have sounded a bit younger than normal. His reply shocked you to the core. He said, "I don't want to 'ear anyzhing at all, but your regular speaking voice. I want to talk to you, and I want to know a little more about you, (Name)." He talked to you first. He told you that he was considered very handsome, and that he lived in a very large mansion, and that he had friends and connections in very high places. Then, it was your turn. He asked, "Do you live nearby? Per'aps we could see each ozher at your 'ouse." Your eyes were as big as dinner plates. He wanted to know more about you! You felt Elena move closer. She put her hand on your shoulder. "Answer truthfully, (Name), you shouldn't lie to him." She said faintly, so only you could hear it. You nodded, saying truthfully, "I live with the other girls upstairs. Um, no one but Madame O'Reilly is allowed up there." He was silent for a moment, then he said, "I see, well, is zhere any way zhat I will be able to see you?" You thought for a moment, reviewing your daily activities. There was one way; whenever Madame O'Reilly went off to the market in order to restock the kitchen. She would be gone at midnight, when all the girls would be sleeping, and she would return three hours later with the food. You could sneak out when she went on her next trip, but, as you thought more about it, you realized that he would see your face. You couldn't risk it. "I'm sorry, but I don't think you really would like to see me, sir." You hoped that that would be enough, but, sadly, you were wrong. "Why not? Is zhere somezhing wrong, (Name)?" He asked. You felt sadness welling up inside your chest, slowly making its way up into your throat. You wished that he would understand; you wished that you weren't so ugly; but most of all, you wished that you really could see him. Your voice cracked a bit the next time you spoke, the sadness becoming overwhelming. "I-I Can't tell you." You could hear the concern in Francis' voice. "(Name), what is wrong? Is zhere somezhing wrong with you? Are you sick?" Oh! If only he would just leave the subject alone! This was it...You had to tell him....You HAD to tell him. You decided to be braver than you had ever been before. "Francis," You said, your voice still cracking but stronger than earlier, "I was born hideously disfigured. I was afraid that if you saw me, you would have nothing to do with me. I'm sorry I kept the truth from you. If you want to leave and never come back, you are free to go." You sighed in resignation. Ready to hear the door close. It didn't. Instead, you heard Francis sigh, then say something that would change...well, everything.
"I don't care."