Last week, I presented a scene from the very early chapters of the book when the main character of my story, Tatiana, met Éloi, the son of the Lafayette pirate ship’s captain.
In the scene I am offering today, Tatiana and her brother Damian are housed in the brothel of one of Tatiana’s friend in preparation for a frigate race held in Calais. Éloi attempted to gain Tatiana’s favor a few times before this scene.
Again, this scene has been written fast and furiously during NaNo and non-edited. Also, this scene happens in a brothel so prude readers might want to skip it. 😉
The kitchen was already full of people. Early mornings were free time for any employee who didn’t have a client sleeping over. These women hung out in the kitchen and the adjacent dining room, chatting about nothing and everything. The women who had clients with them sat in the “official” dining room which was adjacent to the kitchen as well but closed by a door – which was most of the time half-closed to allow spying on the next room.
As soon as we entered the staff dining area, the language switched from French to English. Not only was our presence an excuse to practice the foreign language, the no-secret policy worked both ways; the Scarlets knew our secrets and they thought it only fair to share theirs with us, should we pay attention to their stories. A name drew my ear to a conversation while I buttered my muffin.
“Mister Lafayette spent the night,” a tall blond said.
“The stallion returns home.” A young man added. He nodded my way indicating his comment was meant to ease my understanding more than anything else.
“Who did he choose this time?” The muscular black-haired woman sounded interested but mostly jealous.
“He picked Little Lizzy.” The blond continued. Sigh welcomed her answer. I chuckled behind my jelly.
“Lucky woman.” The muscular woman said dreamily. She peeked in the front dining room. I recognized the manly laughter that floated in. So Éloi was the Lafayette these women nearly fainted over. By the sound of it, he was crew-less.
“And to say I spent the evening with the mayor.” The blond continued.
“Portly and non-creative.” The young man informed me.
“I hope we’ll have the occasion to try this one on for size.” The blond winked at my brother who blushed to the hilarity of everyone in the room. The women soon surrounded him, probing with hands and words. I profited of the distraction to step in the next room and square myself in front of the door.
“So you did think me cheaper than a prostitute?”
Éloi choked on his tea and quickly straightened from his leisurely pose. Little Lizzy found the whole thing comical and moved away from the scene and into the kitchen to gather spectators while Éloi attempted to gather his wits.
“What are you doing here?” He said at last.
“I might ask you the same if your activities hadn’t been discussed at length in the kitchen. I’m a guest of the house.”
“What are you wearing?”
I smiled. He was so predictable.
“The proper man attire which you seem to be missing part of.” I glanced at his naked chest intently. Self-consciousness had him fumbling for his shirt in no time. The little crowd squeezed in the kitchen door giggled in harmony. Somewhere behind it, I heard my brother trying to push his way through.
Failing in his research for clothes, Éloi lifted his chest in an overly proud posture. However, since it came so late in the process, the fact he now assumed his lack of a shirt seemed laughable.
“Whilst you’re here,” I continued once the agitation settled down enough for me to be heard, “I’ll have no use of your garage but I’d like to borrow some of the tools in it.” The brothel’s garage hardly possessed anything beyond a hammer and a screwdriver. “I have a list for you and if you’d be so kind to see what you have and bring it back, you would have my gratitude.”
“I wonder how she would express it.” An unidentified voice murmured loud enough for the gathered Scarlets to hear but low enough that Éloi was none the wiser.
I stepped forward to give him the list. He stepped back as if I was going to attack him. I must say I taught him well.
“Don’t try anything funny and you’ll remain unharmed.” I grinned.
“But he likes a little pain.” One of the women yelled. Éloi suddenly looked even more naked and certainly redder.
Isobel’s steps announced her arrival a few seconds before she entered by another door. Her eyebrow rose at the sight we offered.
“Are you scaring valued customers out of my establishment, Treasure?”
“Of course not, Isobel. I’m barely giving them reasons to come back.”