"You sure?" Gerard asked as he pulled over.
"Yeah, thanks so much for the ride Gerard," said Ivy as she hopped out of the car. "Get home safe, okay?"
"Sure thing, I'll see you when you get home. We'll probably still be up."
"Alright then." Ivy waved goodbye and watched him as he carefully drove off. He wasn't half bad for being high, but she still worried. But she was sure he'd be fine, and she had other things to worry about. The owner of the brothel was going to murder her. Not literally, she hoped, but she never knew when it came to her. She has yet to know his name, he insisted that all the girls come up with some sort of affectionate name for him. Personally, Ivy preferred FuckFace, but she would never call him that to his face.
"Candy, you're late!" cried one of the girls, Skye, as she rushed into the dressing room and struggled to throw her dress on. "You're going to get in so much trouble!"
"I know, I know, I'm sorry..." Ivy mutter as she laced up the back of her corset.
"Here," said Daisy, one of the oldest and most experienced girls, beginning to unlace her own corset. "Wear my costume, you have to look as sexy and innocent as possible if you want him to let you off easy."
"Yeah, I'll do your makeup for you," said Ruby, the most popular bartender among the girls, "We have to hurry."
Ivy smiled. As much as she despised her job, the other girl's compassion for her almost made up for it. "Thank you so much guys," she said.
"Candy, are you high??" Another girl asked. Kitty, was the second to youngest and the closest to Ivy. A shy, quiet girl of eighteen, Ivy quickly befriended her when she found out that she, too, had started at sixteen. They vowed to get out together, someday.
Ivy quickly shook her head. She had sobered up, but her eyes were still red and tired. "No, I mean... well, I was earlier..."
"Are you nuts?? Do you want him to kill you?!" Kitty exclaimed. "Here, you'll need this," she said, tossing a bottle of eyedrops at her. Ivy dropped them in her eyes shakily.
The door to the dressing room slammed open. "WHERE IS SHE??" a booming voice exclaimed, and they all knew who it belonged to. The girls shrieked and separated from Ivy, leaving her to quickly finish dressing herself before turning around to face her doom.
"Um, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to be late..." she said in a quivering voice.
"Well well well, look who's all dolled up for me," he said in a pleased voice. "Too bad it's not going to save you." His words instantly became venomous as he spat them out. Ivy winced, since she knew what was coming. His hands felt like ice against her skin, but stung like fire when he slapped her. She fell to her knees, cowering and waiting for the next blow. But he simply picked her back up by her arms and pushed his face so close to hers that the smell of alcohol from his breath stung her eyes.
"Do. Not. Come. Here. Late. Again," he said through gritted teeth, before throwing her back to the floor. "Room five tonight," he called over his shoulder calmly as he left the dressing room.
The girls gasped in horror. "Candy, how many nights in a row have you been working rooms?" asked Kitty.
Ivy shrugged as she stood up and straightened her skirt. "I lost count," she muttered.
"Go home," Kitty replied. "I'll take your place."
"Oh no, I can't let you do that," Ivy said, shocked.
"It's fine, really. That man is sick, making you do something every single night that most of us only do once a week. Just go home. He won't notice, I promise." The rest of the girls nodded in agreement.
Ivy hesitated. "Well... alright. But you're keeping my tips."
Kitty looked like she was going to protest, but thought against it. "Fine," she said, moving closer to hug her. "Just get some rest alright? We'll see you tomorrow."
Ivy couldn't be any more grateful. "Thank you so much," she said, as she quickly got dressed back in her street clothes. The girls grouped around her as she left, to make sure the boss would not see her.
Once outside, Ivy quickly caught a cab home. The driver did not make much conversation, which was fine with her. She just wanted to get home. Fifteen minutes later, she paid the fare in mostly her tips from that week, and walked up the steps to the front porch of the Way house.
"Hey guys, I got sent home early!" she exclaimed as she opened the door.
"Ivy, you're back..." Frank replied. Something wasn't right. Frank was sitting all by himself on the living room couch. Half empty chip bags strewn across the floor and the paused video game made it look like the other guys had left in a hurry.
"Hey, what's wrong?" Ivy asked.
Frank sighed. "It's Gerard..." he said. "He got in an accident."