Chapter 3 – Red Candy
As soon as I woke up and got my breakfast ready, I was poring over Pam’s diary again. I skipped past a few entries where it was about Yvetta and the various activities they got up to together. We already knew about Yvetta, I was looking for Amelia’s name to pop up.
6th March 2010
I think Yvetta is still pissed off that I didn’t spend Valentine’s with her. She doesn’t know I had to spend it with my husband and she never will. It feels good to have such big secrets from so many people. I know it makes me a horrible person, but I’m enjoying pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes. Tonight one of the other dancers, Amelia, joined our table. She’s gorgeous. I could see the way she was looking at me when we were talking and drinking. The best part was her little shirt, she wasn’t wearing a bra and she was sitting right under the air-con. I tried to concentrate on what Yvetta was saying but all I could think about was sucking on Ame’s hard nips.
Lordy! When Pam shares her secrets she doesn’t skimp on the details at all. After reading the first couple of entries last night, I had maybe thought that the level of description was a one off. But the more I read, the more I realised that she’d been coy at the start. Even though I’d skipped through a lot of stuff, it didn’t mean my eyes weren’t automatically drawn to certain words and phrases. I cleared my throat and shifted in my seat, I was a little ashamed that I was turned on. It had been a long time since I’d been intimate with anyone but myself. I put it down to lack of getting laid rather than a suppressed Bi-curious side.
18th March 2010
Amelia joined Yvetta and me tonight. I’d been thinking about it since we met. At first I was disappointed, it seemed like she just wanted to watch Yvetta eat my pussy – although that was a huge turn on in itself – when I was really getting into Y sucking on me, A started to strip and stroke herself. I could tell how wet she was from the way her fingers were gliding up and down her slit, so I crooked a finger at her and she came right over and sat on my face. She tasted amazing; I could have eaten her out all night. I gave her a ride home afterwards, I was surprised to find out she worked at Red Candy. She said she was just a call handler but even if she was an escort it didn’t matter. I knew the girls there were clean and she still managed to get me off in the front seat of my car. I even managed to get a chance to suck on those tits I’d been thinking about.
I frowned at the page. Red Candy? I’d never heard of them. And she said that Amelia could have been an escort, was Red Candy a brothel? And if it was then how did Pam know about it? I left a message for Eric to make arrangements for our investigation to continue while I searched the internet for a clue. All I could find were vague references on dating forums; it was obvious that they were exclusive. But I’d never come across any company, escort agency or not, that didn’t even have a website or contact details in this day and age.
Eric called as I was picking out my clothes for the day and contemplating which moisturiser to use after my shower, I gave him my address and rushed to the bathroom. I only had twenty minutes, tops, before he arrived. Sure enough, the intercom buzzed as I was smoothing the conditioner through my hair. I jumped out and tried not to injure myself on the hardwood floors with my wet feet as I let Eric into the building and opened my front door a little before I went back to finishing my personal hygiene routine. I heard Eric calling my name as he came into my apartment.
“I’m in the bedroom, I’ll be out soon.”
I called back as I struggled to pull my panties up my still damp legs. I grimaced, one of my pet hates was getting dressed before my lotions and potions had had time to sink in. I snapped the hooks on my bra then pushed my feet into my shoes as I shimmied my sundress over my head. I grunted and wiggled when the cotton pulled at my skin and bunched up around my armpits. Finally, I was dressed and spun around to grab my brush, only to find Eric standing at the door. His mouth was open a little and his cheeks were pink.
“How long have you been there?” My hands instinctively went to my hips as I challenged him.
“Uh … well I saw from the hallway that the door was wide open … I didn’t think you’d be in a state of undress. I’m really sorry.”
I nodded, it was clear it had been a simple misunderstanding. Eric didn’t seem like the peeping Tom type and it’s not as if I hadn’t fantasised about him seeing me in my underwear in the time I’d known him. He’s a very attractive man, any heterosexual woman would be nuts not to have thoughts of being touched by him. Sure, he was OCD about his furniture and leaving dirty dishes and he didn’t like going into women’s purses … but then, what guy did? I still wouldn’t say no.
I walked past him and he followed me to the small dining table where I had my laptop and Pam’s diary. I could see him staring at my unwashed coffee cup, so I grabbed it and headed for the kitchen to make more. We made small talk while I washed my cup and got a fresh one out of the cupboard for Eric, I kept talking as I turned my back to him to start a fresh pot of java.
“Eric, have you heard of something called Red Candy? Pam mentioned it in her diary and it seemed she knew a bit about it.” When I turned around he looked a little pale and was rubbing at the back of his neck again. “Are you okay?”
“I … I’m fine.” He puffed his cheeks and blew out a long breath, gripping the back of one of the dining chairs and leaning his weight on it. “Red Candy is an escort agency.”
“Yeah, I got that impression but I can’t find anything about it online. How did Pam find out about something like that?”
“From me.” He said it so quietly, I could have been mistaken in what I heard but he cleared his throat and repeated it louder.
Despite every fibre of my being telling me not to, I asked the question.
“And how do you know all about it?” His eyes were two blue pools of guilt for a moment until they changed into something stronger, something resolute. He stood tall and his face took on a cold expression. “Eric, I’m not accusing you of anything. I just want to get to the bottom of this. I know nothing about you, except you work with Pam, you don’t date and you like things to be clean and square. Don’t be angry at me for asking questions.”
The azure orbs softened as Eric nodded. “I understand, Sookie, but before I explain why I know about … certain things, I want to explain a little about the few things you do know about me.”
“Okay.” I was hesitant with my reply as I placed his coffee in front of him. At the moment we had a tenuous friendship; did I really want to know all about his history with an escort agency? I shrugged mentally, whether I wanted to hear it or not, Eric seemed intent on telling me anyway.
“Firstly, I work with Pam. So you can tell from that that I don’t hate women or look at them with purely sexual objectives. Next, I don’t date – I’m assuming you’ve spoken to Pam about that?”
I blushed a little as I nodded before shaking off any embarrassment. “You’re a handsome man, I’m a single girl, there was no harm in asking.”
“Quite. I have dated in the past but … I’ve had some bad experiences. My first girlfriend lived in a hovel, but I was okay with it at that time because she seemed physically clean despite her messy and dirty home. I was wrong and after I found out she was unfaithful, I discovered I’d picked up Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia from her.”
I refrained from making any ‘wrap it before you tap it’ comments and instead focussed on sympathising for him. After all, the reason I found out John had been screwing around on me last year was because he gave me a yeast infection.
“I broke up with the next girlfriend because she didn’t tell me she was … having her monthly visit before initiating sex. It was only when I smelled something unpleasant and looked at my hand that I discovered my fingers were covered in blood. When I stepped off the bed to get away from her I stepped on … she just took it out and tossed it to the side when I wasn’t looking.”
My stomach turned. That was the skankiest thing I’d ever heard. I wondered if I looked as green as Eric did. You couldn’t blame him for being a little on the fucked up side after those moments in his life.
“The women that vie for my attention at the bar aren’t interested in me, only my body and, perhaps, my money. So, I haven’t dated in a very long time because even if I knew they simply wanted to get to know me, I could never get over my hesitance when it came to bedding them.”
“I can understand your reasons, Eric, and I’m sorry those things happened to you. I get the whole cleanliness OCD thing now too. I guess a lot of people would feel that same after going through something similar.”
Eric nodded and sipped at his coffee. I looked at him expectantly, tapping at my cup with my fingertips.
“Oh! Yes, Red Candy. I was approached by a man in Baldur’s Gate one night a couple of years ago, he commented on the number of ladies that I had refused to entertain. I told him that I wasn’t interested in being with them because I didn’t know where they had been and, eventually, it would be bad for business. Choosing a different woman every night would lead to jealousy and a bad atmosphere, I don’t want that.
Anyway, he echoed my sentiments and gave me a business card. He said that it was a discreet service with only the highest quality women. All of the escorts at Red Candy are tested for diseases and such on a regular basis. I … called upon their services a few nights later. I told Pam all about it when she noticed the change in my demeanour; you know nothing gets past her.”
I laughed at his last remark, but I really didn’t know what to say about everything else he divulged. My logical side understood and even commended him on dealing with his urges in a way where no-one got hurt. My emotional side wept for how clinical it all sounded. I tried not to look at him differently, but it was tough. Only this morning, he had been the handsome businessman that I was attracted to but never made a move. Now he was a damaged man who used prostitutes. I frowned at my drink. It didn’t matter who he was or what he’d been through, we were working together to find Pam. And in a reversal of the previous night, Eric had more information on our next searching spot than I did.
“In her diary, Pam mentions that Amelia was a call handler for Red Candy. Do you have a way to find out if she still works there?”
He leaned back in his chair and looked out of the window for a moment. “Names were never mentioned or exchanged, with the girls who took the calls or the girls who met with me. But, then, I’m a customer. Perhaps the workers would know each other better?”
“And how do we speak to the workers? Is there an office we can go to?”
“No.” He looked uncomfortable again. “We make an appointment.”
“You … you want to hire a prostitute so we can question her about Amelia?” He nodded. Admittedly, it wasn’t the craziest plan in the world. “Okay then. Do they … uh … do daytime appointments?”
“I’m not sure. I only ever called in the evenings, you’re given a motel and a room number and then you go and meet them. I know that I was never in the same motel twice and I was never with the same girl twice.”
I smiled a smile that must have made me look completely nuts and grit my teeth to prevent me blurting out something offensive about how regular his ‘appointments’ sounded. “So, how do we go about this?”
Eric pulled out his cell and scrolled through the contacts before pressing a button and putting it on speaker.
“Welcome to Red Candy. If you are a new customer, press one. If you are a returning customer, press two. If you are calling with a complaint or enquiry, press zero.”
I bit back any comments about an escort agency using automated menus as Eric pressed two.
“Please enter your six digit customer number after the tone.”
My mouth gaped at how professional and organised it all sounded as Eric pressed buttons and leaned closer to the phone.
“Good morning. You’re through to Red Candy. Please specify your preferred options.”
It was surreal; we could have been calling the phone company for all anyone knew. There were no indications anywhere that we were phoning an escort agency to hire a member of the sex industry. Eric’s voice shook me out of my thoughts.
“Curvy … redhead. Between 5’5 and 5’10. No kink required.”
“Excellent choice, sir.” There was the sound of keys being tapped in the background. “Please go to Paradise Motel, Morrison Drive, room 15 in two hours.”
Eric ended the call without saying goodbye and looked at me. “You seem shocked, Sookie. I suppose you’re used to hearing tales of streetwalkers and pimps?”
“I guess I am. Until you mentioned what kind of … woman you wanted, you could have been calling to change your cable package.” He laughed and shrugged. “Are redheads your ‘thing’?”
“No.” He said quietly, almost absentmindedly, as he looked at me. “My tastes run … along different lines but it doesn’t really matter. I’m not going to be having sex with her.”
“Well, that’s a relief!” I grinned. “Otherwise me tagging along would be really awkward.”
The car ride to the Paradise Motel was made in Eric’s red Corvette. I was surprised his large body fit in the driver’s seat. Despite how private and personal his revelations were earlier that morning, I felt more comfortable around him now that I knew the reasons why he was the way he was. Eric seemed more at ease in my company too. He smiled and tapped the steering wheel in time to the music on the radio. I watched Shreveport pass by as I tried to prepare myself for the task ahead.
“You know … Pam tried to convince me to ask you out.”
I turned around so fast I hurt my neck. “What?”
“A while after we opened the bar, she told me you’d asked about me and said I should ask you to go out sometime.”
“Oh.” There wasn’t really anything else for me to say. What did he expect me to do? Ask him to list his reasons for not doing it? Get angry that he’d rather go to escorts than go on a date with a woman his friend respected?
“I didn’t know you. I didn’t want to take the time to get to know you. Pam was … she called me a fool. But here we are, with the opportunity to get to know many things about each other. I’d like to know more about you.”
“There’s not much to tell really. I grew up in a small town, my parents died when I was seven and I was raised by my Gran. I went to school, got older, went to college, met Pam … and that pretty much covers it.”
Eric glanced over and quirked an eyebrow at me before turning his gaze back to the road ahead. “Really? I give you a detailed sexual history and all I get is the cliff’s notes on Sookie from birth to present?”
“You didn’t say what part of my life you were interested in knowing about. I lost my virginity when I was 17, to my high school boyfriend, he dumped me a week before senior prom. I dated a little in college but nothing serious. I met my last boyfriend, John, three years ago. We moved in together eight months after our first date, a little over a year ago I went to the doctor and found out I had an STI. Turns out John wasn’t as much of a stand up guy as I thought, since I left him there hasn’t been anyone else.”
I could see the cogs turning in Eric’s head. “Not even the occasional one night stand?”
“I don’t see the point in emotionless conquests.” I sniffed, it sounded haughty, even to my own ears. Eric’s smirk told me he thought much the same.
The rest of the journey felt odd. We knew all this personal stuff about each other but weren’t in a relationship. I wasn’t really a person who shared that kind of information but it seemed awfully selfish of me to keep it to myself after he poured out his own history. Thankfully, I saw the gaudy signs for the Motel and moments later we were pulling into the small, litter strewn parking lot.
Eric exited the car confidently, while I trailed behind, hoping no-one was watching us. He rapped three times on the door we’d been told to go to and it opened, revealing a very beautiful red-haired woman. She was wearing a satin robe and her eyes widened when she saw me, but Eric stepped inside the room before she could get the words out.
“Wait! I was told you didn’t want anything kinky. If you want her to watch or join in, you’ll need to call the office so they can charge you extra for it.”
I sidled in the room and closed the door behind me while the escort stood with her hands on her hips and Eric strode over to sit on the edge of the bed.
“There won’t be any need for that. I didn’t call for sex; I want to speak to you about Red Candy, specifically about another employee.”
The woman laughed. “Seriously? Come on, you know I can’t do that. You could be a cop or in the mafia or anything!”
“We’re not cops.” I walked over and stood next to Eric. “A very dear friend of ours has gone missing and we know that she was … friendly with someone who worked at Red Candy. We just want to know where that person is so we can ask if they’ve seen her. Please help us.”
She sighed and looked at the ceiling before crossing her arms and levelling a serious look at both of us. “You can ask, but I might not know. We don’t really spend time in the office, so I haven’t met a lot of the other girls.”
“This person didn’t work as an escort, she was a call handler. Amelia?”
Recognition shone in her eyes for a second before it was replaced by calm indifference. “Yeah, I know her.”
Eric leaned forward, tenting his fingers and resting his chin on the points. “Do you know anything about her? Where she lives? Who she spends time with?”
“She shared an apartment with one of the other girls. They were really tight, y’know? Her name is Holly.”
“Holly? Do you have an address or a phone number for her? We’d like to know the last time she spoke to Amelia and if Amelia ever mentioned our friend to her.”
“Hold on.” She walked over to a large bag in the corner and pulled a fancy cell phone out of it, holding it up in front of us. The click of the camera function was clearly heard and Eric and I looked at each other in confusion. “Insurance. If anything happens to Holly or Amelia, this picture will get sent to people you don’t want to mess with.”
Eric looked ready to spit but I squeezed his arm and spoke for both of us. “We won’t give you any need to send that picture to anyone; we just want to find our friend.”
She scribbled a phone number on a notepad with some eyeliner and handed it to Eric. “Y’know, if you still wanna get down it’s cool. I’m sure Scully can wait in the car.”
Eric looked at her coldly and put his hand on my shoulder as I stood up. “No, thank you for your time.”
The escort laughed again. “You just paid $500 for a phone number then. I was offering something to make your trip worthwhile.”
He stopped just before he opened the door and turned back to her. “If this phone number helps me find my friend then it’s worth a lot more than $500.”
Eric ushered me outside and closed the door behind us, loudly, before fishing his car keys from his pocket and unlocking the Corvette. We got into the car and he pulled out his cell and sat it on the dash next to the piece of paper with Holly’s number.
“Should we check the diary to see if Holly is mentioned?” He asked while slowly making his way through the parking lot to the exit.
“That sounds like an idea. Let’s stop somewhere for lunch and check it out.”
Eric nodded and suggested a quiet backwoods bar that he knew. When we got there I was shocked that there were only 3 cars parked outside and when we got inside the waitress practically threw herself at us to show us to a table. Quiet was an understatement for this place. I was surprised it managed to stay open. As if he could read my mind, Eric spoke in hushed tones.
“They have sports nights on weeknights and wet t-shirt contests at the weekend but during the week in the daytime they’re very quiet. The food is simple but tasty.”
I nodded and took Pam’s diary out, skimming through it quickly for the name Holly and trying to ignore the more sexually explicit words that caught my attention. By the time we had finished our burgers and the waitress was asking if we wanted more drinks, I had finished my search.
“Nothing, there’s no mention of her at all by name.”
“Did you read anything about that private club Yvetta mentioned?”
“No, I didn’t get that far. The last thing I read was when she … spent time with Amelia for the first time.”
Eric nodded but looked curious as he saw my discomfort. “Was it bad? Did Pam get hurt?”
“No, she certainly did not.” I smiled wryly and shook my head. “She had a great time from what I read.”
“Ah! Descriptive Pam strikes again.” He laughed and took the diary from my hands. “I think maybe Pam missed her calling, she should have been one of those erotic fiction writers.”
“Well I’ve never read a raunchy romance like this one.”
“You read romance novels? I thought they were for spinsters and bored housewives?” Eric smirked.
“I prefer mysteries and thrillers but now and again I’ve been known to pick up something racy from the library.”
Eric chuckled and shook his head. “Why don’t we go out to the car and see if Holly answers the phone?”
I nodded and took out my wallet to pay for my half of lunch. Eric just looked at me and rolled his eyes before signalling to the waitress. We left a very generous tip and by the way Eric was rushing to the car, he was just as anxious to know what Holly could tell us as I was. He dialled the number and put it on speaker again, it rang for a long time before it was picked up. I had to strain to hear the quiet, girlish voice on the other end.
“Hi, my name is Eric. I was hoping to speak to Holly.”
“Speaking. Are you the guy that spoke to Belinda, the redhead?” It made sense that the escort would tell Holly that she’d given her number out to someone and why they might be calling.
“Yes. She told me you shared an apartment with Amelia. When was the last time you saw her?”
“Look, I’m at work right now and I can’t really talk. But I know you’re looking for someone. Come to my apartment at six, we can talk there.”
I took a pen from my purse and jotted down the address she gave us. Eric ended the call and looked at the time on the dash; it was only 2pm. We decided to go back to my place and try to get more information so we could compile a list of questions for Holly.
12th April 2010
A & Y took me to a place called ‘Le Petits Morte’ tonight. It was amazing. I say club, but it was really an orgy. It was one of those places where you would walk past if you didn’t know it was there, the first room was just music and kissing and dancing but there were back rooms where you could go further. I love how A pushes my boundaries. Tonight, for the first time, some guy took me doggy while I went down on Y and watched A sit on her face. I’ve never cum so hard in my fucking life. A said the guy who fucked me was an expert and that he worked there. She knows a lot about that stuff, including some private club. You can only get in if you know the owners name, she said she didn’t want to take Y there because she had a big mouth and would tell everyone about it.
“Wow, she really knows how to set the scene huh?”
Eric scooted away from me a little on the couch; while we’d been reading the diary we’d gotten a little smooshed together. I could see a blush on his cheeks and there was a tingle in my private place. I felt a bit dirty for getting horny reading everything when Eric seemed so uncomfortable with it.
“Yeah, I guess when she decides to tell her journal everything she goes all out.”
He made a non-committal noise and checked the time on his phone. I made us a light dinner and was surprised Eric was so at ease in my home. When I compared it to his shiny domicile, it was a little messy but it was clean and it had lots of personal touches. I thought about how impersonal Eric was in his pursuits and it made sense that his home would be a reflection on that. We finished just in time to load the dishwasher and head out to Holly’s apartment.
It was in a nice part of town, with a security desk in the lobby. The man at the desk had a badge that said Wybert and he had a thick accent when he called up Holly’s apartment to check she was expecting us. He pointed to the elevator and told us to go to the 3rd floor. When we stepped out, there was a young woman waiting at a door for us. She looked very nervous and she was hugging herself like she was cold. When we got closer I could see she had black circles under her eyes and her lips were chapped and looked really sore. I stretched out my hand in greeting.
“Hi Holly. I’m Sookie and this is Eric. Thank you for agreeing to talk to us.”
“Sure.” She leaned out and checked the hallway. “Come inside.”
We followed her into the sparsely furnished living room; it was completely at odds with what we’d seen of the rest of the building. Everything looked grubby and old. Holly offered us drinks and I took the chance to look around a little while she was in the kitchen getting them. There were some photos in cheap frames sitting on a windowsill; they were of Holly and another girl. The other girl was fresh faced with a pixie style haircut and a cute button nose. Holly came back in while I was putting the picture down.
“That’s Amelia. She’s why you’re here, right?”
Eric nodded and perched on the sofa stiffly. “Yes, we were told she lived here with you. Have you seen her recently?”
“I saw her on Saturday night. She was really tense, but she’s always like that when she’s working someone.”
“What do you mean ‘working someone’?” I asked as I moved to join Eric on the sofa.
Holly sighed and sat down opposite us with her head in her hands. “What do you know about Ames? How did you hear about her?”
“Our friend went missing and all we have to try and find her is a diary she left. Amelia was mentioned in it, along with Yvetta and a club called ‘Le Petits Morte’. Can you tell us anything else?”
I could tell from Eric’s tone that he just wanted answers and wanted out of there, my eyes were drawn to a conspicuous stain on the sofa next to me and I understood his need for haste completely.
“You’re looking for Pam, aren’t you?” Holly sighed and stood up. “Seeing is believing, follow me.”
I watched as Holly walked toward a narrow hallway, she stopped just before the arch and turned back to us.
“Trust me. You need to see this to believe it.”