Out of the corner of my eye I watched the pretty little black-haired girl. She looked to be about 18 or 19, no more than 5’2″ tall, and rail-thin. By her somewhat dark complexion and exotic facial features I knew she was some kind of racial mix, but not exactly what. I couldn’t tell how she was built under the at least three layers of clothes she wore to stay warm in the bone-chilling damp Seattle winter, but her hands were thin and almost blue with cold when she came in each evening. Her face had the pinched, slightly starved look I saw too often among the female homeless, and the fear in her eyes whenever a man sat too close. I didn’t know if she had already been raped, or if she was still in fear of the inevitable. Rape was a fact of life for homeless women and girls.
She had all the hallmarks of a girl who had to flee home, or had been kicked out, and was woefully unprepared to live on the streets.
I volunteered at the soup kitchen twice a week for the past six months, and this girl had first shown up about two months ago. She never sat with anyone else, male or female, and usually disappeared before dinner ended. Most of the homeless who ate at the soup kitchen stayed as long as they could in the dry warmth. She would eat her dinner ravenously, then disappear into one of the locking shower rooms. I suspect she also washed her clothes in the shower, because she always emerged clean and in clean clothes.
In short, she was perfect.
I’m no predator, I wasn’t out to hurt the girl. But I did need a wife, and in short order, and this girl needed help. It’s complicated, but basically in my line of work I was expected to have a spouse and kids, and have the model of a perfect family. However, I’m a lesbian, and I really don’t have time to meet women socially. Not with the kind of time it takes to find someone, then go through the dating process. I also have a soft spot in my heart for girls who end up on the street because of ugly family dynamics.
Because I was one only ten years ago. I got lucky – I managed to get my high school diploma before fleeing my abusive home, and only spent a year on the streets before I found myself picked up by a program that helped me get my university degree. Now, at 28 years old I earn a healthy six-figure income and bought a small but luxurious house in the Queen Anne neighborhood.
However, after six years on the job, I’m up for a promotion, and pretty much everyone at that level of management have families. It’s a big part of their social interaction, showing off their beautiful spouses and gorgeous kids, and those who are still single are looked on in askance, top level management wondering if they are willing to commit themselves. Those with commitment issues might not be the best for the company. And it was a very good, very family-friendly company.
I admit I led them on for about a year, talking about my gorgeous girlfriend – they didn’t have a problem with my being lesbian. I also hinted that I planned to propose.
I’m not butch at all, mostly a “lipstick lesbian” with occasional tomboy interests. I love football and other sports, but day to day I like my skirt suits, high heels, and makeup. Actually I’m quite bisexual, but I haven’t yet met a man who could handle my career drive and success without expecting me to back down and become a willing baby factory and at least temporary full-time homemaker while the kids are little. Men are only for a bit of play, as far as I’m concerned.
Yeah, I’m a bit old-fashioned. I think at least one person should be the leader in a relationship, and the other a follower. One is the homemaker, the other the breadwinner. It’s not a domination game, but rather each has a value in the home. I once looked up what it would cost to simply hire someone who does everything a homemaker does; hostessing, cooking, cleaning, child care, home management, etcetera, and if they were paid what they’re worth, they’d make more than I do. So, I have great respect for homemakers.
But our society doesn’t raise girls that way anymore. Girls are no more likely than boys to know how to cook a good meal, or hostess a formal dinner party, or even how to be a proper guest. I needed a wife who I could train. Someone who would appreciate what I do for them. But also someone I felt something for. I wasn’t about to go into a loveless relationship.
One night I dreamt of myself, as the homeless girl I once was, of what might have happened if I had been picked up by a “sugar daddy” instead of the college program I was selected for. My life would have been so different. I figure I probably would have been happy, but college had whet my appetite for the world of high tech. By the time I had my engineering degree and a minor in business – graduated summa cum laude, my entire outlook on life had changed.
So here I was, looking for a candidate to be my wife, to be a “sugar mommy,” I guess. It was weird, and felt a bit wrong, But this girl in the corner tugged at my heart. Not in pity, but escort izmit something else. She was far from sexually enticing, especially in her condition. She never stank like many of the homeless did, though her hair fell lank with ill health and her eyes were dull, there was something about her that made me care about her. I often snuck her a second serving of whatever she seemed to like the most in the day’s offering, and she smiled at me shyly and we’d exchanged a few words. She still hadn’t told me her name, though.
Tonight was a good opportunity, I hoped. It was very cold out, unusually cold for Seattle, and watched as the girl put her tray in the tray return area and headed for the showers, her backpack slung over her back.
I waited about twenty minutes and told the volunteer coordinator I needed to head out early. She nodded. It was about three weeks until Christmas, and the holidays always brought out extra volunteers. They wouldn’t be short-handed without me.
I grabbed my coat and bag and managed to time my departure to be heading out the door just as the girl emerged from the showers, her hair still wet. I pretended not to see her and bumped into her, knocking her into the door frame.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you,” I gushed an apology and steadied her with my hands. She didn’t flinch or pull away. I held back my smile.
“That’s okay. I know I’m short,” she mumbled and began to pull away.
“You’re alone, aren’t you? Do you have a safe, warm place tonight?” I asked, knowing the real answer, and knowing what her answer would be.
“I have a place,” she replied quickly, and turned to leave.
I put a hand on her shoulder and turned her toward me, a disbelieving scowl. “Bullshit. You may have a place but I bet it’s not warm or safe.”
The shyness in her eyes was replaced with anger and wariness. “So what. You’re some rich lady who comes down here to feel better about yourself.
I took a deep breath. It was now or never. “I was once where you are now, and someone helped me once. Now it’s time to pay it forward. I’d like to help you. I have an extra bedroom, clean and warm. No men. It’s just me in the house.”
Her eyes narrowed with suspicion. I didn’t blame her. I knew of the women who forced prostitution
“What’s your angle,” she asked. I wasn’t surprised. There’s always an angle, when it comes to the homeless. Yes, I had an angle, and I hoped this all worked out the way I planned and she’d never need to know. At worst, I could help her find a better situation. I had contacts that could help her get into college, and a dorm where she could be safe.
“No angle. I tell you what. You know the cops here at the shelter. You can tell them where you’re going. Make sure people know you’re coming with me. That way if you go missing, they know exactly where to look.”
There were always a at least one police officer “hanging out” when the kitchen was open. Some just stayed around to look for wanted felons. There’s at least a few in any given shelter or soup kitchen. Others truly wanted to help, and stayed around to make sure everything was peaceful.
She eyeballed me. I’m tall, about 5’10” with an athletic build, big breasts and slim, but maybe getting a little soft from too many hours in an office chair. I have pale golden brown hair that curls naturally to the middle of my back, I was wearing designer jeans and an expensive white North Face puffer jacket, and carrying a Coach bag. It wasn’t ostentatious, but I was clearly well off.
Ten minutes later two separate police officers had my name and address in their notebooks, along with her name, which she still hadn’t shared with me. She seemed a bit more comfortable, knowing there would be someone who knew where she was, and I admit I felt a bit smug. My plan was working.
The officers each tried to talk me out of taking an unknown homeless girl home, warning me that she might steal me blind, or worse. I assured them I knew what I was doing.
The girl tossed her overstuffed backpack into my Tesla’s back seat, her eyes wide as she realized what kind of car I drove. The Tesla was my pride and joy, my one huge splurge. Even my house was relatively modest compared to the typicial million-dollar home in the neighborhood. It was a “fixer-upper,” having once been neglected, and had been at auction by a bank. She managed to buy it while home prices were still low and got it for less than half what it was worth.
She shivered a little, and I turned on the seat heater and cranked up the heat.
“I’m Kea,” she said quietly.
“Kea, pretty name. Hello. I’m Lacey. Lacey Baxter.” So you’re what, 18, 19?” I hoped so. If she were underage, this could only end with my finding her a safe harbor somewhere. I wasn’t interested in going to jail.
“I’m eighteen,” she said. “My mom kicked me out a couple months before my birthday. My birthday was last month. I knew it would happen, she started saying she would since I was fifteen. She said I ruined izmit escort bayan her life, and she was sick of her parents making her pay for her mistake. Apparently I was her punishment, to raise me without any help. They wouldn’t let her get an abortion, and as soon as I was born they made her get a job and move out.”
I nodded, and figured sharing my own story would make her feel a connection to me. “I wasn’t kicked out. I left, the day I graduated from high school. I was still 17. My dad used to beat me, even tried to rape me once when he had too much to drink. As soon as I had my diploma I no longer had a safe place to hide out all day. He worked nights so I only had to see him for a couple of hours around dinner, but once I graduated I was stuck at home until I turned 18. It would have been five whole months of hell. So I left. I lived on the streets of Denver for a while, and hitched a ride to Los Angeles before winter. I spent a year living pretty much as you are.”
Kea stared at me. “How did you get, well, here,” she said, her hands indicating the car, my bag and clothes.
“College,” I knew I was grinning a bit too widely. My proudest accomplishment was going from a homeless shelter directly to UCLA, and I loved to brag. “One of the shelters I stayed at for a while was a target for recruiters for a new college program for homeless teens. I was always a good student and had the grades and scores, and they covered dorms and everything while I studied. I got an electrical engineering degree, and here I am. I never talked to my parents again. I don’t need them.”
She looked sheepish.”I’d be a senior this year, if I was still home,” she admitted. “I was a year behind because, well, my mom didn’t always get me to school. They held me back.”
I sighed inwardly. It wasn’t a surprise, but from our few short conversations, she seemed to have a sharp mind. Education could be remedied. Innate stupidity could not. “Do you want to go back to school?”
Kea was silent for a moment. “Yeah. I like school. As a junior, we did career exploration with the school counselor, and I liked child care. I’d like to get my GED and maybe work in a day care or preschool.”
“What about finishing high school instead? Get a bachelor in child development, or maybe even a masters. Aim high. Challenge yourself.”
She looked doubtful. “I don’t know. My mom didn’t even have her diploma and worked at Walmart. We got by, barely, but a four year college? I mean, it’s not really the life for people like me.”
I nearly choked. “People like you? Okay, don’t get me started. Just because your mom didn’t do anything with her life that doesn’t mean you don’t have to. Okay, so my family was middle class, even if they were fucked up. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck this way forever.”
She made a noncommittal but dubious noise and I glanced at her, taking my eyes from the darkened Seattle street for a moment. She was looking out the window at a homeless encampment. My heart nearly broke for her. She had already written herself off, surrendered herself to the life of a homeless person.
I wasn’t going to let that happen, and I jumped past my plan. Something about this girl got to me. Maybe it was how much she was like I had been ten years earlier. Maybe it was something else.
“Look, I’ll make a deal with you. If you agree to finish high school, not just get your GED, but go back to school full time and apply for a four-year college, you have a free place to stay for a year,” I blurted out, then caught my breath, terrified I had scared her away with my aggressive offer. I hadn’t meant to do that. It wasn’t what I was after at all, was it? I only wanted a controllable, trainable wife to make my bosses happy. Or did I?
Kea was silent for the rest of the ride, and I kept my mouth shut. She hadn’t said no. As we drove through the old Queen Anne neighborhood I could see her sinking down further into her seat, staring out the window at the huge old homes, elegant Victorians, Edwardians and Queen Annes, along with more modern edifices built by people with too much money and not enough architectural sense.
We reached my block and reached my house, a two story Queen Anne cottage with a charming wraparound porch, lit by holiday lights, like most of the other homes on the block. It was dwarfed by those around it, but I loved it. It was a fairy-tale cottage, lavender with cobalt and white trim, and I had fallen in love with it the first time I saw it. It cost almost as much to restore as it did to purchase, but it was an extension of myself, its story was mine.
I pulled the car into the restored carriage house behind the house and led Kea out and into the yard. It was long past dark, but the holiday lights lit the yard well enough that she had a good look at where I lived.
“You live here?” She sounded a bit strangled as I unlocked the back door.
I nodded. “It’s one of the smaller homes here, but I love it. Someday I hope izmit sınırsız escort to raise my kids here, make it more than a bachelorette pad.” Mentally kicking myself, I wondered why I said that. I had never talked about wanting a family before, and certainly not to a girl I didn’t want to chase off.
“Oh,” she said faintly. “Kids someday, huh. Do you have a boyfriend?”
I opened the door and stepped in, turning on the lights in the brightly lit, cheerful kitchen. “No boyfriend, not for ages. I work too much to date, and there’s no way I’m dating a co-worker. Unless I meet somebody on my commute or at the soup kitchen, it’s pretty much hopeless.”
Kea barked a short laugh. “At the soup kitchen? Most of the volunteers are old retirees. I don’t see any hot guys serving.”
“Why limit myself to volunteer guys,” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
She didn’t seem to notice my comment as I led her through the house and showed her the living room, the drawing room, the formal dining room, and the library, which doubled as an office. I had kept the traditional layout, and furnished it in modern furniture inspired by but not actual copies of Victorian furniture. It was elegant without being stuffy. I could tell Kea was impressed as her eyes widened.
“You have a beautiful home,” she said as I led her upstairs.
My smile was genuine, happy the girl I had chosen to be my future wife liked my home. “Thanks. Now, these first two rooms aren’t furnished yet. I haven’t figured out a use for them. I figure if I never find a partner or have kids, I’ll just get twenty cats and these rooms are for all their cat furniture and stuff.”
Kea laughed, a sweet giggly laugh that made my stomach fluttery. It was the first time I had ever heard her laugh, and I wanted to hear her laugh more. I doubted she had a lot of laughter in her life.
“And this will be your room,” I said, and flipped the switch to showing her into a pale cream and mauve room with a full size sleigh bed, and a plum and cream hand-made quilt. “You have a private bathroom here,” I indicated a door beside a picture window.
I opened the door to show her the small bathroom with a shower stall. “Sorry there’s no bathtub, but there just wasn’t enough room. These were like closets, but huge, like a changing room and closet all in one, but not big enough for a whole bathtub,” I rambled, getting nervous and not sure why. I just felt like I really needed her approval. I finally looked up to find her still standing in the door to the hallway, staring.
“I can’t stay here,” she gasped.
I felt like she had punched me in the gut. “Why not,” I asked, getting myself under control.
“This is your good guest room, isn’t it? I can take one of the empty rooms, maybe get me a cot. And I can wash up in the bathroom downstairs.”
Not quite trusting my feet, I walked back to where she was standing, “Can I hug you?” I asked, not daring to touch her. She nodded, and I wrapped her into my arms, pulling her close despite her stiffness. “You don’t deserve less. You deserve more. I want you to have this room. It’s like I had it designed just for you,” I said. It was more literal than I hoped she realized, and having her in my arms just felt right. After a moment her body relaxed and she wrapped her arms around my waist and leaned into me. And began crying.
“Oh, sweetie, you’re safe here, and you’re going to be warm and dry all night, and as long as you want to be,” I said, then I began crying. She really was tiny and fragile, not just physically, but emotionally, and I felt so protective of her. I picked her up in my arms, startled at how little she weighed, and carried her to the bed and sat beside her. Finally the waterworks ran dry.
“Thank you. I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you,” she sniffed, and I stiffened as I realized one of her hands were straying to my breasts and the other between my legs.
“Oh, no. I am not bartering sex for board. That’s not the deal. I’m bartering education for board,” I gasped and pulled away.
Kea burst into tears again. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. I mean, I thought earlier you were saying you like girls and I thought, I mean, nobody does things without a price. If you tell me where the bus stop is, I can go now,” she looked horrified.
“You’re going nowhere. Yes, I like girls. But I didn’t bring you here to be my sex slave. If we develop a relationship, great, but I just like you, and I want to see you make a real life for myself,” I found myself saying.
Oh, gawd, I thought. I did bring her here to be a sex slave, I realized in horror. One in a gilded cage with the lofty title of “wife,” who had no real escape except back to the most abject poverty America offers; homeless on the streets of one of the richest cities. I didn’t even ask if she was interested in girls. I just assumed she would “get used to it.”
I was a monster. And I still didn’t want to let her go. She was so tiny and vulnerable, my protective instincts were roused, and I felt like I needed to protect her.
“Get some sleep, and we’ll talk about it in the morning when you’re warm and rested,” I pulled her to her feet and drew her in for another hug, and when she didn’t resist I kissed the top of her head.