The Good Bits

another 1000ish word extract from The Laundromat

The extract below is the end of Chapter Six. The main character, Petra meets Melita: 

That she felt out of place in this hedonistic establishment was obvious to me, but there was also a hint of a natural inquisitiveness, even a longing, about her. While overall she seemed to want to project a fairly conservative inclination, I could detect a willingness to move outside her usual comfort zone of shyness and reserve. I guessed that like me she was gifted with an abundance of sensuality, and was still engaged in a struggle with her natural desires. Straight away I realised that we would be friends, and that her accustomed self-control and denial wouldn’t survive her developing a friendship with me.

She politely waited for me to finish taking her in, then told me her name was Melita. I tried to kiss her on the cheek, in a sisterly kind of way, but as I leaned forward she shrank away from me. It was one of those awkward moments that used to completely unsettle me. Now though, I wasn’t too perturbed and so I just introduced myself as I showed her how we would go about organising our breakfast.

I found and paid for myself and then looked for her name and image. When she came up on the display there was no cavorting image. It was simply a snippet of her taken as she entered the building. The console also informed that she was the guest of Harry. He would be paying. I entered a light breakfast for her, like mine. “Melita,” I said, “I will try to explain what this place is and help you find your way around if you like. First, you must have some breakfast with me.” I asked her what happened to Harry as I gently guided her across the room. I wanted to hear her story, but I also needed to eat. She was obviously hungry too. I began to feel very cross with Harry, and was quite sure that he should suffer some consequence for his lack of consideration.

She looked at me, her eyes wide and uncertain. “Everyone here is having sex! I have never seen such goings on before. Is that why you are here too?” I nodded yes, it was pointless denying it. If anything, she looked a little less worried at my frank admission. I patted her on the hand and told her that no one would force her to do anything, and that she could of course leave at any time. I paused for a moment to let her think about it, and then asked her if she wanted to eat with me. She answered by striding purposefully towards the breakfast counter. I pointed to show her I was going to the toilet first.

When I got back she had already started piling up two trays with different juices, cereals, and soy milk. Like me, she wanted a huge freshly made coffee from the automatic espresso machine. We were both in a hurry to eat and I was happy with her choice of healthy convenient foods, rather than dithering with a more lavish meal. I was beginning to feel tired, and apologised for not being very good company, and for her morning not being what she might have expected. She smiled and said she was grateful for my assistance and concern.

We sat at a table and ate in silence for a little while. The coffee was good and strong and long. I wolfed down a huge bowl of muesli topped with creamy smooth Greek-style yoghurt. It was a happy coincidence. I got up and got myself another coffee, a strong short black. After I had sat down again I began to wonder if I would have the energy to resume my half-forgotten quest for the pleasure of another hard cock this morning. I must have sighed or something because Melita looked at me and apologised for interrupting my plans. I shushed her and told her that my own plans for the morning could wait, and that I would soon be going to bed after a long night of working. She blushed furiously, and I realised that she thought I was a prostitute, who had just finished her sex work for the night. I shook my head, trying to convey that she hadn’t quite understood my circumstances. But where to begin with explaining? I told her I had finished my nursing hospital night shift and asked her how she had got here.

She sighed, sipped on her coffee and told me how Harry had brought her to this room only to be called away to some kind of medical emergency. It seemed she had only met him the night before, dancing at the Conga Room in Smith Street Fitzroy, and they had agreed to meet for breakfast at a place he knew. Well I could see why he was interested, and brought her to our establishment. She was beautiful, and obviously close to flowering. I told her that I would find Harry for her, but that she might like to consider all her options. She blushed cutely.

Before anything else, she deserved an overview of our club, and the chance to get answers to the flood of questions I knew would follow. But I was tired, and I had not forgotten what I wanted before I retired to sleep upstairs. Harry would have to handle this. I explained that I would love to catch up with her another time, but that I would have to get a staff member to assist her. I noticed that she wasn’t running out the door, and that by the time we had finished eating she seemed to have relaxed into an intrigued wait-and-see attitude. Good, I thought. I will be seeing you again.

Back at the console I touched the icon for summoning a staff member and waited with her. Before long a handsome young man in the club uniform was asking Melita how he could help her. I could see that being in the Laundromat for an hour or so had already begun to have an effect on her. She was flicking her hair back and flirting with him. Good for you I thought; but, the staff were off limits, or they would never get any work done. A little to my surprise, as I went to leave her, she rushed over to me and gave me a big wet kiss on the cheek and asked me if she would see me again. I nodded yes, and kissed her back on both cheeks, before striding out the door. Clearly, with a little more induction, she was going to fit right in. 

Vanessa de Largie

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Ronnie Strong: Kate Gets Marks

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