She closed it again when they were in the hall. “Poor thing. She's scared spitless by white men. If she'd had any idea who you are, she'd likely have run from here.” Lynn shook her head at Kendra's plight.
“Charity?” Harrold asked.
“Of a sort,” Lynn said, nodding. “In her case, obedience is a reflex. I'm hoping by using that, I can open her eyes. Maybe break the habit.”
“That wouldn't be wise, would it? You wouldn't want her punished by her new owner.”
“No, no,” Lynn agreed, leading Harrold into the kitchen. It was empty at this hour. “But I want her to consider and be unafraid. She won't be a slave forever.”
Harrold nodded. There was a movement toward paying black servants rather than owning slaves. Of course, those servants were rarely treated better than the slaves. Lynn seemed to know that.
“Mostly, I want to shed her fear of her body. She was mistreated, as I expect you've guessed.”
“By her 'boss man.'”
“Another negro, if you can imagine, told her her body was the fruit of hell and he would fuck the devil out of her.” Lynn squeezed an apple in her hand until the skin split and juice ran down her fingers. “If I ever lay hands on him.”
Harrold touched her elbow, taking the piece of fruit. It wasn't old or withered, rather one of the new crop. How strong was she?
She looked at the mangled apple, then at him, and changed the subject. “You did well in there. You enjoyed it?”
He stuttered. “Yes, uh, yes.” He felt his face flush in embarrassment though he wasn't sure what embarrassed him? Dallying with a black girl? Certainly not being with two women at once.
“Good, because if you continue to come when you aren't scheduled, you will meet more of my clients.”
That word again, clients. “Do you expect payment?” He patted pockets, searching for his bill fold.
She waved him off. “No. We are sufficient for now. I might accept your offer later.”
“But...This is a whorehouse. How do you pay for things?”
“We are much more than we appear,” she said, maintaining an air of mystery.
Harrold's fingers played with the mangled apple. “I have no doubt about that.”
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