Lost Girl Part 4 Header

     A maid arrived late in the morning to turn Trudi, Anna, and I out of our shared bed. She did not even blink at our nakedness, our flushed and dewy skin. In a quite businesslike but not at all perfunctory manner, she instructed Anna and I as to the operations of the bath, where we might find suitable clothes afterward, and where we might seek refreshment once we were dressed for the day. Trudi, of course, was familiar with every nook and cranny of the place we found ourselves in; after all, the brothel was her childhood home.
    The maid also informed the three of us that Mme. Kohler would expect us for afternoon tea. Trudi frowned darkly at this, but the maid ignored her with a practiced air.
    Tea was exquisite, but the atmosphere of our audience with the lady of the house was chilly. And it was never more so than between mother and daughter, Mme Kohler and Trudi. Trudi hardly deigned look at her mother; and her mother returned the favor with a studied neglect.
    Mme. Kohler was pale and pillowy; in her youth, I am sure she was a stunning beauty, all high cheekbones and cheeks of damask rose, but now she tended toward the overripe; a bruised peach. Still, her slight air of dissolution only served to heighten a sense of erotic allure that I'm certain she found essential to her position as the head of one of the most fashionable brothels in the city.
    She affected the title "Madame," even though it was French and she most resolutely German. False glamour, perhaps, another layer of pretention, like an overly strong perfume. But that, too, seemed only to enhance her status. It meant that the woman beneath the artifice was wholly obscured, a mystery, and a compelling one. Men, I am sure, were helplessly drawn to try and penetrate her mystery. Mme. Kohler did not much care for men, however. She was indifferent to their affections, caring only about the contents of her pocketbook.
    To Anna and I, Madame was polite, but essentially indifferent. She listened to our tale of escape from the reformatory with a detached air, as if she had heard many similar tales in her time. She expressed sympathy when she heard of my miscarriage, and of my whipping at the hands of Frau Traubst. Indeed, at that point she went so far as to lay a gloved hand upon mine as she said, "you need never fear that sort of treatment in this place, my dear. Here, we understand the sort of affection between women that you and Anna have found with each other."
    And that constituted our invitation to stay at Camellia House.

    It was merely assumed that we would eventually earn our keep, by going into training to become ladies of the house.
    I took to the training with equanimity. At first I did menial chores, such as changing the sheets or serving the patrons drinks. They would leer at my young, ripe flesh, and occasionally reach out to stroke or grab, but the ladies of the house were firm -- we were not to be molested in such a fashion. When we were ready to enter the service of the house, then we would, and not before.
    Anna and Trudi chafed under this regimen, however. Trudi hated menial work. "If I had wanted to do chores, I would have stayed at the reformatory," she groused. At every opportunity, she shirked her duties. Soon she started stealing little personal tokens from the girls. When caught, she would laugh and proclaim it a game as she returned her contraband.
    Anna, meanwhile, shuddered at any hint of the business of the house. She refused to attend any lessons in the art of seduction and pleasure that Mme. Kohler might arrange for us. When one of the girls would pinch her cheeks and proclaim that the customers would be delighted with her figure, she would not blush, but blanch in fear. She took to creeping about the halls, hiding in corners and shadows in an attempt not to be noticed. When men were in the house, as often as not she would disappear entirely. Once I found her in the kitchen with Ulla. She was practically hiding beneath the older woman's skirts; Ulla was patting her on the head kindly and stuffing her mouth with tidbits and treats.
    I was not surprised to wake up one day to find that Trudi and Anna had run away together, escaping the confines of the house and striking out on their own.
    I was saddened that Anna had not even wished me goodbye. But we had been drifting apart; it was as I had predicted, Trudi had stolen her heart cleanly and without a struggle. Perhaps my countenance held too many bad memories for Anna. With Trudi, she could start anew. Or perhaps that is a tale I told myself as a balm for my broken heart.
    Mme. Kohler took her daughter's abrupt departure without pause. "She has run away before," she said to me, before I could even inquire. "She is not happy here. I don't know if she will ever be happy anywhere, but I wish her the best. She is old enough to make her own decisions in this matter."
    And so, as Trudi had replaced me in Anna's heart, so I began to replace Trudi in the brothel. I became the daughter of the house.
    I did not become Mme. Kohler's surrogate child, however. Rather, something different occurred. I became her lover.
    She began by taking a special interest in my instruction. "Who is teaching you the arts of love?" she asked me once, at the afternoon tea that we had shared every day since my arrival. "Liesel?" She waved a hand airily. "That girl. She relies on her pretty, empty head to charm men; what could she possibly teach you? Mme. Kohler reached out a gloved hand to cup my chin. "Your charms are of a different sort, my dear. I think I shall have to take over your education myself."
    Not all of Mme. Kohler's instruction was erotic in nature, for she also taught me how to keep the books. Every morning, I would take my lessons in accounting and calculations; in the evenings, I would attend to the various errands that the running of the house required.
    But in the afternoons, Mme. Kohler took me to her grand, silk-draped bed and instructed me in Eros.
    And how I looked forward to my lessons! Mme. Kohler's touch upon my skin was gentle and knowledgeable, and kind. Feather-light, she would caress the join of my thigh, the crease behind my ear, and smile languidly when I gasped. Then she would lay herself against the pillows of her bed, trail a limp hand down the expanse of her body, and invite me to experiment in turn.
    I learned her every fold with fingers and tongue; how they changed underneath my touch, flushing and unfurling. I learned how her scent changed as she became aroused, from sweet to musky; how the fine hairs between her legs gathered and distilled that scent as if it were the finest cologne. Her taste, too, sharpened, I discovered.
    I learned, too, that her tenderness dissipated when in the throes of passion. On occasion, she left nail-scores along my back, bite marks upon my chest and shoulder. But I did not mind such love-marks.
    There was one other thing that Mme. Kohler taught me, for which I shall be ever grateful. She taught me how to pleasure myself.
    "Take your time," she would instruct, watching as I undressed myself, ran my fingers over my blushing skin. "Explore." She would watch me as I caressed myself, as my fingers ran over sensitive skin -- breasts, hips, nipples, thighs. She would sigh as I drew the wetness from inside me and spread it across my folds.
    "Taste yourself," she would say. "Smell yourself." And I would.
    Later, she guided my hand as I rubbed and pulled at my tender flesh, exciting my nubbin to passion. She showed me the spot inside that made me squirm and cry out in exquisite pleasure, when touched just right, for so long.
    It was Mme. Kohler who instructed me in the erotic uses of certain devices, as well, both for pleasuring myself, and others. "Some of our men like this sort of thing inserted up the bum," she said pragmatically, holding a delicate ivory shaft. "And some of the girls, they like to disport themselves with it in a more traditional orifice." I confess, I fell in love with the feeling of fullness, but only when it came from a woman's hand. I had, I discovered, no desire to experience the real thing again.
    Mme. Kohler was now my lover. I could tell that she was loathe to turn me out, to make me available to her clientele. She wanted to keep me her own toy, her bauble, her precious keepsake. But the time approached that I would have no more to learn from her.
    Indeed, she had already commanded me to seek out other girls in the house, to let them teach me their specialties. From Gretchen I learned how to inflict exquisite, erotic torment; from Elsie, I learned how to receive it with grace. Zilli instructed me in the art of kissing. You may not think this an area to cultivate an expertise in, but then, you have never been kissed by Zilli. She could cause shivers to crawl down my spine, heat to suffuse my groin, just with her lips upon mine. And when she moved her mouth to other regions, well, my powers of description utterly fail. Zilli was a devotee of the oral, and I was honored to learn her sacred rites.

    It was Zilli who petitioned Mme. Kohler to arrange my debut. "It would be a shame to waste this girl's talents," she pleaded. "And she is so dedicated to the arts of love, the most diligent student I have ever had. A true asset to the house, sure to earn us a fine penny or two." She nibbled on my ear as she spoke, bringing a flush to my cheeks.
    Unswayed, "I will consider it," was all Mme. Kohler would say.
    Before my debut occurred, however, the House itself experienced a setback. Mme. Kohler was arrested.
    None of the girls could understand why -- the Madame had kept up her payments to the local constabulary, after all. Was it a grudge repaid? Some moral minded minister taking things into his own hands?
    Somehow, I knew it was up to me to set things right.
    I visited Madame every day in jail, at the exact hour when we would have been having our afternoon lessons, had she been free. She kissed my gloved hands through the bars, but refused to speak of her predicament. "It will all be sorted out," she said with false confidence. I knew, then, that she had no idea of the reason for her confinement. I would have to ferret out a solution myself.
    To that end, I began to examine the books with minute care. It was after three long nights peering at crabbed little columns of numbers that I hit upon the solution.
    The payments to the police were illegal bribes, of course. It would not do to have them exposed.
    I wrote a painstaking letter to the head of the police, detailing all that I knew.
    Within days, Mme. Kohler was returned to us. With apologies. Escorted by the chief of police himself. Indeed, the police force took it upon themselves to investigate this "terrible mistake." And it was discovered that a morally overzealous petty official had overstepped his bounds. I hear he had a little meeting with the police chief himself, who explained the misguidedness of his crusade, and how it was better for his health if he put his indignation and reforming zeal aside. How I wish I could have been there to witness it!
    I was, however, privy to the audience that the police chief held later, in Mme. Kohler's bed. I served refreshments while he lounged against Madame's fleshy bosom, detailing the conversation. Mme. Kohler's easy, low laugh sent shivers through me, and I knew that I would be rewarded for my cleverness again before the night was over, by her expert attention.
    But Mme. Kohler had in mind a more substantiative token of her appreciation, as well. And so it was that she designated me, not only her lover and surrogate daughter, but heir. It was not my intention to disinherit Trudi, fitting revenge though it might be; I swear that I never put the idea in Mme. Kohler's mind. To this day, I do not understand the relationship of mother and daughter in that household. Perhaps I was a pawn in an intricate game that I shall never understand. But do believe, I was the manipulated, not the manipulator.
    Still, I confess I did not refuse the boon.
    My debut was finally arranged soon after her release, and it was there that she announced my new status.
    What a strange inversion of custom the occasion was! For I was not being introduced to any sort of polite society, but rather to the House's best clients, who were therefore the most debauched, and the least desirable company for a young lady of status. But my status was changed. Now, I was a princess whore, and my past as a respectable daughter of the middle class was long gone. I buried it on the afternoon I appeared before the assembled clients and ladies of the house, clad not in virginal white, but scarlet red silk.
    Will it shock you to learn that I was auctioned off, that night, to the highest bidder? Such was my new situation. I will say only that I used my erotic instruction as intended, and left him satisfied. My pleasure was, of course, beside the point, and I had learned by now that my erotic satisfaction was to be found only in the embrace of other women. Fortunately, the brothel encouraged such liaisons. I wonder, if I had not fallen in with this place, where I might have found a similar community of understanding women out in the world?
    It is an answer I still seek, though no longer with much urgency. I have found happiness at last. Now I am the jewel of the House, kept by my Madame from all but the most valued of clients. I keep the books, and I know that when my lover passes on, I will inherit the house and become Madame in her stead. Mme. Gottingen, her Camellia House patronized by rich and influential men, her bed filled with lithesome beauties of her choosing -- no, it is not a hard life I have found, damnable though it may be. But would God begrudge the happiness I have found? I cannot believe it. He loved even the Magdalen, after all. And I am truly her kin. I began as a lost girl, and continued my moral debasement until I was truly a fallen woman, soiled beyond reprieve. But in this state, I have managed to find my destined place. I never had the knack for innocence. But for debauchery, I have quite the developed skill. No longer either a lost girl nor a fallen woman, but one who chooses her fate, and gladly.

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