Vella leaned back in the chair and looked up at the make-up artist. "Work your magic, show me what you can do."
"You're asking a lot of me this time, Vella." David moved behind the chair and ran his fingers through her hair. "But with some concentration and co-operation from your implants I think we can do this. Just as well we have plenty of time before you're needed on set."
Two hours worth of time in fact, Vella wasn't new at this and the information sheet for this assignment had given her all the warning she'd needed. That and Phillipa bringing her in from semi retirement. She, out of all of the women who worked for Phillipa, was the only one capable of doing a scene like this and living to tell the tale. Even with the implants and healing vats this was going to be a hard one.
Blood. Pain. Bondage. Multiple clients. Long scene stretching out beyond the normal couple of hours such a situation normally required. No, this was the chance of a lifetime. The sheet had laid it all out in crystal clarity for her. She'd almost felt faint reading the set up, then the craving had hit her. The need to surrender herself to the scene and she'd told Phillipa the only answer she could.
Yes, yes and yes again. There was no way she could turn this down, not even if it meant dealing with the comments from other staff members. Or the look of disgust in people's eyes.
Vella closed her eyes and relaxed under David's touch. The man knew what he was doing when it came to helping the women in Phillipa's employ, but she knew full well that this was going to be a tough one, even for David's skills. Innocence and wanton all rolled into one. Her hair to be turned flame red from the black tresses she had been born with. Then there were the other touches. The little things that would permit her to live through the pain and blood loss that would accompany this scene.
"You're insane you know that." David murmured as he pulled the brush through Vella's hair, the nanites in her long strands slowly reacting to the order from the brush. The first step in the long change. "I've seen the sheet for this one. You could die, even with the vat. I'm no fool, no one could live through that scene without serious damage."
"Phillipa won't let me be lost. Beside the pay for this one is--well it's a lot." More than a lot, she'd be able to stay in retirement for the rest of her life if she pulled this one off, and if she felt the need to go back into retirement. "I'm looking forward to this. In an odd way at least."
"Sick." David grumbled and continued to work the brush through her hair.
"Yes, I am in a way you'll never understand. I crave this. I've missed it. It's a part of me, David. And yes, that makes me sick in some respects."
The brush froze in her hair, his breath catching behind her and Vella smiled, knowing all too well that the truth would shock most people. Hell, if she had been David then she'd have been shocked, terrified, even outraged by those words. But they were true. She was addicted to the pain, to the desire and the lack of control she felt when she worked with the clients here.
This was something she needed, and the fact that she'd been without that touch, the pain and control of another, for so long was now more than she could cope with. Addicted, yes, the word fitted her all too well. A masochistic addiction that would claim her time and again until it became too much, or it would unless she fulfilled her need through working with clients.
The mistake had been walking away from this job in the first place, and it wasn't one she would make again. She needed the fix.
"There has to be a safer way to answer your need, Vella. I don't like this. I don't want to see you hurt."
"There isn't. I know that. I've looked. I've tried my best to find something else, but it doesn't exist at all, so this is the only answer. The only chance before it drives me nuts." Vella sighed and tried not to move, it would have been so easy to just lose her temper with David, but he was a good man and didn't deserve this. "I have to do this, besides its something I want to do, you know that. It's a craving. Something I can't shut out. Something I don't want to shut out, or down, or ignore."
"You can, you have to."
"You're not listening to what I'm saying, David." She turned in the chair and looked at him. "I don't want to shut it down. Listen to my words. This isn't just something I can't turn off. I don't want to."
"Even if it means your death?"
"You don't know that."
"Yes, I do. I believe in this. In myself." Vella closed her eyes and leaned back in the chair. "And I have clients coming to see me soon, if I'm not ready in time then there will be problems, and that neither of us want to deal with. Especially with Phillipa on the rampage, she's lost one girl recently as it is." That was one mess she was glad she hadn't been caught in the middle of.
And she wasn't going to be the cause of future problems for Phillipa. No, she had to focus on the work she had to do, the people who had hired her to entertain them.