Sales at B were booming, and it was glorious. Customers were coming in and out of the door in a rapid stream of sales and rising profits. Reports were good. People came to us for high quality goods and discretion and a good (flirty) attitude, and that’s what I provided.
The only negative? The more customers that came in the door, the more opinions I had to contend with.
This wasn’t the first time that someone had suggested I make a change in the shop. Some people came in expecting something vanilla—more Victoria’s Secret or Aerie than what I had going on. Some people found it uncomfortable that I sold lingerie (and other things) to both sexes—they said they felt uneasy shopping around the opposite sex (or, in some cases, the same sex, though I don’t know what on earth I could have changed to prevent that discomfort—solitary shopping?) And then some people, like Seamus and his friends, thought I should take the plunge—move from less lingerie into something a little more… risqué.
I actually wasn’t against the last suggestion. I’d been contemplating it for a while, anyway—only my young son, and the impact that my profession might have on him, was preventing me from making the change.
But I’d been reading a few parenting books, figuring out what people had to say and, really? No one had come to a good conclusion about what to do. Some people said follow your passions, it’s a good example for your kids. Some people said stay home, make your kids your passion, they’ll turn out better for it. Some people said never talk about woohoo, some people said talk about woohoo early. People even disagreed on the time of day to feed a baby!
So, as I saw it, so long as I loved my son and made sure that he physically and mentally taken care of—that I loved him and listened to him and provided for him—there was nothing I could do that would screw him up too badly.
Boy, that was a relief, let me tell you. Parenting is so much pressure.
So I started to make my descent into the racier side of the lingerie industry.
My first step was a bed. A good choice, I think, because of the high purchase price. I stood to make a lot of money, if only someone would buy it. And it fit with the direction I was about to go in. I wanted to keep the atmosphere of my shop the same—it would still be bright and lighthearted and open and flirty—but I wanted something with an edge. And this bed certainly had that—rings cemented into the four corners of the frame and a toy chest in the head board, among other accoutrements.
It sold almost instantly.
For nearly 3,000 simoleons.
And everyone wanted one.
I went home that day, a little unsure still. I’d decided that I wouldn’t do anything in my professional life that would make Apollo distinctly unhappy, though I had no intention of catering to his whims. So I needed to make sure…
He was a child now. There was no more concern with daycare, no more running around keeping him from bumping his head into the corners of coffee tables. He was going to school, taking the bus. He was reading and writing and making friends. He was certainly old enough to have his own opinions.
He was well on his way to being an artistic prodigy, after all. I wanted to show him the respect of asking his opinion on the matter.
He wasn’t always the most articulate little boy.
Well. That settled that, for me.
I closed the shop for a few days, made the necessary renovations. Like I said, B, I wanted to keep the tone of B’s the same—lighthearted and open and non-judging, but, at the same time, discreet. So the front room wouldn’t be changing much, with the exception of the wider variety of options it would have on display. But the back rooms of the store… they were getting a major overhaul.
The backrooms weren’t much. They didn’t need to be, really. Mostly, it was a hallway, with offshoots to smaller rooms on either side. Each small room contained a chair (or, in some cases, a bed) and a variety of other objects—magazines in some, televisions in the others, racks of… accessories in on particular room.
The televisions, of course, were for previewing films; the magazines were for flipping through, in case you wanted to put in a special order; and the bests and accessories, of course, were there for customers who weren’t certain about the application possibilities about the products they had just purchased (the backrooms would be, of course, for paying customers only). But, if someone wanted to close the door to one the rooms, stay in there for a while…
Well, the walls were all soundproofed.
It drew no small amount of traffic.
Which meant it brought in no small amount of money.
Of course, providing those sorts of… services meant a bit more risk for me.
High blood pressure, older bodies, bad hearts… it didn’t always bode well for my satisfied clients.
But at least they went out happy. That’s how I saw it. Would others disapprove? Certainly. But just as flirting and kissing and a bit of woohoo was an outlet for my stress and a way to have fun, having a little fun of their own in the back of my shop was a way for many of my customers to get rid of their stress. They always left with a satisfied smile on their face.
Even when they left with the Reaper, they left happily.
Of course, consistent with my attempted new way of doing business, I tried to keep out of the backrooms myself. I was the proprietor of the store, not a customer. I was a businesswoman—I shouldn’t be giving anything away for free (not in the shop, at least).
Instead, I had the customers that were more persistently attracted to me escorted out, and I went on with my life. And I went home to my own man of the house.
He was always happily waiting.