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Dead-end!; TAG :: phillipe de sorel
Topic Started: May 16 2012, 08:18 PM (1,156 Views)
Nicole Cavalier
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Shop helper, former pickpocket
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[align=center]Date: The 2-nd of August, 1719
Place: in the market of Port-de-Paix[/align]


Such a great day to be walking around the town. Even if it was early morning, the market was buzzing with activity. Merchants were setting up shops and vendors of different kinds were already preparing their goods to be sold. The small cafés were preparing to give their guests something cold to drink to those who required a rescue from the Caribbean Sun that would show its full force in just a few hours, and they would give stronger drinks to those who sought merely to forget it. Nicole was casually walking along a few merchants and their stalls, looking at their goods. She was a bit hungry and while not seeking something to buy, she awaited an opportunity to take something without being seen.

Finally a chance presented itself. A merchant struggled with something in the back of his stall and swiftly and silently Nicole managed to conceal a loaf of bread in the folds of her dress before casually walking away. There was no sign of him noticing the loss. Nicole managed to get out of the market unchallenged and find a quiet patch of ground behind a small home where she could enjoy her breakfast. However only halfway through her meal, Nicole’s gaze is drawn back to the market. There is more activity than usual. And a different crowd. The young men mostly caught her eye. Not only because many of them were quite handsome, but also because it was a sign that the French Navy was moored at the docks.

Nicole got back to her feet and headed back out to the market. If the navy men were ashore and not yet so drunk that morning light would be missed on them, it was certain that officers and warrant officers who usually had deeper pockets than the simple sailors. It wasn’t hard to find and officer in the crowd. With the fancy uniform and shiny blades that hung at their sides, they stood out like a black slave in a King’s court. Slowly Nicole approached the officer while trying to figure out where he might hide his gold.

Once her target was checked out properly, Nicole moved closer. With sure hands she managed to get a hold of his coin purse and now just had to stroll away casually. The nearest gap between two buildings wasn’t far away. But the hubris struck. Overconfidence in her abilities, Nicole had considered the job done once the coin purse was clear of the officer’s pockets. A low but distinct rattling of coins made the officer turn. Time to get away. Nicole ran as fast as she could towards the gap between the two homes and turned around a corner. However she had expected another gap leading to another street. Instead it was a dead-end. There was no way out except back. Nicole turned around holding her back against the wall. Damn it!
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Phillipe de Sorel
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Phillipe had, since joining the Navy, become accustomed to visiting the markets with his fellow officers when they were allowed some time ashore. Had he been at home, the markets would have been considered strictly the domain of household servants. That, of course, had never stopped him as a boy, or even as a youth trying to tag after his older brother, discovering how exciting such places were. The hustle and bustle and variety of a market place was far more enjoyable for a boy than the quiet solitude of his home. Of course it was also the place for not so reputable people as well and Phillipe had been watchful for street-rats and cut-purses but it had only taken a moment of distraction, one of his companions pointing out something neither had seen before and he was suddenly relieved of his purse. He might have missed it had it not been for the jangle of coins. He turned just as the thief ran.

Without a thought or a word to his companions, Phillipe hurried after the female. That was all he was certain of, that the figure was a female but he couldn’t be sure of age although she moved with surprising alacrity to be elderly. It wasn’t long before Phillipe had broken into a run to catch her, weaving through the crowds at the market and leaving his companions to turn and wonder to where he’d suddenly vanished. He saw the female duck between two buildings and that’s where he lost sight of her, cursing under his breath. She was a practiced one, although that mistake had been something a beginner would make. Still, she was out of sight and she likely knew these streets like the little rat that she was.

He ran into the gap and stopped short as he saw that the little minx had made her second mistake. In her haste she’d obviously chosen the wrong alley down which to make her escape. Phillipe stood there a moment, catching his breath and watching the girl with her back to the wall. He folded his arms in a nonchalant manner and leaned against one wall, offering a wry smile. ”The rat caught in her own little trap,” he mused allowed and then held out his hand, knowing full well that if she tried to run, the alley was far too narrow to allow her to avoid him if she tried to get past him. ”I believe you have something of mine, little minx.”
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Nicole Cavalier
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Silence. For a brief moment the little back alley was completely silent. Nicole was scared and while her heart pounded rapidly in her chest, she held her breath for some reason. Once again she had managed to get caught. Once again she had discovered that she was not at all a skilled pick pocket. Once again her mistake of turning to a life of crime had placed her on the tip of a blade where she could only hold her balance for a brief moment. Soon it would be known if she would fall to one side and face the soldiers’ humiliation and the prison or if she would fall to the other and walk away with nothing more than her pride hurt.

The first breath was deep as her lungs desperately needed fresh air. Her eyes avoiding the officer. Cautiously she holds out his purse for him to retrieve. His words are predictable. But still Nicole looks up at him briefly. It is not that he called her a rat that triggered her boldness to look at him. It is the other name. A minx. Suddenly Nicole realize that this man might be an officer but he still was a human. It seemed as if he sought her other services as compensation for her failed attempt at taking his money. Maybe he would settle for whatever his lust could desire of her and not turn her in to the city guards. After taking another deep breath, Nicole raised her head and looked at the man. With one hand she brushed the hair away from her face. “What will you do, Sir?” She asked quietly while slowly opening her belt and letting it fall to the ground. “I know I am trapped and I know what I tried to do was wrong… I can not offer anything but myself to you
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Phillipe reached out to reclaim his stolen purse, not pulling it from the girl immediately but letting it linger there until she relinquished it. This time he slipped it inside his coat, into a safe pocket where it would likely be incredibly more uncomfortable and slightly bulgy but at least infinitely safer from pretty-faced cut-purses like this one.

”What will I do?” he mused, repeating her question. ”That will take some consideration.” Let her worry while he thought about her punishment. ”I could march you to the magistrate this moment and have you arrested. I do not think you could rely on your word against mine, non? I have witnesses I could bring along. The word of several French Navy Officers would certainly carry more weight than the word of one little street waif,” he told her. If he was any of those other officers, chances were that he probably would have done exactly that. If he was anything like his father, the man would have called the authorities already and she wouldn’t be standing here, trapped in an alley having a conversation.

”Aaah, now you offer a bribe to keep my silence. What sort of man would that make me, to keep silent and let you go in return for a little fun? You would only go and rob another poor unsuspecting citizen.” He was half smiling, although whether the woman would realise it was with amusement and not cruel satisfaction was another matter. She could probably be forgiven for thinking he was going to want much, much more out of her than she was already offering. Phillipe reached inside his coat again, for his purse, and removed a few coins.

”I will let you go,” he said but held up his hand before she could say anything. ”On one condition.” He tossed the few meagre coins to her. ”That should be enough to beg the use of a bath somewhere. I will be having dinner on shore this evening.” He named the tavern for her. ”Meet me there, clean, and perhaps a change of clothes if you have any and we will see about restitution.” He tucked his purse away again, watching her. ”If you fail to arrive, I will find you and I will turn you over to the law without question.” He made it sound like a promise but the truth was, Phillipe would probably just be disappointed and cut his losses if she didn’t turn up. He looked her over one more time then started to turn away. He always did have a weakness for a pretty face, especially those beneath his class… his father would be appalled. What his father didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.
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Nicole Cavalier
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Nicole’s eyes dropped to the ground while she imagined the horrors she would likely face if she was arrested. As the officer mentioned his possible actions he made sure to note that his word would count as a lot more than hers and she knew it. In fact even if she had been innocent, he could probably still have had her imprisoned. After all who would believe the word of a street rat? She was trembling slightly as the officer seemed to take excruciatingly long to make up his mind. She looked up in horror as he started to speak of her offer as a bribe and that he would be a fool to take it because she would probably just go out and steal from someone else. “I am sorry, Sir… I did not mean to offend you” She said and looked back down at the ground.

The next words he uttered were just as surprising as those before. He would let her go. Nicole looked up just in time to see the coins fly her way. While she managed to catch one of them the rest landed on the ground behind her. Slowly she kneeled down to pick them up while looking at the officer. His words sounded strange. Did he ask her to join him for dinner? Was this just a trick question? However before she could say anything he had informed her of the consequences of not showing up. With a frightened look on her face, Nicole had merely nodded to let him know she had understood. Then she watched him as he turned around and walked away.

Determined not to be found by this man later and handed over to the city guards, Nicole headed straight home. She spent many hours just walking back and forth in the little home thinking about what to do. After all she was certain that a fine officer of France wouldn’t really want to eat dinner in the presence of a street rat, especially not when said street rat had also tried to relieve him of his gold. But as the sun started to get lower on the sky, she decided to follow his instructions. She took a long bath to make sure all the dirt was washed off her body and face and that her hair was clean. Then she found a dress that had not yet seen the hard life on the streets and put it on. It was probably the most fancy thing she had, but it would probably look like ordinary peasant clothing compared to what he was used to see. Finally she tied her hair back into a ponytail and left her home headed for this tavern he had mentioned. Once there she took a deep breath and waited to see if he would turn up as well.
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Phillipe had actually been at the tavern for more than an hour before Nicole had arrived. His business done in town, he’d come to this place in particular because it wasn’t one frequented much by either Naval or Army officers, though they weren’t unknown there, they just weren’t common and Phillipe had gained a habit, back home, of enjoying the conversations of commoners. He wasn’t sure why, perhaps it grounded him somehow, made him realise how privileged he was, though he didn’t want to give that up, it gave him insight into a lot of different things he’d never have imagined otherwise.

He’d had a few drinks, even eaten a meal before deciding he should check whether the girl had turned up. He was alone now anyway, as those he’d bene conversing with had finished their drinks and headed off to whatever homes they might have, or on to another tavern as some were wont to do, although one had lingered mainly just to sit alone and drink to oblivion. He was no companion at all and certain long past being the worthwhile conversation partner. Phillipe drained the tankard and stood up, heading to the door. He was already halfway through it when he saw her there, waiting.

Now to be truthful with himself, Phillipe hadn’t been sure what to expect. Would she or would she not come so he was pleasantly surprised that she had and in a quandary at the same time. Now that she was here, what was he to do with her. Oh, there were plenty of ideas running through his head; he could demand all sorts of things from her but he wasn’t his father. He approached her and stood there, studying her. She had bathed and changed her clothes. While her dress wasn’t the latest fashion and not exactly new, it was clean and presentable. She looked better like this. Less of a child, more of a young woman. Pretty. ”Have you eaten?” he asked. He did not introduce himself, nor did he ask her name. He was yet to decide if that was something he wanted to do.
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Nicole Cavalier
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It was with great uncertainty that Nicole stood outside the tavern wondering how the night would turn out. Usually the situation about stolen goods would have been resolved already but this officer had been hard to read. For a while Nicole stood outside unsure what to do if the officer simply told her off and didn’t want to have anything to do with her, because while she was a bit anxious about spending time in his company, Nicole would definitely also feel it like a slap in the face if she was told to dress up for something only to be rejected. On the other hand how could she possibly live up to any expectations he might have as her as a dinner partner. While Nicole did at least have some manners, they were nowhere near the level of nobility.

Then coming from inside the tavern, the French Officer appeared in front of her. For a moment he remained silent and just studied her. Nicole remained quiet as well. She had no idea what to say and especially not because they had exchanged only a few words earlier, and none of them seemed good to bring up now. His question surprised her. While the words made perfect sense, Nicole just hadn’t been expecting that question. “Um… No, Sir!” She said quietly to hide the slight shiver in her voice. “But I did as you asked of me” She then hurried to point out. After all wasn’t that what he had wanted? For her to bathe and change her clothes. No matter what that was what he had gotten.

Nobility was always hard to understand fully for the lower classes. They usually spoke in fancy words and while they were in a lot of positions where they had to lead others, they often didn’t really know what it was like on the bottom of the social hierarchy. While they had the power to do pretty much what they wanted, they often seemed to forget that they did it on the expense of those below them. But yet here stood a nobleman, an officer who seemed different than other officers. Why? Nicole could only wait and hope she would find out, and hope that the reasons were good.
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Phillipe again looked Nicole over and nodded, not necessarily showing approval or disapproval. He did his best to keep his expression neutral. He had asked if she’d eaten which she had not but he did not reveal that he hadn’t eaten. ”Come along,” he said, almost reaching for her arm but then stopping himself. He moved back towards the door of the tavern and again, almost held it open for her but recalled how odd that would look to those inside. He expected her to follow though, when he re-entered the tavern.

He went straight to the bar and asked for a meal to be brought. He looked at Nicole when she finally came to stand nearby. ”I have ordered a meal. I have paid for a room in this tavern,” he told her, giving her the room number. ”When the meal is delivered you are to bring it up to me, understand?” She understood but he wanted her assurance that she knew, she was to bring the meal with her. It was only after he got her assurance that he would leave her there, heading for the stairs.

Once he’d reached the room, Phillipe stepped inside and closed the door. He breathed out a sigh of relief. He knew how it would look, a French Naval Officer going up to a room and that slip of a girl following, with a meal in her hands, soon after. It wouldn’t take much imagination for those in the tavern to decide what was going on. Would the woman do it though, that was the question, or would she just turn and walk out again? She could hardly hide from the view of everybody in the tavern who’d seen him talking to her and then would see her with the meal, if she went through with what he’d asked. In front of all those people she would, by their view, be something that perhaps she didn’t want to appear. He did wonder if she’d be humiliated once she realised how she would look to those others… others she might actually run into on the street more often than she would the likes of him. Phillipe moved from the door over to the only stool in this sparse tavern room. He eased down onto it, stretching his long legs out in front of him and waiting patiently for the knock at the door… how long would it take. Or would he never hear that knock?
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Nicole Cavalier
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It was like looking at a statue. The officer’s face was strict and showing nothing like a stone face. And while Nicole though of gargoyles that had decorated some homes she had seen back in France, she knew that a street rat comparing a Naval Officer to a stone Gargoyle was something that should never be uttered out loudly. She followed him in silence into the tavern and wasn’t at all surprised when the door closed after he had entered and that she had to open it herself to get in. Cautiously she stepped inside and was almost afraid to be chased out with a broom as she was so used to be on the street with dirt all over that she knew she wasn’t welcome anywhere. However a quick glance down herself made her remember that she had exactly dressed up for this and she even wore shoes. Certainly a person with shoes were welcome here.

She walked up to the officer by the bar and looked at him for a moment. She nodded slowly at his instructions. He had a room and wanted her to bring him his food. That was a simple task and Nicole watched as he walked off towards his room. Then she gazed around the small tavern main room where several people were eating their own food. A few of them looked up at her as they probably thought it was odd that she had just been spoken to by an officer. However Nicole knew these looks but she feared the promise of being turned over to the guards more than her reputation taking a hit. Besides Nicole had already prostituted herself in order to get out of trouble or merely to get some money for her parents. She lived her life on the streets of Port-de-Paix and had often slept in a backyard somewhere out of sight just to get some peace. This wasn’t a new feeling to her. So when the meal was done, Nicole took it and walked up to the room she had been instructed to go to. She hesitated a moment outside and then knocked politely before entering the room with the food in her hand. “Your dinner is ready, Sir
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Phillipe wondered if she would come or if he would be left waiting but she’d come to the tavern and he got the impression that she wouldn’t back out now either, even though she probably suspected what was going to happen. After all, Naval Officers didn’t invite strange women to their rooms in obscure taverns unless it was for one purpose and one purpose alone. The knock at the door came, he called to enter and the young woman opened the door, coming into the room and closing it behind her, his meal in her hands.

”I have eaten,” he told her. He nodded towards the meal she carried. ”That is for you.” Apart from the bed and the stool there was one small table in the room upon which sat the lantern casting its pallor light around them both. He stood up and shifted to sit down on the edge of the bed, adjusting his sword as he did so for a more comfortable position. ”Sit down at the table and eat,” he said, indicating she should use the stool he’d just vacated.

He’d already eaten so he wasn’t hungry. He’d specifically bought the meal for her and now he wanted to sit and watch her eat it. Phillipe wasn’t concerned whether or not she had presentable table-manners. If she ignored the cutlery and used her hands to eat, he would not admonish her. It would be more evidence that she certainly wouldn’t be in any way presentable to those of his social class. Even in her attractive dress and shoes, and her own prettiness, it still showed that she was a commoner, or worse, less than a commoner. No more than a thief and a liar, no doubt, although she had kept her promise but even criminals could keep promises if they thought there was an advantage in it… which was why Phillipe was not letting her find any advantages. He wanted to keep her off-balance and hoped that so far all that he’d done, including getting her a meal, had been enough to keep her confused, not understanding at all what he planned; though in truth he had planned nothing until he had stepped outside of the tavern to see her waiting.

”What is your name?” he asked at last while watching her. A name could be a powerful tool but at the same time he knew she could just as easily lie about that as well, if she so chose, and blunt his intentions. That did not stop him asking and he didn’t have to give her his own name… he was well aware that he was probably making her uncomfortable as well. What man ordered a gutter-snipe a meal to eat in the relative comfort of a private room without chance of interruption? Yes, Phillipe wanted this woman to be unsure of the situation. She had taken advantage of him in the street at the marketplace today, now it was his turn to have the advantage.
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Nicole Cavalier
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Confusion was definitely painted on Nicole’s face as she was told by the officer that he had already eaten. However even more so as he stated that the meal was for her. Why would he buy her a meal? Had she knocked her head against something or what? Hadn’t she attempted to steal his money only a few hours ago and while even then he had offered her a few coins, it still seemed odd that he offered her food now. Hesitantly she placed the plate on the table and warily placed herself on the chair. Once there she looked up at the officer before daring to eat anything. However slowly she took the fork and the knife and slowly started on the meal. And while Nicole knew how to use it, it was clear that she hadn’t eaten with cutlery for quite a while.

In the end it became a mix or using the cutlery and her fingers to eat. The knife functioned quite well to cut the food and the fork was excellent to get some of the smaller things into her mouth. But when it came to the meat it just felt a lot easier to grab it and eat it like that rather than having to skewer it on the fork first and them needing to pull it off again with the teeth. Nicole was a bit surprised when the officer spoke up again. He asked for her name. Of course Nicole knew that giving him her name would mean that he had something to go on if he ever needed to find her again. But in the middle of all this her mind couldn’t really think up a good lie. “Nicole” She said in a very low voice. “My name is Nicole Cavalier
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Phillipe watched her eat; he watched her use the utensils only to a certain extent and it didn’t bother him. He’d seen worse table manners before; had eaten at the same table as people who never used anything but their hands. Phillipe wasn’t like most nobles… and as much as it was a part of him that he knew his father loathed, it wasn’t a part he could easily change. As a boy growing up, he found more life, more truth, more reality in the peasants that worked on his father’s estate than in the nobles around him. He felt less like the people he was supposed to be like and more at home with the people his father considered insignificant.

”Nicole. It is a pretty name. A French name.” He was quiet for a few more moments. ”What made pretty Nicole become a thief?” he asked as he leaned down and pulled off his boots, putting them neatly to one side and then removing his coat, hanging it on a coat hook on the back of the door. He shifted from the stool to the bed, leaning back on it and lifting his legs to rest upon the bed, hardly ever taking his eyes off her. He wanted to hear her story.
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Nicole Cavalier
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The food was great. But still Nicole ate it hesitantly. Occasionally she glanced up at the officer just to make sure what he was doing. There was something about this whole situation that was a bit unsettling. But unsettling or not this was probably the best meal she would get in a long time. Usually it would just be a loaf of bread or something similarly dry and boring. In a way that was the only good thing that had come from her attempted theft of the officer’s purse. However it was still very uncertain what price she had to pay in the end so obviously she was nervous.

She watched him remove his boots and hang his jacket away. Nicole stopped eating. When he spoke of her name and said that it was a French name, Nicole nodded. “Yes… I am from France…” She said in a low voice and waited for the officer to ask his question. It made Nicole look away for a moment. “You don’t need to lie to me, Sir…” She said slowly while avoiding his eyes. “I know that I can’t compare to the women you socialize with… I understand why you asked me to dress up like this… Someone like you can’t be seen with someone looking like me… But this makes me nervous…” There she had said it. It took a little white but she finally met his gaze again. She had left his question hanging in the air and probably needed to answer it. “I am the only one who can provide for my family… Getting a job could not support them so it led me to steal…” She looked down for a moment and then decided to stand up. Since the officer had already set an example, Nicole decided to make herself just a little bit more comfortable by taking off her own shoes. She wasn’t used to wear them and it honestly still felt confined.
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((ooc: Sorry for delay. Was out of town.))


Phillipe laughed when Nicole finally spoke up and said he didn’t need to lie; that she couldn’t compare to the women he socialised with. He let her finish and he remained quiet, waiting for her to answer his question which she did, eventually, claiming she could not support her family on a working wage. A moment later she stood up and removed her shoes. Shoes, if he recalled, she’d only worn this evening because she hadn’t been wearing any when he chased after her earlier that day.

”You do not know the sort of women I socialise with,” he told her quietly. ”You only think you know because you see me in a uniform and assume that, because I am an officer, I must have some money behind my name. Money and title.” It was an admonishment against her but a gentle one nonetheless. ”I did not ask you to get dressed up like this for me, Nicole,” he told her. ”I wanted to see how you looked. I do not think it would matter who saw me with you, they would all believe only one thing, oui?” He shook his head and got up from the bed, stepping towards her in the small room, and reached up to trail his fingers down along her jawline. ”You are a beautiful woman, Nicole. It is far easier to see beauty when it is degraded by rags and dirt,” he said quietly. He gazed at her for a time, thinking and then, whatever it was he might have been thinking he left unsaid, simply shaking his head and returning to where he’d been sitting on the bed.

”So tell me, Nicole,” he continued quietly. ”What other assumptions have you made of me this evening? What do you expect will happen in here where we are alone together? Where the women you claim I normally socialise with would never dare set foot for fear of the loss of their good reputation. What is your reputation, Nicole?”
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Nicole Cavalier
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Okay maybe she had spoken out a bit too quickly without really thinking about it. When the officer told her that she had no idea what kind of women he would socialize with, Nicole realized that he was right. How could a street rat know that anyway? She looked down and avoided his gaze for a moment. She decided to pick up her shoes just to make sure she wouldn’t forget them. But while she listened to his words she felt that he might have taken her words as worse than she had meant them. Slightly nervously she twisted her shoes in her hands while looking down at them. “I am sorry… I meant no disrespect” She said quietly and looked up when the officer began to explain his motivation for having her dressed up. She nodded when he asked if she knew what people would think when they had seen them walk to a room together.

As the officer got up and approached her he gently touched her face. Nicole remained still and just looked up at him. He gave her a compliment and Nicole forced a subtle smile to her face. “Thank you, Sir” She said knowing fully well that compared to earlier, the bath and change of clothes had done a lot. But from a dirty, ragged street rat to someone who might pass for a poor villager, the improvement was also enormous. For a while they stood quite close until the officer shook his head and walked back to the bed. He asked her what else she had assumed of the night and Nicole looked away for a moment but then decided that she might as well be honest. She had managed to twist her shoes a couple of times now and as she looked back at the man she replied in a meek voice. “To be honest, Sir… I assumed you would take advantage of the power you hold to… to…” Nicole paused as she felt a bit embarrassed to continue. She knew that someone like her might not have much dignity at all so why she had so hard continuing this phrase was unclear to her. Fortunately, or unfortunately from a certain point of view, the officer continued by asking what Nicole’s reputation might be. She remained quiet for a moment and as she finally spoke up it was with a bit of capitulation in her tone. “My reputation is what you’d expect from a girl living on the street… I am too old to beg for money without people wanting something in return… I steal and look like a mess every day… Those who aren’t nice just take what they want by force… But I know what you are going to say… How can I, a thief judge who is nice and who isn’t… And I accept that… But to answer your question… My reputation and virtue was never worth anything because there is a reason why it is called streetrat
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