Northern Escape Ch. 01

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Connie packed her bag with some makeup and a change of clothes before leaving for the bus stop. It was cold as she stood shivering in the shelter praying the bus would arrive soon. It hadn’t snowed yet, but it was in the air and only a matter of time before winter blanketed the city starting the long winter of northern Ontario. The bus didn’t arrive soon enough, but she couldn’t help but get excited about leaving the cold weather when it pulled to a stop in front of her.

Walking to the back of the bus she curled in to a seat by the window. It would be a long trip to the big city where her friend had moved a lifetime ago. Connie was excited and scared about leaving home for the first time. She knew her small hometown was not enough for her and finally decided it was time to leave only two weeks after her birthday. Her mother was broken hearted and couldn’t understand her need to start her own life. Connie wasn’t great in school, in fact she was happy to have graduated. Toronto would provide her opportunities to make a future for herself.

“Is this seat taken?” Connie awoke startled to a tall thin guy pointing at the seat beside her.

“Pardon?” Still groggy, she didn’t realize she had fallen asleep.

“Oh yeah, sure.” She pulled her bag on her lap and the young man sat down beside her.

Wiping the fog from the window she peered out, “Where are we?”

“The Sault.” The young man popped an ear bud in and turned his player on.

Between sleeps they chatted. The man had introduced himself as Trent and explained he was heading home to Toronto after visiting a friend. As they talked Connie tried to figure out how old he was; she guessed that he was in his late twenties. Connie explained she was moving to the big city.

The big bus rolled to a stop at the rest area so its passengers could rest and grab something to eat. Connie and Trent shared a table while they ate.

“Any idea how much further?” Connie’s voice was exhausted from the long trip.

Trent smiled, “Almost there. A little less than an hour away. We just passed Barrie.”

Connie was happy to have someone to keep her company on the long trip. It was strangely comforting having Trent to speak to.

Trent had been correct, less than an hour later they pulled up to Union Station. Connie couldn’t help but look up at the tall buildings, crowds and busy streets. She had never seen anything so beautiful. Retrieving her small suitcase she scanned the crowd looking for her friend. After a few minutes of looking, she began to panic when she couldn’t find her.

“Friend not here yet?” Trent stepped up beside her with his bag slung over his shoulder.

“I don’t see her yet.” Connie tried to hide the concern in her voice.

“If you want, I’ll wait with you until she shows.” Trent could tell she was beginning to panic.

It was about fifteen minutes before she saw Beth walking briskly towards them. Connie’s heart finally returned to normal and she pointed Beth out to Trent.

“It was nice meeting you Connie.” Trent held his hand out for her.

Smiling Connie shook his hand, “Thanks for keeping me company.”

Trent ripped a piece of paper, scribbled his number on it and handed it to Connie, “Give me a call if you want to hang out some time.”

“Thanks.” Connie watched Trent disappear in to the crowded streets.

Connie hugged Beth tightly, “I was getting nervous you weren’t coming.”

“My boss was being a dick, took longer to get out of work than expected.” Beth shrugged. “Let’s get you home, you must be exhausted.”

It was a short walk from the subway and they arrived at a tall apartment building. The elevator creaked and popped as it made the slow trip to the eleventh floor. Connie noted that the apartment was small and seriously outdated as Beth gave the tour. One bedroom, a small bath and tiny kitchen constituted the tour before flopping down on a futon in its tiny living room.

Beth spread her arms wide engulfing the apartment, “welcome home.”

“Thanks for letting me live with you.” Connie stood and hugged her.

“No problemo sister, me coucha your coucha!” The girls laughed.

During the day, Beth toured Connie around letting her know where to go and more importantly, where not to go. At night Beth worked at the diner leaving Connie alone. For the first few days, she tried to make herself useful cleaning their little apartment. The remainder of the week was spent searching for a job in the newspapers that Beth brought home from the diner.

After days of filling out applications from secretary to cleaner, she had not received a single phone call. The two interviews she had seemed promising, but the phone never rang. As she sat in the empty apartment, the frustration and boredom came to a head. Digging through her bag, she pulled the tiny folded paper that Trent had given her.

Trent’s distinct voice spoke in her ear, “Hello?”

“Hi Trent, this is Connie. You know from the…” She was cut off by Trent quickly.

“Connie! I was beginning to think you would never kartal escort call.”

She was happy to have someone to talk to, “I’ve just been getting settled and trying to find a job.”

“Any luck?”

“Not yet.” Connie sighed in to the phone.

“Just be patient, something will come.” Trent’s voice soothed her.

“I just can’t wait to start pulling my weight, you know?” Her frustration came through.

“You need to get out!” His voice was upbeat.

“I can’t afford to go out. Did I mention I need a job?” Connie’s voice was defeated.

“It’s on me. You can take me out when you get a job. Deal?”

Connie tore through her suitcase trying to find something to wear. Finally settling on a pair of jeans, tan cowl neck sweater and fur trimmed mukluk boots she looked at her reflection. That’s as good as it gets.

The buzzer honked through the apartment; Trent had arrived right on time.

“I’ll be right down!” She grabbed her purse and headed out the door.

Trent was standing in the lobby when the elevator opened. They looked at each other and decided on an awkward hug before heading out on the street.

“So, where we going?” Connie was happy to be out.

“I know this great bar, you are going to love it.”

Connie’s heart sank, “I’m not old enough.”

“What? Seriously? How old are you?” Trent’s voice was shocked.

“Eighteen. How old did you think I was?”

“Doesn’t matter, they won’t ask for ID, I know the owner.” Trent shook his head playful. “Eighteen.”

Connie gave him a playful shove.

Trent was right; they didn’t look at her twice when she walked past the bouncer. At the bar, he bought her vodka lemonade. Standing at the bar, she looked out over the small crowded bar; smoke floated on the ceiling as techno music pounded against her chest.

Waving in to the crowd, Trent grabbed her hand and guided her to the booths at the back of the bar. Sitting in the booth was an older guy with a woman who appeared to be his wife. Trent quickly introduced Jason and Diana to her before sliding in to the booth. They were friendly and immediately starting inquiring how Trent had met Connie. Trent explained that she had just moved here and just getting settled in.

Jason yelled over the music, “Let me guess. You’re a model?”

“Hardly.” Connie laughed.

“No?” Jason glanced over at his wife with a surprised look.

Connie shook her head.

“She’s looking for work.” Trent explained.

“You should consider modelling. I know a great photographer.” Jason nudged his wife.

“I don’t think I am the model type.” Connie blushed and hoped the darkness would hide the colour in her cheeks.

Diana smiled at her, “You are beautiful. You’d make a great model.”

Connie said the only thing she could, “Thanks.”

“No really, we should do a shoot and see if you like it.” Diana smiled at her.

With an inquisitive look Connie replied, “You’re the photographer he knows eh?”

Diana smiled.

Jason and Trent had a conversation about his work that Connie didn’t really grasp. It was cryptic at best and she didn’t think it was her place to ask for clarity. Diana ordered more drinks for them and paid the waitress. As the men talked, Diana asked all about life in the great white north and how she is adapting to the big city.

“Let’s go have a smoke.” Diana stood up followed by Jason.

Trent nudged her to follow them through the smoke filled bar. Connie couldn’t understand why they were going outside when everyone else smoked in the little bar. Her curiosity was quenched when she realized what they were smoking. Jason pulled a big joint out of his cigarette pack and lit it. As each of them took long inhales of the pungent cigarette, Connie looked nervously around the deserted alley behind the bar until it was passed to her.

When she broke in to a coughing fit, the three of them laughed loudly. “I got a feeling someone isn’t a smoker.” Diana put her arm around her.

After the second time around, Connie did better and managed to maintain her composure for the remainder of the joint.

“I’ll tell you what, you model for me and I will give you some money.” Diana still had her arm around her.

“Really?” Connie looked over.

“Yeah, I’ll pay you for a test shoot and you can see if you like it.” Diana smiled at her and pulled a card from her pocket. “Are you free tomorrow?”

“Really?” Connie could not understand why she wanted to photograph her.

“Yes, I’ll pay you $25 an hour; we’ll shoot for a couple hours.” Diana squeezed her shoulder. “Sound good?”

Connie beamed, “Sounds good.”

By the time they walked up to the apartment it was almost 3 AM. Trent gave her a hug and watched her until she got on the elevator. In drunken quietness, Connie noisily opened the apartment door and locked it behind herself before passing out on the futon.

The bright sun of the apartment shone through the window as she opened her eyes. Beth was sitting on the futon with her bostancı escort eating a bowl of cereal.

“Good night?” Beth laughed.

Connie’s head ached, “I think I got a job.”

“That’s awesome! Doing what?” Beth rubbed Connie’s head gently.

“Modelling.”

“Fuck off! Are you serious?”

Connie opened her eyes, “Well…a test shoot.”

Beth was jubilant, “I always knew you could be famous.”

“Famous? It’s a test shoot. I just need the money.”

Diana’s studio was inside their huge home. Connie had never seen anything like it in size or elegance. Jason stood in the kitchen as she followed Diana through to the studio and gave her a casual wave and greeting as she made her way to the basement. Her studio was brightly lit and littered with props and clothing.

“Pick something out.” Diana pointed to a rolling rack of clothing.

Connie flipped through the outfits, “Any preference?”

“Pick a sundress to start.” Diana adjusted some props while she waited for Connie to change.

As Connie walked up, Diana looked her up and down. “No bra.”

Undoing her bra she placed it over the screen wall, “Better?”

“Much.”

Diana patiently directed her in to poses incorporating all the props she had prepared and Connie found herself enjoying modelling.

“Okay, put that white bikini on and wear those shorts and the plaid shirt now.” Diana turned to review the shots she had taken while she waited. “Leave the shirt untucked and unbuttoned.”

Connie returned and another shoot took began with the new props. Slowly she progressed through the clothes and ended the day as a bikini shoot. Connie dressed and Diana handed her an envelope and offered to drive her home.

On the ride home, Diana explained that she shot pictures for amateur designers primarily. Diana explained the Connie’s wholesome girl next store look would really sell these clothes. Over the next couple weeks, Connie continued to her search for regular work when she wasn’t modelling for Diana.

Arriving at the studio early, she was greeted by Jason at the door, “Diana is just picking up some outfits from one of the designers. Can I get you something while you wait?”

Connie sat across from Jason in the kitchen sipping on her water with lemon.

“How is the job search going?”

Connie wrinkled her nose, “Disappointing.”

Jason frowned, “I may be able to provide you a bit of work if you want.”

Connie lit up.

“It’s a bit unorthodox to say the least Connie.” Jason looked seriously at her.

“What would I be doing?” Connie was nervous at his choice of words.

“There are few different positions. Pay will depend on the position.”

“I’m so sorry Connie!” Diana burst in to the kitchen with her arms full of clothes. “Let’s get started.”

“We can talk later. Have a great shoot.” Jason stood and kissed Diana’s cheek.

On the ride home Connie looked over at Diana, “What does Jason do?”

“He’s a director sweetie.” Diana glanced over and smiled.

“Like movies?” Connie inquired.

“Exactly” Diana turned on to Dundas Street.

“He said he may have a job for me, but we didn’t get in to any details.” Connie was hoping for insight.

Diana patted her leg, “There are a lot of jobs on the set sweetie.”

That night Connie’s mind raced and tried to think of all the jobs she could possibly do on the set. She talked to Trent on the phone but he was little help. It turned out that he really didn’t know them that well. Before he became a security guard, he used to be a small time dealer and used to supply them with hash and weed.

The next morning Jason called and asked her to come by to discuss the job. Connie’s stomach was a knot of nervous excitement as she jumped on the street car. This trip to their house was the longest one ever.

When she arrived, Diana opened the door, “You should have told me you were coming; I would have picked you up.”

Connie smiled, “Jason asked me to come over to talk about a job.”

“Great!” Diana smiled and called out to her husband.

Connie followed Jason to his office on the far end of the house. The office had a large cherry wood desk in the centre. Taking the seat Jason offered she looked at her surroundings. Two big windows on one wall, photographs and awards covered another wall. A leather couch sat nestled against the back wall by the door.

“Let’s get straight to it shall we?” Jason was very professional.

Connie smiled nervously. “Yes.”

“I direct movies. A lot of the roles require very special skills, but I do have a more entry level role that you may be interested in.”

Connie looked on intently.

“The position I need filled is a cleaner. I need someone to clean the set before and after a shoot.” Jason stared at her trying to gauge her reaction.

“I will take it!” Connie couldn’t stop smiling.

Jason shook his head in disbelief, “It’s not glamorous.”

The next day Connie arrived at the address that Jason maltepe escort had given her. It was an industrial area with non-descript buildings and warehouses. Walking up to what she appeared to be the entrance, she was met by a large intimidating black man. Connie almost turned around and walked away at the sight of this monster of a man.

“Are you Connie?” The man looked at a clipboard.

His voice caught her by surprise, “Yes.”

With a big smile, he opened the door and Connie made her way in to the building. The big warehouse was a maze of walls and rooms. Walking towards voices at the far end, she glanced in the various rooms; there were bedrooms, living rooms, bars and even a park. Arriving at the voices, she saw Jason and waved.

Jason made his way over to her, “Any problems finding it?”

Connie shook her head meekly, “Not really.”

“Let’s get the formalities out of the way.” Jason walked to an office in the corner and she followed. “Like I told you, it’s not glamorous but it should help pay some bills for you.”

Jason slid employment papers in front of her. “$8.50 an hour as we discussed and you should get about 30 hours each week. I just need you to fill out this form for tax purposes.”

Once Connie completed the form she handed back across the desk. “I think I got everything.” She smiled.

Jason passed another paper to her, “This is a confidentiality agreement. I want you to read it thoroughly before you sign it. In a nutshell, you aren’t to discuss the location, employees or details about our films.”

Connie signed the paper and handed it back to him.

“Now I just need to make a copy of your driver’s license and we are done.” Jason smiled at her.

Her heart sank, “I don’t have one. I don’t drive.”

“Passport?” Jason raised his eyebrow.

Connie frowned and shook her head no.

“Birth Certificate?”

Connie’s smile exploded across her face, “Yep!”

“Phew.” Jason pretended to wipe his brow. “Got anything with a picture on it?”

Connie handed him her high school student card, “Will this work?”

“It should.” Jason turned and photocopied her ID before returning it to her. “Let’s get you set up.”

After a tour of the various sets, Jason showed her the cleaning closet and provided explicit instructions on what cleaners to use on the various materials of the set. “Good?”

“I think so.” Connie smiled and walked in to the first set to start cleaning.

Some rooms were so clean; she was confused at the point of cleaning them. A quick dusting and vacuum and she moved on to the next room. Clearly this room had a shoot in it as it was quite messy. The bed was a mess and it was in general disarray. As instructed, she stripped all the sheets and took them to the washing machine before returning to vacuum and dust.

Connie was putting the supplies back in the closet after cleaning the last room when Jason walked up. “It looks great Connie. Great job.”

She smiled and closed the closet door, “Thank you for giving me a job Jason. I really appreciate it.”

Jason gave her a ride home after locking the warehouse up for the night.

“Sorry to ask, but when is pay day?” Connie looked at her folded hands on her lap.

Glancing over Jason read the situation clearly, “Every two weeks. Did you need an advance Connie? I know you are just getting settled.”

“Do you mind?” Connie glanced coyly over.

Jason looked over and gave her a friendly smile, “Not a problem at all.”

Pulling up to her apartment he stopped the car and pulled out his wallet, “Here you go.”

Connie was shocked when she looked down at the three crisp one hundred dollar bills, “This is two weeks’ pay.”

“Don’t worry; I know you are good for it.” Jason smiled. “Have a good night.”

As soon as Connie entered the apartment she hugged Beth and handed her two hundred dollars, “There is half my rent.” Connie beamed as Beth hugged her.

“I’m so proud of you.” Beth smiled. “Do you have enough until your next pay?”

Connie nodded, “I will be getting a bit more from modelling later this week.”

Connie had been working for Jason for almost two months and had the routine down to an art. Arriving at the warehouse, Ty smiled and opened the door letting her in. She felt bad about the first impression she had about the big man. He was a sweetheart and had come to find he was a gentle giant. Today was different, there were still people on set and clearly filming was still taking place.

Connie sat in one of the unused rooms closest to the doors and waited for things to wrap up. As she sat on a bar stool she watched two men glance at her as they made their way out the door. Connie grabbed some supplies and started dusting the bar. She had been working for about thirty minutes when a tiny woman with long brown hair walked by the room she was cleaning. Upon seeing Connie, she slowed down and eyed her up and down before sneering and walking out the door. She didn’t know who she was, but her snobby air told her she was probably an actress.

Once Connie made her way to the set that was in use, she knew it would take time to clean it. Wiping the couch down, she found some type of movie prop slime sliding down the front of it. Grabbing a rag, she wiped it up easily before applying the leather cleaner and wiping it down making it look new again.

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