Bed, desk and most of the floor were covered with books. And papers. Lots of papers. Unreadable notes, scribbled on everything she had found in her pockets. Thoroughly prepared notes on projects she was working on, homework and presentations. Most of it was biology, her major. But there was also stuff for lessons she had taken on voluntarily. Her days were just as busy as her nights. Cherie loved learning and discovering new stuff, she craved knowledge other people craved foor (or sex).
A sharp knock at the door. Sylvie was worried they were running late. They shared this flat - and working place - and had become rather good friends. However, Sylvie never understood Cheries longing for her studies. "You work all night, why don'T you try and get some rest? Instead you're running after all these smartasses on campus. What if one recognizes you?"
Which was to be doubted. During the days she wore baggy clothes, no makeup and spent hardly any time on her hairdo. No one would even imagine... Cherie smiled at the thought and put her stuff in the desk drawers. The clients did not like it if she had personal belongings lying about. Probably reminded them of the fact that she had a real life. For a while she had tried taking them to a cheap hotel, but most would not pay extra for a room. So she always tried to make her place look as neutral and uninhabitated as possible.
Sylvie was the one who had brought her into the business. "With a name like yours, you have to try it!" And Cherie had liked it. Okay, she had not liked it, but at least she hadn't disliked it completely, and the money had convinced her.
It was cold, but she chose her clothes carefully. Expertly applied makeup. Maybe a touch too much for most occasions, but perfect for where she was going. Dark mascara framed her grey eyes. She did not have to make her lips look bigger using lipstick, every guy loved her mouth just the way it was. She chose fire engine red - a signal, "Come hither."
For just a second doubt crept through her brain. Life had always been dangerous out on the streets, and for the girls more than for most other people. But this kind of work paid her rent and made sure she had enough time to study. In a year or two, maybe, she would be a marine biologist. Surely her body wouldn't be the next to be fished out of the river. Lady Fortuna was always close to her. She touched the old coin that hung on a chain around her neck. The surface was smooth and unreadable.
"You're ready? You know, the guys won't wait for us!"
"Just a moment", Cherie yelled back. "Have you seen my garters? Oh, found them!" Shegrabbed them from her keyboard and fixed them thoroughly. Most of them was visible under her skirt. Her mother probably wouldn't call it a skirt. Oh, screw it. She was loaded for bear. One last look in the mirror - she looked gorgeous. None of her fellow students would recognize her like this.
Her thoughts wandered to the ocean turtles she visited at least once a week, down at the zoo. They always seemed to smile.
She forced her concentration back on work.
The night was hers.