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Bed Time Story
Chapter information
Series

The Callgirl

Chapter

5

Written by

AvatarAang7

Word count

3385

Chronology
Last chapter

Red

Next chapter

Background Check


Monday evening


"Hope you like noodles," Korra jovially said when Asami stepped out of the bathroom again, dressed in a mix of her leggings from earlier and a loose leisure-sweater, but she'd let her hair down instead of putting it back in a bun.

It stunned Asami. "You made dinner?"

"Nah, this is just a snack for you to warm up while I go take a shower as well. There's arctic hen in the oven, it's quite good and great for post-workout food. Katara made it for me." She rummaged around in her dresser for a bit, taking out clothes that looked like they were solely for comfort, not fashion. "Make yourself at home," she said before going into the shower. The blizzard had started, and Asami was glad that she had listened to Korra's advice of not calling Koda over with the car: she could barely see 10 feet out the window. Snow was quickly piling up on the corners of the window, which was being battered by hail at the same time.

The businesswoman took the bowl of noodles from the counter and started walking around the room, taking a look around for anything that could give a hint to Korra's past. Much to her surprise, there weren't any keepsakes. Not a single picture of parents, friends, past pets, or really anything in the house that would have any real sentimental value. This was especially strange since Korra was from the Water Tribe, who typically hold their families very close.

She walked over to the dresser but hesitated. This is crossing a line. Taking a look at things on display is one thing, but actively going through her stuff?

It could shed some light on her, though...

Asami sighed and decided against searching through the closet. With a sigh, she plonked herself down on the old couch and flicked on the television, looking to see if she could find anything on the weather. "A blizzard is currently trapping the capital city of Ushuaia," the news anchor said. "Authorities are warning everyone to stay indoors and not leave until the gale-force winds die down again, which is predicted to happen around midnight. We'll keep you updated as this storm rolls by, this is Anvik Ninuk for SWT News, good night."

"They really know how to sell a blizzard, don't they?" the callgirl said, suddenly appearing next to the businesswoman, scaring the life out of her.

"Christ in heaven Korra, will you stop that?!"

"Stop what?" she asked with a pouty lower lip, pretending to be innocence itself.

Goddamn, that's cute.

-Red alert! Red alert! Falling for a hooker is a bad idea!

But look at her!

-Oh for crying out loud.

"Scaring me half to death," Asami replied, pretending to be angry.

Korra laughed. "It's just too easy. Anyway, want some hen? Apparently, it tastes like chicken."

"'Apparently'?"

"Well, you have to make do with what you got, and here in the South Pole, it's arctic hen. They tried chickens once, and they all froze to death, so yeah, this is what we got."

Asami got curious. "You've never been outside the South Pole?"

The callgirl shook her head. "Nah. My parents..." She hesitated, and Asami could see the cracks creeping over her façade. Perhaps it was because she was in a setting that she was familiar with, that she'd let her armor down more easily. "My parents never took me far away from home, my dad was always busy, so we never really got around to it, and after I started this, I haven't been able to."

To pry or not to pry, that is the question... The businesswoman sighed. It was true, Korra was now finally opening up, but Asami knew that if she pushed the issue too much, the armor would be back in place before she could say 'I didn't mean to pry.'

"I suppose you'd know a thing or two about that too, wouldn't you?" the callgirl asked.

Asami chuckled. "Yeah, my dad was always busy too. I guess it's why I became good at mechanics: it was the only time we just got to do something together. Ever since I was old enough to distinguish a hammer from a screwdriver, I worked with him. We must have restored a dozen cars together."

The way Korra squeezed her hand told Asami enough: she knew the next part. No surprise there, his whole history was easily found on Google. "How old were you when he died?"

The businesswoman's face hardened. "He didn't die, he was murdered. I was 15."

"I'm sorry," the callgirl whispered. "You must miss him."

Asami sighed. "In a strange way, I miss my mom more. My dad and I had been growing apart for a while when it happened, and me coming out to him drove the wedge between us a lot further." She took a deep breath. "Still, he was my last remaining family, so yeah, I do miss him." It fell silent between them, but it wasn't awkward. Korra was still holding the businesswoman's hand, gently pulling them closer together.

A loud rattle broke the fragile and vulnerable atmosphere that had formed between them. "What was that?" Asami asked, unable to find the source.

Korra sighed. "That was the fuse box, so grab your phone, because it's gonna go dark in three... two... one..." Right on cue, the lights and television went out, leaving the small loft in complete darkness. "The wiring of this building isn't exactly top-notch, so I always keep a few candles around here somewhere." Asami reached for her purse and managed to find her phone, using it as a flashlight.

"Come on, bring that thing over here," the callgirl gestured her over to the dresser. Giving her a bit of extra light, Korra soon found a box of candles and a lighter, but Asami spotted something else. It was cleverly arranged, with one part leisure, the other part professional. Also known as 'slutty'. But there was one thing standing out: an old high-school style backpack, tucked away in the bottom corner of the dresser. It clearly didn't fit in with everything else, so it had her curious.

She made a mental note of it but didn't press the issue, and instead helped Korra to light a few candles around the apartment, giving them at least enough light to move around without bumping into everything. "How often does the power go out?" the businesswoman asked.

"Every time there's a storm," Korra shrugged. "I know it sucks, but like I said, rent is dirt cheap. Beggars can't be choosers, after all. She never really talks about it, but I think Katara is losing money on this place. It used to belong to her brother, and it went to her after he died, so chances are that she has a sentimental connection to it."

Asami nodded. "I know the feeling." She briefly paused. "What do we do now?"

"Hope for the power to come back on."

This made her laugh. "If you're so sure it's the fuse box, I could take a look at it. I majored in mechanical engineering."

"I wouldn't recommend that, the fuse box is on the roof, so in minus 20 and gale force winds, you'd freeze your fingers off."

Welp, so much for helping her. Asami sighed. "So where does that leave us?"

Korra held up a deck of cards. "Poker?"

The next few hours were spent in the relative darkness playing all sorts of card games. At first, the callgirl suggested strip poker, but Asami had to decline, as she was already quite cold, so they just played for the honor. They went through a few more, but in the end, the cold became too much to bear for the businesswoman.

She shivered, and Korra rolled her eyes, before walking over to the dresser. "If you were so cold, you could have just said so." She rummaged around in the closet for a bit and tossed Asami a hoodie. "Put that on, it should help."

"Thanks," she replied in surprise. Because of the callgirl's broader build, the hoodie was slightly too big, but that didn't matter. It was comfy and warm, and had the welcome earthly scent of Korra in it.

-You have got to get a grip, and fast.

Alright, FINE, I admit it: I may just like her more than I should. Happy now?

-Well, it's a start. Still doesn't address the issue that you're smitten for a hooker, but let's take things one step at a time.

Out of nowhere, the lights came back on as suddenly as they went out. At first, Asami was glad that she was able to see again, but after a few moments, she started missing the coziness of the dark. Still, this at least gave her and Korra the opportunity to reheat Katara's arctic hen, which actually did taste a lot like chicken. It was a late dinner, the hen was a little dry from being reheated twice, Asami was cold and sitting on a sofa that had seen better days, with the plate on her lap, watching a rerun of Friends, and she would choose this a million times over eating something fancy at the hotel restaurant by herself.

"Tell me something, Korra: are you this amicable with all your clients, or am I just lucky?" She asked after they had both finished their hen.

She chuckled. "Nope, you're simply in luck. Unlike nearly all of my clients, I actually like you." The callgirl briefly paused, and a big smile appeared on her face. "Plus, with your right hook, you can knock my lights out. I'm kind of obliged to let you stay here," she teased.

Asami smiled and quickly raked her mind for a witty comeback. "I doubt I can beat 'all four elements'."

"Maybe, maybe not, but one thing is for sure: I don't want to be the guy whose face you imagined on that punching bag." She fell silent for a bit. "Who was it?"

"I'm not sure I should be telling you about the deal, I don't think my company would approve."

"Just the who, not the what," she shrugged. "Perhaps it's a familiar name, that would be funny. Besides, even if you did tell me particulars, I probably wouldn't understand a damn thing of it."

Asami made a 'fair enough'-face and smiled. "Well, the man I imagined on the bag was your esteemed Chief Unalaq." This stirred something in the callgirl, because the way her face contorted didn't spell good news. "Korra? You okay there?"

She hesitated, trying to pull herself back together. "I... Yeah, I'm alright," she said, but it was plain as day that she was lying.

It's now or never. "We both know that's a lie. What is really going on?"

The callgirl sighed and sat down on the foot of her bed. "It's Unalaq." She took a deep breath, preparing for the worst. "Asami, he... he's my uncle."

It hit the businesswoman like a ton of bricks. "WHAT?!"

"On my father's side," Korra continued. "My last name is Amarok, just like the Chief's."

Asami was completely flabbergasted. "You're not making any sense. Why on earth would he live in a fucking palace, and you have to sell yourself to make a living? Can't he spare a room or something?"

A dry chuckle escaped the callgirl. "Well, I suppose he could, but he won't. He's the reason I have to do this in the first place." She chuckled again. "Why am I even telling you this? I barely know you!"

The businesswoman sat down next to Korra and took her hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze. "Korra, you can trust me. You can tell me as much as you're comfortable with, but please be honest with me. I am genuinely starting to care for you, and I hope that feeling is mutual."

"It is. And I suppose it's only fair, you've told me things about yourself too, right?"

A pang of guilt went through Asami. You haven't even told her the half of it. Hell, you've barely lifted a tip of the veil when held against what you've really done. "I have, just... just not everything."

Korra looked up and smiled. "Well, that would be a bit much to ask." She took another deep breath. "It all started with my dad. He was the oldest, and therefore, first in line for the throne, eventually. The successor never really gets a lot of benefits here in the South, he has to make his own living. My dad chose to go into the military, and he was fairly successful. His title may have had a helping hand in it, since he made it to the rank of general by the time he was 40. He was popular too. Charismatic, handsome, family man, the whole nine yards, so a lot of people liked him, and thought he would be a good successor to my grandfather. Unalaq, well, he was none of those things, but he was clever, cunning, and above all else, ruthless. He devised a plot, one in which he would become chief, and my parents would be out of his way without people asking too many questions."

Telling the story was clearly doing a number on Korra, Asami could tell that much. She shifted their position slightly, so that she could wrap an arm around the callgirl's shoulder, pulling her that much closer.

"He planted evidence that my parents were smuggling drugs in their storage unit, then reported it to the police. I mean everything, drugs, manifests, money. Extremely thorough. In reality, that stuff had been seized by the police earlier, and Unalaq had bribed police officers to give it to him, and he'd also paid off judges, journalists, all in service of the former: making sure the case he had against my parents was rock solid. Most of the time, my parents were each other's alibi, and that doesn't really prove anything when they're both being accused. When they ultimately were arrested after the raid, my uncle already had everything in place, and it took no time at all for the court to sentence both of them to 20 years in prison."

By now, the businesswoman had pulled them both down onto the bed, with Korra resting her head on Asami's chest. She was gently running a hand through her hair and had her other hand in front of her mouth in shock. "Christ, that's horrible! And Unalaq got away with it?"

The callgirl nodded. "By cleverly pointing journalists in the right direction for him, he could play the media and steer public opinion, effectively cancelling out my father's earlier popularity. For the judging, even if the case was shaky, he'd bribed the judges anyway, and none of it had his fingerprints on it."

Asami hesitated again but decided to go for it now that Korra was finally opening up. "What happened to you?"

She stayed quiet for a long time, and eventually, a quiet sob escaped her. The businesswoman wrapped her arms around Korra a little tighter and pressed a soft kiss on top of her head. It took her quite a while of murmuring comforting words, but in the end, she managed to calm the callgirl down again.

"I'm sorry, Asami, it's just, it all comes up again."

Asami gently cupped Korra's face, nudging her up so they could see eye to eye. "You don't worry about that," she softly said, wiping her cheeks dry with the end of her sleeve. "Tonight, you get to let it all out."

The callgirl's ice-blue eyes displayed a whole range of emotions, from gratitude to sadness as she recounted the whole thing, so after another deep breath, she continued. "I was 16 at the time. Normally, you're supposed to be put in with the closest living relatives, but that list was short for me. My grandfather, who was basically a dead man walking, and my uncle, who wanted me out of the way as well. He went out of his way to make sure I didn't end up in his custody, so I was placed in foster care, but for reasons I couldn't figure out at the time, they were on the other side of the south pole. I was also moved around a lot, going from one family to the next, never staying anywhere more than, I dunno, three days? This lasted until my parents were convicted, and the first thing they did, was ship them off to the Northern Water Tribe to serve out their sentence."

This confused the businesswoman. "That doesn't make any sense. Why would Unalaq do that?"

"Well, in the official statement, it's to prevent them from going on with their criminal enterprises from inside, but in reality, it was so that they couldn't stir up any trouble about me. If I couldn't contact them, they wouldn't have any ways to make a big fuss in the media. I was pulled from my last foster family two days after they were convicted and flown back to Ushuaia from the other side of the Tribe. They just dumped me in the Industrial Zone. All I had were the clothes on my back and about 30 yuans that my foster parents had given me before I left. They knew those guys weren't up to any good. The rest was confiscated by the state, claiming it was drug money. The guys who came for me, they warned me they would kill me if I tried to seek attention, and I still don't think it was an idle threat."

She paused for a while, but Asami could tell she was just gearing up to tell the rest. "Those 30 yuans lasted me about three days. After that, I didn't know what to. I had no friends, no family, no place to stay, nothing." Another small sob escaped her, and Asami tightened her grip again. "I tried to beg people for money, and after a while, was approached by a man who was willing to give me 50 yuans. I knew what he was after, but I didn't have any choice." She closed her eyes, and the businesswoman ran her fingers through Korra's hair again in an attempt to comfort her. "I sold my virginity for 50 bucks, to a man three times my age. I didn't even know his name. After that, I had money again for a while, but that soon ran out, so it started again from the top. Repeat that for over a decade, and I landed on your doorstep."

It stayed silent for a long time between them, occasionally broken by a quiet sob from the callgirl. Of course Asami had heard of the case back when it was being conducted, but she didn't really think anything of it. Hell, it seemed like a fairly normal case, given the corrupt nature of officials in the Water Tribes. Unalaq had stepped up against this, or so he claimed at least, because the businesswoman knew how difficult it was to get anything done without the Chief's seal of approval. She was currently at the receiving end of that.

"Korra..." she eventually spoke up. "I... I am so sorry about all of this."

"It's not your fault, Asami, it's Unalaq's. It has given me a goal: I want to visit my parents. That's why I'm still doing this, waiting tables just doesn't cut it. I need to pay a smuggler to get me out of the South Pole, because I don't have a passport. That's gonna be fucking expensive, so I have to save up, and then I also have to survive in the North."

The businesswoman stayed silent. Korra was too proud to accept her money, but Asami knew that plan to be shaky at best. Saying that wouldn't do the callgirl any good though, so instead, she just continued cradling her, patiently waiting for her to stop crying.

It took a long time for that to happen, and when it did, Asami spoke softly. "Thank you, Korra."

She looked up. "For what?"

"For opening up to me."

Korra relaxed back into Asami's grip, and for once, the callgirl fell asleep in the businesswoman's arms.

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