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Red
Chapter information
Series

The Callgirl

Chapter

4

Written by

AvatarAang7

Release date

January 13, 2016

Word count

7690

Chronology
Last chapter

Aston Martin DB Mark III

Next chapter

Bed Time Story


Sunday evening


Asami didn't really know what was happening, because it felt almost like she was floating. In the background, she could hear the soft tune of the end credits of another Walking Dead episode, but she still had some trouble piecing together what was going on exactly. After a little while though, she realized that simply was because Korra was carrying her bridal-style. "You could have just woken me up, you know," she said, a slight smirk appearing on her face.

"Meh, you're not heavy."

"I've gained two pounds since I landed here, it's possible that you're just freakishly strong."

The callgirl chuckled. "Let's be flattered and say both of those are true."

Asami let her head rest against Korra's chest, feeling the soothing rhythm of her steady heartbeat. When Korra finally stopped walking, the businesswoman looked up in surprise, seeing the teasing smirk on the callgirl's face.

In a very undignified moment, Asami yelped out in surprise as Korra threw her down on the bed. She was a mess of limbs and got caught in the sheets, leading to a boisterous laugh from the callgirl. "Okay, that was too easy," she said once her laughing had subsided enough.

Asami had managed to win the battle with the sheets, and looked up and the toothy grin on Korra's face, which definitely suited her. In fact, it was the kind of sight Asami could get used to.

-Do I even need to say what that sounds like?

I suppose not.

She glanced up, and saw how Korra was distracted by her own amusement, so Asami took the opportunity to grab her by the arm, and flip her over her shoulder and onto the bed as well, before straddling her. "I spent years taking self-defense classes, I know how to handle myself."

Korra's typical smirk widened. "I can bench-press 180 pounds, and you don't weigh that." To demonstrate this, she grabbed Asami by the neck and the small of her back, pushing her into the air like she was a balloon. "Hmmm... I'm gonna say 140."

The businesswoman turned beet-red at this. "Put me down!" Korra complied, throwing her back onto the bed in another inelegant heap, forcing Asami to shake her hair down again. The fact that this made the callgirl lick her lips escaped her. "And for the record, I weigh 135." Korra raised an eyebrow that said 'we both know that's a lie'. "Oh, alright, 138," she quickly admitted. "I haven't been doing my usual exercises down here."

"There we go, that's more like it."

A comfortable silence fell while they both worked their way under the covers, Korra taking of her sweatpants before she did that, but this time, she didn't take off her shirt. Asami turned onto her side, and Korra wrapped her arms around her waist again. They laid like that for a few minutes, before she spoke up again. "Asami?"

"Hmm?"

"How gay are you?"

This took the businesswoman completely by surprise. "Excuse me?"

Korra recanted a bit. "Okay, maybe that came out wrong."

"Yeah, maybe it did."

The callgirl playfully nudged Asami in the shoulder, and she felt the breath of a dry chuckle on her neck. "Let me rephrase that: would you say you're full-on lesbian, bi, or just curious and thought 'I'm on the far end of the planet, might as well experiment where people won't know it ever happened'?"

Asami chuckled too. "That's not it. I've known I'm into women since I was 14 and had plenty of opportunities to experiment back home. Never really tried guys, though I did try to have a threesome with a guy and a woman a few years back, but..." She took a deep breath, as she suddenly realized she had to lie to get out of this one. "Well, let's just say I realized I was way too gay for that." She didn't know why she let herself get pushed into that corner. Perhaps it was because being around Korra was just very... easy. There wasn't any stress between them, somehow, they just fit together.

Another dry chuckle escaped Korra. "Well, that's one way to put it. I was just curious, but I suppose it's safe to call that 'full-on lesbian', or is that presumptuous?"

"A little, but I suppose it's true."

"Awesome." Another brief silence fell. "Can I ask you how you came out to your parents?"

Asami was a little thrown off her rocker by this question and rolled over, putting a little bit of distance between her and Korra. "Where's that suddenly coming from?"

There's another crack. The businesswoman could clearly see another crack appear in the callgirl's hard outer shell, and it was fairly obvious she regretted asking that question. The only thing she just couldn't figure out was why.

"Just curious," Korra quickly lied, but it was just too obvious. Asami was doubting; she was once again very curious as to what was going in her head, underneath the armbands, and behind her armor in general, but prying might make her close ranks. She decided to go for the golden middle, so she took her hand and gently started caressing it with her thumb, before softly speaking. "Korra, if you don't want to tell me why, you don't have to, but I'd really rather have you be up front about it than that you lie to me."

She sighed and closed her eyes. "You're right," she conceded. "I just... Never had the opportunity to come out to my parents, so I sort of probe, see if there are any definitive do's and don'ts about coming out to one's parents."

Asami slowly nodded. "That's an answer I can live with." Truth be told, she wasn't entirely satisfied with it, because Korra was still hiding parts of it, but it would have to do for now. "Alright, I suppose I can do this." She took a deep breath. "My mother was killed when I was six, so I never had the opportunity to tell her."

Their hands reversed positions, so now it was Korra's thumb caressing Asami's hand, and her expression turned worried. "I'm sorry," she whispered.

Asami sighed. "It's okay. It's been 22 years, you learn to live with it, eventually." She chuckled when she remembered the story she was about to tell. "My father, well, it didn't exactly go smoothly..."


14 years ago, Monday afternoon


Asami took a deep breath and sighed. Yep, this can only end well. She hesitantly knocked on her the door of her father's study, and he called her in.

"Ah, Asami. What brings you here?" he asked her when she walked in.

"I..." she began, but then decided there was a better way to phrase it. "We need to talk. There's something you should know."

Hiroshi laid down his pen and folded his hands in front of him. "You sound serious. What is it?" he asked, though not unkindly so.

"Dad..." Asami started again, but then the hesitation kicked back in. She already had a rough idea of how this was going to turn out, and the end results weren't in her favor, at least in her mind. She took another deep breath and then decided to just go for it. "Dad, I'm gay."

At first, he didn't say anything, but she didn't expect much good from it. He just looked her square in the eyes, eventually looking out the window, before turning back to his daughter. "And how would you know this?"

"Last month, I was with Nalia, she sort of... kissed me, and I really liked it."

He raised a disapproving eyebrow at this. "You mean Nalia, as in, Mr. Kao's daughter, my coworker?"

"Pretty much." Nalia was only a year older than Asami and had always been a bit of a rebel. When her father got promoted to high up in Future Industries, Nalia suddenly got dragged along to all sorts of boring parties, and it hadn't taken very long for the girls to take a liking to each other. This had of course been to Hiroshi's dismay, but there wasn't an awful lot he could do about it. After all, both he and Kao were prepping their daughters for the business life they would lead later on, but he could also understand that Asami liked hanging out with someone closer to her own age.

That had all changed about three months ago, when Nalia had suddenly declared herself to be bisexual. To emphasize this fact, she'd cut her hair properly short, pierced her nose, and started wearing clothes that were far less conservative.

All these moves made Asami look at her friend in a different light. She had never had much interest in boys, and with Nalia being so much of a 'bad girl', she couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to kiss her. It had taken her quite a while to build up the courage to tell her, but when she did, Nalia wasted no time and gave Asami her first kiss, while they were standing in Hiroshi's office. That, and there had been several others, since the younger girl liked it more than she wanted to admit, mostly to herself.

Until now.

Her father loudly sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, before slicking his hair back. "Asami, I appreciate you coming forward with this. I have always taught you to be honest with me, and you have, so I'll treat this with respect. That being said, I don't like this one bit. In due time, I expect an heir."

She could only stare at him in disbelief. "Dad, I'm 14, don't you think it's a bit early for me to be thinking about children?"

"Not this very moment, but in time. Until then, you'll keep your funny business with girls out of my house at all times. In fact, I expect you to behave properly at all times, so no girls period."

"What?! That's totally unfair!"

He stood up, taking a deep breath. "Asami, I have a business to run and keep up appearances with. I will not have you ruin that good image by doing those kinds of unnatural things and ending up in tabloids."

"Dad!"

"That's final," he decisively said. "Now, I have to prepare for my trip to Ba Sing Se, I'll be back in time for my party on Friday, and I expect you to be there."

Asami sighed and wanted to walk away, but her father's voice stopped her. "Do you understand?"

"Yes..." she sighed, not facing him.

"Look at me when you're talking to me," he demanded.

Begrudgingly, Asami turned around. "Yes, I'll be there."

He sat back down in his chair. "Good."

She slammed the door shut behind her, running to her room where she dropped down on her bed. No fucking way am I just going to accept this. Sure, this had been more or less what she'd been expecting, but that didn't mean she liked it.

Despite the fact that Asami was trying to fight her tears back, they won out over her. A few of them rolled down her cheeks, and she hated this feeling of helplessness. Her father, her only family, wouldn't accept who she really was.

With a sigh, reach for her schoolbag to pull out her phone (a Nokia 3310, simpler times and all that) and dialed for the one person she knew would be able to help her with this.

"Asami!" Nalia's cheerful voice sounded loud and clear. "How'd it go?"

"About as well as I'd expected. He hated it and doesn't want me to go out with girls period. Chances are he hates you as well."

It was briefly silent on the other end of the line. "That's bad. How do you feel about it?"

"How do you think? My dad hates me, probably hates you, and says we can't date."

Nalia thought for a moment. "I can help," she ultimately said. "But I'm gonna need you to trust me completely."

"What are you talking about?"

Nalia's voice suddenly took a turn for the sly. "Have you ever thought about getting a piercing?"


Friday


"Are you sure this is a good idea? I look like a hooker, and a cheap one at that."

Nalia took a step back and smiled. "You want to send a message to your dad, right? Trust me, this will send it."

Asami looked at herself again in the floor-length mirror, almost unable to recognize the person she was looking at. She had undergone a complete make-over in the week Hiroshi had been gone, and the results were nothing short of shocking. First off, Nalia had talked her into a pair of fishnet stockings, a very short miniskirt, a flaming red leather jacket with sleeves that reached down to her elbows, a shirt from some sort of heavy metal band that Asami wouldn't listen to in a million years, and a pair of broad armbands with spikes. Most pressingly though, she had gone for a piercing in her left eyebrow, was suddenly wearing very heavy make-up, most noticeably a dark burgundy lipstick and purple eyeshadow, and she had shaven the left side of her head with her father's clippers, combing the rest of her hair over the other side of her head. He's going to freakin' flip.

"Yeah, if this isn't going to do it, I don't know what will," Nalia confidently said. "Now I have to go get ready myself, I'll see you at the party, okay?"

"Okay. And whatever you do, don't go for your best outfit, remember?"

A sly smile appeared on Nalia's face. "Of course not, we're going to stick it to our parents together. Teach 'em a lesson they'll never forget, simply put."

Asami smiled too. "See you in a few hours."

It was a brilliant plan, and luck had been on their side. Her father's birthday had been on Wednesday, and he was having a party for it at the office today. He spent the rest of the week away on business, but that was not a strange phenomenon. If anything, the timing was nothing short of perfect for their cunning plan. Hiroshi had called earlier to let them know that he'd have to go straight from the airport to the party, since his plane was delayed by headwind. Asami would therefore be taken to the party by San, their driver.

Ultimately, there was a polite knock on her door. "Miss Sato, are you ready to go to the party?" San asked.

She took one last deep breath, and opened the door, faking a cocky smile. "Of course I am, I've been ready for hours. After you," Asami said, holding out her hand. Much to her surprise, San didn't say a word about her appearance, but he did eye her up from head to toe, raising a very discerning eyebrow. However, his expression didn't change at all.

"Very well, miss," he simply said, and preceded her to the 1999 navy blue BMW 7 series, opening the door for her, as was normal.

Truth be told, Asami was nervous as hell. Chances were she'd be grounded forever after this, but if she could get her father to be slightly less bigoted with her sexuality, it would be worth it.

At the party, Nalia was waiting for her at the curb, and Asami smiled at the sight of her. She was wearing a denim skirt, not quite as short as Asami's own, but close, deliberately torn stockings, and a top from some other obscure band hanging off one shoulder. So far so good, but her nose piercing and even darker make-up than Asami's left no questions about her intentions: she was going to mess things up tonight. She had dyed her hair, and not just a subtle highlight in a bright color, nope, she'd simply gone for the full monty with a bottle of hydrogen peroxide: it was almost luminescent white. She'd cut her hair fairly short, and made it stick everywhere with the help of a lot of gel.

"She doesn't look like she's up to any good," San said. "Do you want me to drive around the block?"

Asami chuckled. "San, look at me. She's waiting for me, we had agreed to this. Thanks for driving me." She got out of the car before the driver could protest any further, quickly linking hands with Nalia.

"Ready?"

Asami took a deep breath. "Let's do this."

They walked through the doors, but were immediately stopped by a massive man with a clipboard. "Excuse me ladies, this is a private party. I'm gonna have to ask you to leave."

"But I was invited," the younger girl said with a smirk. "After all, it is my father's 55th birthday." The bouncer's eyes damn-near popped out of his skull when he realized who the girls standing in front of him were. "Miss Sato?!"

"Correct. Now, could you please let us in?"

He opened and closed his mouth several times, trying to come up with a response, but nothing came. In the end, he simply unhooked the rope, letting them into the party. The people there were mostly familiar to them, as they were all employees of Sato Industries. Many of them had gone straight here after finishing their work. Nearly all of them looked up at the two punk girls walking in, but no one had the indecency to make rude remarks about their outfits, or the fact that they were holding hands. Some of them recognized Asami and shook her hand to congratulate her with her father, but none of them managed not to throw a discerning look her way.

She and Nalia made their way to the buffet, helping themselves to whatever it was that people there decided was fit to serve at a party. Not long after they had arrived, applause rose from the crowd, and Hiroshi took the stage to give a speech.

It was everything Asami had expected: some utterly generic speech about how great the company was doing, how the people here made that possible, thanking them all for being here to celebrate this day with him, etc. Not a single surprise, in short.

After a while though, she still hadn't seen her father up close and personal, which meant that he would probably start looking for her soon. This was the time to strike.

She nudged Nalia against the arm. "Let's go," she said, and pulled her towards the wall, pressing her against it.

"Since when do you take charge?" the older girl asked, a cocky smirk on her face. Before Asami realized what was happening, she had been spun around, and Nalia was now clearly calling the shots. "Besides, this was what you wanted, right?" she asked, quickly leaning in closer.

Asami could feel her hot breath brush past her lips, and that was essentially all the motivation she needed. She leaned in, catching Nalia's lips with her own, and she made it worthwhile.

This was probably their best kiss so far. Nalia had been Asami's first, and they had practiced since then. But now, here, in the middle of all these stiff and boring people, they had to make it good, and they did. Asami wasted no time pushing her tongue into Nalia's mouth, and that kicked off the fight for dominance over the kiss. The older girl was currently winning that, but neither of them cared.

"What is going on here?" Asami suddenly heard her father's voice break through the air. A sly grin appeared on Nalia's face. "Go get him," she whispered into her ear.

The older girl pulled back, and a coy smile appeared on Asami's face as she turned to her father. "Hey, Dad. Happy birthday."

At first, all color drained from his face, and he was unable to say anything. After about three seconds though, his expression to one of unabashed rage, and he turned as red as Asami's jacket. Without saying anything, he took her by the arm, dragging her through the first set of doors and into his office, decisively slamming it shut behind them. "WHAT IN THE NAME OF HOLY FUCK WERE YOU THINKING ABOUT?!" he yelled. Asami was pretty certain people at the party would have heard that, but didn't think her father was one to care right now.

Welp, you got his attention. "You set terms for me I never agreed with. I think it's time for a re-negotiation."

"By dressing up like a prostitute and embarrassing me in front of my entire company?!"

"It's worth a shot." He leaned on his desk with his fists and took a deep breath to calm himself down, but it didn't work very well. In the end, he smacked some knick-knack across the room, and it exploded against the wall into a thousand pieces. "And apparently, it worked."

"Mouthing off against me isn't going to help you now, Asami."

"Dad, I don't think I'm asking for something that unreasonable. All I want is to be able to go on dates like every girl would."

"Girls aren't supposed to date other girls, I thought I made that clear."

Her sly grin came back to her, though it was only a façade of confidence hiding a mountain of nerves. "And I think I just proved the opposite. Besides, what do you think we did all week long when we were planning this? Our homework?"

Hiroshi pinched the bridge of his nose. "That's it, I'm never leaving you at home alone again. I will not have you humiliate me like this in front of my company."

"Exactly, and if you want to stop that from happening again, you'll give me more freedom. I'll keep it away from you and the company at all times. That way, I don't have to lie about it, and you won't be embarrassed like this again."

He took another deep breath, and sighed. "If I find that you're not completely honest about this, the old rules apply again. You get one chance, that is an end of it."

"I can live with that, thanks, Dad." She was about to walk out of the door again, when her father stopped her again.

"What is that?" he rudely asked, pointing to the small ring in her eyebrow.

"Eyebrow piercing, cool right?"

Hiroshi let his head hang and sighed deeply. "If that thing isn't out of there by this time tomorrow, I'll yank it out with a pair of pliers. Understand?"

Asami gently brushed his hand off her shoulder. "Don't worry about it, I'll get it done."

"Considering what you did here tonight, I am worried."

Good point.

This time, her father preceded her out again to the party, talking on his cell phone. "San, get the car out front immediately, you have to take Asami home. I don't want her walking around like this any longer." He turned to his daughter again. "And young lady, you are grounded for a month."

She sighed but nodded. "Fair enough."


Back in the present


Korra was laughing, which was a surprisingly pleasant sound. Clear and bright, not a hint of shame in there.

-For fucks' sake, focus.

"Somehow, I'm having a hard time picturing you with one side of your head shaven. Isn't that like a porn star's haircut?"

Asami laughed too. "Probably, but my 14-year-old self was too innocent to think of it like that. Besides, I was something of a front-runner with that."

"Worth it?"

"Absolutely."

Korra chuckled again. "I'd pay folding money to see you like that, but I don't think that's going to happen any time soon again, is it?"

The businesswoman laughed and shook her head. "Nope, not a chance. My board already hates me, and I don't need to throw that on top as well." She dramatically yawned and realized she'd spent quite a while telling the story of how she came out of the closet. "I think it's about time we went to sleep. Got a big day tomorrow, and I might need to put your wisdom into practice."

"What wisdom?" the callgirl asked with a quizzical look on her face.

"'Men are idiots. Show enough cleavage, and when you say jump, they say how high,'" Asami quoted. "That wisdom."

She laughed again. "Men giving you a hard time?"

"Business," Asami coolly replied. "Mild chances of success, but it's worth a shot."

At this, Korra laughed even harder. "In that case, you'd better get a good night's sleep. Now roll over, then I can keep you properly warm."

The businesswoman chuckled, yawned again, and complied. "Don't mind if I do..." she whispered into a pillow, reaffirming to herself that Korra is just as nice and warm when she is wearing a shirt.


Monday


Korra's grip was nothing if not firm, she'd have to hand that to the callgirl. She says she can bench-press 180 pounds, and I believe it alright.

"Korra..." Asami says, trying to nudge here awake. "I need to get ready..."

"Hnngg..." she groans, clearly not happy with this. "Mornings... are... evil..."

A dry chuckle escaped from the businesswoman's lips. "Come on, you big goofball, I gotta go take a shower. Some of us have to be productive today."

"Excuse me?" Korra imitated Asami's mock-offended tone from last night. "I'm gonna hit the gym in the afternoon. Gotta keep up the guns," she said, flexing her impressive biceps.

*Drool*

-Don't make me say it.

You don't have to...

"If you have a few hours in the afternoon, feel free to join me."

Asami wriggled free and got out of the bed, trying to suppress the cold shivers running down her spine. "Thanks, but I think I'm gonna decline. The hotel has a gym, and I'd be screwing over my own company if I didn't use it."

The callgirl let out a mock laugh. "That thing down here in the basement? That's not a gym, it's a place where a bunch of old farts can feel good about themselves more than they usually do. That place smells like flowers, and a gym is supposed to smell like sweat and blood."

"Blood?"

"From the sparring ring."

"That's disgusting."

"It works." She rolled off her side of the bed, taking a pen and a notepad from the nightstand and scribbled a few things on it. "This is my cell and the number of the gym, for when I can't hear it, in case you change your mind."

A genuine smile appeared on Asami's face. "Thanks, Korra, I'll keep that in mind. Let me get you your money."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold it right there. My money?"

This confused Asami. "You do this to get paid, right?"

She looked kind of insulted at this. "Sato, I told you last night, I'm here out of my own free will, and I'm not taking any pity-money. I earn my living, every step of the way, and the only time you get to pay me, is when you call Wushu, followed by me fucking your brains out."

It was briefly silent, and the businesswoman realized what a bitch she'd just been by thinking Korra was only doing this because she wanted to get paid. "You're right, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have assumed that."

Korra nodded. "Well, in your defense, it's not a stretch, I know plenty of girls who would just take the fake cash and be on their way. It's just... What I told you last night was true, Asami. I genuinely like you, and what I did was a gesture of friendship, something I refuse to be paid for."

This made Asami's insides bubble up in excitement. She really did mean it. It made perfect sense. Why else would she spend a night she could have been making money with Asami, which ended up costing her money? "That... that's really good of you, Korra. Thank you."

Her frown turned around, turning into a small but very genuine smile. "You're welcome." It was at about that point that she must have realized she was still only standing there in her sleeping shirt and her underwear, because she suddenly reach for the chair behind her, slipping back into her sweats. "There we go, perfect."

Asami rolled her eyes. "You look like a true fashion statement."

The callgirl blew a raspberry, raising an unconvinced eyebrow. "You don't get to judge until you're more fashionable than me," she said, glancing at Asami's own sweats.

"Fair enough, but I'm actually on my way to do something about it."

Korra sighed. "Yeah, I should be going too."

"You're more than welcome to join me for breakfast," Asami hopefully offered.

"Nah, I should be getting home. Thanks for the offer though. You go take a shower, I'll see myself out."

A pang of sadness went through the businesswoman. "Alright. I guess I'll see you again at some point."

Korra smiled. "I'd like that. See you later, Asami."

She shut the door of the shower behind her, getting started on her typical morning rituals. She knew she'd have to look her best if she would even have a vague hope of changing Unalaq's mind. The businesswoman thanked her lucky stars that her hair tended to be cooperative, and it let itself dry in just the way she wanted to, and she put it up in a neat bun.

But now came the tricky part: what to wear. Asami knew she'd have to cheat somehow, so she only went with a mild push-up bra, since she already was reasonably voluptuous by nature, but hey, can't hurt your chances by lending nature a hand. To bring it out, she went with a sleeveless ruby dress, topped off with loose black blazer, drawing any onlooker's eyes to her less-than-modest cleavage. There we go, you look like a pornstar on her way to a job interview. Great job.

Oh shut up, it's not that bad.

Before long, she was on her way to the Bentayga, waiting to be driven to the Palace through the deep, fresh snow. Where the hell are they putting all that stuff?

It went roughly the same as last time: someone picked her up at the front entrance, and she was led to the Chief's office, where she shook hands with him again.

After some brief small talk, Asami decided to go for it. "Chief Unalaq, allow me to get down to business, but I've been informed over the weekend that you've been having second thoughts about the shipyard. Is this true?"

"It is," he softly spoke. "The Amaroks have been ruling these lands since the Great War, and they have rarely sold pieces of it, especially valuable pieces along the coast. I'm having my doubts about doing that now."

Asami was a little disappointed. "But we've had a productive conversation last week. What changed?"

"I've had the time to think it over and read your contract again. The main thing I don't like is that the Tribe only has 25% ownership of the shipyard. You will be able to decide all the hows and whats without my input."

"That also entails that you only carry 25% of the risk. If it's a flop, you won't lose everything, and if it's a success, you'll have helped create hundreds, if not thousands of jobs."

He thought a little longer about this. "But all of those jobs would be in service of Future Industries, a company that isn't based in the Southern Water Tribe. It's based on the other side of the planet. In the end, you would profit most from it."

"That is true, but we'd carry the biggest risk as well, as we would pay for 65% of the costs, and only gain 60% percent ownership, as was negotiated with Varrick Global and you. 40% of the ownership would stay right here in the South, 25 for you, 15 for Varrick."

He stood up, walking to the window. "Look out there, Miss Sato. We have survived every brutal winter the pole could throw at us, every invasion, even when the Fire Nation nearly wiped us out, but we bounced back. We adapt, and our sense of community holds us together through anything. My people have been self-sufficient for centuries, so give me a reason to change that now."

Asami eyed him up suspiciously. "Chief, with all due respect, there are no companies capable of bankrolling a project this big here in the South. And in the long run, it doesn't matter who owns the land, because we all profit, your people most of all. You need Future Industries for this, and my company won't be satisfied with doing this as a third-party contractor."

"Then I'm afraid we no longer have a deal."

Asami stood up as well and was now seeing eye to eye with the rather slender chief, who was starting to get on her nerves. "You are making a huge mistake, Chief Unalaq."

He silently stared her straight in the eye and then walked over to his desk, pressing a button on his phone. "Misu, show my guest out please." The businesswoman didn't wait for his assistant and instead made for the door herself. "And Miss Sato?" he stopped before she could walk out, so she did turn around to face him again. "If you dress to impress, you're going to need more than a low neckline and a push-up bra."

"You noticed?" she snidely threw at him.

"Even politicians have imagination."

Asami now felt her blood boil. He insulted her company, her intentions, and her fashion sense in a ten-minute conversation. "Goodbye, Chief Unalaq." With large paces, she made her way back to the Bentley 4x4, where Koda was waiting for her return.

"Whereto, Miss Sato?"

"Hotel," she curtly answered, not feeling like making pleasant small talk with the happy-go-lucky driver. Asami dug through her purse for her phone and when she found it, dialed for her assistant. "Nikita, get a hold of the board. Tell them the deal with the shipyard is off, Unalaq changed his mind."

"What happened?"

"Not sure. You tell them, I'm gonna go tell Varrick the bad news, maybe he can do something about damage control."

Nikita was briefly silent. "Will do, Miss Sato."

Asami sighed as she hung up and prepared to call Varrick. This should be fun.

Once she got back to her room, she wasn't feeling much better. She spent over two hours trying to do paperwork that had been stacking up over the past week, but only got about half done of what she would be able to if she was actually focused. Sick of the whole enterprise, she threw her pen away and groaned loudly while falling back in her chair. The frustration was reigning supreme in her head, and she'd need a way to get rid of it.

That's when her eye fell on the notepad Korra left there earlier. The gym seemed like a good way to do that, and even though she hated to admit it, Korra was right. The place in the basement wasn't a gym, it was just a room with treadmills and home trainers, not really a place to vent some frustration.

Hesitantly, she took her phone from her purse again and dialed the number on the pad, but it went straight to voicemail. "Hey there, you've reached the voicemail of Korra, I'm not here, but feel free to leave a message!" Even though it was a machine talking, it was surprisingly pleasant to hear her voice. What did I tell you about focusing?

Yeah, yeah, I know.

She had more luck with the other number. Katara's Gym, was the name of the place, apparently. She quickly got an address, threw some stuff in a small bag she brought with her for contingencies, and walked down to once again get Koda behind the wheel.

He was more than a little surprised when she told him where she wanted to go, as the gym wasn't exactly located in the best part of town. He pulled up right in front of it, clearly uncomfortable with driving a 300.000 yuan Bentley into this neighborhood, where Asami suspected the average cost of a car was about... well, chances were a lot of these cars weren't bought but stolen. For that reason, she told Koda to head back to the hotel, and she'd call him again when she was done.

The gym itself wasn't that bad, but only when compared to the rest of the neighborhood. 'Katara's Gym and Fitness Center', was what it said on the outside, which Asami though may be just a touch too much. Inside, there was a lovely old lady sitting at a desk. "Welcome to the gym, how can I help you?" she immediately asked when Asami stepped in.

"I uhh... I'm looking for someone. A woman, roughly my age, 5 foot 7, short hair, tattoos, know who I mean?"

She clapped her hands together. "Oh, you mean Korra? Of course I know her! Lovely girl, she's inside, already started the workout. Want me to take you to her?"

"That would be nice." She got out from behind her desk and led Asami into the gym itself, which did actually smell like sweat and blood. Guess she was onto something.

When she spotted her, it was impossible to contain the surge of heat coming from between her legs, because holy. Fucking. Hell. Korra was doing her bench presses, lying flat on her back under the rack to hold up the dumb-bell, while the beads of sweat were running down her tattooed arms, accentuating her muscles which were straining under the weight. Her chest rising and falling was timed perfectly with the dumb-bell going up and down, and the drops running over the locked heart on her chest looked nothing short of amazing. Her short hair clung in dark strands to her neck, and the fact that her attire consisted of just a blue sports bra, her forearms wrapped in bands, a short pair of yoga pants, and a pair of trainers didn't really help Asami's sanity. Her well-defined abs were covered with a sheen of sweat as well, making the guns on her waist appear as high-gloss, only adding to the callgirl's level of attraction.

-Remember to keep your mouth shut, otherwise you can wave-surf out of here on your drool.

Yeah, yeah, no need to mention me keeping my legs closed.

The old lady snapping her fingers brought Asami back into the real world. "You alright there, love? You zoned out for a minute."

"Yeah, I..." Smooth and quick, like the good old days, come on. "I'm fine, just have a lot on my mind."

Suddenly, a thoughtful look appeared on the old lady's face. "You look familiar, do I know you from something?"

"Red!" Korra's voice suddenly pierced the air. She had put her dumb-bell away, and jumped up from her bench. "I see you've met Katara. Katara, this is Red, I work with her from time to time."

"Ah," Katara said, looking like only half of her bought Korra's excuse. "Anyway, Korra, you can show her around, right?"

"Yeah, I got this," she said, waving a dismissive hand around. "Thanks, Katara."

With slow paces, she pit-patted off, back to her desk at the entrance, while Korra took over.

"So..." Asami opened. "Red?"

The callgirl simply shrugged. "Color that suits you. Plus, I figured you wouldn't want Katara to figure who you really are. Anyway, that's in the past. What made you stop by?"

"I..." She sighed. "My meeting this morning went badly, and I haven't been able to concentrate. Got something for that?"

Korra's trademark grin came back to her face. "Yes, I do, it's called a punching bag, but if you're going to do that, I hope you're planning on wearing something other than a pair of 1500 yuan boots."

Asami held up her bag with gym clothes. "Don't worry, I came prepared. All I need is a place to change, got one of those?

"Sure." Korra led her to a changing room, and the businesswoman prepared herself properly. Hair in ponytail - check, red work-out shirt - check, wrapped hands - check, trainers - check, that little black pair of shorts that makes your already long legs look longer than they really are and your ass stand out - check.

-Gee, wonder what that's for...

Oh, shush.

When Asami stepped out of the changing room again, Korra was waiting for her with her trademark slanted grin on her face. "That's more like it. Come on, punching bags of the gym prepare."

They made their way to one, and Korra stepped behind the bag to hold it in place. "Let 'em have it. Just imagine it's the face of the guy you had your meeting with."

Asami smiled, and that actually turned out to be good advice. Picturing Unalaq on the bag wasn't difficult and throwing her first right hook caught even Korra off guard. "Holy hell, Red, where'd you learn to punch like that?"

Her smile only grew as she continued throwing punches at the heavy bag, and it helped in getting out her frustrations. "I know," she smirked in between punches. "I told you, I've been taking self-defense classes since I was six." The callgirl braced for the next volley, all of which were good. They came faster, harder, and Asami felt her anger slowly slipping. She ended her round with a massive backwards mid-air kick, making Korra step back to keep her balance.

The businesswoman was panting and smiling at same time, since this turned out to be an excellent way to vent. "Thanks for the advice, Korra," she said once she'd caught her breath. "This really was what I needed."

"Told you so," Korra smirked, and then she squinted. "You know what else you need? To go running with me for a few miles. Let's hit the treadmills."

-You know you've got better things to do than to indulge on some schoolgirl-like crush.

What? I need to keep in shape, being in the South is no excuse.

-That's a very convenient excuse to spend time with her, though.

Maaaaaybe...

Running with Korra turned into something of a race, who can complete one mile the quickest. (It was Korra.) Asami spent the best part of the afternoon in the gym with Korra, working on her condition, doing exercises, and the callgirl even managed to talk her into bench pressing. Sure, she only managed about 80 pounds, but it was a start, according to Korra. "If you want guns like these," she said while flexing, "it just takes time, patience, and a lot of reps."

In the end though, Asami was tired and figured she should get back to her hotel, and actually try to finish her paperwork. She headed for the showers, but Korra stopped her. "I wouldn't go in there, if I were you."

"Gotta shower somehow, I stink."

"Probably, but the heater for the women's shower is broken, so the water is cold, and I do mean cold."

Just fucking brilliant. "So what do we do? Hijack the men's showers?"

"Not unless you wanted to be 'accidentally' groped by Moe, Curly, and Larry over there," Korra said with air quotations, while nodding to three old men on home trainers, feasting their eyes on Asami and Korra. "You can take a shower at my place."

"Uhh... Don't you think that's a little... I don't know, inappropriate?"

The callgirl chuckled. "You've been in more inappropriate places with me than my shower." Meh, good point. "Get your things, it's close." Asami quickly gathered her clothes from the changing room, and Korra was waiting outside for her, next to a door that said 'Private' on it.

"You live here in the gym?"

"Katara lets me rent the loft. It's cheap, and a gym membership is included."

It made the businesswoman smile. "Benefits, I suppose."

"Something like that." She preceded her up the narrow stairwell, only to end up in front of another door, this one locked. Asami only momentarily got distracted by Korra's shapely rear, having an almost hypnotizing sway as she worked those toned legs up the stairs...

-Oh my God, how pathetic are you?!

Okay, I deserved that.

"Welcome to my humble home." She threw the door open, and Asami took a good look around. It wasn't very high, and it was only sparsely furnished, with an old couch, a CRT television, thought those had all been redirected to the scrapheap, a tiny kitchen unit, a dresser, and a small double bed. There was a single door to their left, which Asami assumed to be the bathroom. In what she knew to be typical Southern style, it was a pleasant room to be, despite being not very warm. It just had a very homey feel to it. "It ain't much, but it does the trick," the callgirl remarked.

"Don't be silly, it's cozy," the businesswoman said, taking a closer look at the pelt in front of the couch.

"Damn," Korra muttered while looking out the window. "Maybe you're gonna have to skip showering here and get home pronto, there's hail and hellfire on the way."

"What?" Asami walked to the window as well and realized she hadn't been kidding. The sky ahead was black as the night, only it was two in the afternoon, which could only mean one thing: bad weather. "I... I can't, I told my driver to go back to the hotel. Do you think he can still make it?"

After a pause for thought, Korra shook her head. "Not to and fro, and driving in weather like that is suicide. You can stay here for the time being, because it looks like I don't have to work a shift tonight either."

Asami shivered from the cold but smiled nonetheless. "Thank you, Korra. That's very gracious." And very convenient.

Shut up.

"That's okay," she smiled back. "You get in there now," she said, nodding to the shower. "You look like you're freezing."

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