Five years. Five years I lived with that snobbish, arrogant, lazy, frigid bitch. Five years of her ‘doing her duty’ a couple of times a month (when there was little or no chance of conception). Five years of soothing my housekeeper’s feathers after Eleanor criticised, scathingly, some meal or the state of the house. Then, thanks to a business acquaintance I heard about the Training Centre. Some enquiries, a visit to a judge in chambers – he certainly didn’t rubber-stamp the order, but after ten minutes talking to her he approved the order without reservation – I delivered her to the hospital as the first stage of her induction. The automatic divorce was nice, and avoided neatly the shit storm her family would have brought down on me if I’d got rid of her any other way. The expense? Two grand for the hospital investigations, and a grand a week thereafter. Well worth it, just for the peaceful ambience of my home, alone. Three months, extendible, and she should come back a different woman. In the meantime, I could find someone congenial to share my bed. Oh, by the way – frigid? I don’t hold that ‘frigidity’ is always the woman’s fault. But Dad made sure I knew my way round a woman’s body thanks to some training from our local Madame – Madam Anastasiya. Eleanor wouldn’t allow me to get her ready for sex. Oral was ‘dirty’, and I wasn’t allowed to handle her. As a result sex was, at best, uncomfortable and perfunctory. The Training Centre, I gathered, would change that.
So, as I left the hospital, I headed for Manpower. I cannot really approve of slavery or even the indenture I’d subjected my wife to, but our society is what it is, as they say. The proprietor recognised me and fawned over me as I laid out what I wanted.
“Well, sir ... if you really want to do your own training, I’ve just had a delivery. There’s a selection of females – cross-section in age and ethnicity – in my arrivals pen. Why don’t you take a look?”
The twenty women did, indeed, form a cross-section. The ages ranged from maybe sixteen to mid-forties. Skin colour from peaches and cream to almost black. All naked, all showing signs of beatings, all with wrists cuffed behind their backs and ankles hobbled. I wandered among them until my eye was caught by one cowering in a corner. She was olive-skinned, with dark, wavy hair, and when I got closer, I saw she had the hawk nose characteristic of Arab ethnicity. It was surprising she’d made it this far without being beaten to death, I thought. The unreasoning prejudice arising from the Islamic terrorist atrocities of a number of years previous had made it very difficult indeed for anyone appearing middle-eastern. She was also beautiful.
I stood in front of her and tangled my fingers in her hair, which was thick and long. It only took a light pull to get her to stand. She was of middle height and build, with large, dark eyes glistening with incipient tears. Her breasts were firm, wide mounds, with no sag, and when I caressed them her nipples sprang to attention and resembled long pencil erasers. I cupped her mound and found she was flooding; a finger at her entrance produced a wince. A virgin? Surely not! I pulled a lead out of my pocket and clipped it to her collar; she followed me dejectedly out of the pen.
The dealer looked at the collar. “This one? Sold as seen, of course. No guarantees. A grand to you.”
A bargain, I suppose, especially in view of her general condition. I frowned. “Seven-fifty.”
“Nine hundred. I really can’t go any lower than that.”
The formalities observed, I had her cuffs and hobble removed and led her to my car. The Renault Zoe suits me very well. The batteries could do with replacement, but overall, the range is plenty for my needs and our battery technology suffered, along with all our other manufacturing, during the Wars. Thinking of the swamp I’d found when I fingered her, I doubled a towel on the passenger seat before indicating I wanted her to get in. I drove home. We still hadn’t exchanged a word. On arrival, I parked out front and turned to her.
“Ma hu asmuk, sayidatan jamilatan?” (“What is your name, pretty lady?”)
“I will reply in Arabic if you wish, sir, but I am British, third generation, and my first language is English. My name is Sabina Almasi.”
I laughed. “Well! That serves me right for making an assumption. Sabina, my name is Frederic Jenkins. Am I right that you are a virgin?”
Her face, which had been almost relaxed, tightened up. “You are right.”
“Sabina, I feel as though I reached into a dustbin and pulled out a diamond. I hope you will be able to relax and learn to trust me. I do not wish to hurt you, but you will need to work and I did buy you to warm my bed.”
“As if I did not realise that was one reason. I am glad, though, that you treat me as human. Did you know that my family name means ‘diamond-like’?”
“No – I didn’t know that. Come inside, and I’ll introduce you to my housekeeper.”
Missus Cooper is a late-middle-aged widow – her husband died in Syria during the Wars. She looks after me very well, but suffered frequently from my wife’s acid tongue.
“Mister Jenkins! And who is this?”
“Missus Cooper, this is Sabina. I just bought her from Manpower.”
My housekeeper knows my views on slavery, and showed her shock at my words. “Sabina will be taking Missus Jenkins’ place in the house,” I elucidated, “though exactly what that entails remains to be worked out. She is expecting to help you about the house – I don’t know what skills she has – but she will be sleeping in the master bedroom.”
Her eyes flicked from me to Sabina several times. “Very good, sir. Will you be wanting some lunch, or have you eaten while you were out?”
“No, neither of us have eaten. Sandwiches, or anything you have ready, will do. Perhaps we could eat in the kitchen.”
“Certainly, sir. Sabina, if you’ll come with me, we’ll begin to get you used to the house. Sir, give us fifteen minutes and there’ll be food on the table.”
I took myself to the study, where I poured myself an unaccustomed tot of whisky. I sipped it comfortably and didn’t worry too much about the passage of time; I think it was probably nearer thirty minutes than fifteen when Missus Cooper called me to the kitchen. Sabina had obviously had a shower, her hair was wrapped up in a towel, and she was wearing one of my t-shirts. There was a pile of sandwiches on the table.
“Thank you, Missus Cooper.” I just smiled at Sabina. “Let’s eat, people. Yes, Sabina – I want you to eat, too. I expect you know what there is.”
“Yes, sir. Thank you.” Her hand stretched out and took a cheese sandwich – my choice was corned beef.
“I ate earlier,” Missus Cooper said. “With your permission, I will go out and buy some basic clothes for your new lady.”.
“Oh, certainly! I should have thought of that earlier.”
She left and we ate our way through the mound of sandwiches. Sabina did justice to her share; I was unsurprised, as I suspected that she probably hadn’t been well fed since entering the system.
“So,” I said. “Sabina. What’s your story?”
She sighed. “Dad disappeared a few weeks before the attack on London. I’d like to think he didn’t have anything to do with any of the attacks, but I suppose he was involved. They took Mama – I never saw her again – and I was just six and was put in a sort of hostel. They did at least provide schooling. I got to sixteen ... and they kicked me out to the dealer, and I was brought here, and you bought me. I was really scared, ‘cos I know what happens to people like me sometimes.”
“Well, Sabina, I don’t get my kicks by hurting young women, and I don’t hold your background against you. I’ve just got rid of a woman who has made my life very unpleasant for the last five years, and I would like someone – a woman, that is – with whom I could share my life ... with pleasure. I hope ... that’s you.”
“Will you give me a baby?”
“Do you want a baby?”
“Oh, I always wanted to be a mother. Of course, part of the dream was being married, too. But I wanted lots of children.”
“Let’s go into the lounge.” I led the way, and once there, “Don’t sit for a moment. Sabina, how would you feel about marrying me?”
Her eyes widened and, once again, glistened with tears. “Please, sir – don’t tease me.”
“I am not teasing.”
“But, sir – you are white, and free, and wealthy. I am Arab, and a slave.”
“Nevertheless, I would have you as wife. First wife, probably, with the new laws. It would not be straight away, for legal reasons, but I am a man of honour, and I will promise now, if you wish.”
She stared at me, unbelieving, then, suddenly, hurled herself at me and clung, like a python, and wept.
Without trying to detach the almost stranglehold she had on my neck, I bent and scooped her up, then sat, holding her in my lap as the paroxysm of tears subsided.
“Are you happy?” She nodded, and the towel wrapped about her hair rubbed my cheek. “Come with me, then.”
.... There is more of this story ...