She looked at the number scrawled on the back of the business card. Her heart sped up with the weight of it, just seven digits in Andi’s shaky hand. She had thoughts of morality and thoughts that said fuck that shit.
She was leaning into the latter. And memory of their conversation was not helping.
“It’s a service, hon,” Andi said. She was leaning against the edge of her mahogany desk, in her high-end corner office. She had African art on the coffee table, on the walls, fertility gods perched as book ends on the shelves along the wall, shadow boxes holding carvings of cheetahs and elephants and a boomerang – she always wanted to point out that boomerangs were Australian. But she always stopped short, because she thought Andi probably knew something about boomerangs that she didn’t. She was smart. You didn’t climb to the top in the law profession without being smart. And this office was bigger than her apartment. “It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. These guys are safe, vetted, I know the madam.”
“Is that what they call them still? Madams?” I looked skeptically at the number.
Andi rolled her eyes behind their exquisite smokey lids. She was beautiful, she didn’t always have to be wondering what a man thought when he looked at her. “Oh my God, Ems. Does it matter? Just call the fucking number. Ask for Daniel. You won’t be disappointed.”
So here she was. Her fingers shook on the dial pad. She mis-dialed twice and had to start over. Her heart took a flying leap over the edge while she listened to it ring.
“Escorted, how may we help you?” The female voice was… normal.
She cleared her throat and stammered. How did one break into this topic gently? “Hi, my name is-”
Gentle interruption. “We don’t require you give your real name, honey, unless you want to. What are you looking for tonight?”
Sex. Dirty, raunchy, no-strings-attached sex. “I’m – I’m not really sure.”
A soft laugh. “First time, huh. Were you recommended by someone?”
“Yes. She told me to ask for Daniel?”
“Mm, nice choice. Now to make the experience amazing for you, do you mind if I ask a few basic questions? Your answers will be passed on to the gentleman, so he can best fulfill your needs.”
“Great. There’s nothing to be nervous about, honey. All our gentlemen are thoroughly vetted for you, they’ve had all the blood tests, we do require condoms at all times, and expect you to report it if that rule isn’t followed. We’re discreet. No one will ever know. And our gentlemen are very good at what they do. So there’s no need to be nervous.”
Ems gave a small laugh. She wished she didn’t sound so… new.
“Daniel is one of our best. He does everything, but he’s especially good at cunnilingus. He doesn’t expect reciprocation, unless you want to give it. So what are you looking for tonight?”
She stammered. “I just… I want…”
“It’s okay, honey. I think I know why Daniel was recommended. Meet him at this address in an hour, and he’ll take care of you.” And she gave an address and room number.
“What about payment?” she managed.
“You can pay him however you like. Most women prefer cash, untraceable. But that is entirely up to you. And, honey,” there was a smile in her voice. “He’s worth it.”
It was a nice hotel. She couldn’t believe she was standing in front of it, knowing that this Daniel was waiting in one of the rooms, probably wearing nothing but a smile. She imagined he’d be Calvin Klein material. Cut. Dark. Perfect in every way. She turned around. There was no way. She wasn’t Andi, who had nothing to hide, no fat, no cellulite, no pimples. She’d had all that stuff surgically removed. Defense attorneys could afford that kind of self-maintenance.
Book store clerks could not.
But he was a professional, right? Surely he had clients of all kinds.
She found herself in the elevator, headed for the fifth floor. When the doors slid open on the sterile, gold-carpeted hall, she drew a deep breath and stepped out. There was a man standing there. She didn’t make eye contact. Just gave a smile and looked at the room number in her hand.
“Ems?” She froze. She looked at him. He was dressed in relaxed-fit jeans, and a tweed blazer over a chambray shirt. He had brown eyes, and yellow hair that hung to his shoulders. His face was round, with a strong jaw and chin, but ordinary – average. Attractive. He wasn’t much taller than her, but his shoulders were broad, his neck thick, his chest barreled. He stepped forward with a smile and held out his hand. “I’m Daniel.”
He took her arm and chatted easily, seeming oblivious to both her nervousness and chronic tongue-tying. He let them in the room. The lights were low, but in the center of it was a small table set for two. And something smelled delicious.
“I didn’t know if you drank, Ems, so I had them bring up sparkling water, too.”
“I’ll have a glass of wine. Or three,” she joked.
He smiled, and it was dazzling. Then he took her coat, and pulled out her chair, and uncorked the bottle. “I’m not what you were expecting, right?” he asked as he handed her a glass of red, and sat down across the table.
She wasn’t sure how to answer that. She blushed. “I’m probably not, either.”
His eyes crinkled. “You’re beautiful, Ems. You’re more than I was expecting. Are you disappointed?”
She reminded herself that he was being paid to say these things. She reached for her purse. “I should pay you-”
His hand shot out and he caught her eyes. “No. No money yet.”
“Here, have some of this wellington. And tell me if you’re disappointed.” He winked very slightly.
He kept easy conversation going while she picked at her food. It wasn’t what she was hungry for. It wasn’t why she was here. She answered his question as honestly as she knew how. “I think you’re lovely, Daniel. No, not disappointed at all. Maybe even a little…”
She looked down.
When he’d eaten most of his food, he stood up and walked around behind her. He put his hands on her shoulders and began to rub gently, easing the tension out. “That’s not really what I’m hungry for,” he whispered. “And I’d hazard a guess that dinner isn’t why you came here.” His lips brushed her ear. “Do you dance?”
Her heart was racing again. And his touch was waking her body. She was feeling things it had been far too long since she’d last felt. “Not really.”
He pulled her up and against his body. He felt good. Warm and strong, masculine. He put his mouth on her neck and swayed them gently in slow time to the music that was playing in the background. “You still haven’t told me what you want, Ems. You know that’s what I’m here for, right? To give you what you need.”
She found herself letting go. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was how good and natural he felt. Maybe it was his hands, beginning a slow, sensuous roam down her back to her buttocks, and the way he squeezed her against her body that wasn’t in any way a demand, but an invitation. An offering.
She put her arms around his neck. He leaned back and looked at her face. “May I kiss you?”
She thought there was no kissing. There was never kissing in the movies. But she nodded. She needed the kissing, the caressing.
His was skilled. But not so much so that she remembered he was anything but just a guy she’d met in a hallway. He took his time, but there was an urgency, too. As though he were showing her that it was okay, okay to react, to need, to ask. He kissed her and pulled her against his body. She felt him getting hard. They kept swaying, and he deepened the kiss. His hands slipped, one on the small of her back, pressing, and the other, up beneath her blouse, cupping her through her lace underwear.
And then he groaned. It was her undoing.
She lost inhibition, conscious thought, and turned herself over to pure instinct. It was a switch she could flip, a switch she’d forgotten about in recent years. Her hands worked the buttons of his shirt, and she felt his fingers working with her. Her mouth followed where her hands touched, and she tasted his skin, like salt and wind and soap. She touched and kissed, licked, sucked all the way to the top of his jeans. Her hand found him through the fabric and she rubbed him, insistently, up and down, and looked up at him.
He made another noise as he looked down at her, then he traced her cheekbone and jawline and chin with his finger. He lightly rested the pad of his thumb on her plump lower lip. He caught her eyes as he did.
No thought. Only the sensuality of that simple gesture, the heat in his eyes and his pulsing cock beneath her hand. She kept rubbing, with rhythm and intent, and took his thumb into her mouth. She sucked it, lapped her tongue around it, imagined it was his dick she sucked; he started to pull it from between her lips, and she let him, catching him at the very end with her teeth and sucking him back in, hard, as far as she could, and his hips thrust against her. He said, “Baby, I can’t take much more,” in a hoarse whisper.
She smiled at him, released him, and stood and walked to the bed. She took off her blouse and her bra as she went, and slid down the zipper over the hip of her slacks.
She’d made it almost to the bed when she felt him behind her. He turned her to face him, not roughly, but firmly, and he dipped his head and took first one nipple into his mouth then the other. At the same time, he laid her back. He did as she had done to him, touching and kissing the sensitive flesh over her ribs and stomach and hip bones. He took what was left of her clothing as he went, and then she was exposed for him. He didn’t hesitate. He lifted her slightly, tilting her pelvis with his hands, and he rained soft kisses over her thighs and groin, working his way closer, always closer, maddeningly closer to her epicenter.
She strained against him. Begged him with her body to hurry up and slow down. He listened. She felt him tuning in to her body, to every reaction, to every subtle direction. He devoured her like a starving man, she felt the moment he lost himself, felt the world narrow to nothing but the sensation of his lips and tongue and teeth stroking and pushing and sucking.
She wrapped her hands in his yellow hair and opened for him. She let go. She said his name and begged for him. She closed her eyes and sank through billowing clouds that brushed her skin like fingers and tongues. And when her climax reached its peak, she pulled him up to her own mouth with her hands and pressed her tongue against his as he buried himself to the hilt inside her and began driving, building, and finally pushing her over the edge.
She’d never fallen like that. Never let go so completely, never felt safe enough to abandon herself so thoroughly to pure sensation. He held her while she floated, and trailed kisses over her her exposed throat and the tops of her breasts. He told her she was beautiful, and sexy. He’d come hard with her, almost on command. As soon as he had, he’d left her body, she’d felt him leave with a sharp sense of disappointment, fleeting and momentary, as he’d then placed his warm hand over her sex, cupped her and stayed still while the floating went on and on.
After a little while, he kissed her cheek and rose, went into the bathroom. It came back in a rush, and the awkwardness came with it. She got up and found her clothes, but didn’t have time to put them on before he walked back out, still completely naked. He was smiling. “Wow, Ems, that was pretty fucking amazing,” he said as he gathered his own scattered clothing. He found her bra and handed it to her.
She turned her back to him and began to dress. “I bet you say that to all the girls,” she said with a smile.
He was behind her and moved her hair aside to kiss her cheek. “Maybe. But I don’t always mean it,” he teased back.
That made her feel good. She picked up her purse off the chair by the door, and took out the folded bills that were meant for him. It seemed so coarse, to just hand him the cash. She wondered if she should lay it somewhere for him to pick up.
He saw her struggle, and he walked over and embraced her. “That was amazing, truly. Thank you for sharing it with me.” He grinned playfully and tilted her chin up and kissed her cheeks, first one, then the other. He took the money from her hand and replaced it with what felt like a card. “I’d really like to do it again sometime. Let me walk you out?”
He left her by the car with a last kiss on her cheek, and the promise that he’d come if she called. He grinned at his own joke and walked away, head down, hands in his pockets.