Sunday, September 21, 2014

Color Me Your Color Chapter 1

This will be uploaded onto the site, as well, but I figured I've been gone so long I'd post it here, too. :) 
Chapter 1: It Begins


"Everyone fucks for money, one way or another."
Morgan applied lip gloss nonchalantly, as if she hadn't just corrupted all of my childhood dreams. I sat down on the edge of the bathtub, thoroughly depressed.  There were examples I knew that would prove her wrong, or so I thought…. But even then, when I was fairly blind with inexperience and ignorance, I still knew better than to disagree with her. I still knew better, in general.

I was nearly resigned to my choice, but I hated the thought of the world being so crude. So black and white.

I thought of the Disney princesses rammed down our throats while we grew up and felt sick. "That can't be true."

Morgan smiled indulgently at me and then glanced back at her reflection. "You asked."

"I don't know if I can do this, Morgan. You're so... you. And I'm so me."

She put away her makeup and smoothed down the beautiful brunette hair she spent hours styling.

"I'll take that as a compliment." I started to apologize but she went on, ignoring me. "You don't have to be you. That's the beauty of it. You can be anybody you want to be, and he can be whoever you want him to be, too."

She plucked my bra strap and smirked. "So, are you in? This is the last time I'm going to ask you."

The dress and makeup I wore were all borrowed from Morgan and were foreign on my body. I felt like a complete stranger, but one I was terrified I might one day recognize. All the months I'd lived with Morgan—silently judging her for going out into the night trampy and coming home the morning after with sex and smoke clinging off of her—I never once thought I'd be preparing to join her.

Sighing, she sat next to me on the tub and nudged my arm with hers. It was the only time I could think of her being semi-affectionate to me. We got along and I considered her a friend, but she was rough around the edges. Where I was a shy and anxious pushover, she was brusque, ruthless and supremely confident.

"Jo, you don't have money to pay rent. You won't make it much longer living here by just waitressing alone. Then your father will get involved, and we both know you don't want that."

Her words were the same that ran on an endless loop in my head. They were turning into a taunting dirge that prevented sleep and haunted me throughout the day.
I moved to the city for a chance that someone would look at my photos and say, "This isn't just some chick taking pictures of her toenails. This is art!" And—like in the movies—I believed that maybe after a few terrible interviews, a handsome genius would take a peek and proclaim I was just what he was looking for. An exhibition would be held in my honor, he'd ask me to marry him, and I would have made it.

It didn't work out that way. A year later I was sharing my living space with Morgan and a squeaky family of rats. I was a rail, not because it was en vogue, but because I had no money for food. I wouldn't ask my father for money, and my mother didn't have any. I worked as a waitress in a shitty diner and began to wonder if I’d ever be happy again.

"This is a way out," Morgan continued, drawing me from thinking about my family and the loneliness those thoughts generated. "A really good way out. You won't be just a hooker, a prostitute, or even a call-girl. You'll be a kept woman. There is a difference, believe me. He takes care of you, buys you things, makes life easier. And sometimes you even enjoy the sex."

Morgan took a deep breath, her cheeks red and her eyes wide with excitement. She was getting worked up; I wondered if this was a speech she often repeated to herself in order to leave the apartment and face the night. To face herself.

"Fuck, he even respects you because you're classy and you know it. You call the shots. You’re straight up with him about what you want and what he wants; you’re not gonna say you have a headache. All he does is fuck you, but guess what, Johanna?"

Morgan stood, her dress falling just right across her ass. I could see how she easily fell into this world. Her body was something even I, the shy and repressed mouse, could appreciate with a dark sort of attraction.

“Johanna?” I looked up. Her red lips were smiling. "You'll fuck him back even harder."


XX
We went to her favorite bar in a nicer part of the city. Men smelled like the best cologne with just a hint of the metallic scent of their money. Their wallets probably cost more than my entire wardrobe, and their smiles were as decadent as the drinks they held a touch too elegantly in their hands. I noticed more than a few of those hands were manicured and well-cared for. My own were scabbed, and the nails were jagged and broken from all the times I gnawed on them.

Morgan was quickly spotted by her companion. He waved us over and, though I was warned, I was still startled by his appearance. It was bizarre to see the young, pretty, vibrant Morgan making out with a man close to 70.

After they tore their lips apart from each other, he noticed me. "Johanna. Lovely to meet you, I've heard so much about you. Like how you always do the dishes." He winked. Yuck. "I'm Roger." He shook my hand; his was wrinkled and paper-soft with age.

I fought a shudder, imagining Morgan's soft and youthful body entwined with his dry and scaly one. "You too."

He smiled and gestured for me to take a seat in the little booth he claimed as his own. Morgan sidled up next to him, kissing each fingertip.

"Missed you, Daddy," she purred.

He kissed her cheek. "You did well."

His whisper wasn't meant for me but I heard it anyway. I was a piece of meat, a prize dragged in by Morgan's jaw for Roger's friend. I tried to hide my disgust, but the flicker of Morgan's irritated eyes told me I didn't do the best job.

He ran a hand down her side and took a sip from his amber-colored glass. His eyes assessed me. "My girl tells me you want me to fix you up with someone."

It was strange being so blunt, especially about something like this. I imagined cheesy innuendos and shifty eyes. Roger kept his eyes on mine and there were certainly no innuendos.

My cheeks burned; it was like I was back in the playground at school, playing the silly game of "So and so likes you". Only this was a far more dangerous game and I didn't know the rules, or even the players. I just nodded meekly and took a big gulp of whatever drink Roger had deigned to order me.

His chuckle at my response surprised both me and my roommate. "Oh, he's going to love you. He doesn't know it yet, but he's going to just eat you up."

Instead of being pleased by this, a flurry of concern swelled in my stomach. Me blushing would please him? Little Red Riding Hood came to mind:

"My, what big teeth you have!"

"The better to eat you with, my dear!"


Maybe it wasn't too late to flee. I could take another loan out. Get another job. Ask my grandma for a couple hundred.

Or maybe I wasn't meant to live in New York City with all the glitz and glamour. Maybe I was meant to go back home to Westchester, to the elite crowd I never fit in with, and turn into someone like my mother-- a Stepford wife who managed to escape but whose life was ruined forever. Or worse, end up like my father.
Maybe I just wasn't meant to have a clean break.

I was about to stand when a heavy hand dropped on my shoulder and squeezed possessively. I froze and waited for Roger or Morgan to tell off the stranger lurking behind me but they were too busy eye-fucking each other.

Irritated with them, the situation, myself, I looked up and prepared to flip out on whoever wasn't respecting my space. Then I froze. With messy dirty-blonde hair and brown eyes that sizzled beneath the gauzy lights of the bar, the guy I wanted to tell off was pretty fucking good-looking. He looked about 35, 36, but it could’ve been just the way he carried himself. He had the most probing kind of eyes, and had just the right amount of facial hair.

"You're Johanna," he stated, his voice deep and masculine as hell.

Then he sat down next to me and chugged the rest of my glass. He eased back comfortably, put a warm arm around my shoulders, and said hello to Roger. I was confused. His body language already said he owned me.

This is the guy, I realized.

Fuck.


"Johanna," Roger said a few minutes later, "this is Tate. He works with me at the firm. You'll like him."

"More important if I like her, isn't it?"

His brown eyes slid over me, taking in Morgan's dress that didn't fit me quite like it should, my dark hair with frosted blonde made messy by the rain, and my shoes that were far too high to walk in.

He lifted his glass to Morgan. "Fair effort, Morgan."

Then he drank down the rest of it, signaling to a waitress for two drinks—one for me and one for him.

After he wiped his mouth and judged me one last time, he nodded to Roger. "She'll do." He paused and his eyes flicked to my bare knees. "For now."

We didn't say much to each other for the next hour. Roger and Tate talked amongst themselves. Morgan pretended to hang on to every word, stroking Roger's tie and giving me a wink every now and then. Tate drank more and more, though none of the alcohol seemed to take effect. Eventually a slow song wept across the dance floor and Roger, feeling younger than he really was, swept Morgan up and onto the dance floor.

Being alone with Tate was uncomfortable. A thousand different excuses of why I had to get the hell out of there ran through my head, but then he shifted towards me. Disturbed, scared, worried, I stared at his clenched jaw.

"First thing's first. I'm not like Roger. I don't enjoy being the center of attention. I don't want to lavish attention on you. I won't. So if that's what you're looking for, you can just walk out right now."

He paused for a moment, his eyes not on me but on the dance floor. I had the sensation he wasn't watching the silhouettes of throbbing bodies but that his mind was elsewhere—far, far away from the stupid bar.

"Also, don't expect this to be some kind of love affair. I give you money and you fuck me when I feel like it. You come with me to parties. You smile and pretend to be interesting."

His eyes glittered as they met mine.

"Don't ever think this is some kind of fairytale. I'm not going to magically fall in love with you and become reformed. I'm not some troubled guy in need of a girl to fix me. You're not Julia Roberts and I'm sure as fuck not Richard Gere." His brief grin told me he'd been down that road before. "I am who I am and I will treat you fairly well. Bills will be paid. I just ask you cooperate with me. I'll be, for all intents and purposes, your sugar daddy." A small grin twisted across his face. "Just don't ever call me that. I prefer companion. Friend."

"Benefactor?" I asked, playing along.

He smirked. Obviously he appreciated my effort. "That makes me out to be about 80, so no. The label of 'friends' will suit us just fine."

Wordlessly he ordered us another round, the waitress barely having time to utter a word.

"I have to say you're not at all what I expected."

I swallowed, trying to keep up my facade of strength. "What did you expect?"

A shrug was his answer.

"Someone like Morgan," I surmised.

He laughed and touched the part of my thigh where my skirt had ridden up. Tingles worked their way from my toes to my head. Already he touched me like I was his. A sobering thought came to me—I was likely his the moment I accepted Morgan's offer to meet him.

"Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. Exotic. Confident. Flirty." His fingers clenched into my skin as he added, "And fucking boring. It's tiresome when a girl tries too hard, for both parties involved. Look at her out there, acting. Pretending. She's not real. But that's Roger's kink, I guess. Mine are much different."

"You're not like what I expected, either." The words flew from my mouth before I could stop them. My mind sought frantically to reach out and grab them, collect them before he could hear, but his eyes were piercing mine and I knew it was too late.

"Oh? And what did you expect? Roger?"

Honesty seemed to be the theme of the night, so I went for it. "Someone ugly or seriously damaged. Someone with issues. Someone... just not like you. I don't really understand why you're doing this. You could go out with any woman you wanted, right? Why pay for it?"

He let out a dry laugh and took a last swig of his drink. "I pay for it anyway. At least in this kind of arrangement it's understood and no one gets any impressions." He swept a heated glance over my body. "I like timid girls. Honest girls. Sweet girls who haven't learned every single way to charm a man so she can get what she wants. Girls who aren’t out to find out what the world owes them. Girls who are the opposite of your friend out there. That's hard to come by naturally in my world."

Tate got up and dropped a bunch of bills on the table. "Sometimes novelty is a good thing. Naivety is underrated, too."

He kissed my cheek and brazenly pulled down the strap of my dress to also peck my shoulder. His eyes slowly lifted to mine. "Don't disappoint me."


XX
It didn't dawn on me until after he left that I didn't have his number, but Morgan waved away my concern with a flick of her hand.

"You're such an idiot sometimes. Of course he already has your number."

"How did he—?”

"I gave it to him, Johanna. You said yes so I gave it to him. Simple. Now let's go home. I have a run in my stocking and a massive headache."

We waved down a cab and settled into the back. Morgan was in a mood, but I couldn't let myself get consumed with wondering why. Instead, I focused on the the fact that I'd virtually sold my soul to an asshole.

An intriguing asshole. A handsome asshole.

An asshole, nonetheless. An asshole who would make sure he got all he wanted from me, like an emotional vampire. He would drain all of the little innocence I had left. I would turn into Morgan, I was sure of it—brittle, hard, tough, and disillusioned about the way the world really worked. I was already on that path, having so many dreams shattered and so many starts turn out to be false, but this was it. I was signing a contract, literally and figuratively, that would also sign away the last few pieces of myself I tried so desperately to hold onto.

We climbed up to our apartment still shrouded in quiet until I couldn't take it anymore. I needed sound. I needed a friend. Unfortunately my best option at the moment was Morgan.

"What's up with you? Did something happen tonight?"

Morgan fell into her bed, still wearing her dress and makeup. Her eyes stared at the ceiling as she said, "Yes. Something happened."

My feet sighed when I yanked off the heels she'd forced me to wear. "Are you okay?"

"It's part of the trade."

"What is?" I slipped into my bed naked, letting my identity take over again.

Whatever that was.

Her breath was uneven when she reached over for her lamp and confessed to the darkness. "Being left behind."

"What do you mean?"

"Ugh. It's like you're thirteen."

Her breathing grew choppier and I thought I heard a sniffle.

"I mean Roger told me tonight he's going back to his wife. That he can't afford to spend time or money on me. Which really means he met someone new. Unfortunately this can happen from time to time, but don't freak out. Tate will treat you well for as long as you need him. This is my own bullshit. I always get with guys who can't commit for long."

Freaking out was part of my nature. Immediately thoughts of being used and discarded right after, going through all the self-torture and guilt and bullshit to only be cast astray, flew through my mind. It was terrifying. I also felt horrible for Morgan. She wanted to be a doctor. I knew some money was saved up but "some" is rarely enough.

"I don't understand. He was so good to you tonight."

"You'll never understand men as hard as you try, just like they'll never understand us. Our minds work differently. We're different animals. It's our curse. So stop worrying about me. This is my world. You're just on vacation here. Now go to fucking sleep."
XX
Two days later I was sitting in a cafe, sipping on tea and half-reading a book when a number I didn't recognize flashed across the screen of my phone.

I'd almost put the night with the wealthy "benefactor" out of my mind. Almost. At night I thought of him, the way his jaw slid beneath the soft silk of his skin as he spoke, how he commanded someone like Roger to listen to him. He'd only spoken directly to me for a few minutes, but he had already seeped into my brain.

As soon as I saw the mysterious number, I knew it was him.

"Hello?"

"I'm thinking Nobu tonight. 8PM. Would you like me to pick you up or would you prefer meeting me there?"

My throat wasn't working correctly. Neither was my heart. I knew he was interested—Morgan prophesied he'd be calling soon—but his invitation was making it come true. I wasn't merely fantasizing about fucking for money; I was going to be doing it, and soon.

"You there?"

I cleared my throat. "Yes, sorry. That sounds good."

"Do you like Japanese food?"

"Sure."

He sighed slowly, as if releasing all the words he really wanted to say to me out into the atmosphere. I could tell he was trying to restrain himself, to be on his best behavior. For now.

"'Sure' isn't an answer, Johanna. Not a real one."

"I like Japanese food," I breathed.

His smile was audible when he said, "Good. See you at 8. I'll pick you up."

Then he hung up.


XX
I must have tried on ten dresses before Morgan threw a heavy text book at me.

"Ow!"

I rubbed my arm and glared at her.

"Wear the red one and chill the fuck out. Tate is a pussy cat."

My head shook back and forth. "No. You will not minimize him to me. I've already met him, remember? You can't lie. He's fucking terrifying."

Morgan rolled her eyes. "Everything and everyone terrifies you."

"Not true. You know he's scary, that's why you're trying to be a bitch!"

She stood and stretched, casually picking up her book from the floor. "Johanna, deep breaths. Remember—he's just a guy."
“Just a guy,” I snorted.

There was a knock at the door and Morgan gave me a meaningful look. I stared back until I gathered she meant for me to answer. I scurried to the door, knocking over a chair in the process. I was so busy being nervous and focusing on opening the door that I hardly saw him when I swung the door open.

He looked perfect. He wore a casual sweater and sleek dress pants. His hair was messier than the last time I saw him, which made my chest ache with heavy attraction. And his eyes, those eyes I thought about after switching off the light when I went to bed, were on me, sparkling brown beneath the obnoxiously bright hallway light.

"Nice outfit," was how he greeted me. "You might want to consider getting dressed before we leave."

I glanced down and, to my horror, I was still in my robe. I'd gone out to confer with Morgan after my tenth dress and completely forgotten to go get changed.

I realized the bitch plotted this and I threw her a nasty look. She could barely hold in her laughter. "Thanks a lot, bitch!"

Without speaking another word to him, I ran to my room and quickly slid the red dress on. A gaze in the mirror assured me I was all wrong. My makeup was wrong, my hair was wrong, my bangs were too poofy, my dress showed rolls, and I was wobbling in my heels.

I didn't look like a high class call girl. I looked like a mess.

When I finally gathered enough courage to step back out, I noticed Tate and Morgan were talking in hushed murmurs. They stopped when they noticed my presence. I could taste the anger in the air. Of course I was curious, but I couldn't demand an explanation yet. I just stored away the incident for later and plastered on a smile for now.

"Let's go," Tate ordered. "The limo is waiting."

And I followed, without realizing that I was already filling my role quite well.
XX
"We'll have the Yellowtail Tartar, Bigeye Tuna Tataki, Sea Urchin Tempura, followed by the Spicy Garlic Scallops and the Colorado Lamb Chops."

Tate handed the menus to the waiter, never taking his eyes off me. I was being tested. For what, I wasn't certain. If he was trying to test my stomach, I knew my stomach and I would lose. I was a picky eater and none of his choices were appealing to me.

Unnerved by his constant gaze, I fidgeted and took an unwanted sip of the sake. I knew I would hate it and I was absolutely correct. I had to fight spitting it out.
He laughed under his breath and I finally forced myself to look at him.

Tate nodded at my cup. "Why are you drinking it if you don't like it?"

I shrugged and then realized that probably wasn't the most graceful thing to do. "You ordered it. I figured it must be good."

"What do you typically like to drink? Sweet white wine? Red?"

"Red. Any kind."

He waved the waiter over and ordered me a glass. His smile was strangely friendly when he looked back at me. "All you need to do is ask, Johanna."

"Thank you."

"You're perfect for this job, aren't you? All blushes and blissful ignorance. All "thank you" and "yes, please". Drinking something you don't like because I ordered it. Not speaking up and saying you are repulsed by what I ordered us for dinner."

It was like I was sixteen and getting berated by my father again. The feeling wasn't fun and I unexpectedly lashed out.

"Fuck you. If you want to order sea urchin, fine. You're paying for it."

"I'm also paying you to have a brain. To be exciting. To have a little fire in you. Otherwise you're no different from a body I can hire for $50."

The pressure of tears welled up behind my eyes and I blinked to hold them back. "I'm leaving."

Tate rolled his eyes and took hold of my wrist. "Calm down. I'm telling you what I want. I want you to be you. If you want to have red wine, have the red wine. It's not hard."

I ripped my wrist out of his hold and stared at the table. We were quiet for a while. I sat sullenly like a chastised teenager while he lounged serenely, sipping his sake and picking at the strange assortment of food that had been brought out.

I wondered what my father would think if he could see me now. He used to go crazy if I got a 90 on a test, or if I came home from school five minutes later than usual. What would he say if he knew I was on a "date" with my “benefactor”?

"What are your thoughts on your new profession, Johanna?"

The question made me jump. His hands were folded beneath his chin and he was waiting with an eager look on his face.

"Are you asking if I like it so far or something?" I was suspicious.

He gave a short laugh. "No. I mean what are your thoughts about the morals of it all?"

My heart thudded unpleasantly. "Fuck you."

Tate laughed again. "You keep saying that to me tonight. Not yet, honey. Later." My heart pumped unsteadily due to the intent in his eyes. "I'm not trying to insult you. I'm curious. Do you think this is something you could potentially like? Maybe even get addicted to? Or will you slink off once you save up all the money you need and pretend like the time with me was all a bad dream?"

My stomach churned. The food smelled horrible and the words he used were ugly and peeling away at the mask I'd crafted for the evening. I was beginning to wonder if he got off on demeaning his girls. "I don't like these questions."

"Why?" His finger toyed with the rim of his plate. "Is it because they bring you back down to Earth?"

"If you're asking if this is how I wanted to end up, the answer would be no. Definitely not. I look down on women who do this, and now I look down on myself even more." He opened his mouth to speak but now the floodgates were opened and I couldn't stop. "And I find the men who go out and so call 'support' these girls are the real assholes because they're taking advantage. And right now I'm thinking the worst of you because not only are you taking advantage, but you're being a dick while doing it. You like making me feel like shit."

He ran a hand roughly through his hair, and let out a brittle laugh. "Being a dick is my nature. You'll have to get used to it. And honestly at the moment I'm just trying to have a conversation with you. I'm curious about you."

That got me blushing. "You are?"

His face grew serious. "Remember your name isn't Julia, or Vivian, or whatever her name fucking was. You're Johanna and I'm paying you."

He opened his briefcase and there it was: the contract Morgan warned me about.

It was brief and what I expected. Most of it was about privacy, that I would agree not to disclose anything specific about what went on between us. Basically that I wouldn't go around at dinner parties shouting I was a whore.

After a while the words blurred together. I reached for his pen and signed my name in a grand flourish.

The ink bled together, making my name unrecognizable.

XX

The rest of dinner was interesting. He asked me a few questions about the other facets of my life that I skillfully dodged.

"What does your father do?"

I took a sip of water and looked around the restaurant, grateful we were fairly secluded. I happened to know my father loved coming into Nobu. "Something incredibly boring. How about your father?"

He stared at me for a moment, letting me know he wasn't thrilled with my answer. "Same as me. Finances. You wouldn't want to hear about it."

"Wall Street?"

Tate nodded. "Enough boring chat. I have something for you, now that this stuff between us is a done deal."

He reached back into his briefcase and brought out a large blue box with silver lettering on it. I recognized the brand immediately: Swarovski. My mother used to wear Swarovski jewelry all the time.

The necklace was huge and ostentatious. It must have cost him a fortune. Links of crystal knotted together all around in a large but graceful swoop. Without asking me, he unclasped the plain necklace my mother bought me for years ago that said my name on it. I felt the weight of the necklace across my collarbones as he fastened it. He stroked the necklace and caught a couple of inches of my sensitive skin.

He gazed at my lips when he whispered, "Now you're mine."

My head was fuzzy. I drank another glass of wine and let the rest of dinner fade into merely background noise. I lost track of his words, of me, of the waiters around us.

Then he was paying the bill and we were walking out together in the brisk December night. The sky was clear and stars were white and pure, twinkling down judgmentally at me. My heel trapped itself in a crack and Tate knelt down, skimming his hands down my bare leg and over the muscle of my calf on his way to freeing me.

I could have sworn he kissed my knee before getting my heel out but I was drunk and it happened so fast.

Andrew, Tate's limo driver, was waiting patiently by the back to let us in. I searched his face for any suspicion, any knowledge of who and what I was to his boss, but he gave me a small smile that seemed genuine. I told myself to get over it.

The feeling of cold leather sliding against my skin was bizarrely soothing when I got into the car. Tate thumped down next to me and told Andrew to take me back to my place. I didn't even realize he put up the partition until his hand was between my thighs and on instinct I spun my head around to make sure no one was watching.

"Tate," I whispered, saying his name for the first time. "Not here."

"Why not?"

"We're in your limo. And I'm not ready yet."

He kissed me hard and pressed my wrists down when I lifted them to stop him. "You signed my contract. You took my gift. You don't have to be ready."

He was right. It was time. The longer I put off the physical aspect of our arrangement, the more I would stress about it. And…I wanted it. Him. His hand continued working against me, making my panties wet and my thighs clench.

He slipped two fingers into the side of my underwear and slid them against the disturbing amount of wetness there. I didn't know why I was so turned on. Maybe the wine, I thought.

"You're so wet for me, aren't you?"

I moaned in response to both his statement and because he decided to shove his fingers inside of me.

He touched my silky walls, knowing just how to massage with just the right amount of pressure. My hand went to squeeze his wrist, desperate and frantic. I could feel the muscles and tendons and bones and the hair on his arms slide with his every motion inside. My hips started pulsing to his thrusts.

"Oh," I sighed.

"I own your orgasm." Then he kissed me, devouring my mouth with hard, exquisite kisses.

I was blind with the need to cum. It was overwhelming. For a moment I wished I was back at my apartment in bed, safely alone and watching late night TV.

Then his thumb sneakily grazed my clit and I was back in the moment, pressing against the leather, listening to the soundtrack of our hurried breathing and the traffic outside. The limo windows were foggy and the air smelled like my pussy. Tate's nostrils flared every few seconds and then he would speed up, as eager as I was to get there.

"Cum for me," he ordered. "I want that pussy to cum all over my hand."

And it did. I reached up and yanked his hair as my other hand flew up to grab his sweater. My pussy contracted and released, over and over. My juices trickled down, puddling on his leather seats. I was too lost to the pleasure to be embarrassed.

When I came back to earth, I blushed and looked down at my dress hiked up, my legs splayed, and Tate's large hand still buried in pussy. He must have noticed my return to Shy Girl because he moved in to give me another heart-stopping kiss. He pulled my hair and pawed hungrily at my breasts.

Without saying anything, he quickly unzipped the back of my dress, pulled down the top, and yanked down my bra. He stared at my breasts for a moment and then took a taste, tonguing the nipple until I thought I might orgasm again. He backed off when I screamed too loud.

"Suck my cock," he said, his voice oozing desire and power.

I'd only given one blow job before. Hell, I'd only had sex with two guys. I didn't want him to know it, even though I sensed he already did. Still, I hesitated when he pulled out his hard dick and gave it a few pumps with his hand, sticky from me.

"Now, Johanna. Kneel down on the floor and give me all that you have."

He gently nudged me to my knees and swept my hair back. I was sweaty and disheveled, and my breasts were swinging all over the place. He kept one hand in my hair and used the other to cup my damp right breast.

"Swallow it."

His eyes were as severe as his tone. Fuck the contract, the necklace I wore on my bare chest. This was the real thing. After taking him inside my mouth, I would really be striking the deal.

I thought of my empty bank account. My fridge filled with expired food. My school loans. The outstanding orgasm he gave me. My father.

Then I stopped thinking and took him into my throat.

I was a little clumsy at first. He hissed and not in a good way.

"Not so rough at first," he said, giving me a slight tap on the cheek.

I adjusted my sucking and treated his dick with love, like a spoon filled with the most delicious cream.

He gasped after a few minutes and pinched my nipple hard. I cried out at the sensation and he gave me an answering cry, thrusting further into my mouth. I gagged a bit and his eyes shut.

"You're good at this. Keep going."

He threaded the fingers of his hand into my hair and controlled the pace. It wasn't long before he began sliding me on and off his cock in fast strokes.

"Fuck, yes," he moaned, pushing his ass off the seat. "Take me down. Take it all down."

That was the only warning he gave before he clenched up and exploded down my throat.

I didn't swallow after my first and only blow job. This time I didn't have a choice. Tate kept my head down while he came, ignoring me while I made a noise of surprise and sputtered and choked on his cum.

Then his cock stopped throbbing and let out its last burst on my tongue. He let me go and dropped his head back, panting hard.

A few minutes later he settled down and zipped his pants back up. He laughed when he noticed me still kneeling on the floor and picked me up so that I was sitting next to him. His hand slowly ran down the side of my face until his fingers pressed against my chin and his thumb pushed against the softness of my lower lip. I sat there motionless, reflecting on the weird sensation welling in my chest and the strange salty taste of him in my mouth.

He didn't say anything and I was too freaked out to start a conversation. But we spoke to each other, on some level, as we locked eyes while Andrew flew through the crowded city streets. Lights flashed and ran away on our faces.

The moment between us seemed to last forever, but it couldn't have been more than five minutes later when Andrew pulled up to my apartment. He opened the door for me and I climbed out clumsily, feeling the embarrassing evidence of my orgasm from earlier when the fabric of my panties caressed my sensitive pussy.

Tate didn't say anything when Andrew closed the door behind me and I figured it was just as well as I wouldn't know what the hell to say back. I took a few steps and then heard his window drop down.

"Johanna—we have a gala to go to this Thursday. I'll pick you up at 8. Wear the necklace."

Before I could turn around the window was sliding up and the car sped away.

Feeling drunk, I went upstairs and ignored Morgan sitting up on the couch, watching me with alert eyes. I also tried to ignore the aftertaste of Tate's sperm, or the memory of his fingers pulsing inside of me.

"Well?"

I reluctantly turned to her and she gasped.

"Holy fuck. You're high!"

"What?" I asked, speaking for the first time since I tasted Tate's dick. "I am not!"

"Not literally high, idiot," she said, shaking her head as she stood and came over to me. "You did something with him and you're feeling the high." Her light blue eyes traveled down my wrinkled dress. "I wondered if you'd feel it, too."

"I didn't. I don't."

Morgan looked at me with pity. "Sweetness? Go look in the mirror. It's all over your face." She walked to her room but paused before shutting the door. "And it's okay, by the way. It means it's good. You'll enjoy it." Her eyes met mine. "Just don't get addicted. It's easy to and that will be the end for you. Remember drugs are good in moderation." She lowered her eyes and smirked. "By the way, nice necklace."

I touched it gently, having forgetten it was there. Now it felt as heavy as an albatross.

Morgan went to bed and I made tea robotically, definitely not thinking about what I had just done.

I brushed my teeth, removing the traces of Tate that were left behind. Then I changed out of my clothes, making a face when my cool, wet panties slipped down my legs.

I sunk into a hot bath, putting my tea next to me. My eyes closed and I tried to relax. Unfortunately Morgan's words haunted me. Irritated but curious, I stepped out of the bath, dripping water every which way, and stomped over to the mirror.

And then I knew why Morgan gasped.

I was fucking glowing. I was grinning. I was unrecognizable.

I wasn't me, anymore.

XX

I was in a cage of snakes. They hissed and flapped their tongues at me, watching me with their beady eyes with a mixture of hunger and amusement. I had nowhere to go; every time I twitched they snapped their heads at me. I could nearly smell the venom swelling in their mouths.

They wanted to penetrate my skin with their fangs, inject their poison. Kill me. I cried out for help but we were alone in a dark, damp cellar. That's when I noticed the large silver links chaining me to the ground. My screams bounced off the empty walls. There was nothing to save me.

I woke up screaming, sweat sticking my clothes to my body. There were no snakes in my bedroom—just the lingering sensation of bad memories.

Morgan watched me carefully when I stumbled out and fixed breakfast.

"I had a bad dream the first night, too," she said, drawing me from swirling around my Cheerios.

I let out a long breath. "Is this the part where we bond over being whores?"

Morgan sighed. "Good for you. You're getting a spine."

I instantly felt bad. "I'm sorry, Morgan. I just haven't had coffee yet."

"I know what it's like to feel disgusted with yourself. To feel like the hottest shower you can take will never be enough to clean off all the slime. To look yourself in the mirror and be unrecognizable. It's not going to get any easier. So if you want to come and talk to me about it, I'm here."

She got up and went to her bedroom. I blew out a breath and spooned some soggy cereal into my mouth, wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into.

XX

The next day Morgan forced me to go panty shopping. I dragged my heels and acted like a brat on the entire walk over.

"My panties are fine!"

Morgan snorted and pushed her hat back onto her head. "All of yours are ripped or from 2003."

"That's not true!" She dragged me into Victoria's Secret by the elbow, ignoring me. "I like my underwear."

"It's boring and not fitting for a woman in your trade."

"Now you sound like you’re from the 1800's."

Morgan ignored me and beckoned over an associate. "She needs an entirely new wardrobe."

"Morgan, I can't afford—"

"I meant to give you this envelope." Morgan handed me something with my name on it. I didn’t recognize the messy handwriting but I knew who it belonged to, anyway. "It's from Tate. He came by this morning and you were still asleep."

I blushed thinking of him being around when I was unconscious. And that he returned to me so quickly, even if it was just to pay me.

"He says he'll call you tonight. Anyway, I highly suggest you spend some of it on this, Jo." She looked back at the girl helping us and nodded.

The eager associate brought over one set of lingerie more provocative than the next. Morgan picked it all out for me, something I was totally grateful for. She headed over to the register when we were done. Now I had all the finest lingerie in sapphire, blush, crimson, plum, and sage.

I didn't see the bill and Morgan handled the transaction but I could just imagine what the final amount was. It made me sick to my stomach, but I felt even more grotesque when Morgan gave me what was left over and it was close to $2,000.

"How the hell much did he give me for a blow job?" I asked.

An associate glanced at us with wide eyes and then fixed them back on the underwear she was arranging. Morgan laughed and wrapped her arm around mine, leading me out into the late afternoon.

"You really have no idea. It's almost cute. I wonder what you'll be like with the others."

"The others?"

Morgan winked at me. "You don't have to see just one at a time. There's nothing in the contract about that, at least not usually.. And you could make more money faster."

"I don't think I could do that."

Morgan walked into Starbucks and shrugged. "Only you know what you're capable of, and even then you'll surprise yourself."

She ordered a latte and I watched her, forever marveling at her self-confidence.

"Why do you do this, Morgan? Really. I mean, I know you're saving up for med school but you spend a lot of it, too. You don't save as much as you could. You act like you enjoy it."

She took her finished latte and smirked at me. "Because I do. There's a certain power in it, like when you give a blowjob."

She handed the barista a five and ushered me out into the afternoon.

"I know a guy. He's nice. I've been with him a few times. You’d like him." She sipped her latte and put on oversized sunglasses. It was all so natural for her. I couldn't stand it.

I shook my head and tugged on my hair. "Having sex with two guys at once is outlandish for me; getting paid for it is just outrageous."

"Why? If you're doing it, baby, you might as well go all the way."

XX

I noticed I had a voicemail from my mother when I got back. I prepared myself and called her, hoping she bought the false cheer in my voice.

"You sound great, honey. How's the waitressing job?"

So she bought it.

"Fine, Mom. I'm working tomorrow night."

"Do you need me to send you any money, Johanna? I can't believe you're making rent."

"I am. Please don't worry." I could hear start to say something else so I changed direction. "How's Becky?"

My mother sighed and I could just picture her in her little apartment in Westchester, a nearly burnt out cigarette dangling from her fingers. She claimed she quit but I always spotted the butts in the trash when I visited. She was only forty-five now but the last time I saw her she looked about ten years older. There were roots in her blonde hair that she used to meticulously take care of, her eyes looked sunken-in and tired, and her body was so skinny I was afraid to hug her. She was still beautiful to me, but now she was just a sad shadow of herself.

Divorce and my dad will do that to you.

"Becky's pregnant again. You're going to be an aunt for the fifth time."

My heart sank. Becky and her loser husband had no money to speak of, yet they reproduced without thinking twice. I didn't even get it; they hated one another. Their poor kids didn't have a chance in my opinion.

"Mom, you're kidding."

Mom sighed again. "I wish I was. She's being intolerable."

"Need me to come visit?"

"No, no. You keep living the glam life, honey. You deserve it."

I hated it when she said that. There was nothing glamorous about my life. I wanted to take the train home and crawl up onto her lap and weep. I wanted to tell her about how my life had taken a horrible left somewhere and I was so lost, swallowed up in a city I didn't belong in, wearing clothes that were tattered and from four years ago. I wanted to tell her about Tate, even though she would be disappointed in me. Most of all I wanted her to tell me it was going to be all right and that she was going to take care of me.

Mom could hardly take care of herself after my dad obliterated her. And I was 25. It seemed like it was time for me to be responsible. I'd also lied to her for so long about how things were going. I couldn't expect her to be happy about that.

"Dad called me last night," she said. I heard how hard she was working to keep the hatred out of her tone.

"What? Why?"

"You probably have an idea, Jo."

The six voicemails from him left unheard on my phone certainly gave me an idea. "No, I really don't. I'm sorry he's bothering you."

"Oh, I'm used to him," she sniffed. "He said you haven't been calling him back. How come?"

"Because I hate him."

My mother sighed for the third time. I could hear her take a big puff of air—of cigarette, more like—and exhale it out as if it would give her the patience to deal with the harshness of life. She'd been so sheltered for so long; I wondered if being a mother, an independent woman, and an individual was like jumping into ice water for her.

"You don't hate him. You're angry with him."

I touched some of the delicate underwear I'd bought earlier. "No, I'm pretty sure I hate him."

"Fine," she exhaled, "well, while you're hating him, can you please give him a call? You know he won't stop until he gets what he wants."

"What the hell does he want?"

"He must want to check up on you," my mom decided.

I laughed bitterly. "Mom. Please. We haven't spoken in nearly a year."

"Maybe he wants to apologize."

In spite of everything, Mom couldn't allow herself to see the ugly inside of him. I guessed she really loved him. It was too tragic for me to think about.

"Mom, I love you. I have to go to bed."

"Okay. Love you, too. And Johanna? Please call your dad, okay? Promise me you will."

I imagined calling him and telling him that the night before I gave a blow job to a guy I just met for money. A wicked smile curved my lips. If only.

"Okay. I'll call him back."

"That's my girl. Talk to you soon.”

We hung up and I toyed with my cell a while before I reluctantly dialed his number. That was my mother's one true power—getting people to make a promise. Well, getting most people to make a promise. It didn't stick with Dad.

He answered right away, like I knew he would.

"Johanna." His voice was crisp but polite. He must have been out somewhere in public with his so-called friends slash associates.

"Mom said you called her."

"I thought you might be living there," he explained stiffly. "I didn't know you were living in the city."

"What's up, Dad?" I tried to sound as casual as possible.

"I wanted to see how you were. It's been a long time."

Snickering into the phone, I plopped down on my bed. "You've got to me kidding me."

"I know you're very angry with me still, and I understand why, but I'm still your father and—"

"Dad, I've got to go. Did you need something?" I knew he did.

It would have been wonderful to have a father who called to actually patch things up, to see how I was, to ask me to dinner some night and share his new life with me. It wouldn't have undone all the bad shit, but I would have forgiven a father like that eventually.

Problem was I didn't have a father like that. My dad constantly had an agenda.

"You're behaving so immaturely, Johanna. I thought we could have a conversation like two adults but—"

"Okay, it's been real but I've got to get to bed. Talk to you in another year. Goodnight."

"Are you seeing Tate Miller?" he blurted out. There was a hint of anger in his voice that made me shudder.

So much for all my bravado.

I was so caught up in his tone he took me a few minutes to identify the name he used. Horror and panic bubbled in my blood.

"Excuse me?"

I meant to make my question sound more outraged; instead I sounded very much like a guilty teenager.

"I work with him, Johanna. Don't dick around at my place of business just so you can have some sort of petty revenge."

Disastrous fear settled in my stomach. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Sure. Give me a break. He noticed your face in my family picture today and laughed, saying he knew you. I know the guy, Johanna, and I know what the hell that means!"

A terrible suspicion began to gnaw at me. What if my father was like Tate, out sniffing around for young and desperate girls?

"I assure you I don't know anyone named Tate." Some bravado returned to my voice but the damage was done.

My father clicked off, leaving me with silence.

XX

The phone barely rang. "Johanna," he answered. “Good to hear from you.”

"Hi, Tate." My voice was nervous. "Um, I spoke with my father today."

"That's a strange conversation starter." He laughed loudly into the phone and I knew he was fucking with me.

"You know him, don't you. You work with him. Fucking fabulous."

"Don't worry, little girl, I won't tell."

"You don't need to tell, you idiot." I was so fired up I didn't even have the patience to be scared of him. "You have no idea how fucking smart my dad is. He took one look at your shit-eating grin when you noticed me in his photo and knew. He's been calling me all day."

He was silent for a moment. Then he said, "His suspicions don't prove anything. At the very most he'll think we're just dating."

"He'll be a pain in the ass to you at work."

I could hear the smile in Tate's voice. "Nice of you to worry about me but I think I have your dad under control. He doesn't intimidate me."

I breathed for the first time since my mother told me my dad was looking for me. "Okay. If you really think it won't bother you."

"Shouldn't you be more concerned about yourself? What if he investigates? Finds out what you do?"

Part of me would fucking love that. Another part shrieked and ran under the bed. "I'll worry about that if and when it happens. You worry about not being a smug dick at work."

"Hmm, so you have a personality after all."

"When pissed off, yeah."

"Good. I promise you your dad won't bother me. And I promise to piss you off more often.”

“Har-har.” I caught my expression in the mirror hanging over my dresser. I was flushed and smiling. Unbelievable.

“Tomorrow is the gala, I hope you remember. I’ll be by your shithole around 8. Better be ready.” He clicked off before I could say anything.

Unfortunately I had completely forgotten about our plans and ran around the rest of the night, grooming and plucking and lotioning. Morgan brought out a delicate white dress for me to wear.

“It’s yours,” she said when I came out the next night, twirling around in our tiny living room. “You can keep it. It suits you better.”

“Morgan....” I knew it had to cost a fortune. It was simple, with graceful straps and a generous but classy viewing of cleavage. I loved it because I didn’t feel at all like a bought-for kind of girl in it. I felt like a princess, which was clearly very dangerous under the circumstances. When I thought more about it, I was surprised she wasn’t warning me about remembering my boundaries again.

That’s when I noticed she looked weird.

“Morgan, are you okay?”

She smiled weakly at me and rubbed her forehead. “No. Not really. But I will be.” She sat up straighter and tossed me a wide grin. “I always am.”

“Look, if you—”

The buzzer interrupted me. Morgan hopped up and ran to the door to avoid my eyes.

Then Tate was in the room with us and everything felt like it was too much. Morgan picked up some of her books and made a show of yawning.

“Have fun tonight, guys.”

Tate looked away from me to give her a small, affectionate smile. Without looking at me, he placed his arm around me and his warm hand made contact with my cool shoulder. He squeezed and then ran his hand down until it finally met my own. He tangled our fingers together, said goodnight to Morgan, and pulled me out into the cold night.

I expected him to be as coldly polite and distant as ever, but he surprised me once we were all cozy inside his limo.

“Do you have any siblings?”

“A sister. Rebecca. Becky.”

“You two close?”

I smiled thinking of her. “She’s…a really big pain in the ass, actually. We’re not close at all but she has kids and they’re really cute.”

Tate’s hand ran up my thigh. I hadn’t known I’d been craving that touch, but once he gave it to me I came apart like melted butter. He seemed amused, which ticked me off, but I was too caught up reveling in the sensations his hand touching me caused. His other hand caressed the necklace he bought me. His fingertips gently ran over my collarbone, which was one of my hot-spots.

“Why aren’t you close?” He situated his hand between my thighs. It wasn’t very close to my pussy at all, but I could feel its nearness against my flesh as sure as if it had been.

I licked my lips. “It’s a long story. What about you? Any siblings? Are you close with them?”

“Yes. And yes. My family is the most important thing to me, actually.”

I hadn’t expected him to answer that way. He caught me off guard, and he knew it. He leaned over and kissed me for a few delicious minutes. I loved the way his lips pressed against my own, how his tongue felt on mine, the taste and smell of him as we consumed each other. But then he pulled away, and with strangely sad eyes he took my hand.

“You’re all alone, aren’t you?”

We pulled up then, of course. Andrew opened the car door and Tate stared at me, waiting for me to take Andrew’s hand and stand. I should have been pissed off that he was poking and prodding me, that he was acting like he cared. But all I wanted in that moment was to cry, and to kiss him, and to nestle against his chest.

I took Andrew’s hand and got out. It was cold enough to take my mind off of what just happened, and I was doubly distracted by the glamorous people exiting other limos.

Tate took my hand and brought me toward the hall. It was large and welcoming, and once we walked through the doors, delightfully warm. We didn’t speak to each other as we navigated through the crowd and found our table. The other seats were already filled up with older couples.

A server took our drink order. And then we were silent.

Some of the men at the table knew Tate and engaged him in conversation. The women all seemed to know one another, too, and made little effort to speak to me. It was strange—normally I’d mind being so clearly looked over, but sitting next to Tate and having his leg occasionally brush against my own gave me a confidence I’d never known.

When the food came, Tate put his mouth to my ear. “Are you okay? I didn’t mean to bring up your family.”

I pulled away to look at him and gave him a wry smile. “Yeah, you did. You’re always testing me.”

His eyes ran down my body and back up again. “You call it “testing”, I call it getting myself acquainted with someone.”

That’s how you get acquainted with someone?” The wives at the table were all leaning in, trying to inconspicuous as they eavesdropped.

“Among other ways,” he said casually. His hand suddenly pushed between my legs and cupped my pussy. I gasped and jumped, knocking my knee into the table.

The man beside me looked over. “Everything alright?”

“Y-yes. I just got a chill. Sorry to bother you.”

He looked over my head to glance at Tate before turning back to his meal.

Tate’s fingers rubbed against my silky panties. They were molded to the wetness of my lips, and I shut my eyes when I felt one of his fingers run over my clit.

“Stop,” I whispered.

“I should, right? You get pretty loud…”

Tate!

I heard him snicker but he kept his hand right where it is, growing bolder every second. Now he had one finger curled around the edge of my panties, sliding through my cream.

His lips kissed the shell of my ear. Then he whispered hotly against me, “Meet me outside, in the back.”

Tate expertly removed his hand and then stood, disappearing somewhere in the dark edges of the room. I wasn’t even sure where he meant for me to go, but I got up a minute later to follow as if I were hypnotized.
I pushed open a door I saw in the grand hall. It was a little patio filled with trees covered in lights. I stepped onto some dry leaves, shuddering in the crisp air.

And then I felt him behind me. He hadn’t even touched me yet and I just knew. One of his hands slipped through my hair and then ran down my back. He clutched my ass desperately, and then he slid his hand around to grab my hip. He used his hold to tug me closer to him; my back fell against his chest. His other hand snaked over the front of my body, lewdly plucking my nipples through the thin material of the dress and then finally clawing at the material until he had it hiked up. His hand, now chilled by the night, plunged between my thighs. He quickly tore down my panties so that he had room to play around.

He took my breath away when he eagerly dug inside of me with two fingers. Another gingerly probed at my clit.

“Tate,” I breathed. I sounded afraid.

His breathing had turned to wild panting against the back of my neck. “Yes?”

I opened my mouth to say something, anything, but I couldn’t speak. He’d chosen then to slip in another finger. His other hand came around to pay full attention to my clit.

Just like that, all the tension disappeared. Every cell of my body released as I came in a great but quiet explosion. I trembled against him, feeling his hard cock pressing against my shaking ass.

When I was done and he had enough of tormenting me, I pushed my dress down and spun around. He had his mouth open, probably prepared to give me his next command, but I had a chance for control in that one second. And I took it.

I knelt on the uncomfortable patio, and with shaking but quick hands I had his large and throbbing cock out and in my mouth before he could say my name.

For a moment, he had no reaction. I licked and sucked, slowly urging him down my throat. My eyes slid up to his and I stared at him through my lashes. His expression was completely frozen; if I hadn’t been so high on orgasming, I would have been afraid of him. He looked furious. Forbidding.

With his cock leaking pre-cum against my tongue, I didn’t care.

And then he let out a heavy, shaking breath. His hands rested against my cheeks and he caressed my face. I closed my eyes, indulging in the sensation.

“We have to be fast,” he groaned. “Someone… someone might come out.”

I murmured something against his cock and he gasped. His hands quickly found their home in my hair. He pulled on it hard, bringing tears to my eyes.

His dark eyes bore into my own. “Fast. Suck me fast. Make me come.”

I worked harder than I thought possible. I loved the sensation and taste of his slimy head running against the surface of my tongue. I loved it more when the sponginess settled deeper in my throat. I couldn’t breathe, and it was uncomfortable, but looking up into Tate’s eyes made it so hot. I knew he was hard, was panting, was desperate to come because of me. And that power was so unbelievably wonderful, and I felt wetter than I did before. I wanted him inside of me; none of my other bullshit fears mattered.

I was going to pull away to tell him so when he cursed and shoved my head further onto his cock. “Fuck. Yes.”

I felt him tighten and jerk, His balls were heavy when I squeezed them, and my touch seemed to finish him off. Cum cascaded out of his cock and down my throat in a rush. I choked a little and eased off. He stepped back and let the last two spurts of his orgasm run over my face.

“Shit.” He desperately shoved his cock into my mouth one more time. Then he stepped back and quickly dressed himself.

He handed me a tissue to wipe my face off. He watched with delicious fascination as I cleaned him off my face. I straightened out my dress and tried to think of some joke to make to diffuse the heavy air between us. He touched my elbow and I turned over my shoulder to look at him. He watched me for a minute, waiting for something. Then he gave me a kiss, the kind of kiss I could feel in my toes. My body trembled, wanting more.

But then he stepped back and smiled. “Time to go back to the ball, Cinderella.”

XX

It was weird for us the rest of the night, but not unbearably so. I felt awkward, but he only seemed quiet. I figured maybe he was tired.

He dropped me off with a kiss and a promise to call me in the next few days. When I came back into the apartment, Morgan only smiled. I expected another lecture, but she only went to bed.

I went to bed completely frustrated. Not even just sexually, but because something was forming between Tate and I (or I thought so, at least), and something was dreadfully wrong with Morgan. And I couldn’t do anything about any of it.

Tate called me three days later. I surprised myself when I saw his number on my phone and felt the amount of relief I did.

“Tate. Hi.”

I heard him laugh. “Hi. How are you?”

I flopped onto my bed. “Tired, but good. How are you?”

“Excellent. Never better.”

I struggled to think of something to say, something brilliant or funny. Of course I couldn’t think much beyond yay, he called me!

“So, I’d hoped we could see each other before my trip but my schedule doesn’t permit it. Hopefully you’re okay with that.”

My heart sank. “Trip?”

“Yeah. I’m going to Japan for two weeks. I’m leaving Tuesday.”

I wasn't his girlfriend or anything but it upset me I didn't know this very important detail. Then again, I had to face the fact I didn’t really know him at all. Thoughts of my rapidly emptying bank account pervaded my mind. I didn't know how this thing worked. Did he give me a whole bunch of cash regularly, or just when he utilized my services?

"Don't worry, I'll have some money put into the bank for you."

"I wasn't—”

"Shut up. I can smell your desperation over the phone."

"Thank you," was all I could say.

"If you want to see anyone while I'm gone... that's okay. It just has to end when I get back. Understand? Things get messy, otherwise."

"I understand," I whispered.

Did that mean he would be seeing people while he was away?

The conversation was so incredibly surreal.

"Is there anything you want me to bring back for you?"

I was a little touched he thought of that. I glanced at the promiscuous new underwear sprawled over my bed and recalled Morgan's words—that I could be whoever I wanted to be. I could be a fierce bitch, a warrior, a goddess, a little innocent wallflower. It was my decision, and it wasn't final either. Maybe two weeks from now Tate would want a vixen that could break his heart. Maybe next month he'd want a pseudo virgin.

Tonight I decided to play into what he seemed to like so far. I smiled when I decided what to say.

"Could you bring me back one of those kinky schoolgirl outfits? And maybe a really nasty sex toy that would be banned in the U.S."

He was still laughing when I hung up.

XX

The next day I was putting on my last intact pair of jeans when I heard an unmistakable tearing sound. I yanked them off frantically and saw a gigantic hole in the ass.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck!"

Morgan poked her head in. "What's wrong?"

Tears ran down my cheeks. It might have been an overly dramatic response to the circumstance, but I was tired, stressed, and fucking broke.

"My last pair of jeans ripped," I sobbed.

She rolled her eyes and waltzed in. "So? You have $2,000 left to buy a new pair."

She had a point. I had money now. And more coming, too. Tate gave me the account number he'd set up for me via text and promised to put in a generous amount as soon as possible.

Her eyes flicked down my body and then she moved closer to me.

"You'll see him again, Johanna." She had mistaken my silence for melancholy.

"I know. He's going to Japan for two weeks, though."

"Work?"

I nodded. "He knows my father, actually."

Something strange crossed Morgan's face. She hid it before I could comment on it and I was too upset to investigate it further. "Shit."

"Exactly."

"Well, Tate isn't afraid of anyone so don't worry about that."

"I'm not. I'm more worried about my father being a scumbag and exposing me. But whatever, it's out of my hands." I heaved out a long breath and sat on my bed.

Morgan blinked at me and gave me a small smile. "Wow. I'm really digging this new side of you."

"What do you mean?"

She just shrugged and laughed. "If you get bored over these two weeks... or if you get horny... I have someone in mind for you."

"Morgan!"

Even though Tate had given his blessing, it was too bizarre.

"Knowing Tate, I'm sure he told you it was okay. Don't think he won't be fucking some Japanese pussy on his trip, Jo."

The idea troubled me for some reason so I put it out of my head. Okay, it more than troubled me, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

"I told you—I just can't."

She grinned. "His name is Dylan. He's a lawyer and he's fuckhot. I only had him once but I was shaking for a week."

"I said no!"

I put a pillow over my head but she kept talking.

"You're going to want more. I saw you that night, Johanna. You fucking loved it. And if you're going to be bad, be bad with someone who will still be good to you."

"No! I'm staying home and waiting. There's no reason for me to—"

She interrupted me with a raised hand. "Do you want to be in this life forever? Because no matter how much Tate gives you it's going to take you a really long time to save up money and go to school. You know that right?" She touched my leg. "Trust me. You want to do this. You might not have another chance to pick up a back-up if Tate meets the woman of his dreams at some goddamn cocktail party."

It felt like she fired a sling-shot right at my heart.

She stood. "Just think about it. He's one wild guy who will give you probably the greatest time of your life. I should warn you that he's a bit of a playboy but you can handle him." She giggled to herself and left the room.

I picked up my phone. There was no text from Tate, and why should there be? He was on a business trip, probably having sex right then and there. I wasn't anything to him and I had to stop treating what was going on between us as anything other than a paid arrangement. My programming when I was with a guy was to act like we were headed somewhere. I just needed to reprogram myself and I would be fine.

Morgan's words played over in my mind. What better way was there to reprogram myself than by having meaningless sex with another guy? A guy who was supposedly amazing in bed, and who would pay me?

Was I crazy saying no? Was I crazy saying yes?

I settled on the fact I was crazy either way.

Morgan was painting her toenails when I came out.

"Give me this Dylan guy's number."

She smiled, and I couldn’t help but notice she seemed relieved.

XX

He wasn't at all like I thought he would be. He was courteous and quiet. He was far kinder to me than Tate had been at first.

He must've noticed halfway through our appetizer that I was watching him, waiting for the seductive sleaze to come out. A wry grin spread across his face, giving me a hint of what he could be like when he wanted to.

"I see someone has been talking about me."

"What?" I dropped my buttered roll on the floor and apologized profusely to the waiter who darted over to pick it up.

After Dylan finished laughing, he shook his head at me. "No bother denying it. I know Morgan and her big mouth quite well."

He smiled at me and took a sip of his Malbec while I got red in the face. The once-over he gave me was purposeful and heated.

"I've changed a bit since I was last with her. I'm afraid I'm not the same dick she once knew. Something changed me unexpectedly. Most unfortunately. I have a feeling you'll prefer me like this, though. All wounded tiger-like."

I tossed around some potatoes. "Why, did something happen with your dick?"

He snorted and I laughed a bit, loosening up.

"So, really—what happened? I mean, are you just adapting because you think I can't handle the real you?"

Dylan's smile wasn't genuine when he repeated, "The real me. What a concept. To answer your question, no, I'm not adapting for you. I'm far too selfish for that. I just don't have the energy I once did to be the bad guy Morgan likes." His eyes were hypnotizing when he flicked his gaze up at me beneath his lashes. "Again, I think you'll prefer it this way."

"What happened to mellow you out?"

"Oh, that's a boring, every day, normal kind of story. You can find it anywhere. A more exciting question would be—how long have you been in the business?"

My cheeks grew redder. "That's a nice way of putting it. Um, a few days."

He laughed hard, startling the waiter who was placing our dinners in front of us. "Oh, God, I do love myself an honest woman. Morgan told me you'd been doing this as long as her."

Shit. I couldn't decide if he was pissed or not. He waved off my worried expression.

"I like it, don't worry. You remind me of someone." Dylan's smile was slow and playfully taunting. I was finally getting what the fuss was about.

"Is that good?" I breathed.

He swirled around his wine, his gleeful expression fading somewhat. "Depends on the mood I'm in. Right now it's good. I could use some forgetting. She wasn't as interested in having…dinner… with me as you are. Then again, I never offered to pay her." He grinned to let me know he was kidding, and not making a stab at me.

My lips slid open and my breath came fast. He was certainly gifted at making a woman aroused. I was about to say something smart back when I noticed my cell phone buzzing beside my dinner plate. It was a text from Tate.

"Would you think I was really rude if I checked that right now?"

Dylan smirked and shrugged. "Probably, but you'll do it anyway."

Unable to resist, I checked it.

No schoolgirl hooker outfits just yet. Sure you don't want just wind chimes or something?

I smiled and typed back. Hold out for it. You will be surprised how much patience pays off.

Figuratively I pat myself on the back for my response. Then I heard Dylan mutter, "Oh, no."

When I looked up at him I saw him shaking his head with a peculiar smile on his face. "I've lost you, haven't I?"

"Pardon me?"

"You're into someone. It's written all over the way you can't touch your food and the fucking gleeful smile spread across your face. I take it that," he nodded to my phone, "was him."

"Um, I'm not. He's not in love with me or anything and—"

"It's okay. I don't mind. I just want to warn you that this—you and me—won't help you. It makes the time away from that person tolerable, and yeah we can get up to some amazing fun. And you will have some extra cash around. But I have a feeling that wasn't your motive tonight, am I right?"

I didn't know what to say.

Dylan took my hand and circled his finger over my palm. "You can come with me to a room tonight and I can make you forget for a few hours. I can make it amazing. But you won't be there, really, and if I'm being honest, neither will I. Someone that was important to me left me. She left and here I am, paying for someone to have an exciting conversation with." He smiled wryly. "If you need the money, by all means let's go and have great orgasms. It won't be any hardship for me. But if you're doing this as medication... Sweetheart. Buy a vibrator and wait until he mans up or you find someone else."

The check came over and he smoothly put his credit card in. "You've been fun tonight, no matter what."

"You're right," I whispered. "I should go home."

Dylan was totally cool about it and even snuck some money into my bag when I wasn't looking after I refused it ten times.

"Really, it's just dinner and good conversation that I enjoy now," he said when I was getting ready to step out. "Sex you can have with anyone. Funny how you have to pay to talk to someone, now."

He drove off after making sure I got to my door. I wondered what the hell happened to him that made him so strangely sad, and why the hell I turned down his offer. I had no doubt he knew how to please me, that it would be outstanding sex.

But he was right; it wouldn't be enough.

XX

I thought the next two weeks would be drawn out and unbearable, but they passed in a blur of me working at my shitty diner, ignoring Morgan and her warning words, and rubbing two pennies together in the hopes it would make more money.

Tate left me with more than enough for rent and for my own entertainment, but I wanted to save some. Believe it or not, I didn't want to be doing this the rest of my life. I didn’t think my heart could handle it, either.

Suddenly it was time for Tate to arrive. He texted that he would pick me up soon and that I should dress my very best. Unfortunately I was a moron and didn't go dress shopping, so all I had was a boring black dress I wore to my cousin's wedding two years before and a spring dress that was out of season and had a huge stain on the side.

Morgan watched me desperately flipping through my closet, willing something to appear.

"I have a dress you can wear, Cinderella."

I turned around and noticed that Morgan—irrepressible, irreverent Morgan—was sad. Sadder than I ever could remember her being. She was never anything but bitchy and funny.

"What's wrong?"

"Oh, nothing," she sighed. She wasn't even wearing makeup! "Just trying to figure out what's next."

I had a strange desire to hug her but I didn't think that would go over well. "If anyone can figure out the answer to that, Morgan, it's you."

Smirking, she walked over to me and tore the stained dress out my hands. "Let's put you in a real dress."

The dress she had in mind was a cream cocktail dress that glittered and glowed even beneath the piece of crap light she had in her room.

"It's you," she said with a slight smile. "Slightly virginal with something to it. Makes you want to unravel and see what's beneath it."

I blushed and took the dress from her, running my fingers down the soft silk. "You sure you don't mind me borrowing it?"

That melancholy echoed in her eyes when she shook her head. "No. You can even have it. Like I said, it's you."

XX

He was late. I paced in the apartment, peering at myself in our tiny mirror above our sofa.

I looked so unlike me in the cream dress that I wondered if Morgan was trying to be helpful or devious. I looked much older in it. She had done my makeup, smearing coppery eye shadow over my lids that made my brown eyes pop. Natural glowing blush was applied to my cheeks and a nice, nude lip gloss made my lips shimmer. I had to keep telling myself to not touch my face, just one of my many nervous gestures.

Morgan came out in a red dress that displayed a lot more of her breasts than I'd ever seen. She must have applied some self-tanner because she looked much darker and luscious. The red against her skin was to die for. Instantly I knew she was going out to see someone, and I was sure judging by the resigned expression on her face, it was a new "companion".

"What's he like?" I asked, foregoing beating around the bush.

"Old," she sighed. "The ones I find are always old."

"Why?" I knew she could do better.

"Because it's too dangerous if they're young for me. I could get carried away."

There was something in Morgan's tone that made me pause and I eyed her, wondering if those words were meant for me. A flare of irrational anger pulsed in my chest. She was the one who set me up with him!

Then it occurred to me that maybe it had once happened to her.

A knock interrupted us and I went over, opening it to reveal a distinguished older man that looked me up and down before realizing I was staring at him.

"I'm here for Morgan."

"Are you?" she laughed behind me. I stepped back and let her pass, and for some unknown reason to me, I put a hand on her back. She stopped for a second and let it rest there.

The older man turned back and gave Morgan a puzzled smile. "You ready?"

She breathed heavily. My hand lifted and dropped with the movement. "Yes."

Then she walked off into the hallway, her head and shoulders high.

Tate knocked on the door five minutes later, impatient to go.

"You look nice," he managed, flicking a glance at his watch. "We're going to be late for our reservation."

Okay. It wasn't exactly the reunion I'd hoped for but I reminded myself to keep what this was before me. I couldn’t afford to get lost with him, anymore.

"We wouldn't want that," I smiled. He blinked at me like I was a completely different person from the naive girl he'd messed around with two weeks prior. Perhaps I was.

I grabbed my coat and followed him out.

The restaurant he brought to me was small and intimate. The impatience never left him. He twitched and fidgeted, opening and closing his menu without reading the words. Once our meal was served and I had some liquid courage in me, I confronted him.

"What's the matter?" I asked. I couldn't take it anymore. Was he preparing to dump me?

He let out a long breath and lifted his gaze to me. "I left your gift on my coworker's jet. I have to wait until tomorrow to get it."

"Seriously?" I laughed. "That's why you're so pent up? I'd hate to see you at work."

"That, and I'm incredibly turned on by that dress you're wearing right now."

I didn't quite know how to take that. I put my own wineglass up to my lips to take a sip of the cool Riesling. I realized Tate was watching and I quickly put the glass down.

"Don't stop," he nearly begged. A soft quality was in his voice that made me ache. "You're very pretty, you know. Even more beautiful when something is running down your throat."

I should have been aghast. I should have been repulsed. I should have thrown my wine at him and proclaimed him disgusting. Then I should’ve marched out of the restaurant with my head held high and a portion of my dignity intact.

Instead I was frighteningly turned on. He was crude, of course, but there was something astonishingly liberating about having a man state exactly what he found attractive about you. To be honest, even at the risk of infuriating you. So many guys told me I had beautiful eyes, or soft hair, or that I smelled good, or a million other cheesy lines that really translated to I want to fuck you.

Now this gorgeous specimen across from me was telling me truthfully what he wanted from me. I held the power and it was such an aphrodisiac; what Morgan meant was finally becoming clear to me. And maybe I was a little drunk. And maybe I just wanted him.

"I guess it’s good I happen to like certain things running down my throat."

Tate stared at me like I was a fascinating painting, obviously an erotic one that he couldn't figure out. His eyes roamed over my curves, the shadowed slopes of my cleavage, the delicate bracelet on my wrist that I fingered suggestively.

"Finish your dinner." The intent in his voice sent a shiver down my spine, but the newfound me was having too much fun to let it go to my head.

"Yes, Daddy." I smirked when he choked on his water.

He asked for our check before I was finished, and ushered me out before I could protest.

We practically raced to the hotel room he'd arranged. He had my dress off in minutes and his own pants around his ankles in less than that. I felt the head of his cock, so hard and slick, push against my thighs and then run across my wet pussy. My bare back was pushed against the cool, rough wall when he slid his cock inside. We both groaned. My hands slapped against his, which were glued to my hips.

"Tight. So tight." He moved in long, slow thrusts. We thudded into the wall as he drove into me, stroke after deep stroke.

I couldn't believe our first time together was like this: no foreplay, no bed, no complete perusal of the other's body. How odd and yet how wonderful. It was enough to be wanted, devoured, and to feel him stretching inside.

" God!" I cried.

"Mmm." His hands groped my ass, separating it from the wall so that I was arched to receive his dick better. He went crazy then, burying his face into my hair and his cock into my pussy, losing himself somewhere in the fun.

I was hardly aware of how he did it, but I jumped when his fingers messed around with my clit.

"Jesus." My moan was long and drawn-out. "That feels so good."

"Yeah? Feels good when I fuck you like this?" The fingers of his other hand played with my nipples.

"Oh, yes," I agreed, clutching his back.

His pace picked up. I was so into it that I forgot my surroundings and smacked my head back into the wall. We both had a good laugh at that, but we became silent when he slid back into and out of me with a fervor that sent chills down my spine. His kiss was intense and almost a little too personal. I was happy when he took his lips away. It was too much sensation, and I knew I couldn't get used to his big and soft lips against my own. Embarrassingly, my eyes stung. I turned my head so he wouldn’t see.

His thrusts became choppy, losing their rhythm as he got closer to ecstasy. The sensation of his dick roughly plunging into my velvety walls was entirely unlike the sex I'd had with my two past boyfriends. Sweat dripped between us, fusing us to one another.

His movements changed from thrusting to powerful grinding, massaging his dick into me hard and fast. Judging by the massive amount of cursing he was doing and by the thickening of his cock, he wasn't far off from coming. The hand that was toying with my nipples dropped down to take my hand, entwining his fingers with mine. I gasped hotly against his neck and felt myself tightening against his dick.

"Where should I come?" he grunted.

My eyes fluttered. The thought of Tate coming anywhere on or inside me was enough to make me come. "Wherever you want. Oh, please, anywhere."

Tate pulled out, stroking himself for a few seconds. His hand was beautiful against the slick smoothness of his hard dick that was pointed toward me. Our eyes locked. Finally his cock shook once, twice, until long white lines of cum flew out, decorating my pussy and thighs.

Tate's groans were delicious. I thought I heard him say a name but I was too distracted watching him. The sight of him with his head thrown back, the cords of his muscles in his arm and neck contracting, and his cock twitching with every surge of cum was something I knew I would never, ever forget. His dick was still hard when he knelt down and proceeded to eat me out.

"Tate!

I was so shocked I nearly smacked him away.

"Mmm," was his only response.

The vibrations were almost enough to send me into orgasmic spasms. He took his time, however, tonguing my wetness until I begged him to stop.

"Can't. C-can't take it anymore."

I really lost my mind when he slipped three fingers into my pussy, sucking on my clit and flicking his tongue around like a thirsty dog. My fingers buried themselves in his lush hair.

"I'm going to come!"

He moved his mouth away from me, kissing my stomach. His lips were wet. "Give it all to me."

Then he plunged his mouth back onto me, taking my clit into his mouth with almost painful force.

I froze as my orgasm started. Then I shivered, arching my back away from the wall and thrusting hungrily into his face. He laughed after what seemed like an eternity of this, pulling his soaked face away.

"Delicious. You needed that, you know."

"I... I did?" I panted.

He stood up and kissed me again. I could feel his sticky cock oozing leftover cum against my stomach and my pussy gave one last, happy shudder.

Then he stepped away and brought me over to the bed.

"Yep. It's my specialty. I always know when a girl needs a good cum. I never know, however, what she wants for room service. You'll have to order from the menu for that."

Tate smiled and fell against the bed, breathing a laugh at my stunned expression. Then I smiled slowly, eventually letting my face relax into a full-blown grin.

"There. You're glowing. Now I'm going to make a guess... You want a BLT."

I shook my head happily, my goofy grin still plastered on my face. "Nope."

"See what I mean? I never know what a woman wants outside of the bedroom."

XX

I had to hand it to him—the way he paid me was very suave and stealthy. I picked up my purse at one point and an envelope was in there that was not present before. I took it in my hands just to feel its weight.

"Yeah, you'll be able to eat tonight," Tate laughed from somewhere behind me.

I dropped the envelope back into my bag like a guilty child.

He put his expensive watch back on and eyed me carefully. "You're allowed to enjoy it."

"This is just so not me," I confessed.

"Johanna, everyone has sex."

"You know what I mean." I gave him a look. "Not everyone has sex for money."

He put his shoes on and shrugged. "Some people would have a compelling argument for that, but I won't give it to you. I will, however, let you in on a little secret. It's okay to do what you've gotta do for survival. I imagine, since you're so dead set on this not being you, that you're doing it for just that. So take it for what it's worth. Stick with me; I'll take care of you. Enjoy yourself. And for God's sake, quit beating yourself up over it. There are far worse things you could do that would make you a real villain.” He got up and grinned. “And if all us fails, just remember how hot the sex is between us.”

I laughed and smacked his chest.

"Is it okay if I call you later tonight?"

"Please," I very nearly plead. I almost cringed at the neediness in my tone.

Surprisingly he just smiled and then disappeared into his world outside of that hotel room, while I prepared myself to do the same.

11 comments:

  1. Dear Girlinthemoon...You are truly a glorious writer...I am glad that I did not despair while waiting for your next story to appear. While the wait was agonizing, the payoff, my first read of this first chapter, was worth every second. I think, however, I will save whatever cleverness I mightbe able to conjure up for the comment box at literotica, caviar to the general. You desrve, mostly, my heartfelt thanks for a story I enjoyed every word of. As I have already said, you are an amazing AND a wonderful author. Thank you
    I am Neil Gabay (Ilienbagby on literotica--Bushy@ureach.com and an old man who is lost on the intricacies of computer networks and must therefore attempt to communicate as anonymous

    ReplyDelete
  2. TAAAAATE!!!! Girl, do you know HOW FUCKIN' LONG I've waited for you to post this again?!

    You've unleashed the beast :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, girl! Yay! I appreciate it. Let that beast growl. Of course there are a bunch of mistakes I need to fix here, but I'll get around to posting the second part soon. I'm glad to have it back. Thank you!

      Delete
  3. YAAAAYYYY IT IS BACK! I'm with the poster above, so glad you rewrote and reposted this gem of a tale. Always eagerly awaiting whatever you write. Love ya girl!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Replies
    1. He's back and he's too frickin suave for his own good, damn it.

      Delete
  5. Hi there,

    You know who I am ;). Just popping by to ask why this story isn't on Lit yet? Is it submitted?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, who is this? :D I submitted it but it had a problem (I said "edited" in it and they wanted to know what piece I was editing, my bad) so I'm just going to do a few edits I wanted to do anyway and then fix it.

      Delete
  6. Any chance you'll continue this story? As always, amazing work

    ReplyDelete
  7. Did you ever finish this story? If so where did you post the next chapter or conclusions?

    ReplyDelete