No, I couldn’t have a relationship with a call girl.
It wasn’t worth the risk to my sanity.
I’d always been comfortable being alone. I was introverted. Work-driven. I didn’t make friends easily, and I didn’t care to. Just because I’d been in the presence of a wonderful woman for a few days didn’t mean I couldn’t figure out how to be alone again. In fact, that was my main setting. Sure, I could tolerate a week of her. But what happened when week two rolled around? Or three? What if I came home from work one night and she wanted to talk my ear off when all I wanted to do was recluse? Would I snap at her? Yell at her? Make her upset with me like I had done plenty of times this past week?
Nope. Not worth it.
I’d been alone all my life. I could continue being alone. All I had to do was figure out how to forget about her.
Forget about the wonderful, vivacious woman I had rented for the week.
I blinked back tears as I rode up the elevator to Rhonda’s office. I didn’t want Phillip’s driver taking me there. I didn’t want to taint anything that was his—anything that reminded me of him—with something so cheap. It hurt to ride up that elevator. It hurt to know that I’d be so easily tossed at another client. And I knew exactly what was about to happen. She would give me the rundown that always happened after a job was done, then she would specify a certain time frame for me to rest and “recuperate” before I’d be called back in for another job.
Another “good time.”
I walked into her office and was hit with a massive cloud of smoke. Cats ran everywhere, and the stench of urine was foul. I hated it. I already hated being back in my real life. I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be back in Vienna. I wanted to be back in Phillip’s presence. I wanted to be back underneath his body. Hell, I’d take being ignored by him over this, over Rhonda and her cigarette smoke and her disheveled office and her trillion cats.
But what other choice did I have?
“I see Vienna was good to you,” she said.
Her eyes looked me up and down as I sat on the very corner of the chair in front of her desk.
“It was a better assignment than most,” I said.
“Good. First things first, are there any bonuses we need to bill him extra for?”
“Are you sure?”
Her beady brown eyes met mine, and I shook my head. “Bonuses” meant sex, since he didn’t specify any particular appetite for it in his paperwork. And I wasn’t going to charge him for the sex. Not when it was my choice and at my insistence. Not when I had set the mood and not the other way around.
Not when I did it for my own personal enjoyment instead of his.
Adding money into that equation made it feel cheap. It made me feel like a whore instead of like his counterpart for the week. And he had already given me enough money. Between the envelope he’d handed me before I got into the car and the money sitting on the seat, I had upward of three hundred thousand dollars of cash sitting in my apartment.
I needed to get it into the bank.
“All right, no bonuses. Did he hit you?” Rhonda asked.
“No,” I said.
“Did he bite you?”
“Did he scar you in any way?”
“He did not.”
“What about food and drink?”
“I was properly taken care of the entire time,” I said.
“Good, so no charges for damaging my property.”
Property. That was all I was to her. A means to an end to get her more money in her pocket.
Fuck, I would’ve done anything to be back with Phillip.
“All right, so no scarring, well fed, and no sex means a seventy-two-hour rest date before another job. Go home, take a shower, and right your head. I’ll call you in three days for more work,” Rhonda said.
“I’m going to assume you weren’t the reason he decided to pay me the way he did. But if I find out you are, you’re finished.”
“I understand,” I said.
“The only reason I didn’t come down on him for it was because he paid me more upfront than the percentage I would’ve taken off the top.”