*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here
Chapter Twenty Four
He pulled back, holding my upper arms. He cleared his throat, looking uncomfortable. I suddenly felt the heat of embarrassment; that was clearly not what he wanted. “Maddie…”
“Oh my god, I’m sorry. I just thought… oh god.” I turned and ran away, hearing him calling after me. I’d just made a pass at one of my clients and it was quite clear he didn’t feel the same.
Running into the woman’s bathroom, I felt tears on my face. What the hell was I doing? How did I get here? I placed both hands on the counter and hung my head, just breathing. After ten minutes, the bathroom door opened and Ben walked in. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere. Why are you always running away from me? Am I that scary?”
“No, Ben, I’m so sorry. I’m so embarrassed. I shouldn’t have done that. I just… I don’t know, I’ve developed some sort of weird crush on you and I clearly took it way too far.”
He leaned against the wall and folded his arms across his chest. “Well, I can’t say that I’m not flattered.” He paused and I could see him sorting through his thoughts. “But the thing is, I’m gay.”
I felt it. The upheaval then the drop of my stomach. Well that was unexpected. “What?”
“I’m gay, Maddie.”
I dropped my head against the mirror with a loud moan. “What the hell? But you’re always with different women.”
“Different women who are business associates.”
“But my grandmother told me that her friend Marg’s grandson was single and living in San Francisco and that we should hook up.”
“Well, I am single and living in San Francisco and we should hook up, for like shopping or grabbing a coffee. I think I’m a pretty fun guy. And I’m an awesome fucking friend.”
I stared at him before laughing. I’d never heard him swear before, he’d always been so stuffy, so proper. “Can we go get drunk?”
“Yes!” He took my hand and we walked back toward the party. “You know I do have a brother.”
“Is he gay too?”
“No, he is very heterosexual.”
“Ah, as tempting as that promo sounds, I think I need to take a step back from the non-dating, dating world.”
“Yeah, revenge fucks get old real quick.”
“How did you know?”
“You’re pretty easy to read,” he told me with a wink.
“You’re right, they do. My grandmother called me a prostitute tonight.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Are you at least getting paid?”
I sighed. “No. If anything I’m losing money.” We both started laughing at the ridiculous state I found myself in.
“And it wasn’t a new campaign I wanted to talk to you about.”
“No. I wanted to run an idea past you. I want to open up a firm, and if you’re willing, I want it to be yours. You run it, it’s your name on the sign, and it’s your baby.”
“What? But I’m just starting out.” I felt all my dreams colliding together as I stared at him.
“No you’re not. You’ve been sitting in a cubicle for three years with other people taking credit for your work. I’ve been paying attention which is why I specifically asked for you to take my campaign. You’re too good to be stuck behind someone else’s name, Maddie. You’d be surprised how much weight your name carries in the marketing world.”
A year later, I was emptying one of the last boxes in my new office of my new company, the one that had my name on the door. Ben had become one of my best friends, my very gay best friend, and he was a person I relied on in my daily life. I was meeting up with all of my friends tonight to celebrate and Ben asked if he could bring someone, there was no other answer than yes. Especially because I was very curious who this new man friend of his was. Oh la la.
For the first time in a long time, I felt independent. I didn’t need to have sex with a stranger in order to validate myself in some ass backward way. I was comfortable being alone because I finally knew my self-worth. If a man didn’t want to take me out on a date, a real date without sending a dick pic or taking me to a sex club or asking me for money or was on parole, then I didn’t need them. I wanted to let it happen organically so I closed all of my dating site accounts. Maybe in six months I would try again, but right now I was okay without the one night stands.
Laughing over drinks, the girls and I were waiting for Ben to show. In a non-business setting, the man was consistently fashionably late. When he finally arrived, silent looks were exchanged around the table as they approached. Dayum, the man friend was fine. “Maddie, ladies, this is my brother, Corey.” Ah, the resemblance now made sense.
Reaching out his hand, I gripped it with mine. “Nice to meet you, Maddie. I’ve heard a lot about you.” I heard the suggestive noise Lisa made from beside me as she sipped her drink. I pretended to ignore her.
I felt my smile, the warmth that was these people as they surrounded me while we drank and laughed and celebrated.
Ben, who placed another drink in front of me (like I needed another), wrapped an arm around my shoulders as he leaned in to whisper in my ear. “Not gay.”
“Got it, thank you so much.” I rolled my eyes at him and shoved him away.
“Very single,” he mouthed as he took at seat across from me.
“Ben’s told me that you just moved into your new office.” I turned to Corey whose attention was solely on me. He continued to ask me questions and it was a conversation that was interesting and intriguing. He was asking questions that no other guy had ever asked me before; he asked about my family, what I liked to do. He was so attentive. It was the first conversation I’d had in a long time in a casual setting where the man wasn’t acting like he wanted to immediately take me home to bed. Besides Ben, that was. Because he liked the p just as much as I did. I found out more about Ben’s brother, that he lived right here in San Francisco, and I’d never seen this fine piece of man meat, and that he owned his own consulting firm. I wondered then, if this was the grandson Marg wanted to set me up with.
I looked around at my friends who were all happy and laughing, most of them now relationships, and I knew that I wasn’t the same girl I was a year ago. I didn’t feel some misplaced need that if my friends were in a relationship, I had to fuck my way into one too. If a man wanted to take me out, I wanted to know it was going to be worth it. I wanted to try the friends before lover’s thing; I wanted conversation and romance and wooing and hearts and flowers and everything in between.
As the night came to a close, the fantastic four were left – me, Jamie, Ben and his sexy brother Corey. Jamie and I stood on the sidewalk hailing a taxi while we said our goodnights. As the yellow car pulled up, Corey opened the door, like a fucking gentleman. Jamie climbed in before me; I felt his strong had on my wrist as I moved to follow her. “Let me take you out for dinner.”
I smiled. “Like a date?”
His grin did something to my lady parts. “Yeah, like a date.” A real date! I felt butterflies and as much as I wanted to jump at the opportunity and tell him yes, then ask why he was still clothed and point to the dark alley behind us, I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t that same girl anymore. Ben’s brother was different, a good, delicious, sexy different. But so was I. “Maybe.”
I hope you enjoyed reading about Maddie and her shenanigans as much as I loved writing about them. If you take away anything from this online book, I hope its that its better to be safe than sorry – wrap it up.
My deepest gratitude & Warm Wishes.