SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Twenty Four + Epilogue

*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?”

“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.”

 

Epilogue

 

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.”

The End

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.

J.

SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Twenty Three

*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here

Chapter Twenty Three

 

There were so many people at the party. The DJ was playing music and people were dancing. It wasn’t a typical early bird special, senior citizen party, no sir, Mimi and her friend liked to dance and they liked to drink. Music was bumping, drinks were flowing, food was being served. It was the perfect way to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday.

I took a glass of pink champagne on my way in with eyes on the food table. Mimi stayed behind with her friend Marg so they could make an entrance. A girl always needed to make an entrance. There was a round of loud cat calls and cheers when they finally walked in – queens, both of them.

Guests immediately gravitated toward the dance floor. I watched with fondness from the sidelines. “I think she’s enjoying herself,” my mom mused as she sidled up next to me.

“Me too, good job on the party mom.” A man approached us with a broad smile. He was about my mom’s age, give or take a few years. They seemed familiar, comfortable, some twinkle in both of their eyes as he asked her to dance. And wouldn’t you know, she actually looked flustered. My mom had a crush. I leaned in, “Go, Mom. Dance, have fun.” And as I was left standing alone, I could almost see the spotlight on the bar.

“Fancy meeting you here.”

I whipped around at the familiar voice behind me. “What the hell are you doing here?”

He laughed. “Nice to see you too.”

“Your level of stalking is starting to become alarming.”

“Oh Maddie! There you are. Marg wanted to introduce you to her grandson,” Mimi almost shouted from across the room. Her and Marg with champagne glasses in hand, arm in arm came walking over.

“Oh! You two have already met, how wonderful.”

“Ben is your grandson?” I asked, almost outraged.

“Mimi is your grandmother?”

“Wait, you two know each other?” Mimi and Marg asked at the same time.

“Yes, we know each other.”

“Ben, doesn’t she look beautiful.” I immediately felt my face flame. I downed the rest of my champagne in one sip. Oh god. “Ask her to dance.” This is what it felt like. This was what utter mortification felt like.

Ben, bless him, took me out on the dancefloor and placed his hands on my hips as I wrapped mine around his neck. Damn, the man smelled so good. “You do look beautiful, by the way.”

I smiled up at him, “Thanks.” The rest of the song was silent, and when it ended I, for some insane moment, decided I was feeling brave. I was an idiot. “Do you want to go talk somewhere more quiet?”

“Sure.” He grabbed us both a glass of champagne and I slipped my arm through his. He ushered me out on to one of the balconies. It was a now or never moment and I felt the butterflies. Ben was the perfect guy. He was handsome, successful, nice.

“You had mentioned that you wanted to talk to me about another campaign?” I’d made sure to touch his arm, all the little tricks I’d learned over the past few months.

He laughed. “You know, we don’t need to talk about business all the time.”

“Fair enough.”

He held up his glass, “Cheers.” I clinked my glass against his and took the plunge. I leaned in and kissed Ben Davis.

*tomorrow – Chapter Twenty Four

SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Twenty Two

*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here

Chapter Twenty Two

 

I was summoned to help my mom decorate the hall. I’d been informed when she’d picked me up from the airport yesterday that it was a double birthday party; Mimi and her friend Marg’s birthdays were a day apart and they were both turning the big 8-0.

I was drowning in silver balloons as I shoved them out of my face, pulling them from my mom’s little car and dragging them into the hall. There were old photos of my grandmother everywhere; photos of her and my grandfather, they looked so in love, photos of Mimi and Marg. My grandmother was currently at the salon getting her hair and makeup done; she’d blown the lid on her own party. No one could keep secrets from Mimi, it was a known fact. I don’t know how she found out, probably from the neighbors, cousin’s paperboy or something.

“Come on, the hall will do everything else,” my mom said, grabbing my elbow and dragging me outside. “I scheduled time for us to meet Mimi at the salon and get a blow out.” I wasn’t going to argue, this hair needed some love.

Mimi sat in her chair like a royal queen, her nails, hair and makeup being tended to. By different people. I was ushered into a chair and explained that I just wanted to wear my hair down. My mom sat in the chair beside me. We listened to Mimi tell the entire salon about her friendship with Marg, how they’d been friends for over forty years and lost touch then found each other again. “Marg was the one whose grandson lives in San Francisco,” she said, pointedly at me.

“Oh great, the successful business man, right.”

“I think he’s coming to the party you know, you can finally meet him.” Oh lord, this would be interesting. I couldn’t even refuse, it was Mimi’s birthday and what she said was the final word.

 

I’d changed into a tight black dress. I walked down the stairs and felt my mom’s eyes on me. Judging.

“This is a new look for you,” she mused. It was. When I was with Aaron, I would take to cardigans and button downs. Now, I felt comfortable in my body and felt better wearing tighter clothes that showed off curves I was proud of. Yes, it gained more attention and if I was honest, this was a dress that was one of my more modest outfits from my recent closet overhaul.

“It’s nice, looks good on you,” Mimi said, walking out of the kitchen. “You know I knew this girl when I was about twenty, she was just the nicest person and I would stop and talk to her when I was on my way to my job. One night I saw her and she was all dressed up wearing a dress exactly like that. I asked her where she was going and she told me she was working – she was a prostitute.”

“Mimi!”

“To like rich men, she had standards, no judgement,” she implored holding her hands up, “all God’s children.” She looked me up and down. “Does it come in my size?”

“Did she just call me a prostitute?” I asked my mom who had her hand over her mouth, stifling her laughter.

“Yes, but the way I interpreted it was that you look like a prostitute who has high standards, not one of those hood rat prostitutes, you know? One that buys Chanel and drives a Mercedes.”

“Oh my god.” I turned and moved for the front door. “Can we go?”

*tomorrow – Chapter Twenty Three

SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Twenty One

*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here

Chapter Twenty One

 

I sat in Mel’s office and listened with joy as she explained I had some requests from other clients. They’d heard through the grapevine about the success of Ben’s campaign and they liked my approach. Well okay then, go girl.

 

It had been two days since I saw Ben at lunch. I remembered that he wanted to talk to me about a new campaign and I gathered my lady balls and called his office. “Hey girl, he’s not here. He decided to go to the conference in New York.”

“Oh yes of course. Mel left earlier today for that as well. She’ll be gone for almost an entire week.” And allow me some breathing room.

Val told me that Ben never mentioned anything about another campaign but he hasn’t stopped talking about the results the current campaign was getting. “Since my boss is gone and your boss is gone and it’s Friday – what do you say we sneak out early?” she suggested. “I think we can make it for happy hour.”

“I think that’s the best idea you’ve ever had,” I told her. “Whoever gets there last buys the first round.”

It turned out I was the last one there and the first round was on my buck. Val was easy to get along with; we talked and laughed and it was a great way to decompress after a hectic work week. I looked around the busy bar and felt myself stiffen. “Crap on a cracker,” I muttered under my breath.

Val snorted into her drink. “Pardon?”

The familiar face across the room hadn’t noticed me yet, thank the good lord, but there he was, buying drinks at the bar. Apparently he could afford drinks, but not groceries. I quickly told Val my horrendous date story when, damn, my luck had run out. He’d spotted us. “Hey, sexy. Long time no see! How have you been, we should get together and catch up.”

I looked at him like he had two heads. “Oh yeah, I’m going to be busy that day, sorry.”

“But I didn’t tell you what day.”

“I’m going to be busy every day. Forever.”

“Okay, who’s your friend?” Yep, and I let this guy put his dick in me. Good job self, pat on the fucking back.

The next week I was focused only on work. I felt like I needed a dating detox. I even deleted one of the apps. Believe it or not! I could have sworn I was getting carpal tunnel in my thumb from swiping. I lived and breathed work putting everything I had into these new campaigns when finally the day came that I was able to go home for Mimi’s big birthday bash.

*tomorrow – Chapter Twenty Two

SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Twenty

*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here

Chapter Twenty

 

My Saturday night was dedicated to angry sex with the stranger I’d met at the bar around the corner from my apartment. The bar I’d gone to alone. I was on a mission and tonight, of all nights, all of my girls were busy and I sure as hell wasn’t going to sit at home by myself. We didn’t need to relive last night. So tonight, I was that girl. I couldn’t remember his name, Justin, Derek, something like that. He had a messy apartment; it stunk like a frat house and dirty clothes lay in the corner of his bedroom. He was snoring blissfully beside me. Me? I was empty. Everything about me was empty. Even the orgasm I’d just faked had been empty. I looked to my left at a nightstand that didn’t belong to me and there it sat, empty. How did I get here? When had I become this person?

I needed to leave. He wouldn’t even notice, the sounds coming from him were ones that would rival a freight train. I picked up my things and slipped from his apartment.

Jamie was home when I arrived. “What the fuck are you wearing?”

I looked down at myself, not recognizing the tattered shirt I had on. Shit, did I take this from his apartment? “I don’t know.”

“Where the hell did you get it? Behind a dumpster?”

“Let’s be real,” I told her, my words slightly slurred. “My last memory of this past twenty four hours is a bowl of icing. From yesterday. So I’m not ruling anything out.”

 

Everything felt foreign in my own bed, in my own apartment. I needed to go home. I remembered my mom had sent me an email about Mimi’s birthday party in two weeks. I booked my plane ticket.

At work on Monday, I called Ben’s office and spoke with Val. We’d made plans to grab a drink before I asked for Ben. “He’s unavailable right now, but I’ll let him know you called.” I didn’t know why I felt disappointed. As I hung up the phone, my computer lit up with a new email. My dad was in town and he wanted to meet for lunch. Today.

I met him at a swanky restaurant, one I’d never been to before. He looked good, had lost weight. Had he been tanning? He’d definitely gotten his teeth whitened. And there it started, the midlife crisis stage. I was only waiting for the twenty year old Instagram model with big boobs and blonde hair to walk in and introduce herself as my new step mommy.

“How are you, peanut?” he asked, pulling me in for a bear hug. I’d always felt like I needed to prove myself to my dad. He was an accomplished man and he held his standards higher than anyone I’d ever met. I proceeded to tell him about my latest successful project and some of the new ones my boss had thrown my way since. I’d gushed about my goals for the future and how this campaign and every one following only brought me closer to what I wanted. He’d told me what he’d been up to, how he’d just returned from a vacation in Maui and living the ultimate life as a bachelor. I couldn’t ever see my dad re-marrying. He loved the freedom too much, the ability to take off to faraway lands without needing approval from anyone. He was a wanderer, that was simply who he was. I’d held that against him for too long, I’d realized. He was a man that craved adventure, the ability to hop on a plane and get lost in a foreign land. He was never meant to be a family man, tied down to a wife and a child and a house in the suburbs. As he was showing me his latest tattoo, one that finished the full sleeve he’d started a year ago, I turned at the sound of an overly loud feminine laugh. I felt my eyes widen. God damn, this kid was everywhere. “Shit.”

I watched him do a double take as he recognized me. He guided the overly touchy woman to their table before walking over to ours. I forced a smile as he approached. “Ben, hi. Dad, this is Ben, we worked together on my last project.”

“Nice to meet you, sir. Your daughter is making big waves in the marketing world.” I was taken aback by his compliment.

“Glad to hear it.”

At the same time, our server brought us our bill and I could have kissed her then. I wasn’t sure why I felt weird but I did and I wanted to leave. I knew Ben could feel it too. “Well we’ll let you get back to your lunch, we have to get out of here,” I said to him, throwing cash down on the table before my dad could. I was speaking too fast, why was I speaking so fast?

Ben frowned at me, “Okay.”

“Enjoy.” Enjoy? I rolled my eyes at myself, grabbing my coat.

“We’ll talk later? I have a few things I’d like to run past you.”

“Sure, just have Val call me and we’ll set something up.” I turned my back and moved to follow my dad who was already halfway out the door.

“Maddie.” I closed my eyes; I needed to pull myself together. Really, I just needed this week to be over. It was all too much, too many emotions and I didn’t want to deal with any of it. Seeing Ben with someone else did things to my insides I didn’t want to acknowledge and all I wanted to do was go home and crawl into bed until I could climb on a plane and go see my mom. Letting out a slow breath, I turned around and forced a smile to my face. “Is everything okay?”

“Its fine, Ben. Why?” He was looking into my eyes, searching for something. I’d made sure I was shuttered.

“Just making sure.”

“Go back to your lunch, I don’t want to be the reason you keep your date waiting, we’ll talk later, okay?” Before he could answer, I turned and left.

*tomorrow – Chapter Twenty One

SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Nineteen

*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here

Chapter Nineteen

 

I sat at my desk the next day, tapping my pen against my keyboard. At least it was Friday. My eyes burned with exhaustion. Why did girls do this? Why did girls torture themselves for hours at a time when there was probably nothing to it? So what if Ben knew my screenname? He probably did research on me before hiring me like any respectable business man would do. I held a huge account, one with his name on it and he was doing his due diligence. That’s all there was to it.

I’d thought about what he’d said last night, that I deserved a real date. At the same time, I looked at the text message that had just came through – a dick pic from Sexter followed by a winky face emoji. I started laughing, out loud. The kind of laughter that was unstoppable as tears fell down my cheeks. I dropped my head on my desk. Fuck you, life. Fuck you.

For the first time in a long time, I decided not to go out on a Friday night. Pulling on my comfiest pair of sweatpants, I threw my hair up and chose the sappiest chick flick I could find on TV. I needed something sweet; looking in the cupboards, we had no snacks. Of course. What we did have was ingredients. A result of those ingredients? A bowl of chocolate buttercream icing. I grabbed a spoon and the box of wine from the fridge and sat both on the coffee table. Let the fun begin.

Scrolling through Facebook during a commercial, I saw a post Aaron was tagged in. It was a post congratulating my ex-boyfriend on his expecting baby and engagement. I felt sick. I hadn’t thought about Aaron in months. The idea of him was always lingering, the idea of getting my revenge even more so, but this, this was a slap back into reality. I felt tears burn the back of my eyes. He wasn’t a one night stand for me, he was everything, someone I loved on some level, someone I moved away from my entire family for. He’d always made sure to use condoms and never wanted to talk about our future. The minute I brought up the idea of getting married it was shut down immediately. Now, he was getting married and having a baby with some bimbo he’d met two months ago. We were different people. Different than we were when he’d first asked me out, different than when I’d followed him to San Francisco and different than when he broke up with me over text message. Well, I was a different person, he was still an asshole.

Fuck this shit. I stared disgustingly at the bowl of icing in front of me. I chugged my glass of wine and grabbed my phone. Stage three – revenge. Again. It was a continuous loop now. I dropped my pants in the middle of my living room and did something I never thought I would do. I took a picture of my lady parts. Pulling up my messages, I sent the photos to Sexter. My lonely night turned into a night full of dirty photos and dirtier words. At the end of it, it didn’t make me feel any better. I fell into bed ignoring the ache in my chest and welcoming the hang over that was to come.

*tomorrow – Chapter Twenty

SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Eighteen

*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here

Chapter Eighteen

 

“Cheers, to a fantastic launch – hits have more than tripled. I wasn’t expecting such a massive reply.”

“I think that was supposed to be a compliment so I’m going to take it as one.”

Ben laughed. “It was meant as one.”

My phone vibrated on table. Remembering the last humiliation I decided not to even look at it, and put it away in my purse. “How’s it is going with the dating app?”

Damn it. I put on my best mockingly shocked face. I couldn’t believe he just asked me that question. I laughed. “I don’t know why they call it a dating app. It’s not dating. No one dates anymore, they don’t go out for dinner and drinks just to get to know someone or for good conversation. There is nothing that goes into choosing someone. You have to base your initial decisions on their photos because you know they just copied and pasted their ‘about me’ section from some blurb on the internet.”

“Is that what you did?”

“It doesn’t matter what I did,” I argued, fighting a smile. “Regardless, the first photo is usually blurry or half of their face and the second photo is a shirtless picture.”

“Naturally.”

“Yes, and then the third is some picture of them holding a fish, or a puppy or someone’s kid to make you think that they are a good guy, trusting but really, all you can hope for is that the rest of their face matches the first half and they marginally come close to the one witty sentence in their profile.”

“And do they?”

“Do they what?”

“Come close?”

“Haven’t found one yet.” He laughed, and I continued telling him about some of my recent stories. Toward the end of my tirade, Ben looked completely appalled which made me laugh even harder.

Feeling daring, I asked Ben about the girl at the party and if they were still together. He looked confused then realized what I was talking about. “Oh, Sam? We’re not together. No, we work together.”

“Are you sure she knows that?”

Ben laughed. “Yes, I am.”

We stared at each other for a long minute. “You’re a fun guy Ben Davis,” I told him, the celebratory drinks making me feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy.

“I am?” He looked surprised and I laughed.

“Yes, when you loosen your tie a little.” He instinctively reached up to find his tie loose around his neck causing him to frown as if he didn’t realize he’d tugged at it earlier. At the same time, his phone rang.

“I’m sorry, Maddie. I need to take this, I’ll be just a minute.” As he walked away, the sober part of me began a pep talk. I knew I was too drunk and he was still a client. The night was heading in the wrong direction, well beyond unprofessional.

“Well I should go,” I said as he got back to the table.

“Yeah, okay. Can I drive you home?”

“I don’t think either of us should be driving.”

“Well by me, I meant my driver.”

Of course you did. Who has a driver? “I can just take the subway home.”

“I won’t take no for an answer.” I raised an eyebrow at him, pursing my lips. As I stood to pull my jacket on, I looked him up and down making him chuckle. “Please.”

As I slid across the soft leather seats, I leaned in to tell driver my address. I could feel him looking at me as I stared out window. “I’m glad you’re happy with how today went,” I said into the quiet.

“More than happy. You’re brilliant and I couldn’t have hoped for anything better.” The silence stretched on. I opened the window, staring out at the white twinkling lights in the tree lined streets. I closed my eyes and smiled into the warm January breeze. As the car pulled up to my building, I got out and bent down to look into the still open window thanking him for ride. “Thank you for joining me tonight. I had a good time.”

“Me too,” I told him.

“I hope you get your real date soon ma-d85.” My jaw dropped. It literally dropped. Oh my god, he knew my screen name. “We’ll talk next week.” When I didn’t answer or move, he smiled. “I’m not leaving until I know you’re inside.” I blinked and turned. My mind was spinning as I climbed the stairs. Nothing made sense, none of it. Okay Universe, what did it mean?

Jamie wasn’t home. I grabbed a glass of water, feeling like I was on a mission. A drunken mission, but a mission nonetheless. Picking up my phone, my sober self slapped it away from me knowing the drunk texts were fighting to get out. And with sloppy questions to one business man who continued to get hotter by the minute. Oh god, that could have been bad, I thought as I gave my phone a dirty look. I quickly changed and jumped into bed with my laptop. I pulled up the dating site. I needed to find him, what was he doing on the dating site?

After an hour of searching I found nothing. Falling back onto the pillows behind me, I stared up at the ceiling. “Ben Davis… who are you?” I was starting to think there was more to him than just a stuffy, too busy business man. But what? And why did my vagina think so too?

*tomorrow – Chapter Nineteen

SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Seventeen

*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here

Chapter Seventeen

 

When are you coming home next? Your grandmother is driving me crazy – next time you’re here we need to rearrange the living room furniture.

My mom was always changing something in her house. Every room had been redone, a silent effort to erase every part of my father in every nook and cranny. I had to give her props, what she’d done was beautiful and I had to admit I liked the current version of our home better than it had ever been. ‘Okay, why are we rearranging furniture?’ I replied.

‘It doesn’t have any fen sway going on’ she typed back with the praying emoji.

‘I see… need some of that fen sway around… or some Feng Shui – either one works.’

‘Don’t come at me with that negative energy. You knew what I meant, don’t be an asshole about it.’

I laughed. ‘Love you, Mom.’

‘Love you more.’

 

I looked through the peephole at who was knocking on my door. “Password,” I demanded. Beth held up a bottle of wine. I opened the door.

Sitting on the couch, Beth turned to Jamie and I. “I have a really good idea for tonight.”

“Let’s hear it.”

“Two words. Lesbian. Bar.”

I laughed. “Hey, I’m open minded.”

“Isn’t that the truth,” Jamie mumbled under her breath.

“Okay Glass House, thanks for your opinion.”

“Glass house? What have you been getting into, Jamie? Or should I ask who?” Beth asked, wagging her eyebrows.

“Yes Jamie, please tell us,” I teased. I looked at the invisible watch on my wrist. “Is it time to take your pills yet?”

“Oh!” Beth started. “Are we playing the Guess Your STI game? Is it one word or two? Permanent or no?” I laughed at her rapid fire questions.

“It’s not charades!” Jamie yelled before throwing a pillow at us and going to her room.

I turned to look at Beth who was inadvertently still playing. “One word, not permanent,” I finally answered.

“Chlamydia,” she guessed with confidence.

“Got it in one.”

“Yasss.” She high-fived my outstretched hand. “That was a fun game,” she mused, sipping her wine.

“Agreed, we should go to Hasbro with that shit.” We both laughed.

“So, lesbian bar?”

“Lesbian bar,” I agreed after considering the options. Maybe I could be with a girl, maybe there was a little lesbian inside of me – we’d find out at the end of the night (ba dum tss). Jamie passed, deciding to sulk at home.

In conclusion, lesbian bars were awesome. I was having the best time as Beth and I danced the night away. I saw her smile at the same time I felt hands come around my waist from behind. The girl moved her hips with mine as we swayed to the beat. When the song ended, I turned around realized how pretty she was. “Can I buy you a drink?” she asked, leaning in to speak over the music. And let’s be honest, I wasn’t one to turn down a drink.

We’d taken two shots at the bar before she leaned in and kissed me. I kissed her back, her lips soft, her tongue greedy. And I felt nothing. “I’m sorry,” I said, pulling away. I looked around and couldn’t see Beth anywhere. “I am so not a lesbian.”

“You sound disappointed,” she said, smiling.

“I am. I wanted to come here and try something different and I’m so sorry if I led you on. I thought, I don’t know what I thought. I’m an asshole.”

She had the decency to laugh, “You’re not an asshole. I get it.”

“Do you? I almost wish this wasn’t how I felt, you’re so hot and nice and you just don’t have a penis.”

“That I do not.”

“I really like penises,” I admitted.

“Come on, your turn to buy the drinks. You can be my wing-woman.”

“Done! I have a friend you know, she’s a lesbian. Well, she’s at least bi.”

 

It was the big launch for Ben’s company. I couldn’t remember ever been so stressed in my life. I needed everything to go well otherwise I would never be able to show my face again. I would need to find a cave and become a troglodyte.

It had been a long day and thankfully the campaign received a great response. Success! By the time I left the office, it had grown dark and I just wanted to fall into bed. I waved at the night security guard on my way out when I stopped at the sight of the black car sitting at curb. The door opened ominously and I felt like I was suddenly in Pretty Woman. Ben stepped out.

“What are you doing here?” I asked with a surprised smile.

“I was hoping we could grab a celebratory drink.”

“How long have you been waiting out here?”

“A while,” he admitted.

“Why didn’t you come upstairs?”

“I didn’t want to interrupt, plus I had some things to take care of anyways.” I didn’t know what to say so like an idiot, I twiddled with my fingers in front of me. “So, drinks?” he repeated.

“Sure.”

*tomorrow – Chapter Eighteen

SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Fourteen

*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here

Chapter Fourteen

 

Christmas came and went. It was quiet but nice to see Mom and Mimi again, even if it was just for a few days. After I’d come back to San Francisco from my mini vacation, Jamie barged into my room, dressed in a skirt and heels. She opened my closet and started rifling through my clothes, throwing an outfit on the bed. After being mesmerized by her for a few minutes I decided to ask, “What are you doing?”

“We’re going out, and you need something to wear.”

“Okay. Where are we going?”

She turned back to look at me, eyeing me up and down. “It’s a surprise.”

I raised an eyebrow and judging by her authority I knew regardless of my argument, I was going out.

Staring at myself in the mirror, I looked over at the bottles displayed on the top of my dresser. “I should probably put on some perfume. I feel like my natural scent is just alcohol now.”

“And that’s a bad thing?” Jamie asked, pulling on her heels.

 

We stood arm in arm in front of a restaurant I’d never been to before. “Come on, let’s go,” she said, pulling me inside.

“We’re going for dinner?” She didn’t answer. A woman stood at the entryway welcoming us with a warm smile and offering to take our jackets. Telling us where to go, we followed her directions and when we arrived at the Garden Room as she called it, I groaned out loud. “Are you kidding me?” Jamie grinned. “Retribution will be coming my friend,” I murmured as I bent down and wrote my name, grabbing a number to stick onto my shirt for our fun filled night of speed dating.

Luckily the women didn’t have to get up, only the men moved seats and judging by the coup, it was going to be a long night. I looked down at the paper in front of me, the one where I was supposed to decide whether they were a match or not. Jamie nudged me and nodded toward the door. Oh, and what do we have here? Two latecomers that may have just changed the game. Helloooo, there. New Years was only a few days away and when they turned and smiled our way, it looked like we might just have dates for the big night after all.

After an hour and a half, I’d sat through eighteen of the most mind-numbing dates of my life, if you could even call them dates, four minutes of forced smiles and nodding my head with each man. Until the game changer. “Hi, I’m Mark.”

“Maddie,” I returned, holding out my hand for a shake when he took my fingers and kissed the back of my hand. He was dressed in a nice suit as well as his friend, they looked like they just came from Wall Street, but he was cute and he had nice manners.

By the end of the night Mark had told me about a New Year’s Eve party he was going to and asked me to be his date. When she heard where it was, Jamie not so subtly elbowed me in the ribs. I told him only if my friends could come. He agreed with a smile and we exchanged numbers.

 

New Year’s Eve. Damn this night had so much hype around it, for a measly ten second countdown and it was all over, until the next year. My dress was sparkly and swanky and cut out in all the right places. My girlfriends and I decided that if we were going to pretend we were going to be classy for a night, that we might as well show up in style. Which was why we climbed into the limo that was taking us to the party. Mark and I had been texting and talking on the phone every day since the speed dating event. He’d told me he would meet me at the party and that he’d left our tickets at the door. We were already half drunk and the bottle of champagne sitting on ice in the back of the car wasn’t going to help. We’d already had a pre-cocktail, cocktail party. In my apartment. A chorus of squeals erupted as the car pulled up outside the venue, the spotlights and balloons shrouded what looked to be some of the wealthiest and ritziest of San Francisco. Fancy.

Once inside, my friends, the good friends they were, dispersed in every direction leaving me to go in search of my date, alone.

“Hey handsome.” I smiled as I walked up to him. He returned one of his own and grabbed my hand holding it in the air so I could do a little spin for him.

“Maddie, you look stunning.”

I tried not to blush. “Thanks, you’re not looking too bad yourself.”

“Come, let’s get a drink.”

As we stood at the bar, something didn’t feel right. He was speaking in one word answers, looking around the room at anyone but me. Okay, so Mark could be a dick. “Listen,” he started, cutting me off from what I was saying. “I’ve been thinking and I just really don’t know what I want.”

I frowned. “What?”

“I’m just confused, I’m in a weird stage in my life and I’m not sure what I’m looking for.”

Talk about confused, this girl right here. I had no idea what spooked him. When I asked, he said nothing for a long moment as he watched another girl walk past. I snapped my fingers in front of his face. “Nothing spooked me, definitely not you. I’ve never been more comfortable talking with anyone in my life I just – can’t deal with this in my life right now.”

“You’re making this more difficult than it needs to be. We’ve been talking for four days and we’re out at a party together. I’m not sure what it is that you can’t ‘deal with.’” As soon as the words left my mouth, I felt my stomach drop. “Ben Davis, shit.

“What?” Mark asked.

“Maddie, hi. I didn’t know you were going to be here,” Ben said as he approached from across the room.

“Hi Ben. Yes, was kind of last minute. This is Mark.”

Ben held out his hand. “Nice to meet you.” Mark nodded and returned the handshake. I didn’t know why but I suddenly felt extremely awkward. I turned to the bartender and ordered myself a double. Ben turned his attention to someone calling for it while Mark stood beside me, his elbows propped on the bar top behind him while he watched the rest of the party. After ten minutes Mark turned to me, “Do you really think you should be drinking so much, I can’t have my date being the lush of the party, you know? I have a reputation that I need to keep.”

I turned to him and if it were at all possible, I would have been spitting fire. “Then I’ll let you off the hook, I’m not your date anymore and you and your reputation can go fuck yourselves.”

He leaned in. “And to think I was going to take you home tonight.”

“And to think you actually had a chance of doing that. Bye.” I stood and stared at him, sipping my drink until he flared his nostrils and stormed away. Nice.

“You okay?”

Holy shit, Ben Davis, right beside me. “You heard that, huh?”

“Yep.”

“And that was my ride home,” I said to myself, taking a deep breath realizing how ridiculous that entire scene was. I watched Ben hold up two fingers to the bartender and before I knew it, shots were sitting in front of us, a slice of lemon on each.

“I can give you a ride home,” he said, holding up the shot glass. I couldn’t help but laugh, drama, drama, drama.

“Thank you.” I clinked his glass and threw the burning liquid down my throat. I told myself it was that last shot that threw me over the edge. I went from ‘no officer, I’ve had a couple but I’m just headed home, it’s only a couple blocks’ to ‘ma’am, hands behind your back, you’ll need to spend a night in the drunk tank’ and I knew it. I could not stop the verbal diarrhea if I tried. I heard myself telling Ben how I was so impressed by him; I was babbling like a schoolgirl with a crush and my sober self had never been so embarrassed in my life. Ben interrupted me, taking my hand and asked me to dance. Without waiting for an answer, he pulled me onto the dancefloor. And could the man dance. Oh god, what was I doing? I felt a crush coming on. I couldn’t have a crush on my client, damn it. He was so cute and such a gentleman after he’d heard Mark being a total asshole. Maybe he wanted me too, maybe we would ring in the New Year together and blur the lines of professionalism. It wasn’t like it was unheard of.

“Ben?” he stopped dancing at the sound of the feminine voice behind him and turned around.

“Hey, Sam.” He leaned in and gave her a kiss on the cheek. And there it was, the shattering of drunken dreams. Luckily my friends seemed to sense my discomfort in the presence of this gorgeous woman who Ben was obviously with.

“Ready to go?” Lisa asked cheerfully.

“Yes, definitely,” I told them.

“What? But it’s not midnight yet,” Ben interrupted.

“Thank you, Ben. For the dance, and for turning my night around.” As I turned to walk away, he grabbed my hand.

“Maddie?” I could see the look of confusion on his face and I was too drunk to comprehend what any of it meant.

“I’ll talk to you next week, okay?”

“If you’re not going to stay, at least take my car home.”

“I couldn’t possibly do that.” The woman, Sam, beside him looked bored by our conversation.

“Yes, you can. I owe you one, remember?”

I thought about it with a smile. “You’re right, you do.”

“It’s outside, I’ll let my driver know to take you and your friends wherever you want to go.”

“Thank you.”

“Happy New Year, Maddie.”

“Happy New Year, Ben.”

*tomorrow – Chapter Fifteen

SWIPE RIGHT – THE CHRONICLES OF AN UNPAID PROSTITUTE – Chapter Twelve

*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here

Chapter Twelve

 

Thursday night I met Luke after work at the apartment he shared with his roommate. He ordered food for us from someplace he insisted on down the street. It was my treat, I insisted. I don’t know why, I was trying to be nice, expecting him to refuse. He didn’t. As the food arrived, he brought me my favourite drink, vodka tonic with two slices of lemon. “You were paying attention.”

“I was,” he grinned. Luckily the roommate wasn’t home and we could be as loud and naked as we wanted. Unfortunately I was more naked than I was loud. The sex was okay, not as good as I remembered. I got up off his bed feeling the need to pull on my pants – I’d learned my lesson with the Carlos incident. I hadn’t even gotten my jeans over my hips when he asked, “Are you on birth control?”

I stopped what I was doing. “No, why?”

“Are you planning on going on birth control?”

“No,” I said slowly. “Why?”

“Because I don’t want to wear condoms anymore,” he stated, almost as if I should have known the answer.

“Excuse me?” I pulled back trying to make sense of what he was saying. “I made my ex-boyfriend wear condoms the entire time we were dating and that was for five years.”

“So what are you saying? That you don’t trust me?”

“No I don’t fucking trust you! We’ve been seeing each other for five minutes, how do I know you’re not sleeping with other people?”

“I’m not.” He actually had the audacity to look offended.

“Yeah, okay, let’s pretend we believe that. Then how do you know I’m not sleeping with other people?” he didn’t know what to say. I continued, “Regardless, you want to fuck me, you wear a condom. That’s the rule, my friend. Unbreakable.” I finished getting dressed and stormed into living room wanting to be away from him. I sat on the couch, pissed. He sauntered out of his room, taking his sweet ass time as he buttoned up a shirt he’d thrown on.

“So what, you’re upset now?”

Nice. Now? I just wanted to leave. “Do I look upset to you? No, I don’t get upset, I’m pissed. And I’m leaving.”

“Listen, I don’t want you to leave pissed, it was just a question. Let’s forget it okay?”

“Fine, but I’m tired. I have to get up early in the morning.”

“Okay, but before you go, I wanted to ask you something.”

“What?” I asked, exasperated.

“Um, well, you know how I just got back from the Dominican. That trip kind of took a toll on me and I was wondering if I would be able to borrow some grocery money?”

Up to this point, I would have said no had someone asked me if I was a violent person. I stared at him, flexing my fists, waiting for him to say he was joking. He wasn’t. I really wanted to laugh it was so outrageous. Seriously, his dick was not good enough to ask me that question. “Yeah sorry, fresh out of cash – spent it all on your dinner tonight.” I turned to leave. “Oh and Luke?”

“Yeah?”

“Lose my number.”

Driving away, I pulled out my phone and broke the law. I texted my girlfriends – one hand on the wheel, one desperately typing this ridiculous nightmare. In caps lock.

Friday I was still riding my rage and apparently it was obvious. Saturday morning I work up to a message: wake up bitch, we’re going on an adventure.

My girlfriends were waiting on my front steps as I walked outside an hour later. “Care to tell me where the adventure is taking us today?” I was promptly handed a fanny pack and a disposable camera. “What the hell is this?” It was then I realized they all had the same.

“Today, we explore our great city. Today we are tourists,” Lisa told me proudly.

“And if we don’t hurry, we are going to miss our ride,” Angela chimed in. I laughed, my friends were idiots and I loved them. We walked down the street and there waiting for us and twenty five other people was a red double decker bus. By the end of the day I had a sweet ass tan, a camera full of goofy photos and a smile.

*tomorrow – Chapter Thirteen