My face flames red, but I can’t move. I flip the little black card over and look at it expecting the number to be smaller, but it isn’t. It’s bigger, with a lot of zeros. I don’t understand. Glancing up at Miss Black, I ask, “Why is it more?” I thought it’d be less. Who’d want to pay to fuck a virgin? don’t know what I’m doing, like at all.
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Miss Black tilts her head to the side. “Supply and demand. There are very few women your age with everything still intact. Some men like being the first. They want a more drawn out experience, so it costs more. Combine that with a lack of virgins and you are a rare commodity.”
Oh boy. I’m a rare commodity. I don’t blink. I just stare at her. It’s like I’ve fallen into a parallel universe or something.
Mel blurts out, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Mel looks at me like I’ve been living a double life for the past few years. It irks me, since she really is living a double life. I had no idea she was doing this. I don’t want to talk about it now, either. “It’s not the kind of thing that comes up, okay.”
Mel stumbles over her words and finally spits out, “How?”
Miss Black speaks for me, “She never found the right guy, is my guess. Avery’s been too busy with life, trying to survive. A guy complicates things, adds more danger, and more uncertainty.”
I feel numb. That was exactly why. If I got pregnant, robbed, infected, or anything else, then I’d be totally screwed. I stare at the floor. “There’s no room for it. If I make a mistake… ”
Miss Black nods. “I understand. Don’t make a decision now. Think about it and let me know. My number is on the back of the card. I need to check Melony’s stats and you girls can be on your way.” “Have you done it?” I blurt out as I look up at her. I don’t know why I asked, but I did. Miss Blac] turns back to me and nods slowly. “Do you regret it?”
“There are some things I wish I’d done differently, but it was my own fault. The job was great, Avery. My regret is that I held onto the job too long and the result was letting the right guy slip away.” Mel whispers to me, “We can’t date when we’re working here.”
Miss Black shakes her head, and looks at Mel. “Come on. Let’s get your stats.”
Mel walks to a scale and stops in front of it. She turns once showing her dress off to Miss Black “It ties at the waist.” She pulls the string and slips out of the dress. Mel is wearing a navy bra and panty set with matching garters and thigh highs. She slips out of her shoes and steps on the scale. Miss Black measures her waist, breasts, and hips, and writes the numbers down.
Mel turns to me, “They regulate everything.”
“Would I have to do this for the dating service?” They both nod.
“It helps us keep you in shape and pair you up with the right man. We want our clients to be happy. Most of them want a specific kind of woman.” Miss Black answers me as she fills in information on Mel’s chart.
“Specific numbers?” I ask, shocked.
“Specific ratio. It gives a good indication of curves. The clients will never see your measurements, of course. That’s just for us.” Miss Black eyes me, while Mel pulls her dress back on. “Why don’t you come in with Mel tomorrow. I’ll bring the—“
I shake my head. I’ve made up my mind. The moment of insanity has passed. There’s no way I car do this. “No, that’s okay. This is too much for me.”
Miss Black leans in. “One guy, for one month and you’d be set for the year. It’s just one guy, Avery. Think about it.”
I don’t need to think about it. This isn’t for me. “No, but thanks anyway.” I say. I flick a glance a Mel and want to strangle her. What was she thinking, bringing me here? And what the hell is she thinking, doing this? I look down and bite my tongue.
Miss Black is talking to Mel about her next date and walks toward a bookshelf on the wall. She lifts a photo album and walks back to the table. Mel sits next to me. I grab my phone and pretend to tweet something. Mel’s spine straightens. She knows I’m going to chew her out when we’re alone. Damn right, I am.
Miss Black says to Mel, “There are a few new clients who haven’t been entered into the database yet. You know how we are with these things. Everything is private, but it takes time. Anyway,” she says, putting the thick book on the table, “I’ll show you his paper file. This’ll be destroyed later.”
Mel scoots closer, so she can see. When Miss Black flips open the thick binder something flutters to the floor. It’s a picture and some notes that are written too poorly for me to read. I lean over and pick them up. When my fingers touch the picture, I freeze. Those eyes, that face. A chill runs down my spine. It’s the guy from earlier tonight, the one on the motorcycle. I pause there, afraid to touch it. A rush of feelings swirl through me and pool in my stomach. I can’t swallow.
“Avery, what’s wrong?” Mel asks, noticing how I’ve gone rigid.
“Nothing.” I sweep up the papers and the picture and hand them back to Miss Black. When I touc] the photograph, I think of how it felt to wrap my arms around his waist. Hell, I already wrapped my thighs around his hips. My face flames red at the thought and the two women chuckle, like they know what I’m thinking. I push the papers across the table toward Miss Black.
The corners of her mouth twitch with amusement. She senses the chink in my armor. “This is a new client. I met him this morning and he was interested in finding someone to take under his wing, someone with little experience, someone with soft dark hair and even darker eyes—someone like you.”
I smile too widely and shake my head. Butterflies are ambushing my stomach and trying to fly up my throat. I move too much and practically shake my brains out of my head. “I’m not interested.” I try to hide my nerves, but the fact that this guy made me melt before I saw the picture undercuts me. I cross my arms over my chest and lean back in the chair, locking my jaw.
“Very well,” Miss Black says, no longer looking at the guy’s picture. She turns to Mel and pulls out a few pages. There are a lot of pictures of the guy and his preferences are noted.
I tune out what they say. I don’t realize it, but I’m staring at the upside down picture of motorcycle man. He seemed so normal, so nice. What’s he doing at a place like this? If he asked me out, I would have said—stop lying to yourself, you would have said no. I wouldn’t have given him a chance, and why? Because I don’t have time for stuff like this. I won’t start something that I can’t finish.
My eyes fixate on his face. Startling blue eyes look back. A dusting of stubble lines his jaw, dark like the sexy hair covering his head in thick waves. It sweeps across his forehead, like it’s just a little
too long. I want to touch it, and push the hair back. Those eyes are too amazing to conceal. My heart is pounding and I’m lost in thought, rethinking the encounter with him earlier tonight, wondering why he’d come here, when Mel pokes me in the shoulder.
“Hello? Earth to Avery?” I snap my gaze from the picture and look at her. “Time to go.” Mel stands and grabs her purse.
Miss Black extends her hand to me, “It was a pleasure to meet you.”
I nod, and shake. “It’s been..” I stare at her, and can’t think of anything to describe how it’s been.
Miss Black breaks the awkward pause and says, “I did the same thing. So did, Melony, if it makes you feel better. Neither of us thought we’d do it. We both said no at first.” Miss Black smiles weakly at me. The handshake stops and before I have a chance to turn away, she says, “We both changed our minds.”
I smile at her, completely and total certain. “I won’t be changing my mind about this.”
I turn away and follow Mel down to her car. I had no clue how wrong I was.