Buy Me

By: Cassandra Dee

But the woman didn’t give anything away. Instead, she merely repeated her words, a robot again.

“You’re here to do as the client asks,” she said vaguely. “Nothing more, nothing less.”

I bit the inside of my cheek then. This was so goddamn frustrating and getting scarier by the moment. I understood if she couldn’t tell me anything, a lot of jobs prevent you from speaking for the company, there’s a strict corporate message. But here, sticking to the script was downright chilling because of what was at stake. It wasn’t just an hour of my life, it was the prospect of kissing a man, of tasting a man’s lips on my mouth, of doing more. And suddenly I was up in arms. Could I handle it, if there was more? Could I, Abby, a virgin, take it? Or what if I couldn’t perform, what if I couldn’t make myself kiss some old guy? What if he was creaky and wrinkly, smelling like menthol? Oh god.

But instead of focusing on the what-ifs and what-could-bes, I got myself in hand, taking a deep breath. There was no sense in psyching myself out when I just didn’t know what would happen. Maybe it’d be inane, maybe it really was just conversation and some smiles, all the while popping warm nuts and champagne. Or maybe there were a few kisses with a couple frogs. So what? I’d live, princesses have to kiss multiple frogs to get to their prince.

So I put a smile on my face and straightened my shoulders.

“I’m ready,” I said with what I hoped was a cool, confident air. “I’m ready.”

And with that, the woman led me past the row of hedges, along numerous corridors, all of them dark, dim, and opulent. Bu even with the low light, I could see ornate mirrors on the walls, straight from Italy, along with gilded wallpaper, gleaming and elaborate. And as we passed one doorway, there was even a fountain in the adjoining space, tinkling lightly in the huge ballroom.

So it couldn’t be that bad right? What had looked like a box on the outside was actually luxe and elegant on the inside, even though there were no windows. This place couldn’t be that terrible if they could afford such luxurious furnishings, even an interior fountain. I took a deep breath, getting some real oxygen, directing myself to relax.

And finally, we came upon a large seating area. Just like the rest of the place, it was dimly lit and luxurious, a huge wooden bar running along one side, the wall backlit, highlighting all sorts of top-shelf liquors. But the space was unique because there were topiaries and potted plants everywhere, as well as those damned hedges. It sounds odd, but the plants actually made it tasteful and elegant, each seating area shielded with vegetation so you couldn’t quite see who was sitting inside.

But judging from the voices, there were perfectly coiffed men and women making conversation inside. I could overhear the deep rumble of male tones, accompanied by the light laughter of women, high-pitched and flirtatious. I breathed a sigh of relief. Thank god, this didn’t sound crazy at all, just another cocktail party, complete with the tinkling of wine glasses and people making small talk. Perking my ears, I listened for Jennelle’s voice, the singsongy way she had of speaking. Was my buddy here somewhere? Was my friend sitting in one of these enclosed areas, sharing witticisms with a handsome man?

But I couldn’t distinguish her voice from the murmurs, and besides, it was too late. My handler had led me to a parting in the vegetation, and I looked in at a square seating area, not too big, maybe ten by ten, with plush couches surrounding a varnished table, secluded and dimly lit.

“Abigail,” the woman intoned smoothly. “I’d like you to meet Harris.”

I almost giggled then because all my fears of being intimidated, of being out of my league evaporated in an instant. The guy sitting inside was a total nerd, dressed in a brown suit with a checked shirt underneath. His comb-over was scrawny and sad, thin strands of brown lightly skimming his bald pate like delicate spider webs. And yet the guy couldn’t have been more than thirty. Suddenly, I felt totally in charge, like this was going to be a breeze, boring even. So I sat on the couch opposite him, crossing my legs decorously, and smiled.

“Thank you,” I nodded at the woman, who disappeared briskly, before turning back to the man. “Hi, I’m Abigail. You’re Harris?”

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