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Beneath The Surface- 18+ (Sample)

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Chapter 1: You Had Me From Hello

It was 20 degrees out but Leslie Devereaux was sweating bullets. She had unlocked and locked her car doors- remotely- about 18 times in the last 5 minutes. She tried to convince herself to get her freezing butt in the damned car already.

At this rate, she wouldn’t get to the gala until the charity auction had already started. She really was quite anxious as to how much her art piece would raise for the charity involved. The sweat on her pale forehead dripped in direct defiance of the weather.

If Leslie hadn’t had to drive, she would have primed herself with enough booze to take down a cavalry. As it were, she insisted on picking up her date herself.

Leslie sighed and went back into the house to check her makeup and hair one last time. She went to the full length mirror in the bathroom and gazed at the person looking back at her.

Her makeup-what little she wore-was probably all but sweated completely off. That was with the exception of the water-proof mascara and the matte non transferable lipstick she would probably have to scrub off with a Brillo pad later on.

Taking a soft towel, Leslie wiped the sweat from her face and neck, knowing when she pulled it away, all of her foundation would be in evidence on the fluffy white cloth.

Fuck it, she thought as she wiped off all traces of the concealer with it. Fortunately, Leslie was blessed with a naturally fine complexion and rarely used makeup other than mascara and lip gloss. Her skin was pale with rosy cheeks that grew pink when she was under duress. Right now, her cheeks were stained a deep red.

Leslie took out a pick and tried to coax the loose black tresses out of her face and back into her chignon. She sighed in frustration when her curly black hair refused to be tamed and undid the chignon and decided she would just pile her hair onto the top of her head. She secured the mass of curls to her head with dark purple, shimmery chopsticks.

After much indecision, Leslie had opted to wear a silky, black mermaid gown with some jewel accents at her breast. It was an off the shoulder number with a plunging sweetheart neckline and a long train. It showed off her pale bosom and lovely curves to good effect. She knew that even if Grant and Delancey dared show their faces at the event, at least she would look sexy as fuck and with a hot date to boot.

A/N: Couldn’t find Leslie’s dress in the color I wanted to so here it is in maroon

Who are you kidding, she thought. Of course they will be there. The Graham’s not attending would be akin to the Pope missing Sunday mass.

After affixing the chopsticks and tilting her head to admire the effect, she took one last deep breath. She added more perfume to her pressure points and between her bosoms and left the bathroom. Leslie flicked the light switch to the off position a little harder than she normally would.

She grabbed her silk wrap and clutch purse and with mock confidence strode out the house to her car. This time she actually got in and started it. After sitting for the briefest of moments, Leslie took a deep breathe and turned on the heat to defrost the windshield. Once that was complete, she backed up out of her parking spot and started the short journey to the designated pickup spot.

Hopefully she would be able to work up the appropriate amount of enthusiasm before she got to her first destination of the night.

Craig Weller was about to walk back into the little coffee shop behind him when a black sedan pulled up beside him. A pretty, pale woman in her mid 20′s rolled down her window and asked cautiously, “Lance?”

Showtime, he thought putting on the roguish smile he wore on all his “dates.”

“That would be me,” he said as he smoldered down at the rosy cheeked little beauty in the driver’s seat. She seemed to flush even further at the sound of his voice.

The girl was much prettier than most of his usual clients, and he wondered why she needed an escort service in the first place. She certainly was pretty, if not beautiful, enough to snag any guy with eyes in his head. A little curvier than he usually liked but it wasn’t in a fake tits and ass type of way. Her curves were all her own and he appreciated that in its own merit.

Maybe this woman couldn’t find a date because she was incredibly dull or irritating. Or maybe she was a lesbian that had to bring a handsome man to some stuffy family function in order to stave off more questions about when she would be settling down with a nice man so that she could supply her parents with adorable, drooling rugrats.

Whatever the case was, Craig knew he could handle whatever came his way with aplomb.

After 5 years escorting, he had pretty much seen it all. Lesbians with grandchild obsessed parents, women whose exes were to be at a public function with their new girlfriends and wanted to flaunt some serious eye candy.

Hell, he had even been an escort to a straight man who wanted to introduce Craig to his clingy stalker ex-girlfriend who didn’t seem to understand the concept of a break up. The man had introduced Craig as his lover and told her he was gay. Craig hoped it worked out for him in the end. The lady seemed quite unhinged and had even Craig looking over his shoulder for a couple of weeks after that ‘date’.

Still it was odd that this seemingly normal, yet striking woman would need his services at all.

Maybe she just liked the thrill of doing something taboo. Well, he was sure he would figure out the reasoning in due time.

“My apologies for being so late,” she said with a blush. “I’m afraid that in my haste to the leave the house, I found I had left my wallet at home and had to turn around to retrieve it.” Her way of speaking was a bit stilted and formal. This was an educated woman to be sure.

Craig nodded understandingly and walked towards the passenger side of the vehicle. He climbed in and snapped his seat belt into place before glancing again over at his date for the night. This woman really was as stunning as he had initially thought. He saw her hand held out to shake his.

“My name is Leslie, by the way.” she said shyly. “Leslie Deveraux.”

After Craig shook Leslie’s small, warm hand, she told him that she would like to get on the highway before explaining the events of the evening. He just nodded and remained silent.

After a few silent minutes they had gotten onto the Interstate. Leslie sighed, sounding resigned to the fact that she would now have to open her mouth to speak. What she said first had him baffled.

“I am assuming your real name is not Lance Masters?” she stated.

He raised a brow at her and nodded. “How did you know?”

Leslie snorted, not unattractively, and tossed her head. “Oh please! Your name screams porn star or Welcome to Chippendales!” She laughed prettily.

Craig smiled and said, “Well my middle name actually is Lance and Masters was my mother’s middle name so...” he trailed off, shrugging. He wondered why the hell he had told her all this. This woman had a gift for making him feel at ease and open. He would have to watch that. He didn’t let any of his clients get underneath his escort persona. They usually just wanted to get under his pants-not that he obliged them in any aspect.

Leslie quietly looked over at him and studied his features for a moment. Dark brown hair with sparkling grey eyes were his most prominent features. He had a sculpted jawline and he looked to be well over 6 ft tall. His hair was a little longer and wavier than the glamour shots on the agency’s website. It suited him and gave him an air of joie de vivre.

Craig looked over at her staring at him and something in her eyes made him feel like he should explain.

“My mother was a big fan of books about King Arthur and Merlin and the like.” he explained. “My parents both agreed that Arthur was a horrible middle name and my dad refused to have the name Lancelot on any birth certificate bearing his last name, so they compromised and I got Lance.” He shrugged again and looked out the passenger window away from the strangely alluring woman with the lively blue eyes.

“I’m glad they agreed on something half way decent then,” Leslie concluded. “I mean, could you imagine if they decided on Mordred as your middle name?”

Craig involuntarily laughed at that. “It would not have made a very good porn name, that’s true.”

At that she smiled a little more naturally and the tension in the car seemed to lessen a touch.

“I suppose I must tell your what you are doing here with me,” Leslie said abruptly, as if deciding to rip off the bandaid. “It’s not too complicated and you’ll probably think me petty, but-” she shrugged nonchalantly. “I figure I paid for your company and for you to look pretty, not to pass judgment on me or my ways.”

This shocked Craig a little bit and his head swung abruptly towards her in. She was undoubtedly forthright but a touch self-deprecating at the same time and he thought it an odd combination in a woman whom he thought should have been more confident.

She was smiling mischievously and her eyes twinkled so that he knew she was only having a bit of fun at his expense. This was a wholly singular experience for him.

He finally laughed and said, “You know most women would fawn over me and coo sweetly in my ear while they rub my bicep.” He shook his head. “You on the other hand...” and faded off chuckling lightly, not needing to finish the sentence.

“Well, I’m glad I could amuse you,” she said, laughing lightly at his observation. “I have always been contrary, much to my parents dismay might I add.”

Craig cleared his throat and decided to get down to business. “So tell me, what am I doing here if not to have you rub my biceps and bat your eyes at me?”

“Well,” Leslie said quite seriously, “I was never one for those types of behaviors, so you’ll have to make do without any spastic facial movements. If you behave yourself, I could be convinced to rub a bicep or two, but no eyelid fluttering please!” She smiled and concluded with, “The last time I tried doing that my date thought I was having a stroke.”

Craig raised a brow at her again and thought that in any event, tonight would not be dull with a woman like her.

“I’ll try to contain my disappointment in your flagrant lack of eye movements if you finally get to the point of why I am here.” He looked at her seriously and said, “Surely someone with your looks and intelligence could get a decent date without having to spend $2,400.00.” He had tried for gentle with little success.

He thought he saw her blush, but it was too dark in the car to be certain.

“There’s the rub you see,” Leslie sighed, as she seemed to decide to get down to brass tacks. “I would have had a date tonight if it weren’t for my fiancee.”

“You’re engaged?” Craig asked surprised.

"“Well, ex-fiancee.” she admitted, her voice softer now.

“Ahhhh...” he said, starting to understand. “How did the “ex” part of it come about? I’m assuming this ex is why I am here.”

“Partially.” Leslie admitted. “But I’m afraid it’s more complicated than that.” She seemed to steel herself in order to continue. “My ex became an ex when he decided to sleep with my bitch ex best friend.”

“Ouch,” Craig winced.

“Indeed.” She replied with a short nod. “The reason you are here, is because I am afraid that between my parents, who are against the breakup, and Grant, ex-fiancee extraordinaire, I needed a diverting buffer.”

She looked over at Craig and with a wink said, “And you my dear are said buffer.”

“So,” Craig surmised. “If I read between the lines, the reason I am here is two-fold; A) Make the exes insanely jealous and, B) Distract the parents from your disagreeable breakup during some kind of pretentious function where the 1% throw their money around and congratulate each other on their generosity towards the ‘little people.’”

“In a nutshell.” Leslie nodded. “A mutual admiration society.”

“Thanks for giving me the heads up.” Craig said as he nods. “I like to go in prepared. What does this function benefit?”

“This year they are donating all proceeds to the Joyful Heart Foundation.” she answered, vaguely.

“Domestic violence?” he asked, surprised.

“You know it?” Leslie’s brows raised.

“Pffft! Please,” Craig replied, feigning hurt. “Just because I’m an escort doesn’t mean I’m unintelligent.”

“I never said you were,” she retorted. “In fact, I would say that you are the most intelligent escort I have ever met.” She smirked slightly.

“And how many escorts do you know?” Craig asked.

“Well, just you,” Leslie admitted laughingly. “But really, I don’t think that you are unintelligent in any way. I am merely surprised that you have heard of it. It is not the one of the more well known groups of its kind, but my father -who is the one hosting- believes they are the most reputable. He is hoping to raise enough money to open a new domestic violence center. His goal is to raise 750k by the end of the night.”

Craig whistled through his teeth. “How are they raising that much in one night?”

“Well there is the dinner, of course and then they have an auction.”

“What do they auction?” Craig inquired.

Leslie shrugged and simply said, “It’s a variety of things. Anything from expensive wines, to vacations to jewelry or paintings.”

“Must be some damned good wine.” he replied.

“Only the best.” she smirked and paused. “May I ask you a personal question?”

“You may ask, but I can’t promise you an answer.” he warned.

“Why do you use a pseudonym?”

“Well,” Craig began with a sigh. “I used to work at a different escort agency when I first started out. I was young and stupid and didn’t think I needed a fake name. After a while it became apparent why most escorts use them.” He shook his head in disbelief. “I finally changed agencies and took a pseudonym after my 4th apartment move in as many months.”

Leslie was surprised. “Did the dates stalk you?”

“Some of them did and others were able to get hold of my home phone number. They blew up my phone so much I got rid of my house phone altogether.” He paused. “I never realized how much one takes a good night’s sleep for granted.”

Leslie laughed but stopped herself shortly. “Sorry. How did you become an escort anyway?” she looked over at him. “Or is that too personal?”

Normally this would have been too personal a question but for some reason, Leslie was easier to talk to than most women. The fact that she wasn’t overly flirty was a definite plus.

“I got started in college.” he said. “Starving college student and all that. After I graduated I kept on doing it.” He shrugs. “The money is good and I can go on a couple dates a week and have plenty of free time for...other things.”

Leslie looked intrigued and said, “Ooooh sounds mysterious. What other things pray tell? Are you a nude model in your free time? Or perhaps you dedicate your off hours to serving at a soup kitchen, or walk blind dogs for their owners?”

“Hysterical,” he said rolling his eyes. He paused. “Actually, I write.”

He never told his “dates” about his writing. This woman practically milked information out of him. She should be a used car dealer or sell some ridiculously idiotic type of insurance.

“Romance novels?” Leslie asked hopefully.

“Good God, no! What dreck!” he exclaimed. “I write mystery novels.”

“How fascinating. I do love a good mystery novel.” she sighed. “Could I have read anything by you?”

At this time they had pulled off the highway and had entered the most affluent area Craig had ever seen. And he had seen quite a few.

Craig smiled. “I said I write them. I didn’t say I was any good at it.”

“Have you been published?” Leslie inquired, not backing down.

Reluctantly, he admitted he has had a few of his short stories published in some magazines.

“Hmmmm... Hustler or playboy?” She asked laughing.

“More like Reader’s Digest and the like.” he admitted.

Leslie looked over at him surprised. “Then you must be halfway decent if Reader’s Digest would publish you.”

Craig shrugged and said with a smirk, “Well, I like to think so.”

There was a pregnant silence and Craig watched the carefree look on Leslie’s face slowly drain away as they neared large estate with so many lights on it it was practically blinding.

“Look. We are here,” Leslie said with an exaggerated shudder.

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