Chapter 2. Superman
We pulled up to a valeted parking area in front of a huge sparkling mansion. There were so many fairy lights attached to it, you could catch a 3rd degree sunburn from them.
I had seen many scenes such as this, being in my profession, but I had to admit whoever planned this little shindig didn’t play around. The view was stunning. It looks like the organizers had gone with a winter wonderland theme.
Ice sculptures adorned the front entrance. Dozens of trees were dressed for the coming Christmas holiday. Large crystal snowflakes hung in the air, slowly changing colors. They had even rented a snow machine which purred quietly in the background of voices adding the perfect finishing touch.
The party planners had done a masterful job.
Being a professional escort for the past few years had helped me to guard my expressions for the most part. In this case, however, I still had to stifle another whistle at the magnificence of the view before me. I had long since been able to control my facial expressions, so a slight lift of my eyebrows was all the emotion I allowed myself at the grandeur.
It was a black tie event so naturally the men in the crowd wore tuxes. They probably cost more than I made in a year of escorting. The women wore elegant gowns in a multitude of colors, although I noticed more than half were in shades of purple.
Of course, I thought. That would make sense since this was an event to raise awareness about domestic violence and raise the money needed for the new domestic violence shelter.
As I exited the car, I watched as Leslie handed her keys to a valet in exchange for a piece of paper no larger than a ticket stub. She turned to me and I got my first good look at my date outside of the confines of her car.
Leslie looked to be about 5 ft 6, but part of that could be her heels which were hidden beneath folds of fabric. The dress was fitted perfectly to her curves, gathering in all the right spots, hanging low between her creamy breasts. The jewels on the dress added an extra sparkle to her already luminous eye. Her train dragged along behind her, flowing smoothly over the snow strewn ground.
Her figure, though sensuous, was at odds with her face. While her body was voluptuous, Leslie had a countenance face was innocent and sweet. Only when her blue eyes had flashed mischievously in the car had she betrayed any hint of the same carnality in her face that her curves perpetually proclaimed.
I studied her face and decide I liked what I saw. Her blue eyes were large, dewy and slightly downturned, making her look like she was always on the verge of some strong emotion. Thick raven lashes framed her jewel-like eyes. Her face was diamond shaped with pink cheeks that were too often flushed. Long black curls were piled artlessly at the crown of her head, softening the jut of her cheekbones and her firm yet feminine jawline. Her alabaster neck rose proudly from slim shoulders over which she had elegantly draped a long, black silk wrap. Long arms ended in slender wrists and delicate hands. The soft tendrils of hair that had escaped from her chopsticks completed the look perfectly, making her look both sensual and pure at the same time. Leslie was indeed beautiful.
I hope that ex-fiancee of hers does attend tonight, I thought. I’d love to see what stupid looks like up close.
Leslie walked up to me, wrapped a manicured hand around my bicep, squeezing teasingly and says, “Are you ready to divert me, Lance?”
I grinned widely, unable to stop chuckling softly at the little minx. I put my hand over hers and lead us toward the receiving line.
I looked down at her. “I’m at your service, my dear Leslie.”
“Leslie, dear, there you are. I was worried you were going miss out on all the fun!” said the handsome middle-aged woman who captured Leslie in a brief hug. I could see a strong resemble in the sparkling eyes and jutting jawline the two women shared.
“Hello, Mother.” Leslie said formally as she kissed both her mother’s cheeks, old world style. Leslie’s demeanor radiated calm, but Craig could feel the tension thrumming through her body.
Well, this is what I’m here for, thought Craig as he puts a steadying hand on Leslie’s lower back rubbing ever so slightly. He felt her stiffen for a moment before relaxing into the carress.
“Where’s Father?” Leslie continued, looking around the room. “Incidentally, you both outdid yourselves this year. The place looked fabulous.”
“Oh, I’m sure the shriveled old goat is around here somewhere,” Leslie’s mother said with a raised eyebrow.
Well, Craig thought. I can see where Leslie gets her caustic tongue from.
“Mother,” Leslie ventured. “I’d like you to meet Lance, my date for the evening.” She turned hesitantly to Craig, eyes downcast. Craig thought she was quite smooth; there was only the slightest hint of hesitation before the word ‘date’ slipped past her lips. “Lance, this is my mother, Sheila Deveraux.”
Craig immediately turned on the charm. He took the older woman’s hand lightly in his own and pressed his lips down lightly on the pale, jeweled knuckles.
“A pleasure to make your acquaintance Mrs. Deveraux,” he said, raising his head with a smile.
“Please, Lance. Call me Sheila.” She pursed her lips playfully adding, “Mrs. Deveraux makes me sound like the supporting cast from a trashy harlequin romance.”
“Of course, Sheila,” Craig said smoothly. “Leslie is absolutely right. Your home is exquisite. I have never seen such beauty-present company excepted of course.”
Leslie nearly rolled her eyes at the adoring expression on her mother’s face right now. The woman was smitten with her date already.
A waiter came by with a tray of filled champagne flutes. Sheila immediately took one-probably not her first-but both Leslie and Craig declined. Both preferred the open bar with cocktails and hard liquor over the bubbly beverage.
Craig excused himself to fetch them drinks, a scotch on the rocks for him and Skyy Vodka with cranberry for Leslie. He glided smoothly through the crowd in search of the bar, his broad back disappearing in a sea of colors.
“My dear where ever did you find such an exquisite piece of-what do the kids call it?” Sheila asked. “Ah, yes-ass?”
Leslie couldn’t help it. Her jaw dropped to the floor as she sputtered out, “Mother!”
Sheila shrugged her fur clad shoulders elegantly and said, “Well I’m not blind, my dear, and that is one fine specimen of a man.”
Leslie nearly wrung her hands in exasperation and said, “I think I will go find Lance. It appears I will need a much stronger drink order-possibly straight rubbing alcohol.” Her voice faded to a near grumble at the end.
Leslie could hear her mother’s chuckle as she walked away towards Lance’s turned back.
Well, at least she had avoided the topic of Grant-for now.
“Leslie?” A small voice inquired softly.
I knew that voice since I was a child. It was the same voice that laughed when I had laughed and tried to comfort me when I cried. I used to love the voice of my oldest friend, Delancey Grahame. That was until I had heard it crying out in ecstasy under the firm body of my fiancee one night several months ago.
My eyes burned with unshed tears. I refused to look at her, lest she see the emotion in my eyes. I squared my shoulders and walked swiftly away from the voice, but felt her gaze follow me across the room.
I had made it within 5 feet of Lance’s turned back when he smoothly turned and greeted me with a smile, almost as if he had felt my approach.
I quickly took the offered drink and nearly gulped it down in one unladylike swallow. I ordered a black russian, thinking this was going to be one helluva long night.
Lance, for what is was worth, looked nonplussed and kept his mouth shut.
After I had taken a steadying sip of vodka and Kahlua, I leaned in to Lance’s ear and simply said, “The Bitch.”
His eyes widened almost imperceptibly and he nodded his head, not needing further explanation.
We stood there sipping our drinks in silence. No wonder his services were so highly coveted. He seemed to be able to read his clients perfectly. Craig knew that I needed to calm myself with a little liquid courage before braving the rest of the crowd.
I was supremely thankful for him and his superior skills as escort cum mindreader.
After I had finished my second drink, he asked me if I would like to dance, which surprised me. I nodded and placed my empty tumbler on the bar knowing it would be picked up almost immediately by the expert staff my father had hired.
Lance took me by the arm and headed toward the large dance floor area in the center of the main room just as the orchestra started a slower classical piece.
We were about to enter the dance floor proper when I felt a familiarly warm hand on my shoulder. I stiffened and Lance seemed noticed my hesitation. Lance tightened his hold on my arm a little more possessively at my physical demurral.
I turned toward the owner of the unwanted hand and my eyes narrowed a touch.
“Grant,” I said coldly. I could practically see icicles form in the space between he and I.
Grant was smiling at me, the nerve of the arrogant jackass. When he saw my cool gaze and the owner of the arm that was still laced through mine, his smile faltered. I was a bit mollified at my choice of hiring an escort for the night.
“Lovely to see you again, Lee” he said, smirking.
I scowled when he used his pet name for me. While it used to be endearing, it was nothing if not irritating and offensive now.
“Likewise, I’m sure.” I pulled away from his grip as if his mere touch scalded me. “Now if you would excuse me-”
“Is there a reason you are manhandling my date?” Lance inquired. My eyebrows flew nearly to my hairline and my head snapped up to him as if tethered to his voice. There was a bit of amusement in Lance’s voice with an underlying hint of something I couldn’t place.
Grant flinched at his words momentarily and I felt a sense of satisfaction at the effect of Lance’s words. I almost forgot my date was bought and paid for. All thanks to my now almost maxed out Mastercard.
I took advantage of Grant’s loosening grip to extricate myself from his vile paws as Lance, in complete synchronicity, pulled my body gently toward him. He draped a protective arm low around my shoulder.
Lance’s movements were more like statements. Back the fuck off, they imposed.
Yup, worth every stinkin’ penny.
Grant took a brief moment to gather himself into a dignified pose.
“I was merely interested in catching up with my fiancee...” Grant began.
“Fiancee, eh?” Lance cut him off. “Last I heard, she had broken off with you after finding you ‘Heels to Jesus’ with her best friend.” His eyes shot daggers at Grant and I blinked.
Why isn’t this man busy writing his Oscar acceptance speech instead of escorting rich, lonely ladies about town and working on his novels?
We left Grant gaping after us as Lance pulled me smoothly into a close embrace on the dance floor and started to sway to the music.
I smiled as I leaned my mouth closer to his ear and said, “Are you always this chivalrous with your dates or should I pay extra for the special treatment.”
He snorted inelegantly and laughed. “Usually it’s an extra thousand, but I’m feeling generous tonight.”
I laughed lightly and got a bit more comfortable in his arms, confident I hadnt offended him. “Handsome and valiant. How did I get to be so fortunate?” I said.
It was a rhetorical question but one he answered anyway.
“Let’s just say, I have a great dislike of assholes who get handsy with beautiful women.” he said and I blushed.
If this guy hadn’t been a bonafide Lothario, he would have been the perfect man.
I settled into the rhythym of the music and my dance partner, thinking dark thoughts.
I had first come across the escort agency when I was feeling particularly low. This was about a month after my break up with Grant and my self esteem was somewhere in the sub-basement trying to blast a hole through the earth to China. Well, breakup may be a bit of an understatement. It was more of an ill-timed implosion.
I had googled online dating sites on the web, desperate for something-well, someone-to take my mind off the numbing sense of betrayal I felt. Along with the regular matchmaking websites, I clicked on a link that gave me about 1,800 pop-ups. One of the pop-ups had a glamour shot of the most lovely man I had ever seen.
Normally one to a) keep my popup blocker running and b) ignore any pop ups that managed to squeak through said pop up blocker, I couldn’t seem to regret my negligence or close the window of the gorgeous model of masculinity before me.
I eventually had closed all pop-ups but the one that had caught my eye. I stared for a moment, my mouse finger itching to click it. I finally did and was immediately sent to a website that offered dates for a “nominal” fee.
I rolled my eyes at my own idiocy. Of course, nothing that good would be be easy to acquire. I closed my laptop without powering down and set it to charge.
A few days later I had once again opened my laptop-an unwanted necessity I had burdened myself with, but didnt particularly care for. I took in a shallow breath as I realized the website of the luscious Adonis was still flashing on my screen, beckoning me to come a little closer.
I did a little bit of browsing and noticed something unusual. Unlike most of the other escort pages that occassionally found their way around my pop up blocker, the lovely gentleman whose name I caught as Lance Masters, didnt do the usual head or body shots. All of his photos were tasteful. He seemed to like to pose with his shirt open slightly staring off into the distance. Nothing too unusual about that. Women love a little mystery in their manmeat, but the backgrounds were what made me pause.
He had set all his backgrounds in nature. The silhouette of a mountain or him hunkering down near a cool stream of water was his stage. He never faced the camera full on, and his clothing was always a little on the Brooks Brothers side.
Most of the other escorts had opted for the cheesy or downright sleazy.
Still it made me wonder what this fellow would look like spread eagle across a fur rug in front a blazing fireplace holding the white teddy bear. It was what an escort named Brock Peters had included in his photo catalog.
Who gifted these idiots their ridiculous nomenclatures and why hadn’t someone with half a brain stopped them?
Lance Masters. Well, he seemed a cut above the other inane, one dimensional hardbodies on the web. They stated their turn-ons to be warm sandy beaches while their turn offs are barking dogs and rude waiters.
According to his profile, Lance was said to be 25 yrs old and Pisces. Was I supposed to care about that last part? I thought to myself. He had wavy dark brown hair and piercing grey eyes. His height was an imposing 6-4 but something in his demeanor made him seem gentler, less overwhelming. I studied his photos for many hours until I started to creep even myself out.
He always seem to have 5 o-clock shadow adorning his chiseled chin, and whether it was deliberate or not, it was sexy as hell. More than once I wondered what it would be like to run my tongue over the whiskers on his jaw.
In person, he radiated a cool, unassuming confidence, his presence more comforting than offputting.
When I finally had made my decision to bag the guy, or at least rent him, I was feeling particularly down. Both Grant and his slut, aka ex-BFF, had been blowing up my phone for days. I can only surmise what they wanted, as I had deleted all text messages before reading them. I allowed my voicemail to get full so they couldnt add any more weepy monologues or angry diatribes.
They could talk to the hand-or the message stating that the voicemail was full and they would need to try again later.
I swayed to the music while wrapped in his arms and sighed, wishing this man was real.
I mean, yes he is here and tangible and too beautiful, but his pricetag put him on a shelf that no commonplace woman such as I, could reach.
End of POV
Leslie hadn’t seen her schmuck of an ex-fiancee since their tete-a-tete nearly an hour ago. She had spent most of her time flitting from one group of patrons to another. Even though the function was being held by her parents, she seemed to feel the need to make it a success for them. So there she was, a little butterfly, alighting on the next group of blossoms, charming the pants off of young and old alike.
The girl knew how to play to her audience. She laughed at the older gentlemen’s platitudinous jokes and made much of the older women’s dresses and jewelry. She cooed as she gazed at photos of popeyed grandchildren. As a result, the older women doted on her like a cherished grandchild. Some were even so enchanted with her, they forgot Craig was there on the outskirts of the group, and tried to play matchmaker with their eligible male relations. Leslie demurred at these introductions, and took her leave of them, stating she had neglected her date for far too long.
The younger females were harder to please, but with work, could be won over. Leslie complimented them on anything from their choice of lipstick to the gallantry of their husbands and pleaded with them that they must tell her where she got those beautiful shoes. Are they Louboutins? I’m so jealous-I could never pull off a look like that with these ankles.
Eventually even the most supercilious of the ladies melted under her attentions.
Though she seemed comfortable enough, I could tell this scene was not her thing. At first it was just a hunch, but it became self-evident when she dealt the younger males attending.
Only flashing a pretty smile or some light coquettish attention would be needed to make their night.
She kept her distance and gracefully maneuvered away from some of the more brazen men-single or otherwise. Some seemed a little too encouraged by even the most minimal of her attention. The men would lean close with hooded eyes and she would playfully press a well manicured hand against them, separating them from herself, but softening the blow with a well placed laugh or compliment.
She would quickly move on to the next guest so as to make sure her attentions were divided as evenly as possible. Craig followed her lead, amused by her words and actions, and intrigued at the proficient way she reigned supreme over the crowd. She became a highly sought after companion in the deepening throng that surrounded her.
If there was a belle of the ball, she was it-hands down.
She would have made a damned good escort, he thought oddly.
The thought gave him a strange feeling. She was too enchanting, yet innocent for her own damned good. He caught himself laughing at the thought-if there was one woman in Westchester who wouldn’t need to get paid for her company, it was she. With all the old money she was probably rolling in, she would always be the payor, not the payee. Not that she should need to pay for male company in the first place.
1 cranberry vodka and and 4 black russians later and Leslie’s bladder was fit to bursting. At present, she was in the middle of a cluster of elderly women who all but pinched Craig’s cheeks in their admiration of him.
After excusing herself from the ladies and pulling Craig aside, she asked him if he would be able to fend for himself for a few so she could freshen up.
“I’m sure I can manage on my own for a few minutes,” he smirked gently.
Leslie made her way to the ladies room to relieve herself and touch up her minimal makeup-which was holding up quite nicely.
She was alone in the luxurious bathroom drying her hands, when the entrance to the bathroom swung open and almost immediately closed. She paid no attention to it since she hadn’t heard any footsteps. Leslie figured whoever it was had changed their mind and would come back later.
She fixed a few soft tendrils that framed her face and splashed some cold water on the back of her neck. It may currently be 18 degrees outside, but the ballroom was sweltering and it wasn’t all due to the endless liquid refreshment that was flowing.
She left the bathroom and had just started to turn towards her right when a firm hand gripped her like a vice and yanked her body back to a firm heaving chest.
Before Leslie could cry out, a warm clammy hand clamped over her mouth like a vise and the intruder of her personal space practically dragged her to the nearest closed door.
As they entered the room, lights flickered on and the rough hands left her body only to spin her around to face her attacker.
“Grant!” Leslie cried, trying to keep her voice down and regulating her heartbeat. “What the hell do you want? What is necessary to abduct me from the hall just now? You scared the ever loving crap out of me!”
She stared cautiously as Grant walked leisurely over to the grand piano and slowly pressed on several keys before silently closing the lid. He leaned forward onto the housing and stared at her. The look on his face was startling, almost ravenous. He spoke no words.
“Are you going to entertain me with a private piano recital, or was there another reason for this gross misconduct?”
“Cut the crap, Lee,” he snapped as he straightened his body. His demeanor had done a full 180 since their initial encounter at the beginning of the evening. His voice chilled her to the bone. The man must be drunk.
Leslie took a startled step back, trying to gauge the distance between her and the freedom of the hallway behind the music room door.
Grant glided towards Leslie like a predator after prey and the cold look in his eyes set Leslie’s heart racing in fear. She tried to remain stalwart but her shaking knees betrayed her inner anxiety. She found her vocal chords were frozen.
“Just cut it out with all the breakup bullshit, Lee.” Grant sneered. “You know you want me back and that little boy toy you have hanging after you out there can’t offer half of what I can give you.”
This man is insane-not drunk, thought Leslie, slowly shifting her stance. She prepared to make a run for the door- well, just as soon as her legs would wake up and comply.
“Grant,” she muttered in a low measured tone. “I caught you fucking my best friend of 20 years. If that wasn’t enough reason to snatch that bitch baldheaded and unman you root to stem, then I dont know what is.” She was proud to hear her voice didn’t quiver the way her legs did.
Leslie broke for the door and got halfway through before being snatched back.
Grant trapped her in his iron grip from behind, pulling her body towards his roughly. He pushed his mouth close against her ear, breathing heavily. “She was a lousy fucking lay.” Stale whiskey and expensive cologne washed over Leslie as she tried to turn her face further away from his. “It was only a one time thing, baby.”
He licked the outer shell of her ear and Leslie choked back the rising bile. She attempted to swallow past the growing lump in her throat and nearly gagged as her vision swam in and out.
Grant calculatingly moved his right hand, splaying it on her lower abdomen near her sex. His other hand tugged down the bodice over her right breast. ripping the silky fabric. The rip exposed a black lacy half bra which left little to the imagination. He grew stiff and his erection poked her backside.
Leslie shuddered visibly as Grant nuzzled her neck roughly from behind. He started to slowly grind his stiffening member into her ass as she struggled to free herself. He pinched her nipple painfully and roughly yanked her around to face him so quickly, it threatens to give her whiplash.
Grant pulled her close and her body is flush up against his as he whispers into the soft crook of her neck. “You still smell so fucking good, Lee.” He inhaled deeply.
Leslie whimpered and struggled, trying to bring her knee up to connect with his manbits. Unfortunately, his grip seemed impenetrable. She could barely move.
“You know you want this baby,” he sighed into her ear and Leslie failed to stifle a sob.
“Just what the fucking do you think you are doing?” growled an angry voice from behind Leslie.