I didn’t sleep last night. In fact, my wearied head didn’t crash against the pillows until around 4:00AM. Why such late hours? What could have possibly been so enthralling, so engaging that it kept me up until dawn was but a few hours away?
I was writing. I was writing the beginnings of a second novel, not just another prompt. I haven’t done anything like that, or felt so excited by an idea, since I started writing Her Beautiful Monster, and that was years ago.
Whatever I decided to do professionally and no matter where I move – no matter where September finds me – I am ecstatic that I broke my dry spell and that I am truly back to doing what I love.
I hope what I wrote above doesn’t put too much pressure on tonight’s prompt. Mainly, tonight’s piece was a hell of a lot of fun. Enjoy!
PROMPT: A high-priced prostitute suspects that one of her best customers is falling in love with her.
PIECE: Candi had only just escaped to the ladies’ restroom in the upscale restaurant that Carl had brought her to for dinner. The napkins were made of soft linen, as were the tablecloths, and it made her nervous as hell to wipe her mouth because they were clearly so expensive and the trashiest thing in the world – the absolute trashiest thing – would be for Candi to leave a smeared trail of bright red lipstick on the napkin. That’s what Candi was though – she was trash. She was a prostitute and no matter how many times she insisted that “high-end” come before the profession, it didn’t change anything. Night after night, she would tart herself up and exchange pleasantries – social niceties, can you believe it? – only to end up on her back with a stranger inside her. What kind of life was that? What was she doing, really? Candi suddenly discovered she was having difficulty breathing in a smooth, even pattern. If there was one thing Candi prided herself on, it was her ability to stay strong – she didn’t rattle. She rushed to the nearest sink, her high heels clicking against the beautifully tiled floor, and turned the faucet on. She used trembling hands to cup water and throw it on her face, using a sparing amount so that the makeup that had been so expertly applied would not run or be washed away. After all, a naked prostitute was more vulnerable than sexy. Candi needed all her engines firing and she needed to have all of her tools in her arsenal ready to go. That was the thing about Carl; he was constantly catching her off guard. While the change of pace excited her in a way she thought she’d long be numb to, it was also dangerous. In her line of work, there could be no surprises.
What could she do though? How was she to know that Carl was going to take her out once she had been dropped at the hotel? She shouldn’t have gone, but Candi wasn’t as strong as she liked to believe when Carl flashed his pearly whites and asked something of her. He had charmed her, sure, but things were going farther than that. He had brought her here for dinner when they could have easily ordered room service and remained hidden and discreet. Carl kept clearing his throat like he was nervous, and he kept fiddling with the silverware folded in the fancy napkins. Why was he nervous? Candi had a sinking suspicion that he was going to ask something impossible. She feared that Carl was in love with her, and had hatched some insane scheme that involved him saving her, carrying her away from her life of sin and regret in strong, toned arms before a stunned crowd of seedy onlookers who applauded the effort, but slowly – very slowly. She splashed more water against her face.
Candi was an idiot; she had nothing to worry about. She was certainly not Julia Roberts and Carl was absolutely no Richard Gere (but when she told the story later on to friends, she’d make the analogy innocently and swear it was accurate). This was not a movie and she was not about to be whisked away to anywhere besides a high-priced hotel room. Patting her face dry with a cloth towel, she smoothed her dress (in an attempt to make it look longer and elegant, rather than short and scandalous) and returned to the table.
Carl was not in love with her, no way, no how.