Chapter 2

The first morning:

Rosie was smiles and flirts and teasing and sex. Jolie was cotton pajamas, books and cookie dough ice cream. What she saw after she wiped away the steam from the mirror, was Jolie.

Her wet hair was wrapped up in a fluffy, red towel and all her makeup was washed away. She felt bare. That was one reason why she usually didn't stay with clients overnight – aside from the obvious one that thus far nobody had requested her to do that before Mr. Gold, but still.

The black dress that had looked so sexy on her last night now felt wrong. The fabric was wrinkled because she had slept in it and without the complimentary makeup, it felt out of place. Jolie stuck her tongue out, then she took her purse from the bathroom shelf and searched for her red lipstick. Before she would face Gold again, she wanted to reinforce at least some of her defenses. Red lipstick always made her feel more like Rosie. Sexy and provocative and expensive.

Of course she found the lipstick at the very bottom of the purse, beneath her toothbrush, the plastic bag with yesterday's panties, smart phone, a pack of gum and a few loose paper tissues. Really, it was astonishing what one could fit into a classy black clutch. Moments later Jolie rolled her lips against each other, then she surveyed the result in the mirror. A little better, she decided.

It was silly, but now she felt more suited to encounter Gold again. As if some red lipstick could serve her as a weapon. But then, when she remembered how his body had reacted to her, maybe that was exactly what it was.

And her own behavior, yesterday? She had just been confused by his kindness. She wasn't really attracted to him. Of course not. He was a client. Today she would be professional and give him exactly what he wanted from her, not more. If he wanted company, he should have it.

She bent over and rubbed her hair with the towel, before she flipped her hair back again and combed it with her fingers, trying to untangle her curls. Since she couldn't find a hair dryer in this otherwise luxurious bathroom, there wasn't much else she could do to it.

After she put the wet towel in the hamper right next to the oversized shower, she left the bathroom, without granting her mirror image one more look. When she got to the first floor, she heard noises coming from a door to her left.

She followed the sounds and she found herself in a kitchen. The walls were painted in a light, sunny yellow and two tall windows looked out to the garden, showing a groomed garden with about twenty rosebushes in full bloom. The antique looking, white cabinets and countertops covered almost one side of the room. In contrast was the huge high tech fridge that stood right next to it. On the wall across from the windows was a small kitchen table with two light chairs. The room had more warmth to it than the dining room. It felt more personal, yet strangely if felt more … incomplete. No art, no decorative tidbits, just empty walls. Somehow that suited Gold too.

Now he was sitting in one of the chairs, reading the newspaper and stirring a cup of coffee. He was already dressed; a black two piece suit, black shirt and a purple even one hair seemed out of place. And yet, there was also something incomplete about he was missing something. Like he had lost something. Someone, maybe? She wondered if he had ever been married. Then she wondered how his wife might have died, because clearly no woman in her right mind would leave this man. Dangerous territory. He was a client and not her salvation. Getting all dreamy eyed about him wouldn't help her do her job. It would only lead to making her cry in the end.

So far Gold hadn't even looked up from the newspaper. For a split second she believed that he hadn't even noticed her but then she saw how his eyes seemed to be fixed on a point at the paper. Whatever he was doing, it was not reading. She assumed he tried to play it cool. Adorable. Her lips curled into a smile.

"With whom do I have to sleep to get a drink here?" she asked.

"Tea's in the pot on the counter," he said over the rustle of his newspaper as he flipped a page. "Milk is in the Fridge and brown sugar is in the cabinet next to the fridge." He didn't even look up and that disappointed her. But he blushed, which made her happy for some unexplainable reason.

She found a teacup with a saucer and a spoon next to the pot. The tea smelled delicious. Probably Assam, she guessed. Not the cheap stuff that came in bags, which she had at home, no. This was the good stuff. After she poured herself some tea, she carried the cup and the saucer to the table and set down on the other chair. He looked up and frowned, almost like he was surprised to find her this close to him. They sat closer together than they had yesterday and he was smelling really good today. She wondered what he would do if she'd lean in and kissed him. – Not that she would ever do it, of course. He was a client. He was her way to freedom. Some sort of shortcut, but nothing more. And she would keep him just entertained enough so he'd want her to stick around.

"How'd you know I prefer tea?" she asked. "Most people just assume I drink coffee."

He finally looked up from his newspaper gave her one of his shark smiles. "Well," he said slowly, "let's call it a hunch, dearie."

She could see in his eyes that she was missing something. But what was it? Then it hit her. Coffee. She didn't smell any coffee.

"You made the tea for yourself, didn't you?" Now it was her time to blush.

He didn't answer, he just smiled and curse her, but she smiled too.

"Share your newspaper with me?" she asked.

Still smiling he handed her a few pages.

They read in silence until she had to leave.

o0o

The second night:

He wore a coat when he opened the door.

"You just came home?" she asked, hugging him briefly before she walked past him into the house.

He cleared his throat. "I'm on my way out, actually."

She turned back around to him and really, he was buttoning up his coat, the front door still open behind him. Beneath his coat he wore the same suit from this morning. She had switched her black dress for a green one. Judging from the look in his eyes, he liked it.

"I'm sorry, dearie," he said, "but I'm afraid you'll have to spend the evening without me." Except that he didn't sound afraid or sorry at all. He sounded calm and calculating like he always did when he called her dearie. She started to dislike that particular endearment.

"Why do you pay for my company when you just leave me anyway?" she asked, her arms crossed in front of her. She shouldn't care. Yet she wanted him to stay and that bothered her.

"I'm a rich man," he said, flashing her that shark-smile again. "I can spend my money however I want."

She watched him walk out the door, almost as if she waited for him to turn around to her once more. Of course he didn't. With him gone, tonight would be easy money and she would be one step closer to her freedom. This was a job.

Sighing, she went to her room and stopped in front of the bed, confused. A pair of pajamas laid on the bed. Caramel colored pajamas with a pattern of little drawn ducks in pink and green. Next thing she knew, she was holding them in her hands. The fabric was so soft! She rubbed it against her face. Being unable to resist she quickly changed from her dress into the pajamas. The fabric felt warm and soft against her skin and her feet appreciated getting out of the heels she had been wearing. Smiling gleefully she wriggled her toes, before she took her smart phone out of her purse, threw the purse on the bed and left to get something to eat.

In the kitchen she found a sandwich on the table. She sat in his chair and placed her phone next to her, wondering what he'd do if he found her there. Maybe put her on the table and punish her? That could be interesting. But she suspected he'd only sit on the other chair. Why did she feel the urge to provoke him? She really shouldn't care about what he did or didn't do as long as she got paid. This was a job.

While she ate, her phone buzzed. A message. From Gold, maybe? She shook her head. Ridiculous. He didn't have her number. And why would he text her? She had to stop thinking about that man. Just because he didn't treat her like he owned her, didn't make him a good guy. She barely knew him. But that was the problem, wasn't it? She hadn't figured him out yet and he left her plenty of space to project on him. He was kind to her and instantly she jumped to conclusions. What desperate behavior. But that was what she was. Desperate. She was drowning in debts, she was selling her body to survive and she was all alone.

The message was from a guy she had met this morning. Brad. He had bought her a coffee in her favorite little cafe downtown and she drank it even though she despised the taste, because he was cute. And according to the message, he wanted to see her again. Jolie smiled. This was something real. Not a client, but a normal guy. Something serious, maybe.

o0o

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