Edward Hancock II
The Imperfect Blog
|Posted by EHancock2 on January 10, 2014 at 5:45 PM|
Here's a special preview of my latest book, Connection Terminated.
Tuesday, October 11
The hum of the engine excited her.One of the rare perks of an otherwise thankless occupation. She hadn’t been on the streets long, but even she knew that being picked up in a Jaguar was a rare treat. The car smelled new. And not that fake “new car” scent you get at carwashes. No, this car smelled as if it were just off the showroom floor. Looked it too. Freshly waxed and polished. Not a speck of dust anywhere, so it would seem.
“You hear about that gal that got killed the other night?” she asked, doing her best to make small talk. “Yeah, Iknew her. Sweet girl, Josey. Fine woman. Didn’t deserve this life. Not that there’s anything wrong with it. Some people just ain’t right for it. She was too good. God made her for better things.”
She chuckled to herself as she considered the irony of what she’d just said. Her career choice hadn’t been a childhood dream fulfilled. More, it had been an escape from the most horrific, not to mention Godless, man she’d ever known. No little girl ever grows up thinking about being a prostitute while Daddy bounces her happily on his knee. But, she sighed to herself, not every little girl was blessed with a great daddy.
When she’d left Houston, she swore she’d make a better life for herself than a stripper. Now, a year later, she’d gone from “Looky, no touchy” to “Have it your way.” She wasn’t all that excited about feeling like a happy meal for a bunch of perverted boys in grown bodies, but bills had to be paid.
It’s not that she didn’t believe in God. She’d just never been the patient type, so trusting in the time frame of some Being to which she’d never felt a sincere bond seemed foolish to her. Still, she’d always left herself open, should the Big Man Upstairs start to feel chatty. Like her current client, the Big Man Upstairs did not appear the chatty type.
“Not much for talkin’, are ya, Babe?” she asked, trying to get her head in the right mood.
When he didn’t reply, she reached over and touched the hand resting in his lap.
“That’s okay, you don’t have to do much talkin’. It’s your dime, Babe. We can do whatever you want. What are we going to do?”
There seemed to be the slightest of growls in the sigh he released.
“I don’t usually meet guys over theinternet,” she said, feigning a coy demeanor. “But I have a feeling it’ll beworth it just this once.”
Her red dress had been specifically designed for the game of seduction. Seduction was, after all, her job. Unlike most nights, this seduction was different. She wasn’t much on meeting clients online, but this one had been the charmer. Not overly chatty, he’d won her more by presentation than anything. By what he said he was, more than what he said. Let alone how he said it. His voice was almost squeaky. But in possession of a slight gurgle. Not the stuff of dreams, to be sure.
He’d told her that he was thirty-five and athletic. Though he’d been able to color his receding hairline,he’d not been able to mask the thin build. Perhaps, she thought, he was a marathon runner.
When he’d first picked her up, he’d been very subtle when asking how much. Unlike his current demeanor, he’d started off more like the man with whom she’d chatted online. Surprisingly, he hadn’t so much as flinched when she’d announced a rate that was triple what she’d mentioned in IM’s. That alone excused any misinformation on his part. It might have also explained the sudden silence.
Occasionally, clients took her to dinner first. Those with money, who wanted the illusion of having a life outside of their ivory tower office buildings. Most wanted to head straight for a motel and get right to it. For all his mystery, this one definitely seemed different. She wasn’t sure where they were headed, but there weren’t any motels nearby and the closest restaurant had closed an hour ago.
He’d gone to a part of town she didn’t know very well. There were dark and windy roads – mostly oil-topped –that twisted, turned and intersected seemingly at random. Of course, there wasn’t much to see at the high rate of speed they traveled. Thirty-five or not, he knew how to handle a vehicle, she thought to herself.
“Baby,” she said, “I—I think I’m the one in for the treat.” She laughed and, despite the thick blackness that hung over the night, she cast the most hungered look she could in his direction. She wasn’t sure, but she thought she caught the slightest hint of a grin creeping across his stubbled face.
She let her mind wander to a time not so long ago. A time before she’d entered her current occupation. A time when the teenage version of her former self had been allowed to believe the one and only man she’d ever known (in that most biblical sense) had convinced her he loved her. Perhaps he had. Either way he was the first and, up to that point, only man who’d spent any time on anything resembling romance. As she imagined being taken out to an open field, filled with blooming flowers, strategically-positioned next to a babbling brook, she let herself believe that, maybe this one would be different. Maybe once she’d find something she could hold on to. Maybe, she thought to herself, God was answering her nightly requests to be loved completely and unconditionally.
Aside from the stray cat, which she’d named Romeo, the feeling of unconditional love seemed, for her at least, to be a pipe dream. She’d allowed Romeo to adopt her, mostly because he was the only man that ever snuggled with her and didn’t want something in return.Unless you count the occasional belly rub, which she was more than obliged to offer.
Caressing his hand, she felt a palpable change in blood pressure of the man she knew only by his online moniker. His palms warmed at her touch, but didn’t perspire. His long fingers seemed far too calloused for the white-collar riches he’d represented. Even without squeezing her hand in his, Sunshine knew the man in the driver’s sea twas – would be – deceptively powerful. Rhett Butler kind of powerful. And she, the willing Scarlet O’Hara.
She let go an involuntary squeal, causing him to divert his attention momentarily from the road ahead.
“Sugar, you gonna tell me your name at least?” she screamed. “How much farther we got to go?”
As if answering her, he slowed the Jaguar. Making sure there was no one around, he pulled the car over to the side of the road. Her eyes brightened. It was dark. She couldn’t see much, but she noticed a clearing in the woods nearby. Maybe, she thought, just maybe, she’d get to play the part of Scarlet O’Hara after all.
Involuntary as it was, she let her mind wander to images of a moonlit picnic. One that would ultimately mark thebeginning of a new life and, more importantly, an end to the old one.
Killing the car, he took the keys from the ignition and exited, without so much as a word. Sunshine surveyed the surroundings. It couldn’t be any more out of the way. Suddenly, her excitement turned to trepidation. She looked around, felt the car shimmy – as much from asudden wind gust as from the fact he’d bumped it – and caught sight of him just as he rounded the back of the car. Stopping only momentarily to open the trunk, he soon appeared at the passenger door.
As he opened her door, Sunshine looked into the eyes of a man much different than the one she’d met. Something transformed.Darkness can often play tricks on the human mind. But, she knew all too well,darkness can also bring out the devil that lay dormant in some people during the daylight hours.
Something in his eyes. Something of a twinkle that was anything but merry. Something she couldn’t put her finger on.
“Oh quit being a baby,” she whispered to herself, exiting the car.
Without saying a word, he motioned toward the small hiking path. His gesture was almost chivalrous. Again, the Rhett Butler image took over, setting her at ease. As she walked ahead, he placed a gentlearm on her shoulder. Instinctively, she took hold of his hand, welcoming the warmth of his touch.
“So, what do I call you?”
Still smiling, the image of Rhett Butler followed her into the darkness, along with the bitter smell of whatever was on the rag he placed over her face.
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