It was a hot day. And humid as all hell. Daisy Tennenbaum sat back naked in the bed and took a long and satisfying drag on her cigarette. She looked over at Ben. He had his eyes closed and his hands clasped behind his head. She couldn’t help but wonder if she was allowing things to move too quickly with him. She’d done it so many times before and her instinct told her that she was doing it again.
Things always wound up the same in the end.
Sure the sex was good. Great actually. And it was obvious he felt the same way. Well, he did nothing but rave about it, before, during and after. And it was clear as day that in every other way he was positively giddy about her.
Ben didn’t know her yet.
Daisy had the covers askew and was fanning herself with this weeks’ issue of LA Weekly, which she always kept on the nightstand. The clock already approached noon, and the sweltering day confirmed this.
Ben lay there, not yet ready to face the day. His head was pounding from way too many mojitos last night, which lasted well into the morning hours. He heard Daisy stirring and fussing next to him, but didn’t have the strength to engage her in conversation yet–not after this latest physical encounter–where he displayed uncharacteristic affection toward her. Ben generally wasn’t the type to reveal too much, but with Daisy it seemed he couldn’t help himself. He was starting to become embarrassed at his gushing over her as not only was she beautiful and well-spoken, but she was a hellcat in the sack-totally uninhibited.
And the mystery surrounding her had grown.
Daisy took a sharpie off the nightstand and began circling potential prospects in the newspaper. She bit her lip, seemingly deep in thought, then threw the paper on the floor. She sighed and figured she’d better get up if she was to get anything done today. She’d give Ben a little breakfast and get him out the door on his way.
She needed to make some money.
She got up and threw her bathrobe over herself and made way to the kitchen. She put the coffee on and stuck her head in the refrigerator, pulling out butter and eggs and juice and getting out her old frying pan. She may as well make him a nice meal before sending him on his way, no? She looked at the clock. Geesh, can’t let this day get away without some work! Or at least getting things set up for later. She tiptoed back into the bedroom and picked up the newspaper from the floor. Ben had fallen back to sleep.
Or so Daisy thought.
She made way back into the kitchen, grabbed a glass of ice water, and sat at the table. It’s only May, why is it so goddamned hot? She fanned herself with the paper, then opened it up to scan the ads she’d circled. She picked up the phone and dialed the first prospect.
“Hello, this is Daisy Tennenbaum, I’m calling in response to your ad.”
Pause. “Um, yes hello.”
“How soon are you looking to do this? I have the perfect match for you. She fits your specifications and can fulfill exactly what you’re looking for. It’ll cost you though, but you’ll definitely get more than you pay for.”
“Well, how much?” The man on the line sounded cautious, and rightly so. Well, they usually did. “How do I know you’re not some fly-by-night? The most important thing is full discretion. I’ve a high profile in this city. Are you discrete? Or will she be discrete?”
“Of course we’re discrete. When are you looking to do this?”
Ben heard Daisy on the phone as he swung himself out of bed, slipped on his boxers, and dragged himself out of the bedroom. He started slowly down the hallway then stopped to listen.
“She can be there by oh say, 4PM? The parameters are she gets paid up front. No funny business. If she’s not paid upfront this won’t happen. I’m very protective of my team, my reputation depends on it. She’s not some two-bit whore. Where would you like her to meet you?”
The man on the phone was silent. Daisy sat back and lit another cigarette. She had the patience of a saint plus could be choosy with new clients. She had enough of a book of business and had worked hard over the years to build it. Usually she got new business from word of mouth from current clients and fielded a steady influx of calls. But things had fallen off somewhat due to the economy and some of her best clients had become an unreliable lot due to the latest scandals in the city. They weren’t at all welcoming of any type of negative publicity, or being part of the gossip mill.
Fun comes at a cost.
Unbeknownst to Daisy, Ben had inched his way into the kitchen. He reached down and grabbed the phone out of her hand and hung it up. He looked at her and she thought she saw steam coming out of his ears.
“So this is what you do, you’re a prostitute? Daisy, how could this be?”
Daisy smiled coldly up at Ben. “You just lost me a new client Ben. How dare you? And who said I’m a prostitute? You know it’s rude to eavesdrop don’t you? And even ruder to be presumptuous.”
“I heard you Daisy. I’ve been listening to your conversation.” His hands were on his hips and he was trying to contain his anger. How in the world could he have misjudged her? She came off as so sophisticated and elegant. How in the world could she have gotten caught up in such a thing? He picked up the newspaper from the table and looked at what she’d circled. “This is what you do? Solicit these guys looking for kinky sex? And from the LA Weekly of all places? What a rag!” He was hitting the paper with the back of his hand. Shaking his head he said, “I’ve been wondering where you learned to do the things that you do. No other woman could compare. It’s cause you’re a pro!”
Daisy laughed at this. “Oh Ben, Ben. That’s exactly what attracted to me to you was your naiveté. I’m not a prostitute Ben. Now sit down and let me fix you some breakfast. Then I need to get out and do some work so I can pay the bills on this palace. Come on now Ben, sit down.”
Ben sat at the table and simmered down some. His mind was whirling and his heart was hurting. It’s true he’s a naive sort like she said. But this? He couldn’t help but look at her differently.
Daisy put the pan on the stove and cracked some eggs and got things going. Ben sat at attention, playing this all over in his mind. “Daisy,” he said, mindlessly thumbing through the back of the paper. Daisy had her back to him over the stove.
“Daisy, why? I mean why didn’t you tell me. Are you just using me?”
Daisy swirled the pan around and turned the heat down to low. She turned around and with a glint in her eye said, “Ben we’re both using each other can’t you see? That’s what people do. I’m not a prostitute Ben, so get that thought out of your little head.”
“But Daisy I heard you. I heard what you were saying to that man on the phone. How could you deny it?”
“Ben I’m the CEO of the most prestigious escort service in LA. My girls are the most sought after and high-end lot in the city. And they’re my family. And the best part Ben,” she said with obvious pride in her voice, “is that men clamor to do business with me.”
Ben took this in. But it was obvious he was still confused and upset. And hungover to boot. He wiped the sweat off his brow. Daisy put a glass of orange juice in front of him. “But Daisy why? And how do you think I could be with you if I know you’re sleeping with other men and doing those things with them? Or whatever it is you do? Plus getting paid for it Daisy. How?”
“Ben I’m not a prostitute. I told you that. I run the business. I don’t sleep with any men. You’re the first man I’ve slept with in a long time. And I thought things were going well between us. But I have to work you know. And nowadays…”
“So you don’t sleep with other men?”
Daisy shook her head no. She turned back to the stove and took the eggs off the burner and popped the toast out of the toaster. “No Ben, none but you.” She turned and looked at him questioningly.
“Well okay then,” he said, laughing nervously but brightening considerably. “Let’s eat.”