I made it home by five and headed to my room. My dad wouldn't be home for another thirty minutes or so, but my mom should be here any minute. I breezed into my room – I love my room. It's the most unique room in the house. I put my own baseboards in and built a wooden canal around my ceiling into which I'd put a rope light that I could dim; it offered indirect light throughout my space. My closet was little more than a two-by-two cubby, and I'd hung a gauzy curtain over it with little white holiday lights in strands hanging from the curtain rod.
I'd found a perfect off-white shade – Vanilla Sundae – for my walls with a bright white for the trim. It was a classic, understated look that didn't clash with any of the props I made for my photo shoots. I admit my bed had been taken apart and stacked against the wall more times than I'd like to count, but I can do that in my sleep now, anyway.
I glanced at my reflection and smiled at the cut, even with the lack of product. Chop Shop does a great job on hair, but they are definitely lacking when it comes to good hair product. I ran my fingers through my hair and bit my lip, striking the pose a million fuckboys online have made. It was pretty good, though I really needed to stop screwing around and get ready to go.
I showered and then ensconced myself in my room to go through my pre-evening-out routine, which I really should trademark. I have a fantastic lavender cream moisturizer that makes my skin glow and feel soft as a bunny – bonus points, it smells good but not overwhelming. Well, that's not really a bonus – more of a requirement, but it does it, so...whatever. Then I put on some comfy-yet sexy underwear and sweatpants – note to Caleb Montgomery, this is the time and place for sweatpants – and applied my face mask.
Then it was off to the bathroom to make my hair look the way it should after a fresh cut, and I set about my task. I think anyone can have nice hair if they pay a little attention to it, and it makes me feel good to get dressed nicely and look good. It makes my confidence bump up a little, and most people could use that, I think. My hair, as it grew out, tended to go in large curls and waves. I grabbed my favorite hair cream and worked it into my locks to get the right shine and bounce to it. My cut had the sides and back very short and the top growing out, but with the curls it looked a bit messier, but chic. Or cute at least. It also added balance, because I have a long face, and longer hair makes my face look too long.
“Are you almost done primping?” my mother asked.
I looked in the mirror critically. “It'll have to do,” I mumbled. Opening the door, my mother glanced up at my hair.
“Oh, they did a nice job. You always make it look so much better than the salon does,” she said with a little smile.
“Thanks, Mom,” I said with a grin.
I grinned wider. “It's Friday, isn't it?”
“When do we get to meet this boy you're seeing?”
“Mom, I'm not nailed down to one yet,” I said teasingly. “When I know, you'll know.” I dashed into my room and closed the door. My sister gave me enough grief about having a sugar daddy – my folks would Lose. Their. Shit. Seriously though, how many gay boys did they think I could possibly be dating in this little burg? Tossing away the sweatpants I went to my mirror and peeled the mask, removing so much dead skin and – ugh! Gross!
I pulled out a skin wipe from my pouch and rubbed my face vigorously. I know, some people like to pat their face, but not me. After that it was time for clothes.
I found the jeans I'd worn last time, but I'd worn and washed them a few times and they had faded far more than the brand name said they should have. No, they wouldn't do. No ripped jeans, either. They can be sexy, but totally not the image I want with the places he takes me to. I pulled out the bag of clothes I had purchased the night before but not put away yet. I spread a few of the items out, but I knew I was going to go with the navy chinos with the white stripe down the leg. When you're as tall as I am you can try to minimize your legs or you can accentuate them. I walked and ran enough that they weren't stork legs, so the line drew attention, but subtly.
I hunted around for the shirt Gary had liked on me, then got out my portable steamer to get the wrinkles out from being hung with too many other clothes. I had a dresser for underclothes and things that didn't wrinkle, but I'd bought and freshened up a vintage wardrobe – which was heavy as fuck and had to be moved for most of my photo shoots – that was crammed with my hanging shirts and pants.
I am such a clothes whore.
I ran to the bathroom to fill the little reservoir on my steamer and set it to heating while I went to pick out my other clothes. My underwear were gray because I wasn’t intending on being seen in them, and I didn't want them to draw attention – not like some other things I have. Time and place, baby. I picked out some thin gray dress socks to match and then studied my shoes. I don't mind being colorful sometimes, if I can do it tastefully, but again, with Gary I didn't want to go too nuts. I decided on some dark blue leather boat shoes, which were preppy enough for my look, but also casual enough to be comfortable and not as dressy as my patent leather ones.
Sometimes I overthink my wardrobe.
A little hiss let me know the steamer was ready and I used it liberally to get all the offending creases from my shirt before laying it out and unplugging the steamer. I went back to my mirror and ran a delicate line around my eyes to make them stand out a little and give a boost to my too-washed-out-for-my-taste blues, then I started my dressing routine. Socks first, then a white undershirt so my nipples wouldn't cause a scene. Then the chinos with my undershirt carefully tucked, and then the button up, untucked. A white leather belt and my boat shoes completed the look, and I spent a few minutes checking myself over.
Well, I don't think Gary will be disappointed.
My phone dinged and I went to see to the message: the ride-share was fifteen minutes away. Wow, I really do take too much time to get ready. After getting my wallet and taking the steamer reservoir to the bathroom so I could empty it and let it air dry, I took the stairs quickly. I paused in the doorway to the living room where my dad was stretched out in his easy chair in his work clothes, shoes cast to one side.
“Hi, Dad. How was your day?” I leaned against the decorative pillar that framed the entryway.
He shrugged with just one shoulder. “Long. Terry Gordon came in, was bitching about the lumber like he does every few weeks. He's a ray of fucking sunshine,” he said and rubbed the side of his face. “How about you? Headed out for a hot date?”
“Remains to be seen,” I said with a grin.
He shifted to look at me more directly. “Hunter, your mom and I would like to meet whoever is special to you.”
My face felt warmer. “When I figure that out, I'll let you know. Right now is just about seeing what's out there.”
He let out a breath and nodded. “Be safe.”
I swallowed. “Not a problem for me.”
He looked back toward the TV. “Where is your sister?”
“Work.” She was quitting as soon as school ended and she could get hired with the town. I didn't feel the need to tell him where she'd go after work.
I saw the car pull up the drive, and I said goodbye to my dad and called out to my mom before heading down to head out for the evening. I wondered where Gary would take me for the evening, but I stopped that line of thinking and focused on what he'd talked about last time. He worked in an office downtown that had something to do with insurance. He tended to talk about office politics and maneuvers that people were making to move up the ladder – or to another, larger office. Those usually went hand in hand.
Gary said he'd like to run his department, but he didn't think he wanted the hassle of running the whole office. He and his wife had been married fifteen years, had two kids named...Nancy and Drew. I shit you not. I guess the mom was a lit major, but I'm not sure what place Nancy Drew Mysteries held in literature – besides being a landmark for the first mass-market adventure stories for girls. Oh, and they had a cat who apparently hated Gary. Nancy was nine or ten and Drew was thirteenish and playing football for some league or other.
The cab brought me near the Phelps Mansion, which is where Gary picked me up when we went out. Part of the rules was that he didn't know where I lived and I didn't know where he lived - although I had enough details that I could probably figure it out with very little trouble. I climbed from the car into the warm night, enjoying the little breeze that played with my hair. It never plays with it like it does in the movies, more like a toddler grabbing and pulling. I smoothed down my hair and saw Gary leaning against his car, looking down at his phone.
“Hello,” I said, trying to mix warmth and excitement into my voice as I greeted him.
He looked up at me, smiled widely and tucked his phone in his pocket. “Love the outfit,” he said with a grin that made him look younger. He was dressed for the office – red and white vertically striped shirt with a blue power-tie, khakis with brown tasseled loafers and matching belt.
I held my arms wide and twirled, adding in a little laugh. “It was by request, I think.”
He hugged me to him and I returned the embrace. He pecked me on the corner of my mouth – which was closer than he usually did – and he waved toward his car.
“I thought we'd do something different tonight,” he said with a grin.
“I like different.” I returned his grin. I settled into the passenger seat and buckled while he climbed in and pointed us down the street. Traffic was moderate so we didn't get going quickly, but I decided it was show time so I'd best get started and earn my shekels.
“How has work been going?”
“Steady,” he replied as he negotiated traffic. “Not a great deal to report.”
“What about Robert?”
He chuckled. “Well, okay, maybe a little to report.”
Robert was a co-worker that seemed so inept it was amazing he managed to stay employed. Gary felt there was some political reason the guy still had a job, though he didn’t know what it was. He told me a story about Robert screwing up and I listened attentively and gave the right responses – shock at his ineptitude, laughter at the fallout and a rueful shake of my head that Robert would stay employed to screw up another day.
We arrived at a Mexican restaurant I'd never tried called Mucho Burrito. As we walked from the car Gary rested his hand at the small of my back, which he'd done before when ushering me through a doorway, but not for as long as a parking lot. It must have felt awkward, I'd imagine.
We were seated quickly and ordered appetizers and a drink.
“Have you had Mexican food before?” he asked.
“Frozen stuff or from a chain,” I replied. “I'm looking forward to seeing what it's really supposed to taste like!”
He chuckled. “I hope my son ends up with some of your qualities.”
That sounded weird. “Like what?”
“Your curiosity and willingness to try new things. To learn from people older than you instead of looking at them like they are too stupid to breathe.”
I smiled crookedly. “He's what, twelve? Thirteen? I think boys that age are pre-programmed to be assholes. Lack of frontal lobe development and all that.” I paused and grinned. “I'll bet you were a real dickhead.”
He threw his head back and laughed. “Well, I did have a few misadventures, I can admit that.”
“Tell me one?”
One side of his face pulled into a weird grin and his brought his fingertips together. “Well, once my friend Chuck and I decided to set a toy car on fire. So we put a little gas in a coffee can and dropped the car in. We went to a small alleyway between houses and lit it.”
I tilted my head. “Kind of a lame story so far.”
He tilted his head from side to side and smiled wider. “Well, we saw the black smoke from the gas burning and got worried someone would see it and we'd get into trouble. So we knocked the can over to put it out.” He paused. “Of course, the fire went with the gas, right under an evergreen bush and it lit up like a bonfire, burning the overhead power line and bringing it down on the roof of a car.”
I stared at him. “Shut up.”
“If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'.” He held a hand up as if taking an oath.
“Oh my God!” I practically squealed and laughed. “You were a badass!”
He chuckled. “I don't think the insurance company or fire department would agree with you.”
The waitress brought our orders, and I dug into the platter I'd ordered. I like sampler platters because you get a little of everything, so if you don't like one thing you don't have a plate full of it. Gary talked throughout dinner, adding in some work frustrations and saying how his wife had decided to write a novel and it was eating up a lot of her time. His daughter had some developmental delays and they were struggling to find appropriate classes for her within the district. His son had started up some summer training thing to play football in the fall. His expression soured as he explained that his son was big for his age and he thought he was bullying other kids.
Knowing what my sister and I get away with, not sure I want kids – not going to lie.
After we'd stuffed ourselves we took a walk. Gary touched my shoulders and the small of my back again as he guided us down the busy street a few blocks until we came to a place with a neon sign that said Nirvana.
“Has anyone ever taken you out dancing?” he asked with a playful grin.
I glanced at the club and back to him. “I think that's soon to be a 'yes',” I said, grinning at him.
There was a bouncer at the door who took one look at me and said to Gary, “There's no way someone will try to tell me this gorgeous creature is twenty-one, right?”
“He's here to dance with me,” Gary replied with a smile. One cover fee and a hand stamp later we were inside. There were neon lights everywhere of men in different poses, all suggestive. There were large bird cage-like platforms with guys dancing in a few of them. A disco ball threw light everywhere and an automated light ball made the whole place a visual assault – and I loved it.
Gary steered me to the dance floor with his hand on my back, and we took a space on the edge and started to to dance. I was a little hesitant at first, feeling like someone would scream out how I didn't belong there, but that fear disappeared in the rush of the thumping music, the bass making my chest vibrate. Gary was smiling at me and dancing while I closed my eyes and grinned, soaking in the waves of sound and the freedom to move as I pleased openly.
I opened my eyes and grinned at Gary. We moved closer and danced kind of dirty, I guess. I didn't think about it because it was so much fun. Gary put his hands on my hips and I turned within the embrace. We ground together to the music, then he put his hands on my shoulders and held me a bit away from him, turning me and then we bumped hips together, one arm in the air and laughing.
Eventually we were sweaty messes and I must have looked horrible – but I didn't give one shit. Gary took my hand and threaded his way to the bar where he ordered waters for us. The bartender handed me mine and I downed it quickly, gulping in the cold liquid like manna from heaven. We were near one of the cages and I looked up to see a guy close to my age with dark hair, twisting and spinning inside the cage.
A small drama played out as another guy close to my age pushed his way between a small knot of people in front of the cage. I couldn't hear over the music, but two of the guys exchanged words, then the guy who'd pushed past tapped the bottom of the other guy's glass, spilling his drink. They got a little closer and I thought there might be a fight, but then the small knot moved away. A few guys moved into the space the other group had been occupying and some tips were placed for the dancer while the guy who'd pushed his way in moved to one side.
I wondered about that. I trembled at the idea of a fight so close to me, but also at the realization that even as a group gay people didn't get along all the time. I wondered if the guy dancing and the guy who forced his way in were dating or related. I was interrupted in my musing by Gary leaning toward me, and I leaned in to hear him over the walls of sound.
“You look so gorgeous out there,” he said, his breath rolling over my ear and making it tickle.
I smiled and tried to sound charming as I thanked him through a song that was suddenly all bass.
“Want to dance more?” he yelled and I nodded. He took me by the hand, and we danced our asses off. I looked at some of the other dancers and saw a few that were attractive to me, but I also saw a few looks that I didn't know how to interpret directed at me or us. I tried to put them out of my head and just enjoy dancing. We got water twice more, and then we were just exhausted and sweating like pigs. I was such a mess!
When we finally exited the building the night air felt heavenly after the pressure cooker of the club.
“I think I lost some of my hearing,” Gary said with a chuckle.
“What?” I asked, playing along.
We walked back to the car, and Gary came to my side – I thought to open the door – but instead he leaned against the car and reached up to touch the side of my face.
“You were unbelievable out there. Some kind of sexy angel.”
I've done the sexy angel outfit. Probably time for a devil, I thought.
“Aww, that's so sweet of you,” I cooed.
He took a step closer and caressed the side of my face with the back of his hand and his gaze was locked to my face. “You're extraordinary. Have you ever considered modeling of some kind? Or do you dance at any other time?”
“I don't dan-”
His lips were touching mine, feather light and then he was pulling back. I began to feel uncomfortable. Kissing wasn't one allowed under my rules.
I cleared my throat. “I should get home. Work in the morning, you know.”
He took a step back. He looked uncomfortable as well. “You're right. It's getting late. I'll drop you back at the mansion,” he said quietly.
The ride back to the landmark building we had agreed would be our meeting place was quiet. The radio was on low, and I looked outside at the evening traffic. Gary pulled to the curb and then placed his hand over mine, which was on my thigh.
“Hunter...I'd like to renegotiate our terms.”
I turned and looked at him nervously. “What do you mean?”
He shook his head slowly, looking at me with a gentle expression. “I want to be able to touch you. I want so badly to give you a kiss goodnight. I've been thinking about seeing you all week, driving me crazy. I can't focus.” He paused. “I want to make love to you.”
I pushed the door open and fumbled with the seat belt. He was reaching for me and I slapped his hands away in a frenzy and launched myself from the seat.
I ignored his voice and pulled out my phone, flipping to the ride-share app and ordering a ride as I walked quickly away from his car.
“Hunter,” he said, his voice much closer.
I whirled and held a hand out, stilling him as he'd been approaching me.
“No! Just...no. We had a deal.”
His arms hung limply. “Do you find me that repulsive?”
I cocked my head. Was he serious? “No. You're very nice, and I enjoy spending time with you. I'm not selling my body to...quite that extent.”
A sad look settled on his face. “Okay. I get it. We can just stick with our current agreement. You can't blame a guy for asking. Right?”
Maybe I can and maybe I can't. “Well, we'll see. Goodnight, Gary.”
His voice was a tortured whisper. “Please, don't do this. I'm sorry. I didn't cross the lines, I just asked. I haven't done anything wrong.”
The truth was, I thought he would do something wrong sooner than later. Call it a gut feeling. I'd done a lot of reading about being a sugar baby, and more than one account had the sugar daddy pushing the issue and then drawing back, only to push harder the next time – or to outright assault or rape someone. I was nervous, feeling pressure from the situation, yet playing for time to get my ride here and Gary gone.
“You're right,” I said with a nod. “You didn't do anything wrong. Your statements were just...intense. You caught me off guard.”
“I would never hurt you,” he said, his voice sad. “You're going to ghost me, aren't you?”
I opened my mouth to protest, but it wouldn't come.
He half-turned from me. “For what it's worth, Hunter – I am sorry. I thought this was turning into something special.” He then turned to his car, his footfalls clicking on the concrete as he walked, got in and drove away.
I let out a breath and gulped another. “Actually, Gary, you enjoyed thinking every little thing we did was somehow virgin territory for me. You liked having that power of being more worldly than I am.” I paused in my one-sided conversation. “And the truth is....” I glanced around at the very few people moving down the sidewalk. I moved a bit away from the overhead light and looked in the direction he'd gone. “The truth is you were just trying to manipulate me into bed. To take my virginity.”
The words felt right as I said them. I opened my eyes wide in surprise at what my sub-conscious had worked out while I'd been busy enjoying dinners out and art galleries and hearing about Gary's job.
I looked out the window of the car as I rode home, my ideas of how things should work shaken. I couldn't really blame Gary. He hadn't agreed to be my sugar daddy because he thought I was pitiable. But when the idea had come to me several months ago I'd dove into as many things as I could find about being a sugar baby – seeing what I did and didn't want from the experience.
I didn't want to be manipulated into bed. Maybe my feelings for Gary would have grown over time, but maybe not. My phone vibrated and I checked the update. My payment app showed Gary had paid me the hundred bucks we'd agreed on for dates. I guess...maybe I need to think about this. Where I'd felt sure about Gary's motivations at the beginning of the evening, then stood them on their head as much as five minutes ago, I was second-guessing myself again.
I rated my driver five stars as I climbed from the vehicle and said goodnight to them, not even having noted their appearance. Andy's truck was in the driveway behind my parent's cars. I took a steadying breath and opened the front door.
“There he is,” my father said. He was walking down the hallway with a bowl of popcorn, probably going to watch a horror movie. He claimed it was the best way to get his wife to cuddle with him.
“Hi, Dad,” I said and took my shoes off, dangling them with a finger in each heel. “What are you watching?”
“Oh, Ghost Ship. Ghosts and gore where people can't get away – at sea,” he said with a grin.
“Just what no one needs,” my mother said as she descended the stairs. “How was your date?”
“It was okay,” I said. “Probably not going to see him again.”
“You're so choosy,” my mom said affectionately.
“Not like it was for me and my Rose,” my dad said, sweeping an arm behind my mother and practically lifting her down the last stair. She laughed and slapped his chest lightly.
“Put me down,” she said and turned to me. “Well, there's nothing wrong with being choosy. I was and look what I got.”
What did you get, Mom? I wondered. A small house on the edge of not-quite-somewhere with two kids and a day job. Are you sure this is what you want to say for encouragement?
“Little sliver of heaven is what you got,” my dad sat and swatted her behind.
“Okay then,” I said with a roll of my eyes. “I'm going upstairs.” They barely noticed as they giggled their way into the living room.
I took the stairs two at a time, passed my sister’s closed door and headed into my room. I got changed into comfortable stuff – shorts and a tee – then fired up my laptop to finish tweaking the pictures from my fairy shoot, tirelessly running my fingers through my hair, a nervous habit, as I studied the images and tried to make them as professional looking as I could make them. There were an array of filters to choose from, and sometimes I used them, but I tried not to. It wasn't easy, though, to get the right image and have it be in focus the way it should be, where it should be.
Like the fairy shoot was supposed to focus on my upper body and not quite be in focus on the wings, so any shortcomings in their construction would be hidden. By making that area the focus, other things sometimes got blurred as a consequence – like my face. So it was a balancing act. As I scrutinized the images I did find a couple where the wings came out rather well, so the blur effect was less of a need and more about style – which didn't fit if I wanted my face seen. I tweaked and edited until I had three images I thought were of good quality, and one I could put on my Only Fans for, I hoped, a few bucks.
I think I do good work.
I posted the images, then added them to a slideshow. I posted my more revealing one on my subscription account. I retained my style on that one, but I tended to dress a little more scandalously to keep the dollar bills coming in each month. I studied my posted images – if there is a major flaw, I tend to find it just seconds after sharing it with the world. I looked long and hard, but I didn't find anything glaring and definitely nothing that would warrant taking a picture down to tweak it more.
To my pleasure comments started coming in, but most were hearts or little fires. A few eggplants and water splashes. On a whim I announced I'd read followers questions live the next night. Why not? It was sometimes interesting what they asked me. I put my laptop away, my spirits buoyed by the comments I'd already seen. I started my evening routine, moisturizing my arms, then taking off the fine silver ankle chain that Gary had given me and working the lotion into my legs. The last thing I wanted was to have my skin start sagging like an old lady's tits. I debated doing a mask, but it was getting late and I had to work in the morning.
I loved opening shift, except that it happened so early. Other than that, arriving with my coffee and plenty of time to make sure things were in order on the shelves, to check my stash to make sure no one had raided it – I had to move it, sometimes. People knew I set aside great stuff. Well, that and I wasn't supposed to – the manager, Anita, would put things back on the floor with a glare at me. Why does she think I work here? For the discount, duh. My whole damn check goes to new clothes as it is.
The uniform was basically anything the store sold, so I had on some skinny jeans rolled at the bottom to expose my ankles with the thin silver chain hugging my skin, and a long sleeved tee that was a bit big on me. I sipped my coffee as I made my rounds, straightening the displays of clothes, then heading to the back room. I was a little surprised to find two of my co-workers in the back room, as I thought I'd been alone, but then it occurred to me that I hadn't had to turn the alarm off.
They were standing around a pallet of boxes. Without me.
“Oh. My. God. Were you trying to hide this from me?” I demanded.
“Like you didn't smell a shipment when you got here,” Nicole said with a roll of her eyes.
“Let me see,” I said as I slid closer to look at the manifest. “Yes! Oh, I have to have that shirt!”
“I don't think we got any of that one,” Kari said, teasing me.
“I didn't say which one. Don't be mean,” I told her.
“I am seriously thinking I need to get Brandon to buy some of these for Isaac,” Kari said with a considering look. She glanced at me. “Maybe you could dress him for me.”
“Your brother is adorable,” I told her, holding up the shirt I wanted. It had a paisley pattern with deep maroons and teal and a dash of vanilla. It sounds terrible, but it was fucking fantastic. I glanced at Kari. “But he's too young for me. If I dress a man, I expect him to start nude and I go from there.”
“Well, he's not a man, so maybe let him start with clothes on?”
“Standards, hon,” I said with a laugh.
“You'd like his friend. Red hair. Taken, though. Zac says he's got a boyfriend.”
“Then why would I like him? I need one for me,” I told her. “And no, I won't date your brother.”
She just laughed. He was a cute bugger, that was true enough. But he was also too young and not really my type. I stashed a couple items, and then it was time to open. I work in an outlet mall, but rather than the traditional mall with an interior hallway, all of our entrances were facing outside. I don't know why. In the winter you had to brave the elements, in the summer the heat. Having a common indoor hallway would be a far nicer shopping experience, I'd think.
We stood behind the counter for the first hour drinking our coffees and chatting. Nicole came from a nice family and had the most gorgeous mahogany skin you've ever seen. We talked moisturizers sometimes and were always game for trying a new product. I loved the way her hair cascaded; if I were a girl, I'd want her hair. Like I might have to shave it off her, make a wig and go with that. Kari was new, but she fit right in. Her brother was gay and had just married, but I was trying not to be a jerk and ask why she was living with her brother and his husband, and her sort-of-brother, Isaac. It was also interesting because her brother was several years younger than his husband. Take that, Andy – it can work.
I don't know which way Isaac swings, but she keeps pointing him out to me as if I forgot what he looks like. He was at that stage, for me, where I wanted to touch him, but with his clothes on. While he looked a bit angular, I bet he was a good cuddle, but that's where my impure thoughts ended – if that could even be called impure. The customers came in dribs and drabs until about eleven-thirty, then it was pretty steady. One universal truth about customers – people are pigs. They unfold things and don't put them back, they drop things and leave them – both our product and their trash.
All in all it wasn't an eventful shift, not until about three-thirty as I was figuring out which of my stash I was going to buy that week – a sweet pair of trunk-style shorts and a tank top that should make my arms look good – when the most unlikely and weird thing possible happened. And uncomfortable, did I say that? It was.