“Maybe next time. I’ve got a deadline.”
“I know, right? It’s almost like I actually have a job.”
Holo’s snort comes through loud and clear. “Almost. Don’t worry, I know better.”
I roll my eyes, knowing Holo’s ribbing is good-natured. It’s true I can almost always help out when his crew’s a man short. I like the work, too. Physical. Can’t let myself get distracted around nail guns and tablesaws the same way I can around pen and paper. Daydreaming on a construction site means lost fingers. That kind of focus might not be such a bad idea. But not today. “Give me a call if you still need me tomorrow.”
I hang up over Holo’s protests and drop the phone on my desk, wishing I could go swing a hammer instead of coming up with some incisive comic about the latest congressional idiocy. No such luck. I stare at the blank page on my desk, flipping a pen between my fingers, waiting for an idea to strike. But all I come up with is restlessness.
Miranda’s been gone for over a month.
I don’t miss her per se. I liked her, yeah, and our kinks were compatible. But she’d started wanting more than kink and sex and I…didn’t really want that from her. We lived in pretty separate worlds outside the studio and that was fine with me. I miss the outlet, the readily available partner, but not her. And that had been the problem. It’s done anyway. She went home to Lahaina and I won’t be seeing her again. Except if we run into each other at a play party or a munch I guess.
But my desire to venture back into the community is lukewarm at best. It’s always the same. Not bad but… Whatever. I’ll get over this apathy sooner or later. I always do.
My phone rings again. Fucking Holo won’t take no for an answer.
“Dude. I told you. I don’t have time for that shit today. Maybe you wouldn’t need my help if you’d get your lazy ass to work.”
There’s a pause on the other end instead of Holo’s easy guffaw. Shit.
“I’m sorry. I think I may have the wrong number. I’m looking for Cris Ardmore?”
I wince and screw my eyes shut. Sure. The one time I don’t check the number before I answer. Hope it’s not a potential job offer. I wouldn’t mind the work.
“This is he. Sorry about that.”
“That’s not how you usually answer the phone?”
The man’s voice is smooth and wry, a verbal admonishment. My hackles rise. Who the fuck is this guy?
“Only when I’m expecting a call from a friend begging me to fill in for a guy he should’ve fired weeks ago. Do you usually conduct an interrogation before introducing yourself?”
“It’s not unusual.”
Bizarrely, I don’t get the feeling that he’s joking. “So who are you?”
“Reyes Walter. We haven’t met before, but we have some mutual friends.”
I know that name. I’ve never met the guy, but I’ve heard about him. Something of a living kink legend if the rumors are to be believed; a trainer to the rich, famous, and reclusive. Nice work if you can get it. From his presence on the phone, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Walter?”
“It’s more about what I can do for you.”
“I wasn’t under the impression that you needed to cold call recruits.” Not to mention if what I’ve heard is true, there’s no way I could afford the guy. I like my job, it keeps me in food and surfboards, but it’s never going to make me a millionaire. Not even close.
“Business is just fine, Mr. Ardmore. No, I have a different sort of proposition for you.”
“You don’t even know me.”
“True. But I know people who do. Don’t you think you should hear me out before you try to dissuade me?”
I make a noise of assent. Whatever this is, it’s not going to be boring. And honestly, I’m enjoying the novelty. It’s like talking on the phone to Santa Claus. He does exist.
“Are you busy this weekend?”
I could ask why, but I’m sure he’ll tell me in his own time. Running through my mental calendar, I’m supposed to surf with Holo and Lani on Saturday and have lunch with my parents on Sunday. Nothing that can’t be rescheduled.
“I don’t have to be. Why?”
Half an hour later I’m hanging up, more dumbstruck than I was when I answered the phone. On Friday at noon, a woman I’ve never met is going to be escorted to my doorstep, and she’s going to belong to me for the entire weekend. Kit. That’s her name. Or is as far as I’m concerned.
Black hair, hazel eyes, petite, pretty. And most importantly, submissive. That’s the gist of it. Of her. I asked for more details, but Rey Walter knows how to keep a man on a string, giving me enough information to keep me from hanging up the phone but nothing more. And now I’ve agreed to send him the results of my latest STI screening, a ream of other personal information, and put him in touch with a few old play partners. Not to mention start drafting a contract covering the terms of my weekend with the mysterious Kit.
Provided I pass the screening, as Mr. Walter had made very clear. That part I’m not so worried about.
But what the hell have I gotten myself into? This whole thing feels like a set-up for a spy movie. Is this some kind of laundering scheme for a human trafficking ring? Am I going to have to call the cops when some drug-addicted filthy waif gets thrown out of a moving car? But that doesn’t make any sense. Why go that far out of your way?
But I can’t quite get a handle on what kind of woman this would appeal to. I’ve been assured it’s not some kind of elaborate cuckolding fantasy come to life, and that as long as I agree, completely consensual. I still can’t get my head around the idea, but I also couldn’t bring myself to say no. I’m not gullible, not someone who gets yanked around by the latest shiny thing, but I have to admit…Rey Walter has me intrigued. So I turn on my phone again and click on a contact.
“Hey Corrine. It’s Cris. I have a favor to ask.”