Authors: M.S. Brannon
I whip my car out onto the street and head farther down the road to my house. I should have known Jason was going to be that guy. He’s used to getting exactly what he wants and obviously has no problems paying for it. The thought is shuddering and has me thanking my lucky stars I didn’t get swept up in his show. Although the physical part to Jason is perfect—so beautifully perfect—damn, he’s smug and an egotistical ass. If only there was a way to be with him physically without all the shit that surrounds him. I could duct tape his mouth shut to avoid listening to him talk, but actually, I like the sound of his voice. It’s very rich and deep, threaded with a southern flare. I might consider being around him, but that’s a lost thought. Today’s excursion in the bathroom was our final show, and I’m glad it was a memorable one.
I actually find a decent place to park at my apartment complex, which is surprising for this time of night. I walk through the door to see Giselle and Shelby sitting on the couch, watching television. They are snuggled under a blanket, sharing popcorn between the two of them, looking cozy and cute.
I can’t contain my excitement from my bold move with Jason. I move to shut off the TV.
“Hey, what the hell, Mariah?!” Shelby whines and snaps her glare at me. “We are watching Dirty Jobs. Have you seen this show? That Mike guy will do the most disgusting things. But I think he’s really sexy for a man in his forties. I’d do him,” she adds indifferently.
I stare back at her and simply smile. I haven’t stopped smiling since I tossed the money into Jason’s smug, narcissistic face.
“What’s that smile for? You wanna fuck Mike Rowe, too? Or did you win the lottery?” Shelby sets the popcorn bucket down on the coffee table and takes a drink of her soda. She is going to flip her shit when I tell her what I’ve done.
I consider her Mike Rowe comment for a moment and debate with myself. Sure, I’d fuck him, but he’d have to be thoroughly sanitized before I’d ride that. I blink about my thoughts of dirty jobs and gleam once more at my friends.
“Nope, it’s even better,” I say. I am dancing with glee inside. I keep replaying my little revolt over and over. I feel like a modern day Barbarella, kicking ass and taking names!
“You got a sweet new vibrator from the porn shop down the street then proceeded to get off in your car before coming upstairs, didn’t you?” I roll my eyes. Shelby is so disgusting. “Didn’t you? Why do I feel like I’m the only person who’s done that?”
Giselle and I look at her with shock. I mean, really? You couldn’t wait until you got up the stairs? And where the hell did she get batteries? Did she stop at the Seven Eleven? Gross… I just can’t go there now.
“What? No, Shelby. Is that all you think about, sex?”
“Ummm, yeah. Wow, how long have we been friends?” Shelby pretends she’s wounded from my comment, but then rolls her eyes. She’s dying to know what the hell I’m talking about. “Then what the hell did you do?”
I toss my purse down and get my excited-for-my-story face on. I can barely contain my joy, and it has both of them dying to know more. “Well, today at work, guess who showed up?”
“Mike Rowe’s dirty ass?” Shelby says sarcastically.
“Duh, no… Jason!” I give them a minute to let it soak in then continue with my story. “He was waiting for me outside the restroom, and then we… ummm… fucked in the bathroom.”
? Are you kidding me? That is so damn hot, Mariah!” Shelby gets up from the couch and hugs me like I got first place at some screwing contest. “He totally digs you then, right?”
I shake my head no. “Oh, it gets better. He goes to pay his tab and writes this note,” I pull out the section of paper I tore off the receipt. This little note sparked my anger and my assassination quest against Jason.
For the perfect afternoon ~ Jason
. Awe, that’s so sweet, Mariah,” Giselle swoons.
“Oh, just wait. Do you want to know what’s attached to this little sweet note?” Both of the girls nod in unison and sit on the edge of their seats, hanging on to my every word. “A thousand dollar tip.” Shock and awe. That’s the name of the game tonight. All you can hear in the air is crickets chirping outside my apartment door. Even Shelby is stunned speechless. “That was exactly my reaction, but that’s not all.”
“I need a drink.” Shelby walks to the kitchen and pulls a bottle of premade margarita mix from the fridge. She sits back down on the couch and takes a big chug from the bottle. Then we pass it around, each of us guzzling down the lime drink. “Okay, I’ve had a couple of drinks. Continue.”
“When I left work, I started thinking about the tip. Then it really began to piss me off. The whole time I was thinking, how dare he? I’m not a goddamn whore. So I whipped my car around and snuck into Toxic.”
“How’d you do that?” Giselle asks, barely getting her words out. I have stunned the woman silent.
“Ha! Like total James Bond style, man. I snuck through the back door. I was all nervous and shit, but I didn’t want to get caught and be kicked out. That would have totally foiled my plan.” I giggle to myself as I relive the experience with my friends, then down another large guzzle of margarita. “It was so cool. I felt like an assassin sent on a job. Then I made these two dudes fight each other so I could get around the huge bouncer blocking the stairs to his office.”
“Holy shit, dude, that’s awesome!” Shelby is smiling her big, happy smile.
“I know, right? But that’s not all. I opened the door and walked right up to him. I told him to go fuck himself and threw the money in his face. He grabbed me, and I know he was super pissed at me, but I pushed him away and got the hell out of there.” I can feel my adrenaline from the covert operation start to vanish from my body, and suddenly, I am really tired.
I walk to the couch and fall onto the soft cushions.
Damn, I’m cool as hell
, I think to myself as I lay my head on Giselle’s shoulder and chug more of the margarita.
The next morning, I wake up on the couch next to Giselle. She must have stayed the night. I look to my watch and see it’s six in the morning. Fuck, it’s only been a few hours since I got home and I’m still so damn tired. I sit up on the couch and rub my face. My eyes sting from lack of sleep and my mouth is dry. I ended up drinking the rest of the margarita mix before I decided to pass out with exhaustion.
I walk to the kitchen and grab a Diet Coke from the fridge. There’s nothing like the carbonation of a soda in the early morning. I love it. I lean against the cupboard and think about last night. Yesterday was a big day for me. I worked an eleven-hour shift, screwed Jason in the bathroom, snuck into his club and tossed money in his face, and then came home and relived the moment with my friends. Who wouldn’t be exhausted after that? I am glad I did what I did—I will not be treated like a hooker—but there’s a part of me that is a little upset.
Although I know nothing about him, he was the reason my birthday was so perfect. He was the reason I got over my ever-present dry spell and awoke a part of me that hasn’t seen the light of day since I had Royce. I liked who I was last Saturday night. I was confident, sexy, and not afraid to tap into my inner desires. Just like in the bathroom yesterday, I allowed this wild vixen to take me over, and it was perfect. Then Jason goes and ruins it by giving me that money. Oh, well, what’s done is done. So now I can make it through another seven years without a man wrapped around my body.
I plod back to the bathroom and pee, brush my teeth, and wash my face before walking to Royce’s room. He is passed out in his bed, chocolate smears on his face and his pillow pet clutched in his arms. When I lean down and kiss his forehead, he stirs slightly, but doesn’t wake.
I move to my room and find Shelby passed out in my bed. She is sprawled out, lying diagonal, taking up the entire bed. For as short as she is, I can’t believe she can take up so much room. I push her feet to the side and lie down beside her. When I close my eyes, I see his black eyes looking back at me; his eyes of fire and desire.
I want to see them again. I’m addicted to him and can sense it already. But after yesterday’s stunt, he will simply be a faint memory I will relive from time to time; nothing more and nothing less, just a memory.
Three more hours pass before Royce wakes me up, demanding breakfast. I lean over and kiss his cheeks then fall out of bed where Shelby is still passed out. I put my finger over my lips, indicating to Royce to be quiet as we leave the room and walk to the kitchen. However, he doesn’t get the memo because Royce plops down on Giselle and turns on morning cartoons. When Giselle startles awake then pulls him in for snuggles, my son smiles and gets under the blanket.
I open my fridge and decide to make a smorgasbord of food; pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash browns. Last night’s pride is suddenly making me feel foolish. Yes, his giving me an enormous tip was completely wrong, but I probably could have handled it better. I’m feeling a little at a loss this morning.
For the last week, Jason has been the subject of my dreams and, at times, my daydreams. I think about him making me the one he wants to settle down with. God, I’m such a simple-minded girl, or a hopeless romantic. There I go, fantasizing for something you only see on TV. I will never have that “you’re the one I’ve been waiting for moment.” Jason will never change who he is and come searching for me. Our being together twice this last week has merely been a happenstance experience.
I shake my head of my foolish, schoolgirl thoughts and finish cooking breakfast. I then fill the table with delicious food, and just as we sit down to eat, Shelby meanders from the bedroom.
“Thanks for waking me up, bitches.” She yawns and I glare.
“Language,” I snap. Shelby just rolls her eyes. She’s right; I don’t know why I even bother. Hopefully, my son fully understands he cannot use the same language she does. Actually, not even adults should be using that kind of language.
We dish up our food and shove our cheeks full. The food tastes so delicious, if I do say so myself. I do make a mean breakfast. In fact, I’m a pretty good cook. The three of us sit around the table and talk about the night, sans my James Bond episode, and enjoy the morning.
After the girls leave, Royce and I put together a puzzle, work on his homework, and watch a movie. Before I know it, it’s six o’clock in the evening and time for me to get ready for work. Maggie shows up thirty minutes later and I leave. Starting Monday, I will be looking for something else. As much as I enjoy working at Smitty’s, Jason knows where I am. It’s best I steer clear of him.
After Mariah’s outburst at my office, I decide the best place for me is to go home. I get into my Escalade and drive to my high-rise penthouse located on Miami Beach, just outside of Miami in Bal Harbour. It overlooks the ocean with perfect, panoramic views of the beach. The sunrise and sunset is breathtaking and can be seen from almost anywhere in the house. Other than my Audi, this was the first major purchase I made with my acquired millions.
The building was newly completed when I decided it was the best place for me to rest my head. The seven million dollar price tag was a little much, but I couldn’t resist. Four years later, I was able to pay off my mortgage and finish the renovations to outfit it perfectly for me. Now it’s a palace suited for a man who used to not have shit. I am rubbing it in the faces of all those assholes that doubted me.
I pull into the underground garage and into my designated parking space, right next to my Audi. Then I punch the keypad with the password and am whisked up the twenty-six stories to the penthouse. After I turn the key to my lock, I walk through the foyer and toss my keys on the side table just inside the door. I take off my shoes so I don’t scuff the marble floor, as I walk to the balcony and slide open the door.
The ocean is still and calm this time of night, the air lightly moving through my hair and feeling much cooler from this height. I suck in a deep breath and smell the night, ocean air. The waves are gently crashing against the shore, causing a serene atmosphere. Man, I love it here.
I’ve always loved the beach. When I needed an escape from the many foster homes I was forced to live in, I’d sneak down to the beach and find a quiet place to be. I was able to find an abandoned area under the pier where I could disappear. I’d stay up all night and watch the waves roll onto the sand. My life was always filled with negativity; I never really had a place I could call my own. But, once I found my little sandy hideaway, I knew the beach was where I needed to be to have peace in my life.
As I stand on the twenty-sixth floor of my beachfront penthouse, I realize this is the only place I really have peace now. I’m in business mode when I’m at the office. Or, if I’m walking the floor of Toxic, I’m the Jason Cain everyone expects me to be—the playboy bachelor. However, when I’m here, in the confines of my home, I’m just a normal person. I’m just me.