I posted this short story written by a fellow author, Rich, almost ten years ago. I always liked it, so I want to share it again. Rich is one of the most talented writers I’ve ever met. I hope we see more stories from him soon! Keep writing, Rich!H.N. Sieverding
White Cotton: A Short Story by Rich Voza
Check out Rich’s writing/books and get some great editing advice at –> brainsnorts.com
“Don’t get attached.”
“It’s just sex.”
“Don’t take anything personally.”
“You’re an actor, pretending to be someone else.”
“Think of it as working out at the gym or cheerleading practice.”
There were other things Jess had told Marti a year ago about becoming an escort. Grades in college were not as good as they should have been, and there was no time to work even if a part-time job was available. Luckily, college towns have a lot of college money, and they’re willing to pay for college students.
“It’ll be fine. They’re all tested, and they’re all traceable if something happens. They won’t hurt you, but trust me that you’ll hurt them. You’ll break their hearts because they’re going to want you. They’re going to tell you that they’ll dump their wives for you. Trust me, it never happens. But you want to make them say it anyway, because it means they’ll be back. And their wallets will open a little further each time. And so will you.”
When bills were mounting, it was important to simplify. When they would go out to clubs, Jess was always paying, until the pride was swallowed and the question was asked. Jess said, “You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for you to ask. Let’s get out of here, and I’ll tell you all about it.” Marti had never seen Jess with so big a smile.
“No friggin’ way!”
“Swear to God.”
“How can you do that?”
“I said the same thing, and it was way easier than I thought. All the work is done for you. You just show up, there are so many clothes and outfits to choose from. Ms. Coven, the boss, she’ll buy you whatever you want. Most of the time they’ll tell you what to wear anyway. You just might have to grease yourself up a little. It’s all safe, all protected. It’s far enough out of town. You won’t see any of the stupid college guys from around here because they’d never be able to afford you. You might see their fathers though. And please keep this in mind. They only take beautiful people. If you weren’t pretty enough, I would not have told you all this.”
The rent paid for room 6I at the Ivy Arms was easily covered by the clientele. Ms. Coven had the only key. She had the only list of her staff. She had the only list of the clients. As far as anyone in the building knew, a nice, older woman lived very quietly and had occasional business partners for daytime meetings. If something went wrong, she had her explanation solid. “It’s not prostitution. This nice couple hired me as a sex therapist.”
It was a small, two-bedroom suite for which Ms. Coven got a reduced rent because of the renovations she paid for, specifically the master bathroom with the double vanity, garden tub, grotto double-sized shower with cushioned benches, and heat lamps. More time was spent in the bathroom suite than the bedroom but often through choice. All staff and clients were required to shower both before and after visits or it would be the last time either that client or staff ever set foot in the apartment. Even so, most clients just could not wait and wanted business to begin with the shower, often ending there as well.
The second bedroom was Ms. Coven’s secure office. It was simply furnished and mainly served as a place where occasionally Ms. Coven would hide, listen, and watch occasional transactions through hidden camera and microphones. She was smart enough to leave nothing directly connected to her in the apartment, which was actually rented by a company called “Behavioral Health Associates,” which was nothing more than a post office box on the other side of the country. She had a degree in social science and had the credentials to claim to be a therapist.
When Ms. Coven met Marti, she was so pleased that she gave Jess double the usual recruiting bonus. In the envelope with the money was a note that said, “This one is going to break hearts.” After the first year, a few hearts had been broken, but Marti’s was one of them.
In apartment 6I, everyone had their own armoire with their favorite “gift wrappings.” That’s what Ms. Coven called their lingerie and accessories such as blindfolds, handcuffs, toys, lotions, etc. She supplied them with anything they needed, and anything they needed was theirs alone without any sharing. Safer that way. Ms. Coven was willing to spend up front because trends had shown that investments in this business eventually more than paid for themselves.
“Yes, Ms. Coven,” Marti said. “I know. I’ve had this type before. I can handle it.”
After a shower and a peek at the clock, the armoire that said “Marti” opened. “I’ve had this type before,” was said again silently. But those words were said months ago. The voice mail that day said he was wealthy but shy, and if all went well, this one would want Marti all to himself, exclusively, and he’d be able to pay the extra easily and regularly. Memories of him brought Marti to reach for just the right item in the armoire: his white dress shirt. Marti’s eyes closed while buttoning, then unbuttoning. Memories of how he unbuttoned it, or tried to the first time. His fingers unable to coordinate, twice getting them out of sequence, and it was amazingly cute. Sure, in basic terms, he was paying money to fuck Marti. But other than that, amazingly cute.
Jess had warned her that some girls had gotten too attached, believing they’ll convince guys to dump their wives for them and save them from this job. Jess had done it once, and it did not end well. Nor had it ended well for Marti.
Sitting on the bed were memories of one of their more special times.
He had a weekend conference in Florida and flew Marti down, had a car waiting, and they enjoyed the pool and beach when he wasn’t in meetings. They met in the bar at lunch and pretended to have just met. They met at a restaurant away from the conference hotel and pretended to have just met. They met at clubs a cab ride away and pretended to have just met. Marti didn’t love it but liked it a lot. Didn’t love or like him but it was somewhere between and changing a little each time they were together.
They spent hours together in Marti’s room each night, hours including the balcony, the elevator, the stairs, the sauna, the parking lot, and near the pool. It was sad that he always had to return to his room in case one of the other associates was looking for him or his wife called. Once, as he was dressing again, he pulled his shirt on more easily than the first time when he had fumbled with the buttons. Marti crept up behind him, reached beneath his arms, and unbuttoned it.
“Hey,” he smiled, “I have to go.”
“But you can leave this with me.”
He turned, smiled, kissed Marti on the forehead, and giggled. That shirt was slept in that night and many other nights. The material felt perfect, such soft cotton. If you put it on a hanger, his shoulders, his pecks, his waist would be obvious. All perfectly matched him. It was not easy to give in and wash it, wash the smell of him out of it.
“Custom made,” he said. “I have a few dozen of them. Gifts from – someone.” And he left, and never came back again. No notes, no explanations, no apologies. He had left a plane ticket to return home, and a car had already been arranged at both ends. But Marti wanted to see him in the airport lounge and pretend to have just met. Acting classes were good at teaching the art of small talk. Now, Marti just felt small.
On this day, with this new client, no buttons were fastened. Completely open, the collar pulled wide, breasts exposed. “I’ve had this type before,” echoed again. A glass of cocoanut rum over ice slid down easily, which was well into taking effect when there was a knock, and Ms. Coven’s assistant answered, then excused himself after searching the client for anything not permitted in the apartment 6I. Then he left and locked the door behind him. The client followed the previously reviewed directions and headed for the shower where there were towels and a stocked liquor cabinet. Vodka over ice, then a shower, then dressed in something special before returning to the living room that was darker than before.
Marti, with nothing but the white dress shirt and another glass of rum, walked softly in bare feet from the bedroom into the living room where the client stood admiring a soft leather arm chair. The client saw Marti, smiled, and stood before the leather chair. Bare feet were chosen because it seemed submissive. This one liked that.
Marti walked slowly, feigning shyness, but admiring the long legs in black thigh-hi stockings, 4-inch heels, a black leather vest, and a black thong with what seemed like diamonds in the front.
The tall woman smiled down at Marti, extending a hand and taking one back. She ran her older hands along Marti’s forearm to a bicep until the rolled up sleeve of the white dress shirt stopped her. The tall woman opened the shirt and put her soft hands around Marti’s waist, pulling closer for a soft kiss.
“It’s just a person,” Marti repeated. “Enjoy the attention. Don’t get attached. She doesn’t love you. She just wants to borrow you.” Closing one’s eyes and just enjoying the warmth of a mouth on one’s neck, regardless of the gender, sometimes feels like love. Marti learned to enjoy being pulled close, this time feeling both the soft leather vest and the softer D cup breasts spilling out. What Ms. Coven had said about this one?
She was angry. After years of wondering, she finally stopped asking her husband if he had cheated on her. There were always questionable things, and his answers were never convincing. She told her husband that she would never question him again. She would be the quiet wife and play along, smile at parties, kiss him in public to protect the assets, but she was going to have her own fun. She was going to find her own “toys.” She would become someone else’s “toy.” For a while it was one. Then two, eventually three, and eventually she realized that something more was needed. She enjoyed giving up herself to the power of others, but today she was going to be in charge. She didn’t like herself, and she was in pain. Today, she was bringing pain to someone else. She would find ways to let her husband know what she’d done. Stained clothing was the easiest. It was her turn, and she was making the most of it. Her playing hurt him more than his playing had hurt her because she was the mother of his children. For some reason, to them, it was different. All those years of spoiling him, giving him everything, and now she was spoiling herself. Giving herself to whoever she wanted, and taking whoever she wanted.
The “type” put a finger beneath Marti’s chin, lifted, and feasted on the exposed, vulnerable neck. One hand found Marti’s curly hair. Her fingers wrapped into the brunette locks, pulling back to show even more neck to feed on. Marti had trouble remembering that it was just a job. The woman’s lips and tongue found just the perfect spot behind Marti’s ear. Knees weakened. The woman sensed that and guided Marti to kneel, then she stood with her legs apart. Marti had not felt this good in a long time. Not since Florida. Marti had been toughened but was now softening a little.
Again, the woman’s fingers locked in Marti’s hair, and she guided mouth and tongue to her thighs. Marti reached both hands holding the woman’s ass and pulling her closer, tongue working its way beneath the thong. Saliva mixed with something that dripped as the woman pushed Marti’s face closer to where it felt good. More than good. The tall woman sat in the leather chair, draped her legs over each arm, and pulled Marti closer as her legs grew further apart. The woman’s hands worked their way to Marti’s neck, massaging tense muscles as they both grew hungrier. The woman pushed back the collar of Marti’s white dress shirt, exposing soft shoulders that begged to be kissed.
The woman sat up, heels on the floor, and pushed the white dress shirt off Marti’s arms. Marti reached up and began to pull off the woman’s thong. Eyes, hunger, and pulse growing, and fumbling hands pulling the thong down for the woman to step out of, but those tall heels remained planted on the floor. Marti looked up.
The woman, now standing over Marti, had a curious expression. She looked down at Marti and asked, “Young man, where did you get this shirt?”