Since it wasn’t past three o’clock yet, guess who was first in line when I whisked out of the spa doors?
“Hey, Romeo,” I said, totally unaffected by the panty-melting smile he gave me. I was too jaded by men to be affected by a smile. A smile was never just a smile. “Anytime today.”
Grabbing my keys from the valet box, his smile jacked a little higher as he jogged by. “Anytime, any day.”
I withheld the eye roll that wanted to follow. The guy had a pick-up line for everything. I was sure if I told him to go get bent, he would turn it around into some sort of illicit proposition.
As he ran toward the valet lot, I took the opportunity to check him out. Really, he had one of the finest asses known to woman. The rule was I couldn’t touch, not that I couldn’t look and looking was the only male satisfaction I got these days.
Valet Look-Can’t-Touch was just about out of sight when someone else whisked out of the spa doors. I had to do a double-take because, other than being a little shorter, she looked an awful lot like I did. Or I had before I’d become an Eve. After five years of being dyed, weaved, cut, sculpted, molded, nipped, and tucked, I’d almost forgotten what I’d started out like. But forgetting was impossible with that woman pacing beside me with her cell to her ear.
The resemblance was . . . uncanny.
“You know my situation, Mar,” clone girl said into the phone, not exactly trying to be discreet. “Unless I want to lose everything, I’m going to live, wrinkle, and die with that sorry excuse for a man.”
Even when I was “off the clock,” I never really was. More than half of our business came from these kinds of happenstance encounters. Blatantly wealthy woman bitching on the phone, or to her hair stylist, or to the poor waiter, et cetera when an Eve or G was in earshot.
I was already unlocking my briefcase when she paced my way. “Why don’t I just leave him? Why. Don’t. I. Just. Leave. Him?” she practically shouted into the phone. “Because, Mar, I signed a little piece of paper before I walked down the aisle. In case you’re not familiar with a pre-nup, let me give you a quick run-down. In the event of a divorce, I get nothing. Noth-Ing.”
I slipped the black business card out of the holder and clutched it. Judging by the way she was decked out and that her handbag alone cost what a middle-class family made annually, I knew this one would be a solid Eight. Maybe, just maybe, a Nine.
And if eery-look-alike girl did come to the Eves for help, G better toss it my way since I’d brought the business in. That’s generally the way it worked, and I sure as hell wouldn’t give “generally” a break when it came to an Eight, possibly a Nine, Errand.
“He was worth a lot when I married him, but now?” she continued, either not noticing or not caring there was a stranger close by. “You’ve seen the articles. You know how much that son of a bitch is worth.”
At least an Eight.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I’ll think of something.” After a clipped goodbye, she slid her phone into her purse.
When opportunity knocks, I don’t keep it waiting.
As I approached the woman, I held out the card. The matte, black card was blank expect for The Eves scrolled in elegant white lettering on the front and a number on the back.
The woman studied the card for a few moments before studying me in the same way. With skepticism. “What’s this for?”
I saw my car coming around. I had less than thirty seconds to get the card in her hand before the opportunity was gone. “For your husband problem.”
She lifted a sculpted eyebrow. “I’ve got an attorney. A bunch of them, in fact. If some of the best lawyers in the industry can’t help me, I doubt you can.”
“I’m not a lawyer,” I said. “I deal with the gray area in between the laws.” I had her interest. I saw it in her eyes.
“What . . . gray area?”
My car pulled up the circular driveway, so I extended the card again. That time, she took it. “Give this number a call, and it will all be explained. And that’s for your eyes only. No one else sees it, and you don’t tell anyone about it. If you choose not to call us, burn, shred—basically, destroy—that card. Got it?” Usually I preferred to ease potential clients into the fine print, but I didn’t have time for easing.
The woman flipped the card over and back again before sliding it inside her purse. “Got it,” she said, giving me a once-over. Standing taller, she asked, “How do I know you’re for real?”
“How do I know you are?” I lifted a shoulder. “Life’s a sequence of gambles. You’re going to win some. You’re going to lose some. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play the game.”
The valet had that same smile on when he leapt out of my car. He flashed me a wink and waited outside of the door for me to climb in. “Have a nice day,” I said to the woman.
“I will now.” She patted her purse.
I handed another twenty to Valet Romeo before sliding in. “See you around, ma’am,” he said with a wink before closing the door.
Tomorrow, I’d look different, and next month, I’d be in a different city in a different state. People never just saw me around. I sighed before punching the gas. “No, you won’t.”
MY HOTEL FOR this Errand was smack in the center of Ocean Drive in South Beach. G had gone all out and rented me a suite. She wanted me comfortable and happy, which meant the job was an important one. Not that all of them weren’t, but some were more high profile than others. Some jobs were high profile because of the risks involved, some because the Client, the Target, or both were public figures, and some were high profile strictly due to the money involved.
Other than his last name, where he lived, how much he was worth, and that I’d be in his bed within the month, I didn’t know anything about Mr. Silva. That would be different come morning, though. I’d know his shoe size, the day he was born, his preferences when it came to women, and what he liked in the bedroom. I’d have all the knowledge I’d need to work my way under Mr. Silva’s skin so I could work myself into his pants.
But tonight, I had a date with a heavy manila folder and a cherry Coke with extra cherries. I crashed onto the chaise and punched a quick text into my phone strictly for my interaction with G. On any given Errand, I carried around three phones. One for Client communication, one for G communication, and another that was used for the Target. At the end of each Errand, the Client and Target phones were destroyed, and I was given two new ones at the start of the next. It was a pain in the ass, but I hadn’t been drawn to the Eves because it was easy.
I suppose, at first, I wasn’t as much drawn as I was intrigued, but G helped me change my mind. Our meeting had seemed totally happenstance, but I’d realized after a while that G did nothing by happenstance. Everything was painstakingly strategized, especially when it came to selecting her Eves.
Five years ago, I’d walked into the mall back home with one goal in mind: I would sit in a booth at my favorite little cafe, order a mocha and a bagel, and prove to myself life could go on even when it didn’t feel as if it could.
By the time I was standing outside of the cafe, my body betrayed me. I simply couldn’t step foot inside of it. It wasn’t just my favorite place. It had been our favorite place, but there was no more our. There never would be again.
So instead, I collapsed onto one of the mall benches and stared at that cafe for the rest of the day. Staring at the couples going in and out, glaring at the ones smiling and laughing.
At closing time, a woman took a seat beside me. She was older, but she was one of the most stunning women I’d ever seen. The kind that almost make you want to reach out and touch them to see if they’re real.
She sat in silence for a few minutes, then said, “You can spend the rest of your life missing him. Or you can move on and never look back.”
I went with G that night, and the rest, as they say, was history. G offered me the move-on part of her promise. But there were times when I slipped and looked back. If there was a way to train myself not to look back, I hadn’t figured it out yet, but I’d never stop trying.
G never knew who the guy from my past was, and she didn’t know about any of the other ones either. She didn’t do backstory. She cared about our present and our future, that was it. Her only rule regarding our past was that we leave it there—behind us—and that we cut off all and any ties to it.
My phone pinged with G’s response, bringing me back to the present. Nothing but a G. That was how we communicated. To anyone else, our one-letter messages made no sense, but we knew the whole story behind that one letter.
I dug a cherry out of my soda and popped it into my mouth. I went for one more before opening the file. These things took hours to sort through.
The first few pages held all of the basics: full name, DOB, height, weight, education, career, hobbies, interests, etc. After a quick scan, I pulled another cherry out of my soda.
The next section, or as we Eves liked to call it, the Payday Section, was where I spent the majority of my study time. That section covered his likes and dislikes in and out of the bedroom. It went over his goals, ambitions, and dreams.
In short, it told me everything I needed to know to transform myself into the woman Mr. Daniel Silva couldn’t resist. It even told me what color, length, and style of hair he preferred. So after my salon appointment the next day, I’d (once again) be a long-haired blonde who wore her hair down with just a hint of a curl. In my line of work, blonde took the gold medal. Red was a close second.
I flipped to the next page, and there was Mr. Silva in all his mediocre glory. He looked his age—early forties—but had that confidence in his expression that conveyed he thought he was quite the gift. Dark hair and eyes, tall, medium build, handsome in a distinguished, George Clooney type of way, but not in the god-of-a-man way like he obviously perceived himself to be.
I turned the photo over and went to the next page. In the beginning, the next section had made me squirm. I didn’t squirm anymore. I’d seen it all when it came to sex preferences, positions, appetites, and fetishes. No Target could shock me. Not anymore.
Mr. Silva was pretty straight forward and in-line with my expectations based on what I’d already gleaned from his file. His preferred position was from behind, and his preferred quantity was once a day. No surprises there. I hadn’t run across a man yet who didn’t prefer sex once a day, and the from behind part I’d guessed once I knew what hair color he preferred.
Seduction was an art of statistics and probabilities. Every Eve knew a man who wanted a blonde liked giving it from behind, a man who lusted after a redhead liked the woman on top, and a man who liked a brunette preferred classic missionary style. The rules didn’t hold true one hundred percent of the time, but at least ninety-five percent, and that was close enough for me to stamp it into the book of truth.
What was surprising though, was that nothing had been filled out below the Sex Fetishes and Other Kinds of Miscellaneous Kinkery section. That section was rarely left blank. Most of the time, the Client ran out of space and had to add additional comments on the back of the sheet. Occasionally, the man who preferred a classic brunette and missionary sex would have a blank space, but never the man who liked a blonde from behind. There was always something else.