Chapter Ten: The Kind Client
Angel rolled over to look at the alarm clock on the nightstand. It was ten in the morning. She had only slept seven hours, but she felt fairly rested. She sat up with a groan, her body creaked and cracked. She looked around at the room.
The walls were fairly bare. A dresser sat on the opposite wall from the bed, next to the bedroom door. The accordion doors to the closet on the left wall were closed. A window was just over Angel’s left shoulder as she sat upright in the bed. There was a nightstand on both sides of the bed. The right wall was bare. A laundry basket with folded clothes sat in the corner.
Angel was silent as she took in her surroundings. She swung her legs over the edge of the bed, standing up with a sigh. Where were her shoes? Her bag?
Angel walked across the room to the door, cracking it open to peer out. She heard the TV in the living room, and sizzling from the kitchen.
Slowly, Angel slipped through the doorway and walked down the hall. She stepped lightly, making little to no noise. She peered around the corner, into the kitchen.
Dante was standing over the stove, a covered pan on one burner, sizzling and making soft popping noises. He looked up, at her, almost startling her with his quick movement. The stub of a cigarette in his mouth, as he returned her curious gaze.
“Sit down,” he mumbled, motioning with his head to the table to Angel’s left.
Angel watched not him, but the cigarette as it wiggled as he talked, the burning tip flaring a red hue as he inhaled. She obeyed silently, not out of submission, but out of habit. Her body was still achingly tired, and she was grateful for an excuse to sit.
There was more sizzling at the stove. She sat at the small kitchen table, her back to him. When he set a plate down in front of her, she nearly jumped with surprise. Angel looked down at the plate. The yellow scrambled eggs and reddish brown strips of bacon beckoned her to eat, but she wasn’t sure she should.
“Coffee or juice?” Dante mumbled around his cigarette.
“Water,” Angel answered almost too soft to hear.
Dante set a glass of water next to her plate before sitting down perpendicular to her with his own plate of food and cup of coffee. He reached across the table, hooking a finger on a glass ashtray and dragged it towards him. He rested the stub of his cigarette in the tray before picking up a fork and stabbing at his eggs.
Angel looked at him from the corner of her eye. She felt the heat rise in her cheeks instantly.
Dante was shirtless. Angel had seen him shirtless before, but it was in a dimly lit, almost dark, run-down motel room. She hadn’t noticed a lot then. She hadn’t noticed his muscular chest, his toned stomach, broad shoulders, tanned skin, and the thin line of hair running from his navel, down past the brim of his pants.
She glanced up at his face, and she knew her cheeks must have flushed. He was watching her, watch him! Embarrassment rushed through her, and she hoped it didn’t show too much on her face and blushing cheeks. She quickly looked down at her food. The eggs still calling her to eat. Angel stole a quick glance back at Dante. He was still watching her, the hint of an amused smile on his face.
“Eat,” he commanded gently.
Angel picked up the fork and began to stab at the eggs.
After breakfast, Angel had jumped in the shower.
Dante had left the apartment after she fell asleep the previous night, and bought a few female toiletries. He had set them out on the bathroom sink. Angel, now wrapped in a towel, her wet hair dripping down her back, looked down at the toiletries. A small hairbrush, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a travel sized bottle of lotion, and another of shampoo, a disposable shaving razor, a stick of deodorant, and a small box of tampons. It was the typical care pack that the near by women’s shelter would sometimes pass out to the girls working the streets late at night.
Angel shook her head, knocking herself back into reality. He was a nice guy. Most of the guys who paid her didn’t buy her things, let alone toiletries and let her use their shower. She finished in the bathroom, using the toiletries and putting the box of tampons in her bag.
She slipped into her bra and thong before pulling her shorts up and a plain black, tight t-shirt over her head. She ran the brush through her hair and hung the towel on the hook on the back of the door.
When she opened the bathroom door, Dante was there, one hand out as if he was about to open the door himself. He smiled at her and ushered her out of the bathroom and back to the kitchen.
He put his hands on her sides, gently lifting her and setting her on the table. He reached for the button on her shorts, but stopped when he noticed Angel tense. “Let me check your cut.”
Still tense, she let him unfasten her shorts and pull them down and off. Dante hooked the edge of her thong and pulled it aside, studying the cut along Angel’s inner leg. The redness had faded, the scabs, still present, no longer looked fragile enough to crack open at the slightest movement. Ever so gently, Dante ran his thumb down the scab line. He leaned in closer, even more gently; he planted a kiss on the healing wound.
Angel shivered, feeling his breath roll across the tender skin of her pubic area. Dante had given her another gentle kiss before pulling away from her, and helping her back into her shorts.
“Come on, get your shoes on.”
Angel looked up at Dante as she slid off the table, her eyes narrow and skeptical.
“I’m taking you out, come on,” he answered her silent skepticism.
She sat down in one of the kitchen chairs to pull on her boots.
The black dress just laid there. The lace overlay on the bodice wrinkled as it laid there. The soft fabric of the rest of the dress would barely cover her curved backside, and Angel smoothed out the creases in the material to see if it would grow any longer. The sheer lace sleeves, the straps that attached a black fabric choker, the whole dress was beautiful, despite its provocative suggestions.
Angel just stared at it. How was she going to convince Rich that the dress was no more than a gift? She hated it when the clients bought her things. She always had to figure out how to hide the stuff or explain it. She would have to figure something out by tomorrow night.
Angel shook her head to clear the thoughts away and slipped across the hall to the bathroom. She wanted to shower again. She loved taking showers. Angel didn’t always have the opportunity to shower. No girl in the life usually did. They were all too busy working to pay the guys who owned them. There were many times, Angel was lucky to shower once a month. It was a gross thought, one that most clients would never consider, but it was fact.
Angel stripped down and turned the water on. She stepped over the edge of the bathtub and into the streaming shower water. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back, letting the water run down her throat, down her chest, and drizzle the rest of the way down her body.
A soft sigh escaped her lips as she turned, leaning her head back into the falling water. She felt it slither and creep through the strands of her hair, find her skin beneath it all, and trickle down her back, down her legs, to the tub floor below. Her eyes still closed, she rocked her weight backwards, letting the water hit her face, flood her eye sockets and nostrils. A few drops broke through her lips and found her throat. Slowly she opened her mouth, the warm water rushing to fill her cheeks, gravity pulling it down her throat. She pushed the water back out of her mouth, slowly standing straight, then lowering her head forward. The water weaved its way through her hair, sometimes grabbing at it and trying to pull it down to the tub floor. She opened her eyes and watched the water fall from the ends of her hair before closing them again to feel it.
Reluctantly, she picked up a bar of soap and gave the surface of her body a gentle scrub, before picking up the small bottle of shampoo and massaging the thick liquid into her scalp. When she was finished with that, she stepped back into the pouring water, letting is grace her skin and trickle down to its inevitable fate of free falling through the drain and to who knows where…
Angel wasn’t sure how long she stood in the water, but she knew it was probably longer than it felt. She let out another sigh as she turned the water off and pulled a towel around her body. She stepped back over the edge of the bathtub and onto the soft rug. She quickly towel dried herself, wanting to be back in her clothes as soon as possible. Her clothes were comforting, despite how little there was of them sometimes.
“Shit,” she grumbled, realizing she had left her clean clothes in her bag, in the living room. She quickly wrapped the towel around her body, and wiped her feet on the bathroom rug. She didn’t want to leave a wet trail through the apartment.
Angel opened the bathroom door. A cold chill ran up her spine as the cool hallway air hit her. She heard voices in the living room. Dante must be watching TV. Quietly, she crept down the hall. She did not want to disturb Dante, and let him see what a fool she was to leave her clothes in the living room. She saw her bag, next to the front door. Focused on keeping quiet, but eager to get her bag, she didn’t notice…
A low clearing of one’s throat stopped Angel in her tracks. She turned, like a deer in headlights at a man she hadn’t seen before, looking at her from the far end of the couch. Dante, who had his back to her, turned in time to see her shocked, and almost mortified expression.