“Dammit!” Clair checked her watch as she waited in the elevator. The bell announced her ground floor arrival before releasing her to her apartment lobby.

She wore a jean skirt halfway down her thigh, over white stockings. Her black boots came up past her knee. A black button down blouse on top. All covered by her, currently undone, black overcoat.

With spring having only sprung the other day, the coat was still necessary. She buttoned it up as she approached the glass doors.

An idling navy Toyota Matrix awaited her as she pushed through the door. More proof about need of the coat came from seeing the exhaust billowing out behind the vehicle, as well as her breath turning white in front of her.

She slipped into the car, placing her large denim purse on the floor.

“Full show today?” the driver asked.

“Oh Jack, the guy wants a school girl.”

Jack put the car in drive and pulled out into the Battleford Road traffic from the apartment turnabout.

“Sorry I’m late.” She flipped down the sun visor, pulled a brush from her bag and worked on her hair in the vanity mirror.

“Buckle up, Clair.”

“Oh, damn.” She stopped, did as instructed and went back to brushing her red hair.

“Deep breaths, m’lady. I’ll get you there in time.”

She pulled a scrunchie from her purse and quickly had the hair in a ponytail. Coming to an intersection, the Seven Eleven sign beckoned to her across the street. “My kingdom for a Slurpee. Where are we off too, anyway?”

He turned right onto Erin Mills Parkway and zipped south past the Meadowvale Theatre sign. “Oakville. This guy has an apartment right on Lake Shore. Sounds like you’ll have quite the romantic evening.”

She laughed. “Romance is great, but I want that Slurpee.”

Jack chuckled as the cruised along. “And no public displays this time.”

“You saw that?”

“It’s my job to know where you are. Of course I saw that.”

“That was fucking hot.” She grinned at her memory of Frank and the Lion.

“Yes, but I don’t carry bail money.”

“I know guess I know you another blowjob for danger pay.”

They both laughed again.

He steered the vehicle onto Highway 403. Turning on the radio to low volume, he was greeted by Robert Lamm claiming to not know, nor care what time it was.

Clair leaned back and sighed. “I love this song. Are they coming to Orillia this year?”

Jack accelerated the car. “Haven’t seen any dates yet. Jake and I are going to see Heart next month at Massey Hall.”

“Guess I have the night off then?”

He offered her a sly glance. “You’re with that dude…ah…” He snapped the fingers on his right hand trying to bring back his memory. “Oscar, right? You’ll be drunk and on a cruise ship.”

She grinned. “Sounds nice, but I’d rather hear Anne and Nancy sing…and I still want that Slurpee.”

More shared laughter.

“How is Jake?”

“He’s okay. He finally found a wig he likes and should be actually visiting the office next week.”

She nodded her pleasure with his report. “Of all people.”

“I know. He is so arrogant about doing this without stopping work, and seems to have done it.”

She lightly stroked Jack’s thigh. “Be strong, that’s what he needs.”

Jack gave her a quick sad smile.

“Can the three of us go for dinner sometime this week?”

Jack clucked his tongue. “Depends on your schedule, my dear. Also, I’m not sure Jake will want to go out just yet, but maybe we can bring something in for him.”

“I’d like that.”

The street lights started to matter as the car merged onto the Queen Elizabeth Way highway.

Jack turned his eyes to her quickly. “Why do you seem melancholy, darling? What’s going on in that gorgeous head of yours?”

She waved him off. “Just tired. Yes, I will get the usual romantic scenario tonight, but…”

But,” Jack agreed. “One day you would actually like it to be about you.”

Her finger pointed at him to mark agreement.

“Clair, I look at you and I see brilliance, beauty, and character that is above and beyond. Compared to most women in your industry, you have it pretty well. Odds are, you would have your pick of any man if you let them in. I suspect you have killed marriages you are unaware of.”

She giggled.

“Financially, unless you have blown money, you should be in fantastic shape. It amazes me that you still live in that dump and drive that clunker, but I think that you’re saving for something.”

He pulled the vehicle to the off ramp for Burloak and took the car south. “The problem with you is that you are too good at what you do and you enjoy it too much. That incident the other night, that was all you and you even got more money for that. There are not many escorts out there with degrees in literature, nor are there many who have your libido and do this out of choice.”

“You lost me.”

He chuckled. “Yeah, I think I lost my train of thought.”

She squeezed his thigh. “I think you understand, though.”

The remainder of the drive was in comfortable friendly silence, save the songs on the radio. He turned west onto Lake Shore and found the address quickly.

He turned and watched her unbuckle. “Clair, enjoy yourself. I know you will.”

She kissed his cheek and gave him a quick smile. “Love you, Jack. See you in an hour.”

Her heels clicked on the pavement as she walked up the stairs and into the apartment lobby. She checked a small piece of paper from her coat pocket and plugged in the buzzer code.

No voice answered, just the buzzing of the door.

She entered and rode the elevator to the sixth floor. Finding the apartment, she gave four quick knocks.

The door opened to reveal a short squat man. His pepper hair was receding as though in protest of the full beard he wore. He wore a shiny red disco shirt overtop of black slacks.

“Hello, darlin’.” He was impressed as he looked up at her. “You can keep your boots on.”. He laughed at his own joke. “You must be Clair. I’m Bob.”

She shook his hand. “Hi, Bob.”  She decided he was a Danny DeVito look a like.

“Come on in.” He turned and waddled into the smokey cluttered apartment. “That’s for you,” he said gesturing to an envelope on the counter beside the door.

She quickly checked the envelope and found ten twenty-dollar bills before making it disappear into her bag. She slowly followed Bob inside.

The apartment decor was circa 1977. A Star Wars fabric painting adorned the wall over top the brown leather couch. The television was on a shelf made out of bricks and boards. On those shelves she noticed VHS tapes with titles like Conan, Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

“Romantic, eh Jack?” she whispered.

“What was that?” Bob grinned at her and took a puff on the cigarette from the black free-standing ashtray.

She smiled at him. “I love the place.  It’s so…”

“Fucking horrid, I know.”

She laughed.

“Would you do me a favor?”  Bob picked up a can of beer and sipped.  “I would like to offer you a drink.  I would just like someone to talk to.”

She grinned.  “What’s to drink?”

She sipped her third glass of red wine while trying to suppress her laugh.

The phone on the kitchen counter rang and Bob sprang to his feet.  “Damn.  Excuse me.”

Clair checked her watch.  “Probably my driver looking for me.  Just be gentle with him.  It’s his job.”  She stood and steadied herself on the couch arm.

Bob picked up the phone.  “Hello…you mean this gorgeous being here?…she’s on her way…thank you.”  He gently put the phone back on the counter.

“You, sir, have me at a disadvantage.”

Bob chuckled.  “I will ask you over again.  However, I will have quit smoking by then, I promise.”

Clair giggled.

He walked over and helped steady her.  “You don’t handle your wine that well, do you?”

“I don’t usually drink much, no.”

His eyes rolled.  “Mind you, were I looking to take advantage, this might be perfect.”

She smacked his shoulder.  “You asshole…you’re paying me already.  You know you could have.”

“I’m teasing.  Can I help you to the car?”

She agreed and allowed Bob to lead her down the elevator and to where Jack had his idling Matrix in front.

Clair turned and kissed Bob’s cheek.  “I enjoyed this.  Thank you.”

Bob smiled.  “I did as well.  I will call for you again and no smoke, I promise.”

She collapsed into the open door of the car and Bob closed it for her.

Jack looked over at her.  “Were you safe tonight?”

“Oh Jack, you beautiful man.  Not a stitch of clothing left my body.  He just wanted an ear.”  She smiled and kissed Jack deeply.

Jack allowed the kiss and smiled after.  “I wish they were all like him.”

“Take me home, Jack…then make mad passionate love to me.”

Jack locked eyes briefly, causing her to feel warmth from him.  “I’ll take you home.  Put you to bed even.  However, you know Jake is the only one for me.”

“Lucky bastard.”

The two laughed as he pulled away from the curb.

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