Not His Typebymindgames95©
I was meeting close friends John and Ryan at the club. They were bringing Mark, a friend of John's from university who'd recently moved to the city. That might sound like they were trying to hook us up but I'd never needed their help. They knew I'd end the evening with him anyway, as long as he was reasonably good-looking.
He was better, but much too controlled for my tastes. The green-hazel eyes were calm and probing, all at the same time, the mouth with its thin upper lip and full lower lip didn't get a lot of exercise as if he thought through every thing before he spoke, not a single blond strand out of place. That tall built body was still encased in dress-up clothes from work and he barely drank. 28 years of age and already an old man. Why was everyone working in finance so damned correct and uptight?
He seemed almost disinterested in the scene around us, content with focusing on John and Ryan as they played catch up. He appeared equally disinterested in me, not gawking or trying to impress. I got the feeling he was amused by all the attention I was receiving and wasn't sure how I felt about that.
It was a little unsettling too, to talk to someone whose eyes focused so completely on my own without any of the familiar shifting across my face or down my body.
"What do you do?" he asked me shortly after we'd been introduced.
"Modeling," I said briefly.
Anyone else would have said 'oh, you're a model, how exciting'. Not him. Mr.Finance just nodded. I already knew he was a business analyst.
"Paid to lie around and look pretty while the rest of us work hard for a decent living," John smirked.
"Fuck off," I said idly. It was an old game.
My face would probably never be plastered across bill-boards but I was at the stage where there was enough steady work coming in that I didn't have to worry. There had been a tough couple of years after I'd left home where I'd gone the waiting tables route and even been part of the service eye candy behind the bar in clubs like the one I was sitting in but they were long behind me now.
Ryan frowned at me. "You'll be drinking too much again if you don't watch it."
Of us three, he was the family man, the worry-wart.
I raised my glass with a mocking grin and downed what was in it. I was in one of my moods. Restless and edgy. I definitely had to take someone home tonight. I didn't often, the rest-room at the back of the club was perfectly serviceable, in more ways than one. But not today.
The evening wore on. I laughed, I entertained, I flirted with the hopefuls who came trolling. And proceeded to get a nice buzz going. I also listened to Mark reminiscing with John or just talking, reluctantly conceding that razor-sharp intellect.
We were alone at the table. Ryan and John were now out on the dance floor. It was after midnight, time to go home.
I turned to him and placed a hand high up on his thigh. "Want to go home?" It was purely rhetorical.
"No thanks," he said politely.
"They'll understand." A little impatiently, I indicated our friends on the dance floor.
He smiled. "I'm sure." I waited but it seemed he was done.
"Let me guess, you don't fuck on the first day," I mocked. I leaned in closer, my breath washing over his ear, giving him my best camera look. Never failed. "I'd love to change your mind," I whispered.
Fuck, always these damn hoops to jump through, even when they wanted you so bad they were salivating.
"No thanks." Again the mild tone, the disinterest. And he meant it, I could tell.
I leaned back again, mind clearing slightly at these unexpected events, removing my hand from his thigh and watching him, really watching him.
He'd told John he was single. Had he lied?
"You with someone?"
He shook his head. "Not in a while."
He sipped from his glass, eyes moving back to watch the dancing, almost dismissing me.
"Why not?" I asked finally. I wasn't upset, just curious. Whatever it was we'd work around it, and if not, I honestly didn't care, probably take too long to loosen him up in bed anyway. I wanted some fun tonight and there were willing others. I could see the redhead from last week practically bouncing with nervous energy as he lay siege near the door...
"You're not really my type."
That snapped my attention right back. Excuse me? Dark-hair, midnight blue-eyes, washboard abs was not his type? A face that had made a jaded agent's breath catch as I served him drinks five years ago not his type?
I was so startled I let out a disbelieving laugh. "What?"
He raised his brows at me but stayed silent. Oh my god, he meant it. He really meant it.
I could feel the anger starting in a place deep inside, gathering steam, pouring through my veins, filling every part of me, leaving my body almost tingling at the intensity. But damned if I'd let him have the last word.
"Well, uptight corporate whores are not my type either but that's why we'd have done it in the dark."
I got nothing for my pains. No reaction, just this bland look and more raised eye-brows as if he'd half-expected that reaction. That stung more than anything else. Who the fuck did he think he was, thinking he had me figured out in 5 minutes...
Being in front of a camera for a living gives you some acting skills. I used them.
"Oh well," I shrugged. "I feel like a three-some anyway."
I left, taking the red-head and his friend with me.
I worked even harder than usual to please that night, giving an academy performance to the one-man audience in my head. They were delirious with pleasure, I was more hollow than ever.
Of course I saw him again. John and Ryan were my closest friends and they seemed to like him, so that alone meant I had to put up with him. No matter how much he made my teeth hurt. Also he was at the club as often as I was, usually in the company of my friends. Though he did get his fair share of attention, I never saw him do more than casually converse with someone. That pleased me, especially since he had to have heard all about my reputation in bed by then. It wasn't just my looks that got me my fan following.
Most nights we'd all be sitting at a table when I'd receive an offer I couldn't turn down. John would wink slyly and Ryan would look worried. Mark would give me one of those bland looks I was beginning to hate. I'd make sure my latest offer returned from the rest-room weak-kneed and starry-eyed. Prurient bastard. Not his type, my ass.
One night several weeks later we all exited the club together, laughing and giving each other a hard time. As usual, I'd opted to go home alone. Several feet from the entrance was a little alley where light from the street-lamp did not reach.
I smelt Coop before I saw him. He stood half-hidden by the shadows, in his sad excuse of a coat, skin grimy with dirt, matted hair all over the place. He didn't often come by the club. When he did it always meant the same thing.
He grinned at me now, showing a mouthful of yellowed, rotting teeth. "Hey man."
"Hey, you ugly son of a bitch."
He grinned wider, but stayed several feet away reacting, no doubt, to the presence of the others. "It's not too bad tonight." He meant the weather.
"Yep. Burgers are good tonight too. Knock on the kitchen door out back if you feel like it, tell them I sent you. Say," I dug around in my coat, "you want some smokes?"
"You gave in again? Three years you b'in trying to quit."
I shrugged. "Some day, Coop. Can't let my agent catch me though."
He pocketed the smokes I handed him, shuffling cautiously slower to get them and hurrying away with a 'See ya, Matt.'
"Enabler," Ryan accused.
In a way, he was right but I had much rather Coop spend the little money he got on food than on the cigarettes he craved.
Instead I sent Ryan a lascivious look. "Some day you have to try a guy with most teeth missing."
He shuddered while John and I laughed.
"So you smoke now?" Mark asked quietly.
"You heard the man," I said mockingly. "Three years of trying to quit."
I refused to explain further. None of his business if I chose to have with me packs of cigarettes I didn't need. I turned my attention to Ryan and John who were teasing each other about dentures. I joined in.
Thanksgiving was coming up. The city was primed for the start of the holiday season. I hated every one of them. John and Ryan always made sure I knew I had a place at their table but I never stayed in the city to ever take them up on their offer. Instead I went on a vacation taking someone with me, occasionally several someones, and returning only when it was all over. I made sure it was worth their while too. It was usually the biggest party of their lives.
The topic at the table that night of course centered around menus and invites and the big F word. Family.
Mark wasn't going to be able to visit home this time so Ryan had insisted he go over to their house. John's family came over mostly for Christmas and Ryan didn't have any left.
"What about your family?" Mark asked me.
"What about them?" I returned.
"Aren't they coming over?"
I wrinkled my forehead. "Not unless they have some sort of homing device on me somewhere," I said.
John laughed. Ryan stared down at his glass.
"You don't talk to your family?" Mark asked. That's right, be judgmental ass-hole.
"No, do you?" I asked squarely.
"Yes." He watched me silently before saying "What about them? Don't your parents call you?"
"Let's see. My father's probably praying for my demon-inhabited queer soul in between praying for my mother to remember her duty and return home and my mother," I grinned, "probably hasn't stopped running from us, even after 20 years."
John laughed like he was supposed to, Mark just looked at me thoughtfully. Ryan changed the subject.
The vacation was a disaster. The guy was hunky and charming, even sweet. It did no good. The restlessness was worse. I'd never waited for the days to pass like this before.
The day I got home, John and Ryan came to see me at my apartment. It was tradition.
When I opened the door for them, Ryan held up two big bags of food.
"Welcome home," he smiled.
"I just came for souvenirs," John said grinning at me. I joshed him on the arm, then looked at Mark over his head, nodding curtly.
He stopped just inside the door.
"So what do you think?" I asked him challengingly because I could see his eyes wandering over everything, assessing, probing.
He looked at me. "Suits you," he said cryptically then strolled into the kitchen where Ryan was unloading the food.
Suits me? What the hell did that mean? I followed him seething quietly because it seemed like I'd never beat him in this game.
My living arrangements always surprised the people who saw it. The neighborhood was far from fancy. It wasn't a designer-dressed model's apartment. Actually I was still living in the third apartment I'd rented after moving to the city. It was one of two that was creaking at the joints, well-lived, with a tiny balcony and French-style railings. I loved it. It had character and it had Eric.
I could see Mark studying the photographs and the drawings taped on the refrigerator door. Some were of Ryan and John, most were of a little boy with black eyes and a shy smile.
"Him," I said then paused dramatically. "I'm waiting for to attain legal status." Actually he was the reason I didn't bring guys home. Strangers made him nervous.
I heard John chortle in the living room but Ryan rolled his eyes. "That's his kid."
Mark did the smallest of double-takes, looking at me with his eye-brows raised. I grudgingly explained. "Neighbor's kid. Lives downstairs."
Mark studied the pictures. "He's young."
"Seven," I said, trying not to sound proud.
John wandered over and stood leaning on the kitchen wall. "Abusive father," he explained briefly. "Took off few years ago, thank God. Michele works very hard and Matt here," he looked at me fondly, "steps in for Eric when he can."
I faked modesty and he made a gagging sound.
"Is no-one going to eat?" Ryan complained.
Later as we left my place, Eric came running out of his apartment. He'd probably heard the footsteps on the stairs through the walls and now stopped abashed at being confronted with so many faces.
"Hi big guy," I said smiling at him.
"Hi, I had holidays too," he told me shyly. I'd said good-bye before I left on my vacation.
I held my hand out and he slid his little hand into mine, gripping it tightly.
"Hi Eric," Ryan said and John reached over to ruffle his hair. He accepted their advances now, having seen them with me so often.
"This is Mark," I told him and he mumbled in response to Mark's kind greeting.
"Are you going out?" he asked me, expression a little pleading.
"Only for a bit. I'll be back soon."
He brightened. "Will you come and I can show you my new toys I got from Santa?"
"No," I said. "You'll make me play your boring games and I have interesting things to do."
At one time, he'd cringed from all teasing, retreating inward. Now he tugged at my arm and jumped from one foot to the other.
"Uncle Mattttttttt," he said. Then, "Can we watch TV?" That meant he'd gotten told off for it.
"Are you in trouble?" I asked him sternly.
"No," he widened his eyes. Then with true child-like deviousness he added "We can watch TV and you can ask mom for ice-cream."
"Then I'll get in trouble."
"Say please," he instructed seriously.
I pretended to consider. "Then I get a bigger share."
He chewed on his lower lip. "Maybe you'll get full and I'll have to finish it for you," he said, sounding hopeful.
"Brat." I grabbed him affectionately round his neck and he squealed, then ran off.
"Told you," Ryan said to Mark, looking amused. "His kid."
I looked at Mark defiantly and to my astonishment he reached over and brushed my back lightly in what I'd have called a gesture of affection coming from anyone else, smiling as he did. Then he walked ahead, leaving me staring at his back.
I had to leave town for a shoot. Frigid cold and they wanted shirtless. The photographer demanded freshly fallen snow. It took three days to get the conditions right. Five inches of pure white snow against a hillside and the obligatory brunette, blonde and black to help sell over-priced perfume. I couldn't wait to get back home. I was so restless I drove everyone crazy.
I went over to the club as soon as I got back. It was early and I knew it would be a while till everyone else got there. Flirting helped pass the time quite nicely as the club slowly filled up. Ryan and John arrived eventually and I waved them over. We chatted. I bitched about the other models and how cold it had been while we drank our beer.
"Oh yeah, Mark has a date," John said brightly.
I stared. "What?" I said stupidly.
"Hmm, out with him right now." He laughed. "About time, I say."
It became hard to swallow. Ryan glared at John then shot me a half-glance.
"Actually I think he couldn't say no. The guy's in the business." He made a vague motion of his hand.
The thought of Mark having trouble saying no was almost hysterical. If he was out with this guy, it was because he wanted to be.
"Poor Mark," I said mockingly.
I stayed 15 minutes longer. Counting each minute in my head then casually turning to them. "I think I'll take off."
As I was leaving, Pete came up to me. Sliding an arm around my waist, he gave me a sultry look from those beautiful black eyes. 'Take me with you?"
"No," I shook my head, smiling so it wouldn't sting.
"Come on," he wheedled.
I growled in my throat and slapped that firm behind, making him squeal. "No. You're going to exhaust me and I need my rest for tomorrow," I lied.
He grinned, then left with a cheeky squeeze of my ass. I was almost sorry I had sent him away but knew I wasn't going to change my mind. I went home and got drunk.
The next day I walked. And walked. It was like I almost couldn't bear to be inside my own skin. There was no work to distract me either. Eventually my restlessness drove me to the club again.
I sat at the bar by myself staring down at my drink. It was only late afternoon, too early for the usual crowd which suited me just fine. I planned to be gone well before they got there so I wouldn't have to make conversation.
At some point I looked up into the mirror in front of me and saw Mark and his date sitting in a booth behind me. I watched them.
The guy was older, around thirty-five maybe. Not a handsome face but certainly with character. Body that was a little too tall and broad, and not all of it well-muscled. Clothes that spoke subtly of power and wealth. They clearly had lots to talk about. Business, no doubt.
I saw Mark getting up for more drinks. He came to stand beside me. I had to say something.
"So that's your type?" I asked, smiling spitefully.
He gave me a mild glance, then left taking the drinks with him. I went back to staring at my drink. I couldn't leave now. I'd have to stay longer.
Twenty minutes, I told myself. I started to count them off in my head slowly. When I reached 18 in my head, I saw them getting up to leave. Damn it!
I added another 10 minutes to the count.
They left. I imagined them outside, hailing a cab or perhaps they'd driven there. They'd get in, the car would pull away, get further and further from the club. Perhaps when it reached the corner, I could leave.
Mark walked back in and headed straight to me. He pried the glass out of my hands, placed it on the counter.
"Go home," he said.
"I can't," I said. "I've been promised great sex."
He didn't look very amused. "You need sleep," he told me. "Go home, get some sleep."
I hadn't slept well, even with all the alcohol. I swear when he said that though I wanted to put my head on the counter and sleep right there. We stared to each-other and he made a rough sound in his throat.
"I got you a cab, it's outside. Now go home."
I laughed shortly. "Cause God forbid you come with me." I reached blindly for my glass.
He knocked my hand away. "I have a big meeting to wrap up."
"Hmm," I said, "I saw. Pretty big." I had a brainwave. "Suits you," I told him, smiling. I felt damn proud of myself.
His eyes turned violent in a way I'd never seen. He threw some money down on the counter, gripped my arm painfully and dragged me off my chair, across the club and into the cab. I could see Mr.Money-bags looking curiously at us. He didn't wait around once I was in. I watched him get into a car with his big meeting as the cab pulled away and closed my eyes. God, I wanted to sleep.
I stayed away from the club after that. It was what I should have done in the first place. Every time Ryan called, I pleaded work and rang off quickly. My evenings I spent with Eric, which delighted him. During the day, I either worked or walked. I had randomly decided on a no-alcohol policy. It didn't help anyway, it never really did.
Two weeks passed. My birthday was coming up. Usually I threw myself a party, invited everybody I knew, told them to bring friends. It was the mother of all parties, bodies everywhere. This year I just wanted to hide. The thought of turning 25 made me sick. I'm a model. 25 was getting on in an industry that worshiped tight skin. And I hadn't exactly been stinting on the vices. Sooner, rather than later, all that abuse would start to show on camera. At least I'd been smart enough to stay away from drugs.
Naturally I couldn't hold my parties at my place so it was always in Ryan and John's apartment. If I didn't call about the arrangements soon, they would.
I picked a time when I knew no-one would be home and left a message saying I was going away. For a private party I said. They'd probably think it was one of my vacations-with-company. I said I'd call when I got back and we'd celebrate.