I pick up my knee high boots, not bothering to spend the time to put them on since this was my last appointment and I want to get out as fast as possible, and retrieve my discarded purse from the armchair near the window before quietly exiting the motel room.
As I walk down the sidewalk to where I left my car, I cross my arms over my chest. I hate my job with a passion, but at least the money’s good. I’m my own boss, so I keep 100% of my profit, and with my reputation I can charge steep prices. Well, my underground reputation, that is. I don’t know how I’ve gotten away with it for so long – maybe it has something to do with how I don’t flaunt my wealth or work the corner – but the cops are none the wiser. At this stage in the game, my clients make appointment with me two weeks in advance.
I’d get another job if I thought it would pay as well, but the fact is none would, and the mortgage on the house Grandma left me ain’t cheap. A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. At least I gave myself the week off for my birthday.
After half an hour of walking barefoot and ignoring cat calls from the late night drunks, I finally reach my car, a basic red Honda Accord. Nothing special Nothing to make people suspect me of anything. As I unlock the car, a familiar sense of loneliness and self-hate overwhelms me.
The drive home is filled with those same feelings. As usual, I think of how long it’ll be before I can quit this job and live in comfort. I have a little over 1 million dollars in my saving, but I want to keep building my money up until my mortgage is completely paid off. I’d rather not dip into my savings to make a house payment.
The sun is just peeking over the horizon when I pull into my drive way, and while I rub my eyes I think of tonight. My close friend, Emery, and I plan to go out to our favorite club to celebrate my birthday. It’ll be nice to just spend a night laughing, drinking, dancing, and possibly flirting. I just pray a former client isn’t there to ruin my fun.
Inside my home, I set my keys in the bowl on the desk next to the front door. A picture of my grandmother sits next to it, smiling wide, holding a young Avery close to her chest. I can’t look at it for too long. Otherwise I’ll start crying. Next to it, a picture of my parents sits. It only remains there because my grandmother loved seeing her son so dearly, and, even though she’s passed, I want to honor her wishes. I despise it. It’s hard to like a picture of the people who abandoned you
When my friends come over, they always comment on how beautiful my mother was. They’re right, but I don’t like agreeing with them. Not about her. She is pretty though, at least in the picture. I don’t know about now. I haven’t seen her since I was seven. I share her eye color – light, beautiful blue – and overall face – heart-shaped, almond eyes, almost full lips – but my hair is that of my father’s – deep brown, so brown it appears black to some. Grandma said their names were Bella and Matthew. Bella and Matthew Keaton.
Tregul, an ancient, blue-gray cat that was my mother’s before she left, curls around my feet and rubs against my leg while Mystic, the tuxedo kitten I got just a few months ago, jumps on the desk and starts mewling at me. I smile and scratch behind Mystic’s ears. “Well good morning to you two, too,” I greet as if they were my children. “Hungry?”
As if in response, the weak mewling rises into meows of begging. I laugh and step around Tregul to the kitchen to get their food. They follow me, meowing incessantly the entire way. With their bowls now in front of them, full of dry cat food, they rub their heads thankfully against me and stalk to their respective bowls. I watch them lovingly for a second or two before a yawn surfaces to my lips. Sleep. Now. Sleep is good.
I trudge up the stairs to the master bedroom, a light blue room with a brown Queen bed in the middle against a wall. I drowsily shed my clothes and crawl under the covers, not bothering to find night clothes. Within no more than five minutes, my eyes are shut, my breathing slow, my dreams filled with excitement and hopes of tonight.