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Escorting the Billionaire #1(5)

By´╝ÜLeigh James

 
“Why isn’t he dating anyone?” I asked. Please don’t let it be because he’s totally weird, I thought. A lot of the Johns were. And two weeks was a long time to be on a date with someone who was obsessed with peeing in your face, for example.
 
That would be a lot of pee.
 
“He broke up with someone recently. And now he doesn’t have the time, he said. Doesn’t want the commitment, the games, the issues. He wants no strings.” She paused. “He says he doesn’t want sex, either.”
 
I looked at her, stunned. “Huh?” I asked.
 
“I said, he’s not interested in having sex with you.”
 
I raised my eyebrow at her. “I beg your pardon? Isn’t that, like, the whole point? I am an escort, after all. That’s what I do.”
 
She shrugged. “I’m still having him get tested, and he still has to sign all the waivers,” she said. “Because once he takes a look at you, he’s going to change his mind.”
 
I smiled at her. “We’ll see,” I said. I sort of hoped he wouldn’t. Two weeks without having sex with a stranger would be a real vacation for me.
 
“So, back to James Preston,” she said. “He’s extremely wealthy. As in, the top one percent in the country wealthy. He’s into real estate, like I told you. But don’t worry about that, and don’t talk about his business unless he brings it up. If he does, just ask questions, be polite, and listen. Men like James have women after them all the time. He has a fixed arrangement with you. This should be relaxing for him. A break from what his real life is like.”
 
Elena turned to me. “I want you to make this the best two weeks of his life,” she said. “A client like James Preston only comes around once. If he likes us and uses us again—or recommends us to his jet-setter friends—I’ll be able to put my girls through college. And you can get your brother into a single room for the rest of his life. Don’t fuck this up for any of us.”
 
 
 
 
 
James
 
 
 
 
 
Being a billionaire had lots of perks. Two of them were that you never had to pack for yourself and you never had to shop for yourself. Nita, my personal assistant, had bought me a new tux and a bunch of new suits for the trip. My housekeeper had ironed all my clothes and packed them all perfectly.
 
These things did not suck.
 
What did suck, however, was that I had over one hundred emails that I had to answer on my flight to Boston. It also sucked that I wouldn’t be able to bark into my phone at the various directors who worked for me. I was flying commercial for the first time in years. I thought it would be good practice—to be around people that I didn’t particularly care for, and to try and maintain my manners.
 
Because that was the real suck of the moment. I was going home, and that meant I had to deal with all the people who drove me crazy. I was going to have to behave, because it was my family, because my stupid brother was getting married, and because that was the decent thing to do.
 
I hated decent.
 
At least the escort would be there, and that would be my private little joke. My fuck you to my oh-so-proper family. I really hoped that she was nice, and that she had a sense of humor.
 
She was going to need it.
 
I finished making sure that my things were assembled and went to get some cash from my safe. As I grabbed the bills, I brushed the worn edge of something familiar, something I’d touched a thousand times. It was an old photograph.
 
I pulled it out, wishing that I could stop myself. It was of me and Danielle, from our senior year of high school. She was wearing a black dress, her dark-brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, and she was laughing. In the picture, I was looking at her and laughing, too.
 
It was the only picture I had of her. Of us. And for all the times I’d wanted to cut myself out of it, I couldn’t bear to.
 
I put the picture back into the bottom of the safe. And then I cursed the day that I’d entered this world, along with the day that she’d left it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My driver expertly maneuvered my BMW in and out of traffic on the way to LAX. Goddamn traffic, I thought, but I really didn’t mind. Los Angeles had been good to me, and I was used to the traffic just like everyone else. It was a part of the landscape, just like the smog, the rolling hills, and the built-out horizon.
 
I hated to leave. I hated Boston—except for my sports teams. No matter how long I’d been in California, I would always be a Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins fan. I’d loved those teams since I was a kid. I didn’t miss the New England winters or my family, but I missed my teams.

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