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Out for the Night (Browerton University #4)

By:A.J. Truman

Out for the Night (Browerton University #4)
        Author: A.J. Truman

       
         
       
        
Chapter 1

Coop


For the night, I am yours.

That was the golden promise of Evan "Coop" Cooper, Browerton University's G-rated gigolo. He could be whoever his clients needed him to be. The life of the party, the protective boyfriend, the wingman. He knew all the major personas that were in demand, and he had pretended to be them for one classmate or another over his first year at college.

Some girls needed a great date to bring to a party, or they needed a boyfriend to lug along to an awkward brunch with dear old mom and dad, or they needed a fake boyfriend to make their ex jealous. Whatever they needed, Coop could supply.

Except sex. Coop could easily pretend to be straight for a client, but he was 100% gay, and there was only so much he could fake. He strictly enforced the G rating of his gigoloness.

At most, a kiss on the lips. No tongue. Well, no tongue without a hefty upcharge.

It wasn't about sex, anyway. It was about results.

Coop could be friend, boyfriend, lover, whatever the situation called for. We were all faking it in some way or another, Coop believed. Everything we did was used to impress others. Our lives were meant to be a constant Instagram or Facebook feed. The smart people in this world weren't careless enough to show people their true selves. All of it was a show, and Coop was happy to be an actor in someone's storyline. For a fee, of course.

"Maria, I think it's time to dance." Coop stood up from his table and extended a hand to his date, who'd paid him forty bucks to be the date to her sorority formal. Her hair remained unshakeable in a tight curly arrangement that probably took her hours to do.

The deejay played a Rihanna song, which got a few people to the dance floor. This was how it always went. This was the fifth sorority formal he'd attended at Browerton, and every time, the dance floor remained deserted until a pack of at least six girls danced together in a circle. Then, others would trickle into the sides of the floor, eventually filling up the space.

"Maria," Coop repeated, hand still extended.

She blushed and looked at the other kids at their table, other sorority sisters there with boring-ass dates. When she first reached out to him, Maria had told Coop about how she'd never gone to a school dance before because she had no one to go with. It broke Coop's heart a little bit, and for a second, he was going to tell her that he understood. But then that would've violated that whole "keep your true self to yourself" rule he lived by. He was determined to give her the best dance experience in history.

"One dance, Maria. That's all I ask."

You paid me to show you a good time, and by fucking golly, I deliver for my customers.

Coop cut a path to the dance floor, where his date proceeded to watch her feet more than him. 

"Hey." He cupped her face delicately in his hands and flashed her a confident smile. "This is going to be awesome. We're going to be the envy of this whole shindig."

"You're already the envy of many of my sisters. I heard a few of them commenting on your physique in the bathroom." He caught Maria glimpsing the way his thick arms and chest squeezed against his shirt.

"Well, I'm taken tonight."

Coop dipped into a breakdancing move he'd honed over many dances and lazy Sundays in his dorm room. He zipped back up and spun his date around. Maria let out a gleeful yell. Coop pulled her close and grinded their hips together, and they resumed appropriate dancing. The group of girls near them screamed their approval.

They continued cutting a proverbial rug through song after song. Coop made sure Maria could follow all of his dance moves. He didn't go over-the-top. He wasn't playing the sassy gay date who lip-synched and shook his ass Beyonce-style. He was the straight guy who had one or two dance moves up his sleeve before toning it down to normal.

"Maria, where did you find this guy?" one of her dancing sisters asked her.

"I found her." Coop slyly motioned for Maria to grab his tie. She reeled him in. "Whoa!"

"I love it!" The sister said.

Coop rolled up his sleeves because he was starting to sweat. A few girls, and even some guys, gawked at the tattoos adorning his forearm. He never tired of the reaction his ink garnered. It was one of his best investments, even if his mom told him he could forget having a career in corporate America. A Taylor Swift song came on next. Coop pointed at Maria knowingly. "This totally reminds me of the time … "

Maria was unsure where he was going, but like the best clients, she trusted him.

"Yes!" She screamed.

Coop laughed. "That was such an awesome time."

"What happened?" Another sister asked.

Coop shrugged. "You had to be there."

Maria nodded in agreement.

The sister hugged Coop. "You are awesome." She hugged Maria with her other arm. "And you are, too. I'm so happy you're in our sorority!"

She brought them into their larger dance circle. But even so, Coop didn't leave Maria's side. When the deejay played Don't Stop Believing, Coop sang at the top of his lungs with everyone else, and made sure to sing to Maria. He caught her breaking into spontaneous laughter all throughout the formal, and it warmed his heart like a toasty fire. Another satisfied customer.



Being a G-rated gigolo was by far Coop's most lucrative side hustle. He'd tried all sorts of odd jobs around campus for some extra money. He put together students' Ikea furniture during the first weeks of school. He gave informal personal training sessions at the gym for kids who wanted to look like him. For others, he attended lectures in their place when attendance was mandatory, and the professor passed around a clipboard to check your name off of. The gigolo work was the best. He got paid to party.

Coop found there were lots of ways to make cash at Browerton that were more lucrative than a work-study position-and legal, of course. He assured his parents that he'd be able to make his own money. They could barely afford to send him to college as it was. He was only at Browerton by the grace of student loans, a scholarship, and more student loans. His dad was still getting over the shock of losing his job, and the unemployment checks were going to dry up soon. The last thing Coop would do was stick his hand out for more. No, when he arrived at college, he promised himself that he would make it on his own. It was yet another way that college was a new chapter for him.



       
         
       
        

The formal ended, and the busses dropped off the kids at Browerton. Maria and Coop walked with a group of her sisters and dates through the bustling campus. The clocktower hit ten o'clock, but it could've been noon. Kids swarmed the grounds, going to parties, walking back from concerts. He loved that nightlife didn't really pick up at college until late. Ten-thirty was party o'clock.

A chilly spring breeze swept through the air, but after a night of dancing, it was rather refreshing.

Coop and Maria linked arms as they hung back from the rest of Maria's friends. "I can't thank you enough, Coop. I had so much fun. I've never danced so much."

"You should do it more often. You looked like you were having a blast." And he was happy that he made it possible.

"Seriously, though. That worked perfectly!" Her face glowed brighter than the moon, another customer satisfied. "I'm happy my friend Sonja referred me to you."

"I was happy to be her beard."

"Is the term still beard if it's a lesbian using a fake boyfriend?"

"I don't know."

They walked along the river, which was the only thing sleeping on campus. Coming from the opposite direction, four kids carried a keg like it'd scored the winning touchdown. Coop gave them an encouraging head nod.

"So what happens now?" Maria asked.

"Now, I walk with you back to your dorm, then I go to mine, and we get some rest."

She seemed a little disappointed. They all did. That meant Coop did a really good job.

He rubbed her forearm. "We had a good night. That's what counts."

"What happens tomorrow if people ask about you?"

Coop had it covered and didn't miss a beat. "You just say we were friends. And if your friends ask if we might be more, you can tell them I have a serious girlfriend back home. However you want to play it."

"Do you have anyone back home?"

"Nope. Happily single as fuck." He loosened his tie and unbuttoned the top of his shirt. This formal attire was so constricting on his body.

"What were you like in high school? I'll bet you were probably homecoming king or something like that."

If it weren't so dark out, Maria might've seen Coop tense at the question. But like a real pro, he let out an innocuous laugh, the kind celebrities give during awkward interviews. He wanted to tell his clients that asking questions like these was futile. He was their blank slate. Let him stay blank. "I had a good time in high school, but I'm loving college."

"I could totally see you as that guy who was friends with everyone in his graduating class, like you were chummy with every clique." 

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