Chapter One: Day 00.

After two years, I often forget why I do this. Then I look at what these assholes pay me for sex and companionship and I'm quickly reminded why.

My footsteps echo across the marbled flooring of Evans Advertising, Inc. as I cross the lobby, reaching the front desk to rest my elbows along the granite top. The brunette working the desk barely looks up from the phone attached to her ear and the clichéd notepad she's scribbling in. After a few long moments, she sets the phone back in its cradle and turns to stare frostily at me.

"Can I help you today, sir?" She places too much emphasis on the last word, almost as if she's trying to make it an insult.

"I have an appointment with Mr. Evans at one-thirty." I rap my knuckles against the polished black of her desk gently and step back. My hands fall so that my palms brush across my thighs, somewhat drying the perspiration dampening my skin and giving me something to focus on. I run my palms back and forth across the expensive black jeans I'm wearing and rock back on my heels patiently.

She sneers and looks down at something in an exaggeratedly professional manner. "Junior or senior?"

"Junior. The young one," I clarify slowly.

She purses her lips. "Can I get your name?"

"Dexter Kane. I'm here on behalf of Ali Butler. The meeting might be under-"

"I'll let him know that you're here. Please have a seat."

I sit down in one of the overstuffed chairs pushed against the far wall and stare out the glass face of the building. The Manhattan street is bustling with people in the midst of a lunch rush or just returning from a break. It's starting to snow; people are rushing back to work to avoid the predicted snowstorm creeping its way toward us.

There are magazines scattered effortlessly across a stainless steel and glass table. A shiny black vase houses flowers; a flyer buried beneath the DIY magazines advertises the annual Christmas party next week, followed by an announcement that Evans Advertising, Inc. would be closed for two weeks due to the holidays. I flip lazily through a Cosmopolitan hidden in the stack and wait.

Another receptionist slips in and takes a seat next to the stiff brunette working the phone. There's something passed between the two of them before the newer one stands back up and turns to face me.

"Mr. Kane, Mr. Evans will see you now."

I stand and trail after her slowly. A slow stream of nervous excitement bubbles through my chest at the aspect of a new customer after so long. There's a lot to be nervous about without taking my holiday from escorting into consideration: this guy, whoever he is, is beyond rich. He's the twenty-seven-year-old baby of some huge advertising hotshot. He's currently running some huge competition in the business for intern positions, and he's planning on taking over his father's company upon the latter's retirement. His file read like a college application to Yale.

I've been doing this for two years, though. I've been with men and women a million times richer than this. I've skied in Aspen and spent a week in Barbados with women who wanted nothing more than arm candy while they spent the week away from their husbands. If one stupid trust fund baby makes me tremble, I shouldn't be in the escort business. I should be hustling along the side of the highway like the other boys who couldn't make it in the business.

Giving others what they need most - be it companionship, sex, or even a taste of the life they gave up for marriage — is my job. I can pretend to be completely in love with a customer, if that's what they need. In the past, I would've fucked anyone to make it to the top. But I don't do real love, and I don't fuck - not anymore.

The receptionist takes me down the right hallway and twists through a maze of meeting rooms full of young interns and office cubicles. She stops in front of a heavy oak door, titters nervously under her breath, and smiles at me. "This is his office. Will you be needing anything else?"

I frown down at my shoes and shrug. "Don't think so, but thanks."

She whisks away, her heels clacking against the tiles and her hair bouncing in perfect waves. I crack my neck, raise a fist, and knock once, twice, three times.

The door glides open smoothly and he's standing there, my customer, exuding an all-American charm with his blond hair and blue eyes. He briefly flashes me a Colgate-perfect smile and steps aside, giving me room to walk in. I return the smile, praying my tanned skin makes my teeth look whiter than they actually are.

He gives the hallway a dry glance before shutting the door and shifting his attention to the snow falling heavily outside the glass wall behind his desk. "Kyler Evans," he says formally, smiling and shaking my hand. "Call me Kyler."

"Dexter. May I sit?"

"Please." He takes his seat behind the huge mahogany desk; I sit across from him. Kyler pulls a file from a drawer in the desk and slides it across to me. "As I'm sure Ali has mentioned to you, I am interested in your companionship for a month. The pay is to be discussed at a later time — money obviously isn't an issue, if you're worried about that. I have a few requirements, though. Is there anything you'd like to make clear before we begin signing the papers?"

I rest my elbows on the arms of the chair and steeple my fingers below my chin. He mirrors my actions with a wry smile. "I don't do BDSM, if that's what you're looking for."

"Your boss made it very clear that you were a vanilla escort, and I made it clear in the profile I sent. I'm not looking for a sexual relationship, nor am I interested in BDSM. From what I understand, you had a bad experience with a customer who lied in a profile? You went on vacation for a few months to recuperate, correct? On that note," he adds lightly, making a joke of it, "are there any crazy ex-clients I should be worried about while in the pleasure of your company?"

That "pleasure of your company" quip was meant as a joke, but I don't laugh. I shake my head, miffed at his easy take on my personal life, and steer our conversation back onto its intended course. "So, what are the papers for? Why do I need to sign?"

"They're simply a contract stating that after our month is over, you won't release anything to the press. It would be bad for the company."

I crack my neck again and let my eyes drift shut for half a second. I need a cigarette. "I'm here to please you, Mr. Evans. What would you like to make clear during this meeting?"

He shifts forward, all business. "I'd like for you to call me by my first name, for one."

I curl my lips into a smile. "Kyler, then. What can I do to please you?"

He scratches the side of his stubble-lined cheek and casts a look in the direction of the snow drifting past his glass cage. "During our time together, you will stay with me at my home. I will provide you with the clothing you need for the various events you will be going to. You will attend parties, charity events, and anything else that requires a partner or date. You will not escort other men while you are with me. It will come off as any other relationship. At the end of our month together, we will part ways and neither of us will speak about our business dealings. You will not go to the press, who will come after you. Are we clear on this?"

I cross my legs and lean back in my chair, smiling lightly. "This isn't a paid meeting, Mr. Evans. You don't have to rush the details."

He gives me a slightly annoyed glance before looking down at his phone. A light is blinking for line one. "It's not that I'm worried about the money, Dexter. I'm a very busy man. Is this your post-college career?"

"I've not had the best of luck finding a different career. Employers generally frown upon seeing the words 'professional escort' under work experience." My lips turn down into the semblance of a frown at his easy change of conversation topic.

He rubs his chin with his index finger and thumb, his eyes hooded and thoughtful. "What did you major in?"

"Business. I graduated this past May."

"Why didn't you apply for the intern program here?"

I shrug. "It's an exceptionally competitive program, Kyler. I don't think I would have made it far enough to get a good recommendation from this company."

His cool blue eyes assess me slowly, taking in my unruly hair and the nice clothes that I have never truly been able to pull off. I sit there and take it like a slave up for auctioning, feeling terrible and disgusting at his scrutiny but unwilling to lose the money over comfortabilities. After a few long seconds, he smiles wickedly. It's ravishing and gorgeous - completely terrifying. "I'd like for you to apply. We have a month left of this cycle, and then we'll begin accepting applications for the next three months before we begin a new cycle. I think you'd do well here."

"I think our current business relationship might complicate my entry, sir," I offer quietly, my dark gaze catching his summer-blue eyes. My stomach flops and I fight the trembling in my hands. A client will not affect me like this. I can't have chemistry with them.

Tension crackles between us, an electric current washing through the air and buzzing quietly, threateningly. He's affecting me, and he knows it. "I don't look over the applications, so if you made it in, I would have nothing to do with it. Sign, please. I have a meeting in five minutes."

I grasp the pen; it hovers over the line marked with a big red X. "When will I start?" My handwriting is shaky, but I sign with my usual looping curves. I chance a look up at Kyler; he's staring at me like a predator with his prey in sight. I swallow hard.

"Tomorrow."

Author's Note

Another new story that I SWEAR I'LL UPDATE ON. Everything in the prologue will be further explained in the next few chapters as I get into the true base of the story. This is one of those stories I'm writing for myself. Reviews will be returned for this story and this story only. I love anyone who reviews!

ohsocyanide

All works by this author are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.