real self out.
He chuckled. “So it’s more of a title than a name?”
“Yes, Mr. Rich,” I said, trying on a sort of sexy secretary voice.
“Oh, I do like the sound of that. Are you ready to run an errand for me, Karina?”
“Most certainly, Mr. Rich.”
“Good. I want you to buy a pencil skirt, stockings, and pumps. Ones that fit you, I mean.”
“Yes, Mr. Rich.” I wondered if I should get a dictation pad as a prop, too. “Should I be wearing them when I call you on Friday?”
“And the marble?”
A thrill ran through me like he’d plucked a string deep in my middle when he said, “There are more where that one came from.” His voice was low with promise before he disconnected the call.
Four: Innocence in Your Arms
I was tempted to reach my hand into my panties right at that moment, but the door to Becky’s bedroom was open a few inches and I couldn’t tell if she was in there or not. The day had been mortifying enough without having her walk in on me touching myself in the living room. I don’t think I’d ever be able to face her again if that happened.
When I’d first rented the apartment, I’d been working three jobs, the one at Jill’s bar and two on campus, so I’d been able to afford the place by myself. Last summer one of the campus jobs got eliminated and to make up for it, I got a roommate. The problem was the place was a one bedroom, which meant I gave Becky the bedroom to convince her to move in while I moved onto the futon couch in the living room. The room was perfectly fine as a bedroom except that it had no door.
Come to think of it, I wasn’t even sure Becky had been there last night when I’d gotten home. I went and peeked through the open door. Her cat Milo (which was short for Mr. Millennium Meow) looked up sleepily from the bed and then put his head back down on his folded paws. He appeared to be sleeping on top of a pair of ripped up fishnets. There was no sign of her.
Well, good. Just because her favorite rock star was retiring was no reason to lie around wallowing in depression, was it? Lord Lightning’s masked face adorned every inch of the bedroom walls. Becky was Asian American—I was too embarrassed to ask whether she was Korean or Chinese—and I got the impression she had uptight parents and a repressed childhood. She told me when she moved in that wearing punk-glam clothes was a way of rebelling, but she was too timid to actually go out to shows or clubs. She spent a lot of time on the Internet. It was really good to see she was out of the house.
I did want her advice on clothes, though. I went into our tiny galley of a kitchen to find something to eat while I speed-dialed her.
She picked up after a few rings. “Hello?”
I could hear music in the background and people’s voices. It sounded like she was at a party. Becky, at a party? At eleven in the morning on a Thursday? “Hey, Becks, I need some advice on the best thrift store.”
“Depends on what you’re looking for.”
“A pencil skirt, stockings, and pumps,” I said.
“Holy crap, you? What for?” Becky’s disbelief was understandable. She’d probably seen me out of sweatpants or jeans all of once in the five months since she’d moved in.
Damn but she could be nosy. Fortunately it was a lot easier to lie to her over the phone than in person. “Oh, for a drama school play I’m helping out with. Secondhand and inexpensive is best.”
“If it’s just for the one time, dig around in my closet and see if you can find something first,” she said. “I think there are a couple of skirts in there, and stockings are in the top-right drawer of my dress—” She was cut off by a gale of laughter and I heard her saying, “You guyyyss!” off to the side before coming back. “What was I saying?”
“Stockings. Top-right drawer. By the way, I think Milo ate a pair of your fishnets.”
“Oh, that’s okay. They were getting too ripped to wear. Actually, most of the
Audra Cole, Bella Love-Wins