The Comfort of Black

The Comfort of Black by Carter Wilson Read Free Book Online

Book: The Comfort of Black by Carter Wilson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carter Wilson
Truth was, he was compelling to look at and listen to, but he wouldn’t ever let himself be happy with his performance.
    He used to practice in front of her, in those early days when he wasn’t as polished as he was now. She missed those moments, her sitting on the couch, an audience of one, Dallin looking to her for any bit of advice she could give him. Now he just watched video of himself alone.
    The other file was much larger than the first, nearly four hundred megabytes, and was an
.avi
file. She double-clicked on it.
    At first she didn’t think it was going to open, but after a few seconds it did. Another video.
    This time, it wasn’t Dallin.

CHAPTER FIVE
    The woman in the video was young, probably a decade younger than Hannah. Twenty-two, perhaps. She had brown, kinked hair that fell loosely around perfectly smooth, alabaster cheeks, reminding Hannah vaguely of a woman from the Renaissance. The woman was sitting at her computer staring into a webcam, and the image capture stopped just above the top of her breasts. She seemed to be in a bedroom. A framed Coldplay concert poster adorned the wall behind her.
    Her voice was fresh and young, hopeful. Playful. “You want to talk or type, sweetie?”
    A long pause.
    â€œTalk.” A man’s voice. Dallin.
    Hannah’s stomach twisted.
    The woman—just a girl, really—nodded and smiled. “Okay, then. Your name is Samuel?”
    Another pause.
    â€œSamuel, yes.”
    Hannah looked at the top rim of the laptop screen to the small circle where the built-in web camera existed. The girl viewed Hannah’s husband through this tiny lens.
    â€œOkay, Samuel. I’m Rebecca. Thanks for finding me.”
    Silence.
    â€œAre you shy, Samuel?”
    â€œA little.”
    â€œWell, if you’re shy now, could be a problem when we meet up.” A crooked, not-so-innocent smile.
    Hannah felt sick. She wanted to pretend to have no idea of what any of this was, but she knew. She just
knew
.
    â€œI’m okay,” Dallin said. “It’s just a little new for me.”
    â€œAre you married?”
    No hesitation. “No.”
    Hannah squeezed the mouse in her hand. A thin film of sweat coated her palm.
    â€œOkay, Samuel. Well, no need to be nervous. Let me tell you how all this works.” Rebecca brushed a long strand of hair back behind her ear, which remained for a moment before falling in front of her face again. “First, some ground rules. This is a pre-screen I require of all my clients. Someone who is willing to let me see them on camera is as concerned about being safe and smart as I am. You’d be surprised how many men refuse to do this pre-screen. It also lets us get to know each other a bit, so when we do meet in person we’re able to let ourselves fully relax and enjoy…our time together.”
    â€œI understand,” he said. “Makes perfect sense.”
    â€œAlso, you can record this video stream if you want—just click on the button on the bottom of the screen. But you cannot distribute it in any way or form. I am also recording this, which is for my own protection, but I value confidentiality as much as I do safety, so as long as we’re respectful of each other we won’t have any issues. Finally, I won’t discuss anything overtly explicit during this conversation nor over the phone, and know that, should we meet, you will be paying for my time and not in exchange for anything of a sexual nature.”
    Then Rebecca gave a little wink, and that slight flutter of her eyelid may have well been a knife plunging into Hannah’s bowels.
    Dallin’s brief chuckle rumbled through the laptop speaker.
    â€œI get it,” he said.
    â€œYou fucking asshole,” Hannah whispered to the screen. “You motherfucking asshole.”
    â€œGood,” Rebecca said, smiling at Hannah. “Now that’s out of the way, let me tell you a little about myself.”

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