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“No, thank you. I’ll just stay here and melt into the seat,” I huffed, sounding very much like the brat I was being.

“Nope. My reputation is on the line here. You’re coming in,” Preppy said, turning the engine off. With that, the AC let out a hiss as it expressed the last bit of cold air through the vents.

“I thought you were going to forget all about it.”

“Oh, I totally lied,” he said, rounding the car and opening my door. “After you my dear.”

I walked to the front door with Preppy following close behind. He rang the bell, and another woman around the same age as the one before opened it and waved us inside.

“Arlene, this is Doe. She’s a friend. Okay if she comes in? Gets awful hot waitin’ in the car.” Preppy’s slight southern accent was suddenly a full out drawl.

“Why, of course my dear. On a day like today, nobody should be made to sit in the car. Shame on you, Samuel, if you’ve already made her wait for you.” She playfully swatted his shoulder as she stepped aside and shuffled us into her living room. “Sit, sit. I have tea all ready. Let me just grab another setting.”

Preppy sat on an overstuffed couched draped with lace doilies and motioned for me to sit next to him. A silver tea set that looked as if it had just been recently polished sat on the glass coffee table. Next to it was a three-tiered serving tray filled with cookies and crackers.

“Help yourself, dear,” Arlene said, coming back into the room with another saucer and plate set. She handed it to me and filled my cup. I looked over at Preppy who was stuffing cookies into his mouth at an alarming rate.

“Arlene makes the best cookies,” he said through a mouthful of food. Crumbs shot out of his mouth.

Arlene put a cookie on my plate, and I took a small bite. It was warm and soft and the chocolate melted on my tongue. Now, I saw why Preppy was shoveling them. I finished the rest in one bite and tried not to lunge for the remaining ones before he could get to them. Instead, I sat back and crossed my legs, sipping my tea while secretly hoping Preppy would choke and die so that I could finish them off.

It was a bit dramatic, but the cookies were that good.

“See, Samuel. This one has manners. You might learn a thing or two from her,” Arlene said over the brim of her teacup. “So, is this your new lady?”

“No ma’am, just a friend who’s helping out today.” I noticed that when Preppy spoke to Arlene he didn’t swear.

“That’s wonderful, dear. Friends are fantastic. Well, just the other day in bridge club…” Arlene went off on a tangent about friends that began with her bridge club, and lost me somewhere around the time when she abruptly veered off into talking about being a nurse in the war. Which war I wasn’t quite sure. I smiled politely and nodded while Preppy inhaled the treats she’d set out for him.

He looked ridiculous in her living room. His tattoos and suspenders stood out amongst the lace and tea cozies.

Okay, so he wasn’t a hooker, but maybe Preppy was some sort of granny nanny? Maybe, like a rent-a-friend?

I thought when he’d said I would be helping him on his errands for the day that we would be going to a bunch of dark alleys and seedy places where he would slyly exchange drugs for money with a carefully choreographed handshake.

I certainly didn’t expect to be smack dab in the living room of a house that could belong to anyone’s grandma.

“Oh, I don’t mean to keep you. I know you have other stops. Janine just phoned before you got here, and I know she is looking forward to your visit as well. She made you a cherry pie,” Arlene said.

“You ladies are going to make me fat.” Preppy leaned back and patted his flat stomach.

Arlene stood up. “Samuel, you do what you need to do. I’ll be out in the garden. Come say good-bye before you leave.” Arlene set down her teacup, picked up a wide brimmed hat and a pair of gardening gloves, and disappeared through the front door.

“Let’s do the damn thing,” Preppy said. He stood and walked down the hall, pausing at a door furthest down the small hallway. “Are you coming or do you think this is where I keep all my old lady bondage gear? Because I’m not wearing the ball-gag again, totally hurts my jaw.”

“Ha ha very funny.” At this point, there could be a three-ring circus behind that door, and I wouldn’t have been surprised. “We’ve already established that you’re not getting paid to be a man-whore.”

“Nope. Just a man-whore for fun.”

“So enlighten me. Why exactly are we here?”

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