Caleb, on the other hand, is just as filthy as I am. Maybe more so. And he doesn’t care. He doesn’t judge me for who I am. On the contrary, he seems to fucking love it.
“Is it always like that?” I ask softly, curious. Is this how clients and escorts always feel?
If so, I can’t say I blame people for hiring escorts. This is so… comfortable. So relaxed. He liked everything we did. Was into everything I was. Didn’t judge me, in a way no one ever has. He just tried it all, no questions asked. Hell, he was enthusiastic about it.
“Fuck no,” he murmurs, his voice low and sleepy.
I swallow hard. What does that mean? Is it usually better? Did he enjoy himself as much as I did? It certainly sounded like it. But maybe I was wrong.
Before I can work out a way to ask what he means, though—to ask how this time was different—the tone of his breathing shifts. It goes deep, even, and his chest rises and falls against my ear in a soothing, relaxing rhythm. It lulls my eyelids into going heavy, my own breathing into slowing.
Without even realizing it, I nestle closer to Caleb, his warm arms still wrapped around me. I fall asleep with the sound of his breathing in my ear, his scent wrapped around me, and the faint, pleasant tingling sensation in my body of being totally, completely satisfied.
I wake up feeling like a million bucks. Even the usual shrieking tone of my alarm clock doesn’t unsettle me. It sounds better today, more manageable given how fucking great I feel.
My body is sore as hell, yes, but it’s the best kind of ache. A bone-deep feeling that tells me I’ve finally found someone who can really, truly satisfy me. Give me everything I want—everything I ever imagined and then some.
I stretch, luxuriating in this feeling, the warm, pleasant glow that suffuses my whole body.
That’s when I realize, stretching feels way too easy.
I roll over and find the bed beside me still warm, Caleb’s scent still on my sheets. I crack one eyelid and squint at the room. Nobody.
I roll the other direction and sit up to peer at the bathroom. Lights off, door wide open. Not there either.
I reach out to turn off the alarm clock. Then I stifle a yawn and sit up. But there are just my toys neatly stacked beside the bed, all of them squeaky clean. None of Caleb’s clothes are here anymore—not the boxers or shirt he left strewn around the place.
“Caleb?” I call, hesitant, knowing it’s a long shot.
The dead silence of my house answers the question. He’s gone.
I collapse back onto the pillows with a deep sigh. It’s fine, I tell myself. This is what I’m paying for, after all. I hired him to have a little fun. To get the release I was craving—the one I needed after two years without a partner in my bed. That’s all.
So why do I feel emptier now than I did before I was filled?
I get to the bakery on time today. Lara comes in later on Saturdays, so I open the storefront myself and set up the front of house while I wait on Jen to come in. She and Carl trade off on Saturdays. Normally it should be a lighter load today, but after the delays yesterday, we’ll still need to work our asses off to catch up.
I’m not looking forward to it.
Lara keeps insisting we should hire a third assistant, or that I should let her help out in the kitchen. Or at least let Jen or Carl take over lead chef position once a week, as practice.
“They’re good kids,” Lara keeps saying. “If you give them enough instruction, they can handle taking care of things for a day or two a week. To give you some time to recharge.”
I know, deep down, that she’s right—I’ll have to let them take on more responsibility sooner or later. Lara can supervise them when I’m gone—and hell, at this point, Jen and Carl have been with us for so long that they could probably handle running the whole store on their own for a while if need be.
But it’s so hard to trust anyone else with my baby. I built this company from scratch. It’s doing so well right now. But I’m all too aware of how fast successes like this can collapse in the food world. One wrong step, one terrible review, one vengeful customer with too much influence, and your whole empire can come crashing down around you.
I refuse to let that happen to my baby. Which means I refuse to leave my baby in anyone else’s hands, even for a single day.
Today, however, I’m distracted from said baby for once. It takes me three tries to count the register right, and I give up on balancing the account book entirely this morning. I’ll handle it in the afternoon, hopefully once my dose of caffeine kicks in, or once Lara shows up to smack my forehead and snap me back to reality.
In the meantime, I can’t stop daydreaming.