“Nap time, mister,” she ordered.
“I’m not tired!” he screamed.
“Go to sleep anyway,” Vicky retorted, shutting the door.
Behind the door, I could hear the child’s muffled screams. He wasn’t having it, but Vicky was too tired to deal with anymore.
“That’s kids,” she said. “I never thought I would want to drink in the daytime, but…”
“Aw, he doesn’t seem that bad,” I countered.
Vicky just rolled her eyes. “I’m half tempted to grab a nap while you watch over me,” she muttered. “But enough about me. What’s going on with you and Leo? Let me live vicariously through my just engaged friend.”
“I’m not really sure,” I admitted. “Thinks are…strange, right now.”
“Why? What’s the issue?” she asked, taking a seat on the couch anxiously awaiting the details.
I slumped down next to her. “Oh, you know, the usual,” I said sidestepping the issue. “What’s the deal with that tapestry on the wall? That must’ve been expensive.”
Vicky looked at the tapestry and back at me very suspiciously. She raised one red eyebrow. “So, you’re honestly not going to tell me? Is it that bad?” she asked.
“I don’t know if I can tell you,” I admitted. “Do you have any wine?”
“Wine? Oh, God,” she said. “Of course, I do.”
As we crossed towards the kitchen, we could hear James whining from behind the door. Vicky opened the door and addressed him sternly.
“Mister! You’d better go to sleep right now! Mommy has to talk to her friend! If you’re not asleep in two minutes, no cartoons!”
James’s eyes went wide, and he laid down in the middle of the crib.
Vicky shut the door, marched to the fridge and fetched an open bottle. She poured us both wine and then sat down on a barstool at the counter. She didn’t take a sip, yet, intent on what I had to say.
I gulped down most of the glass for a little bit of courage. I had to tell her what was really going on.
“Vicky, I may have told a little fib,” I began. “I wasn’t completely honest about how I met Leo. Actually, I wasn’t honest at all about Leo.”
“Oh, my God, is he a criminal?” she asked. “Did you write him in jail?”
“No. Well, actually, the truth is… And you have to swear to not tell anyone, okay?”
“I didn’t want to come to the reunion alone, you know? Everyone was there with husbands and I hadn’t been in a real relationship in years,” I whined. “I went online and found Leo. He’s an… He’s an escort.”
Vicky’s eyes went wide. Then she picked up her wine glass and took a big sip. “Carina! What were you thinking?!” she asked after.
“I know, I know,” I said, leaning down and putting my elbows on the counter. “I just… You were always so confident in high school and you have a great husband and kid. I just wanted people to respect me.”
“Oh, honey, those people don’t care about respect,” she explained. “I’m your friend. I respect you and I know how you are. You’re insecure, babe.”
“If you had to ask…”
I dropped my face into my hands. “What am I going to do, Vicky? I don’t know what to do with Leo, now!”
“Uh, I assume, since he is an escort, you fuck him and tell him to go home,” she guessed.
“No, I can’t,” I admitted. “I have feelings for him, and I think he has feelings for me.”
“Carina, he’s an escort,” she explained. “He’s supposed to act that way for his clients.”
“Trust me, it’s not like that,” I assured her. “He doesn’t have sex with clients. I was the only client he had sex with.”
“How many times did you have sex with him?”
“Four or five,” I said trying to remember. “I think I lost count.”
“Good for you, babe!” said Vicky toasting us.
I rolled my eyes. “No! I don’t know what to do,” I whined.
“Well, what’s he like?” she asked. “How much do you really know about him?”
“He’s friends with your husband, that much I know,” I said. “So how bad can he be, really? He is just doing the escort thing to make ends meet. He wants to work at a law firm.”
“He’s known Jim for a while,” Vicky recalled. “I’m sure Jim could find something for Leo to do.”
“But he can’t know about the escort thing.”
“Right-right, I wouldn’t say anything.”
She sat up and rolled her eyes at me. “I promise! Jeez, you think I’d blab this stuff all over the place?”
“Yes, you were kind of a gossip back in high school,” I recalled.
Vicky snorted. “Not as much as Heather Williams, you know, the one that got pregnant junior year and…”
I gave her a look and Vicky stopped relating the store.
“God, maybe I do have a big mouth,” she said, looking sheepish. “I promised her I’d never tell anyone about that.”
“What do I do?”