Then again, what was clouding my judgment was Leo. There was something about him that made me want to trust him. Then again, perhaps it was all the sex. With all the endorphin shots I’d been getting, I was probably starting to lose focus.

With Leo fast asleep, I decided to leave early. Maybe this was all one big mistake. I felt stupid for thinking it could actually lead anywhere.

Who the hell hires an escort for their high school reunion? I thought. And who the hell thinks she’s falling in love with him?

Ugh, the L word. I didn’t want to think about it.

Grabbing my bag, I placed it on the edge of the bed and started packing. I would get to the airport, see if I could swing an earlier flight and make excuses with Vicky over the phone. This way, the breakup would be clean, and I could just go back to my old life with no problems.

But then I thought, why?

Why would I abandon Leo when he had made me feel so good?

Sure, there was risk in trying to turn this into a relationship, but what was life without risk?

I placed my bag back into the closet and then moved over to the bed.

I looked at Leo sleeping peacefully, with his face halfway into a pillow and tried to imagine myself building a long-term relationship with him. The two of us did look good together.

He was just the right height for me: tall, but not too tall. He was handsome and knew how to dress. Leo was charming and forceful in a kind of sexy way, but not so aggressive it was a turn off.

But how could we explain to people how we met? We would have to concoct a totally fake story.

I guess we could say we met on one of the dating sites. Isn’t that what most people do nowadays?

Once we got past that initial piece of info, people weren’t likely to press us any further. And it’s not like anyone would go digging for the real information.

Neither one of us was famous nor would run for office, right? I mean, certainly Leo couldn’t now that he had been an escort.

Still, being an escort was illegal. Could it be that he was doing all sorts of other illegal things I didn’t know about?

I knew it was a hypocritical question, since I had hired him. Plus, I couldn’t picture Leo being a gangster or a criminal. But a good con artist would know how to hide all that.

A good con artist would know how to charm people and especially the ladies. Did I fall into that trap and not notice?

What would he be conning me out of, though? My heart? More money to keep using him as an escort?

Then there was the distance. Los Angeles seemed to need me, but I had a good job back in New York. I could stay there and get tenure and basically be immune to firing.

Would Leo move to be with me?

Could we make a long-distance romance work until one of us was ready for the move?

I had so many questions and so little answers. But I couldn’t help still feeling attracted to Leo and hoping that this unorthodox arrangement could work out to be a long-term relationship.

Chapter Sixteen

Carina

The next night, I went out with Vicky as planned. My heart wasn’t into it at first. I had become sullen and dreary, thinking about returning home on Monday. But after a couple of Cosmotinis and a few jokes from Vicky, I lightened up considerably.

We were sitting in a Tiki Room in the basement of a large hotel. I probably should’ve been drinking Mai Tais, but I wanted something more girly. The bartender wore an outlandish Hawaiian shirt with a pattern of hula girls and the music was distinctly Hawaiian.

“God, I miss this,” said Vicky, her elbows and back against the bar. “It’s been so long since I had an adult night out.”

“Don’t you have anyone to hang out with?” I asked.

“Everyone’s got a kid now,” she sighed. “You’ll get it one day. When you have a baby, they consume your time and energy. You have to spend those first two years inside, basically.”

“But you love it, right?”

“Oh, yeah,” assured Vicky. “James is a handful, but he’s my handful. It’s just that, I want to have fun once in a while without him. I need to recharge. But you fall into a pattern of taking care of the kid constantly. It’s just easier to stay home and be boring. I watch Netflix and pick out drapery patterns. Snore.”

“But you had tons of friends in high school. What happened to Patricia, Amy and Heather?”

“Patricia got married and moved to Orange County. She has two kids. Amy married a marine and lives in North Carolina. Heather was all about her career for a couple of years,” she explained.


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