George Cowley knew my father. That made it both easier and harder. I'm still not sure if my father knows what I do for a living and whilst I didn't think that Mr Cowley would tell him, it was nevertheless a little embarrassing to think that they could meet again sometime in the future and discuss me.
       Still, the four of us had a pleasant drink, a celebration of a job well done. It had made a change for me; had been a bit of a thrill and a small insight into lives more exciting and more dangerous than my own.
       About the time the glasses were being refilled for the third time I became suddenly conscious of Ray Doyle. As he moved around the room giving each person the drink of their choice he became more than just the host of the party. It wasn't anything overt. Just a look or a touch of his hand when handing a drink; neither held for too long but with a definite message. I was flattered, no doubt about it. Not many people wanted to know a hooker socially, even a high class one. He had been friendly throughout this whole escapade but that had been strictly business. What he was projecting now was something infinitely more interesting.

       Mr Cowley was the first to leave. He said something about having to get back to the office. He thanked me again for my help and told me to give his regards to my father. I thought I might forget to do that. No sense in looking for trouble and my father would want to know how I had met his old friend George.
       Whilst Mr Cowley was there the conversation had been of mutual friends and acquaintances coupled with amusing anecdotes from Bodie and Doyle. Once he left the conversation changed. Bodie was questioning me, obliquely I grant you, about what it was like to be a prostitute. Since I didn't for one minute imagine I was the first he had come across I could only think I was the first he had spent time actually talking with.
       Ray Doyle sat across from me watching the to and fro of the conversation with an amused smile. He didn't say much but occasionally threw in a comment to throw his friend off balance and tip the argument my way. Purely to be perverse as far as I could see. Not that I needed much help; if you work in my profession for any length of time you get used to enquiries and how to deflect them. I certainly got the impression that Doyle had known several prostitutes from his easy knowledge of our life. I also felt that he probably hadn't actually 'known' one though. And why should he? A man like that had no need to pay for any female company. Even as the thought hit me I became more aware of him, of the innate sexuality of the man.

       The moment he had opened the door to me when The Lady sent me round I thought that this would be a more pleasurable job than most but as soon as Mr Cowley briefed me on the job he wanted me to do I focused on that instead. Now I was free to explore my earlier thoughts.
       Bodie left, finally getting the message that Ray had been sending for at least twenty minutes. He left with a very knowing look upon his face but I managed to ignore that having seen more of those than he had probably had hot dinners. I still didn't know whether I was going through with this or not. I hadn't contracted for it and getting friendly with the clientele was not a good idea.
       Doyle put some music on the stereo. Nice romantic music but not obviously so. Nothing crass about him. I appreciated the approach. Most of the clients who paid for my services knew exactly what they had paid for and had no compunction or bashfulness about taking it.
       My work was among my own class but the only difference between them and the lower class Johns was the places I got taken to (the fact that we went places at all I suppose instead of just getting down to business) and the price charged. But a gentleman is a gentleman regardless of class. And Ray Doyle is a gentleman. And a gentle man; despite his profession. Perhaps as a necessary antidote to his job.

       Doyle held out his hand, I took it and he pulled me to my feet. Holding me, swaying to the music. I could feel myself relaxing into the mood. He certainly danced very well and I enjoyed the feeling of his body against mine. Nicely muscular, it made a change from flabby businessmen. Suddenly I thought, what the hell? When was the last time I had a man for fun, for me rather than for work? I couldn't remember and I wasn't likely to get a better offer than this.
       As if he read my mind and discerned the exact moment for committing, Doyle pulled back slightly to look at me. His face crinkled into a smile and his eyes twinkled at me.
       'Go on. Take a chance.'
       His smile was infectious and I could feel myself responding to it. I nodded and kissed him. Well he couldn't take all the initiative could he?

       We continued like that for some time. Arms around each other, swaying to the music and kissing. Kissing eyelids and cheeks as well as mouths, nuzzling necks and nibbling on ears. I don't actually remember the journey to the bedroom. I do remember my dress falling to the ground and his murmured words of appreciation of my body but then for once, I felt I wasn't exactly getting the raw end of the deal myself.
       I was so relaxed, so totally caught up in the simple pleasure of the act. I could be me, no need to pretend, no role to keep up. He wanted me to enjoy the night as much as he obviously did but more than that, he wanted me to be myself. And I was, for the first time in I don't know how long. Nothing was expected of me.
       I said Ray Doyle was a gentleman and I was right. He made sure I came first. No need to fake orgasms on this occasion. It's funny how many punters want to feel you have come even though they put no effort into ensuring you do. It's as if it is a blow to their masculinity if you don't come. As if they should be able to make you just by being there with you. And we have to make them feel good so we do. For the big tips and maybe a return booking. I don't plan to be doing this forever. I couldn't anyway. Even the older men want a young dolly bird on their arm; makes them feel good. I don't want to be dependent on anybody, ever, so I have to work hard now, make enough money to get out and do as I please for the rest of my life. That's why I don't have any time for private dates. Time or energy!
       After the first time, which was slow and very pleasurable, we talked between kisses and touches. He was easy to talk to. He made me laugh but I thought for a moment I had ruined the mood when I told him he could make a fortune in my line of work. He nearly laughed himself sick but then said that I 'ain't seen nothing yet' and proceeded to prove it.

       I awoke in the morning about 7.00 and decided to leave quietly without any fuss. I saw no reason for us to go through the pretence that he would call me. The whole night had been so ... honest, I didn't want to spoil the memory.
       I dressed quietly and took one last look at Ray. He looked younger asleep. Peaceful, at rest. Totally unlike the tough C.I.5 agent or the versatile and amusing lover of the night before. A man of many sides is Ray Doyle.
       Just as I reached the door, the bell rang. I quickly opened the door in the hope that Ray wouldn't be awoken. On the doorstep was Bodie. He looked well rested. Obviously he had had a good night's sleep and had decided to hurry around here to disturb his partner's rest.
       When he saw me his expectant smile slid into a wide grin. A very knowing grin. And suddenly I felt something I had not felt for a very long time. Defensive. Of course men had looked at me like that before. It was nothing new, just another occupational hazard to be dealt with as much aplomb as possible. The longer you are in this business the more barriers you learn to put up around yourself so all the little barbs can't get in and hurt you. Nothing hurts me anymore. But last night had been so unexpected. Damn Ray Doyle. He got right under my defences. Got through to me, not Anna or any other name I go by - me! So now I felt awkward and stupid and embarrassed in a way I hadn't done since my first time.
       'Where's Doyle?'
       'Asleep' I try to look at him defiantly but feel I have failed since his grin doesn't slip an inch.
       'Goodbye Bodie.' I turn to go, knowing he is watching me.
       'Bye, Anna.'
       'Hey' a shout from behind me makes me turn. Doyle, bare footed and wearing nothing but jeans running to catch up with me. The doorbell must have woken him after all.
       He catches my arm and pulls me around to face him.
       'Not leaving already are you?'
       I nod, my eyes sliding to Bodie watching from the doorway.
       'C'mon, have some breakfast, coffee at least.' He calls over his shoulder, 'Bodie, make yourself useful and put the kettle on.'
       I still shake my head, no. I cannot go into the kitchen and drink coffee with Bodie there. I curse myself for being so pathetic but I want to retreat back to my world now.
       Doyle shivers slightly. It's a chilly morning and he's hardly dressed for it whilst I'm standing here in my fur coat.
       'You've got all the warmth' he says and slips his arms under the coat, pulling me close to him. He says he feels cold but he is radiating heat and his kiss is like fire.
       When he pulls away again he says 'sure you won't come in?'
       I still shake my head and he accepts it. He kisses me again, gently this time and whispers 'take care of yourself.'
       Now I can leave with my head held high. I'm still me but the shields are back in place and nobody can make me less than I am. I'm a whore but I do it on my terms and for my reasons. I don't owe anybody any explanations for my life. The memory of last night will keep me warm for a long time and when work gets me down and those nights when it's just another sweaty body above me, I can think of Ray Doyle and know that I was valued for me!

       At the gate I turn, just in case. He is still on the doorstep watching despite the cold. Bodie is beside him again but that's ok. He waves, I wave and then I'm out of sight and the dream is over. Back to reality.

© 2001 Sue Tier

With thanks to Carol and Joules for the usual help and encouragement. Wouldn't and probably couldn't do it without you.

© 2001 WordWrights

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