Ruth Long’s Picture Choice: 2
The bartender poured another whiskey and slid it across the bar. "This one's on me. Looks like you could use it."
Delilah glanced at her watch. "What I need is a man, but I'm running out of time."
The thickset blonde said, "You got a party or something?"
She nodded. "Or something."
The blonde wiped down the counter like business as usual but a moment later, she said, "There's some rough trade in the far corner."
Del downed the whiskey, dropped a fifty into the empty glass, and headed to the dark rear of the bar.
Three men sat at the table. The nearest one was tall, well-dressed, and olive skinned. Beside him was a muscular thug in jeans and a white t-shirt. Facing them was a lean bodied male with an expensive haircut and an attractive face in spite of the handful of pockmarks splattered across his cheeks.
She nodded to the tall man. "Blue eyes free for an hour?"
He shook his head. "You're not his type."
Blue Eyes said, "I wouldn't mind."
The big man leaned across the table, slapped Blue Eyes, and dropped back into his seat. "I don't keep you around to think for yourself or speak out of turn, boy. Now, get your scrawny ass outside and hustle. And give me that coat. Nobody's going to pay for what they can't see."
Del watched Blue Eyes leave before addressing the tall man again. "That your only meal ticket?"
"That's no business of yours, lady. Now, I got somewhere to be so -"
"You don't have any other rent boys, boss? Because I'm in a bad way and I'm willing to pay very well for the right body."
"Bitch, you don't -"
Her fist slammed into his jaw and a moment later, he was looking up at her from the concrete floor while her boot heel ground home between his thighs.
The thug lifted out of his chair but when faced with the business end of her Browning, he quickly sat back down.
"Good dog. Now, stay there until your employer comes to. And don't waste your time trying to follow me."
She backed out of the bar. Outside, the wind stabbed through her like frozen knives, tearing at her skin and clawing at her body heat.
Blue Eyes wasn't on either side of the street. She got in the car and drove up the street, finally finding him three blocks up, huddled in a doorway.
She pulled over, leaned across, and shoved the door open. "Hey! Bud! I'm tossing a hundred bucks out here where you can get to it free and clear. All I want in exchange is sixty seconds of your attention."
He came to the gutter and picked up the cash. "I got some pride, you know. I'm only picking this up because ain't nobody gonna pay good money for me tonight now that Claudio messed up my face."
She eyed the bruise blossoming beneath his left eye. "I'm sorry about that. Guess I don't have such good social skills. Just needed you something fierce and didn't have time to waste on niceties."
He crouched down. "What's a looker like you want with a hustler like me. You could walk into any bar in town and have your pick of the litter."
"Takes a certain kind of man to perform the services I need."
He rested his knees against the lip of the floorboard. "Lady, I've done some kinky shit in my time. Hell, I've done some sick shit and some illegal shit too, but you don't have that look. You're not flashing your tits and you haven't eyeballed my junk. So what gives?"
"Dude, it's freezing out here. You want to keep talking, get in the damn car. Hell, if it will make you feel safer, get in the driver's seat."
"Me? Drive a vintage porsche? Yeah, I want in on that. Scoot your fine ass over."
She got out, long dark hair swirling about her face like a melancholy halo, and walked around to the passenger door. "Easy with the clutch, hotshot."
He got in, buckled up, and pulled away from the curb before she got the door closed.
She glanced over at him. " I'll get right to the point. I need your body for an hour. No sex. No kink. No nada. The only physical thing I need from you is those broad shoulders and steady eyes."
"No sex? You sure? Because driving this car is giving me a chubby like you wouldn't believe."
"No sex, smart ass. So, what's that going to cost me? Your body for an hour?"
Without pausing, he said, "Two hundred."
"Done. Half now and half when the time is up."
"You want to see it?"
"What you just bought."
"No, thanks. Trust me, screwing is the last thing I want to think about tonight. I just got bent over when I wasn't expecting it and I'm not in the mood to let anyone that close to me right now. Maybe not ever again."
"Whatever. I don't know nobody who don't want it for free. Shit. I can't even remember the last time I did it because I wanted to. Pisses me off that you're taking a pass."
She signed. "Look, if you still have that 'cool car wood' after my hour is up, we can talk, okay?"
"Right on. What now?"
"Take a right on 35th. I have about fifteen minutes to explain what I need and then you're on the clock."
"I've been with Danny O'Keeffe about five years - "
He touched the brakes and the car slid towards the center line. "Shit? You're a mob bitch? No way am I getting into bed with O'Keeffe."
"Settle down and let me finish. He's getting ready to trade me in on a new model. Problem is, when that happens, I'll get put in the ground. The family can't afford to have me walking around breathing. I'm a liability."
"So what? You want me to help you escape?"
"Yeah, I want to run, I need to take care of a couple things first. Kill O'Keeffe and empty his safe."
"How far do you think I'm going to get on two hundred bucks when I got Claudio and the O'Keeffe's on my back?"
"I'll give you half of what's in that safe, a nice six figure stash that will take you anywhere you want to go."
"Free and clear? Just like that? Just for standing there with you? Why should I believe you?"
"Because you want out of the rat trap bad as I do. And because I can't do it without you, Blue Eyes."
"Tomas. Not that Blue Eyes is bad."
"That your real name?"
"Yeah. Real as it gets. How do you know I won't leave you bleeding out on the floor beside O'Keeffe?"
She chuckled. "Same reason Claudio is hunched over the table nursing a killer headache, aching balls, and battered pride. Men underestimate me."
He grinned. "Yeah, I can see that. You distract them with your looks and then work your kickass voodoo superpower. So give it to me straight. What's your plan?"
"We're going to walk into O'Keeffe's house while the welcome mat is still out and no one knows I heard the bad news. You're going to act like you're looking for entry level work, I'm going to offer him something he wants bad enough to behave injudiciously, and then I'll do what's necessary for me to keep breathing."
"You going to be able to go through with it?"
She put her head against the seat. "Yes. And then we're going to empty the safe -"
"How? You got the combo or something."
"You aren't the only who's done some sick and illegal shit to make it to tomorrow alive. Turn right here, pull over halfway down the street, and park. We'll walk from there."
He looked over at her. "I’m thinking that we could take the money and go our separate ways and that would work out fine but it’d be a lot more interesting to see how this partnership plays out, and that's not the hardon talking."
She got out of the car and started walking up the street, turning to say over her shoulder, “Next thing I know, you’re going to ask for a kiss for luck.”
He caught up to her. “Are you saying that’s out of the question?”
“I’m saying the clock is ticking and we have work to do. We don’t get it done, we won’t live to see the morning. But … I suppose we could use a little luck.”
And right there, under an angry sky, Delilah kissed him, and for a moment, she forgot about the ticking clock and lived in a very pleasurable moment.
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