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“I’m a terrible cook.” He shrugs his shoulders with a sheepish grin.

He’s young. Much younger than any of my other clients. I’d bet he’s not over thirty. But, as long as the check clears it’s alright by me.

“You have been surviving this long…it’s admirable, really.”

I glance down, shuffling the questionnaire I forgot to collate in my haste to be impeccably punctual. Even so, I found myself fussing over my hair and my makeup this morning. It’s always different with men. I normally conduct such meetings in-home, but when the prospect is male, I prefer to meet in a public place, like this quite cafe in the middle of the bustling downtown area. To make sure I feel safe. He doesn’t object. In fact he seems quite accommodating, suggesting we meet at my convenience.

“My mom says I look like I’ve lost weight since the last time I was home.”

True, his clear skin is taut and smooth against his cheekbones, but in a healthy, athletic way–like a runner. His arms are toned and muscular, not gaunt–and sprinkled with light brown freckles. He is freshly showered and shaved, ginger-colored hair, neatly trimmed, clipper cut, I’d say a 2 on the sides, longer on the top. He strikes me as one of those guys who goes every couple of weeks, just to keep his look fresh.

I begin to formulate an imagined profile based on the bits of information from our interview and a little speculation: Baby of the family, all boys, no girls. Brainy, but sensitive, hates competitive sports, grew up in the shadow of his jock older brothers. Planned to do his own thing after college, but floundered without the structure of academia. Defaulting into the family business. Single, adores his mother, dates casually, never been in love.

“I’ve been away for about nine months now. I moved here as director of business development for my family’s corporation and I just don’t have… time and honestly I don’t really like to cook!”

He doesn’t know what he wants. What he likes. Not yet. I am part of the plan to make his life easier.

“I’m open to trying new things…”

I sense a true vulnerability underneath the self deprecation…and just a hint of sexual ambiguity.

“Let’s go over the menu…”

He relaxes back in his chair. His shoulders soften. He’s wearing a sky blue golf shirt with the logo of his multi-level marketing business. I am pleased he hasn’t tried pitching me on his amazing opportunity. I like to think he feels comfortable enough to turn off the hustle and be himself.

There are spaces of quiet in this meeting, but it feels organic. Now and then we are just left smiling at one another across the table in the quiet hour before lunch business starts. It seems silly, but it’s like we are on a blind date more than a prospective client consultation.

“Security at my place is kind of a pain, but just give me a call if they give you any trouble Tuesday.”

“Oh, sure…security. That’s a good thing, though, right?”

I arrange and rearrange my paperwork in the faux leather binder and take another sip from my cold coffee. I can’t help but notice he seems intent on watching my lips.

“Yes and no.” He grins.

We are running out of things to say, but I don’t want to leave. I find him utterly adorable and even more so when he tells me his regular wake up time is nine o’clock in the morning. I have to supress a giggle because where I come from the idea is quite simply decadent.

In my line of work, time is money and the earlier I get started the more work I can fit into a day filled with planning, shopping, cooking and catering to the pampered few who can afford my personal chef service.

“Well, I just get up and take a shower, then I go to work…”

I picture him waking up alone in his king-sized bed, humid mid-morning sunlight streaming in through the east window–the soft pale down on his toned legs leading up to his thighs, his boxer briefs–the morning erection. I have to stop myself.

“No worries. I will come an hour later than my usual start time. Then I won’t interrupt your morning routine. How’s that sound?”

To be continued…

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