Authors: Tabitha Levin
All Rights Reserved.
This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imaginations or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from the author.
My name is Angel.
Angel Parrish to be exact, although my full name is of no real importance to my story. Apart from my name, which I happen to like a lot (it has a cute ring to it, no?), there is nothing else special about me. I could be any young woman, in any city.
The fact that I ended up here, in Charlotte, North Carolina, has more to do with finding a great job, rather than my choosing.
If my parents had their way, I would have gone back to live with them, in cozy Claremont, sipping coffee with the other women as they gossiped about their husbands, bouncing another rug-rat on their knee, and discussing the best herbs to use in tonight’s pasta sauce.
perhaps not. My parents were proud that I was the first Parrish to complete a degree at The University of North Carolina. A Masters of Accounting actually.
You’re rolling your eyes aren’t you?
I know. As soon as I say the word ‘accounting’ most people’s eyes glaze over. Hell, even writing it, I’ve contemplated taking a nap.
Truth was, I
wasn’t all that good at it. While I always liked maths, it was my father who insisted that I get a good job with good prospects.
He wanted me to make my family proud.
So I worked really hard and passed my exams.
And then my life took a turn for the worse.
I guess I should come clean right now and let you know the reason I’m writing this. I’ve been avoiding telling you so far, as I’m not sure what you’ll think of me.
It’s probably because I’m scared I’ll have to give up my apartment, and go back to living in Claremont. I love my little apartment. The rent is reasonable and I have collected the most divine vintage furniture (there is a particular chair which I just adore). Most of it I got for dimes, too. Maybe this finance stuff has rubbed off on me after all.
Or perhaps I’m most scared of what my father will think of me, if I go home, telling him I’ve failed. All the money that they scrimped and saved to send me to college, wasted.
So I didn’t.
Shame makes us take interesting paths, doesn’t it?
Instead I have someone who helps out. A man I met, quite a bit older than myself, who is in a better financial situation than me. He’s helping me get by while I get back on my feet.
Yes. I know what you’d call him. You’d call him a Sugar Daddy. You might even raise your eyebrows at me, thinking I’m some sort of gold digger who manipulates men out of their money. And while money is a big reason for my situation, I can tell you this situation isn’t what I set out to find, nor is it something I’m proud of.
I don’t even like the term. Sugar implies something sweet, like a delicious coconut macaroon that melts in your mouth, and the word daddy should only be reserved for someone like my darling father who would do anything for me.
The two words should never go together because it makes them sound so sordid, doesn’t it?
Even as I write the word I cringe. It sounds like I’m writing a letter to some seedy men’s magazine, rather than writing a story of my life.
It’s why I never refer to him by that term.
To his face, I call him by his first name (which I won’t mention here, for fear of being sued by him or his family if this
journal ever gets out), but to everyone else, I call him, The Brute.
I guess the first thing is to tell you how we met. That way you might have a better idea of why I’m in the situation that I am. I feel knowing how a person came to be where they are gives lots of clues on how to get out of the situation, because, to be honest, while I enjoyed the money and attention at first, my life has come a long way and I need to find a way to get out of this.
Perhaps by writing down my situation, a solution will appear. That’s often happened to me in the past. When I was younger I kept a journal which was very helpful for problem solving, but these days no one really carries around paper, do they? So writing everything down on my computer might, at least, give me a way to see things more clearly.
A quick rundown of how I got here.
First, I had been offered a job at an accounting firm in Charlotte. It was a great job at a prestigious firm, especially for a graduate such as myself, whose scores, while I passed, did not make top of my class.
You should have seen my father’s face. I don’t think I’d seen him that happy when I told him the good news. My family threw a huge celebratory party for me and even let me drink champagne in their presence (they aren’t really drinkers and even though I’m old enough they still prefer I didn’t drink around them). They were so proud.
Next, I got myself an apartment. Nothing fancy of course, I was only on a first year salary, you understand. But it was my place. My sanctuary.
Things were going well and then it happened. I messed up.
I guess I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing, and I ended up putting a decimal point in the wrong place in a client’s records.
Really, you wouldn’t have thought it was that big of a deal - I could have just fixed it by re-entering the figures (that’s primarily what I was doing, simple data entry, rather than actual accounting which, I’ll be honest with you, I thought was quite unfair given that another graduate who started at the same time I did, was given more responsibility than me). But that’s the culture in some companies. Honestly, sometimes I almost expected that they’d ask me to fetch them coffee or something, but they weren’t that obvious.
Back to the decimal point. I had made it look like the client had far more money than they actually did, and the client saw this error before my boss did.
But they didn’t come back and tell us we’d made a mistake though, did they? No. Instead the client started spending his invisible windfall on all manner of frivolous items like hot air balloon rides or expensive champagne. Items that you couldn’t return to the shops and get your money back.
My firm found out my error four weeks after I’d made it and promptly fired me.
Not, Angel let’s try and fix this, or, Angel how about we give you more training. Nope. Here’s the door and goodbye.
So there I was, not knowing what to do. I had enough money to last me about two months. The first thing I did, of course, was start looking for a new job. I was smart, had a degree, I didn’t think I’d have any trouble. Oh, how naive I was.
It’s sad that a degree from a good university doesn’t guarantee a job anymore.
Even though I was unemployed, I was determined not to give up.
One day, after another fruitless endeavor, I was standing outside a little patisserie that sold the most delectable muffins, just staring through the window (drooling is probably more apt), and thinking about how lovely it would be just to taste a crumb of one (but not daring to spend any of my savings when I was being so frugal), when he came up beside me and said hello.
“Delicious,” he said, looking in through the patisserie window, next to me.
I figured he was talking about the muffins. “Divine,” I agreed.
“Like they could melt in your mouth with just one bite.”
“Would you like one?” He still wasn’t looking at me, his gaze forward, admiring the window display. So I took my chance to look at him more closely.
He was wearing an expensive suit. Although to be fair, I had no concept whether it actually
expensive. Coming from a regular family in a regular town, if you had shown me two different suits and asked me which one cost more, the only way I would have gotten the answer correct was because my chances of guessing were fifty percent in my favor. But even so, it looked like it cost more than my monthly rent.
There was also something about him. I wasn’t sure exactly how to describe it.
Maybe, confidence? But you know when you just look at someone, they have this, electricity. He had it. It oozed from him. Filled the air. Made you agree to things you might normally not agree to. So I said, “Yes, I’d love one actually. Thank you.”
Normally I’m not one who accepts gifts from strangers. Yeah, I had the lecture as a kid, too.
Don’t take sweet things from strangers, it’ll turn out real bad. (Ha!) My only excuse was that I was ravenously hungry, my stomach was churning with desire, and wasn’t thinking straight. I really wanted that muffin.
And what harm could it be? (I’m rolling my eyes as I write that last line.
Famous last words and all that.)
So we go inside and sit down at a booth. It wasn’t at all awkward like you would think. He sat on one side and ordered a coffee with a soft vanilla biscuit (which also look delicious), and I had the muffin.
It really was the most delectable thing I’d had in a long time. The crumbs burst with sweetness and I’m not sure, but I think I actually moaned at the taste. Just thinking about it again is making my mouth water.
He was charming and witty. I immediately felt at ease with him.
I could see he was a lot older than I was, but it didn’t bother me. I’m guessing he was late forties, although I never found out his real age. He was a good looking forty - you know how some men look better with age - he was one of them. Had that George Clooney sort of swagger.
“Meet me here tomorrow? You can have another muffin,” he said.
“Yes, okay. I’d like that.”
And that was how it started.
Every afternoon at three o’clock, for one whole week, I’d meet him at that same cafe. He would order me a muffin (which had become the highlight of my day), and order himself a coffee and biscuit with vanilla icing.
Our chats turned from general nothingness to more personal questions. I asked about his life (I was careful to make sure he didn’t have a wife or kids tucked away somewhere), and he asked about mine.
I told him the sorry saga about how I lost my job, and how I wasn’t willing to go back home yet, and admit defeat. I didn’t see any problem with telling him. Why would I? It wasn’t like it was a big deal to tell a complete stranger, when I couldn’t even bear to tell my parents.
Why is that? Why can we tell our deepest darkest secrets so easily, to people we don’t know (like me telling you my story), yet we can’t tell our closest friends and family?
“I’ll pay your rent for an extra month. It’ll give you more time to find a job.”
“Of course,” I said, “that’s a lovely offer, but why would you do that?”
He waved his hand in the air like it was no big deal. “I have too much money, and enjoy our talks. It’s selfish on my part, so we can hang out more.” That should have been an alarm for me right there, but by then, I enjoyed hanging out with him too.
You’d do that?”
I like you and want to continue seeing you.”
The whole ‘don’t accept money from strangers’ thing? Yes, I accepted it. So I’m partly to blame. But you’ve got to remember, I actually liked him then - he was good company, and for an older guy, not bad looking.
As you’d expect, it didn’t take long for things to lead to the bedroom. He made sure of that. And I’ll be honest he was pretty good in bed. Experienced. Better than the younger men I’d been with in college who thought tweaking my nipples like they were trying to turn on a radio was all a girl needed.
It wasn’t just the sex and the rent either. Soon he was giving me gifts. Jewelry, clothes.
Nothing extravagant. But lovely, nonetheless.
He sounds nice doesn’t he? Like someone you would actually date if you had the opportunity. So, by now you are probably wondering why I call him The Brute, and wanted to get out of the situation (or even why I don’t just walk away).
Stay with me, I’m getting there.
As the weeks passed, I didn’t look for work as often any more. I didn’t need to. He was paying for my rent, giving me an allowance to pay bills, buy food. I was living the city lifestyle I’d dreamed of. I still hadn’t told my family about losing my job. I didn’t think I needed to, as I wasn’t struggling, and I’d find another job.
Eventually. Once things picked up again.
Five or six times a week
he’d come over for sex, or meet me somewhere (he had started to become interested in public places).
I figured I’d stumbled on some secret lottery ticket - I was living in the city, which I loved, and I had enough money to survive.
But by the second month he began to get more demanding. The sex changed too - he wasn’t always generous with his reciprocation of what I liked, and instead of asking when he could see me next, he’d demand that I be available to him any time of the day or night. Whenever it pleased him, he’d text a single word to my phone. “Now.”
He also would tell me how he expected to me to look. I had to keep my hair long, wear makeup (but not too much), and instead of regular clothes or gifts he was now buying me lingerie that he expected me to wear.
But it was one particular night, the restaurant date, that I finally realized I was in over my head, and he’d become someone I didn’t want to be with anymore. The night that I knew that I wanted out, but it wouldn’t be a simple as breaking things off.