Ladies Man (Manwhore #4)(7)

By: Katy Evans

“Rotund no, Wynn.”

“Rachel made me promise I’d move in with you. She won’t be happy when she finds out. She’ll want to pay your rent too.”

“Nobody is paying my rent, okay? Except the person living here, which is me, alright!” I say.

But I stand there with my cell phone against my ear and stare at my lovely apartment, which I won’t be able to afford anymore. “It’ll be alright,” I tell her, and because I’m too exhausted to deal with the worry of probably having to find a new place, I tell her I’ll see her during the week and hang up.

I hear the sound of a door cracking open, and I turn to see the guy I brought home—Trent—standing fully dressed and ready to go. I smile at him, one of my regretful smiles, then pull out another coffee cup and a bottle of Advil. I bring it all to the table and push the Advil and the extra cup of coffee to the empty seat across from mine.

“God, thanks,” he says, relieved. He pops open the Advil. “How bad was I?”

“You were that drunk?” I laugh. “Don’t worry. Nothing happened.”

“Well fuck, that bad, huh?”

“It was completely my fault. Cold feet after a long bout of…abstinence.”

“Ahh.” He sips his coffee. “I stole the invite to last night’s party. I’d never be invited to those places.”

“You did?” I laugh.

“How were you invited? Wait, I know. You’re incredibly hot.”

“Hahaha. Um, nope. Not half as hot as the other girls there. I just know the guy. Our best friends just married, so…”

“Wow, you’ve got friends in high places.”

I end up chatting amicably with Trent. I find out that he does business with Emmett—he supplies some of the restaurant’s produce—and I decide with a bit of regret that he’s sweet and honest, and it’s a shame that last night hadn’t gone very far. Why can’t you get your feelings where you want them? Why do I sit here and talk to Trent, all the while feeling the ache in my chest after Tahoe denied me?

* * *

I have to work at the department store that afternoon. Sundays aren’t my rest days, usually Mondays or Tuesdays are, when sales are slower. It still boggles my mind how expensive everything we sell is. We cater to the rich of Chicago. The store is pristine and never really packed unless we have our yearly sale, which draws everyone in, if only to peek at our perfect holiday window displays and array of fashionable items. Black Friday and Christmas sales are still a month or two away and there are only so many people I can sell cosmetics to. I’m worrying about my living situation and wonder if I should a) put an ad on Craigslist for a roommate, or b) move.

The thought of moving doesn’t thrill me, but the thought of having a strange roommate thrills me even less. I’m twenty-three, going on twenty-four, and I’m too old to live with a roommate.

My boss, Martha, calls me over. “Gina, let’s organize this, I don’t like seeing Pink Ecstasy on the Orange Flame holder.”

Martha always makes sure the store is impeccable. I like working here because being with beautiful people, dressed well, makes me happy. Nobody is crying inside this store. Nobody is struggling inside this store. Everyone is blessed and leaves with huge smiles on their faces, and leaves us with one too. Everyone says thank you and that’s that. I even have some regulars. So when I get a visit from Mrs. Darynda Kessler, telling me she has no time for me to do her makeup but she wishes I were available later, just before her big event, I seize the opportunity to expand my services.

“I would be happy to go to your place and do your face.”

“That would be a dream! Nobody knows my face better than you. How’s tonight at seven?”

“I get out at six, so seven works.”

I’m relieved to have extra work. It’ll keep my mind off…last night. And it’ll help me pay my rent until my lease is up and I have to move. I write down her address and tell her I’ll be there when my shift is over.

* * *

It isn’t until I’m on my way to Darynda’s place that I recognize the address. She lives in the exact same building Tahoe does. I can’t help but feel a little bit nervous as I walk into the lobby. I’ve been here before, with Rachel and Wynn. Never alone. All I remember of his apartment is that it was too big for just one person. And somehow when I think of him, I always imagine him on the living room couch where I last saw him, watching a White Sox game with a White Sox cap and a White Sox shirt.

I board the elevator and press Mrs. Kessler’s floor when I’m joined by two girls, both of them young and beautiful, who tell the elevator man who stands discreetly by the corner that they are going to HIS floor. He nods and slips in an access card.

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