"We really can't allow you to sit at a table any longer, Ma'am. I'm so sorry."
"Could I just have like 15 more?"
With the exception of my three male housemates not showing up to save me this time, I felt as though I was living out that scenario from New Girl. It was disgusting.
The overworked and disheveled waiter glanced down at his watch. Since the restaurant was upscale, the waiter wearing a watch didn't exactly surprise me.
"Okay, ma'am, but I'm going to require you to at least order a drink."
"Okay, that's good. Give me a vodka tonic, please. Absolut." I stuttered, being put on the spot. If I wasn't in the mood for wine, I would typically drink vodka tonic in finer settings, like clubs. They essentially resembled fancy Whiteclaws.
"Sounds excellent ma'am, I'll get that over for you straight away."
The waiter turned on his heel and doubled back to me just as he was about to leave. Just as I started to look at my phone once more, I looked up and focused on the waiter once more.
"Please let me first see your ID, ma'am."
I gave a dismissive, "Oh yeah, of course," response. Despite being 25, I had a college-age appearance. Being carded was still commonplace when living in a city like Miami, where there were numerous colleges and a lot of spring breakers from various institutions.
My driver's license was returned to me by the waiter after he briefly scanned the plastic card.
"Thank you, and I'll be right back with your drink, as I promised."
I opened my phone and said, "Thanks," in return, putting my elbow on the table instead of using it as my mother had advised.
No unread messages yet.
I reposition my phone. I have no idea why I thought things would change in the last five minutes. My fingers began tapping on the surface of the table as I fingered the lovely linen tablecloth. My legs began bouncing as my heels clicked on the quartz floor.
To my left was an older couple in their mid-50s; the wife gave me the side-eye. I became more conscious of how jittery I was. Probably a combination of my anxiety and ADHD acting up again. God, I needed to relax with a drink.
"How on earth could he do yet again?" I muttered to myself while shaking my head a little in shock. "I don't know why you let yourself put up with this, Bella; you're fucking stupid."
My left hand's diamond engagement ring shone briefly as it caught the light, as if trying to force the scenario upon me.
Due to my fury and the desire to stab my palms with a fingernail, my fists balled up. That is a technique my mother learned from her therapist to control her sobbing. And on a Friday night at 9 o'clock, I really didn't want to start crying in the midst of a fancy restaurant.
My fiancé Harry had not always been faithful to me. He had an irresistible charisma that kept me coming back, and I knew this wouldn't be the last time.
Since my senior year of college, we had been dating intermittently for roughly three years at this point. I first met him on a girls' trip from UTK to Miami during my final semester. He had attended Vandy. I had relocated to a new place and uprooted my entire life for him, and here I was with his claws (and something else) inside of me.
I was always the one making the sacrifices, it was just how things were. never in the opposite direction. He couldn't move to New York, so I had to come to Miami. Because he wasn't sure he felt comfortable living with someone else, I had to find a separate place. That was... our third? breakup, I think. And because of the 70- to 80-hour work weeks required by his consulting business, I was still required to care for his fucking dogs (at his apartment). What the hell is consulting even?
Not that I didn't adore his pets, especially Mr. Pibb the corgi. Not that I didn't, for better or worse, love Brett as well.
However, tonight really irritated me. Because I wasn't happy, I considered making it our sixth split.
I gritted my teeth and mumbled to myself, "This is crap. I'm going to drink this and fucking go out without him."
Two weeks prior, we had celebrated the third anniversary of our initial encounter. We hadn't celebrated because Harry had to work that entire weekend and then fly to Los Angeles the following week for a business trip.
I prefer to think of myself as a strong, independent woman; I don't like to think of myself as being particularly basic or needy (outside of the bedroom). However, every girl needs to occasionally be spoiled and showered with attention. All I wanted was for us to be a cute, regular couple for a short while as we celebrated our anniversary. A romantic evening would include a romantic restaurant, a great night on Broadway, perhaps a stroll by the river or to a scenic location, and an intimate finale at his place. Is that asking too much?
However, he remained completely silent, leaving me alone in a restaurant that I could hardly afford on the salary I received as a kindergarten teacher.
The final text I sent him said, "They fucked up the reservation, but I should have a table in like 10-15."
Sent at 7:45 PM.
I had been having a pity party here for an hour with only my own misery as company. Not even a drink yet, much less a glorious knight.
"Hey, apologies for the major misunderstanding."
In anticipation of saving the night, my head shot up.
I was met by a handsome 20-something male who was sitting across from me and staring back at me.
He quickly inquired, detecting my confusion and slight unease. "It's Shella, right?"
"Actually, Bella." I said. How did he learn my name, or almost know it? Was there another strange thing going on, or had Harry just sent this random guy without any communication?
"Ahhh, Bella. My sincerest apologies." He answered right away. The man was immaculately dressed, down to the white pocket square and tie bar. His navy blue suit appeared to have been expertly tailored and was of high quality. He resembled several of the coworkers Harry had.
His long, light-brown hair was combed back and hung loosely beneath his ears at the back. He had a beard, but it was kept in check; it was a touch denser than a 5 o'clock shadow and looked like stubble. He had more rounder cheeks, powerful cheekbones, and eye-catching blue eyes. He actually reminded me a lot of Bradley Cooper in the Hangover years. He was really handsome, albeit somewhat frat-douchey, and I couldn't dispute that. Not that I ever truly look at guys like that outside my fiancé.
"No, you're okay." I said formally. I wasn't sure whether I should ask the man his name because I wasn't sure if it would be impolite to do so.
However, I wasn't in the mood to play any games right now.
"Please pardon me, but do I know you?" I inquired, trying to be as polite as I could.
"Oh, it's McShane," he remarked, turning to appear a little surprised. He cleared his throat and lowered his voice, "I'm, uhh. I will be your client tonight."
"Client?" I spoke again. My mind had already begun to spin. the upscale eatery. the affluent and dapper-appearing man. Client.
"Oh, I assumed the escort service would have informed you, right?"
Providing an escort? My premonitions had come true. My chest twitched as my heart raced. How did I end up being mistaken for an escort? He had called me by the wrong name when he approached; there must have been a major misunderstanding. I would simply discuss it with him. However, it was also a little thrilling and exciting, not to mention complimentary (this man clearly was going for the very high-class ladies of the night, so if I was looking stunning and done-up enough to pass as one, I was taking very high praise from that).
"Oh, I guess there was a little mistake, I think."
"Yes, I am aware that I gave your business the wrong restaurant. I wasn't sure if they had let you know in time when I called them to remedy the issue, but here you are, ahead of me actually."
It was obviously just a huge coincidence. My appearance and name were similar enough to hers that he may have mistaken me for her when I showed up at the restaurant where he was meant to meet his escort. If I had to guess, his actual date had never found the right place to meet because I quickly scanned the room and saw no one else who appeared even remotely similar to me (or who stood out as looking like an escort).
Which means there was nothing to stop me from participating in the hoax.
"Oh no, Bella." I thought to myself. That was a risky notion. I was unable to accomplish it. That would only lead to catastrophe.
I chuckled, "Yeah, everything ended up working out I guess." Shit! I was encouraging it. And then I experienced a small adrenaline boost. I like picturing myself as an escort. having everything paid for while going out to ridiculously beautiful restaurants and clubs. Having sex and getting paid for it while meeting new and fascinating guys. Oh my my, what a life that was. And perhaps if I dipped my toe into it, it wouldn't be that horrible. After all, it was an absolutely honest error.
No! I was unable to complete it. I was actually married! What the heck was I thinking? Even though I had been cursing Harry's name just five minutes ago and wanted to avenge him fiercely, I was unable to carry out the drastic measures I was thinking. It was awful.
"By the way, I love that dress on you. When I requested it, I was confident that hue would look fantastic." He complimented.
Oh good, so I even got to wear the dress he had requested in the same hue. The identical earrings up next?
"The small hoops, which are my fave, go great with it as well."
You've got to be kidding me, Christ. At this point, this was a sign from God, fate, or whoever. I felt pressured into doing this. This was the culmination of the biggest series of coincidences in my life, and now I was in risk of being carried away by the tide.
Who are you to defy destiny? It is obviously intended to be?
God, the small bit of me that was energizing me I nearly hated. That tiny portion of me that caused my heart to race, my chest to pound, and my pussy to burn intensely with passion. Fuck!
"Oh, okay, thanks! I had charm. I wanted to look my best for you tonight."
What was it I was saying when I said it? I was attempting to clear up this confusion two minutes ago. I was now unintentionally accelerating it and playing into it. What did I do?
"You're no longer the one who always bears the burden. For the first time, you're pursuing your passion and your true desires." The brain in my head was against me. However, the opposing "me" that it was striving against was gradually pushed to the side.
"You certainly do look beautiful. I had the perfect mental image of it." McShane reiterated his gratification.
No! Stop it right now, don't give in! Even if he is charming and you enjoy receiving his compliments! You are engaged; you cannot complete this.
Even though I hadn't originally dressed up for McShane, the dissident part of me couldn't dispute that what he had stated was true.
The low-cut, white halter-top dress I was wearing had a dipping v-neckline that dipped down far enough to display my ample cleavage as well as the fact that I was wearing no bra. My petite but perky B-cup boobs were highlighted by the tight, sheer fabric, which hugged my curves and made the swells inside my breasts very obvious due to the dress' design.
My backless dress also exposed quite a bit of my ribcage and side boob, as well as the seven little dove tattoo that ran down the side of my body from just below my right breast to the bottom of my shoulder blade. Around my hips, the dress flared out a little bit more subtly before coming together in the back just over my butt. The bottom had a slight ride-up while I was still seated and tapered to an end around mid-thigh.
My muscular, lean figure was tightly covered by the tight cloth. I enjoyed doing yoga and spinning for my personal health (and to maintain some of the shape I was in playing field hockey and lacrosse in high school), but my fiancee and other oglers always valued the added advantages of a toned, fit build. The outfit was finished off by my small black pocketbook and a pair of four-inch stilettos in black.
I had certainly left very little to the imagination, but just enough to keep the teasing going. I had been attempting to look as bombshell-like as possible for my fiancée, but of course, that had now served a completely different purpose as well. I had flawlessly fixed up my makeup and hair, and I looked killer.
"You're suggesting that you had previously imagined me?" I tried to respond well to McShane's praise. God, I even tried to flirt with him. My crotch ached a little bit more. Fuck!
"A woman as stunning as you, I mean? And mine alone? How could I resist allowing my thoughts to wander?"
I lowered my voice and leaned in a bit more as I said, "Well," hoping to pique his interest. After tonight, I don't think you'll need your imagination.
Bella, oh my god, fucking Christ. I was unable to stop. I dare say that it was enjoyable to play this part! I had the impression that I was partially fulfilling a long-held fantasy. being the one in charge in reality. having someone else on my good side for once, rather than constantly being the one making compromises and attempting to please. It gave me energy.
McShane laughed, "You surely are something else. Would you mind if I bought you a drink so we could get to know one other a bit better?"
My previous waiter came back as if on cue.