Hi ya’ll. In this snippet Charlie has introduced Tunie to his gallerist friend Fan, who immediately signs her to a contract and begins to make initial plans to show her work. Realizing he has unintentionally given his innocent mistress the fuel she needs to dump him, he begins to unravel and we learn a bit about why – rather who – made him the closed off, mistress-over-love preferring man that he is…
Charles couldn’t focus for shit at work that day. He answered emails, took calls and attended meetings, and he must have performed adequately because no one except for his sharp eyed assistant gave him strange looks or had questions outside normal business constraints. But later he couldn’t remember anything that happened. The decisions he made, blank. Actions he advised, advice he gave, all blank. Tunie dominated his thoughts completely.
Why the fuck had he introduced her to Fan? What a stupid thing to do! He should have saved it for their breakup, a way to ensure she could support herself after he was gone without having to work for minimum wage in some shitty coffee shop, or God forbid, have to find herself another protector.
Would she? He knew how easy it was to fall into old habits. To repeat the same fucked up things over and over, even knowing they were bad for you. No. He couldn’t see her becoming a career mistress. Why the hell would she need to? Thanks to Fan and her wretched contract, Tunie was now an artist. She could make a very nice living from her own creative impulses, thank you very much. Fuck.
Raking both hands through his thick hair, Charles wondered if he was going crazy. He could be having a midlife crisis. Why else would he torture himself like this? There was never any doubt that he’d call Fan. Even knowing he was screwing himself he had to call her. Tunie deserved it. She deserved to have her work acknowledged, admired, bought.
The truly sad part was he wanted to be the one who made it happen. Even after she left him, he would be the one who’d made it all possible. That way she’d never be able to forget him. He’d always have some piece of her, even if it was only as a shadow behind what would undoubtedly become her phenomenal success.
She was going to leave him. He knew it. It was just a matter of time. She was too good to want to stay with him past when it was necessary. Too sweet, too upright and full of integrity. And who could blame her? He was a man who paid for sex. A man who’d paid her for sex. He laughed bitterly. Hell no she’d never forget him. He would forever be the fucking asshole who paid her for sex instead of giving her the money she needed to get back on her feet. He’d forever be the douche bag who took advantage of her in a weak moment, dangling warmth and security in front of her worried face like diamonds.
His fist landed with a bone rattling thump on his desk. The noise was so loud his intercom buzzed. It was his assistant asking had he fallen?
“No,” he barked, and clicked off.
What the hell was he going to do? Was there any point in trying to keep her? Could he somehow salvage this fucking mess he’d made? He couldn’t even ask for help. First, who could possibly advise him on a situation like this? Second, who could he tell? No one knew he even kept mistresses. Not even his closest buddies had a clue. They just thought he was the king of what one had called the exaggerated one night stand. Meaning, he kept his birds around for a few months as opposed to a few hours. They thought he had some deeply rooted fear of commitment that kept him perennially foot loose and fancy free. They were partially right. But they envied him his condition. They professed to actually desire his loneliness. Stupid bastards.
For the first time in his adult life, Charles was asking himself, who in their right mind actually wanted to be alone? But that’s the bed he’d willingly made for himself.
It was the one rule he had with his pillow friends – discretion. Without fail, he told them all: you tell anyone you’re my mistress, and you’re out. None of them ever had. He doubted very seriously their reticence was solely monetary in motivation. After all, who in their right mind wanted to admit she was a mistress? It wasn’t exactly a favored position for a woman. This wasn’t 19th century Paris, for God’s sake, when being a courtesan was fashionable. These days it wasn’t politico to admit that one wanted to be a kept woman.
No one but the Bitch. She’d laughingly called herself just that. Though she hadn’t been, at least not in his mind. She’d been his lover, the only woman he hadn’t paid to sleep him. Well, he hadn’t paid her overtly. There were no white envelopes on the counter filled with hundreds. In hind sight he actually would have preferred that. It was honest.
She’d gotten his money alright, but she hadn’t been honest about her desire for it. She’d been manipulative, conniving, indebting him with a deep loathing for liars, people who spoke sweetly while stealthily sharpening their knives to plunge them into your back.
She’d taken his innocently given, extremely expensive gifts, all the while asking softly for more, for the things she needed but could not afford, she’d say, looking embarrassed, though the words thank you never fell from her selfish, whoring lips when he gave her what she wanted…