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RECAP: Jennifer Baylin, a college student at Boston University, is funding her older brother’s detox and rehab program by finding a sugar daddy named Mel Klienman. With his first installment of $5000 per month, Jen must now respond to the contract: giving sugar daddy Mel a “girlfriend experience.” But Jen’s serious boyfriend, Trent, is growing annoyed at Jen’s unavailability within their romance. Jen is keeping her new enterprise a secret, but the stress of living two separate lives is also affecting her grades. She is only months away from graduation and entering the workforce as a communications and journalism major. Is she can just make it through the next two months, she’ll be able to return to her normal life. That’s the plan.
BLAND MEN MAKE GOOD DATES, when your brother’s in detox [Part 5 of 14]
It’s a Tuesday evening and I’m studying near my bedroom window. It faces the street where I see cars pull up and park in the snow. Mel’s picking me up for some cozy dinner someplace he picked out. Since I don’t expect to have sex tonight, although I suspect he does, I’m again dressed in jeans and a wool top that covers my 34 C’s. But I did do my hair, the way he likes it, with a flip to one side. And the makeup’s on too.
See I know the game. All girls do. I have to turn heads. Not only for Mel, but for every guy who sees me with him, wondering what he’s got to be dating a gal my age. So I can’t come off like his daughter. And I can’t look cheap either. I’m the sexy Girl-Next-Door that says ‘yes’ for only the right guy. Mel Kleinman is Starlyn Bay’s Right Guy. He’s Super Man and I’m Lois Lane. It’s role playing. And I’m writing the script. I think…
I glance out the frost covered window. That must be him, ‘cause who else would stop here in a Cadillac Escalade. Yep. He’s out of the car and walking to the door, wearing that same tweed overcoat he wore at Ruth’s Chris, covering a thirty-eight inch waist. Trent’s is thirty-one.
Mel took me to a place everybody knows but off the list for all of my friends; Scholars Bistro on School Street. He promised me it had plenty of vegetable type food on the menu. What it had was four pool tables in the lounge and one non-meat entrée coming out of the kitchen. It was, as it said on the menu: Mackin’ Cheese Al Forno Linguica, Baked Beans, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, all for fourteen dollars. I ordered the Bruschetta Salad with Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Olive, Artichoke Hearts, Balsamic Reduction, and Grilled Rustic Bread as a starter. I will run two miles tomorrow.
Mel skipped the starter and ordered the Fish ‘N Chips and water. No dessert. No coffee. But plenty of small talk, with an added comment from Mel about going to the Club Quarters Hotel after dinner.
I’ve prepped for this bomb all night. So I start with the line, “How do you feel right now, Mel?”
“Really? Because you look tired. Worn out from a long day.”
“No, I’m feeling good. I’m ready.”
“Well look at me. Do I look ready?”
He looks at me, cocking his head slightly. I hope he gets it. “You look fine too.” Nope. He didn’t get it. I start over. “There’s a big difference between being physically ready and emotionally ready.”
“I’m emotionally ready.”
“But for what? Sex? Sure. If you wanted that, you could have paid a call girl and skipped dinner and the hotel. You’d get a blow job in the back of your car for seventy-five and that’s all it would be. A five second ejaculation.” He’s not looking happy.
“But that’s not what we’re about, Mel. This isn’t prostitution. This is about a relationship, with mutual respect, and caring about each other. And you know why we chose this instead of prostitution?”
He’s not answering. He wants prostitution.
“Because when we treat this relationship like it’s real, which it is, when we do make love, and we will, it’s going to be so much better than it ever could be just jumping into it and slapping our loins together. By joining our hearts first, our bodies will explode the experience ten times over when we give it to them. Why take the flash away with impatience. This is only our second get together, Mel. We’ll have many more before we’re done.”
He’s staring at me, like I actually made sense.
So Mel settled for kiss in front of my door. It was a long one, meaning, past four seconds, and I felt his body jolt, which could have been a climax, or breaking wind under his coat. I didn’t stick around to find out. We parted, promised to meet again, and I scooted inside into the warmth. Yeah, I had somehow dodged the bullet on my first “Mel Date.” But his second is waiting for me. And a third, and a forth, with expected sex.
Hope Gardens – that’s what it is – a garden of hope, where I am now with my brother Dixon. He’s a bundle of nerves, literally, as the methadone kicks in to cool the withdrawal.
Dix can’t sit still. He’s hyper, like on speed, and he hops from sentence to sentence, thought to thought, as Marty, his sponsor, sits nearby, silently watching us. Marty is Dix’s lifeline back to the mother ship. And every so often, Dix shoots a quick glance to his new Afro-hair, Black friend and helper, making sure they’re still close enough for a quick pull back to sanity.
“I’m gonna make it this time!” Dix rambles. “I get it now. I see what I’ve been doing to myself. How we destroy every step forward with ten steps back of doubt. But Marty’s here. And God’s here. He’s got my back. And we’re gonna break this, aren’t we Marty?”
Marty nods, almost bored. He knows the routine. Last year it was his.
“Amen!” my brother proclaims. I’m shocked. And now he’s wrapping his arms around me, squeezing my shoulders. “But you got me here, Jen! You’re the one! You’re my savior. You and God. You’re the ones! And I love you. You know that? I love you, for the person you are!”
For the person I am. If he only knew.
I’m rushing. I always seem to be rushing, this time out of New Com Technologies to my next class across campus. I light a cigarette for the long walk. It’s snatched from my lips and stepped on by a foot I recognize.
“Trent! What are you doing?!”
“You quit.” He stops, picks it out of the snow and throw it into a can. “What’s going on?” he asks me, his breath clouding the air “I’ve been calling you for days?”
I freak, answering with, “I won’t make my next class!”
“I’ll walk with you.” He does. “You didn’t return my calls.”
“I know. I’ve been meaning to. I’ve been so loaded down with shit.”
“How about getting together Friday? I’ve got something really important to tell you.”
“What is it? Tell me now.”
“Can’t. We need time with it.”
My heart sinks. “You want to break up?”
“No. It’s all good. I’ll tell you Friday.”
“You got a job offer?!”
I let out a steamy breath, wondering. “Yeah. Friday.”
He leaves me to jog across the snow covered quad, his long hair bouncing over the back of his jacket.
And now I remember. I’m supposed to be with Mel Friday night! Oh, shit! How am I gonna fix this?
Having finished my Narrative Radio class, I find a quiet corner of the building to make a call. This one’s to Mel, and I’m feeling my body tighten up. The line connects. I hear, “Hello? This is Mel.”
“Hi Mel. It’s Starlyn.”
“Starlyn? Wait just a minute.”
I hear him moving, probably out of hearing range, like I did into this hall.
“Okay. I can talk.” His voice is lower, so obviously he can’t.
“Mel. Something came up. I’m afraid we’ll have to postpone.”
“Can we make it for Sunday?”
“No! We can’t make it for Sunday!” His voice raises. “We made a date!”
“I know. I know. I’m sorry.”
“No! No sorry’s. You’re supposed to be available.”
“I paid you five thousand dollars to be available.”
“So what is this something that came up?”
What can I tell him? What lie will hold? What lie won’t matter? I can’t think of one.
“Who died, Starlyn?”
“Nobody. I’ll see you Friday.”
“Good!” He hangs up.
Whoa. He was angry. Guess he’s not the meek little man I though he was. And the sex… I better be prepared for that as well. Crap!
I leave the building and step into crisp Boston air. Now I’ve got to call Trent, which I’ll do on this trek to my car. I dial and wait for his pick up. RING… RING… RING… CLICK. I hear his voice, pre-recorded. “Hi. Trent here. Leave a message,” which I do, thanking God that he didn’t answer.
I’ve got two questions for all you out there: Is Jennifer turning into a prostitute? What IS a prostitute?
Part 6 publication date: 12/30/11