One-Forty or Less – Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Iria snapped off another portion of bacon and looked over to Sasha. “So who are you texting there Sash?” she smirked, having caught her roommate with but a glance. “Is it that cute guy you met online?”

Sasha gripped her fork a little tighter before placing it down on her plate. Mr. Baritone looked up in interest and once more Sasha felt like a kid at the adults table. “He…well he wanted to know if I wanted to meet him sometime.”

Iria lifted her eyebrows inquisitively as she noisily slurped the last frothy drop of her vanilla shake. “Oh really? That’s awesome!” She exclaimed, for more excited about this then Sasha would have expected.

“It is?” She replied less enthusiastically than the petite Japanese American woman. “Cause I….”

Iria interrupted “of course it’s  awesome. Why wouldn’t it be?”

Sasha now looked to Mr. Baritone for support but found nothing but a smirk. “Well…what if he’s a weirdo?”

Iria waved her hand at her roommate dismissively. “Anyone can be a weirdo. What’s the difference between meeting this guy online or meeting him in a bar drunk and stupid.” she nodded her head over to Mr. Baritone mockingly. He rolled his eyes and smirked and Sasha felt herself wishing she could melt into the lines of his eyes in his smile.

“Yeah but….what if…”

“What if what Sash? Honestly….I’m not sure what the problem is here.” Iria devoured her last morsel of bacon and dabbed up the remaining bacon crumbs with a wetted finger, somehow managing to make the act look erotic instead of one of pure gluttony. “Ok so your worst case scenario is that he’s a weirdo. Right?”

Sasha paused; she knew the answer but immediately suspected that Iria was going to spring a logical trap on her. “Yes.” she allowed with a hiss.

“Right, ok…..so let’s say he’s a weirdo. Was your plan to meet him in a darkened alley somewhere?” Iria inquired, placing her napkin neatly on her plate before placing her elbows on the table and leaning in towards Sasha.

“Well….no….”

“Exactly, because you’re not a moron.” Iria gestured with her hand and Sasha immediately felt like she was being talked to as if she was a child. “So you won’t meet him somewhere stupid, you would meet him somewhere bright and public. Correct?”

“Well….yes…” Sasha nodded her head side to side, agreeing with Iria despite her reservations. Mr. Baritone for his part was simply taking thoughtful sips of his orange juice and enjoying his view of the conversation.

“Ok; so you meet him somewhere bright and public and you determine fairly quickly if he’s a creep or not.”

“I suppose.”

“So what’s the problem then.”

“Nothing I guess.”

“So are you going to meet him?”

“Yes.”

Iria stopped; almost surprised how easy her argument had won Sasha over. “Oh?”

“I already messaged him to say I’d like to meet.” Sasha revealed, sipping on a refreshing glass of ice water.

“You did?” Iria responded in honest surprise.

“Yeah…when I saw how well you two idiots were doing having only met last night I got jealous and wanted a piece for myself….so I messaged him.”

Mr. Baritone chuckled and looked over at Iria. “She wanted a piece of this…” he mused with a smooth gravelly confident tone.

Iria looked over and winked, “Maybe next time hot shot; I think she’s just anxious to fill a….void…in her life.” Iria paused mid sentence to emphasize the innuendo, smiling maliciously at Sasha.

Sasha turned a little more red and shrunk into her chair. “You guys are too much.” Sasha shook her head and as she recovered she felt her purse buzz. She looked up at Iria who noticed the vibration as well and shrugged. After retrieving her phone from it’s faux Gucci cage she unlocked it to see a message from Jacob. “Would tonight be alright?” Sasha held the phone up for Iria to read. Iria smirked then snatched the phone from her hands, quickly typing, “I’d love to, sounds good. Meet me at the Hotel Capri at 7pm” hitting send before Sasha could wrestle the phone away from her. “What the hell!” Sasha exclaimed vehemently. “Why did you do that?”

“Because you need it Sash. You need it bad.” Iria retorted.

“But you know I need to study for my exam on Monday!” Sasha cried.

“Which is human anatomy; if things go well, you’ll be studying all night long.” Iria quipped. Mr. Baritone chuckled again, and despite her annoyance Sasha smirked and rolled her eyes. Iria looked over at Mr. Baritone and commanded, “Go get her a cab, she has to get back home, study for a bit and come back here all dolled up.”

Despite his stature, size, and impressive masculine qualities, the handsome man simply nodded and stood up, sauntering over to the front desk to order her a cab. Sasha turned to look at Iria incredulously, “What about my car?” she blubbered, irritated she no longer had control of her day.

“It’ll be here when you get back. Don’t worry, he’ll pay for the cab both ways, I’ll make sure of that.” she winked and motioned the waiter over.

The annoyed little man shuffled over and tilted his head subserviently to the side, “Yes ma’am?”

“We’re done here; bill it to room 1131.”

“As you wish ma’am, would there be anything else?”

“No that is all.” she dismissed him with a half hearted wave of her hand and then turned back to Sasha. “Ok hun, better get going. I’ll be here tonight so if you have any problems you can give me a shout. Ok?” her playful manipulative attitude turned into one of genuine care and concern. Sasha was a little confused but happy to nod in agreement. “Good girl.” Iria winked and gave Sasha a small one armed hug.

Mr. Baritone was walking back with even more swagger than he had going away. His face was plastered with a broad smile. “Your car is waiting for you.” he crooned and Sasha nervously smiled back at him, letting her eyes trail down his suited body and accidentally pause at his crotch before turning away quickly.

“Car?” Iria asked softly.

“It’s the better option.” he informed his petite cohort and she nodded in approval. “See you later Sasha, good luck.” he smiled. Mr. Baritone then put one hulking arm around her and kissed her on the cheek. “It’ll all be ok.” he growled softly into her ear and Sasha felt her body shudder with need.

“Thanks” she blurted and then made her way alone to the large revolving front door to the hotel. Sasha stopped to say something to Iria but they had already made their way to the bank of waiting elevators; no doubt to make a mess of the newly made up bedroom. She turned back to the door and saw a cute boy about her age dressed in a plain black suit and wearing what only could be described as a chauffeur’s hat.

“Sasha?” he addressed the confused woman. She nodded slowly a wary eyebrow raised in suspicion. “I’ve got your car here. I was told to take you where ever you needed today and return you to the hotel for 7pm sharp.”

“You were?” Sasha questioned, following the boy out towards the black lincoln waiting in the drive aisle.

“Yes; and don’t worry, everything has already been paid for.” he said reassuringly as he opened the door for Sasha.

“Thank you….” Sasha paused realizing she hadn’t even asked for his name. She turned to him quizzically and he shook his head understanding what information she was missing.

“Jonathan.” he interjected.

“Thank you Jonathan.” she repeated; smiling nervously and then sitting down within the luxurious town car.

“No problem.” he replied and softly shut the door with an authoritative thud. He circled the vehicle and jumped into the driver’s seat with a little too much vigor making it plainly obvious he hadn’t been at this job for long. “Where to ma’am?” he asked politely, looking at Sasha in the rearview mirror.

Sasha stared out the side window for a moment and answered with her home address absentmindedly.

“Very good.” the boy chauffeur replied, but the car didn’t pull away. Sasha looked back at the mirror to see his head pointed straight down as he keyed her address into a small GPS unit hidden from her view and sitting on his lap.

“In 300 yards turn right.” the device blared and the boy chauffeur desperately muted it, embarrassed.

“Sorry.” he muttered tossing the device onto the seat next to him. “I….I was just looking for the fastest route.” he lied. Sasha nodded as if she believed him.

“Makes sense.” she quipped and caught his eye in the rearview mirror. He looked grateful for her politeness.

The chauffeur focused his attention back on the road, engaged the engine, and pulled out away from the hotel. Sasha looked at the time on her phone and it stared back at her “1:38”. She sighed and thought of what she’d be doing for the next four hours. She really did need to study; but instead she was preoccupied thinking about what she would wear tonight. Her phone buzzed in her hand and she looked back down at it.

“R u nervous?” Jacob had messaged her.

Sasha smiled and replied back quickly and honestly, “Ya.”

“Ok good then it’s not just me. lol” came the response.

“I’ve never met anyone like this before.” she replied.

“Me neither.” Jacob responded, “I’m afraid I’ll screw it up. lol”

Sasha chuckled to herself but then messaged back, “Me 2. I worry you won’t like me when you see me in real life.” She bit her lip nervously; unconsciously nibbling a little dried skin from her lip as she awaited his reply.

“Same.” he responded. “but I’m going to meet you anyways because I think you’re awesome.”

Sasha smiled and tilted her head to the side in the universal “Awwwww” motion. “That’s sweet of you to say.” she quickly typed, “I think you’re awesome too.”

“See you in a few hours.”

“ya…cya later” she replied, locking her phone once more and tossing it into her purse.

Sasha looked up and noticed she was already getting close to home. The scenery had changed dramatically from the tall shimmering towers of downtown to the squat square badly painted brick buildings that were student housing. She watched as students walked down sidewalks together talking, some holding hands, some engaged in very public displays of affection. Sasha sighed again. She’d only cracked her shell; but it was still surrounding her. Despite the thousands of people she let into her intimate moments through small status updates and postings she was still the quiet, closed, reserved person she was in high school. Why couldn’t she break free of that? Why could she stretch her arms out and push the shell away completely. Why couldn’t she just tell people how she felt; act the way she wanted to act; say what she wanted to say. Why did she have to revert to this closed off quiet nerdy girl that she didn’t want to be any longer. Sasha watched as her building came closer by the minute.

“Don’t panic. It’ll be fine.” Iria had messaged her. Sasha looked back out through the window and thought about it for a moment before her phone buzzed again. Another message from Iria. She keyed up the messenger app and found Iria staring back at her with what Sasha assumed was Mr. Baritone’s ‘oboe’ in her hand, a big smile on her face and a thumb sticking up in approval. “You could have one of these too tonight.” Iria captioned the picture. Despite Iria not being in the same space Sasha rolled her eyes and shook her head in disapproval. She locked her phone and tossed it back into her purse.

“Why did she do that?” Sasha thought to herself. “Why am I rolling my eyes and acting like I’m so above her. Why can’t you be honest with yourself and just admit you wish you could be like Iria. But no, you act like you’re so much better being this scared little girl afraid to interact with people. You’ve got to stand up and make a change you dumb bitch.” Sasha shook her head at her own internal conversation.

The car jolted to a stop as the boy chauffeur realized he was at the appropriate address. “We’re here ma’am.” he informed, hoping the rough ride wasn’t as rough as he thought it might be.

Sasha looked at her phone and checked the time. “Thanks.” she organized herself and then thought back to Iria and Mr. Baritone’s instrument. “I’m going to be a few hours.” she informed the young man. She furrowed her brow and with steely determination pushed the words out of her mouth like uninvited guests, “Would…..how about you come up and wait upstairs in my place.” she bumbled.

He turned around and looked at her directly, a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face, “If you’d like me to ma’am.” he replied.

“I would.” Sasha responded with stronger authority. “Let’s go.”

The chauffeur bounded out of his seat and rounded the car to open the door for her. “After you ma’am.” he said softly. Sasha stepped onto the curb and took a few steps before turning to meet his gaze.

Sasha nodded her head and thanked him for the assist then walked ahead hearing the footsteps of his dress shoes noisily striking the pavement behind her. Sasha smiled to herself and looked over her shoulder at him; as she expected she caught his gaze as it was directed at ass. He looked up sheepishly but Sasha simply smiled and winked at him.

Suddenly, 7pm couldn’t come quickly enough.

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