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Tim knew he was going to have to make a change, he couldn't keep going on the path he was on.

Oh sure, it was fun and he had enjoyed it, but he when took a look at himself and his future and couldn't see where the two coincided.

Did he want to stay a playboy with no one special to care for, or for them to care for him? Did he want to stay in this dead end job, even though it paid well?

Time for some serious planning. He'll get right on it...tomorrow.

NO, not tomorrow, today. How many times had he said the same thing, “Tomorrow.” Well, no more, let's see, what should he work on first.

Maybe a career instead of just a job? What does he know that he could make a career from? He knows construction pretty good, he's been doing it long enough to get to foreman and was offered that position as a site super. If it had paid as much as what he was making he would have taken it. But, he would need a lot more schooling to get past that.

What else does he know? He knows cars, but not enough to open a repair garage and that would take a lot of money for equipment that he doesn't have. He knows hunting and fishing, but you have to be a writer to make money there.

What else does he have that a guy can make money on? Well, he'd been told that he was good looking, maybe something with women. He doesn't seem to have trouble with women. But he doesn't know anything about hairdressing or women's clothes. He knows what they like, though. That one lady had said he'd make a great gigolo. Huh, wouldn't that be something, having them pay him for what he'd been spending money to try to get.

He wondered how one gets started in that line of work. He'd heard of escort services, and wondered what that was like? He guessed if he was serious about a different line of work he should investigate. He looked for the the phone book? Boy, he didn't think there would be so many. This one has the biggest ad, he'll call them.

“This is Discreet Escorts, can I help you?”

“Uh, maybe, my name is Tim Carver. I'm very curious about your services and wondered if I could find out.”

“Are you thinking of becoming an escort, Mr. Carver? If you are, you'll have to come in for an interview. Then I can explain what it entails.”

“Alright, I'm free this afternoon, would that be convenient for you?”

“About two then, do you have the address?”

“Yes, from your ad, I'll be there.”

Tim, knowing he was going to be judged on his appearance, donned a blue silk shirt that matched his eyes and contrasted with his sun bleached blond hair, pressed slacks, shined shoes and his best sport coat. He thought a suit would appear too formal for a first appearance.

When he arrived at Discreet Escorts he was impressed by their office. It was decorated very nicely without being lavish, muted tones and tasteful furniture. He introduced himself to the receptionist and told her he had an appointment. She pushed a button on the intercom and stated that Mr. Carver was here.

It was just a few moments when one of the doors opened and an older man stepped out saying, “Mr. Carver, will you come with me, please?” As Tim followed him down the hall he appraised him, about fifty, still in good shape, maybe five ten, a full head of dark graying hair, dressed beautifully, and very good looking, even at his apparent age.

They entered a small room that had a few chairs around a low table. There wasn't a desk.

The man turned and said, “I'm Mr. Santini,” and put his hand out for Tim to give a firm shake. “Would you like some coffee or tea? Do you mind if I call you Tim? No coffee? Then have a seat, please.”

“Let me make a few things plain up front, Tim, so you don't have a false impression. We are not a male whore house. We are not looking for studs. We provide a service for wealthy patrons who need an escort to social functions. That is not to say that sex doesn't sometimes happen, but that is strictly between you and the people you're escorting, we neither forbid it or condone it. Are you still interested?”

Tim thought a moment and answered, “I'd like to know more before I could really say if I am or not, I hope you're not disturbed by that, Mr. Santini.”

“That's the exact answer I wanted to hear Tim. Let's get the details out of the way and call me Herb, we're not formal here. I can see that you're a handsome man and make a good first impression, That's important in this work. What are your measurements?”

“I'm a tad over six feet, weigh more than I look because I work out, almost two hundred pounds, sixteen and a half collar, forty four chest and thirty four waist. I'm in good health and get checkups regularly. I'm twenty seven and have one filling.” The last he gave with a little smile.

Herb chuckled and said, “And a good sense of humor too, I see. How about clothes? I know with those measurements you can't buy a suit off the rack. Do you have a suit or two? You need to be well dressed.”

“I have three suits that fit me and even a tux I had to buy for a wedding. I have to admit I spend a lot on clothes as I've been busy on the club scene.”

“If you're known and liked at the better clubs, that's a plus. What questions do you have, Tim, about doing this for a while.”

“That's just it, Herb. I'm looking for something long term and I know I'm not going to stay looking as I do for too many years and then what. I don't want to be starting over again at thirty five or forty. I've seen too many guys in construction that are crippled at forty, and very few make it to Social Security unless they get into management.”

Herb sat back in his chair, studying Tim for a few moments, then asked, “How old do you think I am, around fifty?”

“Uh, yea, that's what I thought when we met. Why do you ask me that?”

“I'm pushing seventy. It's not easy, you have to take care of yourself. I still sometimes escort mostly older women who want to be seen with a younger man. I'm usually older than them, but they don't have to know that.

If I did it full time I'd make over a hundred thousand a year, not counting tips, which can add up fast. With the business I make five times that.”

“But how much could I make? I know that you're going to take a cut of whatever you charge the client, don't you?”

“Of course I do. I'm in business to make me money. I'm not in business to make you money but I have to pay you fairly or I wouldn't make any. But with what I pay you, tips and gifts, and the fact you don't have to pay for anything, you should make the equivalent of sixty thousand or more. It all depends on how well the clients like you. If you're in demand, you make more, and so do I.”

“Herb, I'm sure you have a trial period for anyone starting, how does that work?”

Herb smiled and said, “Good thinking, Tim. The trial period lasts from the day you start until the day you leave. One serious misstep and you're gone. There are too many escort services that are high priced sex rings. Most of them are, and the cops keep shutting them down, but another will spring up. I've never had trouble with the law and won't put up with anything that would cause that."

"Do you want to try it? If you do, we have a lot of paperwork for insurance and things. Then I'll need permission to do a criminal background check on you. That will take a week or more. I'll also need to take some pictures. If you want, you can just do weekends for a while and keep your day job. How's that sound?”

“That sound pretty good, I have a vacation coming in a couple weeks and until then I could work Friday and Saturday nights, so let's do the paperwork.”

Herb called Tim on a Tuesday evening and assured him that everything had cleared. He also said if Tim wanted to work that weekend he had a client for him. They agreed to meet Thursday night after work in a hotel bar. Tim had dressed casual and Herb was in sartorial splendor with a beautifully tailored suit and tie.

“This will have to be quick, Tim. I have to escort an elderly lady to a wedding reception for her partners daughter. You'll have to pack some clothes as you're going to a dinner party in the evening on an estate, staying overnight, and a party there the next day. This is a nice lady when sober, not so nice when in her cups. So watch her drinking if you can. She might get amorous if smashed. If she does, try to steer her onto someone else. Here's the information pack, see you when you get back.”

Tim was a little disconcerted at Herb's quick retreat without more information but, after going over the information pack, thought he could handle it. He prepared his clothes that night to be ready for the morrow.

He was met the next evening in the lobby of the hotel by a liveried chauffeur who must have seen his picture as he walked up to Tim and announced, “The car is right outside, Mr. Carver. Anytime you're ready, sir.”

They pulled up in front of a palatial home in the suburbs and Tim, after ringing the bell, was escorted in by the butler to a reception room off the entrance hall. In a short time he was joined by an attractive lady in a beautiful dark red evening gown. He estimated her age at the middle forties. Her lustrous brown hair was done in an elaborate coiffure that exposed her long neck and emphasized her cleavage in her low cut gown.

Tim immediately approached her smiling and said, “Good evening Mrs. Frisby, I'm Tim Carver and I'm very glad to meet you.”

“And I you, Tim.” as she took his proffered hand and gave it a quick shake. With a gleaming smile she said, “My husband couldn't make it this weekend and I know I'll be in good company with such a handsome young man. And you must call me Janice or preferably Jan, as I know we shall be good friends. Can I offer you a drink before we leave?”

“Only if you're going to have one, Jan. I'll have to keep my wits about me if I am going to accompany such a charming lady this evening.”

Jan actually blushed at his assertion and stated, “Maybe I will have to also. Then let's go before I simper all over you.”

When they arrived at their destination Tim was surprised by the acreage of the estate they had reached. He knew from his construction experience just how much money property was in this lake shore locale.

When they entered he was introduced to the other guests. He tried to memorize as many as he could, but made sure to get the host and hostess's name embedded in his memory.

Everyone was having before dinner cocktails and he was kept jumping as Jan was having more than just one or two, which he dutifully fetched. After the first he motioned for the bartender to go easy on the liquor in her subsequent ones until she was just getting a taste in the later ones.

When they sat down to a sumptuous dinner about eight o'clock Jan did have the wine with each course. Tim could see she was becoming more inebriated when she kept placing her hand higher and higher on his thigh as the meal progressed.

He leaned over to her and whispered, “Do you know who that good looking young fellow in the light gray suit is?”

Jan answered, “Yes, he's the son of the partner of our host, his name is Delbert, but he's known as Del, why do you ask?”

Tim said, “He's been staring at you all through the meal when you weren't looking his way. Do you know him?”

Jan got a speculative look on her face as she answered, “Ah, up until now, just casually. Hmm, I wonder.” She didn't pay so much attention to Tim after this but seemed to be thinking as she watched the young man.

After dinner, when the dancing started, Tim casually disclosed to the Del, “You ought to ask Mrs. Frisby to dance, she's been inquiring about you.” With a searching glance at Tim and a nod of appreciation the chap did just that, spending the rest of the evening dancing with, and being very attentive to, Jan.

This led to Tim being able to mingle and socialize with some of the other guests. Suddenly he was grabbed by the arm by a slightly overblown lady with very large breasts that she rubbed against Tim's Arm as she captured it.

“You're name is Tim isn't it?” she gushed. She almost caused Tim to lose his balance as she staggered and said, “I'm so glad to see Jan bring some good looking, young blood to these shindigs. She usually brings that Santini fellow. He's not bad, but nothing like you, wanna dance?”

Why, I'd love to Mrs. uh, oh, I'm sorry, I'd forgotten your name for a second. You're married to Mr. Jennings, the gentleman who just walked behind those bushes with that pretty blond, aren't you?”

“What! Where?” Mrs. Jennings snapped her head around and stared, trying to locate her husband. She released Tim's arm and said, “I better go find him. It's about time to leave anyway.” She added, “Nice to meet you Tim.” as she tottered away.

Shortly after that the party broke up. Most people left but some, like Tim and Jan, were overnight guests. He was shown to a very comfortable room, and after a shower to rinse the nervous perspiration off, slept like a log.

The next morning, after a very late breakfast, Tim escorted Jan to the beach where she sun soaked out her hangover in a small bikini. Tim brought her a few Bloody Marys and aspirin and engaged her in light conversation until later in the afternoon when she went back to the house, changed clothes, and they returned to the city.

As she dropped Tim off in front of the hotel where he'd been picked up, she put her hand on his arm and said, “Tim, you were a Godsend, I really want to thank you for taking care of me, and here's a little something to show my appreciation.” She handed him an envelope and kissed him on the cheek. He stood there a little stunned as he saw her pull away, wondering what he'd done to earn that.

Before work Wednesday morning he got a call from Herb, “I know you have to leave for work now, but can you meet me after work at the office. You don't have to clean up, just come as you are, alright?”

After assuring Herb he'd be there, he hung up and wondered what he'd done wrong. Whatever it was, he'd find out later, and went to work.

When he arrived at the office he found the place deserted except for Herb in his office with the door open. Herb gestured for him to sit and asked, “What the heck did you do the other night that prompted all the calls I received the last couple days?”

Tim squirmed and answered, “I'm sorry, Herb, I don't know. What are they complaining about?”

Herb looked startled, “Complaining? Who said anything about complaining? If these calls keep coming I could book you solid for a month. Even Mrs. Jennings called and said how sweet you were to her and you may have saved her marriage. Mr. Frisby himself called to thank us for taking care of his wife. He said she told him you made sure she had a good time without any trouble. I don't think she usually likes these parties. She must have really built you up, I've never received a complimentary call from a husband before.”

“All I did was what you told me, made sure she didn't drink too much and steered her toward another young guy when she got a little too fond of my leg. She did get a little tipsy but it was a party and I couldn't cut her off, could I? But I watched her to see that she was alright.”

Herb sat back and studied Tim a moment, then stated, “I gave you a tough one your first night out and whatever you did, you did perfect. An all nighter like that can turn into a disaster, but I thought you could do it and I didn't have anyone else. They asked for me as usual, but I was already booked, so I took a chance with you. Now, tell me, what do you think happened?”

Tim thought for a while, the said, “After I steered Jan and Del together, that let me socialize. I looked for things I could compliment the women on, like if their dress, jewelry, hairdo was nice, something you could see they had spent extra time to get just right. They seemed to appreciate that. The men I just asked about their work and listened. I even picked up some pointers on the market. But I kept an eye on Jan too, just in case.”

“Tim, you're a natural. I'll bet you've never had trouble with women, or men either, for that matter. I might have a business proposition for you but it's a little early yet, but do you want to continue with this?”

“Well, I know they're not all going to be this easy but, yea, I'd like to continue, at least for a while until I see how bad it gets.”

Herb chuckled, then said, “How bad it gets, huh. Okay, next weekend you'll find out. You're escorting the granddaughter of one of the most influential ladies in the State to a reception for an ambassador to some small country in Africa. This girl is trouble with a capital T. She's vain, willful, and a spoiled brat. Unfortunately, she's also very rich from an inheritance from her parents that were killed in this small country. I've fired a couple of pretty good escorts when they lost their tempers with her, so be careful.”

Tim took the information file with him, determined to study it thoroughly before the weekend. Besides the usual Herb had told him there was also the impressions of other escorts and even one who had spanked her. He didn't think he'd be bored reading that.

Saturday evening Tim took a cab to the address of the grandmother. After being shown in and directed to the living room he was shortly joined by the grandmother, a formidable woman in her own right. She was in her seventies with pure white hair, tall and just a little overweight.

She had a commanding presence as she said, “Tim, isn't it? Alright Tim, listen, we can't afford to have any altercations of any kind tonight. There's a lot at stake here. Cynthia's parents are revered in this man's country because they did so much for it before they were murdered by terrorists. If Cynthia starts anything you have my permission to throttle her if you have to, but do it quietly, do you understand?

Before Tim could answer a woman he assumed to be Cynthia walked in, complaining, “Grandma, why in hell do I have to wear this crap just because it's what they wear there? We're not there, we're here in the United States.”

Grandma stood straighter and stated, “You'll wear it because it shows respect, now shut your yap an meet your escort, This is Tim Carver.”

At that she just flipped her hand in Tim's direction and said, “Yea, whatever.” and left the room.

Tim had just stood there and appraised Cynthia as she had pouted. She was a small girl, not much over five feet, but with a lush figure, shown very well by the long black skirt and matching, tight fitting vest worn over a white blouse. The cut of the clothes was quite different than the current fashions and Tim could see it was a native costume of some sorts. The color matched her short, curly, coal black hair and accentuated her bright blue eyes. He knew that she was twenty three from the report. Tim also thought she was gorgeous.

Grandma turned to Tim, “I love that girl, but she's a handful. Do your best and hope it's enough.”

A few minutes later they walked out to the limo they were taking. She strode ahead and waited at the door, tapping her foot on the pavement, frowning at Tim, who sauntered up.

She looked up at him and and demanded, “Aren't you going to open the door for me, Tom.”

Tim gave a big grin as he opened the door and said, “Why certainly Miss Porter, Is there anything else? And my name is Tim.”

As she climbed in and Tim followed she barked, “What the hell are you grinning about, Tom?”

Tim chuckled a bit and grinned even wider and said, “It's just that you remind me of a puppy I had when I was younger, that's all.”

She reared back and bawled, “A puppy? Are you calling me a bitch, Tom. I won't put up with that.”

Tim laughed and responded, “Oh no, I wouldn't do that, besides the puppy was a male. It's just that he would bark and snarl at everyone too, and no one paid much attention to him either except to notice what a little complainer he was. He was pretty smart though, he knew what my name was.”

She settled into her corner of the seat for a moment and then said, “I guess I had that coming, Tim.” Then in a rising voice said, “But don't think you're going to run roughshod over me all night, you son of a...”

At this, Tim raised a finger and glared at her, “Don't say it, I spank a lot harder than your last dance partner. I won't have you ruling the roost over me either. Why don't we declare a truce and try to enjoy the evening.”

She didn't answer but settled in her corner with her arms crossed and studied him with a small frown line between her eyes. After a while she unfolded her arms and just looked out the window at the passing scenery.

When they arrived at the reception they made their pleasantries to the receiving line and Cynthia went to take a seat up front for the speeches. Trying to anticipate any trouble Tim took her arm and whispered, “Why don't we sit in the back, if it gets boring no one will see us leave.”

She gave him a questioning glance, then a small smile and nod and they found seats close to the exit.

When the introductions and the speeches started Cynthia seemed to be taking it all in without any problem, but when the ambassador rose to give his speech she sat upright in her chair, frowning a bit.

When he started talking about her parents, praising them for their work and generosity in his nation and how elated he was to be in their hometown, Tim could see that she was getting more perturbed by the second.

He leaned over and whispered to her, “Don't make a scene if you love your grandma. It means a lot to her that this comes off well.”

She hissed back, “But they killed my parents, I want to get back at them.”

“Cynthia, listen to yourself, barking and snarling like a puppy. This man did not kill your parents. He probably hates those that did as much as you do. Just listen to what he's saying, not what you're feeling inside. She looked at Tim and although she was still tight and agitated, leaned back and listened to what the man was saying.

He was a tall older man, heavily built, that talked in a deep slow voice until he started talking of the killing of her parents. Then his voice rose, and you could hear the anguish in it as he condemned the ones in his country that through fear and terror tried to instill their brand of hate on all. He spoke of his family, his wife and children, who had been sacrificed on their fire of intolerance for the beliefs of others.

Cynthia, among many others, was crying into her hands when he finished. There was a crowd of people around the speaker after he stepped off the dais. It took almost a hour for it to diminish enough for Cynthia to stand, and motioning for Tim to stay seated, approached him. She spoke to him for a few moments when he opened his arms and enveloped her. She cried on his chest and his eyes weren't dry either as they murmured to one another. The rest of the people there respectfully backed away, allowing them their private minutes. They then broke apart, but still holding hands spoke for a few more moments.

Then Cynthia turned and walked to Tim and said, “Let's go, I'm done here.” and they walked to the car silently.

As they drove away Tim asked, “Would you like to go and get a drink or some coffee, Cynthia? It's still quite early.”

She turned from the window and said, “More than you know, but I have to see grandma.” and a few minutes later, “Can you come to dinner tomorrow, Tim? I've invited the ambassador and I'd like for you to be there, not as an escort but as a friend. You do have friends, don't you? I mean outside your job.”

“Not as many as I'd like. I'm glad to make another. And I'll be there.”

After nailing down the time and as they pulled up to her house Cynthia said, “As my new friend please call me Cindy. I'd ask you in but I think grandma and I will be talking for a long time. And Tim, thank you for making me quit barking. And she gave him a long kiss.

Tim was in very good spirits on the way home. He thought that it wasn't every day you can change someone else's spirits like tonight. He just hoped it held.

Late Sunday morning, as he was preparing to go to Cindy's, Herb called, “Alright hotshot, how did you do it this time? Have you some hypnotic powder you slip in peoples drinks? Cynthia's grandmother just busted my ear for an hour telling me that Cynthia is a changed girl and you did it.”

“Whoa Herb, all I did was convince her to listen instead of bark, I mean talk. The ambassador is the one who changed her opinion, not me.”

“Well, you're the one who's getting the credit, and by extension, me. I'm invited to dinner too and I'll pick you up, be ready.”After Herb picked up Tim and while they traveled to Cindy and her grandmother's house Tim explained what had transpired the previous night.

Herb chuckled and said, “So by making fun of her you got her to listen. That's a new technique I never heard of before, but it seems to have worked. After dinner we have to have a talk. You don't have anything planned, do you?”

“Uh, not at this moment, but I was hoping to see more of Cindy outside of working hours, so to speak.”

Herb looked at Tim sharply for a second and said, “If you make a girlfriend out of every one you escort you're not much help to me Tim. Are you serious about her?

Tim thought and said, “No, not in the way you mean, but we have become friends and I feel some responsibility to help her with this transition she's made, if that's what it is. Let's see how dinner goes.”

Dinner went splendidly, with both Cindy and her grandmother beaming with happiness at their reunion of spirit. The ambassador spoke of the tribulations of his country and the advances they had made in health and education for the masses of the population, in no small measure by Cindy's parents. Cindy and her grandmother pledged continued support from their finances.

After dinner, Tim and Cindy went for a walk along the small stream at the edge of the property. Tim smilingly asked her, “Are you happier now that you don't have a sore throat from all that barking?

To which she laughed and said, “You bet, its like a blindfold has been taken off my face and I can see the truth, instead of the hate that was swallowing me. I have you to thank you for that, Tim.”

“Oh no, don't canonize me, I just made you listen, you saw the truth. I'm just glad we're pals.”

“You bet we are. Uh, Tim, I don't mean to be forward, but I hope you're not looking for more than that. I'm waiting for someone to ask me a question that I'm going to say yes to, if you know what I mean. I love him very much.”

“What in God's name is he waiting for. Do you want me to go rough him up a little?”

Laughing, she answered, “No, I don't think that's necessary, he's waiting to graduate next month. We already have an understanding, but thanks for the offer.”

“Well, can I be flower boy then? One of my friends is getting married and I can't just stand around.”

She giggled, “You fool.” She punched him on the shoulder and yelped, “Ouch, that hurt, are you made of concrete? Actually, I was hoping you'd give away the bride, will you?

“Of course I will, even though it may be the saddest day of my life.” and gave her a hug.

Herb And Tim drove away after saying their goodbyes to grandma and Cindy. They discussed the dinner and the affirmations for the ambassador's country, followed by a period of companionable silence, when Herb abruptly said, “Tim, are you ready to take on more? I want to offer you a job.”

Tim was puzzled, “A job? I thought I had a job with you. Are you talking about something else?”

Herb answered, “Yes, this is what I mentioned to you before. I've told you how old I am. It's time I retired. I said to you once how hard it is to keep up appearances. I've had more hair transplants than a flower nursery or I'd look like a tonsured monk. Somebody else has to pick up the handles.”

“I can't do that, Herb. I don't know anything about how to run your business.”

“No no, Tim, that's not what I meant. My granddaughter has been running the business end for years, but she needs someone to be the face of the business, someone presentable, charming, and fast thinking, and male, most of our business is escorting women. You fit the bill to a tee. She's a very smart young lady, but she doesn't have what it takes to be the face of the business, but you do. I would like you to try it for a while and see if you like it, Alright?”

“If you think I can, sure I will. But why me? I'm sure you could find someone with more experience among all the escorts you have.”

Herb answered, “Experience, yes. Smarts, no. Just because they have experience doesn't mean they can take on the responsibilities of the job. I've checked on you and you've managed other people in your job and did well and would have taken on more if it had paid better. This will pay a lot better. You're mature enough to look right for the job and youthful enough to attract clients. I want you to meet my granddaughter and see how that goes.”

A meeting was set up for an evening later in the week. When Tim arrived a little early he found Herb in one of the interview rooms, waiting. They chatted a few minutes while they waited for the granddaughter, who suddenly rushed in exclaiming, “I'm not late, am I?

Herb calmed her, “No, you're right on time. Tim, this is Rosalie, or Rosy, my granddaughter. Rosy, this is Tim. We all know what we're here for, so let's get to it.”

Tim tried to check out Rosy without staring, which was difficult, because she certainly earned a stare or two.. Her face was flushed from rushing, and her long brown hair was in disarray. Her clothes looked as if she had just returned from a hike in the woods. She was wearing well worn hiking boots and had no discernible makeup on. She was taller than average and her figure, what could be perceived through her baggy outfit, was certainly feminine, but it was her aura that had Tim mesmerized.

She exuded a wholesome sexual attractiveness. Although she had a pretty face it couldn't be judged as beautiful. Her mouth was a little wide and her eyes, though large, were set just a little too far apart. Tim thought she was pleasant looking.

Herb cleared his throat a time or two, then said, “Tim, oh Tim, are you still with us? Wake up boy! She's just a girl, you know what they are, don't you?”

“Uh, yea, I guess I was out to lunch for a moment.”

Rosy stepped in, “Quit picking on him gramps, he just met me and has a right to look me over.”

“Darn it, Rosy, how many times have I told you not to call me gramps in the office, I'm supposed to be your uncle, remember? Now that you've met, I want to make sure you're going to get along. What questions do either of you have?”

They both started talking at the same time, then Tim motioned for Rosy to take the floor. “I'm sure Tim was going to ask the same thing. Who does what? What duties does each of us have exclusively and which do we share?”

Herb answered, “You take care of all the book work and billing, that sort of thing. Tim has no experience in it, although he will learn it in time. He will be the face of the company, meeting clients and prospective escorts, but you'll be backing him up on some of that until he feels he can handle it. And I'll still be here for a while and on call if there's a problem. Tim, questions?

Tim said, “About the business, no. Will I still be an escort?”

“You're in demand right now, so yes, I think you should, but which ones you take is up to you, you're management now, so manage.” Herb thought a moment and added, “You're to be the face of the company, and that means making the clients happy, let's see how your judgment is. Now, I'm going home and I want you two to get to know one another.” He rose and walked out.

Tim and Rosy looked at each other for a short period and then, smiling, Tim said, “Nothing like sink or swim is there. I guess we hold each other up or both drown, isn't that about it?”

Rosy laughingly responded, “You've got that straight, but I think we'll do fine. Gramps, I mean uncle Herb, has told me about you and if you're half as good as he thinks you are you'll do fine. It's the interaction between you and me that worries him. Do you have any ideas about that?”

“Good question, Rosy. Yes, I do have one. Why don't I escort you somewhere? You could see me in my escort mode and I'll get to know you. You pick the time and place. Do you think that will help break what little ice there may be between us?”

“Oh Tim, that's a splendid idea. Which do you like better, theater or opera?”

“I guess I'll have to say theater, I've never been to an opera. But whatever milady client wishes, I'm just the escort.”

Rosy giggled at that and said “You should read up on the opera, you'll be escorting ladies there sooner or later. Alright, I'll see what's playing and call you, but for now why don't we go have a drink or coffee someplace, you up for it?”

“You bet, let's go.” And go they did, to a little corner bar, where they had a few drinks and probed each other for their likes and dislikes. They found that both of them were outdoor types, she liked fishing and hiking, he loved fishing but preferred hunting to hiking.

The more they got to know one another the more they liked one another. He found her to be very shy among crowds, but very forthcoming one on one. The bar had the day's paper and they found a play they would both enjoy and set a date before calling it a night.

The night of the play he rang her bell and when the door was opened thought for a moment that he had the wrong address. The lady who stood there was nothing like the woodsy ragamuffin he'd had a conversation with a few nights before across a back booth table.

This woman was an exquisite example of beauty in the feminine form. No longer was the delicious curves and swells hidden by baggy corduroys and oversize sweatshirts. The unruly hair was no longer gripped in a pony tail with a bit of leather lace, but was a shining crown of brunette hair that flowed down and over her shoulders.

Tim wondered why he had ever thought her face a bit plain. Now, with just a touch of cosmetics here and there it was the envy of the beauty models worldwide. The dress she was wearing was another example of good taste and class The decolletage showed just a touch of cleavage that only emphasized the abundance below.

Rosy smiled and said, “Are you going to just stand there with your mouth open or are we going to the theater. I hope you're not disappointed that I didn't wear my hiking clothes.”

“Uh, no. Okay, you got me. I'm sorry for staring, but you must admit I'd have to be blind not to admire you tonight.”

Rosy laughed and said, “Don't worry about it, if you look at all women the first time you see them like you did me they will all love you and you'll be the most popular escort ever.”

As they drove away Tim said, “Rosy, I want to say something that you might not like, but to be fair I have to tell you.”

Rosy sighed and said, “Well, if it's bad news let's have it now. There's no use going any farther with this business deal if you don't want to.”

“No no, it's not that, the business deal sounds very good. It's just, well, I don't want to be the most popular escort ever. I started in this to find a new way to lead my life, not to become the darling of the escort business. I really enjoy being attentive to women, I like women, all shapes and sizes, but I don't want to be anyone's plaything. Does that make sense to you?”

She turned on her seat to face him and stated, “Don't you see, you don't have to. Gramps never took every one he was asked to, that made him special. The other escorts take what is given them. If someone asks for them by name they have to take it.”

“You don't, you're the face of the business, not the employee. You're the one that draws the clients in, not the one that takes them out. Theoretically, you don't have to take any, but there are ones that you should take to build business. Those clients will feel special and talk about it. Does that explain away your misgivings at all?”

“Thank you, it certainly does. I guess that's what Herb said and I didn't catch his meaning. My vacation from my day job starts next week so I'll be able to come to the office every day and start learning the ropes. If all goes well I'll give them notice after the first week and we'll be off to the races.”

Their excursion to the theater and a late dinner afterwards went very well indeed, even when Rosy tried to pull a few tricks on him so see how he would react. She stayed in the ladies lounge for a good twenty minute, but all he said when she came out was to inquire if she felt alright.

At intermission she tried to lose him by walking behind a large man as he walked by while Tim was discussing the play with someone, but when she turned around he stood there, smiling at her attempt.

He was courteous, complimentary, and attentive all evening without acting like a lapdog. When he walked her to her door she turned and declared, “Tim, if you can act like that with a woman no wonder they want you to escort them.”

Tim was surprised by that statement, “What do you mean, Rosy, I didn't act at all. In fact, I forgot I was supposed to be escorting you. That's how I always treat a pretty girl, and you just might be the prettiest of all.”

She chuckled and said, “See, there you go again, it just trips off your tongue, doesn't it? You are one of those rare men who really like and admire women, and aren't afraid to show it, that's why you're such a charmer.”

“But I meant what I said, or I wouldn't have said it. If I'm escorting someone there is always something I can say to make her feel good about herself, but when I said about you being pretty, that was just the truth and I meant it.”

“I know Tim, and you could say that to any woman you're with, and you'd mean it too, that's what I meant about you being a charmer.” She then gave him a short kiss and opening her door said, “Good night, Prince Charming.”

Monday morning he was there when the receptionist unlocked the door and he followed her in. He introduced himself and told her how nice she looked. She simpered a bit and showed him the file room. He was reading files for a couple hours when Herb entered, “What are you studying Tim? There isn't going to be a written exam, you know.”

Tim smiled, “I'm just going over personnel files, I'm going to have to meet with the escorts sometime and I'd like to know as much as possible first. I'm surprised at the variety, old, young, middle aged, women, men, and some I'm not too sure of.”

“It takes all kinds, Tim, you'll learn. You'll have plenty of time to read their file before you assign them. The part you should be reading is who they appeal to. That way you can assign them to the client that's looking for that quality, but I'm glad to see you here, starting your new career.”

“Hah, you mean if I make the cut, don't you?”

Herb smiled and asserted, “If I wasn't sure of that you wouldn't be here at all, especially after your outing with Rosy the other night. She's impressed with your attitude towards women and she's impressed with you personally. Don't make a mistake there or I'll roast you over a slow fire. She's what I live for, now that her mother and grandmother are gone. I'm serious, Tim, don't play any games there.”

Tim stared at Herb for a moment and quietly said, “I think you just crossed a line Herb. If you thought I might do something like that you shouldn't have me here at all. Whatever happens between Rosy and me is our business, not yours. If you want me to leave I will, but don't threaten me because of something you imagine might happen.”

Now it was Herb's turn to stare at Tim until, “You're right, I apologize, and please don't let it come between us, it's just that I love that girl.”

Just then, that girl, walked into the room, and sensing the tension, said, “Alright, what's going on, are you two sparring already? Wait a minute, is this about me? If it is, I won't have it. You two Neanderthals think I can't take care of myself? Gramps, what I told you about Tim was between you and me. Tim, you already know that I admire you so I guess bigmouth here didn't tell you anything new. But we're here to work, not fight, so let's get to it.

They spent the rest of the day, and the next few, between appointments with clients, showing Tim the workings of the escort business. Tim and Herb sat together interviewing new clients and prospective new escorts until Herb told Tim he was flying solo but could call him into the room if needed. He didn't need to.

Tim had given notice at his old construction job and settled into his new one quite well. Herb had even stopped coming in every day and just stopped by from time to time to see if there was a problem only he could handle. There wasn't. Six months went by and things were busier than ever.

The relationship between Tim and Rosy had blossomed from admiration of each other to a deeper, more profound one of love. They both realized it, yet never spoke of it until one day.

Tim walked into Rosy's office and sat down. She looked up from the ledger she was studying and asked, “Is there something wrong, Tim, you look tense?”

“Oh, I am, very tense. You see, I have a problem, a huge one, and I'm not sure how to handle it.”

Frowning, Rosy said, “ Tell me about it and maybe I can help, I'll do whatever I can.”

“Okay, Rosy, I've your word on that, right?”

“Well of course, tell me, but don't keep me hanging.”

“It seems I've fallen madly in love with this woman and I want to marry her, but I'm not sure of the best way to ask her. Do you have any ideas?”

Rosy smiled a bit and said, “That's a tough one alright. What have you thought of so far?”

“I was going to kneel in front of her and beg like a puppy, but she's always sitting at a desk and there's no room. Then there's the tried and true way, taking her to dinner and showing her the ring, but she's been working late a lot lately and is probably too tired to go to dinner. I thought of canoe trips or even a fishing trip, but neither of us can take the time off right now, and I can't wait any longer.”

Rosy sat back in her chair and looked like she was deeply thinking, then, “You could write her a letter, but that's not very romantic and neither is a telegram. A phone call is out for the same reason. Gee, I guess I don't know Tim. Did you think of any other ways?”

“Just one, and I guess I'll try it.” He returned to the door and said to someone in the hall, “Hit it boys.” and violins started playing very romantic music in the hall. Tim returned, leaned across her desk and asked, “Will you please marry me, Rosy?”

She reached up and put her arms around his neck and said, “Of course I will. You romantic fool.” and kissed him deeply.

The violins changed tempo to a lively tune as Herb, the receptionist and a dozen or so of the top escorts trooped into the room singing, “Here comes the Bride.” The last few carried in bottles of champagne and huge bouquets of flowers.

The next period of time was a pandemonium of corks popping, handshaking, kissing and hugging all around, the receptionist sobbing in the corner over the romantic setting. And Tim and Rosy, oblivious of all the racket , holding one another and staring in each other's eyes.

The wedding, a few months later, was a private affair so as to not advertise that the head of Discreet Escorts was a married man and out of the running. Herb gave the bride away, Cindy was the maid of honor, and a good friend of Tim's from the construction crew was the best man. Herb came back for a few weeks while they went on a honeymoon, fishing in Canada.

A few months later, Tim sat in his office chair thinking that about a year or so ago he had wanted to change his path. Well, he had, and a very nice one he'd picked, or rather fell into. He had just learned that he was going to become a daddy and that made him swell with happiness.

He thought that maybe he's not a gigolo, but he's not doing too bad being the next thing.

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