Virgin Sale: Aubrey: Bought by the Billionaire, An Older Man Younger Woman Romance, page 2
“Are you sure?”
Paolo nods, and steps back. I hear Margot’s voice. “Go on, dear.”
I tug on the ribbon between the cups of my bra, and it falls open. “Hey!!” For one second, my breasts spill out of the material. I clutch the cups to my chest. “Not okay! Nobody said anything about nudes!”
Paolo gave Margot a look, and she nodded back at him. “Dear, Paolo is gay as a Tiffany’s picnic basket, so he’s not exactly aching to see your virgin flesh.”
I look to Paolo. I realize he’s looking at me like… furniture. He’s really not interested in my body at all. Okay…
FLASH. Flash flash. Paolo’s camera is in his hand in seconds, and he captures me like that: defensive body language, arms pulled in. Clutching my bra, keeping it together against my chest. I must look like a deer in the headlights to him. Flash flash.
“You do realize, Aubrey, that you’re selling your body. At some point, the person who buys you will see you naked.”
I haven’t let go of the material. I struggle to re-tie the ribbon together. “I know. But I’m the one who decides when that is. Not some photographer.”
Margot takes a patient breath. “As you wish.”
“Bene. Molto bene. We capture her, I think. Yes?”
The lights dim. I can see again. Margot and Paolo are admiring something on a computer flat screen, something I can’t see.
I feel exposed, raw. If I let my hands fall, the whole thing will spill open. I’m not… entirely comfortable with my body. My breasts are too big. I feel like my legs are too long. My hips are too narrow. It’s been the cause of a lot of unwelcome attention, and I realize for the first time that I invited it, this time.
I said ‘okay’ to getting dressed up in lingerie for some cheesecake glamour photos. I was really doing this. It was my decision. I was surprisingly okay with it.
I come over to join Margot and Paolo, still holding the bra closed, on my chest. I see what they see: A blown up photo of me in crystal clear definition. It’s me: exposed, drawn in. Clutching my hands to my chest like a frightened little girl, instead of a confident young woman. A woman… not quite ready to share her body with the world.
Paolo leans his head toward Margot, not taking his eyes off the screen. “Is as I say, yes? We capture the girl.”
Margot licks her teeth and breaks out a dazzling smile. “Perfect.”
I get a doctor’s note courtesy of the firm, explaining to my professors that I’ll be on medical rest for anywhere from a few days, to a few weeks. It’ll be hard to play catch up, later, but this opportunity is just too big to pass up. It’s go time.
I arrive at a commercial landing strip, outside of town. It’s grey and cold, this morning. There’s a private jet waiting for me, and Margot meets me at the stairs up to the doorway. She’s hugging a leather-bound portfolio to her chest. She smiles, and shakes my hand as I reach her.
“Aubrey, it’s been a pleasure working with you. In this dossier is everything you’re going to need, when you land.”
“You’re not coming with me?”
She shakes her head no. “Afraid not. My work is here. I just help get the girls ready. The real work starts for you on the other side.” She smiles with what I think is real warmth, and kisses me on the cheek. “Go get ‘em.”
I nod, and take the portfolio. I take a breath, and step up, up, up.
Inside the jet, it’s at least ten degrees warmer than the chill I feel, outside. I take a seat. A steward comes out of the back with a tall, thin glass and a bottle of bubbly. “Champagne?”
I double check to make sure the seal hasn’t been broken on the bottle. Everything has been above board so far, but if they were going to try and drug me, this would be the perfect time to do it.
I nod, and the steward pops the cork, and pours a generous amount into the champagne flute. I take a sip. It’s delicious. I sit back in my chair. “I don’t suppose I have to tell you I’m not twenty one.”
The corner of his mouth goes up in a smile. “No.” He retreats to the back of the jet. A tall, handsome man in a pilot’s uniform steps into the cabin, and shucks off his overcoat. He nods and smiles at me. “Miss Caselotti.”
I swallow. Does everyone know my name, here? “That’s me!” I try to hide my nerves. I don’t think it works.
“Am… Am I the only one?”
The captain looks over a metal clipboard. “You’re the only one I’ve got here on the manifest. Are you ready to go?”
I chew on my lip. “Where are we heading?”
He smiles, keeping his lips shut. “We’re going to a remote little place in Nevada. The company’s clientele enjoy their privacy. So that’s what they get. We should get there in about four or five hours, weather permitting. Just sit tight.”
I look down, and notice the seatbelt for the first time. I polish off the glass of champagne, and click the belt shut.
I didn’t bring any clothes. I didn’t bring any toiletries. I was told I wouldn’t have to. This is really happening.
There’s a zipper on the portfolio. I tug it open, and look inside. There’s a fat manila folder, containing… everything.
Results of my medical tests, my measurements, even my food allergies (peanuts and bananas). There’s a whole set of 8x10 glamour photos on glossy print… pictures of me, in the white fantasy get-up. Pictures of me, holding my outfit together. There’s even one where I can see the edge of my nipple, when I’m trying to tie the ribbon up again. Oh jeez.
The flight is a smooth one. No long waiting period to get off the tarmac. I wile away the hours, reading through the rest of the folder. Margot was nice enough to include a sheet outlining the options again, both for me and the bidders. Up for sale, at minimum, is the full weekend. Two nights, and the following two days. If bidding closes on Friday, they’ve got me through Sunday afternoon. Oh my.
From there, if both parties agree to it, we can extend the contract another week, up to a full two weeks. The full cost of the stay would be an extension of their original rate. Say, if someone payed ten thousand dollars for two nights, then a full fourteen days would end up being… seventy thousand dollars! Oh god. I could leave here with thirty five thousand dollars!
The money’s held in escrow until the end of the contract, at which point I can collect it in any way I see fit. They’ve worked out everything: The money can be held in an off-shore account to limit taxation, they can even fabricate a credible story to explain the windfall to your family. It says in here one woman staged a car crash, sued the driver, and was ‘rewarded’ her sum. In actuality, she made her money on a long weekend with some dot com millionaire. Now she owns her own condo in Orange County. Go figure…
There’s more: Before signing, I was shown a list of… acts… that would be considered fair game. It was longer than I’d expected. A second list of activities were separate from the first. I could say no to knife play, to anything involving sharp implements, and so on. However, if I did consent to it, I’d be held to my word. There was so much to take in…
I keep flipping through the dossier. The papers that aren’t about me or the rules, are about the bidders.
There’s a Saudi Prince in here. A few Wall Street millionaires. An actual Duke, from a country I’ve never heard of. An heiress or two. The list keeps going. There are going to be dozens of buyers, out here. Bidding on me and god knows who else. I chew on my lip. Gosh.
I flip back to the front of the folder, and take a longer look at the pictures of myself. The girl in these photos is nervous. Timid. Shy about her body. The champagne has got me feeling a little more care-free. I go over the pictures again.
This is me. The woman in these pictures… gosh. Paolo really did capture me. All that nervous energy, all the excitement, just under the skin. Even the ones where I’m really feeling exposed… I can’t take my eyes off them.
That’s when I get it. That’s what these
‘Cause like it or not… there’s no backing out now.
We start our descent. I’ve had two, maybe three glasses of champagne over the past few hours. I’m barely tipsy, anymore. The captain’s voice comes on the intercom, asking me to buckle my seatbelt, and settle in for a landing.
I look out the window as we come down. The airport is small, but very art-deco. I look out one side of the plane, then the other. We really are in the middle of nowhere.
We touch down on a long, private landing strip. I’m escorted off the plane by a young woman.
I get my first good look at our surroundings. The landing strip seems to be at the eastern-most end of the little community. There’s an entire row of two and three story buildings off to one side. In the distance I can make out a storage house, there are massive trucks unloading mysterious crates full of god knows what. I’m guessing it’s food; an operation this size, people still have to eat!
The woman leading the way is named Mathilda. She introduces herself with a warm handshake. “The staff all stay out here,” she says, gesturing at the two-story buildings. “The clients are a bit particular about running into the help.” I give her a look of ‘wow, jeez’, and she reacts with an understanding nod. “We cater to some eccentric types here. We’re talking about the uber-rich. For the amount they’re paying, we’re willing to put up with their… egos.”
“Will I be staying there?”
She hides a laugh behind her manicured hand. “Goodness gracious, no. You’re headed straight for the Palace.”
Mathilda drives a red convertible, and invites me to ride shotgun. It’s a short, quick drive around the airport… when I see what she means by ‘palace’.
Holy hell, she’s not kidding. I’m looking up, up, up at the single tallest hotel I’ve ever laid eyes on. This mountain wouldn’t be out of place in Las Vegas, for all its opulence. But it stands alone in the vast and empty desert. It’s a shining tower of glass and steel.
Mathilda nods, and keeps driving. “It’s okay. I had the same reaction, the first time I saw it.”
The closer we get, the bigger it looms overhead. “Oh my god.”
The entrance is grand as anything I’ve seen. An actual red carpet leads from the carport through spotless glass doors. We… keep on driving, though, round to the back.
“No offense,” says Mathilda, “but you’re not quite ready to meet the high rollers. We’re gonna want to get you scrubbed and made up, first.”
I nod. My head is swimming. I have no real idea where I am— if we’re even actually in Nevada, it’s a huge state. I’m completely at the mercy of these people. What have I gotten myself into?
Mathilda swings round to the back of the hotel, where I’m greeted by a handsome gentleman standing by another set of glass doors. “Welcome, Miss Caselotti,” he says. “Right this way.”
“Take good care of her, Carl.” Mathilda wastes no time, driving off back toward the airport.
Literally the only thing I have with me is the leather portfolio, and the clothes on my back. This tall drink of water escorts me to an elevator, where we ride up to the 12th floor. Okay…
“So, um. What’s next?”
Carl looks up at climbing numbers, in the elevator. “Well, you’ll have a half hour to bathe, then the beauticians will be in to assist you.”
I blink. “Assist me with what?”
He lets out a sigh. “Shaving your legs, waxing your privates, grooming your toenails and fingernails. After that, you’ll be in hair and makeup.”
I let out a nervous laugh. “Jeez. So, when do I get to pick out my weapons for the televised fight to the death?”
Carl barks out a laugh. “That’s good. I haven’t heard that one before. Very good.”
The elevator dings and the doors slide open. We walk down a hallway with the thickest carpet I’ve ever seen. “So, um. Did they build this place just for eccentric rich guys to buy time from girls like me? Or…”
Michael shook his head. “No. Good question, though. Most don’t bother to ask. No. This place was supposed to be the first stake in a Sister City to Las Vegas. It never took off. They just about finished construction on this place when the money dried up. So the Firm swept in and finished the hotel, turned it into the Palace, and brought it up to standard for the richest of the rich.”
There’s gold leaf in the wallpaper, even in the hallways. I’m in awe of the sheer amount of money that went into this place. “Jeez. When did the firm set this all up? Had to be pretty recent, right?”
Carl turns and gives me a serious look. “The first auction was in 1973. The Palace has been in operation ever since. Twelve auctions a year, just like clockwork.”
I shake my head. “I can’t believe they’ve kept something like this a secret…”
A cloud passes over Carl’s face. He doesn’t look angry. More like he’s concerned for my wellbeing. “Miss Caselotti. You understand that when you get back, there’s no talking about this place. To anyone. Not ever. The firm has spent a king’s ransom to make this place work. You signed a contract just to get here. It included a Non-Disclosure agreement. Don’t forget that.”
I swallow. “What if… even by accident, say, I did tell somebody about this place?”
Carl’s shoulders sagged a little. “Well. If word did get out, and the leak was traced back to you? You’d lose everything. Not just the money you make this weekend. But you’d be sued to oblivion for breach of contract. Their lawyers can be… pretty nasty.”
A cold chill runs through me that has nothing to do with the air conditioning.
Carl immediately brightens up, and starts walking again. “But that’s a worst case scenario. You’ve got nothing to worry about.”
We stop outside a suite, numbered 1212. “Here we are.” He hands me the key, and gives a curt little bow. “Will you be needing anything else?”
I don’t have any words. I just… shake my head. An impulse runs through me. I reach up, and kiss Carl on the cheek. His fingers brush the spot where I kiss him. “What on earth was that for?”
I slide the key into the lock. “For being honest with me.”
I don’t say goodbye. I turn the key, and step into the suite.
I look at the clock in my hotel room. The place is massive, to say nothing of gorgeous. Out the ceiling-tall windows is a desert landscape, far as the eye can see. I look around the suite. The fridge is stocked with sparkling water, juice, and fresh fruit. There are miniature bottles of champagne, standing in the door. Just in case I need a little liquid courage, I tell myself.
I walk over to the bathroom, and my jaw just about hits the floor. Holy hell is this place gorgeous. I don’t wait a hot second. I slip out of my things, and race to the tub. I fill it with hot water, and go about making a bubble bath in the biggest tub I’ve ever laid eyes on.
There are several bottles of essential oils lining the tub, along with the bubbles. It’s the kind of decadent stuff I never dreamed of buying. I pour a splash from each bottle into the tub.
The scents rise up in the steam, and I’m in heaven. Ouff. If this is what I have to look forward to, I don’t think I’d ever want to go home!
I sink into the water, and all but float. For the first time in days, I have time to think.
I’ll be going home with money. God knows how much. I just about had a fit when I realized it could be as much as thirty-five thousand. With some fancy footwork from the accountants? That money could be a huge help to Joann. Or I could be selfish and use it to set myself up, not having to worry about rent for a year or three. That would sure be nice…
I hear the front door to the hotel room open. It’s someone with the key. I look at the
I manage to get a towel around myself before someone pushes open the bathroom door without so much as a knock. “Miss Caselotti. It’s time we got started.”
It’s a pair of women in stark white uniforms. They each carry a small but packed carrying case. “Uh, hi.”
“This is Doris, I’m Madeline. We’ll be looking after your grooming needs today.”
They escort me out into the main room. They’ve brought a folding table with them, the kind that masseuses travel with. The table’s already set up.
I go to lie on the table, still wrapped in the towel, when Doris lifts a finger. “Would you mind? There’s no need to be shy, here. After all, we will be seeing to all your grooming needs.”
I get the hint. And it’s not so bad. They’re women too, after all… I untuck the towel, and they invite me to lie on the table. “Try to relax.”
They say try to relax, but it turns out to be almost impossible. I can’t stop thinking about the auction. Also, two complete strangers go about plucking my eyebrows, waxing my legs, shaving my privates, and bleaching my you-know-what.
The second they’re done with the painful bits, they apply this lotion to every place that’s stung, waxed, or sore. “This will prevent any inflammation,” Doris explains. “After all, you want to look the part of the untouched flower.”
The pain and discomfort disappear in minutes. I actually sigh with relief. That stuff really works. “Any chance I can get a jar of that stuff to take home?” I say, half joking.
Doris doesn’t crack a smile. “It’s $200 a jar.” Jeez.
“Well all right then.”
They begin tidying up their things. Madeline gives me a pleasant smile and a nod. “Good luck. Your dresser will be in, momentarily.”
I stand up, and I literally feel like a new woman. I don’t think my skin has been this smooth in… ever. My skin’s never been this smooth.