“Popcorn is ready!” Danielle called out from the small but quaint kitchen filled with color and warmth.
“Wine is poured!” Deni announced a moment later and handed out wine glasses filled with red or white wine.
Carly shuffled into Danielle’s kitchen in her socked feet. “I hope there is butter and that powdered, neon colored cheese on that popcorn,” she warned as she took the offered glass of wine, taking a sip before nodding approvingly at the rich flavor.
Danielle turned around with two huge bowls of unnaturally colored popcorn. “Is there any other way to eat popcorn?” she asked of her friends. All three ladies laughed.
“I have your wine,” Deni said and nudged everyone towards the small family room where the big television and the movie primed, ready to play.
“Which one are we watching?”
Carly snuggled down, handing the others napkins. All three ladies propped their socked feet up on the well-worn coffee table. “The Meaning of Life.”
“Excellent!” Danielle sighed happily, leaning back and snuggling down under one of the blankets. This was the life, she thought. Good friends, horrible-for-you food and excellent wine! Could life get any better? Oh – and hilarious movie! Her furniture wasn’t valuable, but it was comfortable – perfect for a ladies’ movie night.
Deni grabbed one of the bowls of popcorn. “Ladies, we’re young and single, reasonably attractive and all of us eventually want to marry and have children.” She paused as she popped some orange popcorn into her mouth. “Shouldn’t we be going out and hitting the bars? Meeting men? Socializing in some way?” she asked, then took a sip of wine. “I mean, we’re three, attractive ladies and yet, we’re sitting in my tiny house, excited about watching Monty Python movies and eating toxic popcorn.”
Carly chuckled. “Do you really want to get all dolled up in tight clothes, wiggle into the thong underwear, tug up the spanx, slather on the makeup and spend an hour doing our hair so that we can go out to come bar so that we can stand in awkward, dimly lit bars so that we can pay ten or fifteen dollars for a drink and hope and pray that…”
“Okay! Okay!” Deni lifted her hand in defeat, laughing at Carly’s description – which was probably accurate. “You’ve made your point! Pass the toxic popcorn, please!”
“And start the movie!” Danielle laughed, picking up the remote. “Seriously, if there was anything that we needed to learn, good ole, Mr. Monty can teach us.”
The other two ladies snorted, but they all laughed their way through the movie. When “Sex Education” came on, they laughed. “How about a kiss, boy!” Danielle mimicked.
Micah showered quickly, watching his beautiful mistress out of the corner of his eye. She stretched, her eyes moving surreptitiously in his direction and Micah instantly knew that the sensuously erotic effort was simply for his benefit.
Irritated, he turned his back to the woman. Bored and annoyed by her machinations, he finished showering and shut off the hot water. Right before he grabbed for the thick towel, he felt her cold hands on his back. “I think today is a good day to go shopping. What do you think?”
Micah mentally rolled his eyes. What she meant was that today was a good day for her to weasel another trinket out of him.
He didn’t say anything, understanding that this was their relationship. He kept her happy by giving her a credit card and buying her special jewels. She kept him satisfied sexually.
For a long time, that had been enough. He didn’t want the emotional baggage that came along with a real relationship. At least, that had been his opinion until now.
But his mistresses’ words left a bitter taste in his mouth. Was this all there was? Was his worth to women based solely on how much he could buy for them?
When her hands moved downward, he grabbed her wrists and pulled her arms away, stepping out of the luxurious shower so that he could dry off in peace. “I have meetings today, Bella,” he told her. For the first time, he wondered if that was her real name. Bella? Or was that just her “professional” name?
He didn’t know and he cursed himself for not caring until this moment.
So what did he really want in a woman? A relationship where he learned the woman’s real name? Where she lived and what she wanted in life? Did he really want a woman who had her own aspirations? Her own goals other than milking him for more money?
Yeah, he thought with surprise. Yeah – a real woman with thoughts and opinions would be…interesting. Even as he thought it, Micah realized that he had no idea how to go about finding a woman who would reveal her true self to him. As Sheik of Stilan, he had enormous responsibilities and his days were filled with meetings and negotiations, monitoring and arbitrating arguments between the different factions within his country.
But a real woman? A real relationship?
A pipe dream, he told himself as he walked into his dressing room. Pulling on clothes, he wondered how he could even meet a woman who was real and non-mercenary. Shoving the thought out of his head, he focused on his first meeting of the day.