January (Calendar Girl #1)By: Audrey Carlan
January: Calendar Girl
You have been with me since the very beginning…
Your beta reads have saved me a hundred times over.
Thank you for believing in me, my stories,
and loving them as I love you and all your pieces.
Namaste my friend.
True love doesn’t exist. For years I thought it did. As a matter of fact, I thought I’d found it. Four times to be exact. Let’s see, there was:
Taylor. My high-school sweetheart. We were together all through high school. He was an all-star baseball player. Best the school had ever seen. Big, more muscles than brains, and a winky the size of a circus peanut. Probably because of all the steroids he was taking behind my back. He dumped me graduation night. Ran off with my virginity and the head cheerleader. I heard he was a college dropout working as a mechanic in some no-name town with two kids and a wife that no longer cheers for him.
Then there was the teacher’s assistant from my first psychology class in the Las Vegas Community College. Maxwell was his name. I thought that young boy walked on water. Turns out, he walked all over my heart by screwing a girl from every class he TA’d for. In his case, the TA stood for Tits and Ass, and he made sure he had plenty of it. That’s okay. He ended up getting two of the girls pregnant at the same time, then was kicked out of the college for misconduct. At nineteen, he already had two different baby mamas hounding him for child support. There was something ultimately poetic about that. Thank God I always required he wrap it before he stuck it in me.
In my twentieth year, I took a break. Spent all year waiting tables at the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip. That’s where I met lucky number three, Benny. Only I wasn’t lucky and neither was he. He was a card counter. At the time, he said he was in sales, worked the casinos, and loved to play poker. We had a whirlwind romance, which wasn’t all that romantic. I think I spent most of the time drunk and underneath him, but alas, I believed he loved me. He told me all the time. For two months we drank; we swam in the hotel pool, and fucked all night in one of the rooms I was able to score from my buddy in housekeeping. I served him and his friends free drinks at the bar, and he’d give me a room key most nights. It worked. Until it didn’t. Benny got caught counting cards and disappeared. For the first year of his disappearance, I was frantic. Then I found out he’d been beaten to within an inch of his life. He spent time in the hospital and skipped out of town, ditching me completely without even a word.
The last mistake was the one you could say was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The same reason I was certain true love is something crafted by greeting card companies and people who write romance novels and romantic comedies. Blaine was his name, but it should have been Lucifer. He was a smooth-talking business man. I use the term businessman loosely. In actuality, he was a loan shark. The same loan shark that loaned my dad more money than he could possibly ever pay back. First he turned on me, then he turned on him. Back then I thought our love was the stuff of fairytales. Blaine promised me the world and delivered me hell on earth.
“That’s why I think you should just take this job from your auntie and call it a day.” My best friend, Ginelle, smacked her gum loudly into the receiver. I pulled the phone away from my ear. “It’s really the only way, Mia. How else are you going to get your dad out of this bind with Blaine and his goons?”
I sucked down the crisp water as the California sun split the drops into shards of speckled light across the rippled bottle. “I don’t know what to do, Gin. I don’t have that kind of money lying around. I don’t have any money lying around.” I sighed, and it sounded loud and overly dramatic even to my own ears.
“Look, you’ve always been in love with love—“
“Not anymore!” I reminded my lifelong best friend.
Through the phone, I could hear the noise of Vegas. People thought the desert was a quiet place. Not on the Strip. Slot machines tinkled and bells rang in a monotonous drone no matter where you were. You really couldn’t escape it. “I know, I know.” She shuffled the phone making it crackle in my ear. “But you like sex, right?”
“I’m not like Barbie, Gin. Math isn’t hard. Please don’t ask me stupid questions. I’m dying here.” Or rather, if I didn’t find a way to come up with one million dollars, my father would be the one dying.
Ginelle groaned and smacked her gum. “I mean, if you take the job as an escort, all you have to do is look pretty and fuck a lot, right? You haven’t been laid in months. Might as well enjoy the ride, eh?”