The Right Price

Chapter 10

Evander

Collins looked shocked to see me, but I had expected as much. There was no reason for me to be in here for a meeting between her and Carver.

“Wh…what’s this a…about?” she stammered as she made her way forward.

Carver gestured towards the chairs in front of his desk. “Please, take a seat,” he instructed before sitting back down in his own chair.

Collins glanced my way really quickly before following Carver’s instructions, and I briefly wondered if she was that accommodating in bed. While I wasn’t into whips and chains, I could see my hand wrapped tightly around her neck while I covered her body with mine. If she could take it like a good girl, the sex was sure to be explosive.

Sitting down, she repeated her question. “What’s this about?”

“Evander came to me earlier today, requesting to speak with you,” Carver told her. “I just want to make sure that you’re comfortable enough to do that.”

Her blue eyes flew my way. “If this is about the money, I completely understand.”

My head jerked with surprise. “What money?”

Collins looked completely embarrassed now, but she soldiered on. “Uh, my tip…uh, last night,” she clarified. “It was a lot, and I understand if you’d like it back.”

I stared at her.

I just stared at the beautiful woman, and I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to feel insulted, impressed, or humbled.

What in the fuck?

Straightening, I pulled my hands out of my pockets and smoothed my suit jacket out. “I’m sorry, what?”

Collins glanced over at Carver, and it was easy to see that the topic of money was making her uncomfortable. “I didn’t spend any of it,” she told him. “If…if the club needs a bigger cut, or…” She looked back my way. “I…I still have it. The total amount.”

“You think that I’m here for the tip back?” I asked, deciding that I was feeling offended more than impressed or humbled.

Collins nodded. “Why else would you be here?”

“That’s a good question,” Carver remarked. “However, just so you’re aware, the cost for the lap dances is just like I had outlined last night, Collins. I don’t care if a customer tips you a million dollars; that entire million dollars would be yours.”

Her head started to swivel back and forth between us. “Then what’s going on?”

“Evander would like to speak with you,” Carver repeated. “I’m just making sure that you’re comfortable enough to speak with him privately before I leave you guys to it.”

I watched her entire body relax, curbing my irritation. “Oh, yeah,” she replied. “It’s fine. I’m good.”

“Are you sure?” The way he asked it, and the sound of his voice, was a clear indication that he had her back, no matter what. Carver was a protector, and if my wife or girlfriend ever had to work here for whatever reason, I’d be as comfortable as I could be, knowing that Carver was here.

“I’m sure,” Collins replied. “Honest.”

Carver stood up, still looking at her. “I’m going to go check out the bar inventory for tonight,” he told her, completely ignoring me. “However, Diesel will be standing right outside the office door.” Giving her a pointed look, he added, “All you need to do is call for him, and he’ll come running in.”

Collins gave him a grateful nod. “Thank you, Carver.”

Walking around the desk, Carver stopped when he was standing in front of me. “If Diesel has to come in here, it won’t end well for you, Evander,” he warned.

I lifted my chin. “I don’t appreciate being threatened, Carver,” I returned.

He arched a brow. “I’m sure that you don’t,” he replied. “But I believe in fair fights, so I’m just letting you know what to expect if something happens to Collins.”

“Nothing is going to happen to her, so why don’t we just leave it at that?” I said, desperately trying to make sure that Collins felt safe.

Carver gave me a tight nod. “That’s all I want to know, Evander.”

Nothing more was said as Carver walked out of his office, giving me and Collins some privacy; some much needed privacy for the conversation that we were about to have.

Once Carver shut the door behind him, Collins looked my way. “What’s going on?”

I walked over and leaned up against Carver’s desk, my hands wrapped around the edge, my eyes looking down at her. “First of all, the tip wasn’t a mistake, Collins,” I told her. “I want to be very clear on that.” I watched her shoulders sag, and I immediately thought about how she worked three jobs to support herself and her grandmother. “I meant to give you two-thousand dollars.”

Her eyes narrowed a bit as she focused on my gaze. “That’s a lot of money for a PG lap dance, Evander,” she said. “Why would you give me that kind of money for something so…tamed?”

That’s where she was wrong though. While she might consider the experience mild in comparison to what normally happened in this place, I had almost pulled a muscle in the shower last night, jacking off to images of her perfect body swaying to music.

“Value is relative, Collins,” I told her. “Take art, for instance. Do you want to know what determines the price of a painting, sculpture, or whatever?”

“Who paints it or makes it?” she guessed.

I shook my head. “No. What people are willing to pay for it,” I answered. I cocked my head at her a bit. “Have you ever seen a painting so complicated that it was ugly? Or how about fashion? Have you ever seen a dress so hideous that you wondered how anyone could possibly wear it in public?” She grinned a little at that. “Consumers are what determines the price for something. A manufacturer might want to sell a high-end whiskey for thousands, but if no one is buying it, the price will quickly be reevaluated along with the marketing.” I made sure to hold her gaze for this next part. “As the consumer last night, I valued your dance to be worth two-thousand dollars.”

Her face immediately reddened. “Well…thank you, but…I’m pretty sure the dance wasn’t worth that much.”

“I disagree,” I replied. “In fact, that’s why I’m here.”

“What do you mean?”

“While this might seem a bit…presumptuous, I’m assuming that you work here out of necessity, rather than pleasure.” She gave me a tight nod. “Well, just like I think a dance from you is worth two-thousand dollars, I think that a night with you would be worth ten.”

Her blue eyes widened with shock or offense; I wasn’t sure. “What?”

“I’ll pay you ten-thousand dollars to go home with me tonight,” I said, putting it all out there.

Collins looked down at her lap, and I could see her chest rising with deep breaths of disbelief. I knew that she was going to need time to consider my offer, but I also wasn’t blind to how it might look. I was offering money for a night with her, and that was the same thing that men all over the world did with prostitutes. The straight line of morality would see it as the exact same thing, but it wasn’t. I wasn’t offering her money for sex…well, not exactly. I wanted her to have the money to alleviate some of her financial burden, not to sleep with me. Granted, it could be argued that I could just give her the money, but I wanted Collins. Badly. So, I was considering my offer a win-win for the both of us.

Finally, she looked back up at me. “Just so that we’re clear, you don’t want me going home with you for dinner or to watch a movie, right? You want to pay me ten-thousand dollars to have sex with you, is what you mean. Correct?”

I nodded. “Yes.”

“Just you?”

My eyes narrowed as I straightened my back, standing to my full height. “I don’t share,” I bit out more roughly than was wise. “And even if I did, there’s no way in hell that I would share you.”

Her face reddened again. “I’m not a whore,” she mumbled, sounding unsure.

“Good,” I replied. “If that’s what I wanted, I’d be cruising the street corners.”

Something flashed in her blue eyes, and Collins wasn’t as meek as she might seem. “Just so you know, the only difference between street corner hookers and high-priced call girls are the clientele,” she said sternly. “Those classy escorts are no better than the girls that have to work the streets.”

My lips twitched at how she was defending the underdog so fiercely. “You’re right, of course.”

Collins didn’t say anything for a long while. In fact, I was fairly certain that she was trying to find a way to let me down gently, probably worried about offending Carver’s clients.

Finally, she asked, “Can I think about it some?”

“Absolutely,” I assured her.

“I’ll have Carver call you as soon as I decide,” she added, her voice still unsure.

“Perfect.”

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