Chapter Seven

I texted Franz to let him know I wouldn’t be coming directly back home, and that I might have company when I did come back. His reply said he was going out to buy better headphones, and I facepalmed hard enough to ring down an entire grocery aisle.

The rest of my shift was the rest of my shift, and when it ended, Predator stood just outside the front entrance. She smirked when I walked out, and reached forward to trail one finger along my cheek. I shivered, and she winked.

“So,” she purred, raising an eyebrow, “where’s the nearest diner that isn’t completely full of grease?”

I shook my head ruefully, but managed to get us both to a place that wouldn’t have our arteries crying later.

She was right– I did make fun of her taste in food. For someone with a name like ‘Predator’, she had a distinct thing for sweets, and managed to coax the waitress into asking the chef if she could have pancakes, even this late at night. When that didn’t work, she went right up to the pickup counter and flirted herself some pancakes out of the chef.

“Do you like men?” I asked, when our food arrived, looking down at my pasta with relish.

“Nope,” Predator answered simply, sucking syrup off her fork. A pause, then, “what, are you worried about me and the chef?”

I shook my head. A stab of jealousy had hit when she’d leaned forward to give him a good look down her shirt, but… the way she treated him was so much different from the way she treated me that I felt silly feeling jealous. After all, she’d never used that sickly-sweet tone with me. (Had she?)

“I kind of figured you’d want to be exclusive,” she shrugged, spearing another piece of pancake. “Don’t worry, I’ll give the bad news to all the girls dangling off my every word.” She accompanied that with a smirk, and I stared thoughtfully down at my coffee.

“What girls?”

Predator shook her head. “C’mon, Aiyana, don’t get all jealous on me already. When you look like this, you get people who notice.” She shrugged. “I’ll cut ’em loose. Besides, you should know.” She used her fork to to point up and down my body. “After all, if I want all up on that, other people do, too.”

I blushed, mumbling something into my coffee. The rest of the meal went… well, pretty much like that. She did suggestive things with her fork every so often, hit on me blatantly, and I fumbled through responses like I was about five years younger.

Then, at the end, she said, “I need you to come to a club with me.”

I blinked. “Need?”

“Yeah,” she handed the waitress her credit card, leaning forward on the table when the dishes were gone. “I’ve got a client who thinks her husband is cheating on her at some club with some woman.”

“So, why do you need me?” I asked, playing with the end of my unused napkin.

“It’s… a swinger’s club.” She shrugged, leaning back. “I can’t just show up alone, despite how hot I am, and whoever I go with is kinda gonna have to look like we actually want to do each other. I usually bring Flare, but he’s not my type and I’m not his.”

I allowed myself a brief moment to wonder what Flare’s type was, before getting back to the matter at hand. “So, you want me to come with you to a swinger’s club so you can see if someone else is there.”

“Yeah.”

“Okay,” I shrugged, finishing off my coffee.

“Okay?” She asked, tilting her head.

“Yeah, okay.” I smiled, shaking my head. “Did you forget what I’m going to school for? It’s going to take a little more than an orgy pit and some openly masturbating strangers to weird me out.”

She nodded, taking back her card from the waitress, who seemed more than happy to get away from our talk of swingers and clubbing. “Well. I guess I underestimated you.”

“I guess you did,” I agreed, and that was that.

[*]

A few boring, school-filled days passed before she let me know it was time to go chasing after the unfaithful husband.

Despite my claim to Predator, I’d never actually been in a swinger’s club. I’d been in some… interesting situations, including a number of really wild house parties, but never a formalized type of club, where the stuff was all built-in instead of jury-rigged or hid under someone’s bed most of the time.

I googled the place she told me, threw on a slightly-nicer shirt and pair of jeans (what? The dress code said casual was fine!), and went downstairs to meet her when she said she was at the apartment. Franz gave me a toothy smile that definitely meant I wouldn’t be able to maneuver around him much longer without introducing them, and I gave him a bright smile before disappearing.

Predator greeted me with a kiss that, well, didn’t leave any doubt as to what we’d be getting up to after the club.

“Do I have to do anything?” I asked, once we were in the car and on our way.

“Nope,” she answered easily, “just stay near me, and enjoy the show.”

We drove for a few minutes in safety, then I piped up, “these places take their privacy seriously.”

“Mmhmm,” she hummed, “and I won’t be taking any pictures while we’re inside. All the lady asked for is proof he’s been going to the place with the woman she thinks he’s cheating on her with. So we go in, wait for him to leave, and snap pics of him leaving, with the club’s sign clearly visible.”

“That’s it?” I asked, surprised. I had honestly expected that we’d have to somehow sneak pictures of him in the act with someone (or multiple someones) while on the lookout for employees.

“That’s it,” she confirmed, pulling into the parking lot. “Well,” she amended, eyeing me, “that’s it if you want it to be it.”

I pursed my lips. “What do you mean?”

She shrugged, turning off the car and turning to me. “It’s a swinger’s club. If you wanna swing, we can swing.”

The first thing that came to mind was a definite negation, but I tilted my head, thinking it through. I wasn’t really a jealous person, truth be told. Sometimes I got jealous urges, but it was more if I thought my partner would be neglecting me in favor of someone else. This would be something we were doing together.

On the other hand, we had just started dating. I didn’t want to risk shattering this strange, brand-new thing we had.

“Not… tonight,” I decided, reaching over the center console to rub my thumb along the inside of her wrist. (I saw her pupils dilate, felt her arm flex underneath mine, and a smile curled the corner of my mouth.) “I’ll think about it, though.”

“Okay,” she said, nodding. “Let’s go catch a cheater.”

Third Interlude

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