The night was darker than the one before. Time changes the light, leaving us with less, bringing us deeper into the colder months of the year. While the holiday's hung above us, Thanksgiving ending just weeks ago, nothing else felt any different to me.
It was the same with work, just another night. My car was parked a block away from an old cornerstone, idling quietly. I sipped coffee and glanced at the clock on my dash once, twice, then a third time before I realized the guy I was stalking wasn't coming back to his apartment.
He was an average looking man, wealthy, and he had a wife that hired me to follow him around. It was the same thing as always; People cheating on people. Spouses mainly, but every now and then I got a few boyfriends or girlfriends that were just as paranoid. I wished I had better news to deliver to my clients, but it was always the same, because people cheat.
Rich people, poor people, young people, old people. All races, all genders, all sexual orientations. It can be a depressing career to some, but I was used to it. My friends think I got to play some undercover detective. I chuckled outloud. Someone that hides in alley ways and climbs up fire escapes to take pictures of people in their most intimate moments through a window.
Truth is, people aren't that careful. They're not as secretive as they believe they are. Maybe to their spouses they can be, but not to the rest of the world. They never see me coming, or leaving. I'm good at what I do, and I'm in it for the money. I grew up seeing bad marriages first hand, so it only seemed natural for me to do what I do. I'm pushing thirty, which to many, is young for the job. I'm quiet, average height and appearance, and I can talk my way in or out of anything. I rarely sleep, and don't have much of a social life. I'm a ghost.
I chuckled again. This job was my social life. In my experience, it doesn't take much for wealthy people to blow a gasket and want a divorce, and when that happened, I was there.
The clock stared at me brightly. I sighed, then fastened my seatbelt and shifted my volvo into drive. Just before I pulled away, a white baseball cap caught my eye. I hunched down, my eyes peering through the steering wheel. It was my client's husband, and he had a tall blonde on his hip. I grabbed my Canon, aimed forward, and clicked the shutter button. My camera took over a dozen pictures, each more scandalous than the last. Hand holding, nuzzling, grabbing, whispering, and kissing before they were behind closed doors.
Another day, another dollar.
As the sun rose above tall buildings, it was blinding me through the coffee shop windows. I switched chairs so that my back was against the warmth. It felt so good. It evened out the warmth in my hands from holding my coffee mug. The streets of Knoxville were beginning to come alive with the morning. The temperature was supposed to be decent today, which made me happy. The past couple of days had been unseasonably cold, and that frustrated me. Winter was winter, but it was barely winter yet. I loved all the four seasons, but I wanted to enjoy each one, and not skip one like we had done with autumn this year. I could move south, but I've never lived anywhere but here. Home is home. The small trees that lined the roads of the city were bright with Christmas lights preparing for the coming holiday. I brought my caramel brûlée to my mouth, and inhaled before drinking it.
I got an hours sleep, so my mind was foggy, but I had the packet that contained the photos to end a marriage, and my client just came through the door. She was in her mid-forties, married to the cheater for two years, no kids, and one pet; a dog she took everywhere she went. I groaned seeing it's little face peeking out of her large purse. It spotted me as well, and began barking. It was shrill enough to break glass. I wanted to choke it.
"Stupid dog," I mumbled.
"Bella," the dog owner greeted cheerfully. She sat down, placing her bag on the small table between us. She quieted her chihuahua from barking, but it was still growling at me. I tried to ignore it.
"Morning, Claire," I said. She smiled. Her fake nails clinked against her cup, no doubt full of a pumpkin spice latte, and her hair was so blonde, I could still smell the bleach.
"Got anything for me?" She asked. I nodded, happy to get to the point.
Some women like small talk, but I wasn't one of them. I pulled the envelope from beneath her purse, and gave it to her. As she took it, her eyes glistened. It was as if this was Christmas morning, and I was giving her something she'd always wanted. When she peeked inside, she gasped, but not out of shock.
"Perfect," she beamed. "You're good. The last guy I hired took two weeks, and came up with nothing."
I shrugged, not as pleased with myself as she was.
"Arrogant little boy thinks he can do this to me?" She snapped, laughing wickledy.
Claire wasn't stupid, but I wouldn't call her smart either. Like so many other clients of mine, she just liked to appear dumb. I never understood why. How can a man be attracted to that? Her husband in the white baseball cap was eleven years younger than her, yet she thought by playing dumb, having fake boobs, and hair so bleached it could choke a donkey that that was enough to keep him satisfied for life?
I didn't say any of these things to her of course. I wasn't going to tell the truth. I wasn't going to lie either, even though that was easier. I could tell her to find a man more her age and settle down, to just be happy, but why would I? She was in it all for money, and that was fine with me. Besides, marriage to me was just a piece of paper that said your spouse gets half your shit. Only the suspicious people signed prenups, but even they end up paying some form of alimony.
"Are we good?" I asked, interrupting her from staring at the photos. She looked up, grinned, then nodded.
"Oh, yes. The lawyer will tear his ass apart."
I snorted. Claire dug in her Coach purse, shoving the small dog to one end. It was still growling.
"Muffin, hush!" Claire ordered.
The dog whimpered, ashamed, then started again. I rolled my eyes. Claire handed me a white envelope. I didn't need to check that the money was all there. I placed it safely inside my coat, and stood up. I downed my coffee, and nodded to Claire.
"Good luck," I said. She was looking at the pictures again, and didn't notice me.
"Yeah, huh?" Her bright green eyes looked up.
"Good luck," I said again.
"Oh," she laughed. "You're sweet, but I won't need any thanks to you."
I nodded again and left the table. I was almost free of her and the rat dog before she called my name. I unwillingly turned back around.
"By the way, I've recommended you to my best friend."
"Great," I replied casually.
"You think my marriage is scandalous and loaded, just you wait," she assured. She turned back to her photos, and I left with a wicked smile. More money was just what I needed anyway.
And here I am for the new year! A new story!
i sincerely hope you guys enjoy it! I will be posting every Wednesday and Sunday, and will do my absolute best to stick to it. I am so excited for you all to read this story!