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Aberrant: Infinite Earth - Cosmos Nova - [CN] Nate learns a few things [FIN]

Mr Fox

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"Time to celebrate!" Nate was done with work for the week.

Karrie and Rob looked up from her lab bench. They had been working on something that was even beyond Nate's nova brain and for the most part he'd just been killing time for the last few hours. His first three weeks of work at the DSA had been spent in physical tests to see what he was capable of. The last week had been spent in the lab seeing what he was capable of in the mental realm. It had been interesting for sure, but he now had a much greater respect for the serious nova brains. Since his eruption he'd known he was enhanced mentally, but he had never had any way to compare himself to others. Now he had, and it was humbling. Karrie and Rob ran circles around him the same way he ran circles around the baseline scientists that worked for the DSA. It was no wonder those two were such good friends.

It was uncanny how she could give attention to him while not breaking concentration on whatever that project was they were working on, "Oh, yeah, what are you celebrating?"

Nate blinked in surprise that she didn't guess, or perhaps she did and was just making polite conversation. He'd assume the later, "It's the weekend, but more that that, today is payday. I'm heading to Vegas to see what trouble I can get into."

Rob looked up then and there was mischief in his eyes, "You know you can't gamble right?"

Grinning back, "Actually that's not entirely true. I can't gamble against the house. Games against other players is perfectly legal, I'm not a telepath after all. I also don't have any specifically gambling related talents so I don't have to declare myself or anything. " He shrugged and spread his hands, "It's ok, though, if I find a card game I might join in, but I'm not going specifically to gamble, mostly I'm going just to celebrate being free and gainfully employed. Time to make my government happy by spending money and contributing to it's tax base." He chuckled. "With a nova appetite, I'll be getting my money's worth at the buffets that's for sure."

He felt a little bad for not inviting them, but what he wasn't saying was that he was going to Vegas specifically to have some female companionship. He'd been sent to prison when he was a pimply-faced 17 year old, and here he was 23 almost 24 and he'd never been on a date in his life, worse, he got nervous and didn't know how to talk to women. So he had set up a 'date' with an escort service he had researched online under a false identity. He was hoping that maybe, just maybe, he might learn something. He knew he was good looking now, at least by baseline standards, but that didn't mean he could speak a coherent sentence to a beautiful girl...

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“You’re just going to get laid.” Karrie still didn’t look up from what she was doing, though her lips were curled in a smile.

“Huh-uh what?” Jedi stammered.

“You’re fresh from prison, you went in when you were seventeen, it’s not hard to figure out.” She flipped a screwdriver up into the air, catching it in her hand before tossing it again. “Most guys would spend their first paycheck on getting laid.”

“I, uh… don’t think that’s exactly true…”

“And I don’t think you’ve thought this out. First, you’re going all the way to Vegas when there are plenty of ladies around here who would bone you like a… bony fish.” Rob giggled at her words; the screwdriver flashed as the overhead lights reflected off of it. “Second, you’re paying when you can get it for free. You’re a nova. There are plenty of women who will drape themselves over you and practically rape you. Third, you are doing it with a woman who does it for money, which implies a certain relationship with money that you might want to avoid. What’s to stop her from selling her story to the world?” Now Karrie looked at him, but only to spread her hands over her head as if visualizing a marquee. The ignored screwdriver was hovering in midair, spinning slightly as Karrie continued, “‘I Slept with Jedi Knight!’ would sell to any tabloid rag. And before you point out that she’d never work as a prostitute again, please remember that she’ll make so much money selling that story that she’d never have to work again, prostitution or otherwise.”

Karrie returned her attention to her project; as she held out her hand, the screwdriver dropped into it again and she resumed tossing it. “Fourth, you don’t need a glamorized hussy to find a beautiful woman to fuck.” The slight purr she put on that word seemed to be unintentional. “There are plenty of women right in the DC area that are gorgeous and would love to flip the switch on you lightsaber, if you know what I mean and I know that you do.”

“Like you?” Rob asked, grinning.

The cute woman’s eyes focused on Rob with a glare; her face heated up and the screwdriver slipped from her fingers to hover just above the floor. “No, not like me. I know arcane Indian sexual rituals that would blow any poor white man’s mind.” Deep brown eyes darted to Nate. “No offense intended to you, Jedi.”

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He wasn't about to tell Karrie or Rob that he was going to Vegas to have a date with an escort. He would never hear the end of that even if she had guessed it outright. The comment about sexual practices made him blush crimson imagining what those practices might be, but quickly did his best to put such thoughts from his mind. He was sure Karrie wasn't interested and would never actually blow his mind with any of them.

He wasn't too sure about his plan, but it was the only way he could think of to have a date without the pressure of it being a real date, and she might be right, but he'd already spent $10K on the weekend in Vegas between the room and the escort service, he didn't want to back out now.

He had done research online over the best escort services and settled on the one that had the best reviews even though it was pretty expensive. Two thousand dollars for a six hour engagement, add to that the eight thousand dollars for the suite at the casino and he was blowing a hell of a lot of money for a weekend in Sin City. Hopefully he'd be able to win some money while he was there.

The website had been well designed and classy. They had almost thirty different women to choose from and each showed a picture of the girl's face and name with a short statement about her. Click on the face or name and it would take you to a detailed page that was a cross between a Playboy centerfold details page and a business resume. The girls ranged from beautiful girl next door types to drop-dead gorgeous super-model. He had picked Hollie, a girl next door with an intriguing resume. She was good looking enough to make him drool, but she wasn't just looks, she had a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature with a History Minor, from the University of New Mexico, and an MBA from the University of Nevada. He had booked her immediately and received a long email back detailing what was and was not acceptable, with a note reminding the client that prostitution was illegal within the city of Las Vegas and that their escorts were merely that, they were not to be expected to perform any sexual activities during the course of the evening. That was fine with him, he just wanted to be able to talk with a girl without losing the ability to communicate in the English language. Anything beyond that was a bonus!

It was a month since he had gotten out of prison and he still had nothing to wear except his Jedi clothing, but he was used to the looks and comments by now, so he didn't pack any bags for the trip, but just his trunks in case he wanted to go swimming. Using his teleporter was always interesting, it wouldn't send him into any object, but it also wasn't pin-point accuracy, and had about a 30 meter range within which he might appear. So far he'd discovered that trying to appear on the sidewalk outside of a building might well land him in the middle of the street with oncoming traffic going too fast to stop. He'd barely leaped out of the way in time to miss getting flattened by a bus. So, since it was Vegas he used google maps to pick a spot near the casino, on the top of a parking garage. It would be embarrassing to land in a fountain after all.

As it was he landed near the edge on the hood of a Porsche. He quickly hopped down and casually made his way to the stairs, relieved to not see any scratches in the expensive car's hood. At the front desk, he checked in with cash under his own name, and was shown to the luxury suite by a bell boy who seemed offended that he didn't have a bag to carry. Even so he made polite conversation and then gave Nate a tour of the room point out the minibar and other amenities. The one thing he didn't get that he had wanted was a suite with a balcony, but he had been surprised to find that very few hotels in Vegas had balconies. A guy on one of the travel sites had speculated that perhaps it was because they didn't want anyone jumping, and surprisingly it made a certain sense. People all the time lost their homes and blew their life savings, if they had a balcony in their room, they just might check out in a grisly fashion and that was not the kind of publicity that the casino's wanted.

He turned his mind to happier thoughts. It was Friday night and he had the room suite until checkout on Sunday and his 'date' wasn't until tomorrow night. "Time to bankrupt some buffets!"

The bellhop looked confused at the comment, but smiled broadly when Nate handed him a fifty. "Have a wonderful stay Mr. Chatham."

He spent the evening hitting some of the best food spots in Vegas according to the research he had done online. He played some slots since those were legal, but only did a little better than breaking even. He was up $475 for the night. He did catch a couple hours of sleep that night around 4am since everything in the city was somewhat at a lull. He saw sunrise from the roof of the hotel and then went back to gambling and site seeing the day away. His 'date' wasn't until 6 pm and for a nova who didn't really need rest, that was a long time to kill, but the city was interesting enough that he didn't actually spend too much of his time fretting about the date.

The Jedi robes looked stylish and classy, and he knew he looked good in them, but nice as they were, anyone who looked at them would see a costume. It had become a defense mechanism to him almost. In prison everyone had been dressed exactly the same, in the same material and color. Out here, in the real world it was different. Clothes said something about the person who wore them, and he didn't want to commit himself to anything yet. He still didn't really know who he was and the longer he went wearing the robes the longer he could put off any decision about his life. He knew it was true and he suspected they said other things about him as well, but for now they were a sort of armor and that was good enough.

When 6 pm rolled around he was showered and cleaned and ready for Hollie's arrival. There was a knock at the door precisely at six, and with a good deal of nervousness he answered the door. He managed to get out "Hello", but that was about all.

Hollie stood 5'4", in a black dress slit part way up one side, and stylish as it was possible to be. He'd always heard every woman should own a little black dress and now he knew why. It was form fitting, but not tight and it displayed her curves very nicely, more important she was comfortable in the dress. She wore it as if it was part of her and when she moved to extend her hand for him to shake or kiss or whatever he was supposed to do with it, she showed no sign whatsoever that the way she was dressed right now was anything other than natural for her.

She frowned slightly when he didn't immediately take her hand, but then smiled when Nate found his voice enough to say "Wow."

He did his best not to let his eyes linger on her body, but focused on her face as quickly as he could. She had big dark brown eyes in heart shaped face surrounded by shoulder length black hair and when she smiled she had just the hint of dimples. And he lost his voice again.

"I'm Hollie, you're Nathan?" Her smile went a little crooked as she realized he was at a loss for words. "May I come in, or was there someplace we need to be?"

Nate was happy that he wasn't blathering, and that was about all he could say for himself. He managed to stammer out, "Ugh, yeah, come in." He gestured to the couch and chairs in the center of the suites' main room.

She was graceful as she moved into the room. Not the cat-like nova kind of grace that Kei and he, himself had, but rather the comfortable kind of grace that comes from being at home within your own body and person. I will not drool, I will not stutter, I will not be an idiot!

"So what did you have in mind for the evening Nathan?," she asked as she took a seat on the couch. She looked perfectly comfortable and yet elegant at the same time…

"Uh, call me Nate." He quickly added, "I never go by Nathan" Realizing he hadn't answered her question he hurried on coming dangerously close to stammering. "I just wanted to spend some time with you. We can get dinner if you want though."

Hollie smiled again, "I'm not hungry yet, but if you are we could go now." Before she fell silent her brows knit in curiosity, "I have to ask, is there a costume party later or something? The agency didn't tell me to come in costume."

Nate smiled then, but it was a nervous smile, "No, no party, these are just the only clothes I've got." He forgot for a minute that she was a pretty girl having answered this question many times in the last month by people at the DSA. "I guess you don't recognize me. Nathan Chatham, the kid who killed someone the day the Refugees arrived."

Her eyes got big in surprise and her mouth made a cute little "ooh" as understanding dawned, but rather than the judging, or even the sympathy the got sometimes, she just looked curious, but patient to wait for him to say more.

He didn't really want to talk about it, but he supposed this was the best opening he was going to get so he jumped in, "Listen, the reason I called the escort service is because I can't talk to girls. I'm a total looser when it comes to girls. I've never been on a date in my life and I've been in prison for the last five years." That didn't exactly come out the way he had intended and he knew he'd better explain better when he saw her take a more defensive posture.

"No, no, it's not like that. I know you aren't here for that. I want to learn how to talk to girls without being a total idiot every time." He added with a smile, "Like just now!"

She relaxed and chuckled. "Oh, I see." Then she became more business like, "So, let me see if I understand. You get nervous around girls and don't know how to act?"

He nodded, "Yeah, that's it in a nutshell." Now they were talking on a more business-like level it was a little easier.

She leaned forward and looked at him closely for a moment as if weighing him in her mind, then she nodded to herself and said. "I can help you, but you have to understand first. I am not a prostitute, and there is no touching allowed, is that agreed?"

Nate nodded not sure where this was going, "Promise. I picked your agency specifically for it's reputation, and you in particular because you look like a nice person. I don't want…."

"It's ok, I believe you." She grinned mischievously then stood up and began removing her shoes. "Give me a hand with this zipper please?"

He was confused and froze like a deer in the headlights until she raised a challenging eyebrow at him. "Well, do you want my help or not?"

"Uh, ok." For all his incredible coordination he managed to fumble a bit unzipping the back of her dress and when it was down he quickly retreated to the other side of the coffee table to stand by his chair.

She looked at him teasingly and slid the straps off her shoulders and the dress slid to the floor with a little wiggle or two that left Nate's jaw hanging open. She didn't stop there, but removed her bra slowly and dropped it on the couch beside her, then last of all turned and removed her last item and bent from the waist to retrieve her dress. She took a quiet moment to fold her things and place them neatly on top of her bag, then turned back to stand completely naked before him and spun slowly around in a circle giving him a view from every angle.

He couldn't have helped himself if his life depended on it. He drank in every aspect of her petite beauty and thanks to his perfect memory, it was a sight he would literally never forget. When his eyes finally came back up to his face and he had closed his mouth he could see her amusement in the smirking smile that was the only thing she wore.

"Well?" She waited with a raised eyebrow.

"Uh… you are beautiful. The most beautiful girl I've ever seen."

She laughed, then said, "Thanks, even if it isn't true, but that's not what I meant." She gestured to his costume and raised her eyebrow challengingly again.

He was smart, nova smart, but his brain just wasn't working for some reason.

"Your clothes silly. Take them off." She sat back down on the couch putting one leg under the other and getting comfortable.

He obeyed… how could he not, but he still didn't understand. When he had finished stripping he sat back on his chair and just said, "Why?"

She grinned, "When I was taking speech class in college I was told by the professor once that if I got nervous that I should imagine the audience in their underwear." She laughed at the expression on his face then continued, "I'm a pretty girl, and you are a handsome guy, and we're stark naked. Now we're going to sit here and talk like two normal people."

He understood now what she was doing and still wasn't convinced it was going to work. "About what?"

"About anything. Tell me about your childhood? Tell me about what it was like in prison? It doesn't matter, all that matters is that we talk."

"Uh, Ok." Very eloquent, he thought to himself depreciatingly. With some prompting he began to tell her about his life. How he had been raised and how he had loved his grandfather, but that his own parents had been distant and uncaring. He talked about being raised to take over the business and about his tutors... Mr. Green who had had a toupee that would flip up in a strong breeze, but who had been a caring teacher who had taught him to enjoy math; about Mrs. Jones who had only lasted a month before getting into a tiff with his mother over something and leaving, but not without telling her off in a spectacular fashion. He and his sisters had had to look up half those words and still didn't get their meaning until they were older. They talked of his time in prison and how he had used the time to develop his nova abilities. That led to him telling her what it was like to be a nova and to what he was doing now that he was out of prison and to what he wanted to do in the future.

Along the way she shared things about her own life as well, about her decision to come to Vegas and become an escort. They talked of her dreams to own a ranch in northern New Mexico in the mountains there. She also told him what it was like to be an escort and how she was using it to achieve her goals.

One thing was sure, that MBA wasn't going to waste. She was investing and saving at a surprising rate.

"So how much do you average a year?" It was blunt, but they had established early on in the conversation that it was ok to ask difficult or personal questions.

She didn’t hesitate, "$200k a year. My first year it was just over $100k and my best year was nearly $300k."

"Wow. That's serious money, and you do it all from escorting?" He wasn't implying anything, but she seemed a little defensive in her answer.

"Yes, just escorting. I told you at the beginning that I never get involved with a client. I earn minimum of a thousand for every escort I go on, plus any tips or gratuities. This is Vegas, lots of times guys will just want a pretty girl to keep them company while they gamble, and they often give me chips to play. I drop one or two on a game just to be polite and if I win anything then great, if I lose then it's no big deal either, but I try not to ever spend all of what they give me, and sometimes these high rollers will give away a stack of thousand dollar chips without blinking an eye. I had an older guy from Texas once give me a ten thousand dollar chip at the end of the evening, he said for bringing him luck."

She raised a hand and looked down at her cell phone showing him the clock. "We've been talking for over three hours. Like normal people. Am I not a beautiful girl anymore?"

He knew this was what she was after. He certainly hadn't forgotten that she was either beautiful or completely naked, but the nervousness had gone away somewhere along the way. He grinned, "You're evil, you know that?"

She grinned wickedly and stood up. She purposefully 'slinked' over to him and crawled onto his lap wiggling her bottom.

Through a force of will and embarrassment he had manage not to get an erection before as they talked, but this was too much and his blush at what he could not control must have been flaming red, because his face felt hot even to him.

Hollie beamed at his loss of control and stared at it appreciatively, but was careful not to touch. She leaned in close to his face as if she was going to kiss him then moved her mouth close to his ear and purred, "Keep talking jedi-boy. I'm just ramping this up a notch. If you can talk to me now, you can talk to anyone."

He stammered for a second to get out an apology for his erection and then just decided it wasn't worth the effort. When he finally was able to speak again he said, "It's ironic. You could stick me in combat and someone could whip out a hand held canon that fires duck shaped mini-nukes, and I wouldn't bat an eye. It just wouldn't phase me. Since my eruption, almost nothing phases me. Just girls. It's like my kryptonite!"

She chuckled huskily and had he known more about girls he would have realized from her flushed skin, and rock hard nipples that he was having an effect on her as well.

Hollie did not choose to clue him in on what this was doing to her, instead she leaned back and became more serious. "Ok space-boy, I'm going to give you the secret of talking to women, so you'd better listen up, because I'm not going to repeat myself."

He focused on her words again instead of her body and it's effect on him. "Ok, I'm listening." He made himself keep his eyes on her face.

"It doesn’t matter what you say to a woman, so long as you say it with confidence. You could walk up to a complete stranger anywhere, and talk utter gibberish, or in a foreign language, and if you are doing it with the right attitude, she'll listen. You might not score, in fact, don't ever count on scoring, just know that there will be a certain percentage of conversations that will go no where no matter how confident you are. On the other hand if you walk up to a woman with an attitude of "I'm not worthy" then you will fail EVERY time. If you don't feel you are worthy to get in her panties, then she will sense it like a wolf senses fear and no matter how hot you are, or how rich, or that you have super powers, you will fail. Got it?"

He took that in and it made sense. "Got it."

He took a deep centering breath and adopted an outward calm that did not match his inner arousal. He spoke clearly and deeply with no waver in his voice as he said, "I want to kiss you Hollie." He leaned forward and her lips were partially opened, her breathing was shallow and they came within a centimeter of touching before she turned her head and broke eye contact.

Then it was her turn to take a deep breath. "I'm sorry, but no." She quickly got off his lap, and sensing that she might have hurt him she added, "I can't, I want to…" and under her breath added, "holy crap do I want to", the finished aloud, "It's against my rules."

Seeing confusion in his eyes she continued, "Not the agencies rules, lots of girls have sex with their dates, but that makes them prostitutes in my eyes. I made myself a promise when I started that I would never get physical with a client, I just can't cross that line, or I'd be forever a whore in my own mind." She looked down at Nate's lap and wiped a hand over his leg where she had been sitting, "I'm really sorry, this was affecting me every bit as much as you." She frowned angrily, "Damn it, I've never second guessed my rules before. I think it's time to get dressed."

Her words had repaired the suddenly crushed ego. He could tell instinctively when someone was lying to him and Hollie was telling the truth. She really did want him, and she really would be crushed if she gave in. "It's ok, I totally understand. I've got a lot of respect for you for your rules. In fact, if I hadn't sensed that about you I never would have done any of this, or opened up to you." He smiled thinking about Karrie's words. She had been wrong in almost every way. He hadn't come here just to get laid, although he had to admit to himself that after getting to know Hollie he certainly wouldn't have minded that outcome. He also wasn't about to get himself in a position where someone could sell him out to the tabloids. Hollie could do that he knew, but she never would. That sort of thing just wasn't in her nature. She wanted to get to the top but she wanted to do it on her terms, and not through shortcuts that meant betraying people.

"It's not just that, I also don't want to be your first kiss. It would be wrong for someone as nice as you to have such an important moment with someone they were paying for companionship. It would take all the magic out of it, and you would regret it later and resent me for it."

Seeing that he was about to protest, she put up a hand, "No, you would, trust me. I know relationships and people. I might not have your awesome super powers, but I know what I know."

He nodded regretfully as she put her cloths back on. The intimacy they had shared had gone now, the clothes being a shield and a mask that they each wore concealing their true selves. "So what's next then. I think I passed your tests. I can talk with a beautiful woman like she's a real person."

She got that mischevious look on her face again. "Oh no you haven't. You've gotten comfortable with me, that doesn’t mean you can talk to anyone else. It's test time space-boy. Get some real clothes on and we're going down stairs and we'll see whether or not you've passed."

He nodded, she was right he wouldn't really believe in himself until he had been able to talk to a perfect stranger without a problem. "There's a problem. I don't have any regular clothes. I've got a couple sets of Jedi robes and a pair of swim trunks and that's literally it."

She frowned then brightened. "It's only 9:30, I know some good shops that are open till 11:00, and there are places in Vegas that you can shop 24/7 if you know where to find them. Let's go."

Nate was just finishing fastening his boot and stood up. He had a couple grand in cash inside his belt in a secret pocket. "What the hell."

She grinned and took his arm and led him out of the suite joking, "What we need now is a montage scene."

He looked questioningly, and she laughed, "You know, in all the movies, they have a 20 second series of cut scenes of the protagonists in a bunch of shops looking at clothes and trying them on, and at the end they are walking out of a story with arms full of boxes and bags full of stuff, and then it's done and they get on with the action."

He chuckled, "That would be a nice super power to have. Unfortunately, that's not a jedi ability so we'll have to do this the hard way, one shop a time and it will take hours."

"Not necessarily. All you really need is one outfit, just to wear to test your ability to talk to women." She cocked her head in thought, looking at him in the elevator mirror as if sizing him up and weighing him to the ounce. "A pair of boots, jeans, and a decent shirt. If we move quickly, half an hour."

It was Nate's turn to be impressed. As a kid his mother had done all his shopping for him and it had been hell, being dragged from store to store for hours at a time. "If you can do this in half an hour, I just might have to hire you on a permanent basis."

The he blushed realizing how that might have come across, "No, I mean like as a personal assistant, not… you know, like that."

She just laughed at him. "I knew what you meant. Don't be a naughty jedi." She slapped him on the ass just as the elevators were sliding open and he blushed as the passengers waiting to come inside looked questioningly at them.

The shopping did take a little more than half an hour, but that was because Nate didn't have any idea what his size was and had to try on arm loads of jeans in various brands and styles before Hollie found one she liked that fit him just right.

She looked a little jealous as they checked out. "It's no fair you know. You've got the body of a model, everything looked good on you, even the stuff that didn't fit perfectly."

Nate grinned in response. "You're one to talk. You've got as good of a body as I can imagine."

Shaking her head she said, "No, girls things these days are designed for skinny little toothpick model types, not for short women with hips."

He chuckle and corrected, "Petite women with incredible curves you mean."

She slapped his arm and then smiled at the compliment.

They were back at the Bellagio just at 11 and the place was still quite crowded on the gaming floor and in the bars. If anything it was just beginning to be peak time for them.

"Give me a minute to pick you a target and then you can show me what you've learned. "Just remember, you are totally hot, you’re rich, and you have super powers. If you act confidently you'd be a catch for any woman. Remember your worth and you'll have no problems." She looked around the bar and finally settled on a blonde who looked to be in her early twenties. "Her. Go get her space-boy."

Nate looked the woman over and she didn't seem like someone who was trolling for fresh meat. She didn't have that predatory look that so many people in bars like these had. She was pretty, with an angular almost elfin face and with his eyesight he could even tell that her eyes were blue despite the dimmed lighting of the place.

He gave Hollie one last look of 'here goes nothing' and strode into battle.

His gut was doing flips, but he concentrated on maintaining the right expression of calm confidence. His nova brain considered a couple dozen possible opening lines as his feet carried him to his destination. As he stepped up next to the blonde's table, he settled on just keeping it simple, "Hi, I'm Nate, would you like some company?"

The girl looked up having not noticed his approach, it took her a few seconds to process his appearance and his words, and the she said, "Uh, sure. I'm April. My friend is dancing, but I hurt my ankle yesterday so I'm warming a chair." She seemed genuinely pleased to have his company. He was confident, at least on the outside, and April had responded just as Hollie had said she would. He had passed Hollie's test. He looked back over to where Hollie was watching him and gave her a smile and a thumbs up under the table where April couldn't see.

He and April talked for a few minutes about small things and he bought her a drink, but noticed when Hollie slipped off. She had been proud of him, he could tell, but she also had seemed a little sad.

He put his own drink down and put his hand on April's, "I'm sorry, I just realized I need to go for a bit, but it's been nice talking to you. Maybe if you are here when I get back you can teach me to dance." His smile was warm and appreciative, and April looked disappointed that he was going, but not hurt.

The feeling her expression gave him was like aloe being spread on a bad sunburn of the soul. Never in his life had he had a girl be disappointed or sad to see him go and now two beautiful women in one night!

He hurried out of the Casino and toward the parking lot where Hollie had parked when they returned from shopping. He could see that she was almost to the garage so he made a jedi leap, and then another landing at the entrance and slipped inside before Hollie could spot him. He waited by her truck leaning casually against it.

"You gonna leave without saying goodbye? He smiled at her.

"I thought I left you with that cute blonde, I know you didn't strike out so what are you doing here?" She seemed miffed and something else.

"Nope, I passed the class Mrs. Hollie. I just wanted to say thank you. You were really great, and now that you are off the clock, I wanted to ask you out on a date."

She looked flummoxed. "It's against my rules…" She seemed less sure of that now.

"Nope. You're rules state that you will never get involved with a client. I'm not a client any longer. " He said it with confidence, and it wasn't feigned, their time had really changed him. It might take time to get to the point where he could walk up to just anyone cold, but now he knew he could do it, and everything else was just practice. Besides, he knew Hollie liked him, he had seen her reaction and her regret that kissing him would break her rules.

She still seemed undecided, so he added, "Say yes, and we can have dinner together tomorrow night. No expectations, just two friends having dinner, no financial involvement at all between us. Hell, I'll even let you buy if it makes you feel any better. " His grin was broad and full of mirth.

She hit him in the arm, "You bastard, you were a cheap skate you know that?!? I haven't had a client in ages that didn't tip me, and look at everything I did for you!" She put on a fake frown and then busted out laughing at his indignant expression. "Fine, I'll have dinner with you Nate, and I AM buying!"

He knew her well enough now that he understood that by buying she was erasing in her own mind that there was anything remaining in their relationship of the Client and Escort. Going out with him was her choice and it had nothing to do with the Escort service.

"Alright. Tomorrow then. Meet me here, or would you like me to pick you up?" He wasn't sure if she would give him her address or not.

"You don't have a car dork. I'll meet you here at seven. Make us a reservation somewhere." She slipped into her car so that there wouldn't be any question of a good night kiss, or any temptation either.

"Cya then." Nate watched her drive off with a feeling of wonder that he could have made so much progress in so short of a time, and that someone as 'together' as Hollie had seen the potential in him.

He remembered Karrie's words and thought, Maybe she was right after all, at least in part. I'm a nova and I'm good looking, I probably could have tons of women, but Hollie had been a surprise. She had genuinely cared for him. Maybe she would be his first kiss after all, and that would be just fine.

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