1. The Arrangement


    Date: 7/2/2017, Categories: Reluctance, Author: Saucymh, Source: LushStories

    “So what do you think?” Ruth bit her lip. The studio apartment was tiny, no larger than a bog-standard hotel room. The location, however, was perfect. “Bills are inclusive, there’s free Wi-Fi and residents get a key to the basement gym. Did you take a peep at that?” “Not yet,” she smiled. “It’s excellent. You’ll like it.” The smartly-dressed man, holding iPad and keys, peered at Ruth through thick glasses. “So, you’re a student?” “Yes.” She smoothed down her dress, conscious of the creases. “Is that a problem?” “Not if you can afford London N1. Are your parents paying?” “No,” she said flatly. “I have an income.” “Oh?” “Bar work. Near here, actually.” “Convenient. And your college?” “UCL. Just around the corner.” “So this is ideal,” he nodded, “if you can afford it.” Ruth drew a breath. The apartment was way above her price range and the man holding the keys knew it. “May I look around?” she asked, trying to sound confident. “By all means.” The room was stylishly furnished, well-equipped, and the thoughtful layout made the most of the limited space. Ruth sighed, “It’s so quiet.” “Well, it’s the top floor and the walls are well insulated. It’s south facing too, nice and bright.” “Yes. It’s lovely.” She trailed her fingertips over the gleaming worktops and chrome appliances in the bijou kitchenette. How different from the squalid little flat she currently shared. Everything there was covered in filth. The cooker was so dirty she daren’t use it. Plonking herself down on the bed, ...
    Ruth tested its firmness. Her cleavage wobbled as she bounced up and down. The man’s gaze followed her movements. “It’s got drawers underneath,” he said, clearing his throat, “for storage.” “So it’s built in?” “Yes.” He eyed her suspiciously. “You seem disappointed.” “No. Storage is good.” “Hmm. Don’t forget to look at the view. It’s a feature of this apartment.” “View?” Moving to the sash window, Ruth held aside the nets. “A garden,” she exclaimed. “I didn’t expect that.” “It’s private.” A key was held aloft. “This lets you in.” “Wow!” Gazing out, Ruth imagined lazy mornings standing in her quiet apartment with the window flung wide to let in the sun. She’d sip fresh ground coffee while watching over her piece of Eden, right in the heart of London. Her mind drifted. It was another world. Her current flat overlooked a busy main road and the windows were all nailed shut. “Your hair shimmers in the sunshine.” The voice whispered close to her ear and fingers touched her soft curls. “Do you mind!” Ruth gasped, spinning around. “Please, don’t take offence. You have golden strands in your hair and when you smile you looked like an angel.” Ruth edged backwards. “What were you thinking? May I ask?” “That depends,” she frowned. “Are you the owner or agent?” “Owner. Daniel.” “Daniel,” her voice softened. “I like that name. I’m Ruth.” “I know.” “Of course you do.” Her piercing blue eyes fixed upon him. “I like your apartment, Daniel. I really do, but…” Her lip quivered. “I’m sorry,” she ...
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