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“Keep the change,” she said with an appreciate smile. Clay noticed that she was very pretty and even sexy, in a mature way.
“The fare is only thirty dollars,” he said.
“I know, I make this run often… too often,” she said, wistfully. In that instant, Clay saw the busy executive as a lonely woman, and he felt sorry for her, imagining her life to be filled with professional duties with no time for fun, love or romance. She picked up her bag and case and paused. “Would you consider picking me up here, at the arrivals level, Friday night?”
“I’m not allowed to pick up fares at the airport,” he said. “Another company has an exclusive contract.” She thought for a moment.
“I have an idea,” she said. “My car is in for repairs at Hardy Mercedes, downtown. I could pay you to pick it up for me and bring it here on Friday… if you could help me out with that.” Clayton thought about it.
“I arrive late,” she said. “Eleven fifty-five from Chicago, flight 639. I’d feel a lot… safer… if somebody I knew met me here at that hour.”
“You don’t know me,” Clay said, slightly irritated.
“I’m a good judge of people, Mr. Wing, and I feel sure you’re a good person. You could pick the car up tomorrow and use it for the few days.” Clayton could see the sensitive woman through the tough, successful businessperson and finally agreed. He had several errands to run, and it would help to have a good car. His old van was on its last legs. She handed Clay an embossed business card: ‘Julia Conrad, director, Davenport Talent International’.
Clayton picked the car up the next morning and was impressed that it was a new Mercedes S series, top of the line. He was self-conscious driving it around as he went to the computer store for some supplies and to a shopping centre for new jeans. He didn’t use the car any more than that. He went to his rehearsals on the bus. He parked the car in a supervised indoor space until Friday, when he was to go to the airport for Ms. Conrad. His mind was crowded with questions about Ms. Julia Conrad. He found her energy interesting, and she was certainly beautiful, even if she was twenty years older than Clayton was. He found her intelligence exciting, and all of these stimuli were in conflict with the one undeniable fact that made her of special interest to Clay. She was a ‘connection’. She was the kind of connection for which an entertainment hopeful like Clay would sell his soul. As a director of DTI, she had access to everything and everyone that an ambitious singer prays for. Davenport Talent International represents the most successful acts in concerts, television, film and recording. He was conflicted as to whether or not he should exploit the accidental connection.
Early the next morning, Clayton pulled out of the cab garage and the anticipated call came from Herbie. He drove toward the Whitehall address and pulled up at the gate as the young woman rolled out onto the sidewalk. Clay got the impression that she was eager this morning. She smiled shyly and kept her eyes down as he lifted her from her chair. He felt like she had pulled her skirt aside at just the moment that he scooped her up in his arms. His hand was fully planted on her soft thigh, and she wore perfume for the first time.