Authors: Jecca Bartlett
Copyright © 2015 by Jecca Bartlett
All rights reserved. Copyright matters, it allows artists to continue to offer you stories to transport you, make you laugh, make you cry, challenge and teach you.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents were created in my imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Cover Design Copyright © 2015 by
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"Men suck" Cyndi said.
"No we don't," the tall guy seated to her left at the long polished bar said.
"Gooch, don't men suck?"
"Never when you want them too," she replied with an arched eyebrow. Her hair was its usual wild curly self. Her brown eyes twinkled and she drummed a staccato beat with her long polished nails. She was slender, where Cyndi was curvy and if she hadn't been so nice, Cyndi could have hated her for being so put together all the time.
"Funny," said the tall guy raising his glass, "I could say the same for a few of the women I've met."
"That we don't suck on command?" said Gooch, frowning at him.
"Taking the fifth," he reconsidered "I'm Daryl, nice to meet you."
"Felicia Guccerelli, my friends call me Gooch, and this is my best friend Lucinda, we call her Cyndi."
"Drowning your sorrows?" He asked.
"Yep, you?" Gooch said.
"Uh huh, another dateless night, another...well, not much."
" I hear ya," Gooch answered. She nudged Cyndi and whispered, "Hey, get in the game here, you're just sitting there."
"I don't want to be in the game, I want to be left alone," Cyndi considered him thoughtfully. Tall, check, muscles, check, tattoo peeking from his sleeve, well that was ok, it was his tone. "Not my type, I don't really like the attitude. And really, I'm good by myself. "
"No, you don't, you don't mean that. You've always wanted a family. Well, maybe not always, but at least as long as I've known you." This was an inside joke, she had known Cyndi since they were both two-and-a-half and scared of the pre-school teacher Mrs. Tumbler.
"Anyway," Gooch continued, "they're not all like him," the him was Cyndi's cheating ex, Jake "really they're not."
"Well, I mean, I can't prove it, but just because you got cheated on, dumped and lied to by Jake the Snake, doesn't mean there are no good ones anywhere. We both had good dads, they were good men."
"Yeah, dad was a good guy, but his taste in second wives left a lot to be desired."
"That's," Gooch waved her hand dramatically, "nothing, it was impulsive, it's just too bad he had to go and die and leave you with her."
"I've been thinking," Cyndi said, "and I know what you're going to say, but it's not just the apple-tini talking either," she swirled her glass dramatically, "I don't think I'm cut out for a permanent relationship. I mean, they all leave me, so obviously it's not in the cards. I think, from now on, I'm gonna be a slut."
Gooch inhaled so sharply she nearly choked on her drink. "A... what did you say? A Slut?"
"Yeah, a slut. You know, peanut butter legs, round heels? They get all the action, they never worry about will he call, or did he have fun, or where is he tonight and why hasn't he called when he said he would. They're the smart ones, they have it made. Just dick and dash, you know?"
Gooch nearly choked again, and opened her bag searching for a tissue to keep her mascara from streaking her face.
"Sounds good to me," Daryl winked.
"Well, I wasn't planning on starting tonight, thanks though." Cyndi turned her back to him.
He tapped her on the shoulder, "No problem, you should try Tinder, the dating app. People use it for..." he said with a wink.
"I know what people use it for, thanks. Um we have to go. See you around," Cyndi said as she checked her watch. "Morning comes early, I gotta get out of here, c'mon Gooch, I'll give you a lift."
"Honestly I'd rather take the subway if it's all the same to you?" she said as they walked toward the door.
"You don't want a ride?"
"Do you have your company car?"
"Of course I do, it's the only car I have."
"Well then I'm not riding with you, thanks all the same though."
"What, you have an objection to my classic 2008 VW?"
As they approached her car, Gooch indicated the car as if she were demonstrating the features at an auto show, "No, my objection is to your pumpkin orange car that you have had painted like Cinderella's coach. I know it's branding and all, but, you can't expect me to ride in that!"
Cyndi looked at her orange car, painted with a stem on the roof and a tendril of leaves hanging down. The doors and windows were trimmed in gold paint, to look gilded, and the fenders were even painted to look like big wooden wheels. It was a work of art, she thought as she ran her hands over it.
"I'm Cynderella Cleaners, I need this coach, it is branding, and I have a soft spot in my heart for this car."
"You have a soft spot in your head is where you have it. No wonder they all leave you, they probably get one good look at the Cyndi mobile and run the opposite direction!"
"Hey, it's a classic I'm telling you! Stop rolling your eyes so hard, they're gonna get stuck in the back of your head and all you'll be able to see is your own ass. "
"Helps me to walk backwards, see you tomorrow," Gooch yelled as she walked backward toward the subway stop, and waved. "Don't forget lunch is on me!"
"I never forget free food, see you then."
Cyndi got into her car/pumpkin coach and slid it into gear then eased into traffic. Her car was kind of unusual, she had to admit, but her Cynderella cleaners had definitely been gaining momentum over the last couple of years. It wasn't just the car, but it made a statement. When her dad had died she had shoveled every last penny he had left her into the business, and she was relieved it was taking off.
The whole be a slut idea, wasn't really that original, she had thought of it before. She felt like she needed to be more like a guy and be able to walk away. She was sure tired of them walking out on her. And what did she need them for anyway? She had her own business, she was doing okay. Yeah, a family would be nice, all she had was her stepmom and her step-sisters, who were...pretty unpleasant, to be charitable. But she had Gooch, she was as good as a sister, maybe even better, like a sister/aunt/bestie/fairy godmother all mixed together.
She wasn't sure she was cut out for slut-hood though. She didn't really know how to start.
She was a serial monogamist. She did stick with one guy at a time.
It's just that they didn't seem to stick with her.
Cyndi mulled it over as she headed home. She was sure Gooch would have something to say about it at lunch the next day, probably try to talk her out of it, but she was determined to stand firm.
Morning came fast, just as she had predicted. She knew better than to go out on a work-night, this was Gooch's fault. She stretched and grabbed her uniform. After a quick cup of coffee she was ready to be off.
Her appointments for the day were both in the same high-rise building. The owner had been a friend of her dad, and he had tossed her the account to help her get started. She appreciated it, and worked all the harder so that he wouldn't be sorry.
The Park Place building was huge, straight out of a Hollywood movie set. It was old fashioned with iron railings on the balconies, and beautiful stone work on the facade. She had 4 units to clean here, each one took half of a day so she was here two days a week. It wasn't that they were dirty, in fact they were usually quite neat, but they were enormous. She saved the penthouse for last since it was her favorite. The views were magnificent, the kitchen was to die for, and it had a library where she was pretty sure she could live forever and never be bored. That would be for this afternoon.
Cyndi emerged from the car with two plates of cookies balanced atop everything else. She walked from the parking garage to the elevator and headed for the first apartment for the day. Mrs. Entwhistle was elderly, and had a huge place that she rattled around in. Cyndi often suspected that she was there solely as company for the woman, but she didn't mind. The place was spotless, mostly, so she just went over everything again. And as she did they chatted.
"Oh, thank you for the cookies, dear, but you know about my sugar, right?"
"Yes ma'am, they're made with almond flour for protein and erythritol for a sweetener, not sugar. It's not exactly the same but I think you'll like them. I don't find that there's a weird taste afterwards. Every other sweetener gives me a headache. I hope you like them!"
"You were always the dearest thing. Whenever do you have time for this?"
"Ma'am, you know I'm a single girl."
"Yes. And you know I've been thinking about that. I feel like your time is coming, dear. Something tells me."
"That's nice, Mrs. Entwhistle, but I like my life just fine. Besides it gives me time to bake you cookies."
"That's good dear, in my experience (I had three husbands you know, out lived all of them)," she paused and sighed and stared for a moment "where was I, oh right, in my experience, when you stop looking is when they turn up."
Cyndi smiled and said, "Thank you Mrs. Entwhistle, I'll remember that."
"See that you do, dear, see that you do. Would you join me in the kitchen, we can have one of your cookies, and share some tea."
"Sure, let me finish up here, and I'll be down to join you." Cyndi powered through the apartment, cleaning the pretty much spotless rooms, and finished up in the master bath. As she headed back downstairs she surveyed her work; she loved the smell of a clean home, no dust, streak free windows and mirrors. It really was satisfying work.
She and Mrs. Entwhistle sat in the sparkling kitchen and enjoyed a cookie and some tea. This was fun, she loved this part of her life. Sure she worked hard and worried, but she was able to take time to smell the roses, or eat some cookies as the case may be.
"Mrs. Entwhistle, this has been fun, thank you. I'm off, I'll see you next week, okay?"
"Yes, dear, and thank you for the cookies."
Cyndi made her way to her next stop, the penthouse, and let herself inside. This apartment was also pretty much immaculate. But there was a single man living here, so occasionally there was the stray sock or pair of underwear. Sometimes a pizza box that needed to be taken out, and always, always sports pages all over the living room. She had counted one time and come up with 10 different papers from all over the country.
She went to the kitchen to leave the cookies, and found a note addressed to just, Cynderella. She smiled as she opened it and read:
Thank you for the banana bread last week, it was fantastic. It's been forever since someone baked for me. The only thing missing was the smell of it baking as I walked in the door. Feel free to use the kitchen sometime. Someone should.