‘Oh, my God, Dahlia, you have to help me,’ Stella, my best friend and roomie cries. She has burst open my bedroom door and is standing at the threshold theatrically wringing her hands.
Stella is a well-known drama queen so I don’t panic. I mute my video and turn towards her. ‘Calm down and tell me what’s wrong.’
‘I have a massage client in less than an hour and I’ve just realized that I’ve also got another client coming here.’
See what I mean about drama. ‘Just cancel one of them,’ I suggest reasonably.
‘I can’t do that. The one who is coming here is that crazy rich bitch from Richmond who told me she is going to recommend me to all her crazy assed rich friends in Richmond. She’s probably already on the train. And the other is a Russian Mafia boss.’
I frown. First of all, I didn’t know she had a Russian mafia boss as one of her clients. Must address that one later, but not yet. ‘So what do you want me to do?’
‘Can you stand in for me?’
I shake my head resolutely. ‘Nope. Absolutely not. You’ll just have to tell the Mafia boss that you can’t make it.’
‘I can’t do that,’ she wails. ‘One of the clauses in the confidentiality agreement I signed was that I would never miss any of my appointments once I agreed it unless it was a life or death situation.’
‘Huh?’ I cock an eyebrow. ‘He made you sign a confidentiality agreement?’
She makes an exasperated sound. ‘Yes.’
‘What kind of person puts an unreasonable clause like that into an agreement with their masseuse?’ I ask, genuinely surprised.
‘Dahlia,’ she screams in frustration. ‘Can you focus, please. I’m running out of time here.’
‘It’s simple. Go on to the Mafia boss, and I’ll tell your other client when she arrives that she can have a free massage next week.’
‘No, she can’t come next week. She is away, and anyway, she’s in pain and really needs me.’
‘So tell the Mafia boss that you can’t make it because you have a life and death scenario.’
‘You want me to lie to Zane?’ she asks incredulously.
‘If that’s what his name is,’ I reply coolly.
She comes into the room and starts pacing the small space like a caged animal. ‘I’m not going to lie to him. He’ll know.’ She stops and stares at me. ‘He’s got like the coldest most piercing eyes you ever saw. It’s like they can see right through you.’
I laugh. ‘I can’t believe you said that.’
‘I’m serious, Dahlia. Lying to him is out of the question.’
‘Well, then you’ll have to let the rich bitch down.’
‘Did you not hear me? She’s in pain. Oh, please, please, can you help me this time. You can have my fee and I’ll owe you big time.’
‘No,’ I say clearly. The solution to her problem seems obvious to me —she should cancel the Russian guy.
‘I’ll do the dishes for a whole month,’ she declares suddenly.
I pause. Hmmm. Then I shake my head.
‘I’ll do the dishes and clean the apartment for a whole month.’
I hesitate. ‘Even the bathroom?’
‘Yes, even the bathroom,’ she confirms immediately.
‘I’d love to help but—’
‘Two months,’ she says with a determined glint in her eyes.