1 A Mistake?

Ava took a deep breath as she tried to calm her troubled nerves. What was she doing? Wasn't she about to make the biggest mistake of her life?

When her best friend Madson had suggested that she do this, Ava had called her crazy.

"This would really be a good way for you to raise money to pay off your mother's debts," Madson had said as she showed Ava the website.

"Maddy, have you gone mad? How can you suggest such a thing?" Ava looked at Madson like she had suddenly grown two heads.

"Calm down, and hear me out," Madson said.

"Now, for someone like me who has lost my virginity, it was for nothing."

"I don't understand," Ava said with a confused look.

"I didn't get paid for it," Madson said.

"Were you supposed to get paid for it?"

"No, and that's my point. You're going to lose your Virginity someday, and it's going to be for free, and now you're being allowed to get paid for it. So why not take it, and use the money you realize from it to pay off your debts?"

"I can't, Maddy, you know sex is something I consider to be deep; I must have a deep level of connection with someone before I can have sex with that person. That's the reason I'm still a virgin till now," Ava explained.

Madison rolled her eyes at Ava, "but you're in debt," she brought her phone closer to Ava's face. "Can you see the amount of money these guys are willing to pay, just so they can be your first? Isn't it better you get paid for it instead of letting someone else take it for free?"

"I know, but___," Ava couldn't get to finish her statement as Robinson and his boys barged into her apartment and catered away with Ava's TV set.

"The next time I come here, and you don't have my money, you'll be the one I will be taking with me," Robinson had threatened.

And that was how Ava ended up here, about to do the exact same act that she had condemned.

Her legs were shaky, and her palm sweaty. She thought of going back home and aborting the mission, but it was too late to do that as she had already received an upfront payment. Upfront payment for her Virginity. What kind of a girl sells her Virginity? One who was neck-deep in debts and had the loan sharks after her life. She had only one week to pay up the money she owed, or Robinson was going to take her as his mistress. That was the agreement he had with her mother when she borrowed the money.

Her mother was the only woman Ava knew who would borrow money she knew she couldn't pay back and then use her daughter as collateral. This wasn't the first time she was doing it. And the men always agreed to the stupid plan. She knew she was beautiful. Ava had the kind of body that made heads turn and held most men spellbound when she walked into a room. But then, her beauty wasn't going to get her mother's money lenders back their money. So why do they keep agreeing to have her instead when her mother couldn't pay up? The answer was obvious. THEY WANTED TO GET IN-BETWEEN HER LEGS.

Ava would rather jump off the top of Mount Everest than allow any of those dirty men to come close to her, talk more of touching her.

"Miss Ava, Mr Mason, is waiting for you on table 6," a friendly waitress said to Ava with a smile.

Ava returned the smile and gave the waitress a curt nod as she made her way to table 6. She looked around the fancy restaurant, It was Valentine's day, and the whole place was tastefully decorated with a touch of red and gold. Ava passed by the table of a young couple having dinner and could hear the guy telling his partner how much he loved her. Love. A concept she had given up on.

As Ava made her way to table 6, she wondered how Mr Mason would look. Was he young, middle-aged, or an old man? The agency that connected her with him told her their clients don't like their faces to be shown until they meet. They mentioned something about protecting their client's privacy.

At first, Ava didn't mind if the client didn't want to show his face, as long as he was willing to pay. And when half of the agreed payment, $6000, was paid into her account, most of her worries disappeared. But as she walked towards table 6, she began to wonder if she had made the worst mistake of her life.

When Ava got to the table, she saw a man sitting with crossed legs with a newspaper held to his face. The newspaper covered his face, so Ava couldn't see what he looked like.

Would he like her? What if she wasn't what he expected? What if he asked for a refund because she didn't meet his expectation?

"You should sit down," a baritone voice came from behind the newspaper.

Ava pulled out a chair from the table and sat down opposite him with shaky hands.

After she sat down, he closed the newspaper, folded it, and kept it on the chair next to him. That was when Ava saw his face. He's handsome. She thought. He had blue eyes like the deep blue sea, with curly brown hair. His thin lip was curled up in an irresistible smile that drew Ava in.

"I'm sorry, I was trying to catch up with what's happening in the business world." He stretched his right hand across the table, "I'm Mason."

Ava stretched out her hand, and they both shook hands, briefly.

The waitress from before came to their table, "may I get you something to eat or drink?" The waitress asked them.

Mason turned to Ava, "what would you like to have?"

Ava picked up the menu in front of her, and the moment she saw the food and their pricelists, she developed instant migraine.

"A glass of water would be fine," she said.

Mason's lips pursed as he gave her a quizzical look, then he turned to the waitress, "do give us a minute," he said.

"I'm not quite hungry," Ava said after the waitress had left.

Mason didn't respond. Ava wanted to look away but couldn't seem to do so, as he seemed to hold her with his gaze. He was giving her a piercing look. It was as if he was trying to look deep into her soul.

"You're nervous," he glanced at her hand, which was on the table, and said, "your hand, it's trembling."

Ava quickly brought down her hand from the table. "I'm not nervous. I just want to get to the reason why I'm here." She wondered why they were in a restaurant when they were supposed to be in a hotel room and him getting the value of what he paid for.

Mason continued to look at her, his eyes not leaving hers, "and what if I told you I was no longer interested in doing this?"

"Sorry?" Ava wasn't sure she heard him well. What did he mean by he wasn't interested in doing this anymore? How was she supposed to pay her debts? She already told Robinson she was going to come to pay up tomorrow.

"I'm no longer interested in doing this, Ava," Mason said with a straight face.

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