Hauling a full laundry basket as she passed the closed door to the guest room, Karen paused, argued with herself briefly, then set down the basket and cracked open the door. The blinds were pulled down, the bed was unmade and clothes lay in several piles. She inhaled noxious cigarette fumes as she opened the door wider and stepped across the threshold, immediately feeling in need of a shower. She glanced around and was about to leave when her eye landed on what looked like a leather-bound journal resting near the edge of the dresser. Picking it up and flipping through the pages, she stopped on a page and began reading.
May 23, 2012
Long, straight dark brown hair. Pretty, but wore too much eye makeup. Twenty-one according to ID. Lonely and unfulfilled like all the rest. Had to do it at her apartment, which I never like, but there was no other choice. She was still fun.
She turned to another entry.
August 5, 2012
Shoulder length sandy blond. Petite with nice breasts. Swore too much and had a tattoo of an old boyfriend’s name. Thought I wanted to hear her boring life story. A screamer.
A car door slammed shut somewhere outside. Heart fluttering, Karen put the diary back where it was and stepped out of the room closing the door quietly behind her. She could hear the men walking through the kitchen, and they all met at the bottom of the stairs.
“Hey, guys,” said Karen, trying to keep her voice from quivering. “Have a good time?”
She caught them exchanging a subtle glance. Ian smiled. “Yeah, it was fine.” They both had their hands in their coat pockets.
“You’ve got a nice downtown,” added Mike. “Clean and safe looking.”
Karen wasn’t sure how to take that comment, so she just smiled and made her way around the men and back to the laundry room. Ian and Mike went upstairs and into the spare bedroom.
Later that evening, as she and Ian lay in bed reading, Karen set down her iPad. “Ian, I need to talk to you about something.”
“Can it wait until tomorrow?”
“No. I went into the spare bedroom to see if I needed to pick up or throw anything out and I…I came across Mike’s journal. I know it’s uncool to check out someone’s diary, but well, I did it anyway.”
Ian looked at her. “You were messing around in his private stuff?”
“It’s our house and it was just the journal. That’s all. But Ian, it had page after page of women’s names, their physical descriptions and then, ick, stuff about the sex they had. But I got the feeling…I don’t know, there was something else going on there.”
“What are you talking about? So the guy has a little brown book. What does that prove?”
“But he didn’t have phone numbers or addresses or emails. Not even last names. That would have been more normal. These seemed more like…conquests. You know?”
“They sound more like things than people.”