“How much?” He had his wallet in his hand, as gauche and bourgeois and endearingly pathetic as they always were.
She shrugged. “Depends on what you want.”
“I want to believe it.”
She stared at him, hand on hip. She blew a bubble, let it pop, sucked the gum back in and resumed chewing. “More specific.” She said it like a mechanic trying to get someone to describe a ping sound coming from somewhere behind them in the car, but only on the highway, and only when it’s cold.
“Not… I don’t need you to pretend that I turn you on. I know I don’t. I just need to believe you like me. You know? That you’re here because you like me.”
“We call that ‘the girlfriend experience’. You want the whole thing, it takes a while…” She looked at the cheap hotel clock-radio and then off into space for a moment. “Say, eight hundred dollars.”
“I’ll have to go to a machine—”
“It’s fine. I’ll have to run home to change clothes, anyway.”
“Why?” He’d already stood up, started putting on his coat. “Just wondering.”
“Your girlfriend doesn’t dress like a hooker. And we’re going to stop for pancakes.”