In spite of her outward cool, her heart had been racinging at 120 beats a minute, and that was before the action even remotely began. Rebecca was doing nothing more nerve racking and strenuous than merely grooming Fire and Brimstone. The horse himself was quivering in excitement, partly due to his nerve racking experiences under Rebecca the last few days, partly his own inner expectations of more dangers to come, and partly in empathy with Rebecca.
She heard footstep approaching from behind, but thinking that it was Travis, she refrained from turning around. Anything she did caused by him would empower him, and she for some reason did not want to eimpart any power unto him in the least.
"Good morning, Rebecca."
She turned at once. It was not Travis, but Jake Hawthorn.
She straightened up, brushed a strand of blonde hair from her eyes, and forced a smile. "Oh, hi. Good morning, Jake."
"Listen, uh, just wanna tell you that there are no hard feelings."
"Oh? I didn't know that there were any bad feelings before."
"Well, put it this way. When it comes to winning or losing money, there are always feeling."
"Then, let's just say that were feelings involved, mine were good, and still are."
"I'm glad to hear this, Rebecca, and let me add that they are about to get even better."
"Wow, I'm not sure I could handle any more excitement."
"You will have an audience at your rhino hunt today."
"And why should my feelings improve because of this?”
“Am I mistaken to say that you want the whole world to know about your exploits? The hunting magazines, radio talkshow, TV interviews... Now I'm offering you a live audience.”
“Sorry, but I find this a rude intrusion into my privacy. I have in mind to hunt Hercules ON MY OWN. I want to be the only living human being within the horizon centered upon Hercules and me. Even Travis will be dismissed,"
"That would be illegal,”
“So sue me already.”
“Anyway, I'm afraid that to cancel on your audience will not be possible."
"And why not?"
"I have already promised it to my new client."
"To gawk at me while I consummate my love affair with Hercules? Not a chance. That arrangement is between you and your client. It has nothing to do with me. So, please cancel it."
"As I said, Rebecca, that will not be possible."
"And as I asked before, why not?"
"He is the president of the United States."
"So, the president of the United States will be your captive audience."
"Cancel it, or I will cancel the hunt, and take its monetary equivalent."
Jake was all but speechless.
"I'll confide in you something that I'm sure you'll understand. Hunting is a intimate sexual experience for me. Would you want to be watched when you're having sex with your wife?"
"Come on, Rebecca, you're getting a bit personal."
"And you think telling me that I have to perform a sexual act in front of a total stranger, even one with a big - ego, is not personal?"
"Look, uh, just go through with this, please."
"Sorry. All of a sudden, I'm not feeling well. I'll postpone the hunt indefinitely - till I feel better."
"Alright, listen, you go and take down Hercules today, and I will pay you 10% of the president's fee."
"Of his own rhino."
"Deal." She extended her hand without hesitation, and Jake shook it like an automaton. “In writing please.”
“You got a piece of paper and a pen?”
After she had taken the IOU from Hawthorn, she said impishly, “Actually, I would have done it for free. You're right, I am an exhibitionist, and a narcissist to boot. There is nothing more arousing than to perform a sexual act for the sexiest man in the world.”