“Sophie hun, sorry to interrupt, but I need to go to the bathroom, can you come with me real quick?” I shoot Charlie an apologetic smile and stand up, pushing my chair out of the way.
“Um, sure. Excuse us.” She gives me a quizzical look before following me to the bathroom. As the door shuts behind us she asks “What was that all about?”
by Sarah Brooke
It’s Jeff. He’s here. He’s at the table right across from us.
Previous episodes of A glimpse into the shadows: An insider’s adventures in the world of escorts:
“What? Fuck!” She exclaims loudly.
“Did he see me?”
“He was glaring at our table. I didn’t catch him looking at you, but when I made eye contact with him he was basically staring daggers at me.”
“Oh god, what do we do?”
“Leave?” I suggest.
“So we just tell everybody ‘Hey, sorry, I know we just got here but let’s go somewhere else.’ I can’t see that working.”
“We could stay and hope he doesn’t come up to you?”
“He will definitely come talk to me, I know that for a fact.”
“Soph, do you think he’s here on purpose? Or do you think this is a big coincidence?”
She doesn’t answer for a moment and the words don’t even need to leave her lips before I know what they will be. “I might have mentioned that we come here sometimes…”
I close my eyes and try my best not to let out a groan. All the precautions she’s taken to make sure that she won’t be found out by clients and she tells the craziest one exactly where to find her.
“It’s been weeks, I thought we were rid of him.”
“Maybe it is just a coincidence that he’s here.” I say, trying to sound hopeful.
“Oh I fucking doubt that very much.” Biting her lip, she starts pacing back and forth in front of the mirror. “What if you suggest that we go to a movie instead?”
“I don’t know, I don’t even know what movies are out now.”
“Neither do I! I’m probably even less up to date on that stuff than you are.”
“What if we suggest going bowling? Mel loves bowling.”
“That might work, Mike mentioned the other day that he hasn’t gone bowling in forever.” I say.
“We have to try something, I can’t stay here. He’ll definitely try to talk to me and if he’s pissed off he might try to blow my cover entirely.”
“You think he’d tell your friends about your escorting?”
“I know he would.” She stops pacing and looks at herself in the mirror. “I am so fucked.”
“Look, why don’t we just go out there and tell everyone that Jeff is your crazy ex and that we need to leave before he causes a scene.”
She thinks about it for a moment, her eyes never leaving the mirror. “That might be our only choice. I can’t stay here in the same bar as him Sarah. I just can’t.”
“I don’t want to be in the same room as him either. Okay, just give me a second, I’m going to go get Mel and bring her in here. We’ll explain it to her first.”
When I head back to the table my heart just about stops. Jeff is standing next to Mel and Frank, deep in conversation. Mel looks over at me with a confused look in her eyes and before I can make a step towards the table, she gets up and walks towards me. Walking past me, she pushes her way into the bathroom and lets the door shut behind her.
“Sophie, who is that guy?”
Sophie’s panic is written all over her face. She says nothing, her eyes dropping to her feet.
“Why, what did he say?” I ask.
“He said that he’s been looking for Sophie for awhile and needs to talk to her. He says he’s an ex boyfriend. Sophie, did you have a boyfriend and not tell me about it!?” Mel throws her hands onto her hips, clearly not pleased that this juicy bit of information was kept from her.
“They weren’t exactly girlfriend and boyfriend, but yeah they dated. He got way too obsessed and freaked her out. We need to leave before he causes a scene.” I say. Sophie nods her agreement but words still have not found her.
“Okay, where should we go?” Mel grabs a bright red lipstick out of her purse and turns to the mirror.
“I was thinking bowling or maybe we could go to a movie?” I say.
“Oh, let’s go bowling! I haven’t been in awhile. Let me text Frank real quick to tell him what’s going on. I hope that creep isn’t still there talking to him.” Grabbing her phone, she sends out a quick text message to Frank and puts the cell on the counter top, waiting for his reply.
“So what’s the guys name?”
Sophie finally speaks. “Jeff.”
“He’s actually really cute, it’s too bad that he’s crazy. Where did you meet him anyways?”
She stops for a moment, thinking. “He was on campus meeting a friend and we struck up a conversation. Things kind of escalated from there.”
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me about him, Sophie! You’re supposed to tell me everything.” Mel’s bottom lip curls into a pout and before Sophie can reply Mel gets a text message, distracting her from her train of thought. “Okay he says bowling is fine. He knows not to mention where we’re going to Jeff. We’re good to go.”
“Sophie and I are just going to leave straight away, can you grab Sophie’s purse and we’ll meet you at our car, two streets over?”
“Sure, we’ll be a few minutes, I need to pay our bill before we leave or we might not be welcome back here anymore.” Mel primps one last time in the mirror before heading out to the table.
“Are you ready?” I ask, hand on the door knob.
Sophie takes a deep breath. “As ready as I’ll ever be.” Holding the door open for her, she heads out first, making a beeline for the main door. I follow her closely, neither of us looking over at our table, afraid to make eye contact with Jeff. As the door closes behind us Sophie let’s out a sigh of relief.
“Okay let’s book it out of here before he realizes that we’ve left.” She immediately picks up the pace and in no time at all we’re at my car. We hop in and immediately slouch down, both of us watching the entrance of the bar, hoping that we don’t see him coming out. Thankfully Jeff doesn’t emerge from the doors but after five minutes of waiting, we begin to wonder where Mel, Frank and Charlie are and what’s taking them so long. “They should be out here by now. Do you think he’s still talking to them?”
“I dunno, Soph. Do you want me to call Mel and tell her to hurry up?”
“No… there’s nothing we can do but wait.” Sophie starts biting her nails, a sure sign that she’s agitated. “I just wish they’d hurry up.”
A few more minutes pass before we finally see them coming out of the bar. Mel points towards our car and they start walking single file towards us.
“God, I hope he hasn’t said anything stupid.” She rolls down her window and in a moments time Mel is at the window, crouching down to speak with us at eye level. She passes Sophie her purse.
“That guy had a lot to say about you. Finally we had to interrupt him and tell him that we were going to be late for a movie.”
“What did he say?” Sophie asks.
“He asked which movie and what theater, but I didn’t tell him.”
Knowing this isn’t what Sophie was asking about, I reiterate the question to Mel. “Did he say anything else?”
“He was just babbling mostly. Said that he really wants another chance with you and that he knows he fucked up the last time that you guys saw each other. Said he went to your house to find you and talk to you but that he doesn’t think that you live there anymore. What the hell does that mean? Have you moved?”
Colour drains from Sophie’s face as the implications of what Jeff has said sink in.
“No, she hasn’t, she probably just wasn’t there when he went.” I say while Sophie nods her agreement. “Do you want to drive with us?”
“Nah, I’ll get a ride with Charlie and Frank. Thanks though. We’ll go to the bowling alley near the Denny’s?”
“Sounds good. Race you there.” We smile our goodbyes and once they’re out of earshot I turn to Sophie. “Are you okay?”
“He’s gone to my parents house. That’s what that means, right?” She asks. I pause for a moment before answering and before I can speak she continues. “That’s what it means. He’s gone to my parents house and realized that I must not live there. What the fuck! He’s done it. He’s actually gone to my parents house. So he did write the fucking address down when he was snooping through my passport. What a fucking asshole.” Kicking her foot out in front of her in anger, it connects with the car and makes a loud thump.
“It doesn’t sound like he talked to your parents or anything though…” I say, not sure what to say to make her feel better.
“Who knows. I’ve already told them that I have a psycho ex boyfriend who has been bothering me so that they wouldn’t be totally surprised if he showed up. I just thought that I was past this, that I didn’t have to worry about it anymore. Why did he take so long to come after me?”
I don’t say what I’m thinking but I wonder if maybe he has been staking out this bar for awhile, maybe this was just the first time we’ve been there while he was. “I don’t know but I suggest we don’t come back to this bar for awhile. Are there any other of our hangout spots that he knows about?”
She thinks for a moment. “I don’t think so. I might have mentioned that we go to Carlo’s every once in awhile but we almost never go there anymore so it won’t be hard to avoid going there.”
“You’re sure there’s nowhere else?”
“I’m pretty sure.”
“Well, we’ll just avoid that bar like the plague from now on and hopefully we won’t run into him anymore.”
“Oh God, Sarah, he’s coming out of the bar. Start the car, let’s go.”
I look up and see him, he’s standing outside of the bar looking around frantically. I fumble through my purse looking for the key and as soon as I find it I start the car up and start reversing into the nearest street.
“Oh fuck, he saw us.” I throw the car in drive and peel out of the street, thanking whatever powers that be that there is no traffic on the road right now. “Sarah, you have to drive faster, he just got into his car and I’m pretty sure he intends to find us and follow us.”
Looking carefully both ways, I run the next red light and turn down a side street. Driving all the way down the street, I turn into a driveway and park beside a very large RV so that my car is hidden from the road. “Did you see him following us?”
“I don’t see him. Hold on… I just saw his car drive by. Let’s wait here for a little while before we go.”
I turn the off the engine and Sophie turns around in her seat to face the front. “At least he should be occupied checking out every movie theater in the city for the next while, looking for your car.” She sighs and leans her head back. “I’m sorry, drama seems to follow me.”
I grab her hand and squeeze. “There’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure.”