“There were two guys that didn’t check out today.” Sophie and I are sitting next to each other in the living room, watching the most recent episode of Survivor.
“Do you think one of them was Jeff?” Sophie asks, dipping her slice of pizza into the ranch dressing that’s on my plate.
“Damn you woman, get your own bottle! With how much money you’re bringing in you would think that you’d be able to afford your own bottle of Hidden Valley.” I say.
by Sarah Brooke
Previous episodes of A glimpse into the shadows: An insider’s adventures in the world of escorts:
“Then we’d have two bottles of ranch in the house, it would be madness. So? Do you think the emails were from Jeff or what?”
“I’m fairly certain that one guy is a first timer who genuinely just doesn’t want to give out his personal information but the other one… I think it’s him.”
“Show me.” She stands up, plate in one hand, pizza in the other and walks to my bedroom. I take another bite of my slice before following her in to the room. She’s already sat down in front of my computer with one hand on the mouse and one hand stuffing pizza into her face.
“Bernard?” She says with her mouth completely full.
“No, that’s the one I’m pretty sure isn’t Jeff. His spelling is absolutely atrocious.”
“It could be Jeff pretending to have terrible spelling though.”
“It could be but I dunno, I don’t get the impression that it’s Jeff. You read the emails and let me know what you think.” While she’s reading the emails I finish off my slice of pizza and run my plate back to the kitchen.
“Yeah that’s not him.” Sophie yells loudly enough for me to hear her in the kitchen.
I don’t bother answering until we’re in the same room again. “I didn’t think it was him. He’s fooled me before though so only god knows.”
“Okay, and who is the one that you think is Jeff?” She asks, scrolling through the most recent emails.
“Adrian. Check out the first email then make your way through them.” I say. Sophie obeys, all the while slowly finishing off her last slice, pausing every so often to squint at the screen.
“Yeah that’s him. Fuck.”
“What makes you think it’s him?” I ask.
“He signs off of his email saying ‘talk soon.’ Jeff used to say that a lot and it’s kind of a unique thing to say. Could just be a coincidence but I doubt it. I don’t want to risk it.” She says.
“Of course. We don’t book anyone who doesn’t check out. I just wanted to see if you thought it was him.”
“I feel like it probably is. The guy also sounds a bit desperate, which I’m guessing Jeff is feeling right now. You know, every single time that my mom calls me now I’m worried that she’s had another run in with psycho jerk.”
“If he goes to your mom again I don’t give a shit, I’m finding him and roughing him up.”
“Maybe I should just go and talk to him. See what it will take to get him to leave me the fuck alone.”
“What? Really?” I say, surprised by her suggestion.
“I dunno. What are my options here?” She says, shrugging her shoulders.
“I really don’t know, Soph. What if he gets violent? He could kidnap you, murder you. I mean maybe it’s not just lust anymore, maybe he’s seriously pissed off and looking for revenge.”
“Maybe I’m just being an idiot but I still don’t think that he would hurt me. I think he’s just obsessed and can’t let it go.”
“If you’re serious about this then I’m going with you. I’d actually prefer if Mike were there too but I understand if you don’t want to involve anyone else in this.”
“I’d rather it just be you and me, if that’s ok.”
“If you’re sure you want to do this, I’ll definitely go with you.” i say, knowing that there’s no way in Hell I would ever let her go alone.
Sophie starts typing up an email to Jeff and I decide to run to the kitchen and grab another slice of pizza. Before leaving the room I realize I should probably ask her if she wants another piece. “Are you full or is there room for one more slice?”
At first she doesn’t look up at me but just continues typing. Finally she stops what she’s doing and looks up at me. “I could definitely use one more slice, I don’t feel disgusted with myself yet so I know I haven’t eaten enough.” She hands me her plate and puts her focus back on the computer screen. “Would you be a doll and make sure to put some ranch on the plate?” After handing the plate to me she gets back to typing. I head to the kitchen and grab us both a slice of pizza and dip and then make my way back to my room. Handing Sophie the plate, she doesn’t take her focus off the computer but somehow manages to not only grab the pizza but also dip it before bringing it up to her lips.
“Okay, I’m almost done. You need to proofread it and let me know if I should change anything.” With her one free hand she types up another sentence and then gets out of the chair, taking her pizza to the bed with her. I make quick work of proofreading the email and besides a spelling mistake it looks good.
“Read it to me.” She says sitting cross legged on the corner of my bed.
“‘Jeff. This has gone on long enough. If you want to meet with me so badly that you’re willing to lie to make it happen, I’ll meet with you. I want to put an end to this so we can both move on with our lives. I will meet you at the Starbucks on the corner of Main and Montgomery. I can meet you anytime after 5pm today. If that time is not good for you we can figure something out. If this is not Jeff, my apologies but I’m fairly confident that it’s you’.”
“Does it sound fine? Should I change anything?” She asks.
“I don’t think so. Are you sure you want to do this though?” I ask, worried about what might happen when we meet up with Jeff.
“You’ll come with me right?”
“Of course I will. But I really think that we should have Mike there. He doesn’t need to know what’s going on. I mean, he already knows that you have a crazy ex. We could just tell him you’re going to meet up with him and need some backup. He can sit far away from us but in case anything goes wrong he’ll be there to help.”
“No, I don’t want to get Mike involved in this. What if Jeff recognizes him and decides to make sure that Mike knows all about my profession? It’s not worth the risk.”
“I guess that’s true. Alright, well I’m going to hit send.”
“Do it.” Before either of us can change our minds I send the email. “Now we wait and see how long it takes for him to respond.”
We don’t have to wait long. A few short minutes later we receive a reply from Adrian. Sophie reads the email out loud. “I’ll meet you there tonight at 6pm. please don’t bring your bitch of a friend.”
“I guess that would be me. Not the first time I’ve been called a bitch and probably won’t be the last.” I say, shrugging my shoulders at the fact Jeff thinks I’m a bitch.
“Should I reply and say that you’re coming or else I won’t show?”
“No, just don’t say anything and just reply that 6pm is good. You’ll be there.” She quickly types up the message and hits send. “It’s already close to 5pm, do you need to get ready?”
Sophie turns around to look at herself in my full length mirror. “I look like I desperately need a shower but I’m definitely not going to have one. Maybe if I wear absolutely no makeup and show up with ratty clothes and disheveled hair he’ll lose his boner for me and leave me alone.”
“It’s worth a shot, I guess. As for me I’m going to jump in the shower and get ready. The Starbucks is close to Mike’s work, I’ll run and see him afterwards and it would probably be best if I looked halfway desirable.” Sophie gives me a thumbs up and turns her attention back to the computer.
By 5:30pm we are both ready to go. Sophie is wearing sweatpants that have a big hole in the knee and a comically ugly cat sweater. She’s tied back her messy hair and there isn’t a touch of makeup on her face besides yesterdays eyeliner that is now smudged underneath her eyes. I’ve put on tight black jeans and a purple and white striped sweater. I take one last look at myself in the mirror before grabbing my purse and following Sophie out the door. On the way to the Starbucks I drill Sophie on what she’s going to tell him and by the time we’ve pulled up, we’re both nervous but eager to get this over with.
“Maybe this will work.”
“And maybe it will just make him even more sure that by bothering you enough, you’ll eventually cave and see him.” I say, skeptical.
“I have to try something, Sarah!” She says quite passionately.
“I know, sweetie. Don’t get me wrong, I hope it works. It’s just that there’s always a possibility that maybe doing this will just make things worse. Remind him of what he’s lost, you know.”
“Well, I couldn’t have made myself any uglier if I had tried.” She says while looking at herself in my passenger side mirror. “There are even smudges of yesterdays makeup all over my face. Hopefully he’ll take one look at me and think ‘what the hell was I thinking’.”
“I hate you so much right now. You still look absolutely beautiful and you were actively trying to look plain. What hope do the rest of us have.”
“Are you crazy? Look at these bags under my eyes. That’s not attractive.”
“Sophie, I can’t see what you’re talking about. You don’t have bags.” I say, sighing. “Anyways let’s stop talking about how effortlessly beautiful you are. Maybe scrunch your face up or grimace the whole time, that might screw your face up enough that he forgets how beautiful you are.” Sophie laughs and swings open the door to Starbucks. We’re here a full twenty minutes early so I fully expect for us to be the first ones to arrive but as soon as we walk in the door, we see Jeff looking up at us from a corner table. When he sees me anger flashes over his face. I smile at him very sweetly and we both walk over. Beside me I can hear Sophie taking in big, deep breaths trying to calm herself. I slide into the chair directly in front of him and Sophie sits beside me.
Narrowing my eyes at him, I cross my arms in front of my chest. “Hello, Adrian.”