“I told you not to bring her.” He says, refusing to look my way.
“I wasn’t about to come here alone.” She says.
“What, do you think that I would hurt you? Sophie, you don’t think that, do you?” Jeff’s entire body is faced towards her and from his point of view, I might as well not exist.
by Sarah Brooke
Previous episodes of A glimpse into the shadows: An insider’s adventures in the world of escorts:
“Jeff, you guys need to talk and she needed someone here to make sure you didn’t kidnap her.” I say.
“What?” He scoffs. “You’re not serious. You think that I’d do something like that?”
Neither of us answers him right away and the silence is all the answer he needs. “Fuck you, Sophie. You really think that after all we’ve been through that I’d hurt you? I can’t believe you.”
“What the fuck did you expect me to think? You won’t leave me alone, you show up at my mother’s house, you show up at a bar that you know I frequent with friends and then you pretend to be someone else so that I’ll meet up with you.”
“I didn’t tell your mother anything.”
“Oh great, do you want a fucking cookie? You still went to my mothers house looking for me!” She says, her voice full of agitation and anger.
“If you’d have just answered my texts or emails, I wouldn’t have had to do that. I didn’t want to do that but you gave me no choice.”
“Oh, it’s my fault? Jeff, we can’t see each other anymore. What do you want me to do, keep leading you on?”
“I want you to forget all this and forget this life and come be with me.”
“Jeff…” She looks down at her hands, slowly shaking her head.
“Do you want to be a hooker for the rest of your life? Is that what you want? You told me that you want kids, you want a husband and a family. Is this the way to get that?”
“It’s none of your business what I chose to do with my life!” She says, looking up at Jeff with fire in her eyes.
“It is my business, Sophie. I love you. I want to marry you. I want to give you children. I’ll support you for the rest of your life, you’ll never have to be paid for sex ever again. Don’t you want that?”
“What? Are you kidding me right now? Marry me? Marry me? Are you fucking insane? Jeff, I don’t want to be with you. I liked you, that’s true, and I shouldn’t have. You’re a client. I could never ever marry a client.”
“Why not? Why can’t you?” He asks. When she doesn’t reply right away he slams his fist onto the table. “Fucking answer me Sophie!”
“First of all, I don’t love you. I never did and I never will. What we had was nice and I enjoyed it but I wasn’t ever in love with you.”
“You don’t mean that.” He shakes his head as if to shake the words out of his ears. “You don’t mean that.”
“I do. Jeff, I don’t want to hurt you. I really don’t. If you hadn’t become so controlling and obsessive, we could have had a very long and mutually beneficial relationship. That didn’t happen though because you couldn’t handle sharing me. It’s not like I’m a girlfriend who left you. I was your hooker who was paid to spend time with you. You started getting way too obsessive and I had to bail. Do you not remember the last time we were together at your apartment? You terrified me. I locked myself in the bathroom to get away from you. You’re intense, Jeff. Do you not know that? Is this really a surprise to you, to find out that you’ve been scaring the shit out of me?”
“Why would you be afraid of me, Sophie? Why? I know I can be intense sometimes, we’ve talked about that, but you know I’d never hurt you.” He says, his voice becoming more sullen with each word.
“No! I don’t know that. I used to think that there was no way that you’d hurt me but now, I have no idea. I want to believe that you wouldn’t but what am I supposed to think? You’re pretending to be other people so that you can meet me. What the fuck is that all about? What am I supposed to think?”
“I just wanted to talk to you.” He says.
“Oh, and I’m supposed to just know that? Because from my perspective it seems like you might be trying to get me alone to do something bad to me.”
“What? You don’t think that. That’s all her putting these crazy ideas into your head.” He nods his head towards me but doesn’t bother to look at me.
“No, it’s not. You have no idea what you’re talking about. How would you feel if someone you broke off contact with had been trying to trick you into meeting them? You would be freaked out just like I am.”
“I would never hurt you, Sophie.” He reaches his hands out to her and she pulls back, placing her hands on her lap instead of in front of her.
“You already have hurt me, Jeff. These past few months have been hell. I’m constantly looking over my shoulder, worried that you’ve tracked me down. Every time my mom calls I’m worried that you’ve told her about my job. Jeff, I’m just trying to put myself through school. I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life. I just want to get out of university debt free and with a bit of money put aside. Is that really so wrong? Do you really need to punish me for it?”
“What do you mean, punishing you? I’m not punishing you for anything.”
“You are. You’re punishing me for not choosing you, you’re punishing me for being an escort. Every word that comes out of your mouth about my job is derogatory. Guess what- I don’t feel that way. You may feel that what I do is demeaning to me but I don’t feel that way at all. I like it, Jeff. I enjoy it. It’s not always fun or glamorous but i like it. I enjoyed my time with you and I’ll always be disappointed that things turned out this way. I wish things had been different, you were a good customer and I genuinely had a lot of fun with you. I opened myself up to you in ways that I shouldn’t have and now I’m paying the price for that.”
“I was a good customer? That’s all you see me as?”
“No, I saw you as a friend. I let myself get closer to you then I should have and that’s my fault. I should have taken things more seriously and kept you at a distance. You weren’t the only one at fault here, I fucked up too. I should have never let us get so close. I didn’t realize that you’d fall for me and for that I apologize. I never meant to lead you on.”
“You make it sound like I’m some psycho who is tracking you down every minute of the day.”
“What do you expect me to think? You need to leave me alone, Jeff. I don’t want you popping up all over the place. I don’t even like to go out anymore because I’m worried that you’ll be there.”
“Seriously?” He says, his genuine shock very apparent in his voice.
“Yes, seriously! You have me scared. I don’t know what your intentions are and I can’t help but be freaked out. I don’t think you’re capable of harming me but I don’t really know you well enough to be sure that you won’t.”
“Are you surprised? Are you actually surprised to hear that you’ve terrified me? What did you think you were doing, Jeff? Showing up where you knew I’d be, talking to my friends. You really didn’t think that would freak me out?”
“I thought you’d be forced to talk to me. I didn’t tell them anything about you being an escort…”
“But you knew that I’d think that you were going to tell them. You knew it was going to fuck with my head but you did it anyways.”
“I was never going to tell them!” He says, his voice rising.
“You knew that I’d think that you were telling them. Same with my mom, you just show up there trying to find me? What the fuck!”
“I thought it was your address.”
“It was! When I got the passport many years ago. I had to explain to my mom that you were a crazy ex boyfriend who wouldn’t leave me alone. She was pissed that I had a boyfriend without telling her. You’ve caused drama where there didn’t need to be any. Do you get that?”
He doesn’t say anything, he just looks down at his hands. By the dejected look on his face I believe that this is all news to him. How is it possible that he hasn’t seen the situation for what it really is until now?
“I never wanted to hurt you Jeff, you have to believe me. Underneath all of my worry and fear, I’ve always been concerned about you. I wish that you weren’t hurting so much. I wish that you were already over me. I don’t want you to be hooked on something that doesn’t exist. You fell in love with Carmen, not me. The girl you love doesn’t exist.”
“That’s not true, Sophie. You know that I love you.”
“I know that you think that you do. If you loved me you wouldn’t want to scare me the way you have. You’d let me go.”
“I just want to be with you. If we can’t be together, I want to be friends.” He says while looking up into her eyes, hoping that she’ll make eye contact with him. She keeps staring down at the table, refusing to look at him.
“The time for that has passed. I’m sorry, but it has. I don’t know what else you need from me to close this chapter in your life but I want to help. I’ve kept all the money I’ve ever received from you. Do you want it back?”
He thinks for a moment before shaking his head side to side. “No. I want you to have it. It’s not your fault that I’m an idiot who fell in love with a hooker. You earned that money.”
“If the circumstances had been different, who knows what could have happened. This situation brought out the worst in both of us. I don’t want to keep worrying, looking over my shoulder. I want to know that you’re moving on. I don’t want to know that you’re making yourself miserable about me. I want you to be happy, I want you to find a nice girl. You’re a great guy, Jeff. You’re handsome, funny, caring. You need to work on your anger issues but every one has problems. You’re going to find a great girl who is going to treat you the way you deserve and you’ll forget all about this.”
“I’ll never forget about you, Sophie.” His voice is quiet and sad. As much as I’ve grown to hate the guy I can’t help but feel profoundly sorry for him.
“I’ll never forget about you, Jeff. I’m sorry things worked out the way they did but we can’t go back and change things. We just have to deal with what happened and live with the consequences.”
“I understand. I’m so sorry for scaring you. I never meant to. I just wanted to talk to you so badly.”
“I know. You have to understand why I didn’t want to talk with you though… you were getting way too intense. I didn’t want to keep egging you on. I didn’t want you thinking that there was a chance.”
“I won’t bother you anymore. You have my word. Sophie, I want all the best things for you. I hope you have a very happy and long life. Please forgive me for all the pain that I’ve caused you.” Jeff stands up and before walking away from our table he bends over and kisses Sophie on her forehead. “You look beautiful as always.”
Once he’s out of earshot I turn to ask Sophie if she’s okay. Her only response is to place her face in her hands and start sobbing softly.