As the days go by, Mike texts me less and less, and never calls. I try to blow it off at first, telling myself that he’s busy catching up with work but deep in my heart I know this isn’t true. No matter how busy he is, Mike always makes time for me. Steeling up my nerve I send him a text asking him to come over.
by Sarah Brooke
Previous episodes of A glimpse into the shadows: An insider’s adventures in the world of escorts:
- Episode 1
- Episode 2
- Episode 3
- Episode 4
- Episode 5
- Episode 6
- Episode 7
- Episode 8
- Episode 9
- Episode 10
- Episode 11
- Episode 12
- Episode 13
- Episode 14
- Episode 15
- Episode 16
- Episode 17
- Episode 18
- Episode 19
- Episode 20
- Episode 21
- Episode 22
- Episode 23
- Episode 24
- Episode 25
- Episode 26
- Episode 27
- Episode 28
- Episode 29
- Episode 30
- Episode 31
- Episode 32
When he doesn’t answer right away I send another text telling him that we need to talk. He texts back almost immediately telling me he’ll be over shortly. I sit and stare blankly at the TV, trying to find the words to say to him. From his actions the last little while I wonder if there is even any chance of repairing the relationship. He must be very angry if he would just stop talking to me like that.
What feels like only moments later but must have been closer to an hour, Mike shows up pounding on the door. Sophie has a busy night of out call appointments so there’s no one else to answer it. Throwing myself off the couch I walk in a daze to the front door.
“Hey.” I try to sound excited to see him but I can’t quite manage to sound anything but nervous.
“Hey.” Not knowing what else to say to each other, I turn around and head into my bedroom. I can hear him taking off his shoes and following me.
When he walks into my room I’m already sat on the edge of the bed waiting for him.
“Mike, we need to talk.” I say, trying to steady my voice.
“Are you breaking up with me?”
“What? No. No, of course not. I just… there’s something I need to tell you.” Relief floods over his face. Maybe this isn’t the end of our relationship after all.
“What do you have to tell me, Sarah?” He doesn’t quite look at me, instead staring slightly past me at the wall.
“There’s something you should know but it isn’t easy for me to say. You see, it’s not my secret to tell.” I say.
“Sophie’s a prostitute.”
His bluntness catches me off guard and I stutter. “Y-yes.”
“I’ve had my suspicions for awhile.” He says, in a very matter of fact tone of voice. He looks to the ground, still not looking directly at me, but his features have softened and I can tell he is glad I’ve decided to open up to him.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” I say, staring intently at his face.
“Because it’s not my business.” He says and gives a slight shrug of his shoulders.
“That rarely stops people from prying…”
“Sarah, it’s not my business what Sophie does to earn her living. If I can be honest, there was a time where I was worried that you were both working girls.”
“Me!? Really?” I almost laugh but I can tell he is serious.
“Yeah. When we first started seeing each other I found a bookmark on one of your web browsers for an escort site. At that point I already had my suspicions about Sophie but it did make me wonder if you were involved as well.”
“I would never!” I blurt out. “I mean, I just couldn’t. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, really, but it’s just not for me. You need a certain type of personality to be able to handle that kind of thing.”
“I know that. The thought did cross my mind, that’s all I’m saying.” Still not looking at me, he starts fiddling with the cuticles on his left hand.
“Did you ever talk about this to any of your friends?” As hard as the words are to spit out, I have to ask. If he mentioned this to anyone I want to know about it.
“No, of course not. I told you Sarah, it’s no ones business.” He says, sounding slightly offended that I even had to ask.
“Did the curiosity not kill you?” I ask.
“It was fun for awhile, trying to figure out if I was right.”
“When did you know? I mean, when did you know for sure?”
“When you moved here. With Joe and everything it became obvious.” A small smile creeps upon his face, as if he’s entertained by the whole situation.
“How so? Did she act like his hooker, not his girlfriend?” I say, wishing he would look at me.
“She is not the least bit jealous and that struck me as strange. Even mistresses tend to be jealous creatures.”
“But an escort wouldn’t be?” I ask.
“I guess not. I dunno. Would they be?” He finally looks at me and I can tell there is no anger in his face, just relief.
“I don’t know.” I make a mental note to ask Sophie if she’s ever had a jealous tinge about any of her clients.
“Anyways, I’m glad you talked to me about it. I thought you’d never bring it up.” He says, sitting a bit closer to me and taking my hand in his.
“It’s not that I didn’t want to tell you, I’ve wanted to tell you for so long now. It’s stressful having to keep secrets from the man you love! I don’t want there to be anything between us but I can’t just out Sophie like that. I was sworn to secrecy when she hired me to work for her. What if you had freaked out? What if you had been so angry that you told everyone she knows about it?”
He bursts out laughing. “You didn’t think that I would do that, did you?”
“No, but I couldn’t risk it. It’s not like we’ve been together for years, this is still fairly new.” I say, shrugging my shoulders.
“I know and that’s why I never wanted to push it by asking you about it. I didn’t want you to have to lie to me. I just feel like we’ve gotten to the point where you should be honest about this. Sophie knows me well enough that she should be able to trust that I won’t say a word to anyone.”
“I’m so sorry, baby. I never want to lie to you again.” I lean in closer to him and put my head on his shoulder.
“The truth isn’t always necessary in life. I trust you and I know that you trust me. This doesn’t change my feelings about you at all. If anything I feel honoured that you decided to tell me.”
“Can I tell you something else?”
“What?” he says, resting his head against mine.
“Joe told Sophie about what you said to him and she told me. I knew you knew. Sophie convinced me to tell you the truth.” I let out a huge breath of air after this confession.
“Wait, you weren’t going to tell me yourself?” He says and I feel his head lift off of mine.
“It wasn’t my secret… you don’t understand, I’ve been sworn to secrecy. Sophie is my very best friend, she’s like a sister to me.”
He doesn’t reply and the silence grows between us. Not sure of what he will say next I start running through all the things I could say right now but I decide that instead of speaking I’ll just bite my tongue and wait for him to react.
“I just thought you had decided to tell me on your own but I guess it makes sense. I kind of knew that if I asked Joe he would tell Sophie. Despite their business relationship they do really get along. They seem very open with each other which I find kind of surprising.”
“I know! I was so shocked when I first saw them together. They were all lovey dovey and couple-y.” I say.
“I don’t know what exactly I expected from a hookers relationship with her john but yeah, it wasn’t that.”
“I ask her once in awhile if she’s falling for any of her clients. I know she’s probably not but I’m always curious about it. How do you separate sex and love so easily, you know?”
“And?” He asks, leaning his head back on mine.
“There was one guy I really thought she was falling for but I think I was wrong.”
“Is that the guy who showed up at the bar that time?” He asks and I’m surprised he remembers.
“That’s him. Damn, you are perceptive. He started throwing insane amounts of money her way and started getting obsessive.”
“Is he out of the picture? Do you need me to knock some heads?” He says and his tone of voice gets deeper and slightly aggressive.
I laugh at the image of him knocking Jeff into tomorrow. “No, he seems to have finally crawled back into the woodwork. It was actually really sad. He wasn’t a bad guy, he just let himself fall for a hooker. You don’t ever let yourself fall for a hooker.”
“It worked for Julia Roberts.” He says, knowing how much I love the movie Pretty Woman.
“Life isn’t a romantic comedy movie.” I say. “You never fail to remind me of that.”
He laughs and turns to face me. “So what is your part in all this?”
“What do you mean?”
“How are you involved in this?”
Taking a deep breath, I say. “I arrange her appointments, put up her ads, clean the house and bedroom for when her clients come here. It’s not a lot of fun but it lets me have a lot of freedom.”
“That makes a lot of sense. I was wondering how you got in on this sweet deal.” He says, referring to this amazing apartment.
“She couldn’t handle it all as well as going to school. She eventually had to come clean with me and ask me to work for her.”
“I dunno, I think that’s an awesome job.” He says and a big smile emerges on my face.
“I can’t even tell you the relief I feel right now. I was so worried to tell you about this, so worried that you’d not only judge Sophie but judge me as well.” I say, feeling the tightness that has been in my stomach for a week slowly fading away.
“Come on, you don’t think I’d really freak out? Men love hookers, it’s a fact of life.” He says.
“Want to see something?” I say, hopping off the bed.
“You know I do.” He follows me as I trot out of the room towards Carmen’s bedroom.
“Mike, you are the only person besides myself and Sophie, and of course some of her clients, who have seen this room. Prepare to be amazed.” Turning around I throw open the door and step inside. Mike follows me in and when I turn on the light he lets out a small gasp.
“Wow. This is… something else.”
“I know right? She doesn’t even use it all that often, a lot of her customers are still out calls.” I watch him closely as he takes it all in. His mouth is open in surprise and I can’t help but smile. “Pretty nice, huh?”
“This is amazing.” He says. “Maybe I’ve missed my calling in life. Maybe I was born to be a hooker.”
Laughing, I shut the light off and wait for him to leave the room. “I hate to say it, but I’m not sure you’d like the job as much as you think you would.”