We spend the night at my old apartment and it feels just as strange to be there as I feared it would. It seems like a lifetime ago that I called this place home but in reality it’s only been a few short months. Sophie and I are both up early, which is not typical for us after a night of drinking and dancing.
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
- Episode 33
- Episode 34
- Episode 35
- Episode 36
I think we both feel strange about being here at my old place but I don’t ask her to find out. Mel and Carrie take considerably longer to wake up and by the time they are out of bed, Sophie and I have cleaned all of the dishes and have started making breakfast. It doesn’t take long to feed them and once they’ve been fed, we usher them out. We say our goodbyes with promises to see each other again soon. Sophie and I both breathe a sigh of relief once the door closes behind them.
“How long until we can leave, do you think?” Sophie asks, slumped against the door, looking worn out.
“I’d give them fifteen minutes. They tend to dawdle.” I push myself off of the wall and walk over to the living room, where I proceed to collapse onto the couch. Out of sheer boredom I grab Carmen’s cell phone out of a secret pocket in my purse and turn it on. The phone comes to life and informs me that we have ten voicemails. “Ten voicemails.” I call out to Sophie, who is still slumped against the front door. “Wonder who that could be.” I dial into our voicemail and put the phone on speaker. Sophie saunters over and sits next to me on the couch, curling her legs underneath her.
“Hey, Carmen, It’s me Chris. I was just wondering if you could fit me in for a half hour appointment on Sunday? At your place, if that’s okay. Call me or text me back. Hope you’re doing well, sweetheart. Thanks.” While the message plays, a number of text messages come in all at once.
“I see three different customers named Chris. I wish they’d leave their last name.” She sighs.
“Do you know who he is? Did you recognize the voice?” I ask, wondering how I’ll find out who it is otherwise.
“Yeah, I only have one young Chris so that must be him. The other one’s are more my fathers age and have deeper voices. What’s my Sunday looking like?”
“You definitely have room for a half hour sometime early in the afternoon. Let me double check once we get home.” I delete the message and skip to the next one.
“Hey, it’s David. Can you call me? Right away?” I look at Sophie and catch her just in time to see her face contort in a grimace.
“Crap, he saw me.” She says.
“Guess so.” I delete that message as well and skip to the next one.
“Carmen, it’s David. I need to talk to you right now. I want to see you tonight. I know you’re in my end of town. Call me or text me right away.”
“Persistent, isn’t he?” I say. I smile at her and instead of smiling back she checks her watch, eager to leave and go home. “Wanna bet they’re all from him?”
It doesn’t take long before I’ve gone through all the voicemails and confirm that all the other messages are from him.
“I hope he doesn’t get weird now.” She says.
“Like how?” I ask.
“I dunno, he’s asked me out on dates before. I nipped it in the bud but I hope this doesn’t rekindle some of that bullshit.” She says.
“Want me to text him back?” I check through the text messages really quickly and see that half of them are from David, telling her to contact him ASAP, that he’d like to see her tonight. “I don’t get it Soph, he saw that you were out with your friends, what did he think was going to happen? That you’d ditch us and go meet him in a hotel room?”
“Who knows. Maybe he didn’t have any luck picking up at the bar and seeing me was sweet reminder of what he could be experiencing.” She glances down at her watch one more time and pushes herself off of the couch. “Okay, grab your purse, we are leaving.”
I oblige, grabbing my purse and a favourite sweater that I had found at the bottom of my closet. Sophie is already out the door and I stop long enough to lock it behind me. I walk down the hall and find her standing outside of the elevator pushing the button impatiently.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, dropping my purse on the ground and throwing the sweater on over my t-shirt.
“I dunno.” Her arms are still crossed in front of her and her left leg won’t stop fidgeting.
“I can tell something is wrong.”
The elevator opens up and we walk inside. There are two other people inside, an elderly lady and her grandson. We smile politely at them and remain silent the way down to the parking garage. Once we are safely inside my car, I ask her again. What’s wrong.
“Nothing really. It’s just annoying.”
“What?” I stick the key in the ignition and my car comes to life. I hate parking garages so I wait for Sophie to tell me what’s going on in her head before I try to navigate my way out of here.
“I bet he would have came up to me if we hadn’t left.”
“Yeah, probably. It’s a good thing we did leave.” I turn in my seat to face her more but she looks straight ahead, arms still crossed, not looking at me.
“I feel like I’m always on the edge of someone blowing my cover.”
“Really? Come on Soph, I’m sure he wouldn’t have said anything obvious.” I try to assure her.
“He would have called me Carmen. How would I explain that?” She says, sounding a bit more upset.
I think for a minute. “I know, if that ever happens you could just tell our friends that he’s some guy you met at a bar who wouldn’t leave you alone. You gave him a fake name and number.”
She pauses for a minute, thinking. “You’re pretty good at coming up with lies, you know that?”
“It’s kind of my thing.” I decide to start backing out of the parking space and that it’s time to try my luck. I hate parking garages with a fiery passion and the one in this apartment building is particularly bad. When I lived here I’d go out of my way to park on a side street instead of having to drive down into what I call The Dungeon.
“It’s fucking annoying.” She says with frustration in her voice.
I can’t help but think that she might be making a big deal out of nothing. I know better than to say that though so instead I say nothing.
“I barely go out anymore but when I do, I have this fear.”
“Yeah?” I say, wanting her to continue her train of thought.
“I think I was finally starting to get over it when we ran into David. I had flashbacks of Jeff and that whole situation. It put me in a bad mood for the rest of the night. That’s not okay.”
“This city isn’t huge, it’s bound to happen that you run into some of your clients once in awhile.” I say, not sure what comfort I can offer her. Slightly distracted by our conversation, I narrowly avoid hitting a cement post. The post is covered in scuff marks and different colours of car paint. I have a few scars on my own car from this very pillar.
“That doesn’t really make me feel better.” Out of the corner of my eye I can see her recline her chair and lean back.
“But what can you do? You can’t stay indoors forever.”
“I could move to another city…” She says as if she’s put some thought into this.
I can’t think of anything to say, the idea of it is so shocking to me that all I can manage is a squeaky “What?!”
She doesn’t say anything and I finally blurt out “Where would you go?”
“I dunno, somewhere else. Toronto, Montreal, Calgary. Anywhere but here. Somewhere where no one knows me, somewhere where I have no friends. I could go out, meet new people and if I ever get busted, who cares. I can just pack up and leave again.”
“What about school?” I ask, thinking that this would remind her that she has responsibilities here.
“I could switch to another university, it wouldn’t be too difficult.”
“Wait, so you’ve considered this before?” I ask, completely shocked. The last thing I ever imagined Sophie wanting to do is leave this city. She loves this city. Her life is here. Our life is here.
“I put a lot of thought into it when the whole Jeff thing was happening. It was tempting to just leave.”
Finally we emerge from the parking garage and the brightness of the day leaves me squinting and half blind. I reach over Sophie and open the glove box to grab a pair of sunglasses.
“What about your customers?” I ask.
“I’ll make new ones.” She says, with little concern in her voice.
I’m starting to panic ever so slightly, it’s not like Sophie to talk like this. “What about me?” I ask, pulling over and parking on the side of the road. I’m far too distracted to drive.
She doesn’t answer right away. She finally turns to me and says “You could come with me.”
“No, I couldn’t. Mike would never move and I couldn’t leave him behind.”
She says nothing and just turns around to look out the window again.
“Sophie, you can’t just put this all on me right now. I mean, we have an apartment together. What would happen?” I feel selfish asking but I’m so caught off guard by this conversation that I can’t help but ask.
“I’m not saying I’m leaving, I’m just saying that it’s tempting. That’s all.” She turns forward and I can see her face again. “We should not be talking about this now. I just want to get home.”
I give myself a moment to collect myself and I pull back into traffic. The ride home is silent and I start to get angry. After all I’ve done for this business, this is how she thanks me? By moving away? Even though she hasn’t decided to leave yet I am still angry that she is even considering it. If I thought she was just venting I would not get worked up but I completely believe that she’s been contemplating this for quite some time. It’s not like Sophie to take things so seriously, what has this job done to her?
When we finally get home we don’t speak all the way up to our condo. Once we get inside Sophie grabs a bag of chips out of the cupboard and heads to her room. Usually we’d spend the day together watching movies but today I get the hint and I don’t follow her. I grab my cell phone and text Mike, telling him that I need someone to talk to and can I come over to his place. It doesn’t take long before he texts me back, asking to come by in a few hours once he’s done work. I roll my eyes at the inconvenience of having to wait and head into my room. I throw myself down on my bed and eventually find myself drifting off to sleep.