I wake up the next morning groggy and still wearing the same clothes that I was wearing to Stella’s the night before. It takes me awhile to remember the events of the previous evening and when everything starts coming back to me, the anger I felt last night starts to build up inside of me again.
by Sarah Brooke
Previous episodes of A glimpse into the shadows: An insider’s adventures in the world of escorts:
My head is pounding and I’m reminded of why I don’t typically drink wine.
Bored and not sure of what to do with myself, I check Sophie’s email out of habit. There’s a message from the couple she saw before leaving to Cuba, thanking her and telling her what a lovely time they had with her and asking when they can meet again. Despite being angry with her I’m happy that she managed to pull off the date without a hitch. I’m sure she’ll be glad to hear that they’re eager for another booking. There’s a few emails from the same guy, each identical to the last. I imagine he hit the Submit button on our website a half a dozen times. He’s asking when would Carmen be available and I start typing up an email explaining that she’s currently under the weather but will be available first thing next week. I end up erasing my reply and closing the browser, deciding to watch an episode of bad reality TV instead of spending any of my time doing Sophie any favours.
My stomach starts grumbling and I walk to the kitchen, first going through the fridge then the cupboards. Nothing looks appetizing and the thought of standing around cooking is not appealing so I decide to run to the deli a few doors down and grab a sandwich. As much as I don’t want to leave the house if I don’t eat something soon I’ll only make the hangover worse. Still dressed in my outfit from last night, I throw on a jacket and shoes and head out. I remember to grab my cell phone and purse before I run out the door, not bothering to lock it.
I decide on a smoked meat sandwich and a Coke and after placing my order I sit down to wait for my name to be called. Staring off into space, imagining what Sophie is doing at this very moment, I’m lost in my thoughts. A phone starts ringing and it takes me a few seconds to realize that it’s my phone and that I should probably answer it.
“Hello?” I do my very best impersonation of a perky human being.
“Hey Sarah! It’s me.”
It takes me a second to realize that ‘me’ is my friend Carrie. Sophie and I have known her for years.
“Hey Carrie, what’s up? How are you?”
“Good! Can’t complain. Listen I know it’s a weeknight and you’re probably working but Mel and I are going out tonight to celebrate her breakup and we were wondering if you and Sophie wanted to come with us?”
“Wow, she finally dumped Scott?”
“No, actually, he left her for some skank at his work.” Her voice is thick with disgust. Scott and Mel had been together for a few years now but we had all wondered when it would end. They were known for their tumultuous relationship which always included loud and dramatic fights. It was difficult to go out with them in public because you never knew when one of them would start freaking out on the other. To hear that Scott had left her was a bit of a surprise but probably for the best. As much as she talked about leaving him it was becoming clear that she was never going to get around to it.
“Poor Mel. I’m sorry to hear that. Of course I’d love to come out, I’m free tonight.” I pause for a moment, considering what I should say about Sophie. “I haven’t talked to Sophie though, not sure what she’s doing tonight but the last time I talked to her she said she’d be swamped with school work this week. Give her a call and see if you can get a hold of her.”
“Okay, cool, I will. We were thinking of going to the Fox and Hound for dinner and then just walking around until we find a club that seems to be somewhat happening.”
“That sounds great. I warn you I’m a bit hungover so I don’t know how much drinking I’ll be able to do but I’m there for emotional support.” I say.
“No worries, what she really needs is a wingwoman. We need to get her laid.”
I laugh. “I wouldn’t mind some of that myself. Maybe we’ll find a trio of sexy brothers to bring home.”
“That would be fantastic. Except that I’ll take the trio of sexy brothers, you guys are on your own.”
I laugh and before I can reply the clerk calls my name and it’s sandwich time. “Shit, I gotta go, my lunch is ready. Text me later and let me know what time to meet you at the bar and I’ll be there.”
“Okay hun, see you soon! And wear something that shows a lot of cleavage.”
“Duly noted.” I end the call, grab my sandwich and head back to my apartment significantly in a better mood than when I left it. I don’t want to betray Sophie, after all I did tell her that I wouldn’t hang out with our friends while she was gone but I’m not in the mood to stay home and brood. Hopefully Mel and Carrie don’t ask me too many questions about her whereabouts. No matter how busy or swamped with school work she is, Sophie wouldn’t miss Mel and Scott’s big post break up bash for any reason.
The day passes quickly and I spend most of it watching TV and getting ready for our night out. Before I know it it’s 6pm and time to meet Carrie and Mel at the bar. Even though I’m planning on not drinking I decide to leave my car and take a cab instead. If there’s one thing Carrie is really good at it’s convincing people to drink.
By the time I arrive Carrie and Mel are already there and have claimed a booth in the corner. I can see two empty shot glasses next to them and I know they’ve already started in on the tequila.
“I’m going to get so drunk tonight.” Mel states as a matter of fact.
“I overdid it on the wine last night. I really shouldn’t be drinking…”
“Oh shut it Sarah. You’re drinking. I’ll buy the next round and a pitcher of beer.” Carrie says.
“Honestly, I’m not feeling the greatest, it’s probably not a good idea to start drinking, especially tequila.”
“You’re only young once, come on. And you’re really going to stay sober when we’re out celebrating Mel’s newly single status?” She narrows her eyes at me and I look over at Mel who is giving me her best puppy dog look.
“Okay, I can’t fight the both of you.” I shrug. “I guess I’m drinking tonight.” Carrie grabs the attention of the waitress and places our order.
Mel lets out a drawn out sigh. “I just don’t understand, three years down the drain for some skank with an overbite?”
“Hun, you are so much better off without him. He didn’t deserve you. You should have dumped his ass a long time ago.” Carrie says, sliding the empty shot glasses to the side of the table, out of our way.
Mel frowns. “I know that but I loved the fucker.”
“That’s your first mistake. Don’t love any man, it’s not worth it.” Carrie was a serial dater, she never settled down. Typically she had a new guy every month then she’d grow tired of him and would make up some elaborate excuse as to why she couldn’t see him anymore.
“I just always thought it would be me leaving him.”
“Honestly, we all thought that’s how it would happen.” I say. “It’s definitely a surprise to hear that he’s the one who broke it off.” The shots of tequila arrive and we make quick work of them. The pitcher of beer is right behind them and Carrie does the honours of pouring for us.
“I wish Sophie was here. I called her a dozen times but her phone wasn’t even on. We should go to her apartment and force her to come out with us. I’m going to text her that we’re coming to get her and that she better be ready in 30 minutes.” She grabs her phone out of her purse and starts texting.
“Carrie, if her phone was off why do you think texting her would work?” Mel asks, rolling her eyes.
“I dunno, I just want her here.” She sends the text and drops her phone onto the table. “I thought Sarah would be able to get a hold of her. It’s unlike her to drop off the face of the earth like this, school work or not.”
“Maybe she’s sick or something.” I try my best to sound interested. I really don’t want to talk about Sophie at all and I hope they don’t keep bringing her up all night.
“Are you guys fighting?” Carrie’s eyes widen as the thought crosses her mind. “You can tell me, I promise I won’t say anything.” I know Carrie and I know what a gossip she is so even if I could tell her why Sophie and I were fighting, I wouldn’t.
“No, we’re fine. She’s kind of been blowing me off lately but I’m not mad at her or anything. I don’t think she’s mad at me, maybe you know something I don’t know.” I know for a fact that Sophie wouldn’t tell Carrie anything like that so I’m mostly just egging her on.
“No, she hasn’t said anything to me. If she had I would have told you already.” I try to stifle a snicker. I know very well that if Sophie had said anything to Carrie about me that Carrie would have already blabbed all about it to me. Everyone knows not to tell Carrie anything, especially not a secret.
“Well let’s forget about Sophie, I’m sure we’ll all go out again to celebrate Mel’s new life as a single woman. Tonight can just be us three. And hopefully some tall, dark and handsome men.” I say, hoping that we can finally drop the subject and stop talking about Sophie.
Soon we’re all talking about just how terrible Scott is and how much better off Mel is going to be now that he’s out of her life when the waitress comes over with three shots of tequila for us.
“The table of gentlemen over by the window bought a round for you guys.” She winks and leaves the tequila behind. When we look over to the window we catch a table of four guys looking over at us. Carrie winks at them and on the count of three we finish off the shots.
“Should we go over there?” Mel asks, a hint of excitement in her voice.
“Oh my god, yes, and I get dibs on the one in the blue shirt.” Carrie says.
“Only because I get dibs on the one in the black shirt.” Mel says. We grab our purses and pour the remainder of the beer into our glasses and head over to their table. There’s no room at their table but the seats next to them are free so we arrange the chairs around them, Mel and Carrie staking out their spots next to their chosen prey.
Introductions are made, Carrie’s guy in the blue shirt is named Steve, Mel’s guy in the black shirt is named Fred, and the remaining two guys are named Mike and Scott. Mel grimaces when she hears that name but thankfully she isn’t quite drunk enough yet to start telling him what a terrible name he has.
We thank the guys for buying us a round and when Mike asks us what we’re doing out on a weeknight Carrie tells them that we’re out for the night celebrating Mel’s newly found freedom. Steve and Fred give each other a look that only I seem to catch. To me the look says that they have got this in the bag, which I’m sure they do.
Deciding that this is a done deal, the guys take turns buying rounds of drinks and by the fourth round of tequila I know I’m done for the night. Mel and Carrie are getting marginally louder with each shot that passes their lips. When Steve offers to buy another round both Mike and I bow out.
“Not a big drinker either?” He asks me.
“Depends on the night. I indulged in a bit too much wine last night so I’m trying to be more moderate tonight so I don’t wake up with the hangover to beat all hangovers tomorrow.”
“Well we better order you some food to counteract all the shots, what would you like?”
“Why don’t you pick? I don’t feel like making any decisions tonight.”
Smiling, he grabs a menu and starts looking through it. I take the opportunity to look over his face carefully. With his dark brown hair, big blue eyes and full lips, he’s just my type. The waitress comes back with their round of drinks and Mike stops her before she leaves. “Can I get three orders of chicken wings, one hot and two honey garlic and also an order of zucchini sticks, please.” The waitress smiles, nods and is on her way.
“Ah, chicken wings. There is no surer way into a girls heart than with honey garlic chicken wings.” I say.
“That’s what I was hoping.” He smiles and I can’t help but smile back. “I hope you don’t mind, I was going to go out for a smoke but then you guys came over and it seemed rude to leave. Mind if I go out for one?”
“Not at all. I’ll bum one off of you if you don’t mind.” We excuse ourselves from the table and our friends barely look up as we head outside.
Once we’re outside he lights two cigarettes and hands me one. “Thank you. I don’t smoke very often but there’s nothing like a cigarette when you’ve got a buzz going.” I say.
“I know what you mean. I don’t smoke very much either but when I’m drinking I can smoke a pack before I know it.”
“And then you end up with a cigarette hangover the next day.” I take a drag off my cigarette, pleased to see that he is smoking my favourite brand.
“Exactly.” He reaches over and touches the sequins on my shirt. “I like your shirt.”
I smile up at him and his hand lingers on my stomach. I can’t help but think about what his lips would feel like on mine when my phone rings and ruins the moment.
“Fuck.” I say, fishing through my purse for my cell phone. I hope that it’s just Carrie or Mel calling wondering where we have disappeared to but when I finally find it and look at the Caller ID I see that it’s Sophie calling from the resort. I let out a big sigh. “I have to take this. Just give me a minute, I’ll be right over there.” Taking big strides, I walk off to take the call by myself. When I’m far enough away that he can’t hear me I answer.
“Hello?” My voice is icy.
“Hello. I just wanted to let you know that I’m fine and that I’ll be staying for the rest of the trip.” Her voice is calm but cold.
“I just wanted to let you know in case you were worried.”
“You know what Sophie, I’m more angry than I am worried but thanks all the same.” I consider hanging up but even as angry as I am I can’t bring myself to be so rude to my best friend.
“Okay. Well, I just thought you might want to know, is all.”
“Anyways I have to get back, we’re at the Fox and Hound celebrating Mel and Scott’s breakup.”
“Seriously? She finally dumped him?”
“No, he left her for some girl at his work.”
“NO! Are you serious? Is she okay?”
“Yeah, she’s okay. They were all wondering where you were and why your phone is off.”
“What did you tell them?” She says.
“Just that you said you were really busy with school this week.”
“I have to go. There’s someone waiting for me.” I look back at Mike and he’s leaning up against the wall, looking at me. When we make eye contact he smiles and I can’t help but smile back.
“Okay. Bye.” She hangs up first but I don’t care. I throw my phone back in to my purse, take a last drag off of my cigarette before throwing it and walking back to Mike. I’m determined not to let Sophie ruin my night. If she doesn’t care about our fight then neither will I.
“Welcome back.” Mike grins at me. “Anyone important on the phone?”
“Thank you. And, no. Just a friend.” I close the space between us and link my hand through his belt. “What are you doing after this?”
“Whatever you’re doing.”