It’s been twenty minutes since Sophie’s appointment was supposed to have ended and I’m about to send her a text asking how everything is going when I hear my front door unlock and swing open. Alarmed, I grab the nearest potentially dangerous thing near me, a large curling iron, and start stepping quietly towards the door.
by Sarah Brooke
Previous episodes of A glimpse into the shadows: An insider’s adventures in the world of escorts:
“Sarah?” It’s Sophie’s voice. I toss the curling iron onto the bed, relieved that I won’t have to use it in self-defense.
“I’m in here.” I hear two loud thunks as she tosses her high heels onto the floor and a moment later she appears in front of my door, eyes red and face slightly redder. “What the hell Soph, what’s wrong? What happened?”
She doesn’t answer right away and instead crosses over to my bed and lies down, curling up into the fetal position. I sit next to her, resting my hand on her hip.
“He took the condom off and I didn’t notice until it was too late.” She stares straight ahead, not blinking.
“No… did he…?”
“Yes. I can’t believe I didn’t notice. He insisted on using this tingly type of lube and it kind of numbed me. After he was finished he pulled out and I saw that he didn’t have the condom on, he’d thrown it on the floor.”
“Oh my God… what did you do?”
“Freaked out and told him I was calling the police to report a sexual assault. He laughed and told me I wouldn’t.”
“Of course not. If I wasn’t an escort I would have. That is sexual assault. I did not agree to have sex without a condom.”
“I know it is. That’s terrible Sophie, I’m so sorry. Do you want to have a hot shower?”
“I’ve already had one at the hotel but I still feel filthy. Can you come into the bathroom with me? I don’t want to be alone right now.”
“Of course.” I follow her into the bathroom and turn towards the mirror while she strips off her clothes and adjusts the water temperature to her liking.
“I feel like I’m dirty all over.” She says as she steps into the shower.
“I’m so sorry. It’s happened to me before too but at least I knew the guy. Actually I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse…”
“All I can think about is HIV. What if he has it and he’s a sick fuck who tries his best to give it to hookers?”
“Don’t think like that. Do you want to go to a clinic today and get tested?” I say.
“It wouldn’t show up that fast and neither would any other STD. I’m going to call my doctor’s office and see when they think I should come in. At least I’m on the pill so I don’t have to worry about that.”
“Take a pregnancy test in a few weeks anyways. Just to be safe.”
She doesn’t say anything and for awhile there’s no sound but the falling water from the shower. I turn on the fan and stand by the door. It’s quickly getting hot and steamy in the bathroom but I won’t leave unless she asks me to. I take off my sweater and throw it into the clothes pile in the corner, making a mental note that it’s about time to do some laundry.
“Soph, what should we do about this guy? This was Kevin your 2pm, right?”
“He called me and said he saw your ad online. I didn’t ask which website though, I should have. We need to contact other escorts and let them know about this creep.”
“Sarah, are you even sure that the name that he gave is real?”
“Of course, you know I wouldn’t send you on a date without checking the guy out first. I have his home phone number and address. We could show up there to get revenge if you want. Slash some tires. Maybe sugar in the gas tank, that’s always a good one.”
She doesn’t speak for again for awhile and as I wait for her to reply I start swinging the door open and closed, trying to get some of the steam out.
“I don’t know what I want to do. I do want to warn other escorts though. Do you mind doing that? Go on all of the main websites and just send out the same warning email to each girl.”
“Of course I don’t mind. I’ll start on it tonight.”
“I don’t want this creep doing this to anyone else.”
“He probably already has.”
“Well the least we can do is try to warn other women about this.” There’s more silence from her and I wait patiently for her to speak.
A few minutes later she turns off the shower and reaches her hand out. I pass her a towel which she wraps around her hair. She sticks her hand out asking for another towel, this one she uses to dry herself off with.
“I’m just going to wait in my bedroom, okay?”
“Yeah, sure. Can you call my 8pm appointment and cancel? Tell him something has come up and I’ll have to reschedule.”
“Of course. I’ll go do that right now.” I leave her and grab the Carmen phone from my night stand. I am pretty sure that her eight o’ clock appointment is with a regular, Pierce, but I check my day planner first to confirm before I call him. It takes four rings for him to pick up and when he does he sounds very excited to hear from Carmen. When I tell him that I have to reschedule he sounds obviously disappointed, saying that he had been looking forward to this night all week. I lay on the charm and tell him that if it wasn’t an emergency I’d never dream of cancelling the appointment. I tell him that I’ll explain the next time I see him. He tells me that he hopes I’m okay whatever it is and we say our goodbyes and hang up. I make a note in the day planner next to his name, reminding myself that I’ll need to tell Carmen to make up a story to explain her absence.
I start up my laptop and wait for Sophie to be finished in the bathroom. I open a word document and start typing up something to send to other escorts, warning them about this Kevin guy. I’m almost done when Sophie walks in to my room still wrapped in a towel.
“Can I borrow some pajamas?”
“Take your pick, they’re all in the second drawer.” She crosses over to my dresser and grabs the first nightie she sees. It’s an old one that I’ve had for years and it’s ripped and torn in places. “There are nicer ones than that, that ones kind of old and ratty.”
“I like this one. I remember you wearing it when we were kids. It was huge on you.” She tosses the towel into a laundry basket and puts on the nightie. “I’m kind of surprised you still have it.”
“I’ve almost thrown it out a dozen times. It has so many holes and rips but it has some kind of sentimental value to me I guess.” I say.
“I wish I had kept more of my old clothes. I purged them all when I first moved out of my Mom’s house but there’s something comforting about wearing something that you were wearing when you were ten.”
“That’s why I haven’t been able to throw it out, as ugly and threadbare as it is.” I say.
She sits down on the bed next to me and then falls to her side, her head resting on my pillow and her legs hanging off the bed. “I feel very strange.”
“Everything is surreal right now. I feel like I’ve been in a dream for the past hour.”
“It’s going to get better. You’re just freaked out right now, rightfully so. Why don’t you call your doctor and make an appointment? Tell them what’s happened and ask when you should come in.” She doesn’t say anything, she just nods. “Do you know their number by heart?” Again she nods. “Okay, here you can use my phone to call them.” I toss her my phone and she stares at it for a minute before she starts dialing. I concentrate on finishing up the message I was working on and by the time she’s done speaking to her doctor’s office, I’ve finished the email.
“What did they say?”
“The secretary spoke to the doctor and he said to come for an appointment in three weeks and then another one in three months. They’ll do all the HIV and STD testing then.” She lets out a big drawn out sigh and pulls her legs up close to her chest.
“That’s a long time to wait.” I say, surprised at how long she will have to wait before getting any answers.
“Precisely what I was thinking.”
“Try your hardest not to think about it. I know that’s easier said than done but the chance of you having anything at all is extremely slim and even slimmer for HIV.”
“I’ll try to push it from my mind but I know that won’t be possible today. My nerves are shot. Do you mind if I spend the night? I don’t want to be alone.”
“You don’t even have to ask, of course you can.”
“If you have plans with Mike or something like that, I don’t want to impose.”
I don’t tell her that I do in fact have plans with Mike, I don’t want her to think that she’s putting me out at all. “No, you’re never imposing, are you kidding me? We’ll have a girls night. I’ll run out for junk food and vodka if you want, we’ll do whatever you feel like.”
“No alcohol. Lots of junk food.” Closing her eyes, she lets out a long, drawn out sigh.
“I’ll run to the store and be back in ten minutes.” I save the document I’ve been working on and prop the laptop up on my nightstand so Sophie can see it from where she is laying. I take a quick look through my DVD collection and pick out the movie Heartbreakers, one of our favourites. I pop it into the laptop and set it to play. “I’ll be back soon, try not to have too much fun without me.” I toss my cell phone into my purse and as soon as I shut the door to my apartment, I send Mike a text telling him that Sophie needs me and I won’t be able to see him tonight. Without waiting for a reply I turn off my phone and head to the corner store to spend a small fortune on Sophie’s favourite junk food.