“Next Thursday I have an appointment with my doctor to find out if that creep gave me anything.” Sophie says, absent-mindedly picking at her donut.
“It’s going to be fine, I know it. Have you felt anything weird down there?
You know, like a tingle or something? Maybe a rash?” I’ve already made fast work of my apple fritter and looking down at my empty napkin I consider going up and ordering another one. Then I remember the extra five pounds that I’ve gained since I’ve started dating Mike and decide against it. The boy has an affinity for fast food and is blessed with a metabolism I would kill for. I decide against the second fritter.
by Sarah Brooke
Previous episodes of A glimpse into the shadows: An insider’s adventures in the world of escorts:
“No, nothing like that. Although every single time I get an itch down there I’m convinced it must be herpes.”
“I don’t blame you but at least soon enough you can forget about this.” I fold up my napkin and toss it in the garbage that is conveniently located right next to our table.
“Well… you do remember that I still need to go get tested again in a couple months to make sure.”
“I know hun, but if you get a good test result this time I’m sure your next test will be fine, too.” I do my best to sound reassuring.
“I hope you’re right. Anyways, I wanted to know if you’d come to the appointment with me?” She looks up from her donut and finally makes eye contact with me.
“Of course I will! What time is your appointment?”
“4pm, I had to schedule it for after class.”
“4pm is fine, want me to pick you up at school or at home?” I say.
“At school would be great. We’ll go for dinner after, my treat.”
“Sure, it’s a date.”
“Yeah, it will be a really fun date going to see how many STDs I have.” Her voice is suddenly so glum that it catches me off guard.
“I’m sorry, I must be really fun to be around these days. You’re a saint, you know that?” I can tell that she is purposely trying to sound perkier.
“You are the first and probably the last person who will ever call me a saint. So thank you!”
She can’t help but laugh. “Anyways, tell me what’s new with you.”
“Well…” I’ve debated telling her about this but ultimately I know I can’t lie to her. “You know the other night when we went bowling and Mike came over to my house afterwards? Well, he asked me who Carmen was.”
“WHAT?” The sudden loudness of her voice surprises the couple a few tables down from us who look over in surprise.
“I was totally freaked out, I thought he had found some definitive proof about who Carmen was or I thought that maybe Jeff had said something to him about it but it turns out that he had overheard us talking about Carmen’s phone.”
“What were we saying about it?”
“Remember the night we finished that huge bottle of wine and then put in a good effort on the second bottle? Well, when I walked you to the door we started talking about how I had misplaced Carmen’s cell phone charger and you said that you had an extra one and I said that I should just get an extra one for when I inevitably do lose the charger.”
“Oh god, so what did you say to him?” She says, her eyes wide.
“I made up some story about how it was your friend from schools cell phone charger and that she had left it here.”
“Do you think he bought it?”
“He hasn’t brought it up again so I think he’s forgotten about it. I’m all freaked out about it though, because if he finds any other reference to Carmen he might start to wonder what the fuck is going on.” I say.
“And this is why I will never have a boyfriend. Being an escort has been screwing up your life enough for the both of us.” She sounds sad and I wonder if I shouldn’t have told her about this.
“It’s not screwing up my life, seriously. I’m not ashamed of the job in any way and neither should you. I would have no problem telling him the truth about my job if it wasn’t you who I was working for. I don’t want to risk that he would tell someone or let it slip by accident.”
“I understand. It would straight up ruin my life if Mel found out. There’s no way she’d keep her mouth shut about it.”
“Trust me, I know. She’s the absolute last person who should find out about this. She’d probably never talk to either of us again.”
One of Mel’s ex boyfriends, a guy she was head over heels in love with, turned out to have an unhealthy obsession with street walkers and ever since then Mel has been quite vocal about her hatred of prostitutes. I’ve never agreed with her sentiments, why would she despise the women instead of placing the hate where it belongs, on her ex. However there’s no talking sense into her and I don’t think her opinion will ever change. “I think you’re sadly right about that. Is that what freaks you out the most?”
“As much as I don’t agree with her opinion about hookers, I love her to death and it would break my heart if she cut me out of her life. Not to mention that she’d probably feel it was her duty to tell every single person that she thinks might know me that I’m an escort.”
“I don’t think she would tell everyone. She would owe you that much at least.” I hope I sound sincere because I don’t feel it. The truth is that I am fairly confident that Mel would tell everyone about Sophie’s double life and that I’m willing to go to great lengths to make sure Mel never finds out. That includes lying to the man I love about what I do for a living. As guilty as I feel about lying to him, the guilt I would feel if Mel found out pales in comparison. You can’t risk ruining your best friends life for a man.
“Time will tell.” Sophie says. “My goal is to retire from the business in a couple of years and not have anyone but you know about my escorting. I’ve known since I got into this that there was always a possibility of people finding out but it doesn’t make it any easier. When Jeff showed up at the bar the other night I was sure he was telling everyone about Carmen and where to find my listings. Do you think if our friends saw my posts they would recognize me?”
“No, honestly I don’t. None of your pictures show your face so it would just look like a girl with a similar build and hairstyle as you, but that’s not enough proof to convince anyone that it’s actually you. If it comes down to it we just deny, deny, deny. Stick to the story that he’s your crazy ex who has probably put those listings up himself to make your friends think you’re a hooker.”
“He knows you’re involved too, Sarah. He’d probably bring you into it as well.”
“Good, I hope he does. If he tries to bring both of us down it will only make him look more desperate.” I say, shrugging my shoulders.
“You might be right about that. Anyways, has he emailed at all? I haven’t been checking Carmen’s emails for awhile now.”
“He did once just saying that he wanted to talk. He sent it from a new email address which I then blocked.”
“Did you respond?” She asks.
“No, of course not.”
“Maybe I should respond to him.”
“Soph, that’s your own choice but I don’t think you should. You’ll only stoke the fire.”
“Let’s stop talking about this, I start to get angry when I even think about him let alone talk about him.”
“Agreed. How was your donut?” I take a look at the mess she’s made of it, it seems like half of it has been torn into pieces on her napkin.
“Once I started eating it I realized I wasn’t that hungry.”
“I can tell. So are you still only taking appointments from regulars?” I ask, trying to steer the conversation away from Jeff.
She thinks on that for a moment before answering. “I’d like to wait til after my appointment to start seeing other clients. I know with me only seeing my regulars you’re not making a lot of money but I want to help you out with that.” She reaches into her purse and takes out an envelope. “There’s a little over a grand in here. I want you to have it. I don’t want you to suffer while I’m taking another hiatus.”
“Oh, Soph… I can’t take that. Thank you though.” I put my hands under the table, not wanting to accept the envelope.
“You have to take it, Sarah. Do you think I don’t feel guilty about this? You quit your job for me, you lie to your boyfriend and everyone else for me. You’ve helped me through so much. Just think of it as a bonus.”
As much as I sorely need the money right now, I don’t want to take it. I haven’t earned that money. “Honestly Soph, I don’t need it that badly. I’m doing okay. You’re still sending me cuts from your regulars when you know that you don’t have to, that’s good enough for now.”
“I’m not taking no for an answer and if you don’t take the money I’m going to have to start hiding it around your house whenever I’m there. How will you explain to Mike about the random hundred dollar bills everywhere?”
I know she’s almost definitely not joking. “Okay, fine, I’ll take it. But I don’t feel right about it.”
“You don’t have to feel right about it, just take it. It will make me feel better. Trust me, even with my current hiatus I am not hurting for money. If you need more than this all you have to do is ask. I’ll always be there for you.”
Without meaning to I let out a sigh of relief. “This is actually coming at a really good time. I was starting to get a bit worried.”
“Why wouldn’t you say anything to me about needing some money?”
“First of all, you have enough on your plate without having to worry about me. Second of all, you’re not a fucking ATM.”
She chuckles. “I don’t mind being your personal ATM. If you ever need anything all you have to do is ask.”
Leaning over the table, I give her a big, awkward hug. “Thank you, Sophie.” If the tables were turned I know that I’d do the same for her.
“I have to ask you something and I don’t want you to get mad and I definitely don’t expect you to say yes. I just have to ask.”
“Okay?” I say, curious.
She takes a deep breath before speaking. “Would you be interested in joining me for a threesome with one of my regulars?”