The sound of my cell phone ringing awakens me from my sleep. It takes me a good thirty seconds to determine that this isn’t a dream and that maybe I should start trying to locate my phone and by the time that I finally find it, it’s stopped ringing. Phone in one hand, my other hand is busy trying to rub the sleep out of my eyes. Before I have a chance to check my phone and see whose call I’ve missed, it starts ringing again.
by Sarah Brooke
Previous episodes of A glimpse into the shadows: An insider’s adventures in the world of escorts:
“Hey sleepy head, it’s me. Did I wake you?” Sophie’s voice is wide awake and perky. Just the kind of voice that you dread hearing first thing in the morning.
“Sophie, what time is it?” I say, sounding just as groggy as I feel.
“Almost 8am. What, don’t tell me you were still sleeping?” She says, knowing full well that I was.
It’s not exactly a secret that I am a night owl and that mornings are not my best time of day.
“You damn well know I was. I thought I had you trained not to call me before 9am. This better be important.”
“Oh it is. I need you to get dressed, I’m picking you up in twenty minutes.”
There is silence on the line as I try to piece together what she is saying. “Huh?”
“Just be ready in twenty minutes. I’ll text you when I’m out front of your place. Don’t keep me waiting, the meter will be running on the taxi.” Without further explanation, she hangs up. I stare at my phone for a minute, trying to figure out what could possibly be so important that she’s breaking one of the cardinal rules of our friendship. Do not wake me before at least 9am or there will be hell to pay. Rubbing my eyes one more time I wonder if I have enough time to have a quick shower before she gets here. I realize that there’s no way that I could ever be ready in time if I did jump in the shower, so instead I head to the kitchen where I decide that toast and jam is just the thing I need to wake me up. I pop some bread in the toaster and then head to my closet. Tossing my pajamas into the corner, I decide on black jeans and a white sweater. The toaster pops while I’m buttoning up my jeans and I glance at the clock on the wall. I have time to either put jam on my toast or brush my hair, but not time enough for both. My stomach wins priority over my looks and I forget about my hair and work on getting my toast ready before Sophie calls. My phone rings just as I’m capping the lid back on to the jam jar and I answer it while simultaneously shoving a piece of toast in my mouth.
“Hello?” I try my best to say through a mouth full of toast.
“Come downstairs! Fast!”
“Be there in a minute.” Toast in one hand and phone in the other, I toss my phone into my purse and head downstairs, munching on my breakfast as I go. In a few minutes I’m out front of my apartment, dazzled by the brightness of the morning sun. Before I have time to orient myself enough to start looking around for her taxi, I hear her voice.
“Hey! Hey! Here. Over here. Come on!” Her head is poking out of the back window of the cab. I wave and head over, wondering what the hell this is all about.
“Morning Sophie.” I say, sliding in next to her. “Care to tell me what is going on?”
“Nope. Just enjoy the ride. We’ll be there soon.”
“I thought you knew better than to ever call me at such an ungodly hour.”
“You know, not everyone sleeps in every single day. Some of us are up bright and early with the sun.” She says, poking me hard on my shoulder.
“Do not act like all of a sudden you are a morning person because for once you’re up before me.” I say, squinting my eyes at her.
She laughs. “I’ve been getting more used to it, school forces me to get up pretty damn early. In fact, that’s why I woke you up so early this morning. I have class at 10am and this was the only time that would work for my agent.”
“What agent? What?”
“Don’t worry about it. We’re almost there. Why don’t you close your eyes and then once we arrive it’ll be more of a surprise.”
“Any excuse to get some shut eye.” I close my eyes and lean my head back, but there’s no chance of me falling asleep. I’m too concerned about where we are going to actually doze off. The taxi stops a few minutes later and I open my eyes. We’re parked in front of an absolutely immense glass building.
“Where are we?”
“Don’t worry about it. Just follow me.” She hands the taxi driver a twenty dollar bill and we both thank him for the ride. As I crawl out of the cab I can’t help but stare at the building before us.
“This is quite possibly the most shiny building that I have ever seen.” I say, shielding my eyes from the glare.
“It is kind of blinding in the morning sun.” She says, throwing on her sunglasses.
“Are you going to tell me why we’re here?” Suddenly an idea flashes through my brain. “Oh God, Sophie… are we here… are we here for the threesome?”
She bursts out laughing. “Sarah, are you serious? Do you think I would do that? Just throw some surprise sex on you? No, we are not here for the threesome. Just follow me.” She makes her way into the lobby, which is somehow even more shiny and pristine than the outside. A receptionist sits behind a large marble desk and smiles at us as Sophie leads us to her.
“Hello, I’m here to see Shana.”
“Of course. And may I ask your name?” The receptionist says in a friendly singsong voice.
The receptionist types something into her computer and smiles up at us. “She’s waiting for you in the apartment. Just go through those doors, the elevators are to your right. Head up to the fifteenth floor, it’s the second apartment on the right.” She buzzes us in through the large glass doors and we wave our thanks. As soon as we are alone and waiting for the elevator, I demand answers.
“Okay, what is going on. Where are we going?”
“We are going to go see my new apartment.” She says, a smile budding on her lips.
“Seriously? You’re going to live here?”
“It’s a possibility.” We arrive at our floor and two doors to the right, just like the receptionist said, the door is open and there is an attractive middle aged woman standing in the doorway, waiting for us.
“Hello Sophie! Welcome. My name is Shana, very pleased to meet you.”
“I’m pleased to meet you as well, Shana. Shana, this is my friend Sarah, I wanted to bring her along with me to help in my decision. Thanks for meeting me so early in the day, I work crazy hours at the law firm and it really helps to be able to get all of my personal stuff done early in the day.” I try not to laugh at her mention of working at a law firm. I guess she can’t tell her potential landlord what her real job is.
“No problem at all. I’m happy to help in any way I can. Please, come in and take a look around.”
“Thank you.” We follow her into the apartment and I’m blown away. The kitchen, which looks to be about the same size as my whole apartment, takes up the entire left side of the room. Light blue granite counter tops with white cabinets make a striking combination. I try to hold in a gasp when I realize that not only is there a double sink but there are in fact two of them. One in the center island and one next to the stove.
“Shana, would it be okay if we looked through the apartment on our own?” Sophie asks.
“Oh of course. I’ll just be waiting here outside, if you have any questions just come get me and I’m happy to help.” She flashes us a million dollar smile and shuts the door behind her.
“Sophie, Sophie, Sophie, did you see? There are TWO sinks. Two double sinks.” I say, pointing one arm towards each of them. “Why would anyone need two sinks? It’s blowing my mind.”
“Just think of how long you could leave your dishes in the sink if you had two separate sinks.”
“I know! I’d never have to do dishes. Speaking of dishes, this is the fanciest dishwasher I have ever seen in my life.” Kneeling down next to it, I start pushing buttons.
“You should probably not do that. Yes, very impressive though. Come look at the view.” I follow her as she walks towards the windows. I hadn’t noticed before but there is a large glass door that Sophie slides, allowing us access to the balcony. Stepping outside I see that the balcony is literally the size of my bedroom.
“Oh gosh, it’s huge. Sophie, if you do rent this place, this can be my summer bedroom. I’ll just live out here rent free.”
She laughs. “It is quite spacious. I’ll set up a hammock for you. Let’s go back inside though, it’s a bit chilly out here.” She heads back into the apartment but I spend another moment outside, taking in the view.
“Come see the bedrooms and bathrooms.”
“Bathrooms? As in plural?” I say, following her down the hall. There are three doors on the right and one on the left.
“Yes, there are three.” She opens the first door on the right and walks in. It’s a bedroom, huge and empty with large built in drawers and shelves taking up the entirety of one wall. On the far wall there are two doors. Sophie opens the right one first and reveals a walk in closet. I follow her in and see that there are even more shelves and drawers.
“Sophie, this room is perfect. Look at all the closet space. It’s big enough to fit all of your clothes and that’s saying something.”
“Let’s check out the bathroom.” She leads me to the second door and when she opens it I’m taken aback. The entire bathroom is granite. On the right there is a stand up shower and on the left a comically huge bathtub.
“Oh my god, it’s gorgeous!” I say as Sophie climbs into the tub. She beckons me to follow her so I do, crawling in to sit down across from her. “Look at how much room there is. We could fit at least two more people in here. And look, there are jets!”
“Do you like it?” She says, smiling.
“Like it? Are you kidding me? Sophie, I might just have to live on your balcony from now on.”
“You won’t have to. This is going to be our apartment and this is going to be your bedroom and private bathroom.”
Not sure if I’ve heard her right, I squint my eyes and stare. “What?”
“This is our apartment. If you say yes, we are going to be living here together.”
For a long time, no words are spoken as I try to piece together what is going on. Sophie is staring at me, obviously amused. “Sophie if you are fucking with me, it’s not funny.”
“I am definitely not fucking with you. Do you think I’d be stupid enough to not only wake you up bright and early but also lie to you about something so important?”
I take another minute to let the information settle in. “This is my bathroom?”
“And that… that’s going to be my kitchen?”
“Do I… Do I get my own sink?”
She bursts out laughing. “You definitely do. You can also put your own fridge in here if you want, there’s certainly enough space for it.”
Suddenly reality comes crashing in on me. “Sophie, I can’t afford this. I don’t even need to know how much this is to know that I can’t afford it.”
“It’s a lot but half of it’s being paid for by one of my regulars.”
“Even so, I’m thinking that my share of the rent would still cripple me.” I say, biting my lip.
“Oh you don’t have to worry about rent. I just really need you to live here. You’ll be doing me a favour.”
“Why? What do you mean, I’d be doing you a favour? How?” I asked, confused.
“Come, I’ll show you Carmen’s room.” We climb our way out of the tub and she practically skips down the hall. She opens the only door on the left side of the hall and inside is one of the biggest bedrooms I have ever seen. To my surprise the room is already furnished. In the middle there is an enormous poster bed, complete with a gorgeous white canopy. On the left there is a living room set up. A big screen TV is mounted on the wall in front of a leather sectional. Next to the sectional is a bright red chaise lounger. Taking up nearly the entire right side of the room is a built in bar, complete with a sink and full size stainless steel fridge.
“Sophie… it’s spectacular. Is this where you’re going to entertain your gentleman callers?”
“This room is going to be dedicated to Carmen completely. My real bedroom is next to yours. Come look at the bathroom in here.” She opens a door that I hadn’t noticed before. Inside is a bathroom that is almost identical to mine except the granite is a different colour and the shower is much more impressive. I count twelve shower heads before I accidentally count one twice and give up.
“Your customers are going to be so happy. Why the move though? I mean besides that you have a regular willing to pay for half. What if he bails on paying his half?”
“He won’t. He’s going to be putting the apartment in his name and there is no easy way to get out of the rental contract at this place. The lease is for a year and he said there’s no reason he wouldn’t extend it past that.”
“What does he get out of the deal?” I ask.
“He said he was tired of seeing me in hotels and that I needed a proper place to do incalls from.”
“He does realize that you’ll still be seeing other men here, right?”
“He doesn’t care. In fact, I think he gets off on the fact that this will be where I conduct all of my business.” She says.
“Does he know I’m going to be living with you?”
“Actually, he does. I talked to him about it and said that if I was going to be entertaining customers at my place of residence I’d need a friend there to help keep me safe.” She says.
“So all I have to do is make sure you don’t get murdered and this place is mine?”
“Well, that’s not all you have to do. I also need you to keep your apartment lease going under your name. And I’ll need you to add my name to your lease so that my official place of residence is not here.”
“Understood. So wait, I get to live here and all I have to do besides make sure you don’t get murdered is keep paying the rent on my crappy apartment?”
“Yep. You can even sublet your room at your apartment, I don’t care what you do, I just need an official place to live that is not here.” She says.
“Done and done. So when do we move in?”