Waiting in her doctor’s office, Sophie and I are sitting on possibly the most uncomfortable chairs I’ve ever had the opportunity to use.
“I think you need a new doctor. One with a better selection of wait room magazines and chairs that weren’t designed as torture instruments.” I say, trying to find a comfortable way to sit. “I don’t think there’s been any padding in these seats since the late 70′s.”
by Sarah Brooke
Previous episodes of A glimpse into the shadows: An insider’s adventures in the world of escorts:
Throwing down the magazine she was trying to read, she looks my way and grins. “He’s been my doctor since I was a baby. I’m pretty sure that these are the same chairs that were here when I came for my first appointment. In fact, I bet if we search through this pile of magazines we’d find some that my mom was reading when she brought me here for my first shots.”
“We should create a reality show that’s like Extreme Home Makeover but for outdated doctor’s offices.”
“I think that might be the most boring reality show idea I’ve ever heard of. Good luck with that.” She’s about to say something else when we hear the receptionist call her name. Sophie nods her head towards the hall and I throw down the fishing magazine I was attempting to read and follow her.
Inside the doctor’s office we end up waiting another ten minutes before he shows up. A few minutes in to our wait Sophie’s leg starts shaking, a nervous tick. I hold her hand and squeeze, trying to calm her down. I can’t help but be nervous for her.
When Dr. Grant finally shows his face I drop Sophie’s hand, not wanting to give her family doctor the wrong impression.
“Hello Sophie, sorry to keep you waiting.” He says, standing over us with a very serious look on his face.
“No problem. I brought my friend Sarah along, I hope that’s okay.” Sophie says, giving her doctor a quick smile.
“Of course, not a problem at all. Now, is there anything you’d like to talk about before we get to the test results?”
To be continued
“No, I’d really just like to know the test results. Please.”
“Okay, so as you know we will have to test again in a few months just to make sure but I found no sexually transmitted infections on this test. We’ll also have you for your yearly check up in six months or so and we will order another blood test to check for HIV at that time. I don’t think you have anything to worry about though, these are all just precautions.”
“Thank you, Doctor. I’ll be very relieved once I get the final test results back.” She’s absentmindedly playing with the strap on her purse.
“I don’t anticipate that the results of the next test will be any different but let’s make an appointment with the secretary. Try not to worry so much, from what you’ve told me you’ve been very careful besides this one occassion.”
“All it takes is one time though, right?”
The doctor doesn’t say anything for a moment and appears busy checking something on his chart. “Do you need a refill on your birth control prescription?”
“Actually, yes. Thank you.” He quickly scribbles something on a pad of paper and hands it to her.
“Sophie, it’s always a pleasure to see you. If you develop any symptoms that are unusual to you, especially itching or rashes in the area, give Gloria a call and we’ll fit you in.”
“Thank you, Dr. Grant.” She folds the prescription and tucks it into her wallet. “Have a good day.” He nods and leaves the room, closing the door behind him.
“Are you ever tempted to steal medical supplies when they leave you in here alone?” I say, eyeing the gauze and tongue depressors.
Standing up, she looks down at me with one eyebrow raised. “What the hell would you do with a box of tongue depressors?”
“I guess the possibilities are endless. We could make popsicles with them. Glue them together and build little towns. It doesn’t matter anyways, my purse isn’t big enough to stash anything in.”
“Glad to hear that. I’d hate to have to explain to my doctor next time I see him that my friend decided we should make doll houses out of his tongue depressors.” Throwing open the door, she stops at the reception desk and Gloria the secretary hands her a small slip of paper with her next appointment written on it. They exchange pleasantries and we head out of the office towards the underground parking lot.
“So? Are you relieved?” I ask. I know that I’m relieved to hear that she has been given the all clear, at least for now.
“Of course I’m relieved. It’s definitely a good thing that he didn’t find anything.”
“Still worried about the next test?”
“Yeah but I’m less worried now, definitely. I’m starting to feel like it’s all going to be okay.”
“Oh Soph, I’m so glad to hear that!” I stretch my arm out and squeeze her shoulder. “Where do you want to go for dinner? We need to celebrate.”
“How about the fajita place on Main Street?”
“We haven’t been there in so long. Yes, that sounds perfect. We’ll order enough fajitas for a family of six. We won’t be able to move after.” We arrive at my car and I realize I’ve forgotten to lock the doors again. “It’s a miracle I’ve never came back to my car to find a homeless man living in it. I never remember to lock the damn doors.”
Sophie climbs in and chuckles. “Remember when they found that homeless guy sleeping in the playground in grade school?”
“And they called the cops instead of just waking him up? They forced us to stay in our classrooms at recess and I remember us peaking through the blinds watching it all go down.”
“I hadn’t thought of that in years. That was so funny.” Navigating my way out of the dark parking lot when we finally reach the outside world I’m almost blinded by the sun. “Holy fuck, grab me my sunglasses.”
Sophie grabs my sunglasses from the dash and passes them to me. We continue to reminesce about grade school until we arrive at the restaurant. It’s just before dinnertime and the place looks somewhat empty.
“Looks like we got here at a good time.” I remember to lock my car this time and I follow Sophie into the restaurant. There’s no hostess or waiter in sight so we head to the furthest, most private booth we can find.
“I don’t remember this place ever being this dead before. Are you sure it’s even open?” She asks, taking one last lingering glance around the empty restaurant.
“The giant flashing open sign out front seems to think so.” Before we can say another word a handsome waiter appears with menus and a smile.
“Hello ladies, welcome to Joe’s, my name is Kent and I will be your waiter for this evening. Can I start you off with any drinks or appetizers?”
“Kent, hello. I’ll have a Coke, please and thank you, and she’ll have two shots of tequila and a margarita. We know what we’re having so we don’t need the menus. We’ll have your family platter of fajitas, and can we get that half chicken and half beef? We’ll need some extra guacamole as well, please.”
He writes our order onto his notepad, grabs the menus and heads towards the kitchen.
“Two shots and a margarita? Are those all for me?”
“Hey, I have to drive! You don’t want me to get a DUI, do you?” I say.
“Course not. I’ll pick up a bottle of Captain Morgan and we can continue celebrating once we get to your place.”
“I’ve been thinking about us moving in together, Soph.”
“Yeah?” The waiter returns briefly to drop a bowl of tortillas and salsa at our table and leaves without a word.
“I mean, I could never bring Mike there, could I?”
“What do you mean?” She says, stuffing a chip into her mouth.
“How could I bring Mike to my new luxury apartment? How could I explain that?”
Sophie doesn’t say anything for a moment. “I hadn’t really thought about that.”
“It’s all I can think of. I mean, to be honest we both barely have friends over at our place. I can’t even remember the last time I had someone over that wasn’t either you or Mike. I’m not too worried about hiding the apartment from our friends, if they ever ask to come over to my place, we can just go there and pretend I still live there.”
“Yeah, I did think about that. I know there’s no way we can have any of our girl friends over. They’d get suspicious right away. I’ve already come up with a story if it ever does come out that we’re living in luxury.”
“Really? And what would that story be?” I say, very interested to see how she would explain away the new digs.
“That I have a rich older boyfriend who is stuck in a loveless, sexless marriage and he’s offered to rent me a luxury apartment close to him.”
“You can’t tell anyone that though, everyone would be furious that you hadn’t told them about this rich boyfriend of yours.” I say, knowing full well what our friends would say about being kept out of the loop.
“Oh, I realize that. I don’t plan on anyone finding out but just in case we somehow get busted, that’s our story. He’s paying for the place and I asked you to move in with me. If our cover gets blown you tell everyone that I swore you to secrecy. Tell everyone that I was too embarrassed about having an older, married boyfriend and that I didn’t want to tell anyone about it.”
“Sure. I’ll play the innocent who was forced to move into an apartment fit for a king. You really twisted my arm.”
“Are you moving in though?” She asks, looking down at the bowl of tortilla chips.
“I want to. I just can’t stop thinking about how I would work it out with Mike. The way I see it, I have two choices here. I can either tell Mike the truth that I’m living with you in a swanky apartment or I lie and act like I’m still living at my apartment.”
“I hadn’t even thought of that. I’m sorry, Sarah. That does make matters more confusing.”
“I think I can trust him to keep his mouth shut about the fancy apartment but who knows? If he lets it slip to Frank, Frank will tell Mel and Mel will be both suspicious and angry. Not a good combo.”
“I guess you have to figure out if you trust him enough to keep his mouth shut. I can’t imagine lying to him about still living at your old place will go over well though. I mean, he’ll probably figure it out at some point. To make it seem like you’re really living in your old place you’d need food in the fridges, dirty laundry all over the ground, dishes in the sink, et cetera.”
“What would you do?”
“I’d just tell him. I’ll make sure to keep Carmen’s bedroom locked so he’ll never wander in and wonder at all the weird sex stuff in there. My appointments will be posted on the wall in my bedroom so you can work your schedule around my schedule. That way we can make sure he’ll never be there when a customer is.”
“Yeah, I guess that might work. What if he sleeps over and you have a customer coming at a certain time in the morning?”
“Kick him out. Take him out for breakfast. Make him take you shopping. I dunno. You’re a woman, you’ll think of something.”
“What if he runs into one of your customers though? What if all these precautions ultimately don’t work.” I say, chewing on the side of my lip. A bad nervous habit of mine.
“Who cares? It’s not like one of my clients is going to say ‘Hey, my name’s Peter, I’m here to have paid sex with your girlfriends roommate.’ If he does run into any of my clients just say it’s one of my boyfriends coming over for a quickie. I don’t care if Mike thinks I’m a slut I just don’t want him knowing that I’m an escort.”
“I’m glad you think that it’s okay for me to tell Mike. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. There is no way I was saying no to living in that apartment, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. I just don’t know how to handle the Mike thing and also make sure your secret is safe.”
“Are you saying yes then? Are you going to move in with me?” She says, sounding more excited than she was a moment ago.
“Yes, Sophie, yes I will move in with you and live in your gigantic and insanely swanky apartment. Honestly, how could I ever say no?” I sya, shrugging my shoulders.
She starts beaming from ear to ear. “I’m so excited. Oh my god Sarah, it’s going to be amazing. I promise we won’t get on each others nerves.”
“And if we do, I can always go back to my apartment for a few days until we miss each other again.”
“Married couples should have this arrangement.” The waiter returns again, wordlessly dropping the steaming hot platter of fajitas in front of us. We smile at him and he leaves, hopefully to pick up our extra guacamole that it looks like he’s forgotten.
“I’m going to call Joseph and tell him to go ahead with the lease.”
“You mean you hadn’t told him yes already?”
“I wanted to make sure you were positive about moving in first.” She takes Carmen’s phone out of her purse and places a call. I use the opportunity to track down our waiter and ask what is going on with the guacamole. A few minutes later, I’ve completed my mission and return to our table victorious, extra guacamole in hand.
“How’d that go?”
“Apparently he had already signed the lease. The place is ours and we can move in tonight if we wanted to.”
“What? Seriously? What if you had said no?” I ask, remembering how she said it was very tricky to get out of the lease at this apartment building.
“I guess he was pretty sure that I wouldn’t refuse. Should we call every moving company in the city tonight and see if there are any that can move us as soon as possible?” She asks, carefully wrapping her fajita.
“I don’t want to live in my crappy apartment any longer than I have to. I have an idea…”