We’re moderately lost inside the Wal Mart, trying to figure out where the air mattresses would be but too proud to ask a worker to direct us to them.
“I feel like they would be in the camping section.”
by Sarah Brooke
Previous episodes of A glimpse into the shadows: An insider’s adventures in the world of escorts:
“I agree, but where the hell do you think the camping section is?” I ask, turning around in circles trying to find the right section of the store.
“I don’t know but here’s the bathroom section. Let’s grab some towels and other crap for the bathroom.”
“Yeah, my run down towels would seem really out of place in my shiny new bathroom.” I say, eyeing a very plush set of bath towels. I pick out a tan coloured set for myself and Sophie picks out the same set but in blue. Sophie starts grabbing things off the shelves and asking my opinion before tossing them in. Toothbrush holders, soap dispensers, garbage bin, hand towels.
“Oh, and we can’t forget toilet paper. When I first moved in to my apartment I forgot the toilet paper and by the time I had everything all moved in, it was too late at night to go buy any. That was a fun night.”
“I remember that.” She says, smiling at the memory of us searching through boxes at 1am for anything that might double as toilet paper. “We won’t have a repeat of that, I promise.”
It takes us a few more minutes of searching but we finally find the camping section. We pick out the largest, most comfortable looking air mattress and toss it in the cart. We make one more circuit of the store, filling our cart with junk food, toilet paper, bed sheets and a very large comforter. At the cash Sophie pays for everything and before the last item is scanned she grabs an armful of trashy gossip magazines and hands them to the cashier. We load the bags into the cart and make the short journey back to my car.
“So how do we get the keys to the apartment?” I ask while unlocking the trunk of my car. As soon as the trunk pops open Sophie starts stuffing bags inside.
“Joseph says that we just have to speak to the receptionist and she’ll have a set of keys for us.”
“We’re really going to spend our first night at our new place. Are you getting excited?”
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I still can’t believe that I’m going to live somewhere like that. It seems completely unreal.” Sophie says. “But yes, I am definitely excited.”
“You know, you hear about escorts being kept in luxury apartments but it seems more like a fairy tale than anything else.” I say, unlocking the doors to the rest of the car.
“Yes, a really romantic fairy tale. He pays me for sex and likes it so much that he’s arranged to have me live in his building.”
“Wait… he lives in our building?” I say, turning to look Sophie in the eye.
“So… he rented you this apartment so he’d have easy access to you?”
“The agreement is he will have a few freebie appointments each month. He wants to be able to drop by with a few hours notice.”
“Sophie, does he live with his family?”
She doesn’t answer and instead takes the cart and returns it back to the store.
“Sophie, does he live there with his family?” I ask again, determined to not be put off.
“Wife and two kids, yup.” She says.
“What if you run in to them when they’re all together, a big happy family?”
“I’ll make sure not to say ‘Hey Joseph, that was a great pounding you gave me last night. How are the kids? Is this your wife that I’ve heard so much about?’ Don’t worry, it’s not a big deal that he lives there.”
“If that’s our apartment I wonder what his looks like.” We both get into the car, slamming the doors behind us.
“I’ve been there before. It’s on the top floor, big penthouse suite. It’s at least double the size of our apartment.”
“Shit, how do I get to our new place from here? I think it’s about time I buy a GPS.” Unfortunately, Sophie is just as bad with directions as I am and we end up taking the long way to our apartment.
Once we arrive I realize that I have no idea where I’ll be putting my car. “Where do I park?”
“I know there’s underground parking available but I don’t think we have a spot yet. For now, park in the bus zone and we’ll unload the car really quick. Then you can go park it a few streets down.”
The street is starting to get busy so we make fast work of unpacking the trunk. I leave Sophie with our new belongings and set out to find a parking space. I find one a few streets down and practically run back to Sophie, excited to spend our first night in our new palace.
Sophie’s managed to move all of our stuff to the front door and is standing there awkwardly while people in business suits walk past her into the apartment.
“That took forever! Come on. I think if we try really hard we can bring everything up in one go.” I accept the challenge and strategically place the bags on my arm and hands to maximize how much I can carry. We waddle to the front desk and the receptionist smiles, maybe the faintest hint of a smirk on her face.
“Hello, My name is Sophie. I’m here to pick up my apartment key.”
The receptionist checks on her computer, asks Sophie a few questions to prove her identity and then hands us a key.
“Would you like help with that? I can call someone to come help you with your things.”
“No, thank you, we’ll manage.” She says. We both smile at the receptionist and she buzzes us in past the glass doors.
“They have people to help you bring your shit upstairs?” I ask, incredulous.
“I guess so. Just a heads up though, they expect tips.”
“Good to know, I’ll make sure to never require their help.” The elevator opens up on our floor and we sprint the rest of the way. At our door we both let our arms drop and the bags fall to the ground.
“That was my workout for the day.” I say, leaning up against the wall.
Sophie puts the key in the lock and before she throws open the door, we both look at each other and nod.
“Home sweet home!” Sophie says, carrying in a few bags and dropping them on the kitchen counter next to a gift basket that’s been left for us. I follow her lead and drag the remainder of the bags into the kitchen.
“Two bottles of expensive looking wine, moldy cheese and crackers and a bunch of stuff for the bath.”
“Do you think it’s from Joseph or the apartment building?” I ask.
“If it was from Joseph it would probably contain sex toys and a different selection of alcohol. I’m pretty sure that it’s a welcome gift from the apartment management.”
“The stinky cheese is all yours but I’ll help with the wine. First let’s get everything put away.” We get to work putting away our new belongings and once we are done we take the air mattress out of the bag and in a few minute it’s inflated and ready for use.
“This will have to be our couch for now.” I walk over to the kitchen and grab the two bottles of wine and a corkscrew. Sophie gets to work on opening the bottles. I claim the bottle with the pink label, she takes the one with the black.
“To our new apartment!” We clink our wine bottles together and take a swig.
“I wonder when this will all start to feel real.” Sophie says, looking around.
“I dunno. Maybe never. It’s one of the nicest places I’ve ever been into let alone lived in. How do people get used to this?”
“I’m excited to be here. I’m actually excited to get back in the game as well.”
“You’re ready to start advertising again?” I ask, relieved to be able to start working again.
“Yeah, I think so. I’ve let myself mope about this whole thing for far too long. I need more money coming in and so do you, of course. I have to start paying for this apartment and I can’t keep relying on my regulars and my savings account.”
“Once we get the internet hooked up here I can start getting you work. Are you going to charge more for incalls that are held here?”
“I think so. Outcalls will cost the same but incalls will be an extra fifty.”
“That’s it? Just fifty more?”
“At least to start. Keep in mind that I don’t want to do incalls with anyone I haven’t met with before. Outcalls only for new customers.”
“Got it. I’ll be so glad to get back to work. I’ve been perpetually bored lately.”
“I know and I’m sorry. You’ve been so great, I can’t thank you enough.”
“I think this apartment is thanks enough. I’m just glad you’re feeling better.”
“I am. I’m still worried that I have some crazy STD but I can’t let that worry control my life. I don’t want to let what one asshole did ruin my plans. When I decided to start escorting, it wasn’t an easy decision. I agonized over it for a long time. When I did decide to do it I promised myself to make it really worthwhile that I’d have to do it until I was either done school or felt that I had made enough money to retire on. I definitely don’t have enough money to retire on so I’m going to keep at it until school is done.”
“Are you really going to get out of school and quit escorting completely?”
“I think so. I might continue to see some of my regulars but I am kind of looking forward to getting out of this. A little less than three years and I’ll be graduating. That gives me quite a bit of time to save up money. I want to really work my ass off for the next few years, make as much as I can. I don’t want this to end up being my career.”
“No one likes a fifty year old hooker.” I say and she shakes her head in agreement.
“I’m also putting my love life on hold while I’m escorting and that hasn’t been easy either. I’m looking forward to being able to start dating again. At least at some point.” She says, taking a big swig of wine. I match her swig for swig before responding.
“You could still date, Soph. You don’t have to be single.”
“I couldn’t keep up this lifestyle and my school as well as a boyfriend. I couldn’t lie to someone either and it’s not like there are any guys out there who would be okay with their girlfriend being a hooker.”
“You don’t know that. I’ve read about tons of escorts who have boyfriends or husbands.”
“They’re doing it full time though, as a career. I don’t want that. I want to put this all behind me at some point.”
“I think that’s a good idea, I definitely don’t disagree with you. I just think that four years is a long ass time to be single.” I say, imagining what it would be like to not have a male confidant for all that time.
“It doesn’t bother me that much.” She takes another sip of wine and a splash of it falls onto our new comforter. “Woops, shit. Should have thought to bring some glasses.”
I’m about to reply and remind her just how spazzy she is even when drinking out of a proper wine glass when her Carmen cell phone rings. Sophie puts her wine bottle down next to her on the floor and starts searching through her purse for the phone. She grabs her own cell phone by mistake and tosses it aside. Finally she finds the right phone and picks up on the sixth ring.
“Hello?” She says as she hops off the air mattress and takes the call on the balcony. I wait for her patiently and take a few more sips from the bottle. I’m not really enjoying the taste of my wine so I sneak a sip of hers. Hers tastes just as bad and I wonder if perhaps I’m not civilized enough to appreciate fine wines. A few minutes later she returns.
“Who was that?”
“Joseph. He asked when we were going to move in. I told him we were here for the night and he wants to stop by and say hello.”
“No! He’s going to want to have sex, isn’t he?” I say, not keen on the idea of her entertaining him here on our very first night.
“No, I told him that you were here and that we had just eaten and drank way too much for me to be of any use to him in that way. He said that’s fine, he just wants to say hello.”
“Okay, sure. Anything I should know before he gets here?”
“Not really. He can be a little sarcastic. He knows who you are and that you’re the only one who knows all about my escorting.”
“By the way, do you like your wine?” I need to know if my taste buds are off or if the wine just isn’t that good.
“Not really.” She says, taking one more sip. “But it’s free and it looks like it’s probably expensive so we had better not waste it.”
A moment later there’s a knock at the door. Sophie runs to the door and before opening it, she throws her head down and ruffles her hair. Flipping her hair back into place she fluffs it before answering the door.
“Hello, come in!” She moves aside and the man who enters is surprisingly handsome. He’s not much taller than Sophie with dark hair and dark eyes. He’s wearing a tight t-shirt and you can tell that he works out. He looks to be in his forties and if I had one guess I’d say that he’s Italian.
“Thanks, how are you? I’ve missed you.” He slinks his arms around her waist and lifts her up, playfully kissing her neck.
“I’m good. You seem to be in good spirits.” She says, letting out a little squeal when he lifts her up.
“I’m just excited to have you here.” He gently puts her back on the ground, giving her a kiss on her forehead as he does. “Introduce me to your lovely friend.”
“Joseph, this is Sarah. Sarah, this is Joseph.”
I hop off the air mattress as gracefully as I can manage, thankful that the wine hasn’t kicked in yet. “Hello, so nice to meet you.” I extend my right hand to him and he takes my hand with both of his and squeezes.
“Any friend of Carmen’s is a friend of mine. I’m glad you talked her into moving in. I was beginning to worry that she wouldn’t accept my offer.”
“All it took was one look at that bathroom and I was sold.”
“It’s beautiful, huh? This is quite a nice place. I’m glad you are both liking it.” He looks around at our makeshift couch and snickers. “So is this how you’re going to furnish the place or is there more stuff coming?”
“We’re going to move everything over as soon as we can. In fact, I need to call some moving companies first thing in the morning and see who can come do it the soonest.”
“I know a guy, let me call him and see what he can do.” Joseph says.
“Really? That’s awesome. Thank you.” She squeezes his shoulder and gives him a kiss on the cheek. I don’t know why but I’m a little bit taken back by their obvious affection for each other. I don’t know what I was expecting but the way they are together seems more intimate than I had imagined.
“Anyways I don’t want to bother you ladies, I just had to come say hi. I’ll text you as soon as I hear from my friend about getting your stuff all moved in. Do we need to move her stuff in as well?” He says nodding towards me.
“Yes, please. Our apartments are about 5 minutes from each other.” She says, smiling coyly at him.
“No problem. I’ll let you know. You guys already ate, you don’t want me to order you a pizza or something? Chinese?”
“You’re sweet, have I ever told you that?” She leans her body into him and nuzzles his ear. “We’re fine though, we ordered the super sized fajita platter so we have enough leftovers to last about a week.”
“Okay, well you ladies enjoy. If you need anything you know how to reach me.” I look away while they say their goodbyes at the door. When I hear the door shut I finally look up.
“He’s cute.” I say. “Nice butt, too.”
“Right? He’s a pretty nice guy, too. He can be a bit difficult sometimes but most of the time he’s a perfect gentleman.”
“What do you mean, difficult?”
“He just has a bit of a temper. I don’t like drinking with him anymore because that’s when he tends to be the worst.”
“Wait, I thought you didn’t drink with clients?”
“I drink with some of my regulars. They tend to bring expensive alcohol along with them and I can’t always refuse.”
“I didn’t know that about you. Interesting.”
“I don’t get drunk but they usually like to. Once Joseph drank so much that he couldn’t get it up. He was so angry about it. He just yelled and freaked out for awhile until I managed to calm him down. We ended up just talking and cuddling for our two hour appointment. That was one of our first appointments. He later told me that he’s nervous with escorts so usually he doesn’t see one unless he’s totally smashed beforehand.”
“I never really thought about it but I guess the guys would be just as nervous as the escorts.” I say, surprised that someone who looks as confident as Joseph could ever be nervous before a sexual encounter.
“The guys are even more nervous for the most part. Don’t get me wrong, I was super nervous at first but you get used to it and the nerves eventually wear off. I can tell when a client is nervous, you have to go slower with them and take your time. Usually they’re fine after the first ten minutes.”
“I’d love to be a fly on the wall for one of your first appointments with someone.”
“You can hide under the bed, I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.” She takes another sip from her wine. “Done. I didn’t enjoy it but I am thoroughly drunk now.”
“What should we do now?”
“We can either read gossip magazines or go have a bath in the apartments biggest tub.”
“Why not do both?” I say, nodding my head towards the hallway.
“This is why I have you around, you’re a thinker.” She smiles, grabbing the pile of gossip magazines and heading towards Carmen’s bedroom. “You grab the towels and a bag of chips. I’ll get the water going.” Wondering what Joseph would think of us christening our new bathtub together, I grab the necessities and follow behind her.