Elizabeth sat quietly in the executive lounge at Dubai International Airport as she had done many, many times over the last three years. She smoothed her skirt and absentmindedly twitched her Louboutin-clad foot as she sipped her cappuccino. Her flight back to London would begin to board in about 45 minutes.
As she glanced around at the others who were occupying the lounge — the businessmen in suits, the Emiratis in their stark white kanduras — she grinned to herself as she recalled the previous week in the glittery and opulent city of Dubai.
Elizabeth had arrived seven days prior, was whisked through immigration due to her first-class ticket and the executive service that was paid for by the man she was there to see. She was greeted by her driver as she exited the customs area. Patel, a young and well-dressed Indian man, was waiting for her as he always was and carried her bag to the Range Rover parked outside. Patel met her every time; he was never late and never asked questions.
Behind the tinted windows of the back seat, Elizabeth barely glanced at the towering buildings and shimmering lights of Dubai. She carefully checked her makeup then retrieved the now buzzing phone from her purse. She opened the text and beamed.
“I’ll see you at the apartment in an hour,” it read. Elizabeth replied with a quick emoji and noticed they were nearing her destination. The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, loomed ahead of them. Patel expertly weaved the Range Rover in and out of traffic and pulled up to the residents’ entrance. She tucked her phone back into her purse as she waited for him to open her door. He carried her bag into the lobby and she turned to smirk a thank you to him. She never tipped; he was already very well paid for what he did.
The concierge approached, his hands formally clasped behind his back. “Welcome back, miss,” he said, picking up her bag. “Would you care for a drink before you go up?”
Elizabeth beamed and shook her head. “No, thank you,” she replied, knowing that a bottle of her favorite champagne was already chilling in the apartment high above her head. The concierge smiled and carried her bag as they walked to the elevators. He pressed the button for the 88th floor and they were immediately whisked skyward.
Elizabeth sauntered down the plush hallway to the door of her apartment. She retrieved her key from her purse then turned to the smiling concierge. “Thank you,” she said with a half-sneer that dismissed him without another word.
She opened the door and turned to gaze at the wide bank of windows. The city of Dubai was spread out before her, the fountains below dancing in an otherworldly light. She had no time to admire the view, however. Not only had she seen it many times before, but she was also expecting someone, and soon.
Elizabeth quickly unpacked her bag, carefully hanging the dresses that she would need over the next week. A personal maid had been offered to her, but Elizabeth preferred her privacy, and she knew that her guest did too. She quickly showered then smoothed her favorite Bulgari lotion over her entire body, luxuriating not only in the scent but in her own beautiful skin, taut over the lean muscles she had earned by her new exercise plan. Her guest would be pleased.
She checked the time as she popped the bottle of Dom Perignon. Clad only in a silk robe she sat back on the sofa and took in the view. As she sipped carefully from her glass of champagne she heard the click of the lock. She didn’t get up as he walked through the door. One of the most powerful men in the country crossed the Persian carpet to meet her. Only then did she stand, kissing him with lips still tingling from the champagne, and she let her robe fall to the floor in a shimmering puddle of silk.
Elizabeth was born in London. Her life was not lavish but neither did she want for anything. Her father was a successful barrister and her mother was a professor of anthropology. As their only child, Elizabeth’s parents showered her with attention. She was sent to the best schools, she was given an expensive, purebred horse and taught to ride, and she was received in the best homes in the city. Her family vacationed all over the world, and while Elizabeth knew that she had privileges that most did not, she did not see her life as anything but normal.
What everyone else saw was something else entirely.
Elizabeth was lovely as a child, but as she matured, it became obvious that she would be an exquisitely beautiful woman. Her hair was that natural shade of ash blonde that can never be perfectly replicated in a salon, she was tall and slim, yet the natural curve of her hips and her firm, round ass complimented her small and high breasts. She knew she was beautiful, she knew that men desired her, but she didn’t yet know just how valuable an asset that was.
Elizabeth went abroad for her education, and received a master’s degree in Philosophy from Columbia University in New York City. She returned to London, not under any pressure to begin working; her parents were just glad to have her home.
One evening as she was chatting with friends over champagne at the glamorous Beaufort Bar at the Savoy, she saw a well-dressed young woman across the room. This woman sat with a very attractive and expensively dressed man, and they flirted discreetly and laughed in an intimate way that made her slightly jealous. Elizabeth turned back to her friends for a moment, and then got up to use the ladies’ room.
As she pushed open the door, she spied the beautiful young woman she had seen previously. She was carefully touching up her lipstick. As the two locked eyes in the mirror the other sneered knowingly at Elizabeth. She reached into her small clutch and retrieved a business card. “Give us a call,” she said as she whisked out the door.
Elizabeth turned the card over in her hand and spied the logo on the front. She recognized it immediately; everyone knew about this company, but no one talked about it. It was the best and most prestigious escort agency in London. Elizabeth turned the card over and over in her hand for a moment, and then tucked it into her purse.
Two days later she found herself at the desk of an attractive older woman in a posh Mayfair office. She must have been in her late 40’s but her unlined skin and perfectly coiffed hair made her appear years younger. The woman glanced at the CV that Elizabeth had placed on her desk.
“I’m Margaret,” she said, pushing the CV back toward Elizabeth with one perfectly manicured finger. “Thank you for coming. Your CV is obviously impressive, but I find it easier to assess someone’s potential when I meet them in person, don’t you?”
Elizabeth cocked her head to the side a bit and smiled in that way she reserved for someone to whom she wanted to appear a bit mysterious. “Yes, I do.”
Margaret stood and walked around to the front of the desk. She carefully leaned against it, her legs long under her Alexander McQueen skirt and ending in Manolo Blahnik slingbacks. “Elizabeth, do you know what a courtesan is?”
Elizabeth said, “Of course. It’s something of an antiquated term, but I think a courtesan is a mistress, or a kept woman, if you will.”
Margaret laughed softly and said, “Yes, that’s true to a certain extent but please understand this, the women who work for me are not mistresses. They are companions; they are carefully looked after by the men they associate with. They are educated, poised, and most of all, incredibly beautiful, and they are very well-paid for their time. Violet, the girl you saw at Beaufort, recognized these qualities in you and gave you my card. I’m very glad she did.”
Elizabeth mulled over Margaret’s words for a moment. Was she actually here, in this office, being offered a job as a courtesan?
“What, exactly, does this position entail?” Elizabeth asked, her practicality taking over.
Margaret chuckled. “I have a client, someone that I’ve worked with for many years. I can’t divulge his name to anyone who has not signed our non-disclosure agreement, but you might be aware of him. His previous courtesan has left our employment for personal reasons, and he’d like to meet someone new. I think you’d excel in this position.”
Margaret smiled again. “Would you like to go to Dubai?”
Elizabeth was slighty nervous as she boarded the British Airways flight to the United Arab Emirates a few days later. She had learned the name of the man she was to meet, and she did indeed know who he was. Photos of him appeared in the tabloids occasionally as he was caught by the paparazzi in high-end restaurants and clubs, or on his yacht in the Mediterranean. He was handsome in a dark and swarthy way, and very, very rich.
As she claimed her first-class seat, she removed a folder from her bag. She had been sent a questionnaire by the gentleman’s personal staff which would ensure that the apartment she would occupy for the week would be stocked with everything she needed. She carefully reviewed the other instructions she was given about security and discretion. She settled back in her seat as the plane took off.
Five hours later, the plane touched down in a land completely foreign to her. As she exited the jetway, she saw a woman holding a sign with her name on it.
“Welcome to Dubai Miss,” said the smiling young Asian woman. “I’m with the executive service and I will escort you through immigration and customs.”
Elizabeth composed herself, and acted as if she expected this level of service all the time. A few minutes later she bypassed the lines and received the first of what would be many UAE stamps in her passport. Her airport assistant retrieved her luggage for her and escorted her through customs. Patel was waiting on the other side of the gate.
“Enjoy your stay in the United Arab Emirates,” the woman said as she moved away.
Patel approached her. “Welcome Miss. My name is Patel and I am your driver. You can call me at any time for any reason.” He handed her a card then picked up her bags.
The Range Rover rumbled at the curb, and Patel ushered Elizabeth and her luggage into it. As they sped away from the airport the skyscrapers of the city came into view. She glanced around in awe, stunned at this opulent jewel in the desert.
Soon they arrived at what would become her building, her apartment in the Burj Khalifa. The concierge opened the door of the car and offered his hand. “Welcome to the Burj Khalifa. We’ve been expecting you.”
Elizabeth was handed a key. “Your apartment is on the 88th floor. I’ll escort you there.” They quickly reached the elevator and seconds later she was entering the apartment.
“If you need anything, simply ring us downstairs at any time,” he said as he closed the door.
Elizabeth quickly checked the time. She had just under an hour before he would arrive. She ignored the stunning view then quickly unpacked her bag. She entered the lavish bathroom and saw a robe hanging there. Pale gold silk, just as she’d asked for.
She quickly showered and did her hair and makeup, then slipped into the robe, the feel of the silk on her skin as delicious as she had known it would be. She found the bottle of Dom Perignon in the refrigerator and opened it carefully, pouring a tall, bubbly glass for herself.
She took a sip and gazed out the huge windows at the stunning view of the city. It was just past sundown and the lights were coming up, and the famous fountain blazed below. She took another sip then heard the light click of the door lock.
She turned, her heart in her throat for a moment, and watched him walk in. He strode across the lush carpet, his smirk wide across his face.
“Welcome,” he said. “I’m very pleased to meet you.”
She took another sip from her glass and grinned. “And I am happy to meet you.”
She kissed him with champagne lips and her robe fell to the floor.