Portia glanced at her diamond-encrusted Cartier watch. He’s late. Five more minutes, and he can forget it. Sipping from her glass of Moet, she scanned the room for a third time.
“Ms P?” The deep voice came from behind her and made her jump. Looking the speaker up and down, she narrowed her eyes.
“You’re late. I don’t care for tardiness. Two more minutes, and I would have left.”
“I’m sorry. There’s been a pile up on the ring road. I got stuck in tra—“
“I didn’t ask for your life history. I don’t care why you were late. Only know, it cannot happen again.”
She smiled as she watched him bow his head in shame; her thin, red lips stretching across her face. “All right. Enough with the dramatics. Pay for my drink, and we’ll be off.”
When he pulled his wallet from his back pocket, a photograph of two children fluttered to the floor. Scooping it up, he shoved it back in its home.
“Children?” She arched a perfectly sculpted eyebrow. “They look young.”
Her client’s cheeks coloured and he fanned himself with his wallet. “Oh, yeah. Six and eight. But I’m getting a divorce, so I’m not cheating on anyone.” His words tripped over one another in his hurry to absolve himself.
Climbing down from the bar stool, she leaned in close and said, “Not here. We don’t want the whole world to know our story, do we?” An auburn hair fell across her face when she spun around to leave. Immediately, she tucked it behind her ear.
With the drinks paid for, she led the way to the elevator, brushing off a couple of men who pawed at her as she passed. “My time is occupied right now,” she breezed and continued walking. “Call and leave a message on my phone. You have my number.”
Once inside, she hit the button for the twentieth floor. On the way up to her room, things became a little crowded as everyone seemed to be heading up to the roof. Backing herself into a corner, she recoiled as the intoxicated, sweaty people invaded her space. Human touch was something she allowed only in the confines of her own room; where she could be in control.
She didn’t occupy the penthouse suite. Her money didn’t stretch quite that far. Nonetheless, she had managed to sweet talk the manager into renting her the next best room. With a window that wrapped around the entire suite, the views of the city were breathtaking. Lights twinkled in the dark night sky. In the living area, the walls were off-white with rose gold flowers.
The first time she saw this space, she had gasped. She had always known she would make something of her life and have all the luxuries she had been denied as a child. But to see this beautifully decorated living room—that was bigger than her entire apartment back home—well, it made her proud. She was someone.
“Okay. As you were late, we’ll skip the foreplay and head straight to the bedroom.” The moment she said it, she felt guilty. She had no right to take out her bad mood on a client. That’s not how you made money. Softening her tone, she added, “You may pour yourself a drink from the mini bar first. If you like.”
The man, who she guessed must have been around forty, ripped open the refrigerator door. “Vodka. Is that okay?” When he turned to face her, his pale blue eyes watered. As he poured the drink, his hands shook.
“This is your first time, isn’t it?” she said, sitting on the bed and crossing her long, stockinged legs.
After swigging almost all the drink in one, he licked his lips. “Yes.” He stared straight ahead, unable to meet her eyes.
Her heart sank. This guy didn’t want to have sex with her. He wanted to talk. Oh, how she hated that. Such familiarities pushed her closer to vulnerability. “So, what made you call me? How did you hear about me?”
Draining the liquid from his glass, he paused before speaking. “My mate Buster uses—ugh, no, has called upon your services before. He said you’re the real deal. You know, like, you’re sophisticated, and all that. You come recommended at the price you charge. I liked the sound of you because my wife, my Claire, she’s sophisticated, as well. Likes all the best things in life, you know. God knows what she’d say if she knew—”
“Woahh. I don’t need to hear about your wife. You can keep that to yourself.” Opening the refrigerator, she poured him another vodka. Eyeing him as he took another long draw of the alcohol, she said, “So what would you like from this evening? From our encounter? What are you hoping for?”
A smile crept across his face, and he chuckled. “I would have thought that’s obvious, isn’t it? You’re a call girl, and I’m a red-blooded man. I want to try your goods.” Placing his glass on the side, he grabbed her head with two rough hands and suckered his lips to hers.
A couple of drinks usually brought them out of themselves. Pulling herself away, she stood and took his hand. “I think you’re ready for the bedroom now.”
Alone again. The soapy bathwater masked the real Portia. It covered up the dirt-poor neighbourhood in which she was raised. It wiped out all traces of her drunk mother and way-too-friendly stepdad. As she lay back, feeling the bubbles caress her skin, she thought about the success story that was her life. She had made it. Not only did she have so much money she didn’t know how to spend it, but the things she did want to buy, guys tripped over themselves to get for her. She wanted for nothing.
Pulling back the rose gold covers on her king size bed, she climbed in. If only she could tell someone about her successes. Sharing would feel good. Grabbing her phone, she flicked through her contacts. She had over a hundred names in there. She could call any of them, and they would invite her over or out for drinks. But none of them would listen to her. None of them cared.
She rested her head on the pillow and pulled the covers over her. The black hole in the pit of her stomach expanded, filling her body. Closing her eyes, she drifted off to sleep.