Not in my wildest dreams could I have predicted this is where my life would be today. Most people don't wake up one morning and say, “I want to be an escort,” but that's exactly what I did. Don't get me wrong, it's not exactly a dream job, but working at some box store for minimum wage wouldn't be either. That's likely what would have happened, if I'd stayed in the small town where I grew up in Minnesota. I'd probably still be living in some rundown house, married to a man I hated, with at least two kids by now. That might work for some people, but not me. It may be harshly stereotypical for a girl raised by an alcoholic mother with an absentee, jailbird father, but it doesn't change the fact that it's the sad reality for many others like me. That's the life I was born into – it would likely have been the life I died in – if I hadn't made the choice to do something about it. I would say that things are better now, but life has quite the sense of humor, and it took me becoming an escort to have the chance at this better existence. That's not exactly something you'd print on a high school guidance brochure. But when opportunity knocked on my door I took it – right or wrong – and I've never looked back.
It all started about seven years ago, just after my high school graduation. I was eighteen and I'd finally had enough of my mom's creep, loser boyfriend venturing into my room late at night. Most of the time, he just stood in the doorway, staring at me creepily as he mumbled things about how 'tight my body was' and wondering 'what I tasted like', but that night was different. I remember being woken up to the sound of the cheap floors creaking beneath his weight as he approached my bed. I felt suddenly sickened by the overpowering smell of tobacco on his clothes and his breath as he leaned in to smell my hair.
“God you smell so good,” he purred in his raspy voice.
“Get the hell out of here!” I demanded before he placed his filthy, nicotine-stained hand over my mouth. The look in his eyes told me he wasn't going to stop this time. I bit his hand as hard as I could and kneed him in the chest, causing him to stumble back a little. I didn't have time to defend myself from the hard slap he sent across my face. I remained a little disoriented as I felt him climb back on top of me. When he greedily reached for my pajama bottoms, I seized my opportunity and grabbed for the lamp on the bedside table. I remember smashing it as hard as I could over his head, knocking him unconscious.
“What did you do to him?” my mother cried, stumbling into the room and ignoring the broken pieces of porcelain on the ground as she bent to tend to him.
“Are you serious? Isn't it obvious?” I'd asked, dumbfounded that she hadn't figured it out. “Your fucking creep of a boyfriend just tried to rape me!”
“You little slut liar!” she screamed, wiping blood off his head with her tattered gray housecoat. “He would never do that to me! He loves me.”
I stared at her in disbelief for what felt like a very long time. I knew my mother was a pathetic individual, but a woman who would pick this sad, sleazy excuse for a human being over her daughter didn't deserve to have one.
I'd had enough of this house and this life. If she was happy living like this I couldn't stop her, but I wasn't going to. Not anymore. A part of me was sad I hadn't killed him, as I listened to him telling her ridiculous things about how he was sleepwalking and that I'd attacked him wanting sex, even though he tried to fight me off. I quickly packed up a bag of belongings, along with the few hundred dollars I'd managed to save from working at the local diner, and I got the hell out of there, moving to downtown Minneapolis to start fresh.
It was terrifying to be in the big city alone. I mean, living with my mother hadn't been a glamorous life, but at the very least I never had to worry about a roof over my head and food in my belly. At first, I found a cheap motel to stay at and to say that it was awful would be a slight understatement. I had my high school diploma, but that wasn't exactly a gateway to good employment. The little money I had didn't last long and for a while, I even considered going back. But I decided to quit the 'pity party' I'd been throwing myself and managed to get a job doing something I was familiar with – waitressing at a twenty-four-hour diner. It wasn't a fancy place, but it was clean, and it put some much-needed money in my pocket.
After about a month, a man came in during one of my midnight shifts, joined by a few of his friends. I learned that he owned a high-end bar downtown and that the others with him were members of his staff. They flirted harmlessly and were easy to get along with. Apparently they liked to gorge on greasy food after a busy night. To this day I still don't know why he offered me a job in his bar. I don't know if he actually thought I was a good waitress, or just felt bad for me because I was young and cute and stuck in a dump like this. Whatever his reasons were I lucked out, and he offered me a good job. It was a place that was rather selective about their clientele. Then again, an establishment that charged as much as they did for drinks would only be appealing to certain individuals. It was the kind of place where customers paid handsomely to be served and liked their service to include a side order of cleavage and shameless flirting, to boost their already inflated egos. I was good at that job. I was pretty enough to get people's attention and smart enough to keep it. I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world – far from it – but bronzed skin, long black hair, gray eyes and high cheekbones are a conversation starter, and after that my well-proportioned breasts did most of the talking. It's funny, because I've had people tell me it's conceited or arrogant to use beauty to get ahead, but the sad truth is you need to make the most of what you're given in this life. I didn't have the luxury of not using everything I could.
About eight months into my employment at the downtown bar, I was starting to experience a little stability in my life. I had an apartment with a roommate; a few friends and I was starting to feel somewhat content. Little did I know that everything was about to change – that's when I met Senator James Clarke. Although he wasn't a stranger to politics, at the time he was a newly-elected senator. I remember being mesmerized by this gorgeous man in his early forties, wearing a suit that probably cost more than everything I owned, combined. He wasn't exactly a regular, but he did come in from time to time when his employment brought him back to his home state. He was always charming and a pro at innocent flirting, but he never paid me much attention – until one fateful day. I remember it was busy that evening, and I couldn't help noticing how handsome he was as he sat down alone in my section. It was the first time I'd had the opportunity to serve him.