I look through my window and my eyes drift upward to the seven-story building. I look back at my GPS for the fifth or sixth time, making sure I’m at the right place.
I don’t know why I keep re-checking. Nicole already told me it would be a seven-story building when she gave me the address. The thing is, what I’m looking at right now looks absolutely nothing like the headquarters of a high-end escort service. At least not from the outside.
I mean, I don’t exactly know what escort service buildings are supposed to look like, but I really don’t think they’re supposed to look so rundown and pretty much on the verge of being abandoned. The place actually looks like it’s up for demolition.
Maybe that’s the whole point, though? You know, having a low profile or hiding in plain sight or something along those lines? Whatever. I don’t have time to ponder it.
I turn off the ignition and head inside. I straighten my posture as I walk through the entrance, running my hands along the length of my black pencil skirt. I really hope I’m dressed appropriately for this.
Naturally, I had quite a bit of trouble figuring out what to wear for this interview. I’m not exactly well-versed with the escort service hiring process.
The main floor is vacant except for a bellman and a security guard stationed at the door. I look around, feeling uncertain. Nicole said I should head to the basement, but I have no idea where that is. I don’t see an elevator anywhere, or any type of stairwell for that matter.
The bellman walks up to me, seemingly sensing my uncertainty.
“Hi, may I help you?” he asks.
He looks fairly young, like in his late teens or early twenties. He has a kind smile, and his dark curly hair sits high on his head. It actually reminds me of my own tresses.
“Hi. Yes, uh, I need to head to the basement,” I say.
“Oh, I can take you. This way,” he says, gesturing toward the other end of the floor. I follow after him, walking briskly across the main area and bending into a corner several feet away where I spot an antique cage lift.
“After you,” he says, gesturing with his hand again. He gets in after me and pulls the gate closed. He pulls some sort of lever and the lift begins to descend, taking us down with it.
It gets a lot darker the further down we go, and for a few seconds, I can barely see anything. But soon enough, we’re immersed in daylight once again, and the cage lift finally brakes to a stop.
“Here you go,” he says, pulling the gate open. I slide past him and out of the lift. He points over to a button pad located just outside of it. “Just push this button over here when you’re ready to head upstairs again and I’ll come down to get you.”
I nod, smiling gratefully. “Thank you.”
“Not a problem,” he says with another smile before he closes the gate once more and heads up.
I’m finally at the basement, as per Nicole’s instructions. I come into a sort of lounging area. There’s a receptionist sitting at the front desk.
I walk up to her tentatively, feeling more and more unsure of myself with each passing second. I can’t help but feel like I’m making a huge mistake by being here.
All of a sudden, a platinum blonde woman emerges from behind a closed door, her face twisted in an angry expression. She storms across the lounge without a word, exiting the area with nothing but the sound of her pumps clicking harshly against the floor.
I’m not sure what the hell that was about, but I have my own issues to deal with right now. I turn back to the receptionist.
“Hi…uh, I’m here to see Mindy,” I say.
“What time is your appointment for?” she asks.
I glance at the overhead clock behind her. I still have fifteen minutes to spare—more than enough time for my nerves to get the best of me.
Her hands go to work on her keyboard and she types away as if her hands have a life of their own.
“Let’s see here,” she mumbles, “Three-thirty, three-thirty…Ramona?”
“Yes, that’s me,” I say, feeling a bit timid.
She hands me a clipboard with a form attached to it and a pen. “Alright, I’ll just have you sign in here.”
My hands are trembling and I can see just how badly they’re shaking as I take the pen and clipboard from her. I can’t even begin to say how absurd and surreal this feels right now. I feel so weird actually signing in for an interview appointment; an interview appointment to see if I can get hired to be a damn call girl!
The receptionist seems perfectly normal as she continues to type away at her keyboard. She’s actually fairly pleasant. I don’t know why, but I keep waiting for her to look at me funny or in a judgmental way, but she doesn’t.
I realize then that she might be a call girl herself, or might have been one in the past. I suppose if she had any moral qualms with the “profession”, she wouldn’t be here checking people in for interviews.
I think I might be overthinking it. I’m obviously not the first potential hire she’s ever come across, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be the last. Actually, I know I’m over-thinking things, because I’m nervous and uncertain, and honestly, I’m not even sure which I’m more afraid of; getting the job or not getting it.
Whatever happens, I’ll still end up caught between a rock and a hard place. It’s like a fucking lose-lose situation.
Christ. I really wish I had another practical alternative, but I don’t, and I need to come to terms with that—and the sooner I do, the better it’ll be for me. The ugly truth is that my hands are tied. I don’t exactly have many options here, and like anybody else, I can only do my best with what I have at any given moment.
Besides, it’s not like I intend to do this forever. As a matter of fact, as soon as all of Gran’s debts are paid off and I have enough to cover my medical expenses, I’ll quit. Hopefully, that’ll be much sooner than later. Much, much sooner.
After a few moments, another young woman emerges from a closed door and looks toward me.
The first thing I notice about her is her hair. She has a sleek, jet black asymmetrical bob that frames her heart-shaped face incredibly well.
She looks younger than me, and she’s even better dressed than the receptionist.
“Ramona, Mindy will see you now,” she says. “Please follow me.”
I take another deep breath as I stand, my muscles tensing in anticipation.
Here goes nothing.