An Escort for ChristmasBy: A. Zavarelli
I scrolled through the want ads for the fifth time that day, hoping something new had popped up. It hadn’t.
The sound of a fist banging on my door nearly jolted me out of my seat.
“I know you’re in there, Harper,” my landlord yelled through the wood. “I need your rent by the end of the week or you’re out!”
My forehead collapsed against the desk with a thud. “God, what am I going to do?”
“You know you always have a place to crash,” Katia reminded me gently. “It might be a couch, but it’s free.”
“I know.” I sat up and gave her a weak smile. “And I appreciate that, really I do. I just need to find a job. Even with a free couch, I still have bills to pay.”
Medical bills, to be precise. My Aunt’s cancer had been merciless both physically and financially. And even though she was gone, the ever present reminder of my grief came in the form of little white envelopes each month.
As much as I hated to admit it, I didn’t want to lose this crappy little apartment. It was the place that I’d grown up in. And the only piece of her I had left.
“Well, have you had any bites at all?” Katia asked. “You’ve been sending out resumes like crazy.”
“Nope.” I frowned. “It’s the absolute worst time to be looking for a job. Two weeks before Christmas. Anything that’s available probably won’t be interviewing until after the holidays anyway.”
“God, I still can’t believe that dickhead laid you off after two years of working your ass off for him.”
“I know.” I rubbed my temples in exhaustion. Being a waitress wasn’t a glamorous job, but it got me through during my Aunt’s decline. And I was good at it. It wasn’t really Roger’s fault though, the diner hadn’t been doing well for a while. It was bound to be shutting down any day at this rate.
“I know you don’t want to hear it.” Katia worried her lip between her teeth. “But Bisou is always hiring.”
Before I could help it, I wrinkled my nose in response and Katia shot me a glare.
“I don’t mean it that way, Katia. I respect what you do. It’s just that… well, you’re a beautiful woman who’s comfortable with her sexuality. I’m like your geeky sidekick. It could never work.”
“That isn’t true.” She laughed.
I gave her a pointed stare, and she shrugged under the weight of it. “Okay, you’re a little bit geeky. But in like the most adorable way possible. And men love those reading glasses you wear. Can you say, sexy librarian?”
I laughed and shook my head at the preposterous idea. There was no way I could ever do what Katia does. Not that I judged her for it, but I simply wasn’t that comfortable with myself.
“Look,” she said seriously. “If the sex is an issue, we could take that off the table.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, it’s rare,” she said. “But some of the Johns are legitimately just looking for a date. I could help write your ad, and they would know straight off that isn’t on offer.”
“So what would I do then?” I asked, hating that I even had to consider this.
“Well, go on dates,” she answered. “Smile and be polite and graceful. All of the things which you already are. They just want to look good at work functions and stuff most of the time. Having you on their arm will accomplish that.”
“I don’t know about that…”
“Harper.” Katia reached over and clasped my hands in hers. “What other choice do you have, sweetheart?”
I closed my eyes and blew out a shaky breath. I knew she was right. I was about to lose the very roof over my head. And I really couldn’t afford to go further in debt. It was going to take me years to pay it off as it was.
“You promise I don’t have to have sex?”
Katia flashed a coy smile. “Darling, I promise that you are going to be wined and dined with some of the finest society has to offer. And you don’t have to sex. But you may very well change your mind about that when you see some of these men.”
After meeting with Katia’s ‘Madame’ I was given a brief rundown of how everything would work.