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His name was William, and the address was in Soho.  I grabbed my coat and jumped into a cab.  The standard time between notification of call and arrival upon doorstep was thirty minutes. Less time was fine, more was not.

My stomach was tight, nerves rushing through my body.  I took a deep breath, trying to calm down.  I was used to this feeling.  I tried to take comfort in its familiarity.  It was the same rush I’d had while standing outside Valentino’s that first night, the same nervousness in the pit of my stomach I’d felt riding up the elevator at the Delmonico, and it was the same fear I’d felt standing outside Ben’s door before our photo shoot.

I rang the bell, wondering what to expect.  What would William be like?  Would he be pleased with me?  I still didn’t know what I would have to do, but I figured I’d just go with the flow and see what happened.  Brooke had said that William was a regular, so at least he’d know what he could expect from me.  All I had to do was play along and let him take the lead.  The only instructions I got from Jackie were on how to collect the money.

“Once you get there,” she said, “introduce yourself all nice.  Talk sweet for a few minutes and then ask for the money.  Always ask up front.  Don’t wait more than a few minutes.  Also, you’ve got to call us when you get there to let us know you’ve arrived, and that everything looks okay.  What most girls will do is ask for the money while they’re on the phone.  Blame it on the phone girl, act apologetic, whatever you want.  Just get the money while you’re on the phone, and get it out of the way.  Then you can relax and enjoy yourself.”

Enjoy myself.   Whatever that meant.

I couldn’t believe it when he opened the door.  He was cute.  My first client was a looker.  I guess I’d figured that any guy who had to pay for a girl’s company would be lacking in the looks department, but not William.  He had brown hair in a sort of British schoolboy cut, sweet brown eyes, gold rim glasses, a really nice face, and his apartment was also incredible—one of those Soho lofts you read about in home decorating magazines and luxury real estate guides.  I’d never seen one for real.  It was enormous, the walls exposed brick and fancy appliances everywhere.  The kitchen exuded urban sophistication, with gleaming surfaces and tons of brushed aluminum.  There was a huge ornate dining room table—wood but still emphatically modern—and matching chairs to seat ten comfortably.   It suddenly seemed possible that I would enjoy myself.

We sat on the couch and drank expensive champagne, excellent champagne, specially made by some restaurant in France where his mother went.  We quickly got business out of the way—I had called Brooke to let her know I was there and that I’d already gotten the $400, cash—so that he could tell me all about the DVD setup he was in the midst of having installed.  He told me there would be a player suspended from the ceiling that would project the movies onto a huge retractable screen on the opposite wall.  Extremely sophisticated speakers were strategically placed throughout the room.   I couldn’t believe people actually lived like this or that I was here, with him.

Still having no idea what to do, I asked for a tour of the apartment.  We started with the wine closet, which was in the corner of the living room.

“Go on in,” William said, motioning for me to enter.  “It’s temperature controlled.”

I bet this will the part where he locks me in, I thought nervously, a prisoner of the vacuum seal around the door.  Too much American Psycho.  But he was a regular.  I would be fine, I told myself, as I walked inside.

He stepped in after me, letting the door close behind him.

Don’t think of American Psycho, I kept repeating to myself. Everything will be fine.

“Oh, no!” he exclaimed, rattling the door handle.

He’s just making a bad joke, I thought.  Relax. He rattled the door handle some more.  I tried to keep calm, to look unphased.

He grinned.  “Sorry.  Just kidding.”

I smiled back.  Relieved and a bit exasperated.  Some people think they are far too funny. “That’s okay.”

Now that I was no longer panicking about my impending mutilation, I was able to look around. The room was about the size of a mid-range walk-in closet, lined floor to ceiling with bottles of wine.  I was very impressed.

“How long does it take to accumulate all this?” I asked.

He shrugged, nonchalant.  “It’s really easy.  You just grab a whole bunch at a time from Sotheby’s.”

I nodded sagely, as if I grabbed bunches of things from Sotheby’s all the time.  I ran my fingers over some of the bottles, feeling their worth and looking at the beautiful labels.  Then I turned back to William.

“Okay, what’s next?”

We left the wine closet and walked over to a wall of large windows facing the street.  All these buildings had huge windows, so not only did you have enormous views, but you could see into all the other loft apartments across the street.

“Sometimes I like to watch the neighbors,” William said, smiling at me bashfully.

“You do have an amazing selection to chose from,” I replied, smiling back at him. He was so cute.

“That’s one of my favorites.”  He pointed to an apartment on the left that was lined with books.  “I love looking at all those books.  And that one,” here he pointed to an apartment directly across the way, “is constantly being redecorated.”

We stood silently next to each other, looking at the various activities that were occurring across the street.  I wondered if someone over there liked to watch William. I wondered how often he did stuff worth watching. I wondered just how active a regular he really was.

He showed me the bedroom next.  Compared to the rest of the apartment, it was sort of small, with a large flat screen television set and a nice big bed.  The adjacent bathroom was very modern and very bright.  Next to the bathroom was another bedroom, which was currently being used as a weight room.

“I don’t use them,” William said.  “They belong to the guy who lived here before me.  He’s in the process of moving his stuff out.”

“What are you going to do with this room when his stuff is gone?”

“I’m not sure.  I haven’t figured it out yet.”

I nodded, wondering what it would be like to have an extra room I didn’t know what to do with, as we walked back to the couch.  I had no clue what William did for a living.  He didn’t say, and I didn’t ask.  I wasn’t sure what kind of conversation was off limits. I kept waiting for him to take the lead, to show me what I needed to do.

It got awkward for a few seconds, and then somehow we started talking about our childhoods.  He asked me where I grew up, and I listed the places. My father had changed careers several times, so we had changed states at the same rate.

“I also moved a lot when I was a kid,” he told me.

“Really?  How often?”

“Every two years.”

Wow.  That would definitely be rough.  Even we hadn’t moved that often. I wondered if all that moving had made it hard for him to make friends. Was that why he liked hiring girlfriends?

“You’ve got beautiful eyes,” he said, stroking my cheek.

I knew what was coming.  I’d been on enough dates to know that much.  There was a little cheek stroking, and then William came in for a kiss.  We kissed for a few minutes before making our way to the bedroom.  The clothes came off quickly, William put on a condom, and, before you knew it, we were having sex.  Lots of it.

We had sex for a long time.  He was definitely enjoying himself, and I didn’t feel nervous or tense at all.  Just kind of bored and sore.  He was so aggressive that I didn’t have to do anything at all.  I just lay on my back and let him thrust away until he asked me to flip so he could thrust from behind.  Zoning out, I waited for it to be over.  In and out, in and out.  I thought about the weather and what a nice shade of brown his hair was.

He’d stop periodically to look at me and say, with a slight grin on his face, “You know, I’m not attracted to you at all.”

I’d smile in an engaging manner, and then he’d go back to thrusting.  We tried a whole slew of positions.  It felt like we’d never finish.  I thought perhaps the more noise I made, the closer he’d think I was to an orgasm, and maybe the closer he’d be to finishing, so I started the catalogue of orgasm-related noises.

“I like it when you’re loud,” he said.  “Be louder.”

I was louder, and he pushed harder.  Suddenly, he stopped and pulled out.

“Broken solider.”  He got up to get a new condom.

I was not sure how he knew it was broken, but I was glad he’d realized it.  This was a hazard I hadn’t considered.  I hadn’t even begun to contemplate the repercussions before he’d replaced the condom and went back to work.

“I like it when you scream,” he told me.

So I screamed.  I moaned.  Even though I was the quiet type, I tried to be loud.  Anything to get this to be over. A few minutes later, we were finished.  I held a damp and exhausted William against me.

“That was great,” he said breathlessly.

“You got quite a workout,” I replied.  “Better than that gym any day.”

William nodded.  “It’s a shame I’m not attracted to you at all.”  A sly grin darted across his face.

“It really is too bad.”  I tried to look genuinely disappointed.  I could play his stupid games. I wanted to keep him happy.

“Think I can keep you for another hour?”  He grinned at me, just like a little boy.

“Sure.  I just have to call the agency and tell them.”  I felt like a mommy.  Did he think he was being charming? He’d be cuter if he just stopped trying so hard to be clever.

“Would it be another $400?” he asked.  Since he was a regular, I was sure he knew what the answer would be, but maybe he figured it was worth a shot to see if he’d get some special deal.

“Yes, I think that’s how it works,” I said, even though I knew that was exactly how it worked.

“Okay.  I just have to go to an ATM to get it.”  I was glad he didn’t want to do a credit card sale—I was still nervous about doing one of those—plus, this way we got to kill some of that hour walking to the ATM.

William and I got up to put on our clothes.  I called the agency.  I couldn’t believe it.  I tried to seem deadpan.  My first job and already I was working a double session.  How impressive.

“Hey, Brooke, it’s Sydney.  I’m going to stay another hour.”

“Great!”  She seemed genuinely pleased.  “Did you get the money yet?”

“No, we’re going to an ATM right now to get it.”

“Okay.  Call me once you’ve got it.”

William and I put on our coats, exchanged a passionate kiss, and headed for the elevator.  His building had an elevator which opened directly into the apartment.  I was impressed.  My building didn’t even have an elevator.

We walked the few blocks to the ATM together, hand in hand, talking about restaurants.  William and I both love sushi.  He told me about the best sushi in Manhattan, where a dinner for two costs $500.

“It’s totally worth it, though.  The food is incredible!  You can get cheaper sushi, but there’s no comparison.  I’ll take you there.  We’ll have a great time.”

I wondered if he would—or was this all just talk?  I did want to see him again.  He told me about the other restaurants he loved, for fish or Italian or hamburgers.  He promised to take me to them, too.

“Maybe we can do lunch sometime?  There’s this amazing Italian restaurant downtown.  Do you want to go sometime?”

It seemed like it would be fun.  I definitely wanted to see William again.  “I’d love to,” I told him, squeezing his hand.

We stopped in the middle of the street and kissed deeply.  For a second, I felt like I was on a real date.  Then we got the money from the ATM.

On the way back to his apartment, we talked some more about restaurants.  Needless to say, I’d never been to any of the ones he frequented.  When we got back, I called Brooke.

“All set,” I told her.  “I’ve got the money.”  Four hundred more dollars in my greedy little hands.

“Great.  Now you’ve only got about half an hour left.”

“Really?” I asked, startled.

“Oh, yeah, honey, he’s got to pay for all his time.”

“Okay.  I’ll tell him.  Thanks.”

That meant I’d have made four hundred dollars for two hours of work, a quarter of which was spent leisurely walking down the street.  I broke the news to William, and we hurried to get started.

Just like before, only with even less ceremony, we took off our clothes, lay on the bed, and fucked.  I was loud, just the way he liked it.  He flipped me back and forth, just the way he liked it.

“I’m not attracted to you at all,” he said, grinning.

He got so sweaty, his glasses slipped off and fell behind the bed.  He thrusted so hard, the bed moved several feet from the wall.  I just lay there and let him do his thing.  I moaned and squealed when appropriate, clutching him to me, trying not to zone out.  When he finally finished, about fifteen minutes later, I held him as he panted, wet and tired.

By the end of the two hours, I was exhausted.  My vagina hadn’t had this much action in ages, and it didn’t feel terribly pleased by the recent turn of events.  But I was damn proud of myself.  My very first session had been extended, I’d made four hundred dollars, and he even wanted to see me again.

“I know this is going to sound really corny.”  William blushed.  He sounded hesitant.  “But I think we’ve got some kind of a connection.”

He looked intently into my eyes.  I nodded.  His eyes were sweet.  I was still a hooker, and he’d paid $800 to sleep with me, but for a second we both managed to forget about those technicalities.

“Do you think so, too?” he asked, anxious for some kind of affirmation.

“Definitely.”  I wasn’t entirely lying, either.  I did like him, I’d had a pretty good time, and I certainly wanted to see him again.

“How can I reach you?”  As much as I wanted to see him again, I wasn’t going to give him my phone number.  That was against the agency’s rules, and I figured it was a bad idea regardless. I was too new to be breaking the code.

“Call the agency.  Talk to Jackie.  They all know how to get me.”

“Maybe we can have lunch this week?”  He sounded eager—and maybe even a bit smitten.

“That would be fun.  I’d like that.”

“I’d take you out for sushi and maybe we could hold hands?”

Sucker for romance that I was, I had to admit it sounded divine.

“I can’t wait,” I replied, kissing him goodbye.  I took a cab back up to the agency, proudly dropped off my money, and called it a night.  Thank god, I wasn’t expected to work until four in the morning.  I was glad I had chosen this agency and its freestyle form of scheduling. Two hours, and $400, were quite enough for me.  I thought it was pretty good for a night’s work and very impressive for a beginner. And now I could get some sleep before my “real job” started in the morning.

(I never saw William again and, to this day, I wonder what would have happened if I had given him my number. He has always been my favorite, and not only because he was my first.)