I had lost track of him until I saw the headline. It was hard to miss the headline; it was as tall as a medium-sized building. It said the killer of the ambassador, now some years past, had been captured. It had his mugshot, of course, which made me chuckle because it was really him, without the fake hair or fake anything, because sometimes he wore tooth inserts when he wanted to be particularly covert.
I was sad because I enjoyed our bond. He was low key and funny and considerate to a fault. He paid attention to me, he treated me with tenderness and courtesy and made me feel safe and special. Some might say I should resent him because he made a whore out of me, but you know what? Nobody forced me to slobber a johnson – or to dine at this planet’s finest restaurants or stay in its finest hotels – or to take a dime for it. When I met him and Rachel their life seemed so easy and fun and I was open to easy and fun. It was not a life everyone was cut out for but I wasn’t cut out for everyone else’s life, either.
I’d had a satisfactory childhood. A lot of girls in the life didn’t. They were the ones you saw on the street run by men who use them and smack them around and treat them like dirt. But my childhood was good. Boring, but good. A precocious girl, I started getting busy when I was 14. It felt good, of course, but I also liked the attention and the acceptance. I didn’t mind the boring growing up because eventually, I’d be on my own but as I got nearer and nearer to leaving home the prospect of a lifetime of boring, a lifetime of routine, a lifetime of being everybody else seemed like a sentence instead of a life. I went to university because I was expected to and I took a course of study that actually interested me but then what? I’d go out and earn a living in my chosen field. Marry and have kids. Then I’d die. Nothing out of the ordinary which was unacceptable because I was, am, out of the ordinary, dammit.
I was in the hotel bar with my girlfriends when I met Rachel. Before dinner. It’s difficult not to notice Rachel with her red hair and looks and it was curious seeing her with him. He was completely nondescript. Average height. Average looks, neither handsome nor ugly. He was losing his hair which us women don’t really care about. Only you men do. He could have fit in with most any woman in the room. I had no idea what their relationship was. They didn’t appear to be married or dating and he certainly wasn’t old enough to be her father but they were plainly fond of each other and there was a warm familiarity about them.
Rachel came up and said hi. What I didn’t find out for years was that she had seen me and immediately suspected I would be cut out for the life. Something about my bearing and my innate cheerfulness. Beauty, too. I do have looks, the beauty you seem to find in half breeds because my dad was Dutch and my mom Brazilian and if you don’t think that produces interesting offspring, think twice. I am tall and curvy and gorgeous with the large bazoongas – fun bags he calls them – that never go out of style.
They were keeping it casual for dinner that night, going to the resort’s steakhouse and they invited me along. They appeared to have all the money in the world. Champagne, wine, the finest cuts and caviar and cheeses with no one paying any attention to the cost including me because Lord knows I accepted their invitation to indulge myself.
What struck me was the courtesy and tenderness he showed me. And attentiveness. Both of them, really. For the couple of hours we there I was the center of their world.
I was on holiday with some girlfriends. We weren’t on the budget tour, but we weren’t sharing the penthouse suite, either. He and Rachel were in the penthouse suite. They took me up there and I was astonished. It was humongous and looked like a palace and had a large bay window with a sweeping view of the slopes. There was butler service and I was in love from the start. There was more champagne and I stayed the night, waking up in the same bed as Rachel though don’t even start, there wasn’t any hot girl on girl action. More passed out from too much evening action.
We spent the next few days together, Rachel and me. She was funny and seemed utterly without a care. She was an excellent skier which made it both funny and sad she died by crashing into a tree. But Rachel’s death is another story.
The following night they took me on my first fine dining escapade. It was a four-star restaurant in town, slumming by future, five-star standards, and he hired a car and driver and beforehand he had taken me out to buy a dress. It was our first time alone together and I was completely captivated. He was older than me and he was taking care of me and he treated me with the gentleness I had already become accustomed to and it was plain he enjoyed fussing over me. I felt stunning, a feeling I would get used to, accompanying the world’s most accomplished gentlemen from Nice to Monaco to Beverly Hills and having everyone wish they were us.
A couple of days later Rachel took me aside and told me how she earned her living. By this time I was so captivated with the luxurious life they led she could have said she fellated yaks and I would have signed on. It’s only head, after all.
I’d never heard the word courtesan before, so Rachel explained she went out with men who paid a good deal of money for the privilege of her company. She said she went to the world’s finest hotels, resorts and restaurants and all she had to do was be funny and attentive outside of the sack and hump like a bunny and suck the chrome off a bumper in it. She said she thought I would take to the life.
I required very little convincing. All I had to look forward to was more university and more averageness. Boo to that. I wanted the five-star life. I wanted penthouses and wine pairings and satin sheets. I wanted to walk, no strut, across the finest lobbies and casinos and have everybody wish they were me.
I spent a week auditioning with him. I was paid in advance and I had no qualms about that. He was fun, continued to treat me like I was a princess and the sex was good, too. The fact I was paid for this was empowering because it meant I was desired and I like being desired. Of course, part of it was the excitement of being paid for sex for the first time. All girls think about it. I know I had and now that I had actually done it, and had this semester’s tuition in the bank, I felt exultant. I was sad when we parted because my fee notwithstanding, I genuinely liked him.
My first client I met in Paris. Empowered by my fee, and the fact I was utterly stunning, I walked in like I was the most desired woman on the planet and not only should everybody be looking at me, they should be wishing they were me, too. His name was Gerard, a dashing middle-aged man. My instructions were to greet him like we had known each other, fondly, for a while, and I did just that. I kissed him warmly, he ordered champagne, within the hour we were naked in his suite and I was on my way.
It was as easy for me as Rachel said it was for her. You go to a luxury resort after your fee had been deposited in your Swiss bank account, meet a gent in a bar, put out for a night or a weekend or however long you’re booked for and you make lots of money. It’s not as if I was being forced into bondage. I was going to get laid anyway and I presented no violent objection to doing so in a luxury hotel after dining in a five-star restaurant. Or before dining in a five-star restaurant because more often than not the older gents are ready for bed after cocktails, a wine pairing and some Louis XIII.
We saw each other regularly. At first, he booked me as a client, but eventually, I waved away his money. I genuinely liked him.
I went on my own after a few years. He was, frankly, getting bored with the routine. Then Rachel died. Oh, baby, that hurt. I genuinely liked her. I really liked the times we were able to spend at the cottage together, usually a month in the summer when business was slow and over the holidays when none of us had any family to go to. We really enjoyed watching television and seeing how many clients made the news. It could be a world leader or an heir apparent or an actor because boy oh boy, actors are needy and insecure, desperately needing the reinforcement both Rachel and I could provide.
That is really the essence of being a courtesan, making your client cross eyed in the sack and genuinely listening to him and making him feel that only time you were complete was when you were with him, that you treasured your time together and your life would be utterly meaningless until you were with him again.
I did both very well. I was as busy as I cared to be and got fabulously wealthy.
I didn’t see him after he went underground. I wrote to him and gave some dates and times and locations where I would be in his city, but he never showed up. It was OK. If there was any possible way for him to safely be there, he would have been there.
There was no way he was a killer. Pimp, yes, and whatever he did for whatever that outfit he worked for did. I never asked and he never told me. I didn’t kid myself. He wasn’t doing charity work. He was a criminal, but so, technically, was I, fucking someone in exchange for money being frowned on by most jurisdictions even if it wasn’t something the authorities generally got too worked up over.
He was a lot of things, but he was not a killer.
They tried to get to him through me. They were able to connect us through the cottage he owned and Rachel and I used it like it was our own. I was followed for a while and then that died down, but when he escaped from his apartment and went underground it got worse. I was openly followed and I suspect my house was searched and my mail read, not that I had any contact with him. They tried to get me to talk about him but one, I had nothing useful for them and, two, he always told me don’t talk to the police because you never know what kind of trouble it would lead to. He said our natural instinct to confess gets more people in trouble than any evidence does and I took that advice and said nothing.
It wasn’t always easy. In order to pester me, they brought me in some tax charges because I’d never paid them. Well, to be taxed you had to have income and there was some zero evidence – Christ, I’m talking like him – I’d ever made a dime. I lived off the proceeds that were deposited into a Swiss bank account at the end of every month and good luck tracing that. They blathered and blustered a lot though, and for a spell it seemed that neither all the heir apparent’s horses nor all of his men would get me off, but they had no case and I was released.
I was out of the game by then because I had grown weary of the travel and the social and sexual demands. Courtesan is not a traditional career path, but it provided the luxurious life I wanted. I’d been to palaces and the White House and walked red carpets and I was a fixture at Wimbledon and the Derby, though with different clients. I’d had more money than I needed and I was ready for some quiet and, perhaps, some substance.
I wanted to write to him, but I didn’t. I had no idea how he was feeling towards me. I wanted to visit but I didn’t know if either of us could take it and I couldn’t bear his rejection. We had a bond, but he was my pimp and I was never anything more than laughs and luxury to him. He was one of nature’s bachelors who took us women when it suited him. It was easier to ignore our bond than to face the prospect of drawing any benefits from it, even though we could have both used them.
I regretted it because I owed him so much. Had Rachel not come up and said hi at the bar that night I wouldn’t have my splendid chateau or my Rolls or any other nice thing I possess. Who knows how I would have ended up. I’d probably have kids and an ex-husband or two and be fat and ugly instead of having at one time been our planet’s most desired woman.