My love for the City started when I was young. All the buildings and parks had personalities of their own. It was all glamour to me even though I had grown up here. I used to think that nothing bad could happen to me as long as I had a place here. Never did I ever think that I would be wrong. It wasn't until now, while I was staring up at the Chrysler Building, that I realized that New York was just as corrupt as I imagined every other major city was. I had lost the feeling of home here. I didn't feel protected anymore.
I was doing the walk of shame from Madison Avenue to the little area on Fifth known as Museum Mile. I didn't want to go home. I wanted to sit on the Met steps like I had seen so many times on TV, where I could pretend I was like any other kid living on the Upper East Side. I could pretend I was like Cassie, kind of chunky but still overwhelmingly beautiful. I reached the Steps and sat down. My knees were pressed tightly to my chest, my arms wrapped around them making certain that they would not move. I wasn't wearing much in the way of clothing but oddly enough the chilly air wasn't bothering me much.
My older sister Meg popped into my head once again. I wish I had been more like Cassie. I wished I had refused the training. I wished I hadn't been so damn headstrong. But the truth about it all was damaging to me right now. I liked the attention I received because of my body. I liked turning heads, I liked being sexy. As horrible as it sounds, I couldn't even conjure the thought of being Cassie's size and being completely happy about it. I'd rather have people looking at me and wanting me than people looking at me with pity because I couldn't control myself. I let my head drop into my lap. Being so headstrong was getting me into so much trouble.
Right now the city lights weren't comforting to me. The hustle and bustle of other New Yorkers just made me want to curl up into a ball and be invisible. What was my life going to turn into? Hell, I had over two thousand dollars stuffed inside the jacket I had on. Apparently the price of a virgin escort was high. Would my life end up like Meg's had? Would I end up little more than a drug addicted prostitute with no other ambition, or would I end up like the more successful women in Mama's business? The ones who travelled all over the world with these mysterious sexy men? Would I get to go to college? Or was my life now restricted to selling my sexuality?
When I woke up the next morning, it didn't take me long to realize that I was running late. Cassie had already woken up, showered and got ready. I had little more than thirty minutes to do the same. I was thanking whatever higher power was listening that I had at least picked out an outfit when I had arrived home the night before. It wasn't much, but it showed off my figure like Mama requested. I wasn't sure why that was a big deal for school, but oh well. Who was I to ask her anything, right?
"Well you look like shit, Lils," Cassie said slowly. I didn't know how to answer her. She had left her hair blonde. It was the only way you could tell us apart other than the whole weight thing. She had made herself up well for the day. Her makeup was light, her outfit fitted to her.
"Thanks, Cass," I settled with that.
New York in the morning wasn't any more appealing to me than it was last night. Something about it was tainted as if I could never quite get the filth off me. The money I had earned last night was comfortably under my bed in a lock box. Maybe as long as I had the money I would feel dirty. Not that the money itself was dirty, just what I was doing to make it was. I smoothed my hands down the front of my dress. The heels I had decided on did little to ensure my comfort while walking, but as Mama always said 'Fashion hurts'.
School was such a bore to me that I skipped out by fifth period. I knew that I had been wondering on whether or not I would ever go to college, but the truth was that I didn't know whether or not I even wanted to finish high school. I was just a short bus ride away from Central Park. I couldn't count the number of times that I had gone there to get away. I know most people don't understand City life. Most people didn't understand. I heard it all the time when I was walking by tourists. They always say 'it's such a pretty place to visit, but how do people live here?'. New York is my life. The city is in my bones. Even now with our strained relationship, I couldn't imagine living anywhere else.
With that being said, every once in a while I did need an escape. I usually went to the Park, but occasionally I would go to one of the outer boroughs. Queens was always my favorite. So much life, so much culture, but it came with half the crowd as Manhattan. You could get away with driving a car through Queens. In the summer months, I travelled out to Long Island. Today though, I just settled for the Park. It was a nice fall day, the leaves were just beginning to change and everyone I could see in the park were taking pictures of the Elms that decorated the area known as The Mall.
My answer to most of the curious tourists about Manhattan life was simple. I could live here because it was simply magical. You could walk from one end of the island to the other and see something different on every corner. Every season brought in a new theme. The people were colorful and interesting. In short, there was never a dull moment. It amazed me how many people thought that TV shows did this city justice. New York was its own living, breathing personality. Even Wall Street had its own charm.
My face fell at that. I realized that most of Mama's clients were hot shots from Wall Street. Entrepreneurs coming to and from here just wanting arm candy or a woman for the night. I brushed my fingers through my hair. The Elms on either side of me were rustling with the light breeze. I had to come to terms with my fate. I was an escort now. I was supposed to be one of the most beautiful, one of the most elite, one of the most coveted women on this island. I had to have the allure that the City offered to outsiders. Everything about me had to scream sexy and sophisticated. Even though I was technically open for business any way that a client wanted me to be, I couldn't look like a whore. My hair had to be perfect, my body had to be perfect, my makeup pristine. I had to be the every man's girl, but until now, right in this moment, I hadn't understood what that meant. I hadn't understood the gravity of the title. I was now an Escort.