etween my thighs right now while he looked up at me, searing my soul with that wicked blaze in his eyes from that night. “You won’t see him,” I say aloud to remind myself that even if I do see him, he won’t recognize me because I’m disguised. It is his hotel. He’ll be busy tending to guests and putting out fires as comes with running a business. He won’t recognize the woman I’ve become...beneath the disguise, or through the years. I reapply my lipstick and draw a sharp nail across the bottom of my lip to catch any color which may have bled. It’s unnecessary. My lipstick is perfect. I smile at myself in the mirror. There’s a knock on the door—two short raps and then the sound of the electronic card beeping entry. The door opens and Roger walks into the suite, moving towards the dressing room. He’s tall and broad-shouldered. His clear blue eyes are sharp under black brows, and his white hair is clipped neatly. He looks and acts decades younger than his seventy-seven years. The only concession to his advancing age is the silver-topped mahogany cane he’s forced to use. “Hello, Sienna, my darling,” Roger says as he stands behind me. Our eyes meet in the mirror. His left hand caresses my arm, moving up and down. It’s a familiar gesture, one that’s meant to comfort…and excite. I smile at him. “Hello, Roger.” “Are you ready for your debut?” I nod. My heart’s racing so fast, I worry it’s vibrating my skin and he can feel the thrum through the skin of my arm. Roger bends and kisses my neck. “You’re absolutely beautiful tonight,” he says. “They’ll be lining up for you.” The other escorts told me to expect this. “He’s harmless,” they all promised. “He thinks of us as his daughters,” one girl told me. He’s a pretty fucked up father.
I watch his eyes move over my body. Taking his time evaluating me. When my eyes meet his, he smiles. I hold my breath as his hand travels down the side of me and over my curves, fighting to keep my expression neutral. “They’re going to love you,” he says. He skips a beat and looks to the door. This is the opening, the break in his actions that lets me move on and I start to breathe again. “Shall we?” he asks. I nod and slip my feet into black leather heels. Grabbing my clutch, I follow my new boss out the door, down the hall, and into the elevator made of glass. Below us, the hotel is abuzz with activity. The lights on the machines flicker as the noise from jackpots sound incessantly. My heart beats fast. I’m nervous… but I’m excited, too. If I can handle this new job, I’ll be able to do everything I want to do. I’ll move Dad from California to Vegas and into the Alzheimer care facility near Bonnie Springs. Pay off my school loans. Be able to save for the future. I can buy myself time to figure out what I want to do with my life. All I know is working with the Inner Sanctum can give me options. To me, it feels less humiliating than waiting tables on the strip, where anyone can sit down at the table and ask you to tell them the specials. Anyone…like Leo. This is just another job. Though, of course, it’s not. Still, it can set me up for a decade. Let me explore myself. Let me explore my fantasies. I’m protected from being uncomfortable, for the most part, because with the exception of showing up for dinners and events, Roger says I can say no to everything else.