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Published on September 10th, 2011 | by Yellow Magpie

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Ann’s Story: Chapter Seventeen ‘The Business Proposition’

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Yellow Magpie’s Saturday Serial continues with Chapter Sixteen. You can read chapter one,  two and three here.

Back home in Crowley things continued as normal. Ann decorated her house in bright colours which gave it a new lease of life.

However, she was beginning to get bored and the novelty of not having to go to work had long since worn off.

Thelma on the other hand was busy as usual and had been on three more trips abroad since their return from Paris. There was nothing for Ann to do but take care of her house.

During her brief stints at home, Thelma told Ann more about her job and all the men she had escorted to various events which included operas, show premiers, and then of course there was her trip to the White House on the arm of a senator.

She revealed that along with English she could speak three foreign languages; French, Spanish and Italian, which meant she was in demand quite a lot around the world.

‘You could do it, Ann,’ Thelma said one evening.

‘What are you mad, I would never do anything like that,’ said Ann appalled that she could suggest such a thing.

‘Why not? You are mature, well-educated, you know how to look good when you try. All you need are a few basic acting skills. There is great money to be made. All your expenses are paid  and you don’t have to put your hand in your pocket, unless you want to of course.’

‘No, that’s definitely not for me’ Ann had said stiffly, still smarting from the comment about looking good if she tried.

But as the weeks went on, and the more she witnessed Thelma’s lifestyle, the more she began to envy her. It all seemed so exotic, jetting off to various locations around the world while she sat at home twiddling her thumbs.

Thelma still managed to sing in the church choir and didn’t see any contradiction with what she did for a living.

Meanwhile, Ann met with Julie and Alice and gave them the little gifts she brought back from Paris. They were all talk about the new law partner and his secretary. Now it all just seemed so dull in comparison with Thelma’s life and colourful friends.

Meeting with the girls was like switching a television from technicolour to black and white. She felt a little bit guilty but like it or not her association with her neighbour was rubbing off. There was something exciting and dangerous about her life that appealed to Ann who had never taken any real chances.

One morning, while they were enjoying her delicious bowls of soup, Thelma asked Ann would she be interested in escorting a solicitor to a Law Society do in London.

‘With your background you would be perfect’ she said enthusiastically.

Ann found herself listening to Thelma as she insisted she would be ideal for the job and would find it easy to converse with all the legal-eagles as she had spent most of her working life with them.

Ann had to agree she felt quite at home in that environment but she did not under any circumstances want to be an escort.

‘Look at it as if you are doing this guy a favour, he is single, doesn’t have anyone to go with , you would be ideal. And the best part is you will get five hundred euro for the night, plus your flight over and accommodation.’

‘You will be picked up in a taxi and driven to the hotel where the event is being held, you will meet your client at the door. He will be given details of what your working name will be and what you do for a living. Then all you do is go in, have a meal or whatever, enjoy yourself and at the end say good night at the door and that’s it.’ 

‘You don’t need to worry about getting paid, the agency will take care of all that. What have you got to lose?’

‘My self-respect and dignity,’ answered Ann smugly.

‘Well fat lot of good they are doing you sitting on your ass looking out through the window.’

Ann was about to say something smart but Thelma was speaking again.

‘Look Ann, all I know is no one is going to knock on your door and offer you a job or a life or a boyfriend or anything else you might want for yourself. Why are you so worried about what people think? Where are they when you are sitting lonely at home or at Christmas when you have no one? Stuff them, look after yourself. I promise I would never put you in danger, there are strict rules for anyone using our services. It is very well-run and that is why we get top class clients. Think about it.’

Ann reluctantly said she would, but was determined not to do it. Nonetheless, she couldn’t sleep that night thinking of the possibilities.

‘Maybe I could do it for one night,’ she said to herself. ‘It would be an experience and it doesn’t seem to be doing Thelma any harm.’

The next morning she found herself crossing the road over to Thelma’s house to find out more details.

You have nothing to worry about. I promise it will be fun. You can wear your stunning sequinned dress,’ she said winking.

Ann had been hoping to wear the dress with someone special and she felt sad to think of wearing it for something which in her eyes was quite tawdry.

Yet despite herself she was beginning to feel excited as Thelma filled her in on all the details of who she would be escorting.

‘His name is Ian Hamilton, he is in his early 50’s never been married. A bit of nerd by all accounts and extremely shy around women, so you have nothing to worry about. He will be delighted to have such a glamorous and dignified woman on his arm.’ 

All you do is pretend a little, smile, enjoy your meal, have a drink, and talk. Oh, by the way, I always read up on current affairs and listen to the news so I am up to date on what is happening in the world and if you have one or two little amusing stories up your sleeve then you are home and dry.’

Ann went back across to her own house and as she looked out through the back window at her two trees she wondered how her life had taken such a turn.

‘I will only do this once’ she thought as she began to look through the papers for a proper job while at the same time catching up on the news.

You can read chapter one,  two and three here.


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