Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness - Suzy Favor Hamilton (2015)

Prologue: MANIC

I was shaking, still riding the rush. The appointment I’d just left was in one of the fanciest suites at the Wynn. I loved my new condo at the Trump, looking out over the mesmerizing Vegas Strip with all of its bright lights that never slept, but I wasn’t ready to go home. I was on fire. I was a winner. I owned this city. I wanted to go out and play. I knew where I was going. I followed my usual path through the Fashion Show Mall, my stilettos clicking on the polished marble floor. Everything around me seemed to pulse and throb, like the blood in my veins. My body was still glowing with pleasure. I wanted more.

This is way better than winning a race, I thought. This is better than competing in the Olympics. If only my friends, all my fellow runners, could feel what this is like, they’d get it. Why are they still running races? If I’d only known how amazing this felt, I never would have wasted all that time.

My old life still waited for me in Wisconsin, but I went home less and less these days. I was Kelly now, one of the most highly sought-after escorts in Las Vegas. Suzy, the former professional athlete, the realtor, the wife, the mom—she had disappeared.

I flashed back to the luxurious penthouse suite where I’d spent the past two hours, all sleek furniture and dim light, the shades drawn against the heat and glare outside. It had been my first appointment with this handsome client, but I’d walked in and given him a kiss straightaway, letting my mouth linger on his, my body pressed against him. I wanted him to feel like I was his mistress, like I’d been aching to see no one but him all day. He seemed a bit surprised by how forward I was, but I could tell by his smile that he was pleased. My strategy had worked.

Coming out of the bathroom, where he’d left twelve hundred dollars in cash waiting for me on the vanity, I paused to let him admire me. I was wearing nothing but my six-inch black Louboutins, a black lace bra, and a G-string.

“Holy shit” was all he could mutter.

I smiled, basking in his praise.

“Could you turn around for me?” he continued. “Your body is so fit. What do you do?”

“I was a gymnast in college,” I said, using my favorite lie because it seemed to match my petite but strong frame. And, I had found, it was always a turn-on for my clients.

My head was already buzzing from the glass of pinot noir I’d sipped in the hotel bar before coming upstairs, and his compliment intensified that warmth. So would the glass of wine resting on the bedside table. I felt incredible, ready to go to work. Confidence, power, these were the forces that propelled me now. I took my client to the bed, showing him that I was the one in charge as I stretched him out on the crisp white sheets. He lay there naked and ready. Making my face stern, I straddled him and grabbed his arms, pinning them back over his head with a force that surprised him, holding them there amid the sliding stacks of pillows.

“Do not move your arms,” I said with a sly smirk. “Even when I release you. Don’t move until I tell you to.”

He liked it. I could tell. He was becoming more and more aroused. Ceding control turned him on, a contrast from his daily life as the CEO of a major corporation.

“You’re incredible,” he said. “You’ve got the best body I’ve ever seen.”

I HAD EARNED THE TWELVE hundred dollars for two hours of my time, two hours spent doing something I loved. The crisp bills sat in my Louis Vuitton purse, a bag bought for me by another client. The hundreds were like a secret power source, propelling me forward. The confident clip of my walk on the marble floor of the mall made men look up and stare as I passed. An older gentleman with a thick wave of white hair and a well-tailored dress shirt followed me with his eyes. He could tell I was an escort. I could tell he was rich. I loved the power these men had. The wealthier they were, the more important their jobs, the better. It was good to be desired, and even better to be desired by a successful man, to have him choose me as his favorite and request me the next time he came back to Vegas. I could tell this man had already decided that I would be well worth the money it would cost to take me upstairs to his suite. I liked this, too, this secret language I’d learned to speak with my body in the ten months I’d been coming to Vegas, a language that this man, and many others at this point, could understand.

I thought of my next appointment, later that night. By then I’d be buzzing that much more, a smile beaming from my face, showing off my high cheekbones and telegraphing the fact that I was fun, the kind of wild girl who could make your dreams come true, not like your wife. That’s what my clients always said to me: “I wish my wife were like you. I wish all women were like you.” I had worked to achieve a good body, and I loved the praise and knowing I was likely the best sex they’d ever had.

Now that I’d devoted myself to sex, my need to be unsurpassed in the bedroom had replaced that need on the track. But this was even better, because I’d hated the competition necessary to win a race. Everything about being an escort was enjoyable. Although I cared about being at the top of the escort world, too, I never felt that winning made me better than other women, either the other escorts or the wives back home. I was friendly with many of my fellow escorts. I loved trading tips with them. And, believe it or not, I actually felt sorry for the neglected wives and encouraged my clients to think about buying their wives a vibrator, trying some of the things we did together back home. I was doing something I loved and getting paid for it. Why shouldn’t I try to help other people in the process? I paused at the window of the Louis Vuitton store. I had all the money I could ever imagine, and I could do with it whatever I wanted. I felt like I should treat myself. Why not? I deserved to be rewarded for my skills, didn’t I? I didn’t give a single thought to anyone else—my husband, our family. I think I’ll buy that two-thousand-dollar purse is what I thought.

I pushed through the doors. The attractive, well-put-together saleswoman looked up and immediately came over to help me.

“I’ll take that one,” I said, pointing at the purse that had caught my attention in the display.

“I love that purse,” she said. “We just got those in last week.”

She eyed me up and down, just like the man I’d passed, and I could tell she knew how I earned my living, too, but I didn’t care. I could feel her admiring how well my dress fit me, how polished my hair and makeup looked. I took the roll of hundreds from my purse and handed twenty bills to her. She didn’t even flinch; she just wrapped my purchase in feathery tissue paper and tucked my new purse into one of the store’s fabric bags. I floated out of the store and toward the hotel bar, another step toward the high.

With every visit to Vegas since I’d become Kelly, my appearance changed drastically. I was focused on achieving what I thought was the ideal look for a top escort. I was now the number two most highly sought-after escort in Vegas, with my sights set on becoming number one, and I needed to look the part. Of course, as soon as I’d found out the rankings existed, I’d become fixated on rising as high as I could. The positions were determined by ratings given to escorts by their clients, with those coming from well-known “hobbyists,” or men who made a point to visit every top escort in Vegas, carrying the most weight. I asked most of my clients to review me and sometimes even gave them a little extra time for free, ensuring a positive write-up. Naturally my rise up the ranks had been fast. Not fast enough for me, of course.

My extensions had gotten longer and blonder, and now my platinum hair cascaded perfectly over my shoulders. I saw a Vegas doctor for Botox, lifting and smoothing my face. I got face peels in Beverly Hills, too, but wore more makeup than ever, popping in at high-end cosmetic counters for professional consultations before sessions with my clients. The beautiful, long false eyelashes I wore gave me a more seductive look. My well-manicured nails were bright red. My trips to the spray-tan salon made my bare limbs look kissed by the desert sun. The tight dresses I wore kept dropping in size, due to my lack of appetite on days like this, when all I wanted to feed was my high. Today, I wore a clingy bright red dress by my favorite designer, Hervé Léger. It fit me like a second skin.

I didn’t want to go back to my old life. Not now. Not ever.