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

Chapter 17. NUMB

The action in Vegas slowed down considerably during the summer. It was too hot to attract the same crowds of tourists that flocked there during the winter. And there weren’t as many conventions, which meant fewer doctors and businessmen looking to enjoy a weekend away from the real world. Also, Kylie was out of school and even busier with her many activities, including gymnastics, water ballet, and soccer. I stayed closer to home and helped Mark.

Being at home meant spending more time in close quarters with my husband, but we were far from close. I longed for my life in Vegas and tried to keep it with me by playing the same songs I listened to with my clients—like “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars and “Numb” by Usher—over and over and over again until Mark couldn’t take it anymore. I remained in constant contact with Bridget, several of the girls who were now good friends, and my most devoted regulars. By this point, I had plenty of clients who believed that I was their special girl, that I liked them more than any of my other clients and would eventually run away with them. I was able to leverage their affection into the promise of sessions with me if I booked a trip to Vegas. Sometimes when they texted that they wanted to see me and were coming into town, I would go so far as to tell them I’d fly to Vegas to meet them if they booked four hours with me. At least one person always agreed. The promise of even one appointment was enough for me to justify another trip back in July, and then if I got more business, even better. I always did get more business in the end, so it seemed like a good plan, an investment almost.

Along with my regulars—Roger and Bob—I had an appointment with a new client during that trip. All I knew when I met Lionel at the Double Helix bar at the Palazzo was that he was a lawyer from Kansas. From the minute I sat down next to him, it was clear he was smitten with me.

If he had felt connected to me in the bar, the feeling was amplified considerably in the bedroom. He was into blindfolds, ropes, and S&M, and I was open to all of it. Toward the end of our time together, he was lying on the bed staring at me.

“You don’t know how incredible that was,” he said. “I have sex with my wife maybe three times a year. She’s having an affair. There’s nothing I like about her anymore.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that,” I said. “That’s terrible.”

“I’ve seen plenty of gals in Vegas,” he said. “But I’m only going to see you now, okay?”

“I’d like that,” I said.

“Are you free tomorrow?” he asked. “I’d like to take you shopping. Who are your favorite designers?”

I paused for a beat, never wanting to seem too greedy, but wanting to seize the opportunity, too.

“Hervé Léger,” I said. “Christian Louboutin.”

“You’ll look gorgeous in those,” he said. “I want to buy you an outfit.”

I floated out of there, high from the sex and already imagining the shopping spree.

That evening, when I got to Lionel’s suite, he was jittery with excitement.

“I know who you are,” he said. “You’re Suzy Favor Hamilton. I remember seeing you run on TV, and I recently watched a show about you on the Big 10 network, and how you were one of the top twenty athletes in conference history.”

“Lionel, you have to promise me you’re not going to tell anyone.”

“Of course I’m not going to say anything,” he said. “I love you.”

I nearly took a step back from him, I was so surprised. Even my most devoted regulars never used the word love. And this was only our second session.

“That’s so sweet,” I said, trying to keep it light.

“I’m serious,” he said. “I want you to visit me in Kansas. I want us to know each other in our real lives. In fact, you should marry me.”

“Lionel, if you know who I am, than you must know I’m married,” I said.

“Well, not happily, if you’re here now,” he said. “Leave him and marry me. I’m serious. I’m a lawyer. I can give you everything you ever wanted. I’ll totally spoil you. We’ll go on vacation to tropical islands. We’ll have sex twice a day, every day.”

That was my cue to distract him by having a little sex right then. From that moment on, he was my most regular client, and my most devoted.

Mark and I were actually getting along better than we had in a long time. Our policy of giving each other space had led to considerably less tension around the house. And with me home more that summer, and with us bonded together in the complicated scheduling that went into getting Kylie to and from all of her events, we actually started getting along better than we had in months, maybe even years.

We celebrated my forty-fourth birthday as a family on August 8, picking Kylie up from her swimming lesson and then taking her to a day camp in our neighborhood. Kylie seemed excited to have us together and insisted on taking a picture of Mark and me before we left her with a sitter and went to eat at a fancy restaurant in downtown Madison. It showed us looking more relaxed together than usual, with me looking very skinny and very blond. Mark and I even had sex that night when we got home from dinner, and although it wasn’t as passionate and loving as it had been years before, at least we were getting along.

The thaw between Mark and me meant that we actually started talking about subjects beyond simple household happenings again. And there was a great deal to discuss. One thing that had been weighing on Mark’s mind was taxes. He’d slipped the small amount of money I’d earned from escorting in 2011 into our taxes for that year, but he knew he’d have to find a way to declare my much more substantial escort earnings for 2012, and he had no idea how to explain this to our tax accountant, or to the IRS.

Mark also dared to make a suggestion that he hadn’t before. We were alone in our bedroom when he looked up from his iPad.

“Suzy, you need to stop,” he said. “Too many people know who you are. It’s only a matter of time until someone goes public. It’s just too dangerous.”

Mark had said this before, but he’d always stood by and let me continue.

“I can’t stop,” I said. “I’ve never been happier.”

He looked at me sadly. Of course I’d been happier on my wedding day and the day Kylie was born, but those were both a long time ago, and this was different.

“You’ve got to see a psychologist,” he said. “You have a history of depression.”

I tell him I’m happy, and he tells me I need a doctor. Who does he think he is?

“I’m finally independent,” I continued, trying to win him over to my point of view. “Nobody will ever know.”

Finally, he gave up.

It was the last night I was home for a long time.