The money was good. It was more than good: it was incredible. She could earn more in one night than she had in a week of bagging groceries at her previous job.
That was a problem: explaining where the money came from. Telling her aunt that the new outfits were only borrowed from a friend. Telling her friends that her brand new cell phone was a gift from Rory. Telling Rory that the stack of crisp £20 notes she pulled out to treat him on their dates was birthday money sent to her from a previously unmentioned aunt.
When keeping track of the lies she told to explain away the money became too stressful, she started simply saving it. Bold, impetuous Amy had never been much of a saver, but what could she do?
No one would ever believe she'd earned that money just from kisses.
The agency made it clear up front: if she was willing to kiss other women, she'd make a bit extra on those jobs, because not all of the girls would do it, and the agency had a small but steady demand.
Amy agreed without hesitation.
The agency also made it clear that kissing was all she was being paid for. Flirt a bit, have a cider: by all means, enjoy the party. But the kiss is what they pay for, and all you're contractually obligated to.
'Anything you do after that,' her boss stated meaningfully, 'the agency is not responsible for.'
Amy nodded, eyes wide, and then she signed, just a bit shakily.
Rory hated her job, naturally, but it didn't take him long to get on with the business of accepting it. He'd only been her maybe, sort-of boyfriend for a couple months at that point, but he'd been her best friend for most of her life: he knew her better than anyone. So he knew that controlling Amy was like trying to control the tides: it couldn't be done, and any attempt at it was sure to be met with disastrous consequences.
He asked her to be safe, and she promised she would. He told her to spare him the details, but she shared them anyway, just a little at a time: not about the 20-something banker with soap star looks, or the drunk scouser who tried to squeeze her bum-but about the shy university student who was so nervous he dropped his pint on his own foot, and the pretty barmaid who giggled when she kissed her and then demanded to know where she'd bought her shoes.
Amy always could tell a story, and in time, she'd convinced him that was all her job was: a story to tell and one more adventure to be had. He began to relax, and "besides, I trust you," he told her when he kissed her goodbye for the night, careful not to smudge her carefully-applied lippy.
In the beginning, it always made her feel good to hear that.
The house that she walked up to was a lot nicer than most of the places that hired her; a lot of nice cars in the yard, too. Of course, the client was a bit older than her usual.
'Her 40th birthday,' the girl who booked the jobs told her. 'Is that all right?' she asked when Amy didn't respond right away.
In the end, it was more than all right: she'd make a double fee because it was a woman, and they'd requested she arrive in one of her favorite costumes: the French maid.
She experienced only a brief moment of self-doubt stood teetering outside on the cobblestones in her stiletto heels before marching straight in and starting her routine.
"May I ask," she purred, "for ze mistress of ze house? I was sent as a birthday gift, and I beg to ask how I may be of service."
A group of well-dressed business professionals beamed back at her and tittered at her hilariously bad French accent. The crowd parted slightly, and a tall, slender woman in a black wrap dress with touches of silver in her long blond hair stepped forward.
"I'm the mistress of the house." She smiled at Amy seductively. "I can think of very many ways you could be of service." Some customers were rendered speechless by the mere sight of Amy, but this woman stepped into her part readily.
Her friends whooped and laughed appreciatively.
Amy stepped forward, drawn in by the pull of the older woman's kind, sapphire eyes. Finally, she remembered the part she was playing, and cast her gaze downward, shyly. She curtsied. "Madame..."
When their eyes met again, the woman's smile was warmer, kinder; and in a voice that was more her own, she said: "Oh my, you are so very pretty..."
There was nothing to do then but kiss her.
Her friends cheered and applauded, and the party moved on. They offered Amy a glass of champagne. She circulated through the guests, tickling them with her feather duster, and bending over to pick things up off the floor, giving the room a generous glimpse of her just-barely-long-enough petticoats.
She stayed much longer than she normally would.
At one point, the woman (Susan, she was called) pulled Amy aside and asked her if she'd ever thought about making a little extra money.
'What do you mean?' Amy asked, her third glass of champagne making her head feel fuzzy.
'Would you like to spend the night?'
For a time, she just stared; then she started to consider. 'I...I don't know...'
'Don't decide tonight,' Susan insisted. 'I'll call to book you again, and if you fancy it...just say yes.'
The woman left her side then to say goodbye to some guests who were leaving. A ride home was arranged for Amy, with a couple who lived in the town just past Leadworth.
Two weeks later, the agency told her she'd had a request from a repeat customer, and would she like to take the job?
Amy said yes.
The fee she reported to the agency was just her standard fare. The envelope of cash she took home with her the next morning was a much more generous sum.
After that, her name seemed to be on some sort of list. She'd certainly been propositioned by clients before: crudely, jokingly, drunkenly. Now she was being offered an entirely different sort of proposition: straightforward, business-like; and with cash on the table.
More often than not, she found herself saying yes.
Amy had always enjoyed sex, and she'd never seen a reason to deny herself the pleasure just because she couldn't find a bloke worth exchanging "I love yous" with. Dating too many of the boys in Leadworth was an easy way to find herself even more ostracised than she already was, so she quickly learned to look elsewhere: theater troupes, art clubs-even volunteer youth groups were a plentiful source of boys (and a few girls) to have fun with.
She was already used to the idea of leading a secret life. Her experience with the Doctor taught her there were some things other people just wouldn't understand, and when it came to those things, it was best to keep them to yourself. (Lest you get shipped off to a psychiatrist.)
'Slut' was a label every girl feared, but not Amy: her business was her own, and she didn't bother to worry about what others would think if she did bother to let them in on her secrets.
Besides: sluts were girls who gave it away for free.
For a very long time, she left Rory in the role of "sort-of" boyfriend: as long as he was only sort-of her boyfriend, then she was definitely not cheating on him.
In the middle of the night, when they lay pressed together in his creaky single bed at nursing school, while he stroked her hair and listened to all the little details of her day, she wanted very badly to admit that she'd finally found a bloke worth exchanging 'I love yous' with. But 'I love you' came with a price, and that price was honesty. Amy was a firm believer that her life was her own to do with as she pleased, and what Rory didn't know wouldn't hurt him. Nevertheless, the knowledge that the truth, if it did become known, would most definitely hurt him, didn't sit easy on her conscience.
She couldn't deny either that her job excited her. She liked it: she was good at it. She loved the thrill of a new body, and the naughtiness of the games she played.
(One night, it was strip Twister with a restaurant manager and his girlfriend. Another, she sat spread-legged on the plush seat of an empty cinema while Susan crouched between her legs and licked her to orgasm. She bit her lip to keep from crying out, but when the film skipped and it took longer than usual to get the reel sorted out, Amy figured the projectionist knew exactly what was going on.)
If 'I love you' meant giving it all up, it was a price she just wasn't willing to pay. Not yet.
Meanwhile, the money she couldn't afford to spend was piling up in her bank account.
It was the Doctor who changed things.
It wasn't fair that he should come back and restore her faith, just to rip it all away and leave her again.
When she stopped drifting in the wake of his absence, Rory was there, as he always had been. One night, when he whispered 'I love you' into the hollow of her neck, she surprised them both by answering, 'I love you, too'. For the first time, she could feel how being able to say those words, that loving and being loved in return, might be worth giving up her adventures. She saw the end of her loneliness standing only as far away as her arms' length.
That weekend, one of her regulars called to book a special date, and she turned them down.
When Rory asked her to marry him, she said yes. She was not without reservations, but the secret life she'd given up the night she said 'I love you, too' was only one of them.
Honesty was just as difficult as she'd imagined it would be. From that first night, she'd kept no secrets, and from her own reasoning, that should have been enough. What did the past matter?
She was starting to expect that honesty meant more than not telling lies, but there was never a good time to tell him.
Then the Doctor came back, and she had all of time and space. She remembered the thrill of excitement, and the ecstasy of adventure. (And she always had tomorrow morning, an infinity away.)
Rory joined them, and for the first time, she had him and she had adventure, too.
She lost him. The world ended. But somehow, she got everything back.
In the face of the universe, her secrets meant nothing.
The Doctor dropped them off in Leadworth after their honeymoon to get settled in.
It became clear rather quickly that Rory's one bedroom flat, with its solitary wardrobe and devastating lack of bathroom counter space, was not going to be adequate for the two of them.
"We could buy a house," Rory reasoned, "but it would be smarter to wait a year and save up a bigger down payment. I hope you don't mind renting for a while longer...we could store some of your things at your parent's house, for now."
Amy thought about it for awhile before answering. "Well, wait: I have some money, too. Maybe together we have enough to put down on a house."
Rory glanced at her, then back down at the figures in front of him. He took just a bit too long to respond. "Oh. Ok... Well, how much do you have, then?"
His hesitation made it clear how little he expected her to contribute. Her indignance was the push she needed to come out with the figure.
"I'll have you know, I have nearly 10,000 pounds in the bank!"
For a beat, Rory just stared at her. Finally, he decided she must be serious. "Amy - where did you get 10,000 pounds?"
She could lie to him: half a dozen plausible lies flew to the tip of her tongue. She had to bite them back, swallowing each one down with a gulp.
She'd promised to be honest, and even using her imperfect definition, that meant not telling lies.
He was too, too quiet as she fumbled and danced around the words, "I don't understand" the only words that would come out.
She made it clear: no backing out now.
He said he had to leave, had to go for a walk. He didn't want to say anything he'd regret.
He was gone for half the night.