Heloise grew up as Helen Lewis, the product of her mother’s unfortunate devotion to her father, Hector, an abusive adulterer who never divorced his wife. Hector told Helen that she had a “nothing face” and refused to support her as she pursued her education. From his viciousness, and her mother’s refusal to protect her daughter, Helen learned to survive. Now Heloise leads a quiet, unobtrusive life with her eleven-year-old son, Scott, in an upper middle class neighborhood. When anyone inquires, she states that she is a lobbyist, although she is actually the proprietor of an escort service. Heloise has devised an elaborate business model and record-keeping system to ensure that only she and her assistant, Audrey, know the full details about how the service operates. Even her attorney and accountant are not fully apprised. Neither is Tom, the vice cop who has looked the other way and protected her for many years, even while professing his love for her and Scott, for whom he would love to be a father. But Heloise has never said “yes” to Tom’s marriage proposals.
Instead, she pays regular visits to Val, a condemned murderer who is Scott’s biological father. Of course, neither Val nor Scott have any knowledge of each other. Scott believes his father died in an accident before he was born. And when Heloise learned she was pregnant, she managed to escape Val’s clutches for a few months, during which he was tried and convicted. But Heloise knows she can never fully break away from her former pimp and so to protect her son, she visits Val and continues sending him a portion of her income every month. After all, she learned much from him.