1981: Sonny is the son of Jewel who runs a small brothel in New Orleans. He returns home from the army, staying with his mother while waiting to start the job an army buddy of his promised him. Jewel tries to convince him to come back to working for her as he had before the army, saying many of his old clients still miss him and he was the best gigolo she had ever had. He repeatedly turns her down, wanting to leave that life behind. However, the job he was promised never materializes and he is forced to return to working for his mother. Jewel had recently recruited a new girl to the brothel, Carol, who meets him and falls in love with him. They talk of getting out together. One of Carol's clients, an older man, proposes to her. She initially declines, hoping to go away with Sonny. She and Sonny fall out as he fails to make an effort to get out of the business, instead becoming increasingly introverted and depressed, with occasional outbursts as he looks for more work. Ultimately, Carol accepts the marriage proposal.