Achilles Heel

01.

Today was going to be my first day at the Butterfly Effect, one of the most elite strip clubs that lined the streets of South London. The club was only a fifteen-minute walk from my studio apartment and a six-minute drive but I considered the walk my daily exercise. Before I knew it, my feet brought me to the entrance of the club where the bouncer gave me a soft smile. He was a big man with a shiny bald head, a lot like Mr. Clean but I swore he was a teddy bear on the inside. The bouncer—whom I learned was named Fred was a thirty-six-year-old who had a history in the military. Fred had been dishonourably discharged because he started a fistfight with a fellow soldier. The other soldier had been accused of rape but Fred knew he wasn’t just accused. There was truth to it. The girl who reported the man was a fellow comrade. Fred knew how much courage it took to report rape when the military was chock full of men.

When I met him the other day, the first thing he did was wrap me up in the biggest hug. I’m not one for close contact with a stranger but I immediately felt protected in his presence. Fred had sat me down and explained exactly how the place worked. Fred was very thorough, explaining that the club had multiple exits and the highest form of technology. The security cameras recorded sound and had night vision. He made sure to emphasize the fact that the VIP rooms also had cameras. It would be our word against a client if anything were to go awry. I had been preconditioned to believe that most strip clubs didn’t care about their workers, however, this particular club exceeded my expectations in every way.

My hands slowly smoothed down the length of the tight, red plush bodycon dress that I had on. The dress had thin straps which made it impossible to wear a bra but thankfully I appreciated my body. It was something I had struggled with for years until I realised that there wasn’t a reason to hate the very thing that others loved. If they could see it, why couldn’t I? I snapped myself from my inner thoughts and let my eyes wander over the furniture, taking in the seats that sat near the stage. Between the seats was a small wooden table that held an ashtray and had enough room for two drinks. On either side of the stage were two curtained hallways, a security guard at each. One hallway would lead up to the second floor where the private rooms were.

The private rooms were for those whose pockets were endless. From my memory of the blueprint, the second floor contained a secret emergency exit to use in times of distress. Although the emergency exit has never been used. For the other curtained hallway, it led straight to the locker room and dressing room for the girls— also known as Tony’s butterflies, hence The Butterfly Effect. Tony Ricardo Genevese. He was the owner of the club and did constant business with none other than Harry Styles. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Harry worked closely with the Italians yet here I was.

The bass of the sultry song echoed throughout the club, fading slightly as I made my way towards the back room where the lockers were. My hand brushed over the crushed velvet curtain, giving the security guard a nod before I walked into the dimly lit locker room. There was another door off to the side. I could see the faint lights that belonged to vanities along with a blue hue which meant there were LED lights. There were soft voices as well and I could only guess that they were speaking amongst themselves regarding me, the new girl. The one that didn’t have to audition.

I know that I shouldn’t assume. I’m sure all the girls here are very nice but the moment I entered the room and the sound of the curtain crinkling shut behind me—well, all of the girls went silent at once. I’ve always been bad at confrontation, tending to shut down when things got quiet or awkward. Considering my job, that was probably unusual. I just didn’t like unnecessary confrontation or conversation. Why couldn’t everyone just get along for once instead of jumping down each other’s throats? What happened to civil conversation? The silence was far too uncomfortable and loud for my liking so I made my way over to one of the lockers, pulling out a lock and key from my Adidas bag. It seemed like every little move I made was loud due to the silence. I was hoping someone would break the awkward tension in the room so I didn’t have to be the one to do so but no one seemed to move from their spots. I made quick work of removing myself from the outfit that I had arrived in, getting rid of the grey sweatpants that clung to my thighs and the snug black turtleneck.

Underneath my outfit was the lingerie set that I would be wearing to perform my first set. To say I was nervous was an understatement. I stand in front of prominent men every day but never with my body on show for all to see. For them to gawk at and drool over. For images of my body to enter their seediest fantasies and use me as an image to rub a hand over their cock and bring them to their orgasm. The thought was unsettling to me but also a bit of a confidence booster. It was nice to be wanted but also I knew this could be dangerous in a way. Men could become fixated on one thing and if they didn’t get it, they could become violent.

The entire lingerie set that I had on was red. The bralette at the top was lace, leaving very little to the imagination but I had intended it to be that way. There was a red lace collar around my neck with a ring hanging down the middle, meant to attach a leash to it. Next was the garter belt that connected to my sheer red thigh highs, squeezing at my thighs. The thigh highs had little bows on them as if I was a present to unwrap. As for my panties, it was a red thong that was lace and on the front, there was another little bow to match the one’s on my thigh highs. I slid on my sleek black signature red bottom Christian Louboutins. The five-inch heel made me appear taller than I am but I could use that to my advantage.

I moved to shove my clothes into the locker, grabbing my makeup bag and making my way slowly into the room where all of the girls were. Everyone was whispering amongst each other as I entered the room and the second they heard the click of my red bottoms, the whispering immediately ceased. I decided not to give them any of my attention, instead making my way over to where one of the free vanities were so that I could put my makeup on. I did a simple look, doing a smokey winged eyeliner, a bold red lip and some mascara. I could feel eyes boring into the back of my head but I didn’t dare turn around to introduce myself. Eventually, I did make eye contact with one of the girls, she wore a soft smile on her face and she gave me a little wave. She was breath-taking, words couldn’t do her justice.

She had the most beautiful afro I’ve ever seen and her skin was silky smooth, glimmering a bit in the neon blue LED Lights. She had what I could only assume was glow in the dark makeup on that looked badass. The only word that popped into my brain that could do her justice was ethereal. She looked ethereal, vibrant, stunning, heavenly. To put it simply, I thought she was beautiful. I tore my gaze away from the girl to focus on my reflection in the mirror, rubbing my lips together to evenly spread the lipstick before cleaning up the edges. Once I was finished, I recapped the lipstick and exited the dressing room that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Once I was sure that all of my belongings were safely in the locker, I slid the lock through the holes and snapped it shut before glancing around and attaching the key between two lockers since it was magnetised. It was hidden from plain sight. I didn’t have anywhere I could hide it on me, so this was the best place.

Eleven Fifteen. That was the time that the clock read which meant my set would begin any minute now. “Up next we have a newcomer.” The booming voice tore me from my thoughts. I quickly made my way to the large black curtain, standing directly behind it as I listened to them announce me and waited for the song that I had chosen to start. “It is with the utmost pleasure to introduce to you...Dahlia.” I had to force myself to not roll my eyes. Of all names that they could’ve chosen. All of the girls were named after flowers since butterflies feasted upon them. My posture immediately straightened once I heard the all too familiar opening lines of the song, taking my lower lip between my teeth as I slowly emerged from behind the curtain. My body immediately flows to the intro of the song, slowly approaching the metal pole that was now directly in front of me. The crowd was quiet, stricken with anticipation on how I would do.

Listen..” My hands grasped onto the pole, turning around so that my back was flush up against the cold metal and I gradually sunk down with my hands grasping the pole above my head, making sure to arch my back in a way that was borderline obscene. “Drinking Alizé with our cereal for breakfast.” My mouth moved along to the lyrics, sinking until my knees were bent and my legs were spread apart. Eventually, my hands dropped down from the pole, placing them down on the stage in front of me as I slid forward, my back arched as I locked eyes with the man directly in front of me. He was much taller than I was, his face slightly hidden from the darkness of the club but would occasionally light up from the bouncing lights that alternated during the set. My eyes slowly trailed down the length of his body, taking in every little detail. He had thick, gaudy rings that covered his fingers which made his hands far too attractive. All I could think of was what a pretty necklace they’d make in place of the lace collar I was currently wearing.

His long, ring clad fingers were wrapped around an ice-filled glass that I could only assume was whiskey given the murky colour that the liquid was. Whiskey on ice. I’d personally go for a more fruity drink myself but this wasn’t about me. My eyes continued to deviate down slowly, seeing that the man had a sheer button-up shirt but a few of the buttons were left undone. Considering the shirt was sheer, I thought that the unbuttoning was a bit useless and spoke to his ego but I was happy with what I saw regardless. His chest was exposed to reveal a strong, tattooed chest. I noticed something shiny that caught me off guard. He had two shiny barbells that went through his nipples, something I had yet to see on a man but it filled me with interest. I let my eyes trail even further and found that he had what looked to be two extra nipples.

However, before I could make out any defining features, the bass hit in the song and I was standing up, grasping onto the pole once more before I hitched myself up and then let go, swirling around the pole as I leaned back. “But behind closed doors, they get poles so rigid…” My ankles were crossed and the only thing keeping me from hitting the cold, hard stage was the strength of my core. I brought my hands back up to the pole, turning upside down and moving so that my legs were spread into the splits, just focusing on the song and not the attractive stranger that sat no less than four feet from me. I had a feeling that if he leaned close enough, he could slide a few notes right into the string of my thong. However, he didn’t make a move but I could still feel his eyes on me as if he was assessing me.

Once my stilettos hit the stage once more, I slowly ran my hand over my exposed chest in a teasing manner, feeling the lace underneath the soft palm of my hand. The pads of my fingertips circled my nipples, which elicited a soft groan to fall from my lips as I bowed my head down in a way that could be described as submissive. The last thing I would do for a man is let them put me in a submissive headspace. For that to happen, they’d have to match my energy and I have yet to find that.

All too soon, the song came to an end and the lights came on in the club. I bent down to collect the notes that were left everywhere on the stage, surprised by how much had been thrown up there without me noticing. Once I had my hands full of the cash, I made eye contact with the attractive stranger once more only to stop in my tracks because he wasn’t a stranger. From the long, curly hair that sat in perfect, slightly greasy ringlets on his shoulders to the cocky smirk on his red, swollen lips there was no doubt in my mind of who the man in front of me was.

I had found Harry Styles—the man I was supposed to infiltrate attractive. Suddenly, the words my boss had uttered to me before I accepted this seemed to be a bit harder than I had anticipated.

And, remember Astar, no sleeping with the enemy. He’ll play you like a fiddle because he cares about nothing but himself.”

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