Standing outside one of the most popular places in the heart of downtown New Orleans, a small smile on my face. The neon sign was off due to the fact that it was closed, I hated it. The smile faded into a frown and I sighed walking in through a hidden door to my office.
I put my messenger bag and zip folder onto my desk before walking over to the two-way mirror. I watched as the five girls that were auditioning warmed up before they began. Ayden made a silent appearance by my side.
“Are you ready to get this over with, Mickalah?” He spoke softly while he scanned the girls slowly. He watched the girls intently as he was going to help me with the selection of the two replacements.
“I suppose so,” I sighed. I really didn’t want to replace the two that were leaving. They were with me from the beginning, but they wanted to move with their mates. They were happy and who was I to deny that happiness?
We walked out of the office and into the dark club, I made sure there was no way the girls could see beyond the stage. Bright lights lit up the stage and the club where Ayden and I were, was draped in deep, dark shadows.
“Alright, girls,” Ayden spoke loudly, “You’ll go through the two numbers that you were sent when you first applied for the position.” He looked over his shoulder at me and I simply nodded. I watched the girls quietly. This place was sacred, somewhat of a safe place for certain people. My eyes crawled over the girls, watching them, scanning every inch of them; I want to make sure I make the right decision
“Okay, from the top, girls,” I yelled toward the stage,“ without moving. “5...6...7...8!” I watched carefully as the music pumped into the room loudly and the girls came to life.
As I scanned the group, I landed on the girl with bright red, long, curly hair with it pulled up into a tight messy bun. Her moves were graceful yet precise and right on time. I watched her for a time. There was something different, yet familiar about her. A deep sadness and longing in her eyes that I knew all too well.
I moved on to the next girl. She was a bit off beat, but given a little more time she would get the routine. She was shorter than the other girls by maybe an inch, but that didn’t matter. One of the leads I was looking for required a shorter girl. She had short blonde hair and dark eyes, and seemed perfect.
The next girl was awkward, like she was completely nervous, and in this business, that won’t work. She wouldn’t make the cut.
I moved on to the next girl. A-not-so petite, blonde. She moved with a bit of clumsy grace, not as much as the two I had my eyes on, but could she make the cut. Her body language screamed...ATTITUDE!!! She was also wearing the best of the best of everything. I didn’t like her already, but she was better than the other two shit-for brains.
I was making notes on the back of their headshots I was given by Ayden who was beside me. I sighed softly. I needed three of them to move to the next round of auditions and only two had caught my attention.
“What do you think of this girl?” Ayden said as he pointed to a particular headshot. I barely glanced at it when I scrunched up my nose. I looked at her on stage. Long dark hair, dark eyes. Small but not petite, she was anything but graceful up there. She was all over the place and I didn’t understand why he was suggesting her. “Mickalah! Come on! Her family could possibly spend a lot of money here.” He sighed and crossed his arms over his chest.
And there it is, I thought and shook my head.
I rolled my eyes, “Umm...nah. She just doesn’t have that umph. You know that..je ne sais quoi!” I watched the girls until the music stopped. They had a little bit of a break before the second number started. I watched the red head as she stood off to the side, watching quietly as if she was waiting for something.
The second routine was beginning and I began to watch them all more closely. I made more notes as the beats thumped to the rhythm of my heart. I choreographed each of these numbers, so I knew them all like the back of my hand. Alexia, my third, ran the rehearsals, she was standing at the back of the stage. She made herself invisible in the shadows of the curtains.
As the song ended, I slowly stood from the middle of the room and made my way to the stage. The only sounds in the place were the clicking of my shoes and the deep breaths of the girls.
As I stepped out of the shadows of the unlit room into the circle of bright lights of the stage; the loud, audible gasps of the girls made a smirk slightly curl the corners of my mouth.
“She’s so pale,” one of them said, just above a whisper
“I’ve never seen eyes that color before. They’re so light blue, they’re almost white,” said another.
“She’s so breathtaking.” said the one Ayden wanted me to hire.
All of this was nothing I haven’t heard before. I stand at five feet and ten and half inches tall; very petite, jet black hair and as said before, eyes so icy blue, they’re almost white. I chuckled lightly and shook my head a bit. Two of the girls didn’t say anything, but that didn’t go unnoticed.
“Okay, listen up,” I spoke not loudly, but authoritatively, “there’s only two spots open. These two spots involve extensive work. Rehearsal times are long just for the kick-line for most of the routines. Then there’s the extra time for the rehearsals for the leads routines you are assigned.”
I looked from each of the girls to the other, they shifted uneasily. I loved this part; watching them squirm. “I enjoyed the performances this afternoon, thank you. However, that concludes the first part of your auditions.”
“Smile, KK,” I heard Alexia whisper to me through mindlink. I glanced up toward the back of the stage where she was still hidden in the shadows. I lifted my chin, just barely, in acknowledgment and, for her, smiled.
“Two of you, unfortunately, will not be returning for the second part in a week’s time,” I lifted the headshots up and said, “If I call your name, make your way to stage left and wait.” I sifted through the pictures and began.
After I had gotten through all them, I thanked the two being sent home. “Please, if you would, I believe after some more practice you could be better. Come back again when we have another audition.” I sent them on their way.
After they left, it was at this time that Alexia made her appearance.
“Welcome, Girls, to the wonderful world of La Baise Burlesque. This club is the most popular of it’s kind here in New Orleans,” Alexia spoke clearly and loudly. She walked across the stage as if she owned it, with her arms behind her back. She was tall like me, five foot 11, ash blonde hair and dark blue eyes. She was elegant as she walked. Head held high, shoulders back, perfectly poised. “My name is Alexia Voight. If hired, I will be your dance instructor, your mama, your coach, your best friend and your enemy. If you cross me in any way, you will be out on your ass quicker than you can take a breath, no ifs ands or buts about it. What I say goes.” She looked at me when she finished.
“For the next part of your audition,” I said with a smirk, “you will choreograph a routine to your favorite song. You will learn the words, you will lip sync the entire song while you dance the routine that, you, and you alone, created. You will a have week to do this.” I then turned to Ayden to see if he had anything to add. He didn’t so I turned back to them, “You’re dismissed.” I turned to walk away.
“Hey, YOU,” one of the girls called out with some attitude.
I quickly turned around and narrowed my eyes. I crossed my arms over my chest and cocked my left brow with a ‘what-the-fuck’ look on my face.
“How are we supposed to do that in just a week,” the “other” blonde spoke as if I gave her permission to do so. “I mean, that takes a lot of time. More than a week’s worth. That’s not enough time.” She crossed her arms over her chest defiantly and tapped her foot.
Ayden groaned loudly, I could just feel him shake his head behind me. She isn’t one of the ones that I wanted any way so, she really didn’t matter to me. But the clear attitude and disrespect coming from her had my blood boiling.
“Excuse me,” I said through gritted teeth. “I don’t know who you think you are to speak to me that way, but if you don’t think you can do it, don’t come back.” I looked at all three of the girls. They all looked horrified as my anger was on my face.
“I don’t think if any of you know exactly who I am. But, don’t get it twisted; I am not your friend, I am not just some dancer here at the club.” I was slowly approaching the stage again; as if I was stalking some sort of prey. My voice was low and there was a deep rumble in my chest. You could see the blonde visibly swallow the lump that had gathered in her throat as her eyes widened.
“My name is Mickalah MacTire, this club,” I lifted my arms, palms up, and slowly waved my arms around, “is mine. I own this place.” Narrowing my eyes, I looked at the blonde. “If you can’t figure out how to do it, don’t...bother...coming...back.” The last words spoken pointedly and concise. I was clearly exasperated.
I turned around, and went straight to my office. Slamming the door, I took a deep breath. “Mickalah, that was fucked up. What in the hell was that girl thinking?” Alexia spoke angrily as she stormed in. She dropped down onto an overstuffed chair across from the couch.
My office was slightly modern with antique accents. The desk was small but it serves its purpose. There’s a couch, two overstuffed chairs across from it, a coffee table between them and a bookshelf behind the desk. Overlooking the club was an entire wall that was a two-way mirror. I was staring at the girls as they packed their belongings into gym bags. The blonde was still going off at the mouth. I have no idea what her problem was, but she was about to be let go before she was even hired. I smirked.
But before I could answer I heard Ayden scuffling with someone right outside the door. “What. The. Fuck Are you doing here? You are permanently banned from the club!” He was super pissed and there was only one person in this district that made him that way. Today was not the day (this was not the year as a matter of fact) that I wanted to face this person, I was really not in the mood. I closed my eyes and prayed that they would just go away.