C A I T L I N ' S P. O.V
Music blares from the speakers overhead. Fog lights create a haze that obscures the air, allowing the draping of the curtains to fall unnoticed by the crowd.
I used to freak out about this part. Performer's anxiety or stage fright, whatever they call it. After more than a hundred performances, I've grown used to it now. If anything I savour this part.
The quiet solitude where it's just me in my own mind, and for a moment I can pretend I'm back in my bedroom. Dancing to whatever shitty song plays through the speaker, imagining that I'm doing it for the masses.
And now here I am, performing the same routine for the millionth time. The dream came true, except it's not one I imagined. It's corrupted, twisted beyond doubt, and I find that childhood version of myself that wore tutus and tiaras slipping further from memory.
"Introducing the star of the evening, the crowd favourite...Lilliana!"
The thick rhythm of You Don't Own Me begins to filter into a sensual melody. My body rocks to the beat, the moves now muscle memory, that I can almost close my eyes, transport myself into another place far away from this.
My fingers curl around the pole, cold steel electrifying my nerves as if jolting me awake. I let my eyes slowly open, thick smoky makeup making my eyes smoulder amiss the dark light.
I always hated dressing in black. Vibrant colours were my personality, brightening every drowsy day or depressing mood. Now it's become my signature, imbuing itself within all aspects of my performance.
Dropping down, I arch my back, letting my ass pop out as everyone cheers at the move. I turn quickly, gripping the pole and jumping up to let my legs wrap around it. Tipping my head back, my thick blonde hair descends down like a waterflow, the light casting over me to create an unnatural golden aura.
My nickname is the angel of death. Not exactly original or clever but it racks in the tips.
Going home with more than 200 a night is considered a fucking success.
"Who will be the lucky man to win a free taster from our resident angel?" I struggle to disguise my scowl.
They all cheer, vile desperate pigs, with more money than any one man needs. Luckily, my job is to take as much of it as I can.
Sauntering off the stage, I drift into the audience, letting my manicured hand trail across a few broad shoulders, jumping from man to man until I find the target.
A broker, that is currenly foaming at the mouth, eyes fixed entirely on my tits. Bending slightly as I approach him, I reveal more of my cleavage, teasing as my fingers fondle with the front clasp.
The crowd sigh in disapointment as I straddle him, hiding disgust at the thick coating of sweat that casts a sheen across his forehead. The droplets cling to my fingertips as I carress his bare skin, blooming his skin beet red.
"It's your lucky day Mr..."
"Crab, Cray. Mr Cray." He blubbers, offering a nervous smile when I draw circles around his hand.
Brushing my hair to one side, I gyrate softly, hooding my eyes. "Relax sir, I'm not going to bite." Laughing quietly, he gulps as I raise his hands to my bra.
The expectation of the entire crowd falls onto his shoulders, eager eyes waiting for the big reveal. Honestly, they're just a pair of boobs. I'll never understand the fixation but hey, it pays the bills.
It takes him a few times, earning boos that I tell him to ignore. Then cheers erupt as the lingerie falls, cold air blasts from the vents to turn my rose nipples into buds.
Another guy reaches out to touch one, revolting my body as I see the hand reaching out. He manages to graze the side, before security have him picked up, dragging him towards the exit.
Mr Cray stuffs a bunch of hundred dollar bills into my thong, and I reluctantly press a kiss against his skin, the sweat clinging to my lips as I climb off to seek for more desperate souls that offer up their wallets.
"You killed it out there." Saph beams as I stuff a couple of bills into Maggie's baby fund.
It's not like we get maternity leave here. You get pregnant, you get fired.
"I need a shower, fucking wash off the sweat." I physically convulse, wishing the next three hours would fly by.
"I finish soon, I can wait for you."
Her endless optimism is one of the reasons I love her so much. WIth light brown hair, and blue eyes, she reminds me of my younger self. Though there's barely a three year age difference between us, she gives me a sense of responsibility that reminds me everyday why I do this.
"No way, Geneva will just make you work if you hang out here."
"I'll stay in the dressing room, hide behind the racks. I brought a book, see." She holds up a copy of Little Women that I bought her for Christmas.
"Go home, put the heating on so it's nice and cosy when I get home." She gives me a tight huge, my height meaning she barely reaches my chin. "Be safe."
I hate sending her home this late alone. Normally the taxi drivers are nicer to us though, knowing what Geneva will do to them if they harm one of his girls.
After she leaves, I set about cleaning up a little. A few girls fliter in and out, but when Macy rushes in, I know my night is about to get from bad to worse. "He wants to see me?"
She nods, glancing into the mirror to fix her smudged lipstick. "In his office. He's in a good mood don't worry."
Pity infiltrates my gaze, knowing she truly believes he likes her. "You don't have to do that you know. He might own your body but not your will. You have a choice."
She sighs, fluffing up her deflated curls. "This is my choice, Lilliana. You don't understand okay, we share something special."
"Oh yeah, he convinced Sapphire the same thing. Only difference is she was 17." That bastard has destroyed my life in more ways than one, but what he did to Saph...that's what I'll exact my revenge upon him for.
Leaving her there, I make my way through the foggy club. The entire place is like a jungle, girls grinding up on men that are reduced to bestial states at just the sight of a nice pair of tits. I have to fend off a few grabby hands, flashing appraised smiles f promises to return.
Drunk bastards will barely remember me in a few minutes.
I find Geneva lounging in his office like usual. The blowjob almost finished him off, his
face still sweaty and blotchy.
"You wanted to see me,"
"Jesus, you could be a little more pleased to see me." I flash him a sickly sweet smile, already hating myself.
"What do you want?"
"I've had many requests for you. The customers aren't happy that you're only giving private lap dances and nothing else."
"I think strip teases are perfectly enough."
He gives me that look that says I'm full of bullshit. "They want to touch."
"We both agreed that to not touch was better. The illusion of pure disgrace. I'm the highest paying girl, I bring in the most tips, the most business. You would be screwed without me."
His head tips back, releasing a throaty laugh that causes my spine to shiver. "Don't think you would be anything without me, Lilliana. That shitty apartment, the cheap clothes, the food in your stomach, that's all because of me."
"You don't think I could just get a normal job?"
"I'm not stopping you, but you know what happens if you do." My body stiffens as he creeps around the desk towards me. His fingers dance up my bare arm, like tiny spidery legs. I force myself not to recoil. Then sharply, he grips my chin, nails breaking skin. "I doubt that pretty little face would last long in jail. Remember, you still owe me a debt."
I offer up a sardonic smile. "How could I forget?"
"Good girl." Bile rises in my throat, but I swallow it back down. "There's a high paying customer willing to pay a thousand for a night with you. You will meet him at this hotel tonight at midnight and give him the night of his dreams. Any hiccups, and I'll have Sapphire fill your place."
I nod, ever the obedient employer and leave. The small slip of paper crumples in my closed palm, anger coursing through my veins as a commonality. I used to explode when ever I got this angry, unable to control the ugliest of emotions.
Now I don't have a choice.
My body isn't mine, and when I'm here, neither is my mind.
I breathe through my nostrils, counting to ten and back down repetitively. Already I can feel the rage dissipate from my body, permeating into some other kind of energy - emptiness.
I don't know what's wrong with me. Somehow this feels worse than wanting to rip Geneva's head off. It feels more helpless, more permanent, like even if by some miracle I manage to escape this hellhole, this deep seated agony will never leave.
Still, I refuse to let the tears fall, knowing there's nothing these fucked up men love than a broken girl.
"What's wrong, girl?" I sigh, parking my ass on the barstool. Leah spares me a sympathetic smile, reaching down to grab me a glass. We aren't supposed to drink whilst working, but I need something strong to make it through the night.
Fuck. I also need to text Saph I won't be home until late, maybe not even at all.
"So he's finally putting you into the big leagues?"
Scoffing, I down the shot, urging the glass forward for more. "I'm perfectly happy right where I am. I don't know how the fuck to do this."
"You'll get through it. We always do." Sometimes I forget that Leah was one of us, at least until Geneva deemed her as too old to work the floor. She's only in her early forties, which I guess offers some solace in the fact he can't keep me forever.
As my youth disappears, so does my worth. Something I'll happily accept at this point.
"What if he hurts me?" I'm barely 170 pounds, skinny, and lacking muscle.Though I know a few defensive positions, I barely paid attention when Aaron would train me - I should have listened more, been a better sister.
Maybe then I wouldn't be here.
"They rarely ever do. Geneva has all their contact information and sends his men around if they do. Just listen to what he says, make the boundaries clear before you start..."
"Boundaries? I'm allowed boundaries?"
She shrugs, "What Geneva doesn't know won't hurt? They normally listen to them, for example I set out a rule there was no kissing."
"Fuck, thank you." I almost see myself in her features. Her hair the same dark shade mine used to be before I dyed it blonde, and her lips, they crest at the same point as mine. Leah was one of the first people to remind me that kindness still exists.
Reaching into her pocket, she pulls out a small plastic bag. I know what the white power is immediately. "Just a small bump, trust me it will help you."
I've been clean for almost two years...and in that time I've suffered more than I have in my lifetime.
Taking the bag, I feel the emptiness lighten already.
What can I say, old habits die hard.
A/N: Welcome back to the Chained universe!! I've missed writing so much and can't wait to share this story with you!!
Let me know you're thoughts on Caitlin??
Also updates will be twice a week every Wednesday and Sunday.