1. I shall call you Adonis.
The second I look up I know my seemingly perfect day is going to take a turn for the worse. The reason for that is the recent arrival of Adonis. He’s stood in the doorway a few feet ahead of me. In daylight, the male’s skin would be of caramel colour but in the dim club lights, it is darker. Everything about him is dark. From the charcoal coloured hair that is trimmed neatly on his head to the glare that resides in his grey eyes.
The men who visit my place of employment are usually older and married with a mortgage. This male, however, does not wear a wedding ring and looks to be the same age as me. He had previously been wearing a navy suit but the jacket of which is now slung over his broad shoulder. The sleeves of his white shirt are rolled up, revealing the taut muscles of his forearms. His wealth is clear.
And that’s what makes him dangerous.
The girls of The Red Lounge are naive. Most of them are under twenty, with little to no moral compass and of course, bills to pay. I know that with just one look from the devil stood in the doorway, the girls would fall to their knees. Without questions or any sort of conscious thought. Adonis would offer them money to leave the place with him. Enough money to pay a few months rent. It would result in the club losing staff, as our boss does not react too well when her girls leave the walls of the club with customers. Which would mean I’d be forced to take on more hours. More hours here means less at home.
I pull at the black lace of my bra, revealing more cleavage as I do so. Sweeping my raven hair over my shoulders, I wind my way around the bar. Adonis’ eyes meet my royal blue ones as I saunter across the carpeted floor. The six-inch heels I wear give me quite the step up when it comes to standing in front of him. My forehead reaches his chin. With heels, I come just under five-ten, meaning Adonis stands proud at over six.
“Can I help you?” I make sure to dampen my red lips. My tongue darts out seconds after my words.
“What’s your name, Kitten?” His voice flows like velvet.
I make sure not to gag at the overused, worthless pet name.
Four years ago, I showed up at The Red Lounge with only a few pennies in my pocket and a desperate plea. I was introduced to the pole and hired an hour later. When it came to my name, I refused to be called anything along the lines of Diamond or Candy.
“My name is Roni. What’s yours?”
“You can call me anything you want to.”
I stare up at him through my false lashes, “I’ll call you Adonis. What are you here for? Do you see a girl you like the look of?”
Careful not to get to close, I keep enough distance between my body and his large hands. He tucks his jacket over his forearm before dipping his head down to whisper.
The sultry look in my eye must have captured the attention of the horny stranger the second he stepped inside, “I like the look of you.”
“You’re in luck. I have half an hour free. I take it you know the packages and their prices?” I ask.
“Package two today, I reckon.”
“Follow me,” I turn on my heel fluidly and lead him across the room.
The Red Lounge is the most popular strip club in London. It sits in the centre of the city, gaining its popularity because of that. It got its name from the red, brick walls that make up the outside and the inside of the building. Round tables, encircled by low, leather chairs are scattered around the large room. We dodge them and the rowdy men that occupy them as we make our way to one of the many smaller rooms that line a long corridor. The neon spotlights pave the way for us, bathing our skin in reds and silvers. We pass one of the girls as she twirls around her pole. Her legs are wrapped around it with such strength and agility. As she gracefully descends, the men watching her yell their approval.
I close the velvet curtains behind us as we step inside the small room. A crimson sofa sits in the middle of the room and a pole on a small stage in front of it. Adonis immediately takes his seat. His eyes watch me as I make my way to him. The skimpy clothes I wear leave little to the imagination.
After I reach him, I turn around so that my ass is in his face. The music pumping out of the speakers above us is the reason I can do what I do without feeling embarrassed. I love to dance. I’ve been dancing since I was a young girl. Granted, this here is a completely different type of dance. I flick my gaze over my left shoulder, staring at him as I lower myself into his lap. My legs fall between his open ones as my ass bumps his crotch. It has the desired effect because seconds later, a low hiss leaves his mouth and his fingers lace their way around my slim waist.
“So damn sexy, Kitten,” I ignore the sleazy words leaving his mouth, “What a perfect ass. Fuck, Kitten.”
“You’re an ass guy, huh?” I flutter my eyelashes as I smile at him over my shoulder.
Being poked and prodded by a dick here and there is part of the job, so when I feel the bulge of his from under the fabric of his trousers, I grin. Turning around in his lap is easy. When I am in the position to straddle him, I press my chest flush against his. His eyes follow my bouncing breasts as I use my thigh muscles to hold myself up. My breasts never used to be this big but six years ago, that changed.
I tilt my head towards his ear, sucking on his lobe before speaking, “Touch me.” He does as I say, his palms wrapping themselves around my thick ass. He squeezes, pushing me further against the growing bulge.
Someone enjoys being in charge.
To be good at this job, I make the guys believe they can do what they want with me. Of course, that’s not true. I’m in charge. They just don’t know that. Therefore, when Adonis attaches his heart-shaped lips to my neck, I let him kiss me roughly. He won’t touch my lips. It’s an unspoken rule they have. Though men enjoy our company they don’t know where we’ve been. Many girls consider it aggravating but I believe it’s a blessing.
Because as much as they don’t trust us, I trust them even less.
Suddenly, Adonis’ demeanour changes. He lifts me to my feet effortlessly and pins me against the wall. His teeth nip at my jawline as he increases the pressure he has on my neck. I accept it until a rough hand reaches between my legs, cupping me there, with an ulterior motive.
“Get on your knees.”
Usually, that line would work on me. But there’s something about the way he clings to my neck that unsettles me. That and the crazed look in his eye.
“Are you high?” I ask, pushing at his chest with my palm.
His next words infuriate me, “I’m looking for a dirty mouth not one with an attitude.”
“Get your hands off me,” I snarl, eyeing the baseball bat that is hidden underneath the sofa for situations like this.
“I’m paying for package two. In case you’ve forgotten that means that my package needs taking care of.”
I struggle against his hold. The hand that plays between my legs is doing nothing at all for me.
“I know what I should be doing. Asshole. I’m afraid to fuck up your plans but we don’t get paid enough for this shit,” I gesture to the way his right-hand clings to my neck.
That does it for him. He pulls me away from the wall only to slam me back against it seconds afterwards.
“Get the fuck off me,” I instinctively draw my knee up before slamming it against his balls. With a groan, he falls away from me, “Get out.”
He stares at me for what seems like forever. I am prepared for him to try just about anything. A heavy sigh leaves his parted lips. Then as quickly as he pinned me against the wall, he bails. With his tail between his legs and the tent in his trousers painfully obvious, he rushes out of the room. I follow him through the corridor and watch as he stumbles awkwardly against a girl who’s mid-lap dance. She eyes his trousers and then meets my narrow stare.
“In a rush, darling?”
He pushes past her and heads towards the door. That’s when Elias Hades, our security guard takes a hold of his shirt. He waits patiently until I join them.
“Did this guy give you any trouble, Roni?”
Elias stands around six-five and is built like a brick shithouse. The tattoos that wind their way up from his wrists adorn the entirety of both arms. He’s bald with an equally as terrifying tattoo of a skeleton down the right side of his neck. When I first met Elias, the cover of the book terrified me. But as I got to know him, I came to find that he has a heart of gold. He cares terribly for all the girls who work here.
His rich, chocolate eyes meet mine, “He didn’t pay. That’s all.”
“What package did he have?”
“One. Just a lap dance,” I smile, avoiding the glare of Adonis, “Thanks, Elias.”
Minutes later, I’m being handed a wad of twenty-pound notes. Then Adonis leaves in an absolute fury.
I take my payment to my locker and am in the middle of washing away the taste of Adonis when my friend, Darcy sticks her head around the doorway. I see her blonde curls over the rim of the water bottle that I hold to my mouth. After taking two huge mouthfuls, I chuck the bottle back into my open locker.
“Claudia wants to see you, V.”
What the hell did Adonis say?
The pretty blonde rolls her crystal, clear eyes. Her dark, purple lips are a perfect contrast. She’s wearing a matching set of purple underwear and black suspenders. Her knee-high boots add five inches to her usually tiny frame. Darcy Grace is sweet but she can contort her body into positions that question her innocence. The men who visit The Red Lounge cannot get enough of her flexibility.
“Thanks, Darcy! I’ll be out in a second,” I grab the compact mirror I keep in my locker to take a look at my face. The blonde smiles and exits with a skip in her step.
Adonis did not harm me but he did unnerve me. I stare at my full lips and at the red lipstick that is smudged there. Running a finger across my cupid’s bow, I wipe the lipstick away and with it wipe away any trace of Adonis. I take a few deep breaths to calm my nerves before heading to Claudia’s office.
Claudia Danes is the manager here at The Red Lounge. She’s sixty, though her botox helps shave a few years off. She has fiery, red hair to match her personality. I step through the door to her office; the smell of her cherry perfume hits me instantly.
“Listen, whatever that asshole said was a lie. He was choking me like a mother fucking anaconda-”
I stop the second I see the woman who sits opposite Claudia. The two of them stare at me, the familiar eyes of the woman trailing down my bare legs towards my heels. I’ve seen that look before. The look of disgust. The look that screams at me, telling me how irresponsible I am. With a gulp, I speak,
“Lydia. What the hell are you doing here?”
“Veronica! It’s so good to see you again.”
She addresses me as though we’re old acquaintances and I suppose we are. From ages ten to twenty-three, we were inseparable. Then one day, I started working here and for reasons unbeknown to me, Lydia Rome could not get her small mind past my new job. We haven’t spoken since I threw a glass of Pinot in her face all those years ago.
“I see the two of you know each other. Lydia here is joining the team. I told her that I’d get my best girl to show her around but Willow is busy,” Claudia winks at me.
“What? Did I hear that right? You want to work here?”
Lydia stands up and the hem of her pastel blue dress dances around her knees. She tucks a strand of honey, blonde hair behind her ear and meets my intense gaze, “I... I need the money, Veronica.”
“How coincidental,” I cover my cleavage with my arms.
Claudia clears her throat, “Show her around and help her settle in. She’ll need a change of outfit.”
I nod my head. Claudia is not one to be argued with. She sees the potential of a girl before the girl herself. Therefore, she must see something in Lydia. I see a two-faced bitch.
“Fine. Follow me, Lydia.”
She joins me as we head towards the locker rooms. Claudia was right about one thing. If Lydia wants to fit in here she’ll need a change of clothes. She’s dressed like she’s going to a family barbeque when she needs to dress like she’s stepped out of a guy’s wet dream.
“How are you? How have you been?” Her small voice asks.
“I’ll help you find your feet here but don’t mistake that for friendship.”
“Why not?” She asks.
“Are you that forgetful? When I started working here you called me all the names under the sun. You told me that only girls with daddy issues would step foot in a place like this. Now look at you, you’re inside the place you labelled as hell.”
I stop her, “Rule number one. Here, I’m known as Roni.”
“Roni... how are t-”
“We don’t talk about them. Not here. Not ever. Got that?”
She nods, a weak smile forming on her face. When we reach the locker rooms, I ask her to strip. Her eyes widen in a way that would be comical if it weren’t for the stale air between us.
“What?” She asks.
“You have to show me what I’m working with, otherwise I don’t know what to put you in. Are you shaved? Can you handle six-inch heels?”
She looks at me as though I just asked her to kill a newborn.
“I’m shaved... Yes. Uh, should I take it all off?”
I nod my head impatiently. When she finally begins to undress, I take in her appearance. She’s slim, extremely slim. Her rib cage and hip bones are visible and whilst that is an eyesore for me; a woman with a lot of extra meat on her bones, it is appealing to some men.
“I think a corset would work.”
About half an hour later, Lydia is tightly secured into the hot pink, lace corset. It gives her the appearance of far more cleavage than what she has and cinches her straight waist in slightly. I tell her to tie her long hair back in a sleek ponytail which draws attention to her high cheekbones and doll-like eyes. She wears a pair of leather shorts over her silk underwear. We don’t share bottoms. That is a sacred rule.
I drag her reluctant body behind my own towards an empty room. Taking a seat on the sofa, I gesture towards the silver pole.
“Let’s see what you’re made of then.”
Lydia is all arms at first, waving them around her as though she’s some hippie type. She does not know how to handle the pole or how to handle her own body around it. When I tell her to climb it, she does so, fireman style.
“Claudia used to tell me that the pole is like a guy. You have to be in control of it or it’ll ruin you,” I comment as I watch her shoulders sink, “Why are you here, Lydia?”
“I do need the money.”
“I’m sure your parents could help you out. They were always lovely to you.”
She shakes her head softly, “They died, a few years back. Car accident.”
“Oh. I am sorry to hear that,” and I truly am, her parents were ever so caring.
“It’s okay, it is. I have to look after my sister now and this is the only thing I could think of at short notice. Plus, I knew you worked here. I thought, just maybe you’d help me. I was right.”
“I can only help you if you learn to touch that pole as though it’s a man and not a foreign object. Lydia, don’t be afraid of it.”
After I show her some basic moves, she begins to get the hang of it. Granted, she has a long way to go but it’s a start. My shift ends at six and I leave Lydia in the capable hands of Hadley Anderson. I throw on a jumper that reaches mid-thigh, black leggings and my combat boots. With my tips tucked safely in my coat pocket, I throw my hair up into a high bun and head off to the bathroom to remove the cakey make-up that covers my face.
I step out of the club just as the sun begins to set.