The weather was lousy. It was pouring down rain and thunder rumbled in the distance. Every so often, lightning slashed the sky, producing false daylight. Lein Blake could not sleep. He was unhappy when he should have been anything but. He was just shy of his twenty-third birthday and lead singer of an up and coming metal band that had made him and his friends wealthy at an alarmingly fast pace. He should have been the happiest young dude on earth.
Not only was he young, successful, and rich, he had his pick of any woman he wanted. That night was no different. He had ended up in bed with a leggy blonde model named Britta. Britta was about the sweetest L.A. girl he had ever met, and he supposed he would continue to see her after that night. Britta really did deserve to be treated better than a one-night stand, and she would. Still, Lein Blake should have been happy. He felt as if he wanted more from life. At his young age, Lein had already grown tired of bedding nameless, faceless women. He wanted something lasting.
It was so easy and boring getting women into bed. They were so willing. At first, it had been a lot of fun. But then, at nineteen, Lein had only had sex with about six girls. It had changed almost abruptly with Hard Axe’s first record and tour. In every city, there were more than enough girls to enhance his limited sexual experiences. The willing groupies he had encountered out on the road made Lein believe that women were smarter and way more mature than he had first given them credit. He had been modernized very quickly, very quickly indeed. After a long while, Lein became bored with conquests. Every now and then, he found one or two girls who really made his motor run. Britta had been one of those who had [at first, anyway].
Lein had met Britta during her appearance in one of Hard Axe’s music videos. They had hit it off right away, but like most of his girlfriends, she had submitted easily and readily enough. He was no fool, he liked sex, but sex was not all he wanted. Lein had always enjoyed a challenge. Lately, he hadn’t gotten one, even from Britta.
At times, he’d wish he’d never formed a band with his brother. He sometimes wanted to be a regular person with a regular job, life, and women. Another bigger part of him thought the idea grossly vulgar. He had never wanted to do anything but sing and perform in front of thousands. He decided that he wanted to be rich and famous, but have a regular relationship with a girl.
Lein felt it was impossible, and on top of everything else, his brother and friends wanted to take him to a strip club called The Rose Bush for his birthday celebration. He had been to the club millions of times and had seen and/or slept with every dancer there. His brother, Ronnie, insisted that he go to the club. He had no idea why. Lein hadn’t been to the club for nearly two years and had no real desire to go again. However, he wanted to please Ronnie. After all, they were brothers, and he loved his baby bro quite a bit. Still, he longed for an opportunity to get out of it. But what he didn’t know was that Ronnie had a purpose in mind for taking him to the club.
Ronnie had visited The Rose Bush on a night some time ago as a new dancer gave her debut performance. He had never seen the girl before. But then, tour schedules kept him and his band mates away for months and/or years at a time. She seemed to fit the mode Lein had designed to describe his all-time dream lover. The dancer was petite, young, beautiful, and talented. She danced as if she’d been trained to do so. Her acts weren’t simply raunchy routines but artistic creations. Even though her talent stood out as one of her best qualities, Ronnie wasn’t immune from noticing her other attributes. The most stunning feature she possessed was an amazingly long fall of pale blonde hair so pure in color that it could have been nothing but natural. She almost had a Lady Godiva thing going, and he was sharply aware how much his brother would appreciate everything about her. Ronnie wanted Lein to see the dancer. He would certainly flip. He had a major weakness for blonde girls, especially naturally blonde girls. But Ronnie had no idea just how much Lein would, in fact, flip.
The dancer had also inspired a brilliant idea to form inside Ronnie’s head. He knew he wanted to present his brother with a special kind of birthday gift. If he could get the pretty blonde dancer to perform a B-Day lap dance with Lein, it would be the most unique present he would receive, something of which he’d never forget as long as he lived. After the dancer finished her performance, Ronnie began asking around to find out how to arrange the private dance. A waitress led him to the club owner’s office where she seated him and told him to wait. After about twenty minutes, the owner came into his office. “My brother’s birthday is coming up soon, and I want to arrange a private dance for him as sort of a gift,” Ronnie explained as the man sat down at this desk.
The guy nodded and made a steeple with his fingers. He tried desperately to look cool at all times, but he didn’t have the brains to realize he managed to only look like an asshole. “That’s what we do here, my friend. But it’s kind of high priced.” The owner knew who Ronnie was, but he garnered a great dislike for rock stars. Most of them treated the girls like crap and refused to tip, which cut into his take. He didn’t like getting short sheeted.
Ronnie shrugged his shoulders. “Well, price is really no object. I want the one with the long pale hair.”
He seemed to know exactly whom Ronnie was talking about. A look of unmistakable dread came over his face. “She doesn’t do that-”
Ronnie cut him off. “I’ll pay five hundred.”
“Mr. Blake, she’s one of the big draws lately, but she isn’t one of the regular lap dancers. If I ask her to do this, she may refuse or walk. I’d be losing out really big without her here. Now, I could set you up with Ath-”
He cut him off again. “I want this one. How does a grand sound?”
The owner smiled a little. He liked the idea of walking away with four hundred dollars in his own pocket. “I’ll set it up. I’m sure she’ll be happy to oblige when she finds out the customer is Lein Blake.”
“No,” he said, shaking his head. “You can’t tell her it’s Lein. I want this to be a surprise for him and I don’t want her to blab it out and let it come back to him before it happens. Secrecy is very important.”
Hesitatingly, the owner spat out, “Mr. Blake, she is more apt to refuse if I don’t tell her who it is. She’s a very responsible girl. I’m sure she won’t tell a soul.”
Ronnie smiled a little and dug out his wallet. He threw two bills onto the man’s desk. “Look, I’ll throw in a few hundred more, just for you. I don’t want this leaking out, even if she couldn’t speak at all, I’d still be this rigid. No one can know.”
Quietly, he picked up the two likenesses of Ben Franklin and stared at them thoughtfully. “Okay, I’ll work out the details.”