"Oh, don't be shy, love. Step on to the stage over there so we can get a better look at you." A woman spoke from the other side of the room.
I nervously wiped my clammy hands off on my black leggings and caught the pink and blue lights that shone on the small stage she was referring to. Fuck, why the hell am so nervous right now?
As I began walking over to the stage, the gorgeous blue-eyed man walked over towards a long table where I spotted two women and another man comfortably sitting. I tucked a piece of the short platinum blonde hair from the wig behind my ear and softly cleared my throat, mentally scolding myself for not drinking that bottle of water offered to everyone back in the dressing room.
"Sophia Milton?" The woman who sat in the middle of the table asked.
"Yes," I said trying to get a good look at her but unable to due to the lights.
"Well, it’s nice to meet you, love. My name is Rayleigh Heart. I am the owner of Wonderland."
"Oh wow," I said in surprise. I guess I hadn't expected to see the owner of the audition. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Heart. From what little I’ve seen of this place, it's truly amazing."
The lights dimmed and it instantly helped me relax. I was now able to see them clearly but not as much as I would’ve liked. My eyes found the blue-eyed man and smiled when he gave me a breathtaking smile. "There, that's better. You seem more relaxed now without those lights blinding you," he chuckled. "By the way, I'm Caleb, the club's head of security for the time being."
I smiled, dipping my head.
"And my name is Kaye. I'm in charge of all the talent and shows," the other woman said.
"And this here is Noah. He's my, uh—bodyguard." Mrs. Heart said and suddenly both she and Kaye began laughing.
"It's a pleasure to meet you all," I said truthfully, yet I wondered what had been so funny to them.
"Ok Sophie. I've read over your resume." Mrs. Heart said. "Is dancing what you wish to bring to Wonderland?"
"Yes, but that's not all I’d like to do here," I admitted.
"Oh, and what else would you like to do?" Kaye asked curiously.
"If I'm hired, I'll do whatever it is you need. I guess what I am trying to say is that I will be your best asset if you choose to hire me."
"Oh, I like her already," Kaye giggled.
"It says here your stage name is Candy. Do you prefer to keep that if hired?"
"Yes, if that's ok." I nervously nodded.
Mrs. Heart cleared her throat, "alright Candy, show me why you deserve to be here, and they don't." She pointed her finger to the closed door where the other girls were waiting for their turn to audition.
"Do you have a song choice?" Caleb asked with his phone in hand.
"Feel it, by Jaqueese."
Here goes nothing ...
The sound of the bass from the club's music thumped vigorously outside of the office I'm presently sitting in. Just waiting to have a meeting with a fucking crime lord that I agreed to just to appease Tommy.
What the fuck was I thinking? Why in the hell did I agree to do this? My father would roll over in his grave if he knew that I was even entertaining this kind of a man.
But I've always trusted Tommy's judgment. He's a good judge of character—always has been. This man, Damien, can't be all that bad if Tommy's grown to like him.
He liked him so much he became one of his obedient soldiers and branded his body with a tattoo to display his loyalty to this man and his family. That must mean something, right?
I mean if Tommy was so willing to fucking betray the only family he has left, aside from his baby sister, Cassie, it must mean Damien is important to him, right?
The door suddenly opened before quickly closing, "sorry for the wait, Mr. Robertson." I heard as the notorious Damien Heart rounded the desk.
"It's fine," I eventually replied.
"Drink?" he asked with a raised brow, sliding open a drawer and retrieving a bottle of scotch and two small crystal glasses out.
I nodded, sensing my nerves may need a little liquid courage for whatever he needed to ask of me.
Damien quickly handed me a glass before clutching one of his own as he slowly eased back into the chair and stared at me.
I cleared my throat, "why am I here, Mr. Heart?"
Taking a big swig, he placed the glass on the desk, "I know you know who I am," he stated.
"Of course," I clipped, but regretted it when I saw his jaw ticking.
"Well Mr. Robertson, I'm new to New York. I don't know many people here."
"What the hell does that have to do with me?" I quickly asked.
"My wife's grandfather, Dante Russo is dead. He left his empire to me and even though I trusted him, I do not trust his men. You would be a fool to trust someone who hasn't earned it. So that makes leading them hard because I haven't figured out who I can and can't trust."
He paused, running a hand through his hair. "Dante's death was labeled suspicious by the staff at the hospital, including his doctor. It’s made it, even harder to trust anyone from his family."
I placed the rim of the glass to my lips, taking a sip of the scotch, flinching as it burned its way down.
"Again, Mr. Heart, what does any of this have to do with me?"
"I don't trust his accountants," taking a sip of his scotch, he silently stared at me.
He popped open his suit jacket and pulled out a pre-rolled joint and lighter. "I need someone that has no ties to the Russo family. Your cousin Tommy mentioned you to me a couple of weeks ago after one of my brother's fights. He spoke so highly of you and guaranteed I could trust you. So, I had one of my men dig into you and your business, Mr. Roberson. I’ve learned a lot about you. I won't be able to trust you fully—not until you've proven to me that you're trustworthy, but I have a good feeling about you."
My body tensed, "so what are you asking of me?"
"Be my accountant—be my bank, Brad."
I sat up and placed the glass on the table, "I don't think that's something I can do for you, Mr. Heart."
Damien's eyes narrowed, the muscle in his jaw ticked angrily. "Mr. Robertson, do you like your job?" He asked, relaxing a bit as he folded his hands together.
"Well yeah," I answered with meshed brows.
He chuckled, "usually when someone who loves what they do is asked if they love their job, they answer quickly and enthusiastically."
He took a long drag from the joint and held it out to me. "Do you partake?" he asked with a smirk.
I shook my head, "no, sorry."
"I could triple your current salary if you agreed right now. I need you to help launder the money from my other businesses, paying you well is no issue for me."
I am going to kill Tommy. "Mr. Heart," I began but he quickly stood to his full height.
"I won't take no for an answer," he said, sternly while rounding the desk.
He placed himself in front of me and rested his backside against the desk. I glared at him while grinding my teeth.
"Who the fuck do you think you are?" I gritted out through clenched teeth.
He began chuckling sadistically.
"Who the fuck do I think I am?" he repeated, leaning closer towards me, his smile never wavering. "That's easy, Mr. Robertson, I’m a dangerous man who always gets whatever the fuck he wants. The sooner you learn that the faster you can start earning the money you deserve."
He took another hit from the joint. "You have until Monday morning to give me an answer. Now," he balanced the joint between his lips and tucked both of his hands into his pockets. "Please, explore the club, it's magical. Oh, and your cousin is somewhere in the main room, waiting for you."
He moved back behind his desk and took a seat. I stood from the chair, anger, and fear coursed through my veins.
After I swung the door open, he unexpectedly said, "remember Brad, I always get what I want, one way or another. I do look forward to working with you."
Oh, Tommy is so fucking dead...
I finally reached the main room after puking up my fucking guts in the men's bathroom for the past twenty minutes.
I scanned the area in search of Tommy and spotted the u-shape bar near the back.
"Can I get a glass of Jameson?" I called out over the loud music to the barmaid behind the bar
She smiled and nodded.
"Hey fam," I heard before I felt Tommy's hand clasping my shoulder.
I grounded my teeth and chose to fight back the urge to deck his ass right in his stupid fucking mouth. I already know Damien's watching me right now so, I'll wait until we're out of here before I kill his ass.
"I have a spot over there," he pointed to a rather large fluffy purple couch. "Ray requested for me to make sure you stayed and watched her shows," he said with a smile.
I thanked the barmaid, grabbed my drink, and followed Tommy to the purple couch. The faster I got this over with, the faster I’d be able to get the fuck out of here.
I sat down beside him, wishing to be anywhere else. My mind was racing. I half-heartedly assessed the area, first noticing the lighting in the room glowing, and flickering with a mixture of blues, pinks, and purples. The furniture was relaxing and colorful—like the couch I was sitting on. I placed my glass on the deep, blue-colored glass table shaped like a large mushroom. If anyone besides the Hearts owned this club, I could easily see myself coming here now and again with Tommy.
"Look at those legs," Tommy yelled out.
I followed his line of vision to a woman dressed as an extremely sexy Mad hatter. My eyes roamed up and down her legs, mentally agreeing. She was very attractive with long, straight, black, silken hair that rested in the middle of her back and a perfect set of tits.
"Ray is excited about this show. She's got a new girl starting tonight. She promised me that the girl’s performance will knock our socks off," he grinned mischievously.
I looked towards the stage and saw two naked women twirling on poles on opposite ends. "Is this it?" I gestured towards the half-naked women.
"Nah, the show hasn't started yet," he checked his watch for the time. "It should be starting any minute though," he said and rubbed his hands together.
I reached for my drink and suddenly the music stopped. Voices began to quieten as the lights dimmed.
"Is everyone ready to meet Wonderland's new piece of Candy?" a woman's sultry voice came from the speakers.
A burst of cheers and whistles erupted around the room.
"Tonight, my mad, mad loves, Alice has fallen back down the rabbit hole. Let's make her feel at home," the voice softly laughed.
Music began to play just as the soft pink and blue lights directly pointed onto the stage.
A song I recognized Shinedown played. “I invite you to a world where there is no such thing as time," and I watched curiously as a woman stepped from behind a black curtain dressed in an erotic Alice costume.
"And every creature lends themselves to change your state of mind," she reached for the pole, wrapped her hands around the metal, and slowly twirled.
My eyes roamed her beautiful body, "And the girl that chased the rabbit drank the wine and took the pill." I couldn't take my eyes off her. She was beautiful.
She wrapped her legs around the pole, slid to the top, and ground against it.
"Fuck me," Tommy stood up, completely captivated by her like I was.
"Has locked herself in limbo to see how it truly feels," she slid down the pole, slowly, and twirled upside down, revealing her baby blue laced thongs.
"I'd like to rip those fuckers off with my teeth," Tommy grunted.
"To stand outside your virtue, no one can ever hurt you, or so they say," the music started to pick up, her hands gliding over her body, her fingers skimming her breast teasingly. My mouth watered. Fuck, I want her.
As the music played, her head fell back while she hugged the pole and spread her legs open, twirling multiple times upside down.
"She crawls into the window, through the shapes and shadows. Alice, and even though she's dreaming, she knows," I watched her dance, mesmerized.
"Looks like someone wants to fuck Alice," I heard Tommy chuckle beside me. I glanced at him; brows knitted.
"What?" I played dumb. He smirked and tipped his head towards my legs. I glanced down and saw my cock straining against my pants.
"Busted," he chuckled.
I shook my head and flipped him off. "Fuck off," I grumbled and focused back on the blonde-haired beauty.
She slid down the pole and began dancing around the stage. Her hands went to the buttons of her short baby blue dress and unclasped them one at a time.
My mouth watered as I imagined myself unbuttoning them.
Sliding her dress off, I heard Tommy whistle, "goddamn."
She now began moving slowly with only a baby blue bra and matching thong. Her hands caressed her body and her milky skin shimmered under the lights. It was like her body was beckoning me to touch it.
With her back to the crowd, she reached for the clasp o her bra.
My eyes caught something on her shoulder. I immediately sat up when I realized it was a tattoo.
"Impossible," I breathed and instinctively touched my chest.
"Is that a star tattoo on her shoulder?" I asked Tommy without taking my eyes off her.
She slid the straps down her arms, and tossed the bra, looking over her shoulder.
"Yeah, it is. Hey, don't you have a tattoo just like that?" he asked, amused.
"It can't be," I whispered.
"It can't be what?" Tommy asked, curious.
"S-Sophie," I stammered out.
His head jerked back to the stage. She turned around, revealing her delicious breast. She squeezed her creamy white breasts, before pinching her light brown hardened nipples.
"H-0-l-y fuck, Batman!" Tommy shouted.
My temper flared. "Shut the fuck up, Tommy," I growled.
"Fam," he groaned playfully. "Come on, do you know how badly I wanted to know what her tits looked like back then?"
"I knew she was a vixen undercover!” he laughed.
My hand quickly slapped the back of his head. "Tommy, I'm warning you." I seethed.
The music stopped and we both looked to the stage. She let out a scream when a man dressed as a card of hearts stepped onto the stage, pushing a wooden stockade into the middle of the stage.
The man grabbed her by the arms and dragged her over to it. She whimpered as he locked her head and hands in the slots.
"Oh, sweet baby Alice," he chuckled darkly, running his finger down her spine. "The queen has made a command, it's off with your silly little head," his fingers slide down her ass, and then he smacks her cheek. "But, before I cut off your head, I thought I'd give you a try," he laughed sadistically.
I stood, with anger coursing through my veins, but Tommy grabbed my arm, stopping me.
"Don't," he said in a low voice. "You can't act a fool, man. Not here," he warned.
I shrugged his hand off my arm. "I wasn't," I sneered.
He studied me for a just few seconds and then nodded, realizing I was being honest.
Without another word to him, I turned around and walked out of the main room, heading straight for the exit. No way in hell could I sit there for another second and watch as that meathead touched her like that.
Before I got to the exit, I noticed a room that had backstage on the door. Too much anger, confusion, and desire danced around my head. I couldn't leave until I saw her. Until she looked me in the eyes and proved that it was really her. I opened the door and cautiously peeked inside. To my surprise, there was no one in sight.
At the sound of applause, I hurried inside and stood beside the curtain, waiting for her to exit the stage.
Thankfully the area was dark which helped me blend in with the curtain and remain undetected by the man dressed as a card that walked past.
Suddenly there she was, my heart began to beat fast as my hand reached out for her arm. She let out a yelp, but I chose to ignore her. I quickly dragged her by the arm as she twisted in my hold, frantically protesting.
"Let go of me you freak!" she shouted. "Who the fuck are you?"
EI spotted another door near the exit and tossed her inside.
"You crazy son of a bitch!" she yelled.
I growled, incapable of holding back any longer, and snatched her by the throat, slamming her up against the wall. "Goddamn it, shut your mouth, Sophie!" I barked.
Her eyes jerked up to mine, sudden recognition washed over her face as a harsh gasp escaped her lips.