Chapter 41: Bad Idea
Lenora got out of the cab in front of the Façade to ‘Vixens’.
She felt a bit trashy – which would work, she supposed. She had a black mini-skirt on, and her only pair of black high heels. She hadn’t worn them in so long she had practiced walking in her living room until she didn’t feel like an awkward flamingo.
Her blouse was made of a sheer fabric that hung off of her shoulders by a thin pink strap. She could see the lacey black bra underneath and her pale arms and shoulder blades were plainly visible. Lenora had pulled her hair up into a bobbing set of pony-tails, set behind her ears to be out of her face. She had put on make-up and shiny silver bangles and a thick chain about her neck.
She felt so horrifyingly exposed.
“Hey Sweetheart.” A weasely-faced man smiled toothily at her from the door to the club.
She suddenly saw him above her with a knife, a backdrop of blood and silk in her mind, and she started to step back –
I can do this.
Through sheer force of will, Lenora stopped her legs from retreat, and instead she pushed them forward, and painted a smile on her face. It wasn’t that hard. After her release from the hospital, every day had been like this; fake smiles, mechanical movements to and from work, pretending everything was alright…
“Hey.” She croaked. Clearing her throat, she blushed.
“Aw, you shy, sweet thing?” The man’s eyes undressed her.
She felt sick.
“Hiring?” Lenora blurted, cocking her head to the side.
The man blinked, smile going from playful and sleazy to just sleazy. “Honey, if I could hire you I would. Do you have an hourly rate?”
He chuckled at his own joke, and started walking towards her.
Lenora clenched her fists behind her to stop from running.
She only came up with words when he was almost within arm’s reach.
“You can’t afford me.”
He laughed, eyebrows raised with a surprised sort of pleasure.
“You haven’t heard my offer yet, sweetheart.” He licked his lips.
Lenora was oblivious to the car pulling up where her cab had been. She steadied her nerves, and let her arms fall to her sides.
From somewhere inside, she mustered the courage to raise a hand and push it firmly against the man’s chest.
Thankfully, the motion wasn’t strong enough to be firm, or even unfriendly. The weasely man laughed and took it as a playful gesture, raising his hands in defeat as she spoke behind the gesture.
“I was asking about Vixens.” Lenora’s voice only trembled a little.
“What about Vixens?”
The voice behind her caught her entirely off guard. She hadn’t expected someone to be standing there. Her resolution faded, and she spun about to face this new demon. The weasel was forgotten in the face of this new threat –
He was gorgeous.
He had dark hair in a neat wave combed back. He had a strong chin, and even past the well-tailored suit she could tell he was fit and built well. He had on a pair of designer sunglasses, and just beneath that, he wore a half-humorous smile that made her knees feel like jelly.
“Uh…” she stammered.
“She wants to know if Vixen’s is hiring, boss.” The weasel said from somewhere far away.
The stranger removed his sunglasses, and Lenora was powerless as he gave her a very thorough looking over. She forced herself to remain very still, aware of the pounding in her heart and the heat rising in her cheeks.
“For this hot little thing? I’m sure we have a spot.”
The weasel laughed the sound retreating. The Stranger took an absent look around the street, and Lenora saw a flash of annoyance cross his brow for only a moment. (It wasn’t hard to miss, and it didn’t seem like he was hiding it. Whatever was annoying him was something big enough to crinkle his perfect face, which even for a moment must have been a grave sacrifice for such a put together man.)
The man fixed his eyes on Lenora again and gave her an all-encompassing smile, offering her his hand.
His fingers waggled impatiently.
Lenora immediately came back to herself and her hand darted out and took the Stranger’s shining digits.
Lenora’s eyes widened and she looked up to catch him staring at her face. His eyes were … deep. And she felt like she was falling into them.
“You can call me Mr. Jones. And you are?”
“Lenora.” She blurted, blushing at her mistake. There was no time to correct it.
Mr. Jones brushed her fingers across his lips, eyes never leaving her face. His smile never faded or faltered. In a single well-practiced gesture, he wrapped his arm around hers, and started to steer her towards Vixen’s open door.
“Pleasure’s all mine. Now let’s get you into some work clothes.” He chuckled. “I didn’t think there were any petite little hotties like you left in Cellar City.”
Lenora nodded dumbly, eyes unfocused and reconnecting within the dimmed confines of the club. He didn’t let go of her arm. Instead, his hand slipped to her lower back, and he began to lead her through a flurry of introductions as if they were dancing.
He was wearing tantalizing cologne. She could feel the firm muscle beneath the shirt, and his gait was like a predator. Her heart felt like a bird beating its wings against glass.
She felt like a mouse within the great paws of a cat. This was very real danger. And M. Jones was holding her arm as his own personal nightmare was wandering the streets.
I can do this. I can do this. Oh God, I can do this.