The next night at the club is insanely busy. Even for us on a Saturday night. I had to call Vladik down from his perch to pull drinks. I’m racing around the floor helping the waitresses try to take orders and fight off advances from drunken men. The glowing red devil horns on all the staff stand out in the dark club so patrons can always find them for a drink.
I flat out refuse to wear such a stupid tacky thing on my head. I’m not vein, or overly religious, I just don’t find it appropriate. I’m preparing for the fire show and I curse when I see the dark coloration of the bruises on my ribs. I can’t wear the black leather bikini top with the black leather mini skirt. I duck over to Nina’s cage and she spies the bruises instantly and cringes. She unlocks her cage and I pull her quickly behind the D.J booth.
We swap tops. She now wearing my black leather bikini halter top and I her corset bustier with the red ribbon. She smiles and winks approvingly. Mitch’s eyes are almost bulging out of his head as he spotted two half naked girls behind his booth. I shake my head and roll my eyes at him. Some boys just never grow up.
“That bustier isn’t flammable is it?” Nina asks in my ear. I shrug unknowingly and wink at her. She laughs at me. “Well this should be interesting.” She chuckles before planting a quick peck on my cheek and scurrying away towards her cage. She dances out the rest of the song before the lights go down and she disappears from the stage. The crowd goes wild as the flames on the walls light up.
As the performance ends the crowd cheers and hollers appreciatively as I duck back behind the D.J booth where Nina is already waiting for me. Mitch sounds out the creepy devil voice as Nina and I swap tops again. I pull the black halter bikini back on and grab Nina’s bustier ribbon for her to tighten the back of it.
“I’m amazed you didn’t have a wardrobe malfunction up there. Your tits are bigger than mine.” She teases and I eye her incredulously.
“I can’t believe you said that.” I demand playfully. “What kind of friend hopes her BFF’s tits catch fire during a flaming poi show?” She laughs so loud that she’s nearly heard over the music Mitch is pumping out. He starts to guffaw after hearing the exchange between us.
“Let’s go have a quick cigarette before I lock myself back in my cage.” Nina suggests and I nod at her. Outside the club I take in a deep breath of the cool air before Nina lights up. I let my head fall back and close my eyes as she starts to pat herself down furiously. I pull the zippo from my bra without looking at her and I light it and hold it out towards her.
“My angel.” She slurs around the Marlboro cigarette hanging from her lips. I smile indulgently at her. “What else are you hiding in there?” She teases as she takes a drag and blows her smoke in my direction. I wave at the air dramatically and open one eye to glare at her.
“Your common sense.” I tease. She laughs a boisterous laugh into the night air that drowns out the soft thumping base from the club.
“I was wondering where that went.” She laughs eyeing my cleavage. “Hey you can keep it. Because damn girl those are working for you tonight.” I swat her playfully.
“Don’t be crude.” I scold her. We laugh together knowing there is no such hope. She shrugs.
“I wish you had a cock, we’d be perfect for each other. I wouldn’t even mind the ta ta’s but I need the giant fat...”
“Alright. I get the picture.” I cut her off laughing as she takes another drag. “God Nina. Do you kiss your mother with that mouth of yours?” She smiles at me wickedly.
“It’s my favorite thing to do. Give a guy a blow job then go visit Mama and give her a big kiss.” Nina confesses. I burst out laughing with her. “You should try that. You’d be amazed how much easier it makes the whole being nice thing, knowing your mother probably got traces of cum on her face from the strange guy you just blew.”
“You’re sick.” I say deadpan. She shrugs.
“We all have coping mechanisms Kenna, just cause you’re not as vocal about yours doesn’t mean I don’t know how you like to get freaky.” Nina blurts out just as the club door opens and the new bouncer pokes his head outside. He looks rueful at having disturbed our fun.
“Is something wrong?” I ask him kindly. He shakes his head as he’s about to close the door again going back inside.
“Hey new guy, don’t go. Join us.” Nina commands seductively. I roll my eyes internally. But like an obedient puppy he takes a seat at the small plastic table. I’m impressed that the cheap mismatched plastic chair can hold his weight. Nina bats her eyelashes next to him as she stretches her hand out towards him. “We haven’t officially met yet. I’m Nina.” She tells him like he should feel honored by the knowledge she’s bestowing upon him.
She deliberately blows a smoke ring in his direction and his eyes lock with mine for an instant. Nina huffs impatiently. “Normally in social circumstances such as these, when someone introduces themselves, you introduce yourself as well.” She explains like he might be mentally challenged.
“Nina.” I scold her in his defense and I’m as surprised as she is by my tone.
“Maximus.” Says a deep voice from the opposite side of the table and Nina and I both look at him taken aback. His voice is strong and masculine with only a trace of an accent I don’t recognize. Nina leans on the table towards him letting her cleavage hang out for his perusal. I have to hide my smile as he doesn’t even notice. Not one guy in a million could resist the Bond movie girl sitting next to him.
His eyes are locked on mine before his gaze makes me uncomfortable. He looks down at the table top suddenly as if he didn’t realize that he was staring. Nina clears her throat and looks at me expectantly. What? I mouth to her. She indicates her head towards the down trodden looking Maximus and I take her clue.
“I’m McKenna.” I tell him sweetly as his gaze lifts back to mine. He doesn’t smile, in fact he seems to be rolling the name I just gave him around in his head to see if it computes. I suppress a smile at his expression as I relate him to being a futuristic cyborg of some kind. “Well I better get back in there before someone burns the place down.” I joke standing up.
I see his eyes zoom in on the dark bruises on my ribs and I regret not changing before I came out for a break. He looks so guilty for some reason. Nina doesn’t even notice as she winks at me.
“Please Kenna, the only person who’ll burn this place down is you.” She teases mouthing the word ‘thanks’. I nod and smile at her as I make my way back inside. I’m guessing she was thanking me for leaving them alone for her to continue her mission of sleeping with every man in sight. So why do I feel a strange turning it my stomach at the thought of her making him another conquest?
I quickly duck behind the wall of the bar and pull the club t-shirt back over my bikini top. As I step back out into the bar I notice Maximus step back inside the club looking like he just ran a mile. He marches back to the club entrance to resume his post and I smile at the thought of finally knowing his name. If there was ever a man who suited his name, it was him. He looked just like a gladiator from old Roman times.
Or even more accurately a Hero from the stories of Jason and the Argonauts. His strong muscled physique is proportionate of a God being trapped in the body of a mortal man. I let myself subtly admire his stance at the doorway, a soldier’s stance through and through. Perhaps he was in the army. My gaze catches Nina coming back into the club as she straightens her short skirt and adjusts her corset bustier to pull her tits out for better public viewing.
She winks at me as she passes the bar and gives me a thumbs up as she makes her way towards the club entrance to get an escort back to her cage. I watch as she shimmies her way up to Maximus and says something to him. I wonder how he could miss such obvious cues from her. As if he heard my thoughts his eyes snap to meet mine and I look away quickly scolding myself for getting caught staring at him.
I serve a customer at the end of the bar and when I risk looking back towards the entrance I find Nina missing and Justin. I see Nina jumping back into her cage as Justin makes his way back towards the door. Then my eyes find a pair of piercing dark ones staring back at me from the club entryway. He sees everything. I signal for him to cut off entrance to start wrapping it up. He just nods at me.
I look away feeling the flush on my cheeks from his gaze. After another dreadful display of angelic salvation, the club goers finally start to peel themselves from the building. Our pack up is amazingly fast with a full staff and I call out for drink orders before I know it. The staff crowd around the bar as their drinks start appearing before them like magic.
“Oo I want a fireball.” Luka demands.
“You can’t handle them you lightweight.” I tease him affectionately. He insists and I mix the drink and pretend to whisper a secret into the glass bringing the flame to life before him. He jumps and claps like an excited girl before taking the drink.
“Blow it out.” I instruct him and he complies then puts the heated glass to his lips and sips. His eyes roll into the back of his head as he lets out a deeply personal moan of pleasure. I smile at him as he looks back at me.
“McKenna will you marry me?” He pleads dramatically. I shake my head at him in refusal. “Why not?” He demands with mock hurt tinging his voice.
“Because you like boys, sweetie.” I remind him playfully and the others laugh around us.
“Oh yeah.” He laughs before sighing. “But I’ve never met a boy who could make me feel the way your drink does.” I spy Maximus approaching the group hesitantly but he stays back, taking a stance at the end of the bar. I lock eyes with him as I finish handing out drinks, sending one of the waitresses upstairs with Gerry and Vladik’s drinks.
He looks at me curiously, then smirks. I raise my eyebrows in surprise at his challenge. I wait as the bar clears out leaving us completely alone. I grab the two bottles from the bar and a glass of ice. I take up an orange peel and stroll towards him cautiously. I place the glass containing only ice in front of him on the bar. I carefully maneuver my zippo in my hand as I dangle the orange peel from the same hand.
I keep my eyes locked on his throughout the entire show as I flare both bottles in the same hand to hang upside down before blowing a kiss that lights both liquids on fire as they travel down the orange peel over the ice before settling in a low burn in the tumbler. Maximus takes the glass from the bar and tips it to his lips extinguishing the flaming liquid as it enters his mouth.
He doesn’t break eye contact for a second. I’m impressed. That’s a talent. He dumps the glass back onto the bar in front of me before turning and walking away back to the door. I smile impressed with both himself and me. He has a challenging personality I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of. Nina comes running back into the bar looking frantic as she grabs Maximus’ arm.
“There’s some creep in the car park.” She informs him loudly playing the damsel in distress. I smile wryly at her antics. Hook, line and sinker. Maximus pushes the door open leading her out looking determined and ready for a fight.
“Vladik, I’m out.” I call out loudly and I hear a mumbled response about it being a good night or other. Then I hear a crash as his office door slams open.
“Wait before you go I was going to ask you to come tomorrow to set up for the private function tomorrow night.” Vladik calls down to me. I exhale annoyed that he couldn’t have asked me this earlier. He knows I like my Sunday’s to myself.
“Fine, I’ll be here at one.” I call up to him.
“You’re the best McKenna. I’ll have the event planners drop off all the decorations early for you.”
“Yeah I’m the best alright. The best at getting suckered.” I admonish loudly before grabbing my purse. I head for the entrance after saying goodnight to Vladik. Outside I feel the immediate freedom that comes from the cool fresh air. I look at my watch and groan. It’s late, or early depending on your life style. I walk towards my car slowly and assured that whatever non-existent creep was lurking around the club car park won’t be bothering me.
I shoot Nina a quick text telling her to have fun tonight. Despite the strange feeling in my stomach at the thought of her and Maximus together, I truly want her to be happy in this life. The five-mile drive home is quick as I dart up to my doorstep determined to get as much sleep as possible before I have to get up again. I feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention as I look over my shoulder.
I focus my eyes on the alley the next block over where I thought I saw the shadowy figure last night but find nothing. I furrow my brow trying to concentrate harder, then I laugh at the ridiculousness of my being angry at not finding a dangerous shadowy figure near my residence. It’s just hard to ignore the shadows when you know what lurks in them.