As I emerge from the change room ignore the cat calls from my staff as Nina struts across the stage towards her cage. “Whoa sexy mama. You may need to have another bouncer close to you tonight.” She calls out laughing.
“I agree.” Vladik’s voice calls out commandingly. I shake my head at him.
“If any one decides to get to frisky I’ll kick them out myself.” I tell him matter-of-factly as I pull out the bull whip and let it crack out deafening the room with a crack like thunder is in the club with us. Nina laughs out loud as she starts wolf whistling at the display. The bar tenders join her as I take the stage to have a couple of practice runs. I let my eyes survey the room.
“Volunteer?” I call out and everyone suddenly appears to be busy with a task in front of them. I see movement to my left as Max approaches the stage. He jumps up in a single graceful movement not seeming to fit his large physique. “Wrong move new guy.” Luka calls out from the bar as the others start to laugh knowingly. I smile wickedly at Max as I move closer to him circling him.
I flick my arm out with a strong power letting the whip crack again. I see Nina and the other girls flinch in my peripheral vision and I smile proudly at the effect. “You don’t scare easily do you Maximus?” I ask loudly and I hear a few chuckling responses. He shakes his head and squares himself facing towards me on the stage.
His steely gaze reassures me that he is actually perfect for this situation. Then I remember that he ate my sandwich and I whip the whip around quickly cracking it close to his face but he doesn’t so much as blink as he keeps his eyes on me. I see the rest of the staff pretending hard to be focused on their tasks instead of watching us intently.
I circle closer to him as I round up the whip against my arm. I move closer to him to whisper my playful threat. “You’re going to regret stealing my sandwich.” I threaten darkly. The bold as brass son of a bitch actually smirks at my threat. I watch his eyes roam appreciatively over my body as I take a step back from him smiling wickedly.
“Don’t mess up his face Kenna, he’s so pretty.” Nina calls out from near her cage.
“Chicks dig scars right? Clear the stage.” I call out. I point my hand holding the whip at Max. “Don’t move a muscle. I need you to stay very still.” I say playfully but I let my eyes convey my seriousness. He nods almost imperceptibly as I call for the music. The birthday boy’s favorite song comes on as I start to twirl and dance. I let the whip fly out cracking an inch from Max’s face.
In a continuous flow of rhythm and precision I crack out the whip towards him between dance moves. Then in a lightning fast move I set the whip on fire as it cracks in front of his eyes. I don’t see so much as a flinch from him. I turn and twirl bringing the flaming whip around my body like a lasso moving closer to Max standing as close as I can before sending the flaming spinning whip up over our heads before bringing it back down slowly.
The flaming movements make it look like the whip of fire is binding us together but it is just quickly travelling from side to side carefully. I take another step closer letting my body press slightly against his. I watch his eyes turn more black than blue again confirming it was a trick of the light the first time I saw that. I smile knowingly as I concentrate keeping my whip moving in tight circles above our heads before lowering it again.
There is a precision to this. Too fast and I risk extinguishing the flame from the whip. Too slow and it’ll connect with our flesh. Max’s eyes lock on mine as I stand pressed against him whipping the whip around us in time with the song. Suddenly his hand moves to my hip pulling me securely against him as we become a single silhouette against the flaming circle of the whip around us.
I feel his fingers caress my hip and I snap the whip out letting it fly its full length before bringing it back to a fast stop. I wrap it quickly with my gloved hand and drop it into the sand box next to our feet. “Shit.” I hiss spotting the small trail of blood on the other side of neck as he turns towards me. I place my hand over the wound quickly. “Wet rag now.” I yell out over the music as Mitch shuts it down.
Luka comes darting towards the stage as I grab Max’s hand and pull him off the stage towards the bathroom. I keep the pressure on his neck as I pull him through the door to have access to the water. “I’m so sorry. I can’t believe I actually nicked you.” I pull my hand away from his neck and replace it with the wet rag. I turn the tap on with my free hand as he leans back against the counter top.
He crosses his strong muscled arms across his chest in front of him. “I deserved it. I ate your sandwich.” He tells me evenly. I hear the joke but I can’t register a smile. I pull the rag away to assess the damage better as I let the rag run under the tap to wring it out. I grasp his jaw firmly letting my hand caress his face gently as I turn his head towards me to see the wound better in the light.
His hand reaches up and covers mine. “I’m alright.” He says softly as my eyes dampen. My nostrils flare out as I see the blood drawn by me on this gorgeous man’s body. A man who never did anything to hurt me. I place the rag back over the wound as his hand holding mine lowers to rest on his chest over his heart. “You didn’t hurt me.”
“How can you say that? You’re bleeding.” I demand angrily. “I thought I had it, you’re just so much bigger than my usual targets.” He crooks an eyebrow up at me as his face breaks out into a playful grin. I pull my hand from his and slap his chest hard. “You know what I meant.” I scold him. He smirks still looking fairly pleased with himself.
“Knock, knock.” Vladik’s voice calls out. “Is he dead? Do I need to hire a new bouncer?” His voice joke through the door but I can hear he’s worried. I pull the rag away and I’m glad that the light trail of blood has stopped flowing. “No he’s going to live.” I call back as I drop the rag into the bin. I grab a handful of paper towels to dab his neck dry. I almost choke on the tears threatening me as I spot the traces of his blood on the paper towel.
His hand comes up to caress my face gently. The feel of his finger tips on my skin reminds me of the way he grabbed my hip on stage before. The warm sensation feels like a glowing beacon now. I’m suddenly aware of the very tight space we’re in together. My breathing just about stops when I see his lips part slightly. I close my eyes strangely ready to submit to his lips on mine.
I hope kissing him will heal his wound. I feel his warm breath against my lips and I wait for the feeling of his lips on mine. Then I feel nothing, no gentle caress on my face, no warm breath on my lips. I open my eyes confused and find myself alone in the bathroom. Well that’s just humiliating. I think as I bin the paper towel scrunched up in my hand.
I exit the bathroom thinking my humiliation must be tattooed on my forehead by the way Nina is staring at me. She springs over to my side like a Giselle and wraps her arm around the top of my shoulders. “Are you okay? Did he hurt you?” She asks in an urgent whisper. I can’t contain the shock on my face.
“What?” I look at her confused. “I hit him with the whip, by accident.” I try to explain the situation. She bites her lip seeming to not believe me as her eyes scan me for injury.
“He just stormed out of that bathroom looking really pissed off. I was so worried about you.” She explains in a whisper and I catch a few concerned gazes from other staff members as well. He must’ve looked down right intimidating displaying full aggression like that. I nod at her and the staff and smile reassuringly.
“I’m fine. I promise, now let’s get this party started.” I call out signaling for Justin to open the doors to let the party goers in as I step behind the bar and start lining up shot glasses. I catch sight of Max storming back in from the side alley and his furious eyes lock with mine for a moment. I’m completely taken aback by such a vicious glare from him after the afternoon we had together.
His eyes turn desperate for a split second and in that second all I want to do is comfort him. He seems like he’s in real pain. Then his head shakes slightly as he resumes his furious glare before continuing his path to the club entrance. I can’t now see why the others were fearful for my safety, he looks like wild bear during an attack. I worry for a moment that I may have wounded his male ego with that whip mark.
The wound itself is only superficial and will heal over in a while. I can’t shake the cold feeling travelling down my spine that I really hurt him on some level. I wish he’d just talked to me instead of storming out like that. Perhaps he’s angry with me for tempting him. He’s probably involved with someone and I just basically threw myself at him. What the hell is wrong with me? I hardly know this guy and after seeing his fury I wonder if anyone really does know him.
Not to mention that this is the last place on Earth I should think about picking up a man. Everyone in this place is condemned, and all for valid reasons. I see the crowd start to mill around the bar and I’m on auto pilot as I smile and set drinks on fire to welcome the partiers. I can’t believe how much his gaze frightened my staff, and me a little. But then I think back to the warm feeling enveloping my belly at our almost kiss.
I remember the strong but gentle touch of his hands on my thighs as he stopped my fall from the ladder earlier. I can almost still feel his warm breath on my lips and his light exploration of my cheek and jaw by his fingertips. No man who touches a woman like that could ever raise his hands to her. I smile a full smile as I rationalize all of this in my head. I’m comforted by my own ability to read him.
After the initial drinks are dispersed and the music is pumping its time for the birthday boy’s show. I jump out from behind the bar as I make my way to the stage signaling Mitch for the announcement to call Eddie—the birthday boy—to the stage. I raise the now empty cages from the dancers as they hide off to the side of the stage. I drag a chair with me as I strut out onto the stage to an applause from the crowd.
I swoop and pick up my whip as I make my way towards the birthday boy with a wicked smile. I indicate for him to take a seat in the chair as I pull a red ribbon slowly from my red leather top. The crowd goes nuts at the tease and Eddie’s eyes nearly pop out of his head. I pull his arms behind his back in the chair and tie his hands together.
“What? Don’t you trust me to keep my hands to myself?” He asks loudly and the front section of the crowd laughs. I lean close to his ear letting my lip graze it as I speak.
“No. I don’t trust that I won’t hurt you unless you stay very, very still.” I whisper seductively as I plant a kiss to the side of his face. The crowd goes insane as I snap my teeth viciously beside him. His face breaks out into a beaming proud smile as I start to walk away from him swaying my hips dramatically. I see Justin and Max moving closer to the stage leaving the other bouncer for the night by the door alone.
The flames around the walls of the club light up. Along with the ones running behind the bar and the back of the stage we’re surrounded by flaming walls tonight. I send the whip out once into the air silencing the crowd as Mitch starts to play the requested song. Ironically it’s ‘S & M’ by Rihanna. I start to twirl and whip seductively and precisely. The crowd oohs and ahhs at appropriate moments as I move closer to Eddie.
I send out the whip as it catches fire and Eddie visibly jumps in his seat. I smirk proudly as I think about Max not even so much as blinking, even when I hit him. That sort of strength in a man is rare. If Eddie here caught the end of my whip he would howl in pain. I keep it level as I continue to whip it back and forth. I notice a few flaming drops of the liquid fly from the whip as I whirl it around my body.
I slow the speed down but not before some of the flaming liquid catches my bare thigh before travelling down to the ground. I hiss sharply and the crowd cheers thinking it’s part of the show. The non-flammable grease is only covering my arms and waist, it creates a shine and reflects the light of the fire spectacularly. I see a flinch from Max and I’m surprised. It’ll barely be noticeable after a couple of days. I’ve been playing with fire for most of my life.
If you play with fire you’re sure to get burned, and I have been, many times. But it has never stopped me, I never want fear to control any aspect of my life. I get closer to Eddie and he lets his tongue hang out of his mouth like an excited dog about to get a treat. I straddle his leg as I let the whip whirl around us over our heads and bring it down slowly.
His face looks like he’s terrified and excited all at the same time. I let myself straddle his lap completely keeping my back to the audience as I bring my face in close to his. The crowd cheer and holler as the illusion of me making out with him within a ring of flame is perceived. I rise up slowly from his lap letting my hand trail up his chest.
I step off him as I move to stand behind him as the song winds down. I lash out the whip over the top of the crowd’s head and they scream in terror as flames shoot from the stage at the same time. Smoke billows filling the club as the crowd cheer and whistle in appreciation. I quickly untie Eddie and show him to the stage exit as the cages are lowered back down for the dancers.
Mitch lets the creepy devil voice inform all the partiers that they’re all now damned to be trapped in Diablo’s dungeon. The maniacal laugh fills the club as the smoke starts to clear and the dancers resume their positions. The lighting starts up again and the music pumps its base through the club as they all start to dance again.