By Anj (A.k.a. Azurenon)
DISCLAIMERS: No copyright infringement is intended by the use of titles, artist's names and/or lyrics of the songs contained herein. These have merely been used for entertainment value and possible storyline continuity. All the characters are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or deceased is purely coincidental.
Violence: This story contains scenes and/or references to physical, emotional and sexual violence.
Sex: It centers on an explicit sexual relationship between two women. It is intended for MATURE AUDIENCES. So if you're under age 18, this is illegal where you are or this just isn't your cup of tea, then you have been forewarned, please exit stage left. If you are mature enough and I've captured your attention, then moving right along here...
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Be it known the author has no firsthand knowledge concerning physical or sexual violence. Nor does she even pretend to know anything about "call girls" or "ladies of the evening". Therefore, I ask that the reader please forgive any mistakes and/or oversights. Especially so in the area of giving the healing process of such aforementioned experiences the in-depth attention they so richly deserve. This story is complete fiction, written merely for entertainment. In its entirety, it contains 23 chapters: at around 10 pgs per chapter.
Thanks go to all my friends for their support and encouragement over the years.
(Written 1993. Revised 2001)
Rick came by the next afternoon and brought her a bell, like the ones used by rich people to call servants. She got a kick out of it.
"Never... had a... servant... before." She cut her eyes over at me, where I was propped up on one elbow beside her.
"You ain't got one now, either," I commented.
She rang the bell. "Dar-by, I need... you."
I glanced over at Rick and shook my head. "Boy, you're a lot of help, you know that?"
He backed away, his hands up in mock surrender. "Sor-ry."
"Oh, sit down. Talk to her, tell her somethin' new and different, she's tired of me, already," I said, getting up.
"Good help's... hard to find," she commented.
She didn't want me to go to work that night. And I didn't want to go, either. But, money was the go word, so off I went, taking the blazer, at her insistence.
I had been thinking about how we were going to generate something down at the club, but had come up with nothing, as of yet. The only things that really weighed on my mind was who'd beat her up and my anger over the way Dora had done her. But, Anna wasn't talking about the former incident, so that was a useless cause. And only intensified my anger at Dora. She had to know what she was doing to Anna. And it was shitty to do a so-called friend that way.
When I got to the club, Barry was waiting. "How's your... cousin? I heard she got mugged."
"Bruised ribs and a broken finger. Nothing major. Who told you?" I asked, for I had merely called in sick the night before.
"One of her whor... girls."
When he said the W word it reminded me of how he felt about them.
"You know, you got some workin' around here, too?" I queried.
His face contorted into a frown. "Who?"
"I ain't exactly sure, but I know they're here. Anna told me. She wouldn't lie about a thing like that. And another thing, your boss... well, our boss... is theirs, too."
"Humph," he said. "Be damned if I'm gonna work here if there's whores runnin' all over the place. Bad enough they're next door. Not in here, no sir. I run a clean joint. I'll keep an eye out for'em from now on."
And indeed he did. He attempted to get rid of them. They went to Dora and the shit hit the proverbial fan. Barry Lakeland left Dora high and dry on Tuesday night.
"Darby, I need you to run the club," Dora said over the phone on Tuesday afternoon. "Barry's quit on me, can you imagine that, just up and quit."
"You gonna pay me his salary and don't give me no run around, he told me what he made."
She was silent. "How come you talkin' to me, like this?" she asked. "I thought we were friends?"
"How come you shit on Anna?" She didn't reply. "You fucked her over out there. You brought in your girls and you're making a pretty good killin'. Meanwhile, you're slittin' her throat. Why?"
"Business is business, hon," she said with a sigh. "It's nothin' personal. Oh, I heard she's... kinda laid up. I'm sorry 'bout..."
"Yeah well, guess you need a new manager, don'cha, cause your assistant just quit, too."
"No, Darby, now please, honey... listen to me. I'll... I'll pay you more than Barry was makin'."
"You mean to keep your girls workin' there?"
"As a matter of fact, yes."
I was silent, trying to get the best grasp on this situation that I could. I'd suggested that Anna raise her rent, to bring in more money, but she'd said she didn't want to play dirty pool.
"Darby, honey, you still there?"
"Yeah, I'm here. I've got a proposition for you."
"What?" she asked, suspiciously.
"I'll run your club, until Anna gets back on her feet. Then, you offer the job to her."
"What?" she screeched. "Anna already has her own club."
"Yeah and it's sittin' out there right next door to yours. What could be better?"
"She'll rob me blind," she mumbled.
"Goodbye Dora." I hung up the phone.
"Country nights" was without a manager that night. Dora had to personally come down and close things up to make sure she wasn't being robbed blind. Meanwhile, I was straightening the books out for Anna's. And I had my mind set on going back to Rachael. I knew she was opening a new store. I assumed she would be in need of some help. Whether she'd want to hire back such an ungrateful employee was up for grabs.
I was in Anna's office, late Wednesday, going over an order form for supplies when a male voice asked, "Who are you?"
I glanced up to find a slim, well-groomed and rather attractive, dark haired man standing in the doorway. I'd seen him around Dora's on occasion, but mostly in Anna's. He stayed late, being one of the last ones to leave, whenever he was there, which was pretty often. I'd seen him and Anna talking on several occasions. She'd said that he was a well-to-do bachelor and one of her regular customers. Whether she meant for the club or for her appointments, I hadn't wanted to inquire.
"I could ask the same of you," I replied, wondering what he thought he was doing questioning me in her office. "I'm Darby. And you are?"
He stared at me. "I thought you worked over there?" he motioned towards Dora's.
"I did, until yesterday."
"What are you doing in here?"
I put my pen down and sat back in the chair crossing my arms. I wasn't comfortable with this man's questions. "Well, I'm helpin' Anna out by lookin' after the place for a while. I'm her... cousin."
"Where is Anna?" he asked, suspiciously.
"She's.... under the weather."
He stared at me long and hard then glanced down at his shiny cowboy boots. "She went with him... didn't she?" he asked, the skin near his left eye twitching.
"Went with who?" I asked, perhaps a bit too quickly, for he began backing away. "Hey, went with who?" I got up and started around the desk.
Anna still had not revealed anything about the incident. She acted as if she had merely had an accident that she didn't want to be reminded of. I had been wondering, however, if she was just holding back until she could get on her feet again and take matters into her own hands.
When I reached the hallway door, he was headed for the front one. The club was quiet and on impulse I yelled for Tiny. He was out from behind the bar in three steps and barring the man's way. The man stopped and turned towards me.
"If you know somethin' about... Anna's accident..." I began moving towards him. "I'd really... well, we'd all like to know."
He glanced over at Tiny, then back at me.
"Yeah, we'd really like to know," Tiny reiterated, slapping his fist in his hand.
"He... beat her up, didn't he?" he asked. I nodded. "Shit!" he said, hanging his head. "I told her not to do it. He's done it before."
"Who?" I asked. "Who's done this before?"
"Your father?" I asked, bewildered.
"Nathan Cummings," he mumbled.
I looked at Tiny; his eyes were wide. Nathan Cummings was the mayor of our fair city.
"I've never seen Nathan out here," said Tiny.
"He... didn't come. He... didn't have to."
"What are you talkin' about?" I questioned. "Was he one of her... regulars?"
He glanced up at me and shook his head. "She... she quit doing that... for a while."
"Yeah... I know. So, how'd she get involved with your father?"
He bowed his head. "I... uh... I took some pictures of..." I closed my eyes knowing he was gonna say of the two of them together. "of the dancers," he concluded.
"What?" screeched Tiny, "How?"
"Real small camera. It was just for my own use, ya know. Just..." He toed the tile floor. "And he found them. Wanted to know who she was."
"You told him?" I asked, my voice near a screech.
He shook his head. "I just said she was a dancer. I... I don't know exactly how he found her. All I do know is, she told me Thursday night that she appreciated the recommendation to my father. And... I told her not to go. Told her he was rough and liked to do weird stuff. I couldn't tell her what he'd done before. I have no real proof, but... I know he did it. She said for me not to worry, that she could handle men like him."
I sighed heavily. "Well, she couldn't."
"I... I never wanted to see Anna hurt. I... I love her. I wouldn't wish her any harm."
"You... love her?" I asked.
"Been in love with Anna for years," he said, proudly, acting almost like a teenager, though I knew he had to be in his late 20's. "Fell in love with her the first time I laid eyes on her." He glanced over at me. "But, I guess you can't understand about love like that."
"What makes you think that?" I asked, a lump forming in my throat, knowing that he was infatuated with my lover.
"Because all of you are... always so... physical. I love Anna more than anyone ever could and... I've never even touched her. I come here just to see her and talk with her. She's really nice, ya know. Not like those other girls. Really nice."
I was beginning to see that this fellow did not have both oars in the water. Well, perhaps just one, but he was paddling in circles.
"I... appreciate you tellin' us this... I'm sorry I didn't catch your name."
"Well, Fletcher, thank you for... your information."
"Will Anna be... back soon. I mean... he didn't hurt her too bad, did he?"
"Umm, no... she'll be back... uh, maybe in a week or so."
"Good," he said, with a smile. Then glanced over at Tiny. "Is he going to let me out now?"
"Oh sure. Tiny?"
"Yeah. Thanks buddy. Anna wouldn't tell us a thing, ya know. Now I know why. But, no more cameras, huh?"
After Fletcher left, Tiny locked up. "How the blue blazin' hell we ever gonna get a hold of that sonofabitch and make him pay?"
"I... don't know, Tiny. I'm... not sure I believe our friend there. Somethin' 'bout him... don't quite sit right, right here, ya know?" I pointed to my gut.
"Yeah well, he oughta know his own daddy, right?"
"Yeah and it would explain why she won't tell anybody who it was, but... Tiny, that man may look... well-to-do and all, but... he ain't got both oars in the water, ya know."
"That business 'bout being in love with Anna got to ya, huh?"
"Sounds... a bit odd, don't it?"
"Yeah, well, I still want to get my hands on that sonofabitchin' father of his. Show'em how it feels to have the shit beat out of him."
Once home, I asked Anna about Mr. Fletcher Cummings.
"No, he wasn't a customer. And he's harmless," she said, watching me undress. "Has he fallen in love with you already?"
"What? No, he just seemed concerned about me being in your office."
"Yeah, well. He falls in love with all the girls at one time or another."
"All of'em?" I questioned, unsnapping my bra.
"Do you know his old man?"
She hesitated, her eyes dropping to my torso. "No, not person'lly." She fiddled with the sheet in her left hand. "Are you still growin'?" she asked, seemingly wanting to change the subject.
I knew better than to even try to get anymore out of her. Fletcher had revealed the culprit, but I knew that it would be futile to try and do anything about it.
"Not taller," I answered, taking my eyes off her.
"You know that ain't what I mean. They look... bigger."
I glanced up to find her staring at my breasts. "I see you're feelin' better." I winked. "I gotta go take a shower."
"There was a good movie on cable tonight."
"Oh yeah, what was that?" I asked, from the bathroom doorway.
She hesitated and I proceeded into the bathroom and started the water.
"Well?" I prodded, returning to the doorway.
"I taped it for ya."
"Oh, so it's one of those ya have wait until ya see it deals, hmm?"
She shrugged. I turned around. "It's about two women," she called after me. "One's a... lesbian."
I was back at the doorway in a flash. "No shit?"
"No shit," she answered with a sly grin. "Pretty good love scene, too."
"Oh, yeah. I never knew watchin'... could be so... arousin'." She arched her eyebrows up and down.
"Oh, I see. You lay there and got horny over some other woman and now you won't me to take care of you. Fat chance, sweetheart."
She giggled. We both knew we were a long way from making love any time soon. It was actually the first time she had even hinted at this subject since that day. She had barely let me touch her and to tell the truth, I hadn't really wanted to. I was afraid I'd hurt her. But, it was good to hear her talking this way. It meant she was feeling much better and getting back to her normal self, because, Anna was a natural tease. Whether she was actually in the mood or not, she teased. It seemed to be her way of reassuring herself that she was wanted and desired; and not just being used.
When I got out of the shower, I was warm and ready for cool sheets. She was already cuddled beneath them. I crawled in and pecked her on the cheek. "Goodnight sweetheart."
Her eyes flew open and she reached up, putting her hand to the back of my neck. Her dark eyes darted back and forth searching mine then they strayed downwards over my torso. Her hand moved down my chest to the charm around my neck, which was dangling over one breast. The tips of her fingers lightly brushed against it, as she took the charm into her palm.
"Can you ever forgive me, Darby?" she asked, her gaze moving upward to meet mine.
"I... already have."
Saturday morning I was outside near the side porch, when she startled me by coming out of the house.
"What are you doin' to those bushes?" she asked.
"What are you doin' outta bed?"
"I asked you first."
"You have caterpillars eatin' up your azaleas," I answered, the bottle of bug spray in my hand.
"You mean we have caterpillars eatin' our azaleas," she corrected. "You found the spray Rick used to use?"
"Um-hum. Now, what are you doin' out here?"
She lit a cigarette and took a drag, then spewed a stream of smoke into the air. "Watchin' you."
I huffed, placing one hand on my hip. "You were confined to bed, remember?"
"For a week; week's up. And I'm tired of layin' 'round here."
"Well, don't over do."
"Oh, stop motherin' me."
"You need it."
She gave me the plaster cast finger again, then turned and walked away.
When I went back in, she had the club's book out on the kitchen table. "Don't know how much longer I'm gonna be able to hold on," she commented.
"Don't worry 'bout it," I said, moving towards the sink to wash my hands. "I talked to Rachael the other day. She was reluctant to give me a definite yes or no, but I think she'll take me back. She's gonna be openin' up a new store and..."
"What?" I spun around, wet hands dripping water on the floor.
"I said, no. She took advantage of you last time, she'll do it again."
"Anna..." I grabbed a paper towel. "If she offers me the job, I'm gonna take it. Whether you like it or not. And that's final. Case closed."
She looked up at me and sighed heavily. "What about school?"
"It's not in the immediate future and you know it."
"Damn!" She ran her fingers through her hair.
Her bruises were now turning a purplish-green, a few of the lighter ones were even a pale yellow. The swelling around her lips had gone down considerably and the cut was healing nicely. There was still some puffiness around her eye, however, and it was still a deep purple color. But, there had been no complications. She had already mentioned that the soreness around her ribs was going away. Knowing Anna though, this was not the whole truth. It was more likely that the soreness was bearable enough to move around, because she hated being cooped up in bed.
"Are you at least passin' your classes?" she asked.
"Yes. I've already passed them. School ended yesterday."
"What? You didn't mention that."
"Sorry. Guess I forgot," I said, moving over behind her.
"Think Dora will buy me out?" she asked. "I know she won't give me squat for it, but... I gotta do somethin' and quick."
"Brandi... quit," I told her, putting my hands lightly on her shoulders.
"Last night. Be one less to pay."
"And a fuckin' hole in the show." She shook her head.
"Start it later," I suggested.
She grunted and put one hand over mine on her shoulder.
"Tina quit, too," I offered, referring to one of the waitresses, knowing she'd find this out sooner or later.
"What? Jesus Christ, Darby."
"Don't get uptight, I've got it covered, I've been waitin' tables."
"Anything else? Or should I ask?"
"Jasmine's hangin' in there, but she's already told me that if things don't pick up, she's gonna have to go with Dora like Brandi."
"Shit fire and save the fuckin' matches!" she fumed, hitting the table. "Dora's fuckin' me front and back."
I kissed the top of her head then rested my chin on it. "Yeah, but she's got some problems of her own, she just don't know about it, yet."
"She hired herself this guy to run the place and Leo, her bartender, tells me that he's ripping her off left and right. Raised the prices on the drinks and told Leo to water'em down more, and he's pocketin' the change. Also mentioned somethin' about a deal he had with the guy that delivers the liquor. And... he's into drugs. Leo thinks he's dealin' coke out of his office."
"Oh that's just fuckin' great."
"Yeah, could blow her whole operation to hell."
"Uh-huh and take me right along with her."
"Umph. I never thought about that."
"I gotta get down there tonight and get a handle on things. If this is true, the girls have gotta be clean, know what I mean? No pot, no nothin'."
"It's gonna be alright, sweetheart. Really. I'll take care of it." I kissed her on the cheek.
She pulled away slightly. "I'll handle it."
I sighed heavily. She still hadn't let me touch her, yet. She acted as if she felt dirty. That one night, after watching the movie, was the closest we'd come to the way things used to be. I realized that it just might take longer than I had thought. And then again, things probably never would be exactly the same.
The phone rang and I got up and answered it. It was Candy. Samantha, one of the four dancers left, and the one who avoided me the most, had called her to tell her she'd quit. These girls gave no warning; they just split, as Jasmine had once told me.
I gave Anna the news.
"Oh, well fuck me! Just fuck me! Goddammit! The fuckin' show just walked out the door, right there. Her and Brandi were my biggest draws. Without them, there ain't no fuckin' show. Hell, I might as well go down there and close the fuckin' doors!"
"Maybe... Candy can do three shows, hmm?" I suggested.
"Ah hell, Darby, I can make more in one dance than Candy can in three. She's too.... sweet."
"Well, you're out, so think up somethin' else."
She stared at the table. "If I can walk, I can dance."
"Oh no you're not! Uh-uh no way, Jose. I'll get up there and wiggle my ass before you will!"
"Fuck no, you won't!" She stood up and pointed her finger at me. "You ain't settin' foot on that stage, you hear me!"
"Calm down, dammit. Neither one of us is. But, if we put our heads together, calmly, maybe we could come up with somethin' to fill time."
"I wish to hell we could attract a fuckin' audience, that's what I wish," she mumbled.
Rick showed up around four and still we hadn't come up with anything that good. Anna had suggested that maybe if she put Candy and Jasmine up there together that maybe they could make more money: "Give'em more to look at, all at one time". I had no good suggestions. I knew nothing about that part of the business.
Rick listened to Anna's suggestion, then sat back in his chair and lit a cigarette. He glanced from me to her. "You know, if you wasn't so black and blue, I'd... well I'd say..."
"She ain't dancin', Rick," I interjected.
"You didn't hear me out, yet. I was gonna say, why don't you do what I suggested once before."
"What's that?" she asked, seeming interested.
"You two get up there together and... do that little number I saw..."
"No!" she said, shaking her head. "Even without being black and blue, they'd lock both our asses up and besides I ain't havin' her up there for them to... ogle."
"How 'bout Jasmine and Lucky?" he suggested.
"They'd close me down, Rick."
"Then... don't do as much. Just... be suggestive."
I got up out of my chair. An idea was forming at the fringes of my mind, but I couldn't quite grasp it.
"The girls wouldn't do it. And besides, how would you carry somethin' like that off? No, the men might not like it. Too threatenin'."
"I didn't find it threatenin'," he offered. "I thought I would, at first... But, well, I enjoyed hell out of it, to be honest."
She turned away.
"Ah hell, Anna, I didn't see much of her body, if that's what you're thinkin'. I couldn't. It was too damn dark in there. But, just knowin' that I was watchin' you two about to.... damn, it's gettin' hot in here."
"Cool off," she told him in no uncertain terms.
An uncomfortable silence filled the room.
"Well, I better be goin'," he said, getting up. "I'm supposed to met Candy. See you two tonight. Don't take it pers'nally, Anna. It was almost like watchin' one of them skin flicks. Only you two were real and the feelings were... real."
When he left, I eased down in a chair beside her. "Anna, what if... what if I did somethin'... I mean real clean and all... I could dress up as a man and just... kinda let Candy play up to me, ya know?"
She turned to me and gave me the finger. "That's what I think of that."
"But, I don't even have to get undressed. She'd just... ya know play up to..."
"It sucks, Darby. You think I wanna sit in the audience and watch some woman playin' up to you? Hell no. Case closed." She got up and went upstairs.
Around five thirty the phone rang. I rushed over, hoping to get to it before she did, in case it was more bad news. It was Candy again.
"Darby? Good. Listen, me and Rick have been talkin' and... he's got an idea here that might work, but... I need your help to pull it off. They all know the other girls, so it won't work as well if they recognize 'em. Well, they may not recognize me, either, but... your short hair cut... well..."
"Are you thinkin' about me dressin' up as a man?" I inquired.
"Yeah. How'd you know?"
"I had the same thought. Anna canned the idea."
"She don't want me up there... takin' off my clothes," I offered.
"Oh, well, the way I'm thinkin' you wouldn't have to. We'd just pretend to. You could wear a bra or bathing suit, or whatever, they'd never know."
"They'd see it, Candy."
"No, now listen.... Phil used to start her show off with this... oh, I don't know what you call'em, but they use'em in hospital's sometimes, to... sorta screen off a patient from another, ya know?"
"Yeah, I think so. But..."
"Well, she used to back light it. You know, so you could see her shadow from the other side? And she'd start off behind there then come out. But, listen we don't have to come out, see. We do the whole... seduction thing behind this thing and... we're still clothed."
"What kind of seduction thing?" I asked.
"I ain't worked all the particulars out yet. I'll have to think about it some more, but... I figure, if we kiss and undress each other..."
"No!" another voice broke in.
"Oh... Anna, I... well... Rick thinks it's a good idea. He says it will go over pretty..."
"No," she said again. "You keep to your own routines."
"But, Anna, I think it'll work, too. It'll damn sure be different. That's bound to attract some...."
"I said no and that's final." She clicked the cordless phone off.
"Candy... you still there?" I asked.
"Uh-huh," she answered, solemnly. "I think it's a good idea, if that's worth anything. I mean, I don't know about you havin' to kiss me and.... the undressin' part, but...."
"You know somethin', Darby, she had to be listenin' to the whole conversation and... she didn't say no until she heard me mention that part."
"Ye-ah, you're right. Oh you mean, she might be... jealous of... oh, I see."
"Hey... listen up. Is Anna well enough to do this, you think?"
"Uh... I don't..."
"You know she won't have to be seen and... seducin' someone don't require anything strenuous.... get what I'm drivin' at?"
"Talk her into doin' it?"
"Uh-huh. Go to work on her, sweetie. That screen thing is in the storeroom at the club. And Darby, let me know if she says yes. You're gonna need someone to watch the effect from the outside."
"Right. Thanks, Candy."
I went upstairs. She was lying on the bed, watching TV. She didn't even look up. "I said no and that's all there is to it."
"Did I say anything?" I chuckled. "You know what she suggested after you hung up?"
"What?" She muted the TV.
"She said maybe you should do it." I chuckled again. "I told her to forget it. No way you could do that in your condition."
"Now... wait a minute. I could do it, too. I..." She paused. "Me, instead of Candy, huh?"
"Oh come on, Anna. It wouldn't work."
"It might," she said, gnawing on a fingernail. I knew this was a sign she was deep in thought.
"Oh get real. Shadow play behind some kind of... screen?"
She glanced up at me. "The turn on is in the illusion."
"No, bull. Phil used to have'em callin' her out from behind there. And let me tell ya, she made some damn good money at it, too."
"So, why doesn't anyone else use it?" I inquired.
She shrugged. "Phil just... she had the knack for that, ya know? She loved playin' mind games and shit. I never really knew when she was for real and when she wasn't."
I wanted to say, enough about Phil, but didn't. I figured if I let her run on long enough, she'd either talk herself into it or out of it. And I knew if I said one wrong word, she surely wouldn't do it. Not to say that I was so keen on the idea. Yet, I wanted to help out. And if I didn't have to take my clothes off, well, so much the better.
She sat there for a while thinking, then got up. "Go to the mall and... get yourself a tie."
"Matter of fact, get two; the clip on and the regular. We'll figure out which one works best."
She stared at me. "We're doin' the show. Now go. I just hope this don't shut my ass down. Hey, and buy yourself a new bra that fastens in front. And make it thin, but not one of them see through jobs. And oh yeah... some of them panties... what's that kind you bought me once before? Well, get yourself a pair of them frilly, skimpy ones. Not too skimpy, though. And then get your butt down to the club. I'll meet you there. We got a lot of work to do before nine."
"Anna, you didn't even ask me if I wanted to do this," I commented.
"Good performance, I have to give you that much. If I hadn't already been thinkin' about it, you might have been able to convince me."
"You mean... you knew?"
"Never underestimate your lover, Darby. Now go. Take the blazer. I'll call Candy and see if she can give me a ride. We'll get us somethin' to eat, later. It's gonna be a long night, baby," she added, drawing closer.
"You sure you're up for this? I mean you just got out of bed."
"Baby, I been up and down these stairs so many times while you were gone it ain't even funny. I even went for a walk one day."
"Ssh. Doctor's prescribe accordin' to normal patients. And baby, you know I ain't normal. Now move." She popped me on the butt. "We ain't got much time as it is."
Continued in Chapter 13