Where she belongs is LIVE. I love this little virgin romance and I hope you do to!! I love it so much, I’m giving away $100 Amazon Gift Card for anyone that LIKES, COMMENTS, SHARES AND TAGS friend on my Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/ddwyattauthor/ Chapter one is below!!!
“It was just a handjob.” Claudia rolls her eyes like this is a joke. “That’s barely even anything. I didn’t even kiss him, for chrissake.”
She’s looking everywhere but at me as if avoiding my eyes is going to change the outcome for her. “You know the rules,” I say.
Believe it or not, it hurts me every time this happens. I want to help them all, but in the end, they have to help themselves too. I can’t do it for them.
“I’m great at handjobs. I got him off in like twenty seconds. I mean,” Claudia attempts to look pitiful, “it’s almost like shaking someone’s hand. Would you fire Allister for shaking hands with one of the guys?”
Allister, my right hand man, pipes up. “Congratulations on your skill set. And no, it is not like shaking hands.” His sarcastic answer doesn’t hide his own disappointment. His voice has always been low, but when he’s disappointed it takes on extra weight, extra gravity. It’s a bit like if a bass drum was suddenly able to speak.
He’s more pissed off this time than usual, and he hates firing girls as much as I do. It’s because he’s the one that talked me into hiring her – even when I expressed my doubts that she would take the opportunity seriously. Looks like I was right, but I don’t take any pleasure in that.
It’s too bright in here. The light and the situation drives ball-peen hammers into my temples and I rub them with my middle finger.
I look at the file open on my desk, then glance around the room. I can’t make an exception for her. The rules are the rules, that’s why we’re all in here. It’s my job to deliver the bad news.
I’m momentarily distracted by the surroundings of my office. They’re far from interesting. White gloss, cool air. Actually, the temperature in here is fine, but it feels cold. My office at the back of the club needs some warming up and organizing. I despise disorder.
The white gloss paint is there because that’s what I like. Clean, pure and without blemish. Neatly stacked pillars of white boxes, labeled with their contents and color coded by unpacking priority, line one wall. My new office furniture was delivered last week – at least it got me out from behind the folding banquet table which had been my temporary desk for a month. The place needs artwork and some other touches, but I just haven’t had the time.
Seems that’s a theme with me because my house looks the same way and I’ve lived there for five years.
I listen as Allister heaves a deep breath in and out.
Allister is my General Manager. He’s also my best friend. If you saw him on the street, you’d probably cross to the other side. But he’s one of the best people I know. Heart of gold and the size of Texas.
He’s shaking his bald head, running a hand back and forth over it while he stares at Claudia. It’s unusual for him to step in, to try to persuade me to take on a girl against my better judgement. But I guess he took pity on her – early twenties, brunette, streetwise attitude. Maybe she reminded him of someone, I don’t know. I didn’t push it.
As for her, she’s glaring back and forth between us like she can’t understand what she’s done wrong. And that is exactly her problem.
But this is my club and I have to work damned hard to keep it.
It’s one in a chain that I own. Monarch night clubs. They are a mash-up of trendy, urban bar with a side order of gentleman’s club. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not seedy at all. I’ve made my name in this industry by keeping the seedy element away and that’s the way I intend it to stay. Which is why I have to be strict with the girls. Today it’s a handjob, tomorrow a blowjob. Once you start down that road there’s no turning back.
I suppose “gentleman’s club” isn’t really the right label. I mean, I do have dancers, but they don’t take their clothes off. They don’t wear a whole lot to begin with, but they also don’t take anything off.
They dance, and they do it well enough that they don’t need to show their bodies. Are they sexy? Yep. Do the men in the clubs wish they were dropping clothing? Of course. But while they work for me it’s not happening.
My clubs have a fine dining area, a dance floor with a bar. Classy, trendy. And then there is the ‘back wall’ as it’s come to be known. The dancers are not center stage, but they are a huge draw. Somehow, I’ve managed to create a club where women and men feel comfortable coming in, but there is still an atmosphere of the upscale gentleman’s club – without the slimy element.
Monarch V is the jewel in my so-called crown of successful nightclubs, and I am obsessed with how everything is presented, from the staff to the decor. But my office could use some warming up. I love what I do, but it’s beginning to wear on me. I’m also an obsessive planner, and my plan is to work another few years, then turn everything over to Allister and see if life has anything else in store for me. I’m not old, but I’m not young either, and as much as growing this business and helping out all these girls has been my reason for getting out of bed every day for a long damn time, there has to be more, I’m just not sure what that ‘more’ is.
It took the better part of a year to get this particular club up to the zoning standards the surrounding high-brow community demanded. But, in the end, it will be worth it. Having a club on this side of town, and in this prime location, will pay off in spades. On weekends, the queue is already lined around the block and we’ve only been live a little over a month.
Guess all the pearls and bowties that live around here are just as eager for a little fun as anyone else. I see the same folks that sat on their pious high horses in the local government planning meetings, the ones who were giving me shit about putting in the club, drinking and whooping it up here every night of the week.
But their money is as green as I need it to be, so whatever. Their two-faced bullshit is between them and God.
“So, I’m done?” Claudia juts a hip out and finally settles her vitriol on me. “You’re firing me? This is total bullshit. One handjob and one joint, that’s all it was. And now you’re firing me? I didn’t even smoke it here, for chrissake. You can’t tell me what I can do on my own time. This place is turning into the damn Westlake Baptist Church.”
I’m holding her file in front of me. “Yep, you’re done. The rules are clear. You signed the contract: You go to school. You don’t take drugs, and you don’t drink. You certainly don’t touch the customers. You fucked up.” I close up her file, shaking my head. “I don’t fire people, Claudia, they fire themselves. Get your stuff out of your locker; we’ll send you a month’s pay to give you time to get on your feet. Allister will walk you out. I wish you the best.” I lean back in my chair. My temples are still pounding and my stomach is curling over on itself.
I entwine my fingers as I rest them on my mid-section. My stomach lets out a low rumble, reminding me that once again I’ve put the girls and the club before my own basic human needs.
It’s already one in the morning and I don’t remember eating anything since I’d arrived here at noon.
“You can suck my ass!” Claudia gives me one final single-finger salute before she trudges out the office door, Allister rolling his eyes at me as he walks behind her.
As much as I try, I can’t save them all – that’s what I have to keep reminding myself.
The irony is I don’t even care much for nightclubs. I don’t drink and never went in for strip clubs at all. Just didn’t do a damn thing for me. But, these places evolved after I retired from the Marines. Sixteen years of service and I’m damn proud of it, but it was time to move on. These clubs are the way I make a living – and a very good one at that. And, at the same time, I have some unique rules for my staff and try to give back where I can.
The low vibration of the bass from the club floor comes through the open office door. I’m usually gone by midnight, but between dealing with Claudia and sticking around to interview a few new dancers, I’m beat. Tuesday nights, the club is quiet and we do our Men’s Only night. We also do a thing called, ‘Open Tryout Night.’ Similar to open mic night at comedy clubs or the like, but we let girls who aspire to dance or work here come in, strut their stuff and show us what they’ve got. So I usually stick around to see if there are any worthy applicants coming through the door.
After a few minutes, Allister steps back into the office as I twist my head around on my neck, trying to relieve the pressure.
“All set?” I ask.
“Yeah. That girl is… colorful. Had some unique parting words for you.” He licks his lips, then adds, “And me.”
I shrug. Insults don’t mean a thing to me. “Yeah? I wish her well. It’s a shame.” My stomach roars again, and I push my chair back and stand up.
“You done for tonight?” Allister shoves his hands down into his front pockets, regarding me with a wry smile.
“I think so. I’m going to go have the kitchen make me something to go. Anyone else coming in tonight?” I straighten up the loose papers on my desk into a stack and file them in my drawer. I put my Dunhill pen in my top drawer too, remembering when the staff gave it to me at Christmas. I’m a hard fuck to buy for; I don’t want for anything and don’t want much in general.
But I do appreciate quality and rarity, and they all chipped in and bought me that pen. Probably the best fucking pen in the world. I exhale louder than I expect. I guess I’m just a little tired of all this. I finish by brushing dust off the walnut top of my desk until everything looks in order.
“A few gals are still here to try out.” Allister reaches for his back pocket and pulls out three Polaroids, starts flipping through them. Then he looks at my face with mock concern. “You get some ice on that?”
“Uh huh. You’re not twenty anymore. Next time call for back up.”
There is a low throb coming from under my left eye where I took a punch earlier. It will be purple by morning, but right now it’s just an irritation.
“I got the job done.” My voice sounds gruff. I hate fucking fighting, but I also don’t back down when the situation calls for me to get physical. And when someone lays a hand on one of my girls, the situation calls for it.
“You know we hire bouncers for that shit. You take on three at a time, old man, just at least let me stand behind you. Got it?”
“I haven’t lost a fight yet, have I? Who got carried out of here calling for their mommy? Me? Nope.” I’m pissed because if the bouncers were doing their job, I wouldn’t have to jump in when I see that shit going on. “New subject.”
Allister stares at me and then nods. He knows when I’m not messing around. “No problem.” He flicks one of the pictures against his palm, black Sharpie scrawled across the white strip at the bottom of the photo.
We always take the girls’ names, phone numbers and a quick picture as soon as they come in to apply. Even if they don’t end up working here, we try to establish we are here to help, if they need any help, and get some basic information right up front so we can keep track of everyone that comes in.
He steps toward me, ready to show me the photos, but I’m already up, coming around toward him. I’m grabbing my briefcase off the floor before he can even get close, taking my jacket off the hook, marching for the door.
Allister and I have been friends since we were in boot camp together a thousand years ago. We didn’t end up serving together, but those first weeks of hell bonded us, and we’ve been as close as family ever since. We’re even in height, his build being slightly leaner than mine. Besides working with each other, we work out together four days a week so there is not much we don’t know about each other.
“Here.” He jabs the photos toward me as I work my way to the door. Some guys might get off on the young women that come in for tryouts, but I’m not overly eager to look. It’s all work, we don’t play here. I’ve never touched one of the girls that works for me.
Fuck, I haven’t actually touched a woman in more years than I can count. And when I say touched, I mean as in an arm around the shoulder, or a kiss. No one but Allister knows this, and I doubt anyone would believe me, but that’s about all I’ve done with a woman. Nothing below the belt has ever happened.
Even the word sounds unbelievable to me, but it’s true. I’ve never been overly outgoing, except when it comes to running my business and getting shit done. I’m on the shy side and have never felt comfortable with women in general as far as relationships go. I gave up years ago thinking there was someone out there for me. I figure that part of life just isn’t in my stack of cards.
I know most of the guys that come in here sit there with their dicks hard, watching the harem of beauties that work here. They probably think that as the club owner, my cock samples all the goods. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I don’t even remember the last time I stroked off. If it’s not the real thing, I’m just not all that interested. And I guess I just haven’t met the real thing. And I probably never will.
So I stay focused on work. Not just making money, though that part isn’t awful either. But the other part. Seeing so many of these girls come in over the years looking for work, thinking it was just another seedy club where they would take their clothes off and bang customers in the bathroom for extra cash.
Then when they see what I’m doing here, they see a glimmer of hope for a different future. Since I had started my first club, I’ve gladly paid for my girls’ rehab, attorneys, GEDs, college tuition, and I’ve bashed in some pimps’ faces when they’ve tried to come get back what they think belongs to them.
It’s become my life and I’m proud of each of them when they go off into the world to become whatever is next. Some are now lawyers, PTA mothers, social workers, even doctors.
I take the pictures from Allister’s hand as I pass by and look down at the top photo as I step into the hallway, heading for the club floor.
I’m too tired to care much right now about what wayward young woman we may be able to help, but I pull my shoulders back and try to focus. This is important to me, I remind myself. I love the money I make, but I want to matter. I want to make a difference in someone’s life. That’s what gets me off.
There’s a tug on the skin covering my chest as I pull my shoulders back and the muscles stretch over the scars, reminding me of why I retired when I did from the military. I roll my neck around, trying to loosen the tightness as we get closer to the end of the hallway.
“I can handle it, boss.” Allister says from just behind my left shoulder, sensing my fatigue. “Just get your food, take off, leave it to me. Two of these girls look like they won’t last a day with your rules anyway. And the third,” he makes a noise in his throat, “she looks like she’s never been outside her nursery before. Although, you know, that innocent one has a rack on her. And a fucking ass for days. A little on the thick side, but different strokes for different folks. I guarantee she’s never seen the inside of a club before.”
I chuckle under my breath. Allister enjoys looking, and he and I don’t necessarily have the same taste but he’s a gentleman to his core.
“Who’s on the door tonight?” I ask, rubbing my chin with my other hand.
“Buzz,” he says with a huff.
“He’s on his last warning.” I second his huff. We try to help out everyone, guys as well, but I’m harder on them. I expect the men that work here to be gentlemen at all times as well, and Buzz seems to think this is his own private dick playground, and that shit does not fly.
“Yeah, I know. He’s trying my patience, and there isn’t much of that to begin with. When that little doe arrived I gave him the stare. He was looking at her like she was a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.”
Allister never touches any of the girls that work here either, but he’s a bit more outspoken than me. As we’re making our way down the hall I bring the three photos he stuffed into my hand into my line of vision.
I shoulder open the swinging door that separates the offices from the club floor, then glance down absently at the top photo just as I’m losing the bright light of the hallway for the dim flashing lights of the bar. And I feel like someone just shoved a taser down my pants.
There she is, standing across the room, same face as the one in the picture. She’s got her arms crossed, eyes looking around like she’s just landed on Mars.
I know it’s fucking impossible, but I swear I can smell her and it’s like some long forgotten scent suddenly bombarding me with feelings about this tiny, lush creature – a complete stranger.
My pace quickens and I’m making a beeline for the three girls standing where Allister left them waiting. Except I only really see one.
“I got this, old man.” Allister urges me to make my way home, but there’s no fucking way I’m leaving now. “Like I said, that little one isn’t half-bad, it’s just—”
“Shut up.” The anger in my voice shocks me.
All he’s doing is talking about her and I’m worked up like this. What the fuck is wrong with me? Thinking that he’s looked at her, that he’s had lustful thoughts about her, has me ready to turn against my best friend. I don’t know what this reaction is, but I do know; I don’t want anyone’s eyes on her except mine. The mere fact that she’s here applying for a position as a dancer has me ready to split heads.
“I’ll send the other two home. I’ll talk to this one.” I look down at the picture in my hand, then back up and my cock is filling my pants, something that has not once happened in all the years I’ve run these clubs and been around these girls. Whoever this little sweet-tart is, she’s managed to move things inside me I wasn’t sure were still moveable.
A rush of blood through my ears blocks out the music and ambient sounds of the club. Heat radiates from my core and I’m drawn into a vortex of something long forgotten. I want her in ways I didn’t realize I could want. Some primal part of me stirs and I know what I’ve been waiting for is right here.
Now I have to go and make sure she knows she’s claimed.