WARNING: This chapter contains strong language and nudity.
I have no idea why Dominic winked at me. Did he hear me enjoying my solo sex session? Was he flirting again? Was he saying hello in some Australian way rather than waving? I don’t know, but it’s driving me nuts.
Which isn’t good considering I’m spinning around on a pole in a thong and nipple covers (again).
The usual cacophony ensues with wolf whistles, catcalls, whoops and hollers. There are also a few gropers in the crowd, which is nothing new either. It gets old after a while, though. Thankfully I’m feeling more elated than usual thanks to my satisfying time this afternoon.
“Come on, baby,” some guy in the front row begs pathetically. “Let us see some skin!”
“Yeah,” another guy, who must be at least forty, adds. “Take them covers off and show us some titties!”
As if I’m not baring enough skin already. There are some strippers who go full-on nude, but I refuse to do so. Not even when a third guy flashes a twenty-dollar bill at me.
The music continues to pound and I grind against the pole to the beat. I’m still pissed off that I even had to come here tonight. I’m entitled to a day off. And of course, my boss won’t let me have a different day off to make up for tonight because now we’re down a stripper because he’s officially fired Jasmine (even though a few hours earlier he was just threatening it). Just great. Meanwhile, I’m trying to bring my dead sister back to life and I have to drop everything to perform for these skeezeballs. My good mood is dissipating quickly.
The music finally stops and I step off the stage. It’s someone else’s turn. I don’t have that many friends, but there is one coworker who I really seem to bond with. She’s got a fucked up past like I do, but in her case it might be worse. She was abused physically and emotionally as a teenager, involuntarily losing her virginity at age twelve to her stepfather. She goes by Angel, having abandoned her actual name due to her shattered past, but she’s anything but. I can kick someone’s ass with magic; Angel can do it with her bare hands. She’s tough and doesn’t take shit off anyone.
Angel is backstage now in the dressing room, puffing on a cigarette. Her giant cracked heart tattoo is nestled between her breasts, signifying her shattered heart at such an early age. She even has an immense pair of angel wings tattooed onto her back, though she refers to herself as a broken angel. Either way, you definitely don’t want to get on this angel’s bad side.
“Sup, girl?” she asks me.
“Nothing. Same usual crowd out there.”
“Did you hear about Jasmine?”
“Yeah, it’s too bad. I saw it coming, though.”
“Yeah, me too. Want a puff?”
Angel takes another long drag of her cancer stick, then exhales a plume of blue smoke (thankfully in the opposite direction of me). I abhor cigarette smoke, but if someone wants to char up their lungs, I won’t stop them. I’ve got better things to do with my powers.
I pull on a feeble attempt at a robe, even though everyone here has already seen me in the flesh (I still want some dignity at least), kick off my killer shoes, sit down on the couch next to Angel, and put my head in my hands.
Angel isn’t shy in the least; she goes full-out nude onstage. As far as she’s concerned, since she was seen naked at such a young age, not to mention the dreaded shower rooms she had to endure in school with all the mocking glares, she might as well show the whole world what she looks like au naturel.
Even back here in the dressing room, I can hear the pounding bass coming from the sound system as the next victim swings around a pole for a bunch of lecherous onlookers. I clasp my hands around my head and push, hoping to ease the impending migraine.
“What’s the matter with you, girl?” Angel wants to know.
“Nothing. Just a headache.”
“I’ve got plenty of pills to take care of that. Want some?”
“No, I’ll be okay.”
Angel isn’t one to argue or persist. She’ll inquire about something once and never broach the subject again. It’s one of her nicest qualities.
“So,” I say in an attempt to make conversation, “I’ve got a new neighbor.”
“His name’s Dominic Taylor. He’s, well, I don’t know if he’s British or Australian. He has both in his blood but I don’t know where he lived.”
Angel lets out a shrill whistle. “He sounds mighty fine!”
“Yeah, I have to admit, he’s easy on the eyes.”
“You gonna jump him?”
“I doubt it. I don’t have time to think about a relationship right now.”
“Why? What the hell else do you have going on besides working here?”
I can’t very well tell Angel the truth. So I settle for, “Honestly, I need to see if I can find a better place to live than the shithole I’m in now.”
“The landlord’s son still after your goods?”
“Never let him have it, girl. Once he gets a taste, he’ll keep coming back for more. Unless you’re into that sort of thing.”
I bite my lip, ashamed. Thank God no one can read minds.
The loudspeaker suddenly chimes in with, “Angel! You’re up next!”
Angel stubs out her cigarette and strips down right in front of me. Since she goes fully nude, she parades onto the stage in as little as possible for the start of her dance.
“See you later,” she says as she leaves. I nod and wave to her before she exits out the dressing room door.
Once she’s gone, I sink further down onto the sofa, contemplating how I’m going to get away to acquire the last ingredient I need for Ebony’s spell, the moonstone. The problem is, the moonstone can only be created during a waning crescent moon, and it requires a complex incantation all on its own. I must literally draw the power from the moon into my hands, saying the right chant at the right time, and hope that the powers will transform into a pixie-like dust, then in turn become a moonstone. It will resemble the moon in the sky, and it’s a major key to the puzzle of Ebony’s resurrection.
I know I’m in for a lot of work, but I know that it will be worth it when I have my sister back. I’ve made my decision, and nothing will stand in my way. Ever.