I gave him a little wave, grabbed a tray, and started to take orders.
It didn’t take long to figure out I wasn’t really out here to take drink orders. I was actually out here to give the people something to look at, to flirt with, and to generally keep the customers happy.
I relaxed into that role because at least this was something I could wear a shirt for.
Just when I was starting to get nervous about my next “routine,” Adam waved to me from the edge of the crowd. I slipped through and followed him into his office.
He was going to fire me.
I fell like a klutz, spilled beer on paying customers, and didn’t even take off my shirt.
I was the worst stripper in the history of strippers.
“What the hell was that out there earlier?” he said, standing beside his desk.
“I’m so sorry, I—”
“You’re sorry?” He cut in. “That was brilliant!”
“It was?” I asked, shock lacing my tone.
“Every guy in this place had his eyes glued to your chest.”
I didn’t know how to respond.
“I think you’re exactly what this place needs.” He went on.
“What is that, exactly?”
“A mystery, a girl who whips the crowd into a frenzy just to get a peek.”
Is that what I did?
“Since you didn’t bring anything else to wear, you can just serve the rest of the night. But tomorrow you’ll be dancing every hour.”
“You got the job, Violet. Welcome to the Mad Hatter.”
“I wasn’t expecting this.”
“Frankly, neither was I. I thought you were going to bomb miserably.”
“Um, thank you?” I said sarcastically.
He flashed me a smile. “Who knew underneath that good girl exterior you were hiding the inner workings of a sexy bitch?”
“I’m pretty sure that could be considered harassment.”
“Probably. Now get back to work. Before you leave tonight, you can fill out the forms I need you to sign.”
Roxie was waiting outside the office when I left. “Well?” she asked.
“I got the job.”
She bounced around on her four-inch heels. “It was the water… men and wet T-shirts… gets ‘em every time.”
“So you think I should add that to my routine, then?” Wait a minute. I was now thinking about my routine? So I was actually going to do this. Somewhere along the way of being scared silly and shaking in my daisy dukes to pouring water all over myself, I decided this was going to happen.
“If you don’t, I will.”
“I guess I need to figure out what to wear.”
“We can go shopping. I know a great place.”
“I don’t have a lot of money.”
She grinned. “Good thing the clothes you need are tiny.”
I giggled. “Sure, why not?”
Adam opened his office door and pinned us with a stare. “I don’t pay you ladies to stand around gossiping all night.”
Roxie rolled her eyes, then blew Adam a kiss. I felt my eyes widen as she yanked me away toward the bar.
“That’s our boss!” I hissed.
“He’s a big ol’ teddy bear.”
“He looks more like a grizzly bear,” I noted. He was tall, with broad shoulders, a narrow waist, and hair buzzed close to his head. He looked to be in his late twenties, but I couldn’t be sure.
“His bark is worse than his bite.”
“I wonder if all his ex-wives think so?”
“Good point.” Roxie laughed. She picked up her tray and faced me. “Before you leave tonight, let’s trade numbers.”
I agreed and she moved off into the crowd.
I spent the rest of the night delivering drinks and smiling. It seemed the friendlier I was, the more tips I made. Still, I tried to remain professional. Well, as professional as I could in the center of a strip club.
A lot of these guys had a major case of grab hands. Good thing I moved fast.
By the time two a.m. rolled around, my feet hurt, my shirt was dry and kind of stiff feeling, and I really just wanted a shower.
Adam told me I was done for the night, but I had to fill out the paperwork before I could go. I went in the back and grabbed my bag, then plopped down at the end of the bar.
While I was waiting for Adam and the papers, I released my hair from the pony that was giving me a headache and pulled all the tips out of my apron and counted them. Two hundred dollars. Then I remembered the money from my dance, so I fished it all out of my bag and counted it. A hundred and fifty bucks. Not bad for almost falling on my face and making a fool out of myself.
Hottie bartender appeared in front of me. “Want me to cash out all those singles?”
“That’d be great. But I should wait and find out how much of this I have to share.”
He shook his head. “We don’t share tips here. What you get is what you earn.”
“Yep. Adam says if the table hands you a tip, it’s because they like you and not whatever drink you brought them. It’s why the girls don’t really have sections. It’s kind of a free-for-all.”
I nodded. It was kind of like a free-for-all.
I handed over my stack of cash. “It’s three hundred and fifty. You can just give me twenties or whatever you have.”
“Not bad for your first night,” he said, then went over to the cash register and exchanged all my ones for larger bills.
When he came back, he handed me the cash and a glass of ice water with a straw in it.
“What’s your name, new girl?”
“I’m using Violet as my stage name.”
His lips lifted. “Clever,” he mused, reaching out to touch the purple strand in my hair.
“You got a real name, Violet?” Why is it that everything he said sounded like sex on a stick?
Or maybe it wasn’t his words. Maybe it was the fact that his fingers were still playing with my hair.
“Harlow,” I said, trying to hide the little tremor in my voice.
“Harlow,” he repeated. It sounded like a purr that rumbled from deep inside him.
“How about you? You got a name?”
He was still twirling my hair along his finger and the simple, lazy movement was literally making my stomach quiver with some sort of anticipation.
“Cameron,” he said, his voice low because he was leaning over the bar toward me. “Everyone calls me Cam.”