The sounds of the holiday season fill the air in New York City.
I’ve been stripping for women at holiday parties for a while. To say it’s an interesting profession would be a mild understatement.
I was meant to dance on Broadway, but it didn’t work out like that. No reason to waste good talent.
Party after party, I shake my ass and make the girls giggle as the chilly month of December pays my bills for the upcoming year.
All was well and good until I met her. The pretty ballerina princess that made time stop.
She’s a dancer in the Nutcracker this year, and I’m going to be watching her front and center. I can’t help myself. She’s unwound me, unwrapped me, fucked me up for good.
Time to take what’s mine.
Riding the F train home gave me more time to think than I needed. I spent the time brooding, wishing things were different. I’d already turned thirty and was still stuck in a dead-end job, inches away from the career I wanted. But I might as well be a million miles away.
Ever since I was a kid, I’d wanted to cook. Culinary school had been an awakening, and then I’d moved to the city to break into the restaurant business. It was head chef or nothing.
Right now, it was nothing.
The bistro I worked in had a passable chef, but I knew I could do better. Unfortunately, the owner thought I was “too pretty” to be stuck in the back of the house. I waited tables, acted as a host, even helped her with management when needed. But she didn’t let me get anywhere near the stoves, which meant my dream remained unfulfilled.
Still, working in the restaurant did provide some perks. Like the sexy thing who’d come in today. To call her ‘beautiful’ was the understatement of the millennium. Compared to the women I’d been fucking lately, she could have descended from heaven.
Her dark hair was pulled up tight into a knot, highlighting her strong cheekbones. Plump lips, pale skin, and eyes so green they reminded me of the grass in Central Park in the middle of summer. I’d almost tripped over my own feet when I’d shown her to her table.
A girl that pretty shouldn’t have been eating alone. But I didn’t think she’d be interested in having me join her. I’d made a run to the convenience store on my break to grab an energy drink and on my way back, she’d been coming out the door. She was looking down at her phone and had slammed into me.
I caught her and had given her my best smile, a shock of electricity hitting me at our contact. But she’d yanked herself away from me and given me a little shove, ordering me not to touch her, and then she’d hurried off without an apology.
At the restaurant, gorgeous girls like her didn’t give me a second look. They wouldn’t give me the time of day, except when I took my clothes off for their dollar bills.
They threw money at me then, feeling me up, begging me to take them into the bathroom for a quick and dirty ride. They weren’t bad for a good time, and sometimes a humongous tip, but desperate girls had never done it for me. I liked the quiet ones, the reserved ones. They presented a challenge. And usually, it was the reserved ones who were the biggest freaks between the sheets.
The walk to my apartment was blessedly short, although the five flights of stairs were steep and narrow, which was nice, especially when I had to lug my bike up and down them. Tonight, I jogged up the stairs and unlocked my shitty studio apartment, barely closing the door behind me before a knock sounded on it.
It was Ozzy, my next-door neighbor. He was in and out of my place almost as much as I was. Ozzy was in his early twenties and felt like the younger brother I never had. He looked up to me, so I let him hang when he got sick of his roommates. Which seemed to be most of the time. I couldn’t blame him. I had to work a second job just to be able to afford 400 square feet to myself.
Ozzy was in the fridge pulling out a couple of my beers before I got my coat off. He popped the tops off them and handed one to me, taking a long pull on his own. He burped, then flung himself on my couch, putting his feet up on the coffee table. I sat down beside him, taking a sip of my own bottle.
“Big party this weekend, down by the college. Hot co-eds and a couple of kegs. You in?”
I leaned back, then tipped up the bottle, swallowing most of it in one long pull. “Doubtful,” I replied.
“Why not? You know those college girls drool all over you.”
The statement was partially true. Drunk college girls followed me like a magnet. But the sober ones eyed me with distrust. I couldn’t blame them. I was too old to be hanging around campus. Besides, I had enough thirsty women on my dick with my night job.
Still, I didn’t want to say all that to Ozzy. So I kept it simple. “I got a gig.”
Ozzy shook his head. “Lucky bastard.” He drained the rest of the bottle. “What’s it like, having women make it rain dollar bills all over you?”
I eyed him. This wasn’t the first time he’d asked that question. The kid had the makings of a paunch and skin he didn’t take care of. To put it bluntly, he wasn’t cut out for the world of erotic entertainment. But he liked to hear my stories, and sometimes I liked telling them, although truthfully, the whole thing had begun to lose its shine.
“The money is good,” I agreed. “And the work isn’t too strenuous, although I have to keep in shape, of course.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Ozzy said, waving his hand. This wasn’t the part of the story he liked. “What about the ladies throwing themselves at you? Nothing to complain about there, right?”
The boy had no idea. There were plenty of women I wasn’t excited to swing my junk around in front of. Still, the money made bitching difficult. And the boy liked the fairy tale. So I played the part he expected.
“What’s there to complain about? Hot women paying me to seduce them with my sweet dance moves?”
Ozzy laughed at that line and I joined him. “Come on, Colton. You could have any one of those women. And they’d probably fucking pay you for it.”
I nodded. “Yeah. But not everyone is a super model, you know.”
Ozzy rolled his eyes. “Still, they fucking want you. Enough even to pay for it.”
The kid had a point. I needed the money. Tips at the bistro paid for the day-to-day expenses of living in the city, but they weren’t enough to cover this apartment, nor the loans I’d taken out for culinary school tuition. My nighttime gigs more than made up for the cost of the gym membership and the ridiculous outfits the job required.
My dresser had a drawer devoted to banana hammocks. Not to mention the breakaway pants, the cop costume, the doctor’s coat and bag, the fireman outfit and its fake hose. You name a manly profession, and I’ll show you the see-through boxer brief equivalent from my own closet.
“Well,” I said, settling back and tucking my hand into my waistband. “There was this bachelorette party last month.”
“Oh man,” Ozzy said with bright eyes. “Here it comes.”
“The bride was cute. Late twenties, blond hair. Nice rack.” She had been cute. And absolutely shitfaced by the time I got there. Her bridesmaids had to hold her in her seat for my bump and grind.
“They were in this fancy penthouse apartment uptown. These girls didn’t bother with dollar bills. It was fives, tens, and twenties all night.” I’d pulled down enough to cover a month’s rent that night. Which was nice, since I only took enough gigs to cover my monthly expenses. I wasn’t greedy enough to do it more than that.
“And?” Ozzy asked. He cared more about the girls than the money.
“And the ladies had been eager to…uhh…pay for a few private dances.”
The matron of honor had cornered me as I was coming out of the bathroom and pushed me back in. She’d then shoved a hundred-dollar bill down my shorts and started kissing my chest.
The wedding ring on her finger would have bought my parent’s entire house upstate. I’d tried to fend her off, but a second bill had followed the first.
She was attractive in a rich-girl kind of way, with plastic features similar to the rest of her friends. When she’d dropped to her knees in front of me, I’d let it happen. She wasn’t bad with her mouth, and I had to admit to enjoying it, even if it’d left me feeling empty inside after.
“I just bet they were.” Ozzy rested his head against the wall and closed his eyes, probably imagining a bevy of beauties waiting for him to shake his package in their direction.
As a gig, the work wasn’t hard, and yeah, it had its definite benefits. But I’d have taken a spot in the kitchen any day, even if that meant sharing an apartment with two other disaffected New Yorkers like Ozzy did.
It paid the bills and it got me laid. Sometimes I enjoyed it. Sometimes, not so much. Truth be told, I’d take a date with the girl who’d run into me without an apology over a quick fuck with any number of women I’d shook my dick for.
“Well,” Ozzy said finally, standing up and heading toward the door. “If your gig doesn’t run too late, try to come by the party anyway.”
“Will do,” I said, knowing I wouldn’t. I insisted on a hot shower after every gig, then usually drank enough beers to pass out alone. Not exactly the glamorous nightlife guys like Ozzy imagined.
The door shut behind him and I headed to the fridge. I’d bought fresh produce and a good cut of meat to cook for dinner tonight, but suddenly, I didn’t feel so hungry. I settled on another beer instead.
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