“Joseph, I swear to God this better not be what I think it is,” I groaned in frustration. When Joe makes plans to go for a night on the town, one never really knows what to expect. I wasn’t so worried at first because Kevin had decided to come along after much thought and deliberation. I knew with Kevin around, Joe wouldn’t do anything too stupid.
Boy, was I wrong.
My watch read 11pm as the limo pulled up to a refurbished warehouse. It looked ordinary on the outside, just your typical older brick building. The only thing that would give it away was the flashing multi-colored lights in the window and the blaring sound of T-Pain rattling the windows. I shook my head. Joe knows I hate clubs, and even more so---I hate being up past 9pm.
As the limo came to the stop, Joe pulled a flask out of his jacket and took a swig of it before handing it to me. “Jameson, you’ll like it,” the bastard smirked. Kevin just rolled his eyes and seemed to dread being at a club more than I was. I took the flask out of Joe’s hand and took a gulp. Ah yeah, that’s the good stuff.
One by one we exited the limo and the bouncer escorted us into the building. “Joe,” I groaned, “for fuck’s sake can we just go home?”
“Come on Nick, this is your last chance to live a little,” he gestured towards the center of attention: the stripper pole.The sight of it made me sick to my stomach, and by looking at Kevin, he shared that same sentiment. Clearly, he had been forced into this adventure by our jackass brother. “You’re a free man, brother,” he chuckled as he bellied up to the bar and began talking with the bartender.
“Kevin, let’s get out of here,” I turned to find my eldest brother gone. “Kev? Jesus Christ,” I frustratingly run my fingers through my hair as I noticed Kevin talking to an employee of this establishment. The Jameson must have kicked in, because he didn’t seem nervous but somehow confident in the presence of this woman. She couldn’t have been much older than Joe, maybe around the same age. I took note of her glowing tan skin and waist-length brown hair and her hazel eyes. She was a stunner for sure. I didn’t need to look at her body to realize she’d be a stunner on the street, even fully clothed. Kevin would never give a girl like this the time of day, but here he is. Maybe he just fell under her spell, I can’t imagine being single at that age would be like, and not having any action if you know what I mean.
I was shaken back to my own reality as Joe put his hand on my shoulder, with a glass of bourbon on the rocks in his hand. “Glad to see Kevin is having fun,” he chuckled, “he didn’t want to bring you here, can you believe him?”
“Unbelievable,” I scoffed sarcastically as I took note of the scent of cheap perfumes and the blasting of ‘Party Rock Anthem’ on the DJ’s speakers. “I think I’m just gonna call a cab,” reaching in my pocket to pull out my phone before Joe snatched it from me.
“If Kevin can have a good time, so can you,” he said pointing at the same tan woman grinding on my brother. “Don’t make me babysit you the whole night, the ladies are waiting for me,” motioning at three girls sitting at the bar giggling at him.
“Well, who am I to stop you,” I yelled, rolling my eyes. “Can I at least have my phone back?”
“Nope,” Joe said, popping the no. “Not until you’ve enjoyed yourself. At least grab a beer, I started the tab, and me and the bartender are good so he won’t ID you.” I didn’t reply to him, and he quickly wandered back over to the ladies at the bar.
I found myself at an empty table by the stage. The men wearing hollering and throwing cat calls at the women on the stage, shoving their filthy money in their panties. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the women be exploited as such, but to see the men as a fly on the wall helped me pass the time. I lost sight of Joe quickly, and I could only assume what was going on. I spied Kevin over at the bar, with the same girl on his lap. They were laughing, being flirtatious. Who knew how much they already had to drink.
As the night rolled on, the club only got more crowded to the point I couldn’t find either of my brothers. Then again, my entire plan was to stay at my little table until Joe was ready to go. But like most things in life, nothing ever goes to plan.
“Hi,” I heard a voice yell over the music. I swear they were just playing LMFAO on loop. I didn’t register that someone was trying to get my attention until I heard “Hi,” again. I looked up and it was one of the girls that had been on stage a few minutes ago. Her red babydoll complimented her light skin and blonde hair. When my gaze finally met hers, I instantly realized she wasn’t wearing much makeup either. “Hi,” she said again, smiling gently, almost embarrassed it took three tries to get my attention.
“Hi,” I offered, pursing my lips together, but still maintaining eye contact. No doubt Joe sent her over to me.
“I’m Destiny,” pulling out the chair beside me and sitting down in it to better face me. I couldn’t help but realize her name was that of a certain ex of mine.
“Nick,” I reached out my hand for her to shake, which she did...awkwardly. “Pleasure to meet you.”
“Someone had to,” she chuckled, “I’ve been watching you from the stage. You seem like a fish out of water.”
She had been watching me? “You’re quite observant, Destiny,” I admitted. “This was my brother’s idea. I don’t do this.”
“You were quite observant of the stage for a little bit, but you are very aware of your surroundings,” I nod. “Well, I’ve decided I’m going to keep you company. It’ll at least make your brother think you’re having a good time.”
My eyes met hers, and I realized she wasn’t here to seduce me or get my money. I turned into the guy someone felt bad for. What a feeling to have at 18. “I wouldn’t say no to company,” I offered a slight smile. “But you won’t make much money with me.”
“I’ve made my quota for the night on the stage,” she smirked. “So which one is your brother?”
I pointed to Kevin making out with the same girl against a wall, while Joe was still nowhere to be found. “Um, that’s my oldest brother. I don’t know where my other one is.”
“Family affair,” she giggled. “Your brother is making out with my best friend, by the way. He’ll have fun with her. From the looks of it, they already are.”
My face blushes red. “You know, he’s a virgin,” I smirk. “So good luck to your friend over there. That’s probably the most he has ever kissed a girl in his life.”
Destiny’s eyes widened. “Virgins, here? And you’re not doing anything. Something tells me this is the other brother’s idea.”
“You guessed it,” I bit the corner of my lip.
“So, what about you? Are you a virgin, too? That’s why he brought you here?”
I let out a roaring laugh. I just couldn’t help it. I shook my head, coming down from my brief moment of joy. “Nope, I’m happily not a virgin. That whole waiting for marriage thing kinda didn’t work out for me, and by the looks of it---it may not work for Kevin either.”
“Sorry,” her gaze dropped mine. “You’re just one of the youngest guys I’ve seen in here. I just assumed.”
“Just turned 18,” I offered. “Joe got me in with the bartender, but I’m not one to drink in public. Getting in trouble isn’t my style.”
“Oh,” she blushed, “I’m 18, too.” Our eyes briefly met again, until someone else caught her attention. Her eyes grew big and she made her way out of the chair and wandered into my lap, wrapping her unbelievably soft arms around her neck. It was then I didn’t smell cheap perfume, but rather, something sweet coming from her person. Almost like strawberries. Without warning, she placed her soft lips on my neck. I did my best to not stir or to have it arouse me, but as a raging hormonal teenager, that was almost impossible. I placed my hand on her hips as she looked up briefly, then urgently placed the most delectable kiss on my lips. Within seconds, she removed herself from me completely and ran her fingers through her hair, leaving me completely breathless, stunned, and hard.
“Sorry,” she apologized, “my boss was walking over. He was going to ask why I wasn’t working. I too am not one for getting in trouble.” All I could do was nod. I was dazed by what just happened. Her scent was still lingering in my nose and I could feel the burn of her lips on mine.
“You’re...you’re fine,” I blushed, quickly adjusting myself hoping she wouldn’t notice my raging hard on. “Will….will he come back?”
She nodded. “I’m his moneymaker since I’m the youngest. He gets the most profit from me, even though I don’t go into private rooms. I’m just the young fantasy girl for many. A bit of kissing, a lap dance, dancing on the poll, feeling them up, that’s what I do. I’m not the girl you pay to fuck.”
“G-good,” I muttered. “Please tell me Kevin’s girl and Joe’s girls are like that too?”
She shook her head, “I’m the prude here. Lexi is going to ruin your brother, that I’m sure. She’s an absolute freak. Not sure who the girls are with Joe, but I’m sure since we haven’t found him, he’s having a good time.”
Great. All my brothers were getting laid and I just had a steamy kiss and nothing but a boner to show for it.
“I...I need to go to the bathroom,” I stated, getting up from my seat and walking away. I had to get some kind of relief.
When I came out of the bathroom, I wandered around looking for any sign of either of my brothers to no avail. I convinced myself that I did, in fact, need a drink after the unfolding events of the night. Joe was right--the bartender didn’t ask for an ID and gave me the smoothest shot of tequila on the house and a Coors. I quickly took the shot of tequila, and felt the burn coarse through my veins. I slid the shot glass back to the bartender and grabbed my Coors. “Be careful with her,” he warned.
“I’m sorry?” I asked, dazed by his question and the alcohol.
“Destiny. Be careful with her. She’s a good girl. Can’t tell you how many guys I’ve come close to punching in the face for treating her badly, trying to get sleazy with her.” The dude looked too scrawny to be intimidating, but looks can be deceiving.
“Trust me, I’m harmless as a fly,” I took a sip of my beer and began walking around. I didn’t realize how many women actually worked here, and how many men were here. I could tell who were the frequent flyers, and a fair share of them had a ring on their finger. It made my stomach churn. Before I knew it, I found myself swaying to the beat before I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around, only to have Destiny grind against me and put her sweet, sweet lips to my ear.
“Follow me,” she murmured, grabbing my hand and leading me out of the crowd. I was too tipsy to put up a fight with such a pretty woman, let alone make a scene. She led me to the back of the building that I hadn’t been to. There appeared to be dressing rooms, with curtains instead of locking doors. I heard a woman moan “Joe” from the stall on the left. My hands turned sweaty and my intoxicated self began to feel very nervous as Destiny gave orders to the guard and led me inside one of the stalls.
It was small enough for a loveseat and lamp, and not much else. It was about as tacky and neon-colored as the rest of the building. I could spell disinfectant spray in the room, so I was relieved that it was sanitary.
“Destiny--,” I began.
She placed her hand over my mouth and sat down on the loveseat beside me. “Michael has been looking for me,” she whispered, “my boss. I don’t feel like getting in trouble or servicing him tonight. We’re just gonna hide out here so he thinks I’m busy.” I nod as she removed her hand from my mouth. “So much for not drinking,” she scoffed.
“Listen, you would drink too if you were dragged to a strip club by your brothers, have them getting laid, you’re minding your own business, and next thing this beautiful woman is randomly making out with you and you have to go in the bathroom to...,” I blurted, blushing at the fact I called her beautiful. Her face replicated the blush.
“Well, my bad for having that effect on you,” she said confidently. I could tell she was trying to be professional. “I can randomly make out with you again if you’d like.”
My jaw dropped and my pants got tighter. “No, no,” I stutter, “not that you’re a bad kisser because you are an excellent kisser. Just I’m not an asshole.”
“Why do you think I brought you back here, Nick? Because you’d do as I say and not pull shit with me. You’re saving my ass right now, even if you are a little drunk. Now tell me, what can I do for you? I feel like I owe you one.” She scoots closer to me, gently placing her hand on my thigh.
“I-I can just just give some cash, you don’t have to do anything for money,” I fumble around my back pocket to locate my wallet before she takes it out of my hand and tosses it on the table.
“I’m not asking to do anything for money, I’m asking because you’re saving me from a lot right now,” she stated firmly, her eyes watering.
“Hey now,” I place my hand on hers, “What--what exactly does this Michael guy do?”
She looks away from me shyly, “I’m...he...he considers me his. That’s why I don’t do what most of the other women do. I’m his toy. And when he gets angry, I’m more than a toy.” No wonder the bartender was so protective over her. It’s not just her spirit, but she’s the prized possession of the establishment. I watch her grow vulnerable and scared before my eyes. I could see the regret in her eyes for telling me something so personal. I envelope myself around her in a gentle hug, hoping it would make her feel safe, at least for a moment. I felt her ease up in my arms as I rubbed her back, feeling the lace of her outfit on my finger tips. After a few moments that felt like an eternity, she nuzzles her face into the crook of my neck and drapes her legs, her long beautiful legs, over my lap. The alcohol speaking for me and my habit, I lean down to kiss the top of her head.
“Fuck,” I mumble as I realize what I did. Her scent revolved around me as once again her lips met mine. It wasn’t a forced or hurried kiss like the previous one, but a sweet, organic one. I told myself to pull away, but I couldn’t. She tasted so sweet, so delectable. I could feel myself getting lost inside myself as she pulled away. She turned around to straddle herself, facing me, her soft hands cupping my face as she put her face at the crook of my neck again.
“I didn’t peg you for a cuddly type,” she sighed, “you seem so cold on the surface. I’m glad I felt bad for you, or both of us would be having a terrible time right now.” Her lips traced every inch of my neck, and I knew damn well she could feel my erection against her. She looked absolutely stunning looking at me like that. This time it was my lips that met hers. I was absolutely intoxicated, by both her and the drinks. I ran my fingers through her soft hair, trying to convince myself it wasn’t a dream. As her hips started rocking against mine, it occurred to me that this was not a dream. I could feel her warmth grinding against my erection. It felt so wrong, but so right. A groan escaped from my lips as she pulled away from me to place my hands on her red lacey breasts. I left out another groan as I felt them against my palms. “You can take it off if you want,” she breathed. Without saying anything, I reached to her back and unhooked the top to her outfit, falling to the floor. I tried not to stare, but I had to take her in. She once again guided my hands to her now bare breasts, as I kneaded and fondled them as she continued to grind against me. I couldn’t believe how perky and soft they were. I looked her in the eyes longingly, silently asking a question. She nodded, and I placed my lips around her nipple and began to suck on her beautiful tits. When I heard her moan, I almost came in my pants right then and there.
“Destiny,” I tried to push her away from my groin, “if you keep doing that, I’m going to cum in my pants.” She nodded and obliged, getting off my lap. I felt a moment of relief washed over me until I felt the tips of her fingers tugging at the waistband of my pants and boxers. Before I could object, her hands were already pumping my shaft. “Destiny,” I groaned, watching her beautifully manicured hands touch me like that. My biggest mistake was looking into her eyes. She was nothing but a siren. “D-d-do you...are we...is it ok?” I managed to spit out. She giggled as she stood up, sliding her panties down to the floor before reaching over to a bucket on the table and pulling out a square package. I was so taken aback by the perfect woman in front of me, I didn’t register rolling the condom on my dick. What I did register was her tight wall enveloping mine as she slid down me. Fuck.
She stabilized herself on my shoulders, riding my member, groaning as my thrusts met hers. She was absolutely incredible, but I wasn’t going to let her do all the work. I groped her ass and told her to get on all fours. She did as she was told, and I slid into her from behind. I heard her moan my name, and my slow thrusts became quicker and harder. I grabbed a fistful of her as I was on the brink of orgasm. “Oh fuck, Nick” she squealed, feeling her walls tighten around me, all I could do was to blow my load right then and there.
I pulled out of her in a sweat and threw the condom away and both of us got dressed again. She then wrapped her arms around my waist and her head against my chest. She seemed as breathless as I did. It was a peaceful moment where not a word was spoken.
“Nickyboy, I know you’re in there! ” I heard the slurred sound of Joe’s voice behind the curtain. “Time to go! The cab is pulling up! We gotta get to stop two of your Bachelor Party!”
I felt my face flush as I let Destiny go. “God, where are they taking me to next?” I chuckle.
“So you’re the bachelor in question,” she asked, sounding disappointed.
I nod. “Yeah, I’m getting married this weekend,” I say, picking up my wallet. I pull out a hundred dollar bill and hand it to her. “Take this, it’ll make up for any clients you’ve missed being with me.”
I could sense she was starting to object, but she swallowed her pride and just gave me a simple ‘thank you’ before giving me a hug. I know she meant for the tip, hiding from her boss, but a part of me wanted to think she thought the sex was as good as I thought it was. I heard Joe repeat my name again as I let go of her, and exited the room.
I kept my face as emotionless as possible as I walked out into the lobby with Joe. I could feel my buzz wearing off, but the guilt beginning to sit in. How could I have just cheated on my fiance like that days before our wedding? I didn’t want to think about it. I made a promise that nobody would ever know about this and take it to my grave.
“Good to see you had a blast,” Joe winked as we walked outside into the chilly springtime air. “I thought I was going to have to send someone over to you, but I should have had confidence that my little brother could hold his own.” Oh, so he didn’t send her to me? He reaches in his pocket and hands me my phone. I quickly looked to see if I had any missed texts or calls, and thankfully there weren’t any.
“Nothing happened, Joe,” I mumbled. “I was just hanging out.” I’ve never been a good liar and Joe’s laughter confirmed it.
“Sure, then why did I hear the noises I heard waiting for you?” My face flushed, realizing I had been caught.
“Don’t you dare tell Amanda about this,” I scoffed, knowing Joe could run his mouth when he wanted to.
“I’m not going to tell Amanda anything. What happened tonight stays with tonight. You deserved to have your last taste of freedom before you settle down,” he smirked.
“It’s never right to cheat, Joseph,” I whispered. “I...she seduced me. I fell under her spell. I was weak, and the drinks didn’t help. God dammit Joe, this is your fault!”
Joe chuckled as an equally disgruntled Kevin walked out of the building. He looked like he had been in a fight. His hair was disheveled, he had bruises on his neck, his clothes a bit tattered, and a noticeably swollen left eye. “Kevin, what the hell happened?” I remarked, trying to understand what happened.
“Lexi happened,” he groaned. Oh right. Lexi, that girl he was with all night and Destiny’s best friend. When she said she was wild, I guess she wasn’t lying. “Guys, that woman gave me my awakening. She’s amazing. Apparently everyone else thinks that too, because one of the bouncers gave me a shiner for spending too much time with her. Totally worth it.”
Joe and I just looked at Kevin, stunned by how smitten he was to not comprehend that he, a rockstar, just got punched in the face at a strip club.
“No stop two, I think we all need to go home before this night ruins us and the paparazzi sees us,” I say as the taxi pulls up and we pile in. I could tell Joe was pleased with himself while Kevin was lost in a daze. My mind was on Amanda, wondering how her bachelorette party was going. God, I hope she doesn’t have anyone taking her to a strip club. Knowing Amanda’s stubbornness, she probably wouldn’t have allowed it. She was definitely the headstrong one in our relationship, and I loved that about her.
The three of us didn’t say a word as the cab dropped Kevin and Joe off at their apartment. When the cab pulled up to my building, I gave him a tip and made the walk of shame to my top floor apartment. It looked so empty inside. I knew it would be a temporary stay, but so many memories were made here. The boxes stacked by the wall made everything feel so real. This would no longer be my bachelor pad or Amanda and I’s home. We had just bought a house in Malibu, where we planned to spend the rest of our lives at. It’s crazy to think about, being with someone from the time you’re 17 until you die. The home needed renovations, so they were well underway to cater to Amanda’s taste. I just had to marry the HGTV addict.
I walked into our bedroom and let out a sigh at the sight of our picture on the nightstand. I felt like I wanted to throw up. I took a long bath to cleanse myself of everything that happened to me that night, and it wasn’t until a rubber ducky fell into the tub that I did something I rarely did--cry.
The next day was uneventful besides further packing up the home, and packing in preparation for the wedding itself. Tomorrow I was to fly to Cancun for my wedding rehearsal, and the first time I would have seen Amanda in days. There was no doubt in my mind her she was a full fledged Bridezilla by now. The movers would start the process while we were away, so we would not be returning to the apartment. Instead, I would be leasing it out.
I was ready to make some dinner when Kevin’s name popped up on my phone.
“Hey bro, what’s going on?” I asked, hoping he wasn’t going to bail on being my best man at the wedding.
“Whatcha doing tonight? Are you free?” He asked hurriedly.
“I was just about to eat, what’s going on?” I asked, reaching for a couple of pans off the hook.
“I want to go see Lexi,” he admitted, “bro, I can’t stop thinking about her.”
I sighed into the phone. “Kevin, that’s why you shouldn’t have lost your virginity to a goddamn stripper, especially when you’re the type to get attached too easy.”
“I do not! Well,” he trailed off, “it was really good. Really really good. Like, she knew what she was doing. But Nick, she’s funny as hell and she didn’t know who the fuck I was. I was just Kevin, not Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brothers. I can’t stop thinking about her.”
“Kevin, I can imagine the tabloids now. ‘Stripper Uses Jonas Brother’, ‘Kevin Jonas Exposed’. That’s not ideal for you, or us as a band.”
“You’re the one to talk,” he scoffed. “Come with me? Please? I want back up if that bouncer decides to come for my other eye. I’m going whether you come with me or not, but if I get beat up, it’s on you for not coming.”
“Kevin, you’re 24 years old. You can defend yourself better than I could ever defend you.”
“There’s safety in numbers. Please Nick? It’s the most you can do for your Best Man.”
I groaned, “Fine, I’ll be your babysitter. I’ll meet you over there in twenty.”
I parked my Mustang far enough away to not be associated with the club, and wandered my way down the block hooded in my New York Yankies jacket. I was in stealth mode. Kevin, however, was not. He was tapping his feet in plain sight at the entrance, waiting for me.
“Come on,” I said as we both paid our entry fee. The club seemed less crowded tonight, but it still had the same smell of cheap perfume and alcohol. I put my hands in my pocket as I followed Kevin looking for his girl. I zoned out as he asked others where she was, trying to avoid the fact I was back in this place.
“There she is,” his face lit up like the Fourth of July and he dragged me over to the curtain area. It was obvious she had just come from one of the stalls. “Lexi!” He shouted, sounding like a lovestruck high schooler. I followed him as he dashed over to her. She smiled at him genuinely and waved over to me. “Lexi, this is my brother Nick!” I nodded my head at her. She offered me a smirk, which didn’t sit too well with me.
“Nice to meet you,” she said sweetly. I picked up a little bit of an accent in her voice, which I knew had to drive Kevin wild.
“You two go have fun, I’ll be waiting at the bar,” I pointed. “Kevin, come find me if you think you’re going to get punched in the face again. We have lawyers for that shit.”
Lexi’s face dropped, remembering what had happened the other night. I could tell she felt remorse about it. “Don’t worry about Michael, I can handle him,” she offered. Somehow by the look in her eyes, I could tell she probably could.
Then I remembered who this Michael guy was that Destiny told me about. He was the guy to punch my brother? I decided not to think more of it as I watched the two of them move past the curtain.
I sat down in the same area that I had been the other night, hoping I wouldn’t have an awkward run-in with Destiny. As I looked up to the stage, I realized my prayers had not been answered. There she was, moving her sexy body on the pole, dancing for the men below. She had more makeup on tonight,and almost looked like she wasn’t real. She was absolutely phenomenal to watch, and it made me thirsty to think I was one of the only men she had ever let touch her the way I had. I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts and I began to look through my phone, hoping Kevin didn’t want to stay long.
When I heard someone walk up to me, the scent told me exactly who it was, and my eyes shot up. “Destiny,” I breathed.
“I didn’t expect to see you become a frequent flyer here,” she giggled.
“My brother wanted to come back,” I coughed, “I’m just here babysitting him in case this Michael guy punches him in the face again.”
Her face fell, acknowledging the situation. “He must have said something to piss him off. Michael is never like that to customers. That or he made the moves on Lexi.”
“It wouldn’t surprise me,” I sighed. “He’s infatuated with her. He’s some kind of stupid to think he has a shot with a whore.” I caught my words as they slipped out, nervously looking away. “I’m sorry. I...I didn’t mean that. I’m sure she is a lovely person.”
Her eyebrows furrowed at me. “She’s a wonderful person. She’d give you the clothes off her back if you needed it. It’s not like she or myself want to be here doing this work. It’s so degrading. All men want to do is fuck you, and half the time they don’t last and its not enjoyable at all. She talks about it all the time.”
I happened to wonder if I fell into that category. “Then why don’t you leave? There has to be other places to work.”
“It’s not that easy,” she sighed. “It’s hard to get out. It’s dangerous to get out.” I couldn’t help but look over her perfect body until I noticed a bruise on her arm. It was pretty big, though I could tell most of it had been covered up by makeup. She caught me staring. “It’s nothing,” she assured me. “Michael gets a little carried away sometimes.”
“In bed or?” I trailed off, gently reaching out for her arm. She winced a little bit as my fingertips traced it.
“Both,” she whispered. “He found out we, you know, and he got mad and took the money. I had to be punished.”
My eyes fell out of their sockets, not able to believe what I was hearing. “Destiny, you gotta get out of here before he really hurts you.” She looked away. She was scared, and with good reason to be. I felt sorry for her, genuinely. Nobody deserves to be treated this way. Clearly Michael was abusive towards anyone and everyone. There was no telling how long she’d been here, and she was only 18. She had so much of her life in front of her to be trapped in this life. It killed me to see her sad. Surely there was something I could do for her. I felt like I owed her for my assholery the other night.
“What if I knew of a place that's hiring that had decent pay, benefits, and best of all, no sleazy men. Granted you don’t have a felony charge on you, I could probably get you hired,” I offered. My heart of gold typically leads to my stupid mouth. “Do you like dogs?”
She looked at me strangely, raising her perfectly sculpted eyebrows. “Love them, but Nick, I can’t leave. I don’t have any skills. I only have a GED. I don’t even have a place to go if I leave her. I’ll be homeless. My family is back in Nebraska.”
I should have thought about logistics before I opened my mouth, but an idea struck me. “I’m sure you’re a quick learner, and one of the benefits of the job is to live at the residence. You’d have your own suite separate away from everyone else. The guy is really nice and the dog is such a good boy. They’d be happy to help you on your feet.”
I could still see the hesitation in her eyes. I’m sure she thought she was getting conned.
“Destiny, do you trust me?”
“Destiny doesn’t trust you, but Libby does.” I gave her a puzzled look as she took a seat beside me. “Destiny is my stage name. Elizabeth is my real name, but my friends call me Libby.”
I offered her a quick smile. She did trust me.
“Well, I’m here to talk to Libby, not Destiny. And if Libby is interested, I’d love to have her come on board as help. Amanda, um, my fiance, and I just bought a house. It’s pretty big and with my job and hers, we’ll definitely need help keeping it up.”
I looked up at me, “How do you buy a house when you’re 18?”
“Let’s just say I’ve come into some money recently,” I said. “It’s better not to ask questions, but I promise you it is all legal money. I’ll even have the lawyer draw up your contract.”
“Nick, I could never,” she pleaded. “I slept with you and you expect me to live in the same home as your wife? That’s all kinds of fucked up.”
I let out a frustrated sigh, knowing she was right. “It’s not like we’d do it again. That was a one time experience. This will be a strictly professional environment. You won’t even see us most of the time,” I offered. “Libby, you have my word on that. Let me help you.”
Her gaze met mine and whispered “Okay.” I could tell she was defeated, but she realized she was not in a position to say no. “When Michael leaves to go to the bank, we’ll exit the back door. That’ll give us roughly fifteen minutes to get out of here because once he realizes I’m gone, hell will break loose. We need to be untraceable.”
I nodded in agreement. This was starting to sound like one of Amanda’s crime shows about getting away with murder. I guess Kevin would have to be on his own. “Do you have, um, any regular clothes here with you?” She nodded her head. “Okay, here’s the plan.I will leave first and pull my car around two blocks away. I’ll leave my jacket here with you. Put the hood up in case any cameras are filming so they don’t recognize you. Whatever you do, don’t look up. Look at the ground and keep walking, and don’t stop for anyone. Keep walking until I honk at you. Any questions?”
She nodded. “Um, one….how the hell did you think of that so fast?”
I chuckle, “Amanda makes me watch all her crime shows with her. I guess I learned a thing or two.”
I knew I better tread lightly, because if Amanda ever found out about any of this, she would dispose of my body and I would never be found. “Now, I’m going to find Kevin and tell him I’m out. Wait ten minutes and then start walking. Remember, don’t look up.”
With that, I left her at the table with my hoodie and made my way to the back of the club to the curtained area. There was only one stall closed shut, which made it easier for me to locate him. “Kevin,” I yelled, “I’m out.” When I didn’t get a response from him, I walked away and exited the building and made my way several blocks to my car.
I looked at my watch and quickly got in, wasting no time starting the engine. She may have been old, but she still had the speed I desired. I pulled down a couple of blocks and turned off my headlights and unlocked the door. I waited several minutes before I saw a figure approach my vehicle, looking at the ground, wearing my jacket. I gave a honk, and she quickly rushed into the passenger seat. I sped off like a bat out of hell.
“Did anyone see you?” I asked, focused on the road, taking winding ways through downtown Los Angeles to be sure we weren’t being followed.
“No,” she said quietly. “It won’t be long until they know I’m gone.”
“Take the battery out of your phone,” I suggest. “No one should be able to trace you if you do that. Whatever you do, do not turn it on. I’ll get you a new one before I leave tomorrow.”
“You’re a spy. That’s how you have money and drive such a sexy car, it all makes sense to me now,” she chuckled, starting to relax as she took the battery out of the phone and tossed it in her purse.
“Couldn’t be further from the truth,” I chuckled. “Tomorrow we’ll get you a new phone and some clothes, whatever you need. I’ll then call the movers and have them set up your suite in Malibu.”
“Malibu!? Dear god, you really are a spy or something. There is no way, no way you’re moving to fucking Malibu.”
“Let’s just say I dabble in some music and have collected quite a few royalties,” I smirk as we pull into the parking garage. I helped her with her bags and took the elevator up to my penthouse apartment. “Here we are! I apologize for the mess, I’ve been getting everything ready for the movers. Make yourself at home. The bedroom with the ensuite bath is down the hall on the left. It’s all yours until you get to Malibu. I’ll stay on the couch.”
She looked around the apartment in silence, taking in how nice it was. I watched her and she made her way down the hall until I heard her let out a yelp followed by a thud to the ground.
“You okay?” I asked as I ran down the hallway to her. I quickly saw what the culprit was: a red block. “Damn, I thought I had put those all away.”
I could tell by the look on her face that she had found out the inevitable. I was hoping to guide her into this, though maybe I should have mentioned this before I rescued her. “Between this block and the Hello Kitty 3-in-1 shampoo in the bathroom, I think you have something to tell me.”
I reached into my back pocket and took out my wallet. It made me feel like such an old man for keeping so many in there. I flipped through and found what I was looking for. I handed the little picture to her. A smile appeared on her face.
“Her name’s Arianna,” I smiled. “She’s almost a year old. She’s with my parents right now.”
Libby nodded. “She’s a spitting image of you, the curls, the eyes, everything. She’s adorable, Nick.”
“She’s my princess,” putting the picture back in my wallet. “She’ll be happy to have you around. It’s been really hard on me and Amanda with my career. I mean, I didn’t expect to become a father so soon in life. The pro tip here is that birth control does not work when you’re on antibiotics,” I chuckled. “I don’t regret her for the world, she’s my everything. Don’t take it as it sounds.”
“I love kids,” she replied. “I can’t wait to meet her. We’ll have a lot of fun. But, um, what am I to do when you’re away?”
“Well, this place is yours to do whatever with. The movers will come and pick up everything. I’ll have someone pick you up and drive you to the new place after that. There, you can help clean everything and get everything arranged for our arrival. When we get back in about a week from Bali, then you’ll go into full nanny mode.”
“Nick?” God, it sounded so good hearing her say my name. “I...I can’t thank you enough for this. You’re a really good person and I don’t deserve any of this. I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.”
“By changing diapers and keeping how we met a secret,” I chuckle. “Libby, you don’t owe me anything. You owe nobody anything. You’re your own person now. Enjoy it.” She wrapped me in her warm embrace, her blonde hair cascading down her back. “Get some rest.” She offered me a smile as I walked out of the bedroom to the living room.
I managed to snooze for about an hour or so on the couch before I heard shouting from down the hall. I shot up and raced down the hall, clad in my boxers and a wife beater. I flipped the light switch on to find Libby sitting up in bed in a sweat, breathing heavily. “He’s here, oh God he’s here!”
“Who? Who is here” I asked, still groggy from my slumber.
“Michael! He's banging at the door. He’s trying to get in. He’s going to kill me, oh my God!” She pulled the blanket up over here, still shaken.
“Libby, Michael is not here. Nobody is here. I have cameras outside. It was just a dream,” I sat on the edge of the bed. “It’s just a bad dream.”
She pulled the covers down, still wearing the same clothes from earlier. Her eyes were red and watery, her hands still trembling. This man still had his grasp on her psychologically. I felt a sense of rage come over me, but the sound of her sniffles made me feel something else entirely. “Come here,” I offered, scooting closer to her and I wrapped my arms around her in a hug. I could feel her tears stream down my shoulder as I held her. I would never know just how truly traumatized she was, but that was never my story to tell.
I held her quietly for a few minutes, gently rubbing her back, much like I would my daughter’s when she cried. “Can you stay with me,” I heard her stifled voice ask. “I don’t want to be alone.” When her blue eyes looked up at me, I couldn’t say no.
“Of course,” I promised. “I won’t go anywhere. Nothing is going to happen to you. I promise.” She nodded and I began to shut my eyes, drifting back to sleep. I felt her move around in my arms as our backs hit the mattress. She adjusted herself in my arms before placing an innocent peck on my lips. My eyes fluttered open and I blushed, only to find her eyes were now closed and a smile on her face. I went to sleep.