“Thanks love,” said Neil as the waitress slammed a cocktail down in front of him. He picked it up and took a sip.
“Love?” I asked as I glanced around me at the underground dance club. Neil had picked it for our first hang-out since he got back from Europe. The small place, which was nothing more than a lounge underground in downtown LA, was booming and packed. People were hanging over the vintage black velvet couches that spotted the floor. They slid in and out of the booths that hugged the walls on the far right and left of the place. They stood by the bar which spanned the length of the entire back wall. Neil had gotten us a seat right in the front and center. We had our own little space, complete with a couch and a table along with a bottle of vodka and several mixers. The intimate stage was right in front of us, dark now since the show hadn’t started. I took a sip of my simple vodka martini, letting the sounds of old jazz fill my ears.
“What’s the deal, you spend a year pursuing an internship in London and come back all cultured?” I joked.
Neil looked relaxed as he sat on the couch. His arm rested on the back. He bobbed his head up and down with the music. It was framed with his shaggy, dirty blonde hair, which he had just recently started wearing all neatly combed back. He glanced over and shot me a crooked smile. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
I raised my eyebrows. “You’re not a bottle service kinda guy.”
Neil shrugged. “Now I am.”
My eyes widened. “You got the job?”
Neil smiled. “I start Monday.”
I rolled my eyes and took another sip of my martini. “You know, I’m gonna miss my dive bar, beer buddy.”
Neil chuckled. “Don’t even lie, man. You know you can’t stand dirty floors.”
I laughed. He wasn’t wrong. “Yeah well, you can’t blame me for being distracted by sticky wood.”
Neil raised his drink. “Well, there will be no more of that from now on.”
“I’m proud of you man! You started out as that scholarship kid at Wharton… and now look at you.” I said, toasting to him.
“Yeah well, what about you? You heard back from that company yet?” Neil asked after we both took another sip of our drinks.
“The holdings company? Yeah, it’s between my cousin and me.”
“George?” Neil asked.
I nodded. “George.” My lips folded into a frown at the sound of his name.
“That guy’s a dick. You’ll get it for sure.”
I frowned. “It’s not a personality contest.”
Neil laughed. “It isn’t?” He took another gulp of his drink. “Then how does your uncle decide which one of his qualified, well-bred, spoiled spawns gets to take over his company?”
I shot Neil a look. “You know the thing about making it big in finance? You automatically lose your license to make fun of other rich people.”
“Fair enough,” said Neil with a laugh
At that moment, the lights dimmed and the music got a little louder; all signs that the show was about to start. I shut up and glanced around me as I placed my martini down for a refill. People were starting to grab their seats at the booths or couches, settling in for what was about to start. I caught the eye of a brunette sitting a little away from us. Her skin looked pale in the dim lighting, her red lips contrasting against it beautifully. Her eyes widened when we made eye contact, those lips stretching into a smile. I let my lip twitch a little before I looked away. I wasn’t super interested in taking someone home tonight. No. Tonight was just to celebrate Neil being back and his new, badass job. So, I looked away.
In the five minutes that followed, I noticed at least four other girls checking me out. There was the woman with legs for days, the shorter woman with cleavage that made my mouth water, the blond that looked like she used a village’s worth of hair spray to get her hair that big, and of course, the cocktail waitress, who found an excuse to touch me every time she came by to get me a refill. Eventually, the lights dimmed to black and the stage lamps came on.
I picked up my refreshed drink and settled into the back of the chair, watching. The curtains pulled back to reveal six girls standing on the stage, their bodies practically mirrors of each other. All had long, gorgeous legs, long, wavy hair, and athletic bodies covered in black one-pieces with red trim. My eyes scanned their faces; big eyes, red lips, until they landed on one girl that I recognized. There was Nancy, standing just at the edge of the stage, looking larger than life as the music started. When they started dancing, I watched her muscles flex with her movements, her long, blond hair flying around her, those lips stretched into an intoxicating smile, those big, brown eyes drawing me in. I couldn’t see anything but her as the number went on. The music pounded in the back of my head, matching the thud of my heart in my chest. I clenched my hands into fists as my mouth watered. My eyes glazed over with lust, my dick hardening, ever so slightly, in my pants.
I sucked in a breath. Nancy. Nancy. Nancy. She was Neil’s sister, the reason why we chose that spot as our hang-out. She got us the best table in the house and discounted drinks, not that the price mattered much to me. But the Box was one of the most exclusive clubs in the city. You couldn’t buy a table even if you had the money. That was the whole point of it. And, as a plus, I got to watch Nancy dance. God, she was gorgeous. I had a crush on her ever since I saw her, rushing down the street to meet Neil during the first family visit of business school. Ever since that night we accidentally ended up alone together in that hotel room during spring break, ever since that almost kiss, I always came back to Nancy; the scent of her body, the sound of her voice, those lips… God, as I gazed up on stage into those eyes, my body was squirming with desire.
The show ended just when I was about to explode, the curtains slamming shut to the sound of applause. The lights came up to the way they were before. The house music slowly ramped up as I applauded with Neil. I glanced over at him. “What did you think?”
Neil shrugged. “Man, Nance. She’s so artsy. I’ve seen it a hundred times. The first time, I was scared. You know like, damn, what’s my sister doing up there? But it’s not even really that sexual. It’s just dancing.”
I nodded, a tight-lipped smile forming on my face.
Neil’s eyes widened as he locked eyes with me again. “Dude, you see that girl at your three o’clock?”
I glanced over. It was a red head with bare lips and big eyes framed with dark makeup. “Yeah.”
“That’s my pick. She’s been staring at us all night.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Go for it.”
Neil and I toasted. “Godspeed,” I said as he got up.
I sat there for a little while longer, finishing up my drink and downing a glass of water in the process. It was about time I started sobering up. One check of my watch told me that it was after midnight, so I was going to need to leave within the hour. Tomorrow was Monday, and I needed to be at work before the markets opened.
I got up, making my way to the bathroom. I pressed through the crowds of people excitedly talking to each other. Loud, sharp snippets of peoples’ drunken conversations caught my ears as I traveled across the tiny club to the narrow hallway that led to the bathrooms. It was significantly quiet there. I could actually hear my own thoughts.
There was someone in the men’s bathroom, so I stood out in the hall, resting my shoulder on the thick, glazed wood that made up the wall. I looked up as the women’s door opened and out came Nancy, running a hand through her hair. The tired look on her face melted away when she glanced up and saw me standing there. Her cute, button nose scrunched up with her smile, her eyes twinkling in the dim light. I couldn’t stop myself from drinking in her body, my eyes lingering on her long neck, her delicate collarbone, the perfect curve of her torso. God she was so gorgeous.
“Hey!” she stopped and crossed her arms.
Someone brushed past us to get to the women's room.
Nancy shifted her weight, leaning on the wall next to me, trying not to take up too much space. She was so close to me, with only inches of air preventing her chest from pressing against mine. Her eyes bore holes into my face. Her scent made me light-headed. “Good show,” was all that I could muster.
She laughed, the sound ringing in my head. “Oh please. You haven’t seen anything yet.”
“I can’t believe this is the first time I’m seeing you dance.”
She shrugged those small shoulders. “Yeah well you’re Neil’s friend, not mine.”
“How have you been?”
“What, since 2016?” She joked.
I laughed. “I guess it’s been a while.”
She waved her hand, placing it on my arm. “Don’t sweat it.”
My eyes followed her hand, staring at where it sat on my arm. I couldn’t stop myself from imagining the sensation of her touch. “You really were amazing.”
“Yeah well, we’ve been doing that number for almost a year now. Tell me, how have you been? Still working at that investment firm?”
I nodded. “Yeah, business is good.”
She smiled. “I bet.”
I bit my lip, trying to focus on the conversation, but all I could think about was the sound of her voice wrapped around the words coming out of her mouth. I was focused on the way her lips puckered, or the way her eyes widened when she laughed. My skin crawled with sheer desire for her, my body squirming to get even closer to her. The pressure in my pants shot clear commands up to my brain.
I noticed her eyes lingering on my lips. I rested an arm on the wall above her head, with my long-sleeve cashmere pulled up a little. I watched her gaze at my chest, my waist, below my waist. Her eyes widened as she undoubtedly caught wind of what was going on in my pants. She looked in my eyes again, hers brandishing the same, mischievous gaze that I knew her for. She wanted me too, I could feel it.
She leaned in a little closer. “So, you heard about Neil’s job?”
I nodded, trying to catch my breath but failing miserably. “Yeah. He deserves it.”
I wondered how long we could last, standing there inches apart from each other. But then the lights dipped again and the music lowered. Her eyes widened and she jumped into action, as if climbing out of a trance. “Oh shit I gotta go.” She started to walk away but a crowd of women blocked the hallway.
“Break a leg, I’ll be watching.” I called as she scurried off.
I shook my head as I watched her form disappear in the crowd. I couldn’t do anything but watch her.