There was a bare butt on her computer screen, and it bothered Audra James. It bothered her a lot. Not that she had anything against nudity, or anything against this butt in particular. If she was going to spend time looking at asses, this one would have been at the top of her list. It was muscular. Smooth skinned. Perky. In the Olympics of butts, this one would have taken a gold medal.
She considered herself an expert on this particular ass, since she’d spent many a night admiring it sans clothing. The behind in question belonged to her boyfriend Chad. They’d been together for five months now, and by this time, she could have taken a final exam on the status of his anatomy and passed with flying colors. It was a topic she liked to study.
Apparently, though, she hadn’t liked it enough. Because here she was, testing the new camera system at the Las Vegas pawn shop she’d inherited from her Uncle Grey. She’d expected to see a lot of things when she’d installed the top-of-the-line hidden cameras with their fancy remote access system and supposedly hack proof wireless structure. Like an employee pocketing a little extra cash off a sale, or someone giving their buddies an under the counter discount. Or maybe a customer helping themselves to one of the smaller jewelry items scattered in baskets around the store. Of course she kept the more expensive items behind glass, but putting out the less valuable stuff encouraged impulse buys. And installing the cameras would insure that none of them walked out the doors without being purchased first.
It had been a great idea, and she’d gotten such a deal on the cameras from the first company she called that she had them installed within a couple of days. The whole thing had happened so fast that she must have forgotten to mention it to Chad. Either that, or she’d said something and he’d failed to listen to her because he was daydreaming about something. Like maybe cheating on her with a dark haired woman wearing the colossal ruby necklace recently pawned by a daughter of a sheik.
At first, she could barely believe what she was seeing. She’d booted up the system from the laptop in her living room, expecting to see nothing but dimly lit storage lockers in the back room. Instead, she’d been treated to the sight of her boyfriend’s flexing buttocks as he hammered away at a dark haired beauty on Audra’s desk.
It was probably weird of her to still be watching. Not like she was getting any sexual kick out of it, but she found herself oddly riveted. What did this woman have that she didn’t? She had a great body, but after years spent hauling gardening supplies around to various job sites, so did Audra. She seemed to enjoy sex, but it wasn’t like Audra was frigid or anything. She enjoyed sex too. She’d enjoyed it very much with Chad, and she’d tried so hard to make things work. He was funny and sexy, and he could have been the one. She was tired of being single. She’d hoped that Chad would be the end of that, but apparently not.
A lesser woman might have patched the feed into Facebook Live, or sent a link to Chad’s mother, or any number of things. Audra didn’t feel like doing any of them. She felt strangely numb. Maybe this was shock? She was hurt for sure, but this was the third boyfriend in a row that had cheated on her, and she’d already exhausted her store of tears. All she had left was exhaustion. She was beginning to suspect that she might as well give up. The one perfect guy for her? He wasn’t out there. Instead of continuing to look, she would treat herself to one of those nice top of the line vibrators. They, at least, were somewhat reliable.
She stood up, looked down at her t-shirt and pajama pants ensemble, and decided not to bother changing. After all, she didn’t have anyone to impress. But she did want to get the naked people off her account books, because she had to touch those on a regular basis. She grabbed her keys and headed out to her car without making a sound. It just didn’t seem worth the effort to complain. No one was going to care anyway. Not even her cat. Houdini was kind of a jerk, if she was going to be honest about her life choices. So far, they kind of sucked.
She pulled her Volkswagen convertible right up to the back doors of the Desert Oasis Pawn Emporium. She’d owned the place for the last six months, ever since her Uncle Grey had died suddenly from a massive stroke. He’d left the shop to her as they’d previously arranged. No one else in their family had their magical gifts, and the owner of the Desert Oasis needed them.
On the surface, it looked like any of the other hundreds of pawn shops that dotted the streets of Las Vegas. This one sat on the higher end of the pawn shop spectrum. The outside of the building was clean, free of graffiti, and freshly painted. A high end security system protected the entrances as well as the standard bars and gates. Most of her patrons had all of their teeth and did not show their belly buttons in public. It was a good business, and she felt proud to call it hers. She could afford to discriminate when it came to deciding what to invest in. They did a nice trade in jewelry, since Audra had a real knack for spotting real precious stones thanks to her magic. Beef, one of her employees and her best friend, knew music collectibles like most people know the alphabet. Chad had always done a great job of selling unsellable items to female customers, usually while flirting his pants off. Until this moment, she hadn’t realized that was a literal thing.
As she unlocked the back door, she tried to take a calming breath. The anger was hitting now. She didn’t deserve to be treated like this after all she’d done for him. She’d given him a job shortly after they started dating. He’d claimed that he hadn’t known the girl he’d dated before her was married to his district manager, but now she wasn’t so sure. Maybe that had been another lie.
Well, he could take his tanned buns off her desk and go find another woman to leech off of. Because as of this moment, he was going to be out of her life and her place of business if she had to throw him out into the street on his naked behind.
She threw the door open and stalked into the back hallway, her teeth clenched. After those first few moments of stunned numbness, the fury felt good. It carried her toward the door to the back room. Light leaked around the edges of the door and into the darkened hall. That door was supposed to be locked all the time, especially in light of all of the dangerous magical artifacts that were hidden in there, but Chad didn’t know everything about the artifacts. He knew about her magic, because one time when he’d lit a pizza on fire in the oven, she’d put it out with a single wave of her hand. Normally, she didn’t reveal her abilities like that, but that gas oven had been a millisecond away from exploding. Besides, she’d trusted him.
The door wasn’t locked, which just made her angrier. She threw it open so hard that it banged against the wall. Chad jumped, looked over his shoulder, and then pumped his hips four more times before he stopped. He didn’t even withdraw from the woman whose waist he held firmly in those baby soft hands. He just looked over his shoulder at his girlfriend of five months as if waiting for her to say whatever was on her mind so he could get on with drilling this woman on her desk.
“You are a cockwaffle,” she declared. “And we’re through.”
“Audra, don’t be like that,” said Chad. Then he ran his thumb over the woman’s thigh, like he was trying to keep her engaged in the sex despite the fact that he was arguing with someone else. “It’s not what you think.”
“Oh, but it is. I installed some new security cameras, Chad. I’ve been watching you screw this hussy for the past twenty minutes.”
He arched a brow in that cocky way of his. Up until this moment, she’d found his self-confidence attractive, but now she was beginning to see it for what it was. He was self-absorbed, and she hadn’t seen it before now because she’d been willingly blind. Just like the last time. And the time before that. She couldn’t decide which one she was angrier at—Chad or herself.
“You liked what you saw, didn’t you? Why don’t you join us?”
He followed this statement up with a charming smile and a gesture of invitation, as if Audra would just shrug this off and jump onto the desk with them. Then he tried to pump his hips against the woman who was still sitting bare assed on the account book, but the woman shoved him away with surprising strength given her slim figure.
“You said you were single,” she declared. “Is this your girlfriend?”
“For the past five months. I’m Audra.”
“Lara. I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
The two women exchanged looks of complete understanding. They knew where the blame needed to go. Although they were opposites on the outside—Lara’s tiny dark beauty contrasted with Audra’s tall, blonde Amazonian shtick—they were completely sympatico in that moment.
“I’m sorry I called you a hussy,” Audra said. “Of course this cockwaffle didn’t tell you he was taken. He was too busy thinking with his tiny penis.”
Both women glared at him, and the tiny penis in question (which actually wasn’t that tiny, but Audra wasn’t exactly feeling charitable at the moment) shriveled beneath their angry looks. Chad leaned down as if to pick his pants up off the floor, but Lara’s bare foot slammed down on them before he could get to them.
“Nuh uh,” she said, shaking her head. “You lied to me. I’m sick of boy-men thinking that it’s acceptable to lie to get into my pants.”
“You tell him,” said Audra.
This was so much better than anything she’d pictured while she was driving to the shop. She’d imagined stalking in here and giving some kind of speech that would make him wish he’d never been born, but what exactly could she have said? Look at what you’re missing, knowing full well that he’d had it and found it somehow lacking? You hurt my feelings, knowing that he really hadn’t cared about them from the start? But watching Lara dig into him made her feel a little less alone. They’d both deserved better treatment than this.
Chad, for his part, seemed to think they were being unreasonable. He rolled his eyes. Audra felt a wave of sheepishness pass over her. Maybe Lara had been taken in by Chad’s charm for the evening, but she’d been taken in by him for months. And why? Because he was good in bed, and because she liked being a part of a couple. She liked having someone to go out with, or to bring her soup when she was sick. She didn’t like being alone. Failed relationship after failed relationship had ground her down, and she’d set the bar too low. She’d wanted it to work after so many failures. But she was beginning to think that was never going to happen.
“Look,” he said, his eyes darting from Lara to Audra and back again. He seemed to realize that Audra was done with him, and his eyes settled on Lara. “I was going to break up with Audra tomorrow. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you the truth, but I really felt a connection with you, and I didn’t want to lose out on the opportunity. You’re so amazing that I couldn’t risk someone else sweeping you up. I couldn’t wait, even for an hour. You understand that, don’t you, baby?”
“What I understand,” said Lara coldly, “is that you lied to get into my pants. If you’d really been interested in me, you could have told me how you felt and asked to take me out after you talked with Audra. You could have called her on the spot and broke it off before you stuck your penis in me. But you did neither of those things, which suggests that you’re only trying to cover your ass now. And since you got into my pants under false pretenses, I claim yours. It’s only fair. Pants for pants.”
“I bought you that underwear,” added Audra. “I want it back.”
Chad looked from one implacable face to another. Then he grinned. “You want me to go outside in just my shirt? Bare assed?”
“You can have your shoes too,” said Audra. “I didn’t buy them.”
He ran one hand over himself, like this was a sexy game and maybe they were kidding about being angry, and that threesome thing might still be on the table. Or on Audra’s desk. But neither she nor Lara relented. After a moment, he sighed.
“Fine, but my car keys are in my pants pockets,” he said.
Lara looked at Audra, and after a moment’s wordless communication, she nodded. She fished out his wallet first, and tossed it to him. But then, once she found the key ring, Audra stopped her.
“Wait just a moment. I’d like to take my keys back first,” she said, holding out a hand.
“Of course,” said Lara.
She handed them over, perfectly poised. Like she wasn’t standing naked in a room with a woman she’d only just met and the cheater they’d both just rejected. Of course, with a body like hers, she didn’t have anything to be embarrassed about, but still. Audra had a banging body too, but she felt fairly sure that she would have been more than a little self-conscious if the roles had been reversed.
It took Audra a moment to remove the keys, but finally she tossed the ring to Chad. He looked down at it for a moment and then frowned.
“You took the pawn shop keys too,” he said. “I need those if I’m going to open tomorrow.”
“Are you kidding?” asked Audra. “You think I’d trust you with my business after this? You’re fired.”
Now his face began to go purple, and he blustered for a moment before finally forming some coherent words.
“You…you can’t do that! You have no cause to fire me. Just because you’re a cold assed bitch and didn’t meet my needs is no reason to fire me. I’m going to take you for every penny you’ve got. Just wait until I call my lawyer,” he declared, sounding very satisfied with himself.
Before Audra could put together a coherent reply, Lara snorted. “Good luck with that. She owns this place, yeah? I’m assuming your claim that this was your shop was another of your lies. And you let me, a complete stranger, into her place of business after hours? And then put this necklace on me. How much is this necklace worth, do you think?”
“About twenty thousand dollars,” said Audra evenly.
Lara carefully unfastened the clasp, handling the valuable piece with reverence. “It’s gorgeous. And while I was happy to wear it when I thought Chad was the owner, it’s not quite the same when he’s not.”
“No kidding.” Audra got the velvet tray that was supposed to house the necklace and held it out. Lara carefully put the jewelry back where she’d gotten it, and they nodded to each other.
“I suppose I should put some clothes on,” said Lara, looking down at herself. “And then you want to get something to eat? My favorite restaurant is just down the block. They have the best pancakes in the world.”
“Tilly’s? I love that place.”
Chad made a disgusted noise. “So that’s it? Now you two are besties, and I’m fired and short a pair of pants.”
“Think of it this way,” said Audra. “It’ll make it much easier the next time you decide to lie to someone and stick your dick in them. You won’t even have to de-pants first.”
“Very nice,” said Lara. “I like how you think.”
“Why thank you.”
“And I think I want you to put that necklace away for me. I’ll come in tomorrow to pay for it.”
“It really suits you,” said Audra, laying it on thick. The nicer they were to each other, the more disgusted Chad looked.
“This is fucking ridiculous,” he said.
“No,” said Audra. “That’s just you.”