I was listening to 'Big Spender' with Shirley Bassey singing, and I had the most absurd idea about Clarice as a singer in a dive bar, and in walks Hannibal...
Quick disclaimer: this is not a songfic, nor do I have any right to the song 'Big Spender'.
The minute you walked in the joint...
Clarice was having a dull evening. The same old round, parading herself like a show pony, to the same old song. Ordinarily, she would have liked it, but since it became her 'signature' (so said the greasy club owner), she couldn't escape it.
As she sang, the door swung open and a man walked in. Usually, Clarice kept her eyes on the exit sign directly above said door, to avoid meeting anyone's eyes, in case they got it into their heads that she was paying them attention. But this man drew her eye, and she felt herself blush when she noticed him watching her with dark, maroon eyes.
I could see you were a man of distinction, a real big spender...
He was good-looking, she had to admit, with an air of sophistication and culture. She wondered what a man like him was doing in a joint like this. It wasn't exactly the Ritz. And he was wearing a bespoke suit, tailored to fit. And it fit him well, she noticed...
Hoo-boy, hold that thought, girl. You do not get mixed up with the more suspect customers of this establishment, she reminded herself. He may look nice, but he could easily be a stalker. Ardelia had told her when she first arrived that there were some real dangerous creeps that tended to get fixated on a girl, and that she had broken a few noses in her time here, protecting the girls.
Clarice kept singing, the words coming as second nature to her, she was so familiar with the melody.
Keeping her eyes on the refined gentleman, who had taken a seat at the bar, ordered a glass of wine, and turned his red gaze on her. Well, she was used to that, at the very least, in her line of work. But something about being in his sight, she had the distinct feeling that she was being X-rayed and seen, not just stared at because of the tight-fitting dress.
She finished her song, and made to leave the stage. Cue Chilton (her greasy boss) intercepting her.
"Sweetheart," she grimaced, "the man at the bar wants you," he said lecherously, not even hiding his staring at her chest. Clarice sighed internally.
"Can I at least change quickly?" She asked, hoping to let Ardelia know who she was with before meeting a mystery man. It was their routine now, let each other know their movements, and ensure their safety. Chilton nodded, not taking his eyes of her body.
Clarice slipped into the dressing room, sighing out loud. Quickly, she changed into a simple shift dress, and hunted Ardelia down.
"Hey, girl," said Ardelia, applying blusher, "I'm not on until 11, do you want to talk?"
"I can't, Dee, Chilton's sent me to entertain some guy at the bar." She quickly described what he was wearing, and what he looked like. Ardelia nodded sagely, blew her kiss and wished her luck. Clarice blew one back, smiling.
Carefully, she picked her way between little round tables to the bar. Barney was serving tonight, she noted with relief. Barney was a sweetheart, a gentle giant who looked out for the girls and never hesitated to spill a drink over a handsy customer. She was as safe as she could be.
"Good evening, sir. I believe you requested my presence?" she said to the gentleman, watching him carefully. He was even more handsome up close. He smiled.
"I did indeed, my dear. What's your name?"
"What's yours?" He raised his eyebrows.
"The Doctor?" Clarice asked, a little surprised that Dr Lecter, of psychiatric repute, would frequent this dive bar.
"Yes, you know of me?"
"Yes, I read your article in the most recent American Journal of Psychiatry. Your profile on the mind of a serial killer was amazing." A real smiled worked its way onto her face.
"Thank you, my dear. I must confess I wasn't expecting to be recognised at such an extablishment. But I still don't know your name."
"Claire," she said, giving her stage name. He sucked in a breath, narrowing his eyes playfully.
"I don't think that's quite right, my dear. Try again." Clarice was surprised, he had been able to tell that she had lied.
"Clarice." she said, with a hint of intrigue.
"A beautiful name." Clarice inclined her head in thanks, a little flattered.
"So you read the American Journal of Psychiatry?"
"Yes, I get it delivered. It exercises my mind."
"And does this profession exercise your body?" Clarice's cheeks burned at his implication.
"I'm not a prostitute, Dr Lecter." she said, cold anger flowing through her.
"Forgive me, Clarice, I did not mean to offend. I was curious."
"Maybe you should remember that curiosity killed the cat." she said sharply.
"But satisfaction brought it back, my dear, and you could most definitely satisfy my tastes..." Her cheeks burned again, no other man had been quite this tasteful about his desires. Usually she got an "I want to fuck you so hard", which was lacking in finesse and subtlety, to say the very least.
"Dr Lecter, you're being very forward. But if you do want me to satisfy you may have to pay a little extra."
"I believe you insisted that you were not a prostitute?" He teased.
"I'm not." she said firmly, "I'm an escort."
"Ah," Dr Lecter smiled indulgently in understanding. She allowed herself to smile at him. So sue her, he was more charming than all of the regulars put together.
"May I ask why it is a refined doctor, such as yourself, finds himself in this kind of establishment?"
"I don't believe the Baltimore Philharmonic could satisfy me like this place could, Clarice." She almost laughed, but caught herself.
"Surely you have a wife?" He shook his head with a smile.
"No, I don't."
"So you seek the company of escorts."
"So I seek the company of escorts." He smiled, echoing her words back to her.
"I'm sure you could do much better than this place, Doctor."
"I don't know, Clarice, 'this place' has it's attractions." For the first time, he let his eyes drift to her mouth.
"I must give you some credit, Doctor," Clarice said lightly, "you're far more polite than my regulars."
"I don't think that's a compliment, my dear, I've seen the types that haunt this place. But do I get a reward nonetheless?" He leaned in, eyes boring into hers with breath-halting intensity.
"You'll have to work harder for that, Doctor." she breathed back, her chin lifting.
"Hmm, how about dinner?" Clarice laughed, "What is it, Clarice?"
"I've never, in all of my time working here, been asked to dinner."
"A crying shame, my dear. How about a stroll by the river?"
"How romantic, a girl's heart may melt." Clarice teased, letting herself smile properly.
"Then it's settled. Do you have a coat?"
"I do, let me fetch it."
"I'll wait, Clarice." She threw a three-fingered wave at him over her shoulder, and he smiled. Disappearing into the dressing room, she found Ardelia reading.
"Hey, Dee, the guy at the bar and I are going for a stroll, I just need to get my coat." Ardelia sat up.
"Are you sure, girl? He looked a little dangerous."
"He is, but he's also far more respectful than anyone I've ever met. Barney-level." Ardelia's eyebrows raised.
"Goodness. He's a rare breed. Take your cell, just in case."
"Will do. Take care, Dee. I won't be long, and if I am, I'll let you know." Ardelia smiled as she left.
Making her way back to the bar, Clarice wrapped the coat around her slender shoulders. Dr Lecter saw her coming and smiled. He offered his arm, like a true gentleman.
The pair walked to the nearest bridge, where the pathway sank down near the water's edge. Arm in arm with a handsome Doctor, Clarice allowed herself to enjoy the night lights playing off the water's surface, red, orange and blue glittering in the little waves.
"You try awfully hard for something you could get very easily, Doctor." Clarice remarked absent-mindedly.
"Call me Hannibal, my dear. And I do like a chase. Delayed gratification is something I enjoy greatly." Clarice blushed. Even though she was well used to it, working in her profession, his comments made her cheeks turn redder than roses.
"You're quite beautiful, Clarice." She rolled her eyes, and Lecter found himself even more attracted to her, in spite of the insolence of the gesture.
"Looks are an accident, Hannibal."
"If comeliness were earned, you'd still be beautiful." Clarice slowed her pace.
"Earned how? Sleeping with men for money? Or maybe singing breathy jazz for their enjoyment?"
"You're much more than that, Clarice."
"How would you know? You've only just met me." Clarice challenged. They had stopped walking now, stationary under a lampost.
"I must admit, I knew of you before I met you."
"How?" Clarice didn't like where this was going. He knew about her before meeting her. This had danger written all over it.
"Barney and I are good friends. We worked together frequently when he was a nurse, and I a GP, before I specialised."
"Barney used to be a nurse? What's he doing tending a bar then?" Clarice was intrigued, and more than slightly relieved. Barney was a good man. If he was friends with Doctor Lecter, she was safe.
"That's something only he can tell you. I don't share my friends' confidences."
"You're a very good friend, then."
"I like to think so." Hannibal smiled winningly at her, and she felt herself melt a little. Goodness, give her half an hour with a charming, respectful man, and she wanted to rip his clothes off. Maybe this job made her dating instincts weak. She bit her lip, trying to reign herself in.
"Don't fight it, Clarice. Let yourself feel, whatever the emotion. The repression of emotions never ends well." Hannibal advised, dipping his head nearer hers, their foreheads barely brushing.
"I-" Clarice began, but before she could continue, Hannibal's mouth landed on her neck, in the sweet junction under her ear. She let out a breathy sigh as he kissed the spot tenderly.
"Hannibal," he corrected, his lips brushing the soft skin of her throat. She smelled wonderful, l'Air du Temps, and natural female muskiness. He kissed the spot again, before moving up to her jaw.
"Hannibal," she managed, before sighing again. "Oh, I wanted to make you wait a little longer." she whispered as he let his nose run along her jawline.
"Oh no, my dear, this chase is over." whispered Hannibal triumphantly. He kissed the corner of her mouth softly, chastely, and her sigh was dangerously close to a moan. She was being ravished under lamplight by a man she barely knew, and my God was she enjoying it.
Tilting her head, she let their mouths meet in a soft kiss, which quickly grew passionate. He was a wonderful kisser, and her purrs of contentment were answered with growls from him. When they broke for air, Clarice noticed that his hand was wrapped securely around her waist, the other cradling her jaw. She had never been held like this.
"Come home with me," Hannibal asked breathlessly. Clarice inhaled sharply. If his kissing was any indication, a night with Doctor Lecter may prove to be the best she'd ever have.
"Let me call my friend first. I told her I'd let her know any changes to my plan."
"Of course, do you have a cell?" Screw that, Hannibal was the best she'd every had and they hadn't even gone further than kissing yet.
"I do, excuse me for just a moment." He let her go, and she made the call from a few steps away.
"Hey, Dee, I'm going home with Doctor Lecter tonight. Don't wait up for me, 'kay?"
"Doctor Lecter? He's the mystery guy?"
"Yeah, and he's respectful and polite, so I'll be fine."
"Well, if his reputation is to be believed, you'll be the safest person in Baltimore, Clarice."
"Glad to hear it, love you Dee. I'll see you tomorrow. Probably."
"Enjoy it, girl, you deserve it." Clarice blushed, and sneaked a look and Hannibal. His arms were resting on the bridge railing, watching the patterns of light on the water.
"Bye, Clarice." She hung up. Hannibal moved over to her, a soft smile on his face.
"Your friend is correct, you are the safest person in Baltimore with me."
"I can look after myself, Hannibal." Clarice said confidently.
"I'm aware, but should anything happen, rest assured, we stop immediately if you feel at all uncomfortable." No one had ever said that to her. It was all about the desires of the client, never her own.
She gave him a passionate kiss, breaking away before he could begin to kiss back. He looked disappointed, and he followed her mouth involuntarily. She smiled triumphantly.
"Let's go, Hannibal." With a crooked smile, Hannibal offered his arm, and she took it with a smile in return.
I might continue this, and give you a sex scene, if you like? Review with your thoughts!