The credit for the major beta'ing is going straight to PTB. I can't even begin to thank them enough.
It's a wonderful thing they do, take time out of their lives to help the small people like me. I hug all of you over at PTB hard!
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
I need time.
He just left. He left me and our kids. I had no idea where he went and if he 'd ever be coming back home. He left without saying a word to me, or his family, or his friends. The only thing was that text message.
I had no idea what I was going to do. We 'd married shortly after high school. Months later, we welcomed Ave, and three years later Ava would become a big sister to a very wanted little Ryan. Ava, now, our beautiful, spunky, rambunctious four year old, Ryan, my pudgey little guy that was almost one. Our little family, living perfectly happy, in our comfortable home.
Little did I know, even a few months ago, that our world would come crashing down on us in as little as one weekend.
I'd never given much thought into continuing my education. I had no need to find a job, because life had given me a perfectly suited job for me. I was mom, and I couldn't be happier about it. Never, not even for one second, had I considered that my husband would up and leave us. There was no warning, no signs, nothing. I'd never felt more naive.
I had no idea what I was going to do. How was I am going to pay the mortgage? I had a car payment that was three weeks past due. Blinking through my tears on the drive home from the grocery store, a flashy, purple neon sign jumped out at me.
Flexible hours. Decent cash. Weekend nights.
It was almost perfect. It was something I could do while at the same time I 'd be able to be the kind of mom I wanted to be. I'd be able to sneak out to work on Friday and Saturday night's while my kids slept peacefully in their beds.. I'd just need to find a babysitter for the few hours I'd be gone.
My biggest obstacle to overcome was a babysitter. I didn't have many friends, as I'd happily wrapped myself up with my husband and his family. My parents Charlie and Renee were hundreds of miles away in Arizona. I wasn't even sure I wanted them to know I was all alone yet. And I certainly couldn't expect them to fly out to New England every weekend. It wasn't practical and I certainly wouldn't be making that much money, though, a girl could dream.
I walked out of the dingy brick building with black tinted windows with a job. I'd have to start tonight and I wasn't sure I'd be able to grab someone on a Friday with such short notice.
I headed over to Esme and Carlisle 's to go and pick up the kids. They'd been staying with them for the past two days while I tried to pull myself together.
My phone began ringing while I was pulling onto their road, I decided whoever it was could wait until I parked at the Cullen 's.
"Hello, Bella. I know we should have made sure it was ok, but we headed over to the indoor water park with the kids. We were thinking about staying until Saturday and heading back home after dinner, but if you'd prefer, we can come back tonight." Esme said.
I might have gotten annoyed on a normal day, but this might have actually just helped me out and given me an extra week to find a sitter.
I had no idea how the hell I was going to pull something like this off, where I 'd find something to wear, and if I'd even be able to walk into that building. And furthermore, how was I going to gather up the courage to do this?
I was going to do this. If it took every damn thing I had to be able to walk into that club, walk out in front of all of those men and take my clothes off, I would do it. And hopefully it wouldn't be entirely bad.
I walked into the store and grabbed the first matching set that was on display. I wasn 't really sure what I was supposed to be buying, but if it would be coming off at some point, would it really matter? It was a white and pink polka dot set with a bikini top and a boy-short type of bottom. It was kind of cute, but nothing I'd normally wear. I didn't own a single piece of lingerie, which made me think.
I don't think I remember ever owning a peice of lingerie in my life.
I wouldn 't think about that now. I'd spent four whole days wondering why he left, beating myself up, and trying to figure out how I would go on, I wasn't going to do that now.
The cashier was a rather ugly woman that had obviously spent too much time in the sun as a young adult. Her skin reminded me of snake skin. I paid her for the offending material that I had bought and headed out to my car. I threw the bags in the back seat and buckled in before calling Esme.
"Esme? Hi. "
"Oh, Hi Bella. I hope this was okay, I was trying to get their minds off of things."
"It 's okay, Es. Just let me know when you'll be getting home."
"Okay, Hun. You try and get some rest. Maybe you can go visit with Rosalie."
"Yeah, maybe. Kiss the kids for me and tell them I love them and will see them tomorrow? "
"I will, just try and relax, hun. I'm sure everything will be okay."
"Bye, Es. "
I wasn 't really going to go see my best friend now. I'd been avoiding her calls and I bailed on our Thursday night card game that we'd had every week for the past three years. I just couldn't go. The reminder of how every other Thursday evening went certainly wouldn't be good for a positive mindset right now. I needed to get through my first night at work before I had another breakdown.
Shit, I had no damn shoes to go with this thing. I 'd have to walk back into that damn store and see if they had anything that wouldn't squeeze my feet and cause me any unnecessary damage.
"Oh, you must have forgotten your bottle of pretty, " the woman said while glancing to the girl beside her who was giggling.
I walked past them and headed for the back wall that had cheap shoes hung up and down the length. I grabbed the first white pair of shoes with a clear heal that looked the easiest to walk in before heading back over to that bitch at the register.
"I still don 't think you remembered it."
I just smiled and handed her two twenty dollar bills. She handed me back my change and as I was putting it in its spot I pulled out my bottle of Purell, tossing it to her before adding, "No bitch, but I thought you might want to wash off your nasty."
Rather than heading back to my car, I decided to head over to coffee shop across the street. As I was pulling the door open I head a vaguely familiar voice call my name.
"Isabella? Isabella Swan?!"
I turned my head while still holding the door before realizing who it was and letting the handle slip from my fingers. Jasper Whitlock. Wow.
"Holy shit, Izzy! What, it 's been like four, five years?" Jasper said while walking towards me and picking me up in a weird hug.
"It's Cullen, remember?"
"Sorry, " he snorted.
I was kind of in shock. Not a bad, get me the hell out of here shock, but I really was just generally surprised. He was in our graduating class and was a sweet guy.
I smiled, surprising myself and returned his hug. It felt really great to smile.
My husband and his brother; Emmett and Rosalie were my best friends ever since middle school. They 'd normally keep to themselves, but I still did have still have my own friends. It wasn't always the Cullen boys and their girlfriends.
I 'd spend some weekends with Jasper, Jake, Leah and her younger brother Seth while our dads would fish.
Jake 's dad, Billy, and my father were best friends since as far back as either of them can remember. Jake and I had grown up together and were always close. Leah and Seth lived right around the corner and the four of us were pretty inseparable until my parents enrolled me into a private high school.
Jasper moved in next door to Jake at the beginning of eight grade. He was fairly quiet, but ended up becoming good friends with Jake and Leah. At the end of sophomore year Leah headed off to college and we only saw her a few times during holiday breaks and such until we all went our separate ways.
Jasper ended up at our private school in tenth grade after he or, 'someone else' decided it would be fun to bring a pet rat to school in a lunch box. He was very much a clown. He never did anything that would be a cause for an arrest or give him a juvenile delinquent label, but his parents thought that maybe a private school would keep his messing around to a minimum.
"Wow, Jazz! How have you been? I asked.
"I 've been good, Izz. I made my way over here for a contract I picked up that will be starting up in a couple weeks. How's the family?"
I tried like hell to keep up my smile. I was genuinely happy to see Jasper, but he'd asked an innocent question that most people wouldn't have a problem with, but it hit a sore spot and I tried not to cringe.
I was going to keep my answer as vague as possible; avoid more questions, glancing at my watch I answered, "They're good, I've actually got to run. It was great seeing you, Jasper."
It 's not that I wasn't excited to see an old friend, who just happened to be super sweet and caring, but I just wasn't ready. I wasn't ready to admit to myself or anyone else that my husband had left.
"We should really catch up, call me? " he said while reaching into his back pocket and pulling out one of those cheesy, free Vista Print business cards.
"Of course Jasper. I 'll give you a call next week."
I walked into the coffee shop, ordered my regular and paid before heading back for my car that I conveniently left at across the street in front of that store. I hoped like hell Jasper had already taken off to where ever he was going.
I hopped in the car and headed home. I made up a quick sandwich, but had a hard time eating it, managing a few bites of the crust and a glass of orange juice. I headed up stairs and took a quick shower.
The day had gone by extremely quickly. Yesterday I would have been grateful for that, but today, I had a job. A job that would require much more courage than I had.. It was already quarter of five and I needed to get there somewhat early to see what that the hell I would be doing up on that stage. Or in the back room. Or in the laps of the men that sat at the tables.
My interview had been somewhat rushed and the owner, Vic, pretty much begged me to just take job and fill the spot that was abandoned without notice. He said that he 'd just take my first night as my audition dance.
I sat down in front of my vanity and brushed through my hair with shaky hands. I applied some sheer eye shadow lightly and smeared on some eyeliner, finishing up with a coat of mascara.
I hated makeup, only opting to wear it for parties or going out to dinner. I had to assume that makeup would be a necessity with the job that I had landed.
There, face-check, bag with skimpy costume thingy-check, shoes-check. Shit, what was I supposed to do with my hair? Down. Leaving it down would be my best bet. I squeezed a small amount of de-frizzing cream onto my hands and smoothed it into my hair before blowing it out with a round brush.
I guess I 'd have to go for innocent sexy until I got more of an idea of this sort of thing. Shrugging to myself in defeat, I stood up and headed for my car.
I arrived at the place that would be called my job if things went well tonight, a bit before seven. There were few cars in the parking lot out back and opted to squeeze between a dingy, white, rusted utility van and a shiny new toy type of car. Things are always better in numbers.
I took the keys out of my ignition and took a few deep breaths before I turned to grab my bags in the back seat and I stepped out of my car.
There were a few men stood outside of the back door smoking, but they didn 't bother with me, even stepping aside so I could get through the door.
The back door led straight into the dressing rooms and I bumped into a small woman with a cute costume. I assumed she was a waitress because her uniform was a black leotard with black tights and a hot punk cumber bun and mary jane type of heels.
"Oh, hi! You must be the new dancer Vic mentioned! Here, let me show you were you can change and put your makeup on, where you 'll get to sit for a few minutes between sets and cool off. I'm Alice! I've been a cocktail waitress here for a couple of years. Despite the looks of this place outside, it's really a decent club. Safe." Alice winked and took my hand dragging me into another room off to the side.
"Uhh, I need more makeup? " I questioned, trying to hide the disappointment in my voice.
"Oh sweets, with all the lights flashing and the darkness of the room, you 'll want more than that. You'll want to be flashy and bold," she answered while tilting her head to the side." Give me five minutes and I'll be right back to give you some help!"
I quickly took out the shoes and little outfit I bought earlier in the day . This outfit was not going to cut it if my makeup was all wrong. Shit.
Despite the poor clothing choice, I quickly changed before Alice came back and sat down on the small couch that was against the far wall, throwing on the god awful, uncomfortable shoes. Heh, they are kind of cute.
"Knock, knock, " Alice said, while tapping her fist in the air, immediately eyeing me up and down . Slowly.
"Yeah, you definitely haven 't done this before," she chimed while flashing me a sweet smile. "But, we can definitely work with the sweet innocent country girl. Some glitter on the eyes to play them up, pink shimmery lips and some lashes. Oh, and I have a a pair of white thigh highs with a matching garter in my locker."
I wondered for a moment why Alice wasn 't a dancer and before I could shut myself up I asked, "Are you sure you're just a waitress?"
She giggled rather than answered me. I decided to leave it alone, if she didn 't answer, there must have been a reason. Besides, I'd just met the girl, and I liked her.
After Alice so kindly fixed up my face and threw up my hair in wavy low pig tails, complete with pink ribbons that curled along the length of my hair, she asked me to show her some dancing. Oh god.
"I 'd really rather not. I'd rather just go out there and wing it." I mumbled.
"I get it, this is all new to you. If you can pass through Vic, and I will make sure you do, and decide that you want some pointers or some moves, I 'll be more than happy to help out," she winked and headed out, motioning me to follow.
We stood behind a black curtain while watching some tall beauty with red hair that flowed down the center of her back, dressed in black leather and lace, and in just a few short minutes of watching her, she walked out back towards us, winking at us, while collecting all the bills from her garter and thong.
"Well, you 're up sweets! Vic wanted you on early, before the crowds got too busy and so you could get a feel of things. Don't worry, this is the perfect time to test out the waters."
I took three deep breaths, peeked through the curtain and walked out completely shaken.
The strobe lights glimmered throughout the entire club, the glass bridge to the bar, lined with chasing white and pink lights, there were disco balls on the ceilings and silver streamers along the walls. Couches lined half of the stage, while the other half had bar stools and there were two poles on either side.
A song I 'd never heard was playing and whatever I was doing must have worked, because as I was moving along the sides of the stage, men were slipping bills into my bra and the garter Alice had so kindly loaned me.
"Take it off baby! " some man with a hideous mustache boomed. I inwardly sighed, knowing this was part of my job. I'd start off slow tonight though. The boy shorts came off, revealing my white lace thong and I bent over, just enough so that the man could do his thing.
As I was turning to head back to the other side of the stage, I saw Alice waving at me to get my attention. Confused, I walked backwards slowly, and slid behind the curtain.
"Great, now we just have to get you to use some dancing in there and you'll do fantastic! I suggest taking some pole dancing classes and maybe a bit of yoga," she babbled away while I tried calming myself.
"I didn't't see Vic and he'd mentioned that tonight would be my audition or something."
"You 're in, now go ahead and go home, and here, call me tomorrow and we'll go and grab you some more things," she scribbled her number down on a club card and ran off in the other direction.
Even not having a clue as to what I was doing, I survived my first night.