Bitter-Sweet Honey

Chapter 1- The Situation

"HEY!" The showgirl flinched in her chair in the dressing room for the show girls at the 'Blue Rose' Gentlemen's club. "Get your nose out of that goddamn comic book and get into your outfit! I don't care if you're subbing for Mandy, you're going to work her full shift!" The Manager yelled, "I swear, if you slip on that stage little Bianca, then you AND Mandy are fired!" With that, the Manager left, and Bianca stood up, one of the other show girls went over to her.

"Hey, don't worry about him. He's hard on everyone." The other one said as Bianca sighed, "Whatcha reading?"

"I'm reading one of the early releases of 'The Fantastic Four'." Bianca said, "I found it in my dad's attic. Its worth a lot." Bianca said, putting it in her bag before pulling on her boots and lacing them up. "Can you help me lace up this girdle?" Bianca asked, putting her hands on the vanity and rocking her hips gently to get into a comfortable position. The other show girl chuckled, and began to tie the lace on the back of the black and blue girdle.

"You seem to have some experience in this position, huh, Bianca?" The other girl asked and her face flushed with red heat. Bianca tried to protest, before the strings were tightened completely and she gasped. "I'll help you with the garters- Oh, you didn't put your leggings on. Never mind the garter then." Bianca pulled on girdle, feeling it was snug, before putting mascara on and curling her eyelashes, eyeliner going on afterwards. A bit of blush and foundation applied with a brush, and curled her hair into loose ringlets, tying it up before putting earrings on.

"Your turn, Princess!" The Manager grunted, and she put her black veil on before walking out of the room. And to the curtain that lead to the catwalk and the stripper pole. "and now, Gentlemen, allow me to introduce a special guest, Madame Butterfly!" "Madame Butterfly? What the hell!" She groaned behind the curtain, before slipping past it as 'Belly Dancer (Bananza)' by Akon played on the speakers. Bianca strut over to the stripper pole and rocked her hips seductively, belly dancing, before flipping onto the pole and spinning side ways before slowly twirling down.

Out in the dark of the club, in one of the VIP booths, a customer lowered their newspaper and watched as she danced with elegance usual strippers never had. Dignified. Refined. "That's the one." they said, one of the men next to him looked up, "she's the girl we'll be taking with us."

"Uh- but- why not any others?" His companion asked and he hissed, "Because I don't want an unlady-like striper in our company thank you. Now shut up." When Bianca was finished, she left the stage. "Wait half an hour and then go to her car." The first one said, and the other two in the booth nodded.

Bianca took off her outfit in the changing room, "How much did you get in tips tonight, 'Madame Butterfly'?" Bianca looked over at the show girl who had helped her, who was helping her undress once more, before looking forward.

"Two G." Bianca said bluntly, and the show girl laughed, smiling, and Bianca got out of her loosened stripper wear.

"That's more than the best stripper here. You should come back." Bianca shook her head, taking off everything she'd put on, and pulling on a long sun dress.

"No, I'm not a stripper. I don't want to dance. I'll see you later, Taffy, I'm going home." Bianca said, picking up her bag and setting the straps on her shoulder as she put her money in her wallet, before walking out. She pulled her car keys out, "Oh, I hope that Jenkins is ok." She said, not noticing three men hiding in the shadows near her car, "Jack would be so mad if another one of his presents to me died…four down already." she put the key in her driver side door, before one of the men stepped forward,

"Hello." They greeted and she jumped, whipping around, a hand over her heart.

"Sweet bleeding Christ!" She yelled, the man staring at her, before she calmed down seeing all three of them, two in the dark. "Look, I don't do anything illegal except day my rent late sometimes- and don't stop at stop signs. If its Mandy you're looking for, and you're mad about my performance, I'm only a one-time thing."

"Oh, no, we actually enjoyed your show." The man said, "I'm Victor, and these are my colleges. I was just wondering if we could have a friendly chat." She blinked,

"Bianca. Yeah, um…I'm on my way to feed my pet, Jenkins." She said, "I'm sure you want a wide but I'm not too well with invasion of personal space…"

"We'll take our own car. Lead the way." Victor said, and she got in her own car, checking her glove compartment to make sure she had her tazer and large can of mace. She closed the glove compartment before she stared her car and drove off.

"Well?" One of his comrades asked Victor as he got into his own car and turned the engine. "What did she say?"

"We're on the way to talk with her about it, gentlemen. Be patient." Victor said, and followed her car all the way to her house. As Bianca parked in the driveway and got out, Victor parked in the street on the curb.

"Jenkins?" Bianca called as she entered her house, holding open the door for Victor and his friends. A pair of eyes stared at them, and she smiled, "Make yourselves at home, do you want anything to drink?" They shook their heads, "Jenkins, it's time for Dinner." She called, and a large Puma came out of the shadows, growling and rubbing up against her leg. "Oh, Jenkins, you sassy tomcat." Jenkins purred loudly as she dropped some steaks in his bowl. Jenkins helped himself and Bianca said, "My boyfriend is an animal smuggler." She pet Jenkins and sat down, "So, what did you want to talk about?"

"Well, my friends and I are going on a long expedition and would like to have a woman like yourself to accompany us." Victor said, trying to pick the right words. Bianca nodded, "I believe you're the best candidate."

"So you want me to come with you because you think I'm a stripper?" She asked bluntly and he did a half-nod. "This is all a big misunderstanding. My friend, Mandy, is the stripper. She was sick tonight, so, I took her shift over. I don't even know how to strip or anything!" Bianca protested, "I'm not a stripper, I'm a closed-up comic book nerd with illegal animal as a pet."

"Well, I noticed that your dancing was very tasteful and refined, and you're very defined. More than your co-workers. I think you best fit our description of what we're looking for." Victor coaxed but she sighed.

"I don't know…why should I accept an offer like this?" Bianca asked cautiously, pulling her comic book out of her purse, "As you think of a response, I'm going to finish this comic book. My mind's been on it since I stopped reading it before the show." she said, lovingly flipping through it, "Ahh now I need to get the next one." she said, standing up and putting it in a protective case before putting it in her bookshelf.

"All expenses of yours both necessary and unnecessary will be paid, flexible hours, and a room of your own." Victor answered, "I hope you'll accept." He said, standing up and looking at her comic books, "So-Which side do you prefer in these comic books?"

"The Villains." Bianca answered immediately, without hesitation, "It seems to me like they don't get enough affection. Yes, they may be 'evil' and 'cruel', but its only because their way of going about things is twisted because they've only known such." Victor looked at her with interest, before leaving her comic books, "I'm sorry, but to your offer I'll have to politely decline." Victor nodded.

"That's too bad. Well then Miss Bianca-"

"Hartsdale." Bianca finished. "Bianca Hartsdale." Victor smiled.

"Victor Von Doom." Bianca blinked. That name seemed familiar. Wasn't it the name of Dr. Doom from the Fantastic four comics?

"Oh, forget this!" She said, dodging one of the two men he brought with him, and mace'd them all in the eyes. "Fuck off! Jenkins!" Jenkins was too busy eating, as she was grabbed, "Get your hands off of me! This is a mistake, I'm not a stripper!" She yelled, struggling, as Victor watched them carry her off, following smugly. Jenkins ran to the newest car that pulled into the driveway, "Jack!" Bianca yelled, and the man coming out of the car yelled back at her before a bullet was put in his forehead and he fell down, dead. Another bullet was put in Jenkins's skull as he attacked the car, before the car drove off.

"Now, if you had accepted, this would not have happened." Dr. Doom told her as the other two held her arms, making sure she didn't move. She still struggled, "No need to get all flustered, Bianca." His said, looking up at her, and she stiffened, petrified by the piercing blue eyes behind the iron mask. "Just calm down before you start making any threats you'll end up regretting in the long run, Miss Hartsdale." Bianca stared at him before taking a long, deep breath, and exhaling slowly, laying back against the seat of the small limo. "Now, that's better. Let her go." Her arms were released and she put her hands in her lap.

"I may not be in the position to ask any, but my I ask some questions?" Bianca asked sincerely. Dr. Doom considered it, before giving her a nod, "How long will I be 'employed' by you?"

"As long as your needed." Dr. Doom said simply, "But, as long as you are, you'll be a primary asset, since I plan on having you entertain whatever guests I may have. State whatever conditions you want for your employment and I am willing to hear you out before I consider anything." She nodded.

"I am not going to be some type of whore for you or your friends, I am not a possession, and I do not want to be your punching bag. I will leave, despite whatever you threaten me with." She said bluntly, and Dr. Doom nodded, "I like my privacy and I need sleep. That's all."

"Glad to see you like to get down to business, Bianca." Dr. Doom said, holding up his fingers for each rule, "You will be accompanied by an escort, you will not leave, and you are to listen and obey my every order." She frowned,

"I don't agree." She said, "I don't want an escort."

"You'll have an escort or you'll not leave your room." He pressed and she nodded, "Glad to know we came to an agreement. Now, how about you tell me about yourself?" He scooted over, patting the seat next to him and across from her, "You and I have a long trip ahead of us, Miss Hartsdale. I believe by the end of it we should have a mutual friendship at the very least. There's no need to make your time with me enjoyable despite your situation." Dr. Doom added, as she cautiously sat on his side, far away from him. "Now, let's start with your background. Do you have any family? Sibilings, maybe?"

"No one but my mother. Anastasia Nickoli. My father's name was Micheal Hartsdale. I took his last name when my parents were supported and I've kept it since he's vanished." She answered honestly, Dr. Doom making a hand motion to continue, "My mother is Russia and my dad was- well- I think he was American. He vanished when I was younger, before I was adopted. They told me they found a body they presumed was his, but, they never really determined if it was him or not."

"How did you come to America?" Dr. doom asked, interested, "Did your Mother send you away?"

"Oh no. Both of my parents tried to flee Russia with me when I was a baby, but, they captured my mother. They kept her in Russia and excommunicated my Father and I. I still email her." Her phone beeped and she pulled it out, looking at the screen, before Dr. doom took it from her, "Hey!"

"You can no longer use your old phone. I'll get you a new one." Dr. Doom said dismissively, "And anything else you have. You're starting a new life in my company, and you'll need new things." He tried reading the email on her Motorola flip phone, "It's all in Russian."

"It's from my mother then. She only writes in her language." Bianca said, trying to take the phone from him, but he childishly held it out of reach, looking at her, "What is this? A dictatorship? I thought this was a democracy!" After a while, he chuckled and gave it back to her,

"Read it a loud. I don't want there to be some type of code." He told her, and she withdrew back to her side of the bench, opening the email again.

" 'Dear Bianca. It is another cold day here. The sun shines only through the clouded, polluted sky, weakly, as always. Even as I write this, I shiver. Today, another man was brought to me, but I once more turned him away. Whatever do you think your father would say, if he knew what they plan and scheme when they believe I do not listen, as if I am not here? The walls, the ceiling, the floor, this room; its all cold. All of it is very lonely and I look forward to the emails we exchange but since I've had little time to send you emails, I feel as if I'm failing as a mother to you. Bianca, please know that I am healthy and wel, and as to your previous mail, none of the men are like your father. I hold hope in my heart- as small as the hope has become- that your Father is out there, safe, with thoughts of both you and I in his mind. Your mother, Anastasia.'" Bianca read, and Dr. Doom stared at her,

"I'm confused." He commented, and she laughed a little,

"Well, I won't tell you anymore. Remember- privacy." She pointed out, beginning to type back a response and he watched, as she wrote it all in Russian. He pulled away and after a while, before he asked, she spoke, "I won't tell you what I write back, but I guess if we're on better terms, I can read to you aloud what she sends me."

"I don't want you talking to anyone else without my permission." Dr. Doom said bluntly, "No need for you to get out of hand with your words." She narrowed her eyes at him, "Tell me more. I want to know every speck of detail about you. So much that when you think of something, I'm two steps ahead of you."

"I'm thinking of punching out the window and throwing myself out of the car. What are you thinking of?" She responded and he laughed, "How is it I give everything and you give nothing? This should be fair."

"You're quite the intellectual delight. Snapping back like a whip. Fine then, I'll tell you a bit about myself." "Don't jip me out of a deal." She quipped. "A good amount." "More." "80 percent." "What do you think this is, 'deal or no deal'? This is 'the price is right'!" "Fine, I'll divulge as much as you will." "That's more like it." "I believe this will be an interesting 'friendship'-" "Don't push your luck, you'll be lucky if it's just an 'acquaintanceship'." Doom laughed at her response.

"Lord Doom, We're here." The driver said matter-of-factly, Bianca blinking,

"'Here' ?" Bianca repeated unsurely, and the two goons got out of the car, holding the door open for Dr. Doom and his new 'associate'. They had stopped on an airplane runaway, a private jet awaiting Dr. Doom. Bianca clutched her purse that the goons had grabbed, "What the hell?"

"I did mention we have a long journey ahead of us." He reminded her, the goons waiting. He pulled out a gun, shot them both in the head, and she flinched, "Don't mind them. We can't take what we don't need." Doom said, ushering her towards the airplane, the stairs down and waiting for them to climb aboard.

"I want out of this deal." She said, and he laughed, tossing the gun onto the bodies. "I'm a lot better on the ground…" Dr. Doom stared at her, "I hate airplanes. Isn't there another way to your home? Maybe a boat ride?"

"No. We need to get there quickly and that's by plane. I've pushed back my events and now I must return to them." He responded dully, "Just get on the plane." when she shook her head, he picked her up himself and carried her up the stairs, flight attendants waiting patiently. The engines fired up as he finally got in the staircase, Bianca writhing unenthusiastically in his grasp, "Stop struggling, Bianca." He told her, setting her on her feet. She ran to the door of the airplane as the flight attendants buckled themselves in for take off,

"No, no, no, no!" Bianca panicked, clawing at the door as another light attendants attempted to calm her down. Before Doom could even get to her, the girl hyperventilated before fainting,

"I think she just had a panic attack, Sir." The Flight attendant informed him, dragging her over and strapping her in the chair across from him. The woman put her on an oxygen mask, as Doom buckled himself in, staring at her. Her cell phone rang, playing a sweet, Russian lullaby, before he picked it up. Another email from her mother. This was going to be a long trip.