"You got fifteen minutes!" I heard the manager yell. I was just finishing up slicking my hair back and up in a bun to put on my blonde wig. My normal brown hair fell just past my shoulders but my golden blonde wig could cover my breasts. I checked my spray tan to make sure that everything was even and I glued on my long sparkly eyelashes. I almost had to laugh at the way I looked. Underneath my robe was my black matching bra and panties set. The bra pushed up my breasts inches higher than ever naturally possible. My lips were painted ruby red and my eyes were smoky. I didn't look natural. I looked completely different than in real life. I suppose that men didn't want natural, they wanted unnatural beauty that was easily accessible.
"Who the fuck could line Mikey's pockets enough to rent out the entire club with all the girls?" I turned to see my best friend and co-worker, Rosalie, adjusting her own outfit and makeup. "I mean how many politicians and lawyers and doctors and shit have walked in here with ten g's ready to drop and Mike says it ain't enough? Like what the fucking hell!" She frowned and fixed her own wig. It was bright red and obviously fake. My wig at least could have passed as natural but Rose never did anything half way. Her naturally blonde hair and blue eyes made her look like a model. I wish she could get her start and get out of this hell hole.
"I don't know Rosie, it's obviously a lot but I'm pretty sure Mike's sitting in tonight too. To watch our performance." I grimaced, I hated when Mike watched us work, he was so slimy and it just felt so wrong. But I guess everything we do should make us feel disgusting. We were strippers.
"Bella, I feel like all the girls are on edge, like everyone is watching everyone. I just can't figure out what the big deal is! I also can't figure out why we're playing fucking waitresses tonight instead of being up on stage!" Rose was definitely riled up tonight. Most people would think that we would be happy on the floor but that was a lie. You made so much more on stage and neither I nor Rosie could afford to fall short tonight.
"Damn. I know Rose. Rent is due in a couple days. I hope the boys are doing alright tonight. I hate asking Angela to watch them on such short notice. I wish Mike wasn't such a fucking prick to do shit like this! We have lives!" I was fuming now. Rose always seem to know how to get me worked up.
"Five minutes ladies! And Roxy such your mouth unless you're willing to give me commission!" I turned and sneered at the owner of Legs, Mikey Newton. I flipped him off quickly before turning back to fixing my make-up. He chuckled, "Later baby, gotta make that cash now," he winked and walked back out to the floor.
"Why is he such a creep?" Rosie asked and I just shrugged. Without his creepiness, Rose and I wouldn't have anything. No money, no apartment, no savings, and no rent due. I knew that our lives could be so much worse. As much as I hated to admit it, we owned him.
We stood up simultaneously and hung our robes up. Our undergarments were exactly the same due to the requests of the "special guests," tonight. I slipped on my silver stilettos and watch Rose slip on her own pair. We looked each other over quickly before walking out of the dressing room and into the prep room. All the other girls in the room were dressed the same as we were. I flashed a quick smile at one of the newest girls, Kate, who looked like she was going to puke. She was a sweet girl who needed this job as much as any other girl in this joint. I liked her friendly attitude and lovely spirit. Then when she looked away I frowned. I wondered how long it would take for her to lose her spark like the rest of us had. She was finally getting her turn up on stage and I was happy for her.
"Alright ladies, tonight is a very important night. We have to make this work or it's over for all of us. These guys could make or break this place. If we can make this work then the business in this place is going to double, maybe even triple!" Our manager, Garrett, was obviously extremely excited. This was shocking because Garrett never got excited about anything. "We will do fantastically! Now, Katie, Jess, Holly, and Cierra will be on the poles tonight. Just remember your confidence and poise and you'll do great. Lauren, Josey, and Eve, you girls are bartending and Rosie, Bells, Tanya, Maggie, Irina, Charlotte, and Leah you girls will be on the floor. You are the pros. Make sure everything goes without a hitch. I have faith in every single one of you babes! You look great now," Garrett checked his watch, "It's time! Get those cute little asses on those poles and on that floor!"
I shook my head at Garrett's excitement and the excitement of some of the newer girls. All the girls on the floor shared my same look. We knew how we felt those first few months but we also know how foolish that we feel now.
Tanya bumped my shoulder lightly and flashed a grin, "You ready Red Hot Roxy?" I laughed.
"I don't know, you ready Lola Long Legs?" She laughed right back at me and I yelled to Rose, "What about you Daisy Duke?" We always cracked up at our stage names. Sure, I needed one, we all did. They protected us from freaks but they also attracted freaks. Garrett thought they were cute but of course he did, he's the one who picked them out. We all stepped out on the floor to see tables placed a few feet away from the main stage. Chairs had been placed around the tables and they were all filled. My eyes grew wide, there were at least thirty men seated around the giant makeshift table.
I heard Rosie mutter something like, "let's get this over with," before we all surrounded the tables.
I addressed the men in my immediate area, "Can I get cha boys something to drink?" My eyes travelled around to see all the men staring at me.
"I'll take a whiskey," I snapped my attention to the man sitting at the "head," of the table. He looked up at me and I noticed that he had the greenest eyes that I have ever seen. His hair was a reddish brown and it had this, "just fucked," kind of look. He was dressed in a suit that was likely Armani and his muscles could be seen through the shirt and jacket. He was clearly gorgeous but definitely a player and not my type. It was also a silent rule to not get too comfortable with any of the patrons. So, I nodded and took the rest of the men's drink orders.
I walked over to the bar that Eve was working at. I rattled off the drinks I needed and I watched as she made them. Eve was the big gossiper. She had a good heart but she always knew what was going on where so I asked her, "Who are these guys and what are they doing here?"
She flashed me a look, "I don't know how you don't know who at least some of them are! You see the one over there with the pretty blue eyes and the huge muscles?" I nodded. "That's Emmett Cullen and the one with the longer blonde hair and green eyes is Jasper Cullen and the gorgeous green eyed guy whose drink order you took is Edward Cullen." I frowned.
"Why does the name Cullen sound so familiar?" I asked her.
"Cullen as in the crime family Cullen. Like the Russian family who has supposedly been running Chicago from the shadows," She talked in a slow voice, like she thought I was stupid for not knowing.
But before I let my irritation get the better of me I realized that I did remember the name now. "Oh shit! That's why Mikey let these guys take over the whole club for the night; could have possibly been shot if he hadn't." I joked. I didn't honestly believe the Cullen family was a Russian mob family who was running all of Chicago. It just was a ridiculous idea. I laughed and told the tray that the drinks were piled on and walked back to the table. I handed out all of the drinks and as I was getting ready to walk away I felt a pair of arms wrap around my middle and pull me into their lap. I was used to being roughed up by customers so I didn't panic and I looked towards the face of the man who had grabbed me. He was pale with long, stringy blonde hair and dark brown almost black eyes. He honestly gave me worse creeps than Mike Newton which was really saying something. I struggled to get out of his grip and he bent down and spoke so his lips were on my ear.
"I think I should get a free private show later, I know you want me baby." I flinched and struggled harder.
"You don't get free or private anything you asshole now let me the fuck go," I was really to start swinging when I was interrupted.
"James, let her go." The blonde man named James froze and looked up at the one and only Edward Cullen himself.
"Oh come on boss, she wants it, she is a fucking stripper anyways," He laughed at me while I struggled more.
I heard Mr. Cullen tell James to let me go again when I finally elbowed James in the groin jumped out of his arms while he was preoccupied. He looked up at me, "You stupid fucking cunt!"
I looked back down at him and replied, "I may be a fucking stripper but I'm not stupid. I don't give private shows to fucking creeps and I certainly am not free or cheap!" I was fuming as I turned on my heel and practically stomped away. Garrett intercepted me before I made it to the dressing room.
"Bella, babe, I know that was out of line and scary but you need the money tonight, you've got the beautiful babe of yours who needs you. That's why you got this job in the first place Bells, don't forget that." I sighed. Garrett always knew the right things to say.
"Alright, but I'm not serving that prick anymore tonight," I went back over to the table and grabbed refills for all the drinks that I had served and collected the empty glasses. To the outside observer it just looked like the men were just making small talk. However, I saw certain things and heard certain phrases that were repeated that just made me feel like things weren't exactly what they seemed.
The night drug on and I had to hand it to the girls on stage that were dancing. They had been up there for hours without a break. They were making good money as it seemed though. I was walking past the table when I felt someone grab my wrist. I was ready to break James arm when I turned and saw Edward Cullen staring at me intently.
"Are you okay?" He asked quietly. He was one the few left at the table and the others were having their own conversation. I nodded quickly and moved to walked away but he held my arm. "You don't seem okay but you handled that better than any girl I've ever seen."
I flashed a polite smile, "Thank you Mr. Cullen. I appreciate the compliment." Once again I tried to walk away and once again I was stopped. I looked back at the man once more.
"Thank you for being so wonderful tonight, not often you see such a beautiful girl who can hold her own and be so intelligent at the same time." He smiled a breath-taking grin at me and I knew instantly what this was.
"As much as I appreciate you trying to earn your free private show I assure you that I am not easy. There are plenty of whores in this room but I am not one of them. Have a fantastic evening Mr. Cullen." I moved to walk away again when I was pulled abruptly back and fell into Mr. Cullen's lap.
He moved and whispered into my ear, "You obviously don't quite know who I am. Normally I would be offended but right now it's just sexy. I don't believe that this will be our last meeting. Have a lovely night." As quickly as I had fell into his lap I was practically shoved out of it. He stood, shoved something into the hem of my panties, and ran a finger around my hip bone before he was gone. I finally started breathing again. He has been so close that I could smell his aftershave. It was warm and intoxicating and just one hundred percent man. I couldn't help feeling a bit dizzy standing there now. When I finally got my bearings I reached down to whatever Mr. Cullen had stuck in my underwear. I looked down at it and gasped. There in my hand was ten one hundred dollar bills. I was stunned. Quickly, before anyone noticed, I stuffed the small wad into my bra.
The rest of the night wore down and we cleaned everything up before I saw Rose back in the dressing room.
"This was some hell of a night bells, that big guy, Emmett Cullen? He gave be like a grand for just being serving him drinks all night! Like I don't even understand." Rose whispered to me. I understood, tips were always our money but that didn't mean you told the other girls or that told Mike. He'd try and take commission out of you pay.
"I had the same deal with Edward Cullen. It's fucking weird. He also told me that he didn't believe that this would be our last meeting. Whatever the fuck that means." I groaned and we quickly changed and made our way out to the "employees only," parking lot. We both hoped in the dark blue shitty Ford Taurus and Rose drove us back to our shared apartment. Rose and I had known each other since we were in Kindergarten and have been best friends for as long as I could remember. We grew up in Washington but came to Chicago together after the accident. It didn't matter that we weren't sisters by blood, she had been with me more than anyone else in my entire life and as far as I was concerned she was my family.
I unlocked the door to the two bedroom, one bathroom, studio apartment that we rented in downtown Chicago. As we walked in I saw Angela, our friend and neighbor, sitting on the floor with textbooks laying haphazardly around her. I felt a pang of sadness and jealousy run through me. I shook it off quickly before smiling. "Hey Angie."
She looked up at me and Rose, "Hey Bella, Rose," She started collecting her stuff, "The boys were great, I couldn't have asked for them to be any better." I pulled out the money and I paid her quickly.
"Thanks for doing it on such short notice Angie, I'm sorry, we found out absolute last minute." Rose apologized. Angela shook her head and said it was nothing before she took off to her own apartment which was just down the hall from ours. Then we both snuck into the bigger bedroom to look at the two boys who were snuggled in their separate beds. I laughed quietly. They might as well be brothers. I walked over to my boy and leaned over and kissed his cheek before fixing his blankets. Rose leaned up over be to the top bunk of the bed and did the same to her baby. We left quickly and went into our room. We got ready for bed and we both climbed into the queen sized bed. We hadn't been able to afford anything better than the rickety queen bed and the boy's bunk beds. Rose and I would do anything for our boys and we loved each other, sharing a bed wasn't that big of a deal.
I drifted off to sleep and the last thing I remembered was bright green eyes, sex hair, and an Armani suit.