Archive for the ‘romantica’ Category

SALON ANTICS – CHAPTER 18

Posted on: November 15th, 2011 by Madison Lake No Comments
WRAP UP, LOCK UP
It was mid afternoon on a Tuesday and although on crutches, Liam Irish had been released from the hospital the day before and was now with the others waiting for Officer Billy and his partner, Fred, to arrive at the club. The police cruiser pulled into the back alley out of direct view of traffic, as directed by Della the day before. With the trashing, and then the shooting, they didn’t want to frighten off customers any more than they had already. Della met the two officers at the side door. 
“Hi. You must be Savannah’s brother, Billy,” Della said, looking directly at the handsome young man who was the spitting image of his sister. Then Della looked over at the other, older gentleman.
“This here’s my partner in crime, Fred,” offered Billy. “Fred, this is…”
“Della. It’s Della,” she said, almost choking out the words as she melted under Fred’s gaze. He wouldn’t take his eyes off of her until, finally, she turned away.
“Uh, c’mon over, fellas. I’ll introduce you to the others.”

*****
After over an hour of detailed discussion and questioning, Billy and Fred had gathered enough information and concrete evidence to track down the notorious crook, Dominic Diaz. The group discovered that although Dom had already been arrested several times, he always seemed to get off – either by someone paying his bail bond or someone paying off an officer, lawyer or judge. Billy and Fred had reams of paperwork on the guy, and were more than ready to put him away for a very long time nailing him with what ever they could. In this case it would be theft, attempted murder, and operating illegal sexual services for profit. They figured that was a good start. 
Meanwhile, unbelievable sparks were flying between Fred and Della. It was as if they were meant for one another and had just been waiting to be thrown together. Everyone around the table quickly became aware of this electric energy between them, but neither Della nor Fred seemed the least bit phased, let alone cared what anyone thought. Their easy banter and unguarded looks seemed as normal as if they had been together for years, and although Fred was serious about the case he was there to work on, he afforded himself enough freedom to laugh and flirt to ensure Della knew his intentions. 
During the interrogation process, which was really nothing more than a gathering of information from all possible witnesses, Savannah disclosed detailed events of what went on behind the scenes at The Lady. Although not news to anyone present, some points were shocking. For instance, Genevieve knew many of the girls who danced at the club sometimes brought clients backstage to their dressing room/boudoir after the show, but she seemed surprised that, as a way of making extra cash, a few of them also worked the streets for Dom. On the other hand, having been in the nightclub business for many years, Mitch had long since become accustomed to the other side of life, and had accepted the girls curricular activities as long as there was no trouble, which is where the line had recently been crossed with Dom. However, he was glad Fran had a “headache” and had decided to stay home. This was far too much unnecessary information for her to be privy to. Although all this talk was nothing new to Liam, he still seemed miffed by something. Genevieve noticed his agitation during the discussion, like there was something he didn’t understand. Miguel just sat and listened, like he’d heard it all before.
“Well,” Billy said finally. “That about wraps it up for the time being. Fred and I will head back to the department and begin tracking down this asshole. With his connections and track record, that shouldn’t take long.” Billy stood up and hesitantly, Fred followed. 
“I’ll see you out,” Della offered enthusiastically, and everyone smiled at one another. Della ignored them. 
“Billy, there’s just one thing I’d like to know before you go.” Liam asked. “Besides Dom having been bailed out by insiders over the years, why is it that the rest of you boys have let him run free all this time, let him continue getting away with all this shit, even when you knew he was trouble?”
“That’s easy,” Billy replied without hesitation. “We needed actual proof. Oh sure, we’d had opportunities in the past where we thought we could string him up by the neck, but he’s a wily son of a bitch, and well connected. Somehow that bugger managed to wriggle out of situations he found himself in, and therefore wriggle out of our hands. We’ve needed people like you to risk coming forward with clean, clear evidence.” He paused. “There have been plenty of witnesses over the years, all of whom were too scared to talk once the guy was arrested. Dominic made threats to everyone he duped. Even though those people knew they were being blackmailed, they also knew enough not to take Dom’s threats lightly.”
“So, why now?” 
“I think you can answer your own question, Mr. Irish.”
Liam thought for a minute. “Safety in numbers?”
“Absolutely. You folks have stuck together to make this happen. That’s the secret to success in these cases. It’s pretty hard to fight a gang.”
“Well, if that’s the case, Savannah and the girls could have come forward ages ago,” suggested Della. “They’ve known about Dom and his antics for longer than the rest of us.”
“Sadly, the girls didn’t feel they were enough of a force to scare the bastard off and remain safe,” replied Billy. “With time they might have been, but frankly I persuaded Savannah not to try. Dom’s too powerful a force in the underworld. I didn’t feel confident enough to let her risk her life or theirs to get him.” Billy looked supportively at his sister, and Savannah returned the attention of her protective big brother with glowing pride. “I think things have just naturally worked out, don’t you?” He said, in closing.
Liam and the other’s couldn’t help but agree, so they said their goodbyes as Della walked them to the side door.
“Thanks ever so much for coming out this afternoon,” Della said as she held the door open for the two men. “Fingers crossed that this all works as planned. Good luck.”
“Bye, Della. We’ll be in touch.” Billy walked to the cruiser that was parked a few feet away, close to the side of the building. Fred lingered, glancing between the car and the side door of the club where Della remained. 
“So, Della,” he stammered. “I’ll…I mean, we’ll call when we know more.” Fred shuffled his feet nervously. “But I might…”
“Please do call, Fred. That’d suit me just fine. Call anytime. I’m usually here, or else Savannah knows how to reach me.” Della was not the type to miss an opportunity when she saw one.
“Yeah, sure Della, I’ll do that. I’ll call.” Fred’s face flushed red, but his grin lit up the open doorway. “So, I guess that means I’ll see ya around.”
“You betcha,” Della replied, also grinning from ear to ear.

…Stay tuned…the last chapter of Salon Antics, chapter 19, will be posted next Tuesday, November 22nd…

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TITILLATING TUESDAY

Posted on: November 1st, 2011 by Madison Lake No Comments

CHAPTER 16 – WHO CAME KNOCKING
Shock and disbelief swept over the lot of them as the extent of the damage began to sink in. It was two days after the horrible incident at The Lady. An old ghetto blaster had been set up to drown out the din of clean-up while Harry, the bartender, and a crew of bouncers set tables and chairs back in place and swept away shards of broken glass. The atmosphere was gloomy. No one had heard from or seen Dominic Diaz, which spoke volumes, but no one really wanted to see him. They all knew from their simmering anger and frustration that if he were to walk into the club right now he might not make it out alive.
As usual, Liam and Genevieve were sitting with Della at the back corner table when Miguel entered through the backstage door. What lights were still functioning cast a dim glow in the room. Although clean-up had begun, based on the dismal state of things, it was going to be a long, slow process despite the need to get things up and running swiftly. 
“Hey,” Miguel said as he approached the table. “Glad to see someone’s still hanging around. Anything I can do to help out?”
“Have a seat, Miguel,” Liam offered. He scooted over on the cushioned bench of the booth to make room. Miguel obliged. 
“Where’s the rest of them? Where’s Mitch and Fran?” 
“They went home,” Liam replied. “It has all been too much for them, especially Franny.” He looked at Della, then to G, who was slumped in the corner, head bent forward. “They just need a break. I told them we’d take care of things.”
“Oh for sure, man,” Miguel said, jumping in enthusiastically. “I’ll do what ever it takes. No problem.”
Normally Liam would have smiled at that, but he was too distracted trying to make sense of this blatant show of revenge by who was now their enemy. The game had changed. With unspoken thoughts, it was clear to them all that this meant war. Each one bore their own outrage, their own grief, each had a bone to pick with Dominic Diaz. And, if Dom was capable of this, what else might he do? The scope of their plan felt overwhelming now, and they all wondered if they were in over their heads. But they all knew they were in it together, and Dom must be stopped – somehow.

“So, I don’t know about the rest of you,” Della broke in. “But we came down here for a reason. As far as I’m concerned, we’ll wade through this shit Dom tried to place in our path and carry on with our plan. We’re not the types to let some piece of work like him ruin our lives.” Della put her hand gently on Genevieve’s shoulder and kept it there comfortingly as if to say, everything will be alright
“Damned if I’m gonna let that prick get away with this,” Liam suddenly blurted. Everyone was quiet for a moment, not knowing what to say.
“Irish, no one is going to let that man get away with this or anything else. No one.” Della said with gumption.
Just then the front door creaked open allowing a sliver of light to enter. A dark figure appeared, but they couldn’t tell who it was as the shadow that was being cast was larger than life. Thinking it might be Dom and his heartless thugs returning to the scene of the crime, they remained motionless while a lone, hooded figure slowly made its way through the darkness toward their table. Tension hung in the air. Liam’s body stiffened at the ready. Genevieve sat up straight, eyes and ears perked. It didn’t look like Dom, but was it one of his many goons? Then around the corner Savannah appeared, wrapped in a bulky, hooded terry cloth bathrobe, two sizes too big. A lavender silk dressing gown hung out the bottom. 
“What are you doing here, Savannah?” It was Liam who spoke first. Unlike her usual feistiness, she looked around the table shyly. 
“I was awake,” she started, and shot a quick glance over to Miguel, who smiled in return, which seemed to put her more at ease. “I just thought I’d come in to see if anyone was here…what was going on, that’s all.”
“Slide on in,” Genevieve said, and gestured for Savannah to squeeze in beside her. Miguel stood up, as did Della, to let Savannah in around the now crowded table. 
“Well, isn’t this very King Arthur-like?” Miguel said with a chuckle, noting the appearance of them seated around the table. No one laughed.
“Listen,” Savannah began. “I think I can help.” Liam looked at her, surprised.
“What do you mean help Savannah?” He asked.
“Well, I’ve been thinking, and talking with the girls…and Miguel.” Her eyes darted toward Miguel again, but she knew better than to let them linger, not now. 
“You see, some of us girls have been keeping notes, diaries, of the money we make, lend, and are owed. As you may know, Dom takes a cut – a huge cut, in our,” she paused. “In our after-hours work.” Savannah looked around at the inquisitive faces staring at her. Were they surprised at this news? She thought not. Were they disgusted, or did they judge her for her chosen lifestyle? If they only knew her story, they might understand, might have some sympathy. She knew G had been down the same road. Surely she understood. Really, any one of them should understand, given the situation of the club they all chose to hang out in. Lost in thought, Savannah almost forgot she was telling them vital information.
“Go on,” Liam said gently, coaxing Savannah on.
“Well, here’s the deal. Dom has been not only taking too big of a cut from our hard earned wages, he also borrows money from many of the girls. Not me, because he knows better,” she smiled. “But several of the other girls. He threatens them big time not to tell anyone, including me. Luckily we all confide in each other in this business, or at least we do here at The Lady. Anyway,” she took a deep breath. “He borrows money with the pretense that he will pay them back with interest of fifteen to twenty percent. He goes so far as to sign a promissory note, which I’m sure is a fake. He probably rips it up afterward. The point is, none of these girls have seen a dime, and for many it’s been over a year. The thing is, Dom has had the money and could have easily paid for this place by now,” she said, indicating the club by pointing at the surrounding mess. “He could have paid Mitch in payments with the money he’s been getting, but he hasn’t. Dom is spending it somewhere, and it wouldn’t be hard to find out where.”
“How do you figure that, Savannah? What do you know?” Liam’s interest was clearly piqued.
“I don’t know anything…yet. But, well you see, my brother’s a cop.”
“A what?” The question rang out in unison as jaws dropped around the table.
“Savannah, with all due respect,” Liam asked politely. “Does your brother know what you do?”
“Yeah, of course he does. We come from the same background, the same seed. You know the drill. We’ve both had to try to make a go of it, we’ve just chosen different paths. He knows that, and he knows I’m a good person, a decent person, so he protects me in my chosen career till I can work myself out of this hell-hole.” 
The table was quiet, but Genevieve put her arm around Savannah’s shoulder and gave her a squeeze. Savannah rested a tired head on G’s shoulder and closed her eyes for a moment while she gathered her thoughts. She knew G would understand, but there was so much to explain, so much to put on the table.
“I’m guessing there’s more,” Liam asked, trying to keep momentum going. Savannah’s eyes opened.
“Okay, my idea is this; we get my brother in on the plan.” 
“Are you joking?” Della broke in.
“It’s okay, Della,” said Liam. “Let’s wait to hear what Savannah has to say. Go on, Savannah.”
“Well, I was thinking that if Billy, that’s my brother. If Billy knew the whole story – about the club and the deal between Dom and Mitch, and the sleazy way in which Dom operates, then maybe he’d be able to come up with a way to nab him. You know, dig up some old shit on him, because I’m sure there is some. Or maybe he could work undercover, and with the help of the girls, catch him in the act.” Savannah looked around the table. “You know, this trashing of the club is just a warning. Who knows what he’ll do next, but let’s not wait to find out. All we need is proof – anything at all – and we can nail his ass to the cross.”
Liam nodded as he took in this new information. He had to agree she had some good points. And they had nothing to hide from the cops, except perhaps what went on backstage after hours, which the cops might overlook since they were handing them a much bigger fish to fry.
Just then their meeting was disrupted by a loud disturbance. Liam looked over to the side door entrance where the noise came from. 
“You stay here,” Liam said to the rest of the group. “I’m going to check things out. Be right back.” Liam rose and headed toward the bar.
“Wait, I’m coming too,” said Savannah, scrambling over Miguel and Della to get out. Before anyone could stop her, Savannah was bounding after Liam, who had no time to question her. 
Feeling anxious, and sensing a need to act, Miguel grabbed what he figured was his only opportunity to talk with Genevieve. It had been too long. They had been so distant lately, due in part to everything that was going down at the club, but also due to their drifting apart over the past few days. Miguel knew they needed to discuss things, but it had been next to impossible to find time alone together. 
He had felt Genevieve pulling away from him. On reflection, their last intimate time together had been at the beach, which seemed years rather than days ago. Since that time she had become aloof, had avoided being alone with him and made a point of being too busy to get together anymore. No doubt he was hurt, especially after the passion they had shared that day, and the freedom she felt for the first time in who knew how long. Somehow he believed he’d played a role in her liberation, yet that was as close as she’d let him get to her. For Miguel, it was a turn of events, and it had been that point when he realized that, no matter how attracted he was to Genevieve, or how amazing he thought she was, the connection they had was strictly physical. Ironically, rather than simply enjoy their erotic and often wild sexual encounters they had, he had been the one trying to make more of it, trying to create something that was not meant to be. Wasn’t he usually the no strings attached guy? Yet with G, he had been trying to drive their romance upstream rather than let it go with the flow. He had become his own worst enemy, and now had become hers. Ironically, Genevieve had changed the way he viewed relationships by playing at his game. And ironically, he had found the smart, sexy, independent woman of his dreams when he wasn’t looking, when he let go of trying. Once he met Savannah did he truly understand this. 
Lately it had become harder and harder for Miguel to be in G’s presence and not confide in her, not tell her the truth about what was going on, what had been going on, not only inside him but with Savannah. He wanted to talk about the choices they had made, or more specifically, the choice he had made, so they could end this now nonexistent relationship and carry on as friends. He believed they had a good chance of doing this, but they had to talk.
“G,” Miguel said in a whisper, turning to Genevieve in earnest. “We haven’t had a minute alone and…and so much has been happening. We just have to talk.” Miguel stopped and waited for her response, but she gave none, so he continued. 
“Listen, G, I’m not trying to mess things up between us or anything, but…”
“But what, Miguel?” Genevieve looked across the table, but Della seemed to be preoccupied with Liam and what all the commotion was about, so she turned back to Miguel. “It hasn’t exactly been a stress free time in anybody’s life right now, has it?” She continued. “So I’m sorry if I haven’t been there for you the way you’d like me to. I’m sorry, okay?” Miguel looked puzzled.
“It’s not you, G. It’s me. I’m the one. I…I haven’t been one hundred percent…”
Suddenly all the lights went out. The ghetto blaster quit playing, leaving only muffled sounds of confusion in the room. 
“What the fuck? Who turned off the lights?” Cried an annoyed male voice from somewhere behind the bar.
“I can’t see a thing,” said another.
“What’s going on? Irish…Irish?” Della was groping her way out of the booth, either on her way to find Liam, or on her way to the fuse box. Genevieve climbed out of her seat and met Della in front of the table. 
“Sorry, Miguel. We’ll have to finish this conversation later.” Then Della and Genevieve headed slowly and cautiously toward the hubbub.
“Irish, where are you,” Genevieve yelled in the direction that she thought Liam and Savannah had gone. 
“Someone have a light? We need light.” It was Harry who hollered from somewhere across the room.
“Shit. Where’s my torch when I need it?” One of the work crew could be heard fumbling around for a lighter.
“Get off me…quit touching me you queer,” came a voice all too familiar. It sent chills up and down Della and Genevieve’s spine. Their pace quickened, but in the pitch blackness and with the debris strewn around the club, they were limited.
Hands desperately grasped at the dark, panic stricken voices called out. Something, a beer glass or pitcher, fell to the floor and shattered, a bar stool tumbled over, landing with a loud bang on the concrete floor. For what seemed eternity there was mild chaos, then a tussle at the bar ensued, and out of nowhere a shot rang out, followed by a terrifying silence. 

…stay tuned…Chapter 17 will be posted next Tuesday, November 8th…

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TITILLATING TUESDAY

Posted on: October 25th, 2011 by Madison Lake No Comments
CHAPTER 15 – ACCIDENTS  
        Miguel stood in the doorway, looking toward the small bed. She looked lovely and serene lying there, naked against the darkness. He still didn’t understand how he’d ended up there. He had gone out that night with entirely different motives in mind, and through a series of accidents had ended up there, with her. 
He continued to stare at those rosy cheeks, her smooth pale shoulders peeking out from under white satin sheets, her slender neck that irresistibly called out for him. If he had his way, he’d climb back in beside her, snuggle up to her warm body and make wild, passionate love all morning, all day. She was perfect – perfect for him. Had he paid more attention earlier to her needs, to who she really was, he may have determined her finer qualities much sooner, but he had been too distracted to notice. At least, he thought, he’d figured it out now, which is all that mattered.
  Miguel did not believe in accidents, nor did he believe the story she told him late last night was false. They all knew by now that Dominic Diaz was a good for nothing swindler and thief who had been ripping off The Foxy Lady for years, unbeknownst to its rightful owners Mitch and Fran Del Monte. What’s more, he had wreaked havoc there the previous night, busting the club up to the tune of thousands of dollars that neither Mitch nor anyone else had. Even though they all knew Dom was the culprit, without proof, they could hardly approach him outright. Miguel wasn’t sure why she had blurted out this new information to him, why she trusted him above all else. Not until now. 

Sure, they’d had a few drinks, but he knew what she told him came from the heart, a sort of desperate plea for help. And although he was a newbie to their group, at least she trusted him. Miguel knew she had a good heart, and those who have good hearts easily recognize others with the same. Now, the question was, what to do? He figured he should tell the others, but he needed time to figure out how. He was, after all, a bit of a threat to old Irish, but nonetheless, Liam was a figurehead, the ringleader in their attempt to thwart Dominic’s efforts. Timing would be everything, but he also knew time was not on their side. 
Today he’d leave his lovely lady sleeping and head back to the club to see who was still hanging around. Even a day after the trashing of The Lady, there was a huge mess to be cleaned. They knew the CLOSED sign on the front door couldn’t be there for long. Mitch could not afford to lose another day’s income, or could he afford to lose his dancers who needed their wages, or his clients who kept The Lady afloat. Miguel felt he should be at the club as much as he could to help out. Besides, he could use a drink. Maybe Della would have a minute to talk with him. He liked Della. Everybody liked Della. Then, when the sun rose, he’d walk to Bean There, his regular coffee shop, mull things over with an espresso and his usual, two eggs over easy, bacon and hash browns. Answers would eventually present themselves. They always did.
Before heading out the door, Miguel turned once again toward his sleeping beauty. She took his breath away. The golden curls against the pillow and falling loosely around her face looked like a human halo. Covered by a thin, satin sheet, the outline of her body gave off the hint of a marble sculpture – Venus de Milo or Aphrodite of Cnidus – the same curvaceousness, the same full, round breasts. Miguel felt pulled toward her strength and vulnerability. In the past, he’d avoided getting involved with women who were too strong for him, but now it was a huge attraction. For some reason that he didn’t understand, this woman made his heart throb, made him feel like he would never need anyone else in his world again, but her. She was everything. It didn’t even frighten him that they had come together so quickly and easily. He trusted his intuition, and always had. Why would he falter now?
From his position in the doorway, Miguel continued thinking about how his life had changed since he had walked into Snippets Salon for a haircut that day. Again, he did not believe in accidents. He believed everything that happened in life, happened for a reason. Sometimes he was teased for this way of looking at the world, but again, Miguel had an uncanny sense of things. For instance, Liam Irish, who had become somewhat of an arch rival, was nonetheless a man who Miguel looked up to. There was a lot to be learned from someone like that, and Miguel intended to be open and observant when in his presence. Della was another gem. Her gentle spirit but great inner capacity made her a woman to be respected, and she was. Mitch and Fran, were perhaps minor characters in the greater scheme of things, however, their love and loyalty not only to the club and its employees, but to one another, set them miles above most people he had known in the past. Mitch also came across as a father figure to most of them in the group. Not growing up with a father of his own, Miguel liked that about Mitch. Fran was just the icing on the cake. She kept them all going with that straightforwardness of hers, along with her wicked sense of humor. Then there was Genevieve. What could he possibly say about her other than G was G. She  was special.
Looking over at the bed, his eyes once again came into focus, and reality hit. The early pre-dawn light that filtered through the window was making him anxious. He knew he should make a move, get on with matters at hand. There was so much to be done. But when he saw her, time stood still and another urgency tugged at him. Unable to resist any longer, he shed his clothes and crawled back into bed, wrapping his arms around her warm body. She stirred and turned toward him, eyes still closed. Their lips met and locked in warm, passionate wetness, his desire more than he could control. This love was more than he ever imagined possible, and he could not seem to get enough of it. 
Gently, yet with an animal’s hunger, Miguel rolled her relaxed body over and climbed on top. Her legs spread impulsively, craving to feel his hardness press down on her. But instead, his body rose above hers, teasing with a feather-light touch of his member against her belly, up and down her legs. Her moans increased with each stroke, each brush of skin on skin. Arching, her stomach reached up to meet him. She wanted to feel him, wanted more, suddenly desperate to have all of him like she’d had last night. Impatient as she was, not in the mood for titillating antics, Miguel let the weight of his yearning body come down on her and easily entered. Unlike last night, today their lovemaking was urgent, quick, both of them satisfied with a few deep, intense thrusts. Craning to find each others mouths again, Miguel placed his hand behind her head and helped guide her to him. Their kisses were deliciously sensual, and seemed to last and last. Finally they collapsed into the soft, satin sheets. It didn’t take her long to drift back off to dreamland. 
Miguel climbed quietly out of bed and got dressed. As much as he’d like to stay with her, to spend the day slipping in and out of passionate sex and sleep, there were more pressing matters to tend to. Luckily, she would be there when he returned.
Bending down, he kissed the tender crease of Savannah’s neck. 
“Sleep, sleep, my darling,” he whispered. “Until we meet again.”
…Stay tuned…Chapter 16 will be published next Tuesday, November 1st…


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CHAPTER 14 – TURNING TRIX

When Liam arrived at the salon just before ten the next morning, Genevieve had already opened. The smell of freshly brewed coffee swept out from the back room to greet him. He smiled. He felt happier than he’d felt in a long time, even with all the drama going down at the club. He dropped his appointment book at the front desk and walked to the back of the salon. To his surprise, Fran was sitting in the last chair wrapped in foils and draped in a maroon robe. She looked up as he approached. 
      “Hey Irish, how’s it going?”  
Liam did not hide his surprise. 
      “Aren’t you a bit early, Franny? I thought we all agreed to meet at noon.” 
      Genevieve rounded the corner from the staff room, carrying a mixture of bleach for Fran’s hair. She looked so perky and radiant it took Liam’s breath away. He just stood there like a dummy until he was brought out of his stupor by the women’s laughter.
      “What’s with you, Irish? Fran said jovially. “Cat got your tongue?”

Then she continued. “I don’t think         Irish is too happy to see me today? Wonder what that’s about.” Genevieve smiled.

      “We just decided to touch up Fran’s color before our meeting, Irish. Is that okay?”
      “It’s a little late to ask permission, isn’t it?” He laughed, and the two women joined in, Fran’s cackle filling the morning stillness. “No worries ladies, I have plenty to do before the rest of the bunch arrive.”
      Liam disappeared into the staffroom but heard their giggles through the closed door. What is it with women when they get together? He thought, shaking his head. He was just glad to be alone, to gather his thoughts and get a handle on what was going on in his life. And what was  going on? He was suddenly in the throes of undermining one of the city’s most notorious low-life crooks, while at the same time, was falling for his employee, who was dating one of the salon’s clients. Meanwhile, it was business as usual at Snippets, where he had to ensure that through it all, his many customers remained happy. He wondered if things could be any more complicated, but then he remembered his past life and relaxed. This was a piece of cake.
      Still, he didn’t understand the fluttery feeling that had been rumbling around in the pit of his stomach every single day since he and G had connected in a special way. It was with him all the time, but was heightened when he was around her. What was he to do? Even with his first love, Simony Chiavary, he hadn’t felt the way he did now. Perhaps it was because of his and Simony’s youth and vagrancy at that time in their lives. 
      He had met Simony when he was twenty four, living the life of a street-wise thug, teetering on the edge. He was a bad boy, with a reputation that carried a lot of respect back in those days, respect earned by carrying out certain requests by those higher up the food chain, otherwise called misdemeanors. Simony had liked that about him. She didn’t know it at the time, but she was looking for someone cleverer than her, or her father, someone she could feel that common bond with. What she didn’t realize was that Liam was getting tired of being ‘in the business’. Between the street life and prison he’d seen too many things, had done too many things. Since he was a lad of twelve he’d been making his own way, and had hooked up with the only people who gave him a sense of family – street gangs. 
     From there he moved up to working with the big time thugs who ran the streets, and by the time he was eighteen, he was expected to up-the-ante from petty crime to jobs that carried some weight. As the money increased, so did his desire, and before long he’d served his first of two sentences in the Pen, the first for petty theft, the second for robbery. Even to this day he wasn’t sure what happened to make him shift, but one day he simply made the decision to move on. He had turned a corner in his life and there was no going back. This shift was happening right around the time he had met Simony, which, he thought in retrospect, was probably why it didn’t work – couldn’t work. 
      Simony wasn’t any trouble. In fact, she was extremely intelligent, and wanted more out of life just like he did. Her wants and needs were fed to her by the same hand that had fed his, however, Simony had chosen to work that system not just for her survival, but for her strength and benefit. Liam knew she had been taught to go out and do better for herself, and that was what she did. When there was something she wanted, she found a way to get it. What Liam didn’t realize at the time was that she was looking out for number one. He was just a pawn in her plan, their falling in love a mere, and unexpected glitch. That aside, they had fun together, and despite the circumstances, it had been love.
      Liam sat down on a stool, lost in the memories of days gone by. It had been a long time since he’d let his mind take him back to those days. He had left them behind so long ago it seemed, and would just as soon pretend they didn’t happen. But, he thought, whatever this was, stirring between him and G, he knew he would have to look his past demons in the eye to reveal the truth – the whole truth – to her. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
      Liam was jolted back to reality when the door opened and in walked Miguel.
      “Hey, man. I didn’t know you were here.” Miguel seemed uncomfortable. “G asked me to grab her some toner, said it was on the middle shelf on the right.”
      Liam rose, reached around and took down a purple bottle labeled Toner Tonic. Miguel thanked him but didn’t let his eyes stay on Liam’s for long. When he was gone, Liam took a coffee mug from one of the hooks, poured himself a cup of now strong Colombian coffee, and sat back down to wait. Fran, G and Miguel were already there. That just left Mitch and Della. From what she had told him on the phone that morning, it had taken several hours last evening, and several more that morning, for Della to reorganize things at the club. Staff had to be rescheduled to come in later than their usual two o’clock check in time, and deliveries had to be cancelled or changed to another date or time. She had told everyone some electrical work was being done, so the place was off limits until early evening. The six of them were expected to congregate at the salon around noon, where they’d have a short meeting to go over their plans before heading to the club. Any last minute changes or adjustments could be made then. 

          * * * * *

Liam, Genevieve, Miguel, Fran, Mitch, and Della arrived at The Lady around two o’clock, ready to set up their trap for Dom and his goons to walk into later that night. They accessed the club through an entrance in the back alleyway, walked past a string of dressing room doors, and entered through the the backstage doors. It was dark. Since she knew the layout best, Della went first, feeling her way to the main light panel beside the bar. All of a sudden there was a loud crash. 
      “Shit!” Cried Della. “What the hell was that?” The group heard her shuffling around. 
      “Della, what’s going on?” Asked Liam, concerned. He made his way forward, but he too  stumbled on something that was lying across the floor. Able to right himself, and trying to maintain his balance, he crawled over to where he thought the light panel was. He reached it at the same time Della did. They flipped the switches and the place lit up, enlightening them to what had happened. Chairs were toppled over, tables were turned, bottles of booze were broken and strewn across the bar, leaving shards of glass and sticky liquid everywhere. If the place smelled like a bar before, now there was no question about it.
The stage sets were scattered across the stage, and across the partly drawn curtain MiTch’s WHorE HoUsE was emblazoned in orange metallic spray paint. Strobe lights were shattered on the floor, costumes were ripped and randomly tossed around the room. Nothing was left untouched. The place was trashed.

…stay tuned…Chapter 15 will be posted next Tuesday, October 25th…





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CHAPTER 12 – SHOWTIME

Posted on: October 4th, 2011 by Madison Lake No Comments

Mitch arrived at the club around eleven, a bit early for him, but by the way he hovered around the bar tossing back shots, Liam figured he must have had some serious business to tend to. Fifteen minutes later Dom arrived. He was dressed to the nines, a maroon silk shirt, unbuttoned to his midriff, where a gold chain hung in among his chest hair. He left his tailored leather jacket hanging open, to show off a gold plated belt buckle the size of Miami. The bottom of his tight black trousers barely fit over his grey and beige snakeskin cowboy boots, which may as well have had spurs on them with the noise they made.

“Gimme a JD, Harry, will ya?” 

“Comin’ right up, boss.”
Harry grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels from the bar shelf and poured a generous amount into a tumbler. He handed it to Dom.
“Bottoms-up.” Dominic raised his glass to Harry and pounded back the whiskey, followed by a vigorous shake of his head. “Gotta keep up with my pal here.” Dominic winked at Mitch, who proceeded to turn away.
“Aw, c’mon now, Mitch. We’re pals, right?” Dominic slapped his hand on Mitch’s back and pulled him in close until he was breathing down his neck. Leaning in, but looking out into the crowd, he whispered, “We’re such good pals that you’re gonna give me a heckava fucking deal for this joint, ain’t that right Mitchy baby?”

Mitch squirmed out of Dom’s embrace, and Dominic laughed heartily. 
“What the fuck’s a matter with you, Mitch? This is how we do business, right? Now, have yourself another drink. Harry, pour Mitch another drink.” He turned to Mitch. “What are ya having, Mitch, Crown? Harry, make that two Crowns.”
“No, Dom, I’m having lighter fluid,” Mitch said with dry sarcasm. “Harry, get Dom some lighter fluid. I’ll have a Crown, neat.” 
Liam chuckled quietly from where he and Genevieve sat in the corner, shielded in shadow.
“You have to admit,” Genevieve said. “That was pretty clever.” 
Just then the side door opened and in walked three of Dom’s goons. They sauntered over to the bar and lingered there, glancing nonchalantly around the room. One of them ordered a water with a twist, leaned against the bar to watch the show. The other two just stood around chewing gum, looking bored. Within a few minutes the door opened again and Fran appeared out from the shadows of the dark alleyway. Smoldering in a fitted gold lame evening dress, with a Tiffany heart around her neck and an ornate gold charm bracelet on her left wrist, she looked the perfect part of the club owners wife. Barely able to walk in her strappy Jimmy Choo’s, she did her best to stay upright while making her way over to the bar where Dominic stood with her husband, Mitch, their tongues hanging out. Liam, who had been watching the men’s jousting match with interest, now turned to Genevieve.
“Is this your solution?” 
Genevieve looked down and smiled coyly, hiding her nervous enthusiasm.
“What are you doing here Franny!” They overheard Mitch remark. “You never come down to the club. It’s late. Shouldn’t you be in bed? You should be in bed.” Mitch knew he was lecturing his wife and making a scene, but he didn’t know what else to do. Everyone at the bar stared as they watched Fran teeter to a halt. 
“I’ll have a whiskey sour, please, Harry. Lots of sour.” Then she looked at her husband and said bluntly. “I came to see you, honey. G said you’d be here. I came to talk.”
Mitch was speechless. This visit was completely unexpected and now he was faced with dealing with Dominic in front of his wife, or vice-versa. Dumbfounded, he didn’t know what to do or where to begin. Start with the truth, he thought, but how? All of a sudden, from the back corner of the upper seats Genevieve appeared in her strapless minidress and brown wedged heels. Her hair was pulled back in a bun, but loose strands fell onto her shoulders and down along her cheekbones, seductively framing her face. Liam was at her side in a flash. It looked like a scene from the Godfather, only with the most oddball cast of characters; Mitch, dressed as always like a used car salesman in plaid trousers, light green shirt, dark green sport jacket, and colorful paisley necktie, Fran, his tarty looking wife, Genevieve, the evocative heroine, and Liam Irish, the burly tattooed hero. The cheap looking con man, Dominic Diaz, of course played the bad guy, along with his band of not so merry men. Around them circled an array of made-for-movie misfits, including Savannah Porsche, Mindy Maverick, Della, and of course Harry the bartender.
“Line em up, Harry. A round.” Dom slammed his shot glass on the bar and looked around  for approval.
“Actually, Dominic,” Genevieve said matter-of-factly. “You’ll have to excuse us. We need a word with Mitch and Fran if you don’t mind. Alone.” Mitch looked at Genevieve with fire in his eyes.
“What the fuck? Who are you all of a sudden, a Prima Donna? Who made you god? This is my…my…”
“What? Your club, Dom?” Genevieve glared at him in satisfaction. Dominic was silent.
“Well, you had me fooled,” said a bewildered looking Fran, drawing first blood. “I could have sworn you bought this place from us five years ago, only to discover via the nightclub grapevine that you didn’t. And now you want to buy it again? What’s wrong with this picture? Mitch, what’s wrong with this picture?”
The cast was spellbound, waiting for someone – anyone – to step up to the plate. Mitch shuffled uncomfortably, picked up his glass and drained what was already gone. The music started and a new act began, which drew the attention of the patrons away from the scene at the bar. Genevieve looked at Dom to remind him that he should take a hike, so Liam took the opportunity to steer Mitch and Fran over the where he and G had been sitting. Dom shot Genevieve another searing look before he walked away.
“You think you’ve got this all figured out, don’t ya bitch? Well, I’ll tell you, you don’t know the half of it.” He paused. “If I were you, miss priss, I’d watch your back.” He spat on the floor. Genevieve was unfazed.
“Shut up Dom. Don’t threaten me. I’m not afraid of you anymore.”
“You outta be.” The backstage door slammed behind him, and he was gone.
By the time a rattled Genevieve reached the others in the back corner seat, Liam had begun to lead the conversation toward resolution. 
“Listen, Mitch. There’s no reason for you to be upset. This is a simple matter of dishonesty – on Dom’s part, not yours.” His eyes didn’t leave Mitch’s but he could feel Fran staring at him, wondering, needing answers, and frankly, so did he. 
“You own this club,” Liam went on, grasping at straws. “You always have. We all know that times are tough, but you don’t have to sell your club to make ends meet. There are other ways.”
Mitch sat for a long time, as if trying to think of what those other ways were. The pitch of the music got louder and more frenetic. Liam tried to keep both Mitch and Fran focussed but it was getting more difficult to do with the show going on. He could see lights and colorful movement from onstage, but hesitated to look so as not to distract them any more than they were already. Della swung by the table with a tray of drinks; one whiskey sour, one Crown, on the rocks this time, one Highball, and one Ginger on ice with a twist of lime. Liam nodded at her and smiled. He wished he could include Della on their conversation. He knew she would be an asset, supporting both Mitch and Fran, as well as giving some insight into the goings on at the club, sharing things that they wouldn’t – couldn’t possibly know. But her time would come, and he knew she understood this. He and Genevieve would catch her up on things later on.  
“Mitch, why didn’t you tell me? We used to talk about everything. What happened? What is it you can’t tell me?” Fran’s boobs were spilling out of her flashy tight lame dress, which made it hard to take her seriously, but she sounded so desperate, almost defeated. Mitch kept his head down, embarrassed that he hadn’t been honest with this wife. He knew better than to mess with Fran, and wondered if this disaster could ever be fixed. Liam made a move to butt-in, to try to help make things right between them, when Genevieve moved her hand under the table and placed it on his thigh in a gesture to ease him off. She squeezed gently. He too, reached his hand down to meet hers and their fingers clasped onto each other eagerly. The excitement rose in each of them, but they were quickly brought back to the table when Fran spoke, almost screamed.
“Mitch! What’s going on? What kind of place has this turned into?” Fran stood up in indignation. As she did, her drink went flying off the table, ice and whiskey everywhere. They all looked at Fran, who was now ashen white, then followed her eyes to where she was looking. Then they saw what she saw. Up on center stage, spotlight beaming, in full view of the entire Foxy Lady Strip Club, was Mindy Maverick, spread eagle, wearing nothing but a grin.
stay tuned…chapter 13 will be posted next Tuesday, Oct 11th… 

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