Saturday, January 31, 2009

Exposure by Lisabet Sarai

The next night I show up at the designated room number, at eight on the dot. I like to be professional. I’ve tried to dress as elegant as I can, in a nice peach linen suit that hugs my curves and makes me look dark and exotic. I’m nervous, though, as nervous as I was that first night I stepped onto the Peacock stage. Taking a deep breath, I rap three times on the door like Mr. Clean told me to do.

I recognize the man at the door immediately. I may be a stripper, but I read the papers. It’s Anthony Pinelli, leading businessman, local power-broker, candidate for mayor. Hey, I was planning on voting for him, in spite of the stories about his mob connections. Nobody’s lily-white these days. From what I’ve read, he seems to have the kind of strength that you need to run this tough town.

I’ve seen his picture lots of times, but in person he’s even more impressive. Big but not fat, with a shock of shiny black hair and bushy eyebrows to match. He has a nice straight nose, lips that look decisive, and dark eyes that seem to go right through me.

But more than his good looks, I’m impressed by the sense of power that he projects. Charisma, I think the word is. He looks me over, those firm lips curve into a warm smile, and I suddenly feel like I’d do anything he asks.

“Please come in, Ms. Xanathakeos,” he says, standing aside so that I can enter the suite. His voice has a round, mellow sound to it. It slides over me.

“Call me, Stella, please.” I look around the fancy suite curiously, noting the modern paintings on the walls, the horseshoe-shaped sofa, the bar set up in the corner. The closed door next to the desk must lead to the bedroom. My heels sink into the thick, plum-colored carpet. I’m afraid that I’ll damage it. Maybe I’ll have to dance barefoot.

“Well, then, Stella, you must call me Tony.” He takes my hand in a kind of old-fashioned way. His touch sends shivers through my body. My nervousness is gone, replaced by a feeling of breathlessness. I won’t have any trouble at all getting turned on enough to dance, that’s for sure.

“Can I offer you some refreshment?” Tony asks, gesturing toward the bar.

“Just water, if you have some.”

He hands me a long-stemmed glass full of carbonated water. I watch the bubbles dancing. It feels as if there are bubbles inside my chest, too.

He pours himself a tall scotch. We sit together for a few minutes on the sofa, not talking, sipping our drinks. I feel flushed and sweaty, as if I’ve already danced for him. His body gives off waves of heat. It’s like I’m lying under a sun lamp. I don’t know what to do next.

Finally, he puts down his drink. “Shall we get started? Let me get a bit more comfortable.” He shrugs off his suit jacket and places it over the desk chair. I gasp as I see that he is wearing a revolver in a shoulder holster. He smiles, just a little, as he removes this and hangs it over the chair on top of the jacket. “I’m a dangerous man, Stella, and I have many enemies. I have to take care of myself.” I nod vaguely. I’m not exactly reassured.

He seats himself back on the sofa. “The stereo is over there,” he says, pointing to a complicated pile of audio equipment next to the bar. Somehow, I figure out how to insert my tape and start it playing. I turn to face my audience.

The first bars of the music free me from any anxiety. I fix my eyes on him and begin to move. Graceful. Sensual. I’m extremely turned on, but I want this performance to be classy, not raunchy the way I sometimes am.

The shoes go first. Now I unfasten my jacket, lingering over each button. Building the suspense. I’m wearing regular lingerie, flimsy and feminine, instead of one of my costumes. My breasts are like melons, encased in black lace. No padding or wires on this bra; my nipples are clearly visible, pushing the fabric into sweet little peaks.

I do the classic strip, turning my back and inching the skirt zipper down. Shimmying the garment over my hips to my ankles. I feel his eyes on my rump. When I turn back to face him, I try out the stare on him. The results are mixed.

He’s not closed off like his friend. I can see deep into his soul. I see passion, hunger, clean and healthy. Not twisted and painful like some of the guys at the lounge.

At the same time, though, I feel like he sees into me. It’s like he’s touching me inside, probing, trying to discover what I want. It’s strange and very intimate. His eyes make my clit harden and my juices flow.

But my eyes are doing the same to him. I can see the bulge in his tailored trousers. His breath is coming a bit more quickly, too.

I unfasten the bra in front. Instead of tossing it at him, which is my first idea, I let it drift to the floor. I caress my breasts, as much for my own pleasure as for his. I love their heaviness in my hands. I love the way the skin shades to rich darkness at their tips. And the nipples themselves, round and firm like the best Kalamata olives. I roll them between my fingers, my breath starting to become ragged.

Finally, there are just my bikini panties between me and nakedness. I hold off as long as I can, letting the music build to its climax. At the crescendo, I undo the ribbons at each hip, so the thing just falls away from my body. For a moment I stand there proudly, my curly black pubic hair glistening with my own moisture. Tony’s eyes devour me. Then the music dies away. I sink to the carpet in a curtsy, strangely exhausted.

I came here to dance. Just a job. But now I want more. And so does Tony.