More than Exist(5)

By: Bethany Lopez

I spoke without thinking, just reacted, but Big Mike heard me say husband, and his eyes flitted down to my bare ring finger. I’d taken it off and secured it in my lock box the day the movers came. I’d treasure it always, but part of my moving on, was letting go.

“I mean, had a husband,” I barely whispered.

I suddenly remembered the point of this trip, and realized that I could either leave and go to the cops, but probably lose my license, credit cards, and everything else in my purse, or I could say yes, and get my stuff back.

I’d never stripped before, never even considered it, but it wasn’t illegal, and it wouldn’t hurt me or anyone else, so maybe it was time for me to bite the bullet and accept life’s latest adventure.

“One lap dance,” I said, looking into Big Mike’s beady eyes.




“Mike, seriously, I’m a widow from San Diego. I’ve had two sexual partners in my life, and I spend my days in the kitchen. It will take a lot for me to give a strange man a lap dance, in a strip club. I think doing it once should earn me my purse back.”

“Sounds fair to me,” Ginger butt in, causing Big Mike to scowl down at her.

“I pick the guy, and get the money upfront for the dance,” Big Mike said, and I nearly smiled in victory, then I remembered that I still had to give a lap dance to a stranger, and no longer felt like smiling. “You can keep any tips.”

I nodded, unable to believe that just a few short hours ago, I’d been standing in my living room, and now I was in the dressing room of a Vegas strip club. Ricky would lose his mind.

“Ginger will get you made up. I’ll let you know when it’s time.”

Big Mike left the room, and I followed Ginger, dragging my feet the whole way.

“Can I get a drink?” I asked Ginger’s retreating back.

“Sure thing.”

Chapter 3

I was going to throw up.

I was in the bathroom kneeling on my T-shirt, bent over the toilet bowl, as the contents of my stomach revolted. When I’d expelled everything, and was in the middle of the unfortunate act of dry heaving, I felt a warm hand rubbing circles on my back.

“You okay, Belle?” Ginger asked.

I guess the combination of nerves and Long Island Iced Teas did not mix.

I took a deep breath, willing the dry heaving to be over. When I felt confident that I could speak without heaving, I replied, “Sorry I messed up my makeup.”

“Don’t worry, honey, we’ll get you fixed up.”

I stood on shaky legs, grabbing my shirt and shaking it out, before going to the sink and turning on the water.

“Here.” Ginger thrust a packaged travel-sized toothbrush at me, complete with tiny toothpaste. “I thought you could use this.”

“You’re a lifesaver, Ginger, thanks,” I took the brush and paste gratefully, then spent a few minutes cleaning my mouth. When I was done, I went back into the dressing room, where Ginger was waiting for me.

I sat back in the seat that I’d occupied for the last hour, while she transformed me from I’ve-been-traveling-all-day-in-yoga-pants lady, to I’m-going-to-make-you-come-in-your-pants lady.

Ginger was a magician.

Before nerves and the need to vomit had overcome me, I’d been amazed at the transformation she’d been able to perform.

My hair was in big, long, glossy curls, and looked full and sexy. My eyes were catlike, the green in my hazel eyes highlighted, and my lips looked full and shockingly red.

I looked like a real stripper.

Once she touched up the areas I’d messed up, she brought me a sweet-looking summer dress and a G-string.

“Don’t worry, the string is new, just out of the package,” Ginger assured me as I looked at the underwear in horror. “I figured this dress would work for the sweet, untouched image that Big Mike is going for, plus you’ll probably feel more comfortable if you at least start out in regular clothes.”

I nodded as she handed me the clothes.

“So,” she began, turning the chair so that she was standing directly in front of me. “When you go into the private room, he’ll be in a chair, or on the couch. Your performance should begin as soon as you enter the room. First, walk slowly, purposefully, your eyes locked on him. You can look him up and down, your face conveying that you like what you see, that you think he’s hot … Even if you don’t, but always bring your eyes back to him and maintain eye contact. Once you get a few feet away, touch yourself. Push your hair back off your shoulders, run a hand down your body, casually brushing against your breasts, but not lingering. Tease him.” Ginger began to mimic her instructions as she spoke. She walked up to my chair, stopping once our legs were close enough to touch. “The music will begin, then, do what feels natural. Let the rhythm flow through you, and move.” Ginger started swaying to an imaginary beat. Her hands roaming, pausing to cup her breasts and lift them, before trailing down and along her stomach.

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