\ 22:18 "The Grindhouse" | unlimitedi.net
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The Grindhouse - 10:18pm

The lights faded and Meredith left the stage, naked except for her shoes and thong (there was no cover charge so if patrons wanted to see more they had to pay for the pleasure) and grabbed the bottle of ice water the backstage security held out to her. His name was Max and at a hefty 185lbs of pure Afro-American, muscle seemed to take up most of the space in the crowded dressing room. Meredith gulped down half the water before she even reached her dressing station.

“Great act Vi,” he growled, “damn sexy as always, nearly got a boner myself.”

“And we know that never happens.”

“Hey, there ain’t nothing I ain’t seen before.”

“Yeah well it’s what you do with it that counts. Or at least, that’s what my last boyfriend told me.”

Max chuckled, his huge frame shaking as he did. “Look, Charlie wanted me to tell you, your regular’s waiting for you in Room Three.”

Meredith sighed, “again?”

“Make it… twelve times in a row?”

“More like thirteen, I swear he has a screw loose.”

Max grinned, chuckling some more as he went to return to his post. “Nah, but if you need me, you know what to do?”

Meredith nodded at Max’s reflection in the dressing room mirror and started getting dressed. Not that it mattered. The client in question was Leonard Marsden and possible one of the strangest men she’d ever encountered - in a strip club anyway. Pulling a scrap of sheer scarlet fabric from the bulging dress rail, Meredith wriggled out of her sequined thong and tossed it into the laundry basket. Their whole arrangement was a joke really, as well choreographed as one of her routines. Leo first showed up at The Grindhouse about three months ago, as far as looks went he seemed nice enough (although Meredith had known many monsters with kind eyes and gentle smiles) and he was handsome she supposed, in an aging movie star sort of way, the kind of guy middle-aged women swooned over and called ‘distinguished’ rather than just plain ‘old‘.

With a twang of elastic, Meredith pulled a matching red micro thong into place, followed by spangled garter. She didn’t bother changing her shoes since the six-inch platform wedges went with pretty much everything. She did however, grab a pair of long, sheer arm sleeves. Meredith glanced in the mirror as she rolled them up past her elbow, covering the ugly redness of the puckered flesh on her left arm.

She sighed, fluffing up her hair before heading back out into the club. The music pounded from the stage as the new act twirled wildly around the pole, proving once again that fake tits really did have benefits in this line of work if only for their gravity defying properties. Meredith smiled at the clientele as she worked her way through the club - not the jaw aching smiles that most of her fellow ‘entertainers’ wore plastered across their faces, Meredith’s was actually genuine. Well, as genuine as anything got in this place. After chatting with some of the regulars and securing a couple of lap dances for later, she went to the back of the club where the private rooms were situated. Meredith opened the door and stepped inside.

Heavily cushioned, blue metallic walls greeted her - a soundproofing measure though Meredith couldn’t help but think of a padded cell. In the centre of the room was a brightly lit podium surrounded by plush velvet seating and the ceiling held a large glitter ball that brightly reflected across every seat and wall. Sat in the middle of all this was a man - about fifty years of age but still physically fit. Well-built in a way that his finely pressed slacks and fitted shirts couldn’t disguise, with a crop of dark hair that fell into his bright blue eyes, as though he were a couple weeks late getting it cut.

Meredith let the door close silently behind them, blocking out all sound except the music which was filtered into the room via speakers. “Good evening, Leonard,” she purred, leaning back against the wall to show him how every inch (and there were precious few of those) of thin, see-through fabric stretched tightly across her body and rode even higher up her thighs.

His eyes lingered, especially when he realised the only thing she was wearing underneath was a tiny pair of panties. Wetting his lips he looked away then pushed a bottle of beer towards her, clearing his throat before he spoke. “Sometimes you make it very hard-”

“Only sometimes.”

Leonard cleared his throat again. “What I meant was, you make it difficult for a man to keep his mind on track.”

Meredith walked up to the podium and took the offered beer, sliding onto the couch next to him as she took her first swig. “Good, then I’m doing my job properly.” Putting the bottle back down she looked at him directly, sliding one arm over the back of the couch while she absently twirled a lock of hair around the index finger of the other. “Leo, you come here every week, you always sit at the same table to watch me perform, you always neatly tuck a twenty in my g-string and afterwards you always book a private room and have a bottle of Sam Adams waiting.”

Leo’s dark brows furrowed, his jaw tightening beneath three days worth of stubble that somehow managed to look debonair rather than just plain scruffy. “And?”

“I assumed you wanted to get in my knickers only you never let me dance for you, in fact you never ask me to do anything for you.”

“That’s not true. I did ask, you refused.”

Meredith blinked. “I already told you, I can’t tell you my real name. You could be a psycho, you might find out where I lived and murder me in my bed.”

A slight smile tugged at the corners of Leo‘s lips. “Then the only way I can enjoy your company is to pay for it.” Meredith began to say something but Leo held up his hand. “Not that I mind, I like spending time with you though it would be nice to see what you look like without the body glitter and stilettos… and in something other than underwear.”

Meredith smiled sweetly and ran a hand slowly down her throat to rest between her breasts. “I could show you what I look like in my birthday suit.”

“That’s… not what I meant.”

“Don’t you like what I’m wearing?”

Leo sighed. “It’s… very nice Violet. But not very conducive to platonic conversation.”

“I think you’ll find that’s the point,” Meredith leaned back against the couch, her dress riding up her thighs again. “Most of my clientele don‘t come here to chit chat.”

“Most of your clientele only want to get a glimpse of what’s between your legs.”

“Except you. Unless you do, and you’re just too polite to ask.” Meredith scooted up to sit on the podium, her legs resting on the couch next to Leo. “You can, you know? Have more than a glimpse if you like-”

“-Violet. No.” Leo rose to his feet, taking hold of Meredith’s wrists as she moved to raise her dress even higher. He noticed her wince and loosened his grip though he didn’t release her until he’d pulled the long red sleeve from her left arm. “Shit.” he looked up at her, his glittering blue eyes full of concern and something else… fear? Or was it anger?

“Charlie said you’d been in some kind of accident the other week. That’s why you didn’t show. He said a stray dog bit you?”

A frown spread across Meredith‘s forehead as she looked at the scar. It was gross, red and angry looking. “Damn thing was huge, like a Great Dane but furry, you know? Like those sled dogs in the arctic? People shouldn’t be allowed to have dogs if they’re not gonna keep them under control.”

“Are you… okay?”

Meredith shrugged and looked up. Leo was watching her closely, genuine sympathy causing tiny wrinkles to form in the corner of his eyes. “Aside from having one ugly ass scar? I went to the hospital, had the shots. They said I was fine. I have the medical bill to prove it.” She ran her fingers down the length of the scar. “It itches a bit, but it’s healed loads so it must be okay, right?” Meredith narrowed her eyes slightly. “You’re not a doctor are you?”

Leo chuckled slightly, shaking his head. “Afraid not. But look…” he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a card. “I know someone who’s something of an expert in these sorts of… injuries. If you get sick, please, give me a call and I can arrange something. Will you do that?”

“Leo, I’m fine, but I appreciate your not too subtle attempt at once again trying to get me to meet up with you.”

Leo sighed, heavy with frustration and took her hand, pressing the card into it. Then he removed a couple more bills from his wallet and tucked them into her garter. “Make sure you eat, okay? None of that salad rubbish you girls are so fond of, something substantial, a steak or something.”

“Yes, Daddy.”

Another sigh. He straightened his jacket and walked to the door, his last glance lingering as though he wanted to say something more but thought better of it. “Take care, I’ll see you next week.”

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