He’s a mystery, and in spite of myself, I want to know more. The rational, logical, part of me says that I shouldn’t go back. I should find a job that’s less…I don’t know. Less controversial? I should get out before I get in too deep. No pun intended. But I don’t want to do that. I want to dive head first into whatever this is. I want to find out what part of me was missing before I discovered there was so much like this.
Plus, I need the money. I really need the money.
The bell over the door to the vet’s office rings softly as I open it, and the receptionist smiles at me. “Hey, Andrea.”
“Hey. Can I see him?”
“Sure thing. You know your way back.”
She knows me because I’ve been here every day for the last five days in a row. My golden lab—ironically named Brownie—has been here for those five days, prepping for, having, and recovering from a heart surgery. And surgery for any species is expensive. I thought I was going to be fine. I had savings. But layoffs never come when you expect them to.
Which is why I really need the job at the club. I can’t quit, even if I could convince myself that I shouldn’t be there.
I enter the back of the vet’s office, where there’s an open area for dogs to play, and Brownie spots me immediately. She’s not quick on her feet just yet, but her tail is wagging and she comes over to me as quickly as she can. “Hey girl,” I say, sitting on the floor. Brownie curls up on my lap. It’s something she’s done since she was a puppy, and even though she’s way too big to fit in my lap now, it doesn’t stop her from trying. I scratch behind her ears, and her tail goes crazy. Man I love this dog, and having her here makes me anxious. I miss the way she follows me around my apartment, bumping into the back of my legs when I stop too quickly.
One of the vet assistants pops his head into the room. “She’ll be ready to go home in just a couple days. Doc wants to make sure the healing is going well and that her rhythm is all set before he lets her go.”
I nod. “Thanks.”
Another two days of boarding here. Yeah, there’s no way I can quit this job. There’s a glimmer of excitement that races through me. Will I see Cole tonight at the club? What will I do? What will we do? Am I crazy?
Probably. But there’s nothing I can do about that now. Instead, I pet my dog, spending as much time as I can with her before I have to start my shift.
I don’t see Cole that night. In fact, I don’t see him at the club for three days. But that doesn’t stop me from looking for him. From thinking about him. From going home and writhing in my sheets with my fingers between my legs pretending that he’s the one there instead. I’m beginning to think that I imagined him completely. But then, as I’m clocking out Thursday night, he appears next to me like a magician. He was nowhere and then standing next to me. “Hello.”
“Where did you come from?” I ask him, trying to calm my heart that’s now pounding both from surprise and the fact that he’s here.
I shake my head. “No, I mean you just popped up.”
“I’m stealthy,” he says, smirking.
“Yeah.” I lean my hip against the bar. “Very. So stealthy I haven’t seen you in a few days.”
“I’m sorry about that, I had to go out of town suddenly. I didn’t have your phone number, and I thought that getting it from the employee records would be a breach of privacy.”
“Oh.” It takes me a second to realize what he’s saying. “You want my number?”
I suppress a grin. “Okay.”
He puts it into his phone before extending his hand to me. “Are you free?”
“For what?” I put my hand in his.
“I’ll show you.”
Cole pulls me across the club, towards the side closer to the kitchen. Under the overhang of the second floor balcony is a large seating area with a large glass box in the center. I’ve never seen it used until now. A couple is inside, and she’s pressed up against the glass while he fucks her from behind. The chairs around the stage are filled, and I see moving hands and kissing and hear soft moaning. Cole sits on a couch towards the back of the seating area and pulls me down onto his lap. “The exhibition box,” he says. “It works for people who want to watch and people who want to be watched.”