Chapter 8


"No one moves like you," Emory states.


He's been watching me all night.  He's dancing right next to the guy in front of me. 


I'd just gotten off stage doing my solo to a mash up of a bunch of rap songs.  My chest is covered in chains.   When I started here I didn't have the body of a god but now my body was something crazy.  Sweat trickles down my toned chest.  My arms are huge with cuts all throughout. 






Emory pauses and if I didn't know better I would swear he was licking his lips at me, "I mean it.  I could watch you dance---for hours.  Who taught you how to move like that?"




"For real?"




"Nah---for play.  Honestly.  Who taught you how to dance like that?"




I smile at the question this time, "My mom."




"I thought you didn't have a mom."




"That's what I like to say.  That's what me and Roxana like to think," I tell him, "But no.  It was mom.  She was a prostitute.  That was her real story.  And I used to sit there watching her as she would jump from man to man.  She'd dance, especially when she was hooked on drugs.  She was beautiful and she could DANCE!  Roxana hated her and so did I.  Sometimes when Roxana looks at me, I think she hates me too.  She thinks I'm my mother.  She thinks I'm that woman who danced and abandoned.  One day my mother put on a Tina Turner and she had me dancing to it.  And she never came back.  It was Private Dancer.  You know it?"




"Yeah," he answers quietly, "Yeah, I know it."




I can hear the song now in my head.


I want to make a million dollars


I want to live out by the sea


Have a husband and some children


Yeah, I guess I want a family


All the men come in these places


And the men are all the same


You don't look at their faces


And you don't ask their names


I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money


I'll do what you want me to do


I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money


And any old music will do


"She put on Private Dancer.  And I danced.  And Roxana thought it was so stupid.  But I always thought if I danced good enough mama would come in and the song would be true for her.  She already had children...all she needed was the house and a husband."



"And the house by the sea..."








"The lyrics say: Live out by the sea.  She'll need a house."




"Good point.  Either way---where was I?  Well I was dancing to Private Dancer on repeat.  And there I was...dancing alone.   But million dollars never came.  The husband never came.  And she never came."







"Never.  She abandoned us.  She never found someone to love her.   They found her two weeks later in an alley with a heroin needle in her arm.  She'd overdosed alone. Sometimes I think I'll end up like my mother...dancing alone."




Dancing alone.




That's when he grabs me in the fiercest way possible, twirling me around fiercely.   Emory presses himself up against me.  It's not in an appropriate way.  The cloth surrounding his dick is way too sparse to be this pressed up against me...but he doesn't care.




"I'll never let you dance alone."




"I'm serious."



"So am I..." he replies.



I turn and see that for some reason there are tears in his eyes.  I'm shocked.  My story made him cry.  My story made him tear up.  He looks at me and the tears are rolling down his cheek and I don't get it.


"Don't be sad.  It's just the truth.  I'm my mother's son..."


"You're nothing like your mother," he tells me.



He smiles at me for a minute.  I couldn't believe he was crying.   I can't believe I'm crying now.  I wipe my tears away at that moment.  I take a deep breath.




"Let's change the subject.  I came here to make some goddam money, not drown the fuckin clients.  You don't seem to be doing bad yourself," I respond.



He has money.  Lots of it.  He keeps his money in his boot.  When I take a look at him I see that he has eyes on him from all the other clientele.  He's quickly become the most popular boy in the club.  With Emory, it's not much dancing.  He can dance, however.  We all know it.  Every once in a while he proves it, but most of the time he doesn't dance.  Most of the time he just moves.  Slowly haunting the room, his fat ass being eaten up by the g-string.  


With Emory, it's more to do with his attitude, his sexiness, his confidence on stage, how he dealt with people, how comfortable he was with the clientele.



"I didn't think I would actually like this?" he states.






"Nah hanging around with you," he responds.


"I'm serious."




"So was I," he laughs back, "Fuck this stripping thing.  It's becoming----OK, I guess.  I would have left a long time ago but for some reason I'm just here ---for you."




"Left?" I ask, "Where the hell would you go?"



He's confused, "What?"




It sound like he let something slip up.




"You said you would have left a long time ago.  Where would you have gone?"




He shakes his head, "Eh---nevermind.  It's not important.  Did you want me to get you a drink?"





"Nah, I'll drink some of yours.  Unless you're scared of my germs."




He smiles staring at me deeply as I grab his drink.   He has a way of staring at my lips when I talk.  I noticed it recently.  It's something he never really did before.  I also notice that he stares so hard at my lips that every time I smile he seems to smile with me.  I test it out right now.  Off on, off on.  He does the same thing.  He's almost mimicking me.  I would swear it was cute if I'm not distracted by some strange looking men walking into the room.



"It's them," I realize.



The Saudis.  They had a private booth built that overlooked the dance stage.  No one was ever really allowed to go up there.



"That's him isn't it?" he asks me, "The Saudi Prince?"




I nod, "Him and his brother.  No one is really allowed up there but the waiters.   I think he doesn't want people to know that he owns a gay strip club."






I see the way he stares.




"Do you remember anything?  Anything at all from that night?  Did he hurt you in any way-----"


"I don't recall."




"Lux was shot at.  I think they have something to do with it.  Maybe I should do some investigating----"








He says it really loud.  So loud that he seems to get some attention from Lux who is on the other side of the room.  Lux looks over at him.  I notice that Lux and him have been making eye contact a lot lately---ever since their little incident.  It was tense but in a weird way.  I wondered what all that meant.  


"You boys might want to keep it down----you're freaking out the clients," Lux states.


"Lux did you see who shot you?  Do you think it could have been one of the Saudis..."




Lux doesn't even answer me.  He looks over at Emory.   It's weird.  It's almost like he doesn't want to talk to me.  It's almost like he only wants to talk to Emory.


Lux shakes his head, "Nah."




"Just nah?" I ask.


"You need to let this go," Emory states, "The Saudis are not bad people.  Besides they own the club right now.  You think it's smart for you to keep running around acting weird..."




"I have a bad feeling about them."




"Get rid of it," Emory responds.


That's when I see Lux reach over and interrupt us.  He grabs Emory, "Can I talk to you?  In the back----"




"I was actually going to take a break too," I start.



Great.  This was not becoming a thing.  One of the new boys were on stage dancing and most of the clients were watching him.   This was the best time to take a break instead of having to do the table dances. 



"Actually I wanted to talk to Lux alone if you don't mind," Emory responds, "Can you stay out here?"








Emory smiles, "Good.  And hey Barry?"








"Leave the whole Saudi crime mystery alone, OK?" he states.





He had a point.  I was going crazy with that.  Lux was in a bunch of crazy shit.  He got involved in things he shouldn't all the time.  Anyone could have wanted to kill him.  Then there was the fact that Emory was really here.  If the Saudis had done something to him then it would have been impossible for him to be here in my face at this moment. 


"You know they fuckin----" I hear a voice whisper in my ear.




I turn to see Hitter.  Hitter is one of those guys who gets through the evening grabbing his dick and swirling it around in a helicopter.  He does it because his dick is so big.  He's so uncomfortable showing his ass that he always wears some extra long jacket with his performance to cover up the back.  It's annoying really but he's sexy.





"Lux and Emory."




"No way...Emory's straight."




"Is he?" D asks joining us, "Because I swear to god I saw him touch and grab his dick a little bit watching you on stage."



"Not you too D."



Hitter wasn't the only one who said he got gay vibes from Emory.  It wasn't how masculine he was.  It was little things that he did that caused people to question him.  I wondered if it was true what D said about him touching himself to the sight of me.  If he was---that would be kinda hot.  But it couldn't be true.  D liked to exaggerate.


"He's definitely gay.  I stare at your ass literally 99 percent of my free time," Hitter comments, "The only one that stares 100 percent of his free time is Emory."




"He's married to my sister.  She's in the crowd----or at least she said she would be tonight."




Dammit.  My sister isn't in the crowd.  Their marriage was getting worse and worse.  At this point Emory was sleeping on the couch downstairs everyday.  They barely spoke.  They weren't even pretending like they were happy anymore. 




"You guys talking about Emory being gay?" Thiago joins us, "Because back stage during fluffing, I told him I didn't have a straight magazine and he said a gay one would be ok---he'd just pretend."



Fluffing was when strippers jerked off in the back.  Apart from Emory we had another straight guy and he always went in the bathroom and facetimed his wife to get hard.  Emory didn't do that.  I'd never seen Emory struggle to get hard.



"That doesn't mean he's gay," I state.


"C`mon, yo," D says, "You're becoming one of my best friends.  I don't want you to be blindsided.  Your little Magic Mike is gay as fuck."




"And he wants to fuck Lux," Hitter adds in.





D gives Hitter a look, "You think?  I could have sworn he wanted my boy Berlin."




"STOP!  ALL OF YOU!" I interrupt, "PLEASE!"




I scream at the top of my lungs.  I scream so loud that the dancer on stage gets distracted.






They all look at me.  I'm making a bit of a scene.  I don't care though.  Right at this moment.  In this very moment it didn't matter.  I was irritated. 



They were gossiping like a bunch of school girls.  I knew why they all cared about what he was doing.  They all cared because he was making more money than they were.  They all cared because they were either jealous or they were curious and wanted to figure out the secret sauce that Emory had.  Whatever Emory was doing was working for him.  He was the most successful stripper at the R&M.  Even more successful than Lux and all this gossiping wasn't going to change that.


 The club was getting messier and messier.  I already wasn't comfortable because the Saudi Prince was now running this place.  I already was on edge.



"You OK?" D asks me.




The others have walked away.  I'm alone with him.  I'm standing by the exit.  I'm breathing hard.  I'm having a bit of a panic attack.   He looks concerned.  I was letting everything get to me.  I was letting the Saudi Prince get to me.  I was letting the bullshit rumors the other boys had get to me.


"I'm fine---I need a drink."




"That shits watered down.  Go to my locker," D states, "I got a bottle of Henny----"




"You my boy," I tell him.




"You know it," he states leaning over, "I just want to make sure you're good.  I know how you look at him."




"It's not that simple," I tell D.




"It is that simple," D responds back, "You can talk to me.  Simplify it.  What's going on between you and Emory?"




I take a deep breath.  I didn't think I'd admit this to anyone. 



"Sometimes he stares at me at the breakfast table and I almost lose it.  We stare at one another every second my sister Roxana isn't in the room.  Quiet stares.  Just staring.  Just wanting to be near someone.  We walk past each other just so we can feel our skin brush up against one another.  He finds reasons to touch me.  Before he did it by instinct but now he does it on purpose.  I know it.  I can see the purpose behind his eyes.  He wants me to know that I know.  Maybe it's just me though.  Maybe it isn't mutual."




"It's mutual," D states.



"How the hell do you know?"




"I felt this way before.  My first love.  Everyone has one," D explains, "I got tired of fucking girls and then I met her and it was all fireworks.  You know the thing about fireworks?"







"Everyone can see them.  It doesn't matter how much you hide them," D explains, "There is SOMETHING that everyone here can see----including your sister."




I feel sick to my stomach.



"How do I make it stop?"




"You want it to stop?"




"I can't be in love with him."





D sighs, "I get it.  He's married to your sister.  She is going to have a baby.  I get it.  I understand how painful it is.  But maybe it's time the two of you have an understanding.  Maybe it's time the two of you sat down and talked about where this thing was going between you."




I nod, "You're right."




It was time.  It was time that I talked to him.







Later that night we arrive home.  He's talking to me and I'm just smiling.  I'm just listening.  He's telling me about his night.  All the weird little stripper stories that he never talks to anyone else about it.  We always have a million and he always wants to share it with me.  We are in the kitchen before I know it and he's making me a protein shake before we go out for a run.   I watch as he grinds up the protein powder and gets a banana.  He takes a bite of it.  It's his lips that make the light in the rest of the room grow dim and out of focus.




"You didn't hear a word I said, did you?" he asks.


"I didn't."



"God what am I going to do with you?" he asks, "I said one of my clients was telling me about the Grand Canyon.  We should go.  We can hike it.  It'll be a workout get those muscles moving.  It's four hours away----uh, is everything OK?"




I'm staring at him eating his banana, "Just uh...realizing how much time we spend together.  We work together.  Live together."



"We're not starting that talk about you moving out again, are we?"




"I think it's time."




"I don't," he responds, shortly.


"We should talk," I respond.




"Why so serious?  Here take a bite---"





I can't help but smile, "Is that supposed to put me in a good mood?  I don't want your banana."




"OH yeah right.  You been staring at it this whole time. Fat ass..."



"Fat ass?" I ask with a raise eyebrow, pulling up my shirt and showing him what I was working with.  



He laughs a little bit, "You feeling yourself huh?"


There he goes with the banana again.  He's started on another.  He's bit off the tip.  Damn it drives me crazy seeing how his lips fold onto the banana.  My dick is getting hard right there in the fucking kitchen. 



"Nah---just trying to be like you."



He smiles, "I was about to say.  Ain't nothing wrong with your fat ass---"



He bite his lips.



If this was anyone else it would be flirting.  It wouldn't be just normal flirting either.  It would be hot and heavy.  This kitchen is huge and he's standing right next to me.  He hands me the smoothie I made and while I'm drinking it he's leaning up against the island.  He's playing with his own shirt until he manages to take it off and throws it over his shoulder.  Shirtless he takes another small bite of the banana and looks at me.  Without saying it we both know that he's discovered my secret.   He's discovered that him eating bananas drives me absolutely crazy.


"I wasn't looking at the banana---" I assure him.



Was I trying to convince him or was I trying to convince myself?



"Here take a bite of my banana."



He puts the banana in my mouth.  Slow.  Easy.  He puts the tip in.


I try to mouth out his name, "Emory..."




"No hands."




So slow.  So easy.  That's when I notice behind him.  Roxana walks into the room.  Roxana sees her husband slowly literally test out my gag reflexes by putting a banana down my throat. 


I pull back out.



He knows how this looks.  I know how this looks.




SHE knows how this looks.





"Fuck," I hear him stammer.



"He wants to you suck on the banana as if it were his dick," she states, walking to the fridge and getting out her stuff, "You should be good at that, Barry."



With that she walks out of the room again.  I'm pretty sure she is implying that I am a slut at that point.  I can see that Emory's face goes from embarrassment to a bit of anger. 



"I'm going to talk to her."








"She can't talk to you like that."




"Yes she can," I stop him and pull him back into the kitchen, "She literally can.  She's pregnant. Her hormones are going and me being here----"



"I want you here."



"I can't be here!"



I feel all of this bottled up emotion inside of me right now.  I don't know how the tears come out but they just do.  The tears just come the fuck out.  I'm standing in that kitchen shaking at that moment because this was driving me crazy and there was nothing I could do to change it.




"Let's talk about this.  We can figure something out."




"I'm leaving."







It's too late.  I go upstairs.  I pack my bags.  As I walk out of my room I see my sister's door open.  She is looking at me.  I can't read her expression.  She thinks I'm a whore.  She thinks I'm fucking her husband.  I wish she didn't feel that way but deep inside I knew that this connection I had with her husband was something that I couldn't change. 



"I'm leaving.  I have some stuff that I left over...




"Good," she tells me, "Barry?"






My sister looks me dead in my eyes and I swear she's a stranger in that moment.  In that moment there is hate in those eyes.




She says something.




Something horrible.




I don't even let it settle in before I'm running down the steps at what she said to me.  I can't believe she said that to me.  I can't believe my sister would open her mouth and say that.



With that I go downstairs and I walk away.  I can see Emory staring at me from the door...watching as I leave.







My heart is racing.  I want to go after him.  I want to stop him.  I watch as he walks away and I'm not even sure where he's going but I know that it's my fault that his relationship with his sister has gone down the drain so badly.  Right then at that moment I want to stop him.  I want to tell him everything but I'm so fucking weak.




I'm so fucking stupid.




So I just allow it to happen.  I allow him to get into an Uber and drive away. Now I have to go back into this house and live with Roxana.  I feel so detached from her and this house without him here.  It's almost as though I'm watching it in a movie.  I've spent time with Barry.  I'd gotten to know Barry.  All I knew about his sister was that she was some bitch who kept hurting the feelings about someone I cared about.  And Barry may have felt sorry for her, but I didn't.



I couldn't.



"What the fuck did you say to him?" I ask as soon as I get up the stairs.


"Him?"  she asks, "Is that all you're worried about him?"







At this moment it's all anger.  I am so pissed.  I'm seeing red.  I saw his face when he left.  I wasn't going to let anyone treat him like that.




"You want to know what I said to him?  I can't control his `relationship' with my husband," she states, "But I can control my relationship with him.  I told him I didn't want to see him again.  I told him the next time I wanted to see him was at his funeral."







It was harsh. 




"Oh my god."



She seems happy.  For the first time this bitter, angry woman finally decides to smile, "I told him that he'll never know if he has a niece or nephew.  He'll never see this baby.  And I told him something else too.  Something else that little slut deserves to hear."




"What did you say?"




"I told him he ended up being a whore----just like our mother."


That's when I lose it.




"You fucking bitch."




"Excuse me?"




All the tension that we've been feeling in the house comes out at this moment.  At that fucking moment I give no fucks. No fucks at all. 


"You know I held my tongue for a while now,  but fuck it----I'm not going to let you treat him like that.  Do you know how strong I've come onto your fucking brother since I've met him and he's never crossed the line.  NEVER!  The chemistry between us is crazy and he's always told me no---because he respects you.  Because he didn't want to hurt you."




"You wanted to fuck my brother!" she screams out, "Emory---how could you?"




"I'm not Emory," I tell her.




It just comes out.


She is shocked.  She is surprised.  She just...stares at me.








"Emory is dead.  I'm Everett his twin brother..."







I call the only person to come get me that I can think of.  We were having a talk and he said there was something important he wanted to talk to me about tonight but he didn't want to do it with so many eyes on us.  So now was really the best time anyway.




I call Lux.


Before I know it Lux pulls over and I'm outside getting in the car.  




"Let's get out of here."




"What's wrong with you?" Lux states, "You tearing up man..."




"Just keep going."




We've made it a few blocks away. 




"Not till you tell me what happened."




"That fuckin bitch in there came at my---my friend," I state, shaking his head, "I told her the truth...about me..."




My secret was out.  He'd find out.  He'd hate me.


Lux sighs a little bit, "You know that `bitch' in there is supposed to be your wife.  Right Everett?  That's what you're pretending to do, remember?"




I cross my arms.





"You never mentioned how you found out about me."





Lux shrugs, "The Saudi Prince has a brother.  After a meeting with him, I put two and two together.  I figured you were Emory's twin.  And then I did my own research."



"So you know.  You know I'm Everett."



"I know that you're very confused.  And by the fact that you are calling me in the middle of the night to come save you from your fake life---it looks like you've made a mess of it."




"I didn't expect to fall for him man," I admit, "I am falling for him hard..."



I tried to fight it but at this point it was impossible.




Lux shakes his head, "Damn bro..."



"I need to leave.  I'm just making things worse for him and his family at this point."




"You need to go back inside," Lux states.




"I can't."




"Your brother's alive."








"The reason I found out Emory has a twin is that Nasim told me that your brother is alive," he tells me, "Which means we can save him if we find out where he is.  I need your help. We can go to the cops.  But we all need to do it.  Me, you, Barry and hell...even Roxana."




"I just told Roxana that he was dead."




"Well you need to go un-tell her.  I feel like they are following me.  We don't have a lot of time.  I can't do it alone.  We need to go to the cops.  Maybe if you explain to the truth to Barry and his sister they will listen..."








"What are you scared of?" Lux asks.


What was I scared of?




I shake my head, "Nothing.  It's just...he can't know the truth.  He can't know that I've been lying to him this whole time.  He'd hate me."



"He'd hate you more the longer you lie..."




He had a point.  Besides.  His sister already knew.




"Fine.  Take me back.  Take me back to the house."








I get back to the house.








No Roxana. 




But there was a note.


I read the note and run outside where Lux is waiting for me. 




"What's wrong?" Lux asks, "Did she not take it well?"


I shake my head, "She's not in there.  They took her?"






"It's a note from the Saudi Prince.  It says not to worry about her.  As long as we don't go to the cops she'll be fine..."




So much for going to the cops.  So much for telling Barry the truth.  These people were dangerous and I needed to get them away from him.  I needed to save Barry.  I needed to save Roxana.  I needed to find my brother---no matter what. 



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