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August 10 | Saturday Night

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August 10 | Saturday Night

Beaucoup de Chair Burlesque beckoned the five senses. Patrons were treated to delicious cuisine. Double-battered shrimp with house tartar sauce. Spicy boiled crawfish. The music was sensual jazz, rhythm-and-blues. Women flashed skin, and the audience broke into applause we heard all the way backstage.

For a lucky few, one-on-ones would be arranged later, but tonight my mind wasn't on sexual rendezvous as Kittie Cad and I made it to work. I was anxious to return to Aurie. She needed a guide through Overlay City to complete her unfinished business. That would be my good deed.

"Plus, don't forget the shelter," said Kittie at the dressing room.

"Volunteer at the hospital, the church, and the shelter? You act as if I've committed some heinous crime and need to atone."

"I act like making others happy will make you happy, Mys. Now, lace me up, darling."

I waggled brows at the red corset. "Is this how your Mister ties you up?"

Kittie gasped and swatted me. After I cinched her waist, she adjusted her gaff and reached for her wig. The hairspray and perfume-hazed room was full of girls of all stripes. I was the only dancer slipping into a restroom stall to change into my glittery Great Gatsby flapper costume.

"Hey, are you scheduled for a date tomorrow night, or can you take a breather?" Kittie asked when I stepped out.

"Got a businessman flying in from the Netherlands. Why?"

She huffed. "Doesn't it get old? I know you're not hurting for money. Don't you want a regular he-only-pays-for-dinner kind of date?"

Wow. I slowly turned away with my makeup bag. Staring at the long mirror framed in glamor lights that the Beaucoup de Chair girls shared, I dug around in the bag to cover how much the comment stung, especially coming from my best friend.

Realizing her mistake, Kittie touched my shoulder to apologize, but I shook her off.

"I didn't mean that the way it came out, Mys."

I smiled stiffly at my reflection. No, I sensed what she meant was to lead up to telling me her relationship was getting serious. That our bond would take a hit because of it. Was that why she wanted to set me up with new people? Gods. I hoped not.

Kittie Cad knew my abandonment issues—adopted, put out at sixteen—but I had never begrudged her happiness. She had no right to assume I didn't know how to appreciate a "he-only-pays-for-dinner kind of date."

What the hell is that anyway, Kittie? My trembling hands applied makeup. The lipstick fell from nerveless fingers as a part of me wondered if she was right. Would I know love when I saw it? I capped the lipstick, putting it in my bag.

"I understand we're not in the same line of work anymore, but don't judge me, Ms. Cad," I said as I strutted off. "Everyone doesn't want the white picket fence. I'm up next. Don't wait around."

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by Sondi Warner
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