by Matsuri Yuri (祭百合)
Sheila was staring at the ceiling, counting tiles and waiting for him–and the boredom–to just finish. One would think a sex worker would have a thrilling sex life, but apparently they left that out of the pamphlet. Dylan always made a big fucking deal of going down on her, like it qualified him for sainthood or something. Then he’d moan like the guy version of a faking an orgasm, sloppily licking her, just missing the spot, messing up the rhythm like a bad song.
And then she’d have stubble burn on her thighs, which was pretty obvious when wearing a damn g-string.
“I want you in me,” Sheila said. It sounded flat to her–flatter than she intended it to sound–but he apparently bought it.
“But baby, I’m doing you,” he said.
“Yeah, and it got me so hot, I want you,” Sheila said.
That was all he needed. He climbed on top of her, his weight an annoying reminder of where Sheila was. Her mind wandered, back to work, away from him, and the faint scent of his Old Spice aftershave.
In her mind, she put on the mask again, and only then did she make the sharp intake of breath, which he thought was for him.
It wasn’t exactly the American dream. It should’ve been. He was nice, fairly dependable, and attractive in a scruffy, artistic hipster sort of way. He’d given her mixtapes and ironically bad poetry and kept a stubble because he thought she liked it. He brought silk flowers spritzed with cheap perfume so they’d last, her friends and family loved him. And why shouldn’t they? He was nice… a bit too nice.
Sheila closed her eyes and imagined dancing. The grinding swerve of bodies, the lights, the pole. The rough edge of leather against her skin.
It was only then that the flush of pleasure came over her, the first moan, bit back for a name which wasn’t his.
Sheila pushed her dark hair out of her face. She’d cut it when she took this job, dyed it black for her Leather Heather persona, but kept the bangs. Nobody but the bosses knew her name as anything else but Leather Heather or Mistress Heather, and she preferred it that way. She’d been at the Cat Scratch Club for six months now, because waitressing only got you so far, and she made twice as much for just dancing than she’d make a week’s shifts.
But, no, that was a lie. It was a shithole, yeah, but it was the highlight of her day. Something within her thrummed at the thought of letting loose and feeling the leather against her skin.
Sheila pulled up her leather gloves, not for the first time, marveling at the feel of against her. With this gloves and mask, this corset, she became powerful, somebody the people feared as much as they desired. It was like those childhood dreams of becoming a super hero. Put on the black leather mask, and she became someone else. No one gave Leather Heather any shit, and if they did, she’d make them regret it, leave them with bruises for ever crossing her. She could make them go to their knees, force them to lick her boots, worship her like the queen she was.
Sheila glanced to her side, where her partner was reapplying her cotton candy pink lipstick. Lacey tapped her toes in tune to a tune only she could hear. Always peppy, always bright, Lacey was unrefined sunshine with a shot of strawberry daiquiri. Or at least, that’s what the mask she wore in here. Lacey looked too good to be in this corner of town, like the golden girl cheerleader who made you want to buy her a picket fence dream to live in. There were no track marks on Lacey’s arms; she didn’t need any artificial sunshine, she had plenty of her own.
Sheila adjusted her fishnets. Her heels were already killing her, and she hadn’t even gone out yet. It was a good sort of pain, though. It bit into her, made her feel real. She tapped her ever-present riding crop against her thigh lightly, waiting for the seconds to pass until Leather Heather could fully emerge.
Finally, the music shifted, and she knew it was time.
“You ready?” Lacey asked. She already had on her white lace two piece, her blond shoulder-length hair pulled into pigtails.
They stepped out from the back as the driving music started to wind up. She couldn’t make out much of the song, except the refrain of a woman’s singing husky lyric about giving lapdances for free.
Lacey warmed them up by going to the pole like it was her lost-lost friend. She wrapped her legs about it, spinning in a graceful arc of white lace and pink lipstick. She came to a stop, and rubbed herself against it, the cold metal pressed between her pert breasts, her face a perfect mask of ecstasy. No one could fake like Lacey.
Another turn, and Lacey’s hand was held out, and Sheila knew it was her cue. She stepped up, took her hand and yank it, yanked Lacey to her and kissed her. The leather left marks on her skin, and she hadn’t even brought out her riding crop yet. Lacey ground herself against her thigh, her blue eyes clouded with lust.
Lacey was the only girl at the club who didn’t look back and flirt at the crowd when they danced. Lacey kept her eyes just on her, all the flirting just for her. Sheila stood back, clad in her dominatrix special, fishnets and black mask to match her black corset. With Lacey it always played out as a strange tango; their eyes were only on each other.
Lacey’s back was pressed to her, an offering. Sheila squeezed Lacey’s pert breasts hard and pulled her top off. Lacey let out a very convincing moan and undulated her body against her, rubbing her ass against her groin. Were the men cheering? Getting rowdy? She didn’t notice, didn’t care. Her world was the stage, Lacey grinding her against her.
Then they were breaking apart, dancing to he beat together, Lacey offering her hands to be bound. Eyes on each other, Lacey’s sultry gaze was all spice, intoxicating her, fascinating her. Lacey was on her knees before her, ready and wanting. She dared on each smack of the riding crop. Each slap of leather elicited another moan faked so well it sounded perfectly real.
Everything else faded away until there was nothing but leather and lace.
Sheila took a breather outside and let her pulse run down to normal again. They used to call her a cold hard bitch in school, but really she just kept it all in. Everything, the anger, the happiness, it was all clutched tight against her chest, and nobody ever earned the right to see it. Except you denied your emotions and soon you couldn’t tell them apart. She only meant to keep a secret, wait until somebody worthy came along.
But Leather Heather, she didn’t take shit from anyone. Every night, she became a little more of the leather dominatrix queen, until the mask and her face blurred. One day, she wouldn’t be there any more, just the cold queen who had taken her place.
Sheila almost wished she’d taken up smoking when the coolness outweighed the issues, because it gave ample time for pushing people away and being alone. But she hadn’t, so moments outside alone, just watching the street was cast aside as just another part of bitchiness.
She heard the door open, and kept her gaze fixed out the window, and watched the lights of the cars on the street pass by. Neila, Aisha, and Jenna never really made conversation with her, anyways. But it wasn’t any of them, as she realized when she heard a voice calling her stage name. Sheila didn’t turn around.
“Hey, I was looking for you,” Lacey said.
Sheila glanced over, wishing she had a cigarette in her mouth to hold off conversation a few moments more. She didn’t have any ashes to flick, nor any cigarette to grind under the heel of her shoe.
Lacey wasn’t in her white lace two-piece anymore, but had donned one of those cutesy distressed skinny jeans and a teal camisole with a bunny on it–and not even a playboy bunny–of all things.
“You were really good tonight,” Lacey said.
There was a long silence, and Sheila realized that Lacey was waiting for her to fill it.
“Same,” Sheila finally said.
Lacey laughed. “You’re so funny, Heather.”
“That’s Mistress Heather to you,” Sheila said.
“Mistress Heather, then,” Lacey said.
“Why are you even here?” Sheila said.
“Dancing? It’s a living,” Lacey said. Yet she said it with such flippancy, without a hint of regret.
Sheila hadn’t meant it, but she had a feeling that Lacey had known this all along.
“Why would you do it, then?” Sheila said. “A girl like you…”
Lacey cut her off with a laugh. “A girl like me deserves a better place than this, right? A girl like me should be married off and working on my first child, right? Or maybe I should be trying for homecoming queen?”
Sheila didn’t answer.
“Maybe I just needed the money. Or maybe…I did it so I could work closer with you,” Lacey said. There was a seductive tinge to her voice. Lacey got in closer until Sheila could feel her against her body again.
“We’re not on stage,” Sheila said, but she didn’t move away. She felt her heartbeat begin to pick up, like the way it did when she was dancing.
“So I need an audience to flirt with you, now?” Lacey said. “Or was I mistaken? That was some pretty hot dancing…”
There’d been rumors there one of them was really a dyke, and not just putting on a show. She’d never guessed it was Lacey of all people. The girl looked like the poster child for heterosexuality.
“You?” Sheila said, giving Lacey another once over. There was no secret rainbows, or anything which screamed I’m a lesbian about her.
“Figured it out? Looks can be deceiving, you know. So, what do you think? Wanna give me a whirl?” Lacey said.
“I’ve got a guy,” Sheila said.
“Funny how you never mention him. We don’t even know his name,” Lacey said.
“It’s not like I tell my sob stories around this place,” Sheila said. She blew out a sigh, and looked around. Away from Lacey, away from the shithole that was her life outside of the club. She could see him now, the way he lit up whenever he saw her, the way he was always sending her little love notes, how he’d even accepted her choice of job without once criticizing her for it. A guy like that was one in a million, people kept telling her.
She’d spent a year trying to fall in love with him, and all it did was make her crave the leather all the more.
The truth was, she was bored out of her fucking mind, and dancing was the only time that her flatline of a life made a blip. Lacey was there, teasing her on with bubble gum pink lips and eyes that dared her to touch just a little more.
Sheila didn’t know if Lacey was worthy of getting past the shell she’d made, but she was tired of waiting.
Lacey leaned in, her warm breath just near her ear. “I could take care of you.” There was a wild gleam to Lacey, a hint at depths beyond the cotton candy floss exterior.
Sheila looked down at her. Something curled within her. Desire, a pinprick of interest. And all for a girl who barely came to her shoulders. The cheerleader special, somebody she would’ve hated in school on principle.
Sheila didn’t even have to think on this choice.
“Just a moment, I’ve got something I’ve got to do,” Sheila said.
Her mind was already made up. It’d been made up the moment she went into this club and realized she’d been living without being alive all these years, but she’d been lingering on the edge. Leather Heather had taken over this part of her, and who was she to resist?
All she could think was you can’t text message a break up! Not after two years!
She rung his cell, no answer. She heard the twee message start up, complete with in-jokes she barely knew, and his best guy friend chiming in.
Not here right now, so please leave a message,
—preferably not in interpretive dance, ironic or otherwise
And I will try and get back to you!
At least it was more personal than a text.
“Listen, this isn’t working,” Sheila said. She trailed off. She couldn’t figure out where to go from there. “It’s been fun, but I’m moving on. I know it’s a cliche, but really…it’s not you, it’s me.”
She drifted off, letting the radio static set in. There should be more, Dylan always wanted to talk about their relationship and even now he’d want to negotiate, to beg for her back, try and win her over. He’d never given up on her, even when he should have. This seemed unnecessarily cruel, but she could only think that a clean cut would be easier than giving him any more false hope.
“See you,” Sheila said, and cut the call off.
The ‘see you’ was so extraneous, but Sheila was used to saying that to his “I love you, baby” notes, never quite confirming or denying what he hoped for. Everything he wanted that she just couldn’t be.
He wasn’t too bad. But she couldn’t deal with good enough any longer.
“You ready?” Lacey said in her teasing voice.
“Whenever you are,” she said.
They didn’t even make it to a hotel. They twisted up in each other, her hands in Lacey’s hair, Lacey’s hands squeezing her ass hard enough to leave a few bruises on her for once. The pain was beautiful, clarifying. Sheila couldn’t wait for her skin to be marked with purpling bruises. They cramped themselves into the back seat like a pair of horny teenagers, adding more bruises as they bumped into the window, the seat, the door. Lacey eagerly climbed up on her. She didn’t look fierce, but oh did she kiss fierce. Lacey bit through the kisses, and she tasted blood.
Abruptly, Lacey broke away from the kiss, which only left her wanting more.
“I brought you something,” Lacey said.
She pulled out something from the little purse at the back seat. In the light of the street lamp, she could just make out leather gloves.
“You left them in the dressing room,” Lacey said. “So I….got them for you.”
She put on the gloves, feeling herself encased, safe again.
“Tell me what you want,” Lacey said.
“Fuck me, already,” Sheila hissed. She pushed Lacey’s head down. Lacey was all too happy to comply. Soon, her white T-shirt with a local radio station she listened to was up over her head.
“I’d finger you, but my nails are long. But…if you want me, I’d even give up my French manicure. And I’m really attached to my French manicure,” Lacey said.
“Later,” Sheila said tersely. “Now, fuck me.”
“Yes, mistress,” Lacey said.
Lacey gave her all the sharp hints of pain that Dylan was too nice to ever do. Lacey scraped her down her stomach, leaving trail of candyfloss pink lipstick past the raw little welts Lacey’s teeth and French manicure were doing to her skin. Sheila let out a hiss between clenched teeth as Lacey began to peel off her jeans, raking her nails down her abdomen.
Lacey left a little pink stain there as she began to kiss down her white bikini underwear. She was pulling the underwear down slowly, kissing exposed skin as it was revealed.
I hope the lipstick never washes out, Sheila thought.
When her panties were finally down, and Lacey’s tongue was finally on her, Sheila almost let out a something near a scream of pleasure. For the first time she could remember, she was clinging to the back seat, her body feeling electric, alive. Lacey’s hair tickled her thighs, her lips a soft contrast to the earlier scrapes she’d left on her.
Her fingers were tangled in Lacey’s hair, pulling so hard as to leave a burning sensation under Lacey’s skin. To remind her who was control. This was for her benefit, her pleasure. Sheila lost herself in the rhythm of Lacey’s tongue, bucking her hips, her breath growing ragged. She couldn’t remember a time she’d really lost herself, not in any of the fucks or lovers she’d drifted through. She wasn’t bored or pulling back, wondering why she was bothering to fuck anyways. Every nerve in her seemed to wake up to the flick of Lacey’s tongue on her.
Lacey’s nails were sinking into her hips, adding a tang of pain to the mix of heady pleasure rising. It didn’t take much for Lacey to finish her off, the orgasm as sharp and fulfilling as the bruises, the welts and scrapes forming on her skin. She loosened her grip on Lacey’s hair. Something within her she’d held tight for too long relaxed at last.
Lacey pushed herself up off her.
“I didn’t think you’d come so quickly,” Lacey said. She pulled out a kleenex, a compact, and her trademark pink lipstick and began to reapply her make up.
Neither had Sheila, for that matter.
“Maybe you’re just skilled,” Sheila said.
Lacey smiled at this. “Well, I certainly hope I am!”
“Consider that a thank-you for making me come on stage,” Lacey said.
It came to her that the reason Lacey could fake it better than any other person she’d known was because it wasn’t fake at all. All that manufactured chemistry, the kisses to excite guys for their next paycheck? It wasn’t a game to Lacey.
Sheila began to pull up her pants, not bothering to wipe away the kiss marks of lipstick all over her body.
“You want ice cream?” Lacey said. She was pulling her blond hair back into a ponytail to try and tame the sex hair aftereffects.
“What?” She said.
“Ice cream. I like to eat ice cream and watch romcoms after I fuck,” Lacey said. “We could go back to my place….”
There wasn’t anything better coming up in her weekend. Still, it was all coming too soon; she wasn’t going to go from a misanthrope to a social butterfly overnight.
“Maybe next time,” Sheila said.
“There’s going to be a next time?” Lacey said.
And she knew that yes, this wouldn’t be a one-time thing.
“You’re so quiet and mysterious. I love it,” Lacey said. “Isn’t it just like me, though? Instead of tall, dark and handsome, I go for leggy, dark and willing to flog me.”
“All admirable qualities,” Sheila said with a wry smile.
“And see! Now you’ve got a sense of humor over that leather bitch queen persona. I love it,” Lacey said.
This elicited a small smile from Sheila. “If you say so.”
“And I do! What’s your name, by the way? Your real one,” Lacey said.
“Yours first,” she said.
Lacey smiled. “Would you believe me if I said it was Lacey? I mean, when you’re named Lacey, there’s no need for a stripper name,” Lacey said.
She looked down at her leather gloves. She couldn’t see a hint of her own skin anymore, just leather.
“You can call me Heather,” she said.