Page 4 of The Dancer

Back in my office I forgot all about her as I booted up the computer to look over last night’s take. Once that was done I checked over the orders for the restaurant and bar side of the club.

All my places now serve five star cuisine along with entertainment. It was a big part of the reason business had been doing so well. I’d taken what I’d won and turned it into something more. Something me, and my mother, could be proud of.

There were stages where women danced into the early morning on one floor, a restaurant with live music on another, and yet another for dancing the night away. Each with a bar, which were the money makers.

Each floor was more opulent than the last and I’d gone out of my way to make sure that each remained a separate entity with their own entrance and no spill over.

I’d say one thing for the asshole, he had excellent taste. All his clubs are in the best locations and there had been room for expansion, which I’d made use of.

As good as they’d done under his hand that was nowhere close to what they’ve become. He just didn’t have the same vision as me I guess, or he was too lazy to try anything new.

He’d inherited the lot from his old man who’d inherited them from his, now they’re mine. Although I wasn’t sure about it in the beginning, I’m happy that I hadn’t sold them off like I’d planned to.

It’s a whole other feeling having people dependent on you for their livelihoods, and yet another to be in a position to help those who needed it in the form of employment.

That is my greatest source of pride. The fact that I can give someone a job, a way to put food on their table and a roof over their head.

Most of my crew were either ex ball players down on their luck or people I grew up with, people I could trust. The man I trust most is my right hand man, Tony.

We grew up tough together on the mean streets of New York, but Tony always had it harder than me. Maybe it was because he’s African American and I Caucasian that he didn’t get the same breaks that I did.

But whatever his beginning, it is my mission in life to make sure he enjoys the same benefits as me now. I’d wanted to set him up as my general manager, but that fool wanted to stick close to me even now.

Instead of the cushy job I had waiting for him, he chose to be my bodyguard and personal driver. Just like when we were younger he thought I needed him to watch my back.

It was true that I had gained some enemies over time whether I wanted to or not. And though there hadn’t been any attempts on my life, there had been some close calls in the last couple of years.

Because of the way I grew up and who I am, I didn’t think I needed anyone to watch my back, I can handle my shit. But mom had other ideas and I’m sure she had a lot to do with my old friend watching my six.

We’d been close as brothers growing up and had always looked out for one another. So it wasn’t too much of a stretch for him to hold the position he now does. It’s just that I’d wanted to give him more.

I couldn’t ask for a more loyal friend, but I still believe he was wasted as my shadow. He’s smart as fuck, so I don’t know why he wouldn’t just do as I say. But if there’s anyone more hardheaded than myself, it’s him.

He’s the only one still brave enough to go head to head with me. The only one who’d rein my ass in if I got out of hand. Sometimes I think he thinks he’s my damn conscience.

Maybe it’s because of some of the fucked up shit we’d been through together, things that not even my mother know about. Life threatening situations that we’d dragged each other out of that had she known at the time would’ve seen my ass sent to the army or some shit.

But those are the things that had forged the bond between Tony and I. A bond that can never be broken and I know he feels the same.

So although I wanted to prove my brotherly love and affection for him by giving him a much better position in my company, he’d turned it down in favor of doing what he’d always done.

Along with my mother, he’s the only other human being I would put my life on the line for without question. Speaking of mom.

I checked my watch. It was a fourteen hour time difference between New York and Seoul, which meant it was about eight in the morning there while it was six in the evening the day before here.