Page 6 of The Dancer

As I reached the bar the bartender, knowing me very well by now, placed a bottle of water down in front of me with a greeting and a smile.

I popped the cap and was about to take a sip when some force made my body go on full alert. I took a quick glance around but saw nothing out of the ordinary, though the feeling persisted.

It wasn’t quite as strong as my danger signal, but it was close. I felt like I was being touched which made no sense, since no one dared get that close to me without an invitation.

The hair on my arms stood up and my pulse picked up speed. The only other time I’d felt like that was on the field when I was about to make a kickass play, but that was a long time ago.

I thought maybe one of my old team mates

must’ve walked in, but a look around told me that wasn’t it. Everything looked normal and no one was paying me any undue attention, so what the fuck.

I brushed it off thinking that maybe I was just tired from overwork, but I knew that wasn’t it; I thrive on that shit. There it was again. A tingling sensation like I’d touched a live wire. Where the hell was it coming from?

I kept a wary eye out and took another glance around the room. The feeling grew stronger, more persistent. Seeing nothing, once again, I turned back around to the bar and my forgotten water.

I unscrewed the cap from the bottle once again and turned, ignoring the feeling. She came through the door just as I was about to tip the bottle to my head.

I’m not sure what made her stand out among the throng of women crowding the vestibule waiting to come in out of the cold.

Maybe it was her wild black tresses, or the baggy army jacket she wore that looked so out of place among the more fashionable wear of the others.

But when she lifted her head after stuffing her scarf in her bag, a lightning bolt hit me right in the gut and stopped me dead in my tracks. I’d found the source.

I lowered the bottle without taking a sip and watched her as she folded her small frame into the corner out of the way of the throng.

For the next few seconds I saw nothing else but her. Almost as if caught in a time warp. I shook my head to clear it and time moved once more.

I stood there looking at her, trying to figure out just what the hell it was about her that had alerted me to her presence. She didn’t look familiar and from what I could see there wasn’t anything outstanding about her. Not at first glance anyway.

Still, I couldn’t make myself look away. Neither could I explain the unusual feeling that overcame me as I stared at her. I guess this it what mom calls someone walking over your grave.

The door opened and the group of women poured in after the call came over the P.A. system. I guess they were the second or third bunch of hopefuls.

It wasn’t easy getting a job in one of my places. The pay was good and because of the clientele the tips weren’t anything to sneeze at.

That meant that my dancers never wanted to leave. But due to high demand we were having to add another shift and we needed new blood yesterday.

Most of the women looked like more of the same. Blonde, slender, leggy. She was none of those things as was evident by the way the others practically towered over her and her dark hair.

I didn’t miss the few appreciative glances that were thrown my way, but I hadn’t taken my eyes off of the beauty this whole time.

I was still trying to figure shit out with no answers. One thing was for certain, something about her had my ass on alert. Could be trouble, but my radar wasn’t giving me that vibe.

I tracked her as she made her way to the desk where everyone was signing in. Like hell!

What the fuck is wrong with you Max? I have no idea but I know that shit didn’t feel right, her signing up to be a dancer in my place.

I waited until she’d added her name to the roster before making my approach. I had to wade through the bevy of women waiting there for their names to be called. “So you decided to join us after all.”

I ignored the manager as I picked up the roster and read her name. Annabelle Bridgewater. I looked from the roster to her, almost drawn to do so, to get another look at her. She didn’t seem to notice me even though all the others around her did.