“Yes,” I answered, at the same time as Easton and Aaron said “no.” I glared at them both in turn, then faced the confused kid. “Yes,” I repeated solemnly.
“We’re almost there,” Chelsea crawled back, her sequined studded heels almost puncturing my left big toe. “And I’ve got a bra full of cash, so first dance for everyone is on me.” She frowned at the two strangers. “Where are we dropping you guys off again? I need to make out with one of you before you leave.”
“That didn’t count,” I argued, sipping on a sour apple martini as I watched Aaron and Easton at the ledge by the main stage. “You can’t order someone to make out with you and count it toward your total.”
“But he liked it,” she countered. “And look, I got a drink coupon out of it.” She produced a bright orange card out of her bra, then fished out two more. “Technically three drink coupons.”
I examined the coupons, which were for a sushi restaurant, and good between four and five pm on Tuesdays. “You do make a compelling argument,” I tapped the front of the first card as if in deep thought. “Oh wait, they’re expired.” I pinned my finger to the handwritten date, which passed last week.
“What?” she squawked, snatching the cards from me and examining the other two. “That’s bullshit.”
I watched as two strippers sidled up to Easton and Aaron. “We got hunters approaching prey.”
“Ooh, let me see.” She crawled on top of her stool, and leaned forward as if she were courtside at a Heat game. “They’re sexy.”
“Yeah.” I distracted myself with a long pull of my drink. “If you like big boobs and pretty faces.”
“Which of course they don’t,” she said cheerfully.
Easton turned over his shoulder and glanced at me, raising one eyebrow in permission. I waved him on.
“I read a study once on the psychology of strip club clients,” Chelsea announced, her useless drink coupons forgotten. “It said that strip club regulars are social masochists. They enjoy the brief high of a certain stripper’s affections, but are left unsatisfied, over and over again—that’s the pain part.”
“Yeah, I got it.” I watched as the shorter of the two girls led my husband to a chair and shoved him down into it. He smiled and the jealous piece inside my heart came to life.
“And it’s the addictive cycle that begins,” she babbled on. “Where they are afraid to stop paying the stripper, because that ends the chance of an emotional or physical consummation.” She elbowed me. “Are you listening? Selling the belief that something will happen is what turns the wheel.”
I watched as she settled onto his lap, her legs on either side of his, her hips swiveling as she teased him with her sparkly pink crotch. He wouldn’t get hard. I knew it, was confident of it, yet my stomach still tightened, my skin growing flush as I pressed closer to the balcony rail that separated our part of the club from their’s.
“Excuse me, ladies. Are these seats taken?” The voice was deep and rich, and I glanced over to see two Chippendale-style dancers hovering by our table.
I spoke before Chelsea could open her thighs and invite the both of them to move in. “Yes, our boyfriends are in the bathroom.” I gave a regretful smile and reached out, gripping Chelsea’s arm to keep her quiet.
She, of course, ignored the gesture. “It’s actually my fiancé,” she beamed. “Wedding is at midnight tonight.” She held out her hand so that the two men in tearaway shorts could examine her ring. I shot my own glimpse at the small diamond boulder and hoped it wasn’t real.
After the men had gone, she turned back to me. “Seriously? Sending away perfectly good dick? Do you have no love for me at all?”
I turned back to the lower landing and watched as my husband’s hands tightened on the arms of his chair, his face turned up to the stripper as her bare breasts hung heavy in his face. “I didn’t want you to be a masochist,” I said loudly, over the pounding chorus of a song.
“Look.” She touched my arm. “Told you he needed this.”
I followed her index finger and spotted Aaron, reclined back in a chair, his hands cupping the breasts of the woman before him. She whispered something in his ear and his eyes met mine.
I gave him a small smile, but he didn’t respond. I watched as her hand brushed over his crotch, then gripped him. I looked away.
“Come on,” Chelsea tugged at my arm. “Let’s go down and show up these bitches.”
We were six minutes from Taco Bell when Chelsea realized she didn’t have her wallet. I looked up from my phone’s GPS program with an alarmed look. “You brought your wallet?” She’d been shelling out twenties from her bra like a broken ATM machine, but I hadn’t seen her wallet all night.