“One more fucking word about my clothes, Simon, and I’ll fucking break my heel off in your ear,” she snaps.

So, she does have a weak spot. Figures it’s clothing.

I know somewhere behind those heated eyes is a brain that could rival mine, but she doesn’t like people knowing it. Perhaps that’s why she dresses the way she does.

“Show me where the hell it is?” she snaps as she stands up from the table.

Looking down at my hands for a moment, I force myself to relax. Hopefully she will get one look at the bathroom and want to go home. Then I will be free of her torture and can go back to some sense of normalcy.

“Fine,” I grit out between my teeth.

Standing up, I step around her, heading off towards the back of the club. On my way, I check out all those around us. I may detest this business with my very being, but it is a cash cow when I look at the numbers instead of the filth.

Stopping outside of the bathroom, I motion for Meredith to stop. “I need to check it out before I leave you alone.”

Pushing us both through the door, I do a quick look through the stalls. It’s empty, thankfully. I’d fucking hate to see some woman on her knees sucking a cock or snorting coke.

Meredith looks confused as I finish my search. “What the hell is going on with you?”

“Your security,” I say without any other words.

Heading back out of the bathroom, I say, “The window is bolted shut.”

Meredith says something, but I don’t quite hear it as the door shuts behind me.

Turning my back to the door, I stand to the side of it. It’s been a few years since I’ve stood as someone’s guard, much less worked a door as security.

I watch as the crowd of people moves and flows with the strippers weaving in and out of the tables. A couple of guys follow two strippers to the private dance booths and it makes me shudder to think of sitting on those vinyl seats crusted with body fluids.

Glancing towards the front of the building, I see Peter looking frantically around the club. His face is normally as jovial as a damn caveman’s, but right now he looks pissed and very worried.

Such an odd… Fuck.

He spots me and begins to race towards me with a look of something akin to fear. Shit.

Slamming the door open behind me, I race into the bathroom. Meredith is just coming out of the stall as I grab her by the wrist.

Yanking her by the arm, I practically pull her across the floor as I wrench the door open.

“What do you think you’re doing, Simon?!” she screams at me over the loud music as I yank her out past the door and onto the floor.

Peter is in a full out run as he reaches us. “We need to get out of here! Bomb.”

I know my eyes widen, but I don’t bother asking questions. Too many times shit like this has happened for me to think he would be playing a trick.

Sweeping Meredith up and over my shoulder, I run behind Peter as he slams his body into people to get them out of the way.

Rushing through the now vacant hole of the crowd, I hear Cherry far behind us, calling out to us.

Fuck. Cherry.

Turning back to her, I wave my hand in a frantic motion to get the fuck over here.

Then I swing back towards the exit and pick up my pace again until I’m at a dead run. We’re heading for the back door, not the front. It’s closer and hopefully we can get clear.

Peter lifts a foot and boots the door nearly off the hinges once we reach it. Turning back to us, he motions for me to move my ass.

I hear Cherry behind us, yelling and asking what the fuck is happening, but I don’t stop as I push Peter ahead of me.

Meredith, Peter, and I, get almost ten feet away from the door before a deafening whooshing noise comes from the front of the club. The fire and subsequent explosion launches Cherry out of the open door like a rag doll.

Her body lands a foot past where we were standing a moment ago.

Peter yanks his pistol from his hip holster as he looks around us.

He yells over the sudden roar of fire, “We need to get to my truck!”

Nodding my head, I follow him over to the silver Dodge Ram and plop Meredith down beside of it.

Looking into her eyes, I pant from the exertion of carrying her so far and fast. “Are you okay, Meredith?”

She nods her head numbly and points to the back door of the club. Flames are rolling out of it hot and heavy.

Shock. She’s in shock.

“I know, Meredith, I know. Let’s get you somewhere safe…” I say.

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