Table of Contents
A Taste of Sin
Collection of Previews
Before Seen Short Stories
Meatball Taster Publishing LLC
Table of Contents
is the New Vanilla
Book #1 - G-Man Series
Diamond Girl Preview
Text copyright © 2013 by Andrea
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consent of the author Some of the content in this book is loosely
based upon actual events which occurred in Indianapolis and Fort
Wayne Indiana back in the summer of 2012. The characters, however,
are fictional; any resemblance to actual persons or events, living or
dead, is purely coincidental.
This book is intended for adult
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“Diamond Girl” by
Seals & Crofts
“Born To Be Wild” by
“Girls, Girls, Girls” by
“Here I Go Again” by
“Feeling Good” by
“Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard
“Bad Girlfriend” by
Theory of a Dead Man
“Slow Dancing In a Burning Room” by John Mayer
“Gimme Shelter” by
The Rolling Stones
I pulled the meatloaf out of
the oven, slamming the oven door shut with my left thigh as my
pot-holdered hands set the finished entrée on top of the counter. I
glanced quickly at the clock on the stove. It was 6:45 p.m. I’d set
the table with our good china and silverware. Meatloaf was Jack’s
favorite, along with cheesy potatoes. I’d made his favorite dessert
as well: Boston Crème pie. I just needed to make a quick trip to the
bathroom to check my hair and make-up.
This was the
first dinner Jack and I were having together since Lindsey had left
for college two days earlier. He’d promised he would be home on
time after work. He’d been rolling in past 9:00 p.m. off and on
over the past eighteen months. I’d finally told him enough was
explained that his promotion to the V.P. of marketing for the East
coast region would require long hours. I got that. I had no clue that
it would entail approximately months on end without sex, though. That
part was getting to be a real drag.
his workload, jet lag and general exhaustion for his lack of sexual
appetite. I knew there was more to it than that.
myself in the bathroom mirror. I had to admit it. At
thirty-five-years-old, I was officially a ‘frumpy housewife.’ I’d
pulled my light brown hair up on top of my head with a clip.
I’d put on a clean pair of jeans and a sweater. Jack was used to
seeing me in sweats and a tee shirt. My jeans were noticeably tighter
than when I wore them last. I was trying to remember exactly when
that had been.
into my cosmetic bag to get my compact out to dab a bit more blush
onto my cheeks. I saw my fingers reflected in the vanity mirror. My
My nails were
chewed down below the cuticle. Whatever had happened to the
beautifully manicured nails that I had as a newlywed?
I knew the
answer to that question before it had left my mind. The baby had
followed the wedding ceremony, in short order. There were diapers,
spit-up, formula, teething, cleaning, laundry, and trying to keep my
head above water with Jack. He was a very persnickety man.
fit into either category.
I guessed the
reason that Jack had been extremely patient with me over the years
was because of the great relationship he had with my father.
When I had
discovered that I was pregnant at sixteen, I’d been terrified of
telling my folks. I was an only child, and I’d understood through
my upbringing that there were certain expectations. Those
expectations hadn’t included my brief, sexual interlude with Jack
Jack was two
years older than me in high school. He was an all-around athlete. He
played varsity football and was the star point guard for the
Northwood High Raven’s basketball team. I never thought he would
have given me a second look. He was gorgeous and sexy, even in high
school. There wasn’t a girl at our school that hadn’t drooled
over him at some point in time.
The truth was
he hadn’t really given me a second look that night. It was
more like we were at the same post-game party and he was drunk. He’d
been extremely attentive to me at the party, and I was simply an
infatuated sophomore girl on the cheer squad enamored with him like
all of the others. I felt honored when he wanted to slip upstairs to
be alone with me. We had talked and then started making out. I had no
clue that the rest was going to happen.
creeping back into my parents’ home the next morning. I’d stayed
the night with my best friend, Becky. My mother had been up putting
the coffee on when she saw me quietly coming in at a little after
Why are you home so early?” she had asked, eyeing my somewhat
disheveled appearance. I was still in my cheerleading uniform.
couldn’t sleep at Becky’s, Mom. Kerry had the flu and was puking
all night, so I had to get out of there, you know?”
she’d said, giving me the hairy eyeball, “Are you sure that Kerry
had the flu, or were you girls drinking beer? I was a teenager once
you know? And I know what went on back then.”
swear, as far as I could tell, none of us girls drank any beer
or alcohol of any kind.”
alright then,” she replied, shrugging. “Go get out of that
uniform and into your PJ’s. You need more sleep than what you
probably got over at Becky’s house. Don’t wake Daddy.”
Mom,” I had said, hugging her and giving her a kiss on the cheek.
“I promise not to wake Daddy.” I knew that she wouldn’t wake
Daddy, either. I was his princess and my mother wouldn’t do
anything to banish me from his kingdom.
collapsed into my own bed that morning, not realizing for an instant
the implications of what had happened the previous night. The strange
thing was that I couldn’t recall wanting Jack to do the things that
he’d done to me. I was positive that I’d heard myself telling him
“no” beneath his lips that were crushing mine with passion and
just plain old drunken horniness.
as I’d tried to sit up on the bed, my mascara streaming down my
cheeks, searching for my ripped panties, I realized that I hadn’t
wanted what happened to happen at all. He was simply drunk and
incoherent at the time. He seemed to be used to getting his way with
girls, and I was sure that he generally met with no resistance.
even sure that he had been aware of what happened. I mean I couldn’t
very well blame him for something that he’d done while under
the influence. Afterwards, he had simply told me that I was a “great
fuck” and then passed out next to me on the random bed where we’d
done the dirty deed.
later, I knew that something was terribly wrong.
naturally did what any sixteen-year-old girl would’ve done when
faced with such a dilemma: I confided to my best friend, Becky.
Samantha, why didn’t you tell me what happened that night? Aren’t
we supposed to be best friends?”
please be mad at me about that later, Bec? Right now, I’m freaking
out. I needed to tell someone. I don’t think Jack even remembers.”
first of all, you need to make sure you’re really pregnant. Let’s
stop by Whitaker’s Drug Store after school and pick up one of those
stop there,” I had whined. “What if Mr. Whitaker is there?
He knows my dad.”
Becky had said in her matter-of-fact voice, “Everyone knows
your dad, I mean there’s no getting around that.”
right. My father was the CEO of Banion Pharmaceuticals, one of the
largest employers in town. His father, my grandfather, had founded
the company fifty years prior. Like Becky, and most everyone else at
our school, I’d been born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. My
father sat on the board of trustees for two local banks and the
Chamber of Commerce. He had recognition and power in the community.
she had acquiesced, “I’ll go get it and meet you at your house
had turned out to be the following morning before school. I’d
called Becky telling her that my father had gotten home from work
earlier than usual. He was taking Mom and me out for steaks at The
Elite Cafe downtown. It was his favorite restaurant. He insisted on
taking us there at least once a month. Mom was simply tickled that
he’d gotten home early, for once.
my car over to pick Becky up for school, as I’d done every morning
since getting my driver’s license.
I had held my
pee, just as she had instructed me to do, in order to get the most
accurate reading. I had covered my mouth to stifle my screams as the
result came through loud and clear: knocked up.
My father is going to kill
My trip down
memory lane was interrupted when I heard the sound of our garage door
opening. Jack was home. I hurried to put the finishing touches on
I heard him
talking as he came in through the garage to the family room. Our
house had two stories with a loft from the second floor. Our master
suite was the loft. The house was only two years old, and I hadn’t
finished decorating it yet. Jack had been on me about that, telling
me I procrastinated far too much, and reminding me that most women
would love to furnish and decorate such a gorgeous house with no
worries about money or the confines of a budget.
I figured he
was probably on his cell phone talking work on his way up until I
realized the conversation was live. I heard a female voice laugh
coyly at something he must’ve said.
Who the hell is with him?
he called out from the main hallway.
the kitchen, Jack.”
the kitchen, setting his briefcase inside the door. A tall but
petite, well-manicured woman was following behind him. She had
perfect features, perfect make-up and she was dressed in a dark grey
business suit that was tailored to accent her slim, yet shapely,
figure. Her long, blonde hair flowed well past her shoulders. She had
exquisite eyes. They were a mixture of greenish blue, almost a deep
grey color to match her business suit.
he repeated, “I want you to meet Susan Reynard, my new
administrative assistant at the office.”
Oh, fucking great.
Samantha,” I replied, pasting what I hoped was a sincere-looking
smile on my face as I held out my hand to clasp hers. “Very pleased
to meet you, Susan.”
me a smile, showing perfectly even, white teeth. Naturally, her nails
were professionally manicured and matched the shade of lipstick she
was wearing on her full, pouty lips.
she purred, “It’s such a pleasure meeting you as well. Your
husband told me what a beautiful home you have here and he sure
remarked, “if only I could motivate Sammie to finish furnishing it.
Hey, perhaps Susan could help with some ideas on what the house needs
to bring it all together. She’s done an awesome job on my office.”
Dennison,” she gushed, almost blushing, “I just narrowed the
choices down. You made the ultimate selection. Your husband has great
taste by the way.”
Susan,” Jack admonished with a smile, “There’ll be none of this
Mr. Dennison stuff. It’s Jack.”
Jack,” she replied obediently. “I keep forgetting.”
I felt like a
voyeur watching their interaction as I remained clueless as to why
she was even here. I was hoping my husband was going to clue me in.
he said, as if sensing my curiosity, “I invited Susan to dinner. We
have some work to finish up and I thought we might as well work here
in my office. I’m sorry I didn’t call you earlier, babe.”
no problem at all,” I lied. “I’ll just set another place.”
help?” Susan asked.
done,” I replied. “All that’s left is to take our places.”
strained. I felt like an intruder on both the small talk and office
talk between Jack and Susan. She looked to be about in her
mid-thirties, if that. She certainly hung on Jack’s every word. I
tuned them out, resuming my jog down memory lane.
back to the ugly scene that had taken placed when I’d informed my
parents that I was pregnant.
even know you were dating anyone,” my father had blurted out
in pure confusion. “Why haven’t we met the boy?”
My mother had
been less vocal, simply wringing her hands, like she always did when
my father was upset or displeased about something. She constantly ran
interference when I had occasion to disappoint him.
been sure how to explain what had happened without fear of my father
hunting Jack down and killing him in cold blood. I merely told them
that we were both drunk one night and it just sort of happened. In
other words, I mostly lied. I had been stone cold sober at the time.
I remember my
father’s face turning red. He’d been livid about my behavior.
daughter of mine is going to be regarded as some party tramp,” he
bellowed. “I want the name and address of this boy, and I want it
now! He’ll damn well make this right. I’ll see to that.”
Sidney,” my mother had whined, “Keep calm, remember your blood
later, Jack Dennison and I had been married in a small civil ceremony
in a judge’s chambers. The judge was one of my father’s closest
Jack had been
able to graduate high school with his class.
gave us a seven-day cruise for our honeymoon. They purchased a
two-bedroom condo for us as a wedding gift, and Jack was given an
entry level position in the office of my father’s company. My
father had fixed the situation for us. He had a knack of doing just
that. Unfortunately, no amount of my father’s power or influence
could force Jack to love me.
sorry,” I said, shaking the memories of our shotgun wedding out of
my mind for now. “What did you say, Jack?”
if you made dessert.”
Boston crème pie,” I replied, getting up to clear the dinner
for me thanks,” Susan said. “I ate too much as it was. I’ll
have to work out twice as long tomorrow morning.”
I watched as
Jack openly admired his assistant’s physique.
of which,” he said, “Susan belongs to a great fitness club just a
couple miles north of here, Sammie. Perhaps you two could meet
mornings and work out together?”
Jack’s not-so-subtle way of reminding me that I needed to get into
shape. He worked out faithfully each day. Sometimes in the morning
before work he stopped at his men’s club and sometimes after work.
His physique was perfect.
will,” I replied. It was my standard reply to his nagging. If it
shut him up for a day or two, then it worked.
dessert, they both took mugs of coffee and went to Jack’s office,
which was on the second floor. I cleaned up the kitchen, thankful
that I didn’t have to continue to make small talk and observe
Jack’s beautiful and shapely assistant. Maybe it was time I did
focus on myself. Our daughter Lindsey had encouraged me before she
left for Cornell to do just that.
never do anything just for you,” she’d stated. “It pisses me
it piss you off?”
Daddy indulges himself and you never do anything just for you.”
that her father loved working out, buying new clothes for himself,
and preening about. I just wasn’t sure I would get that much
enjoyment or satisfaction from it.
you should try,” she argued. “You need a hobby of some sort,
besides looking after me and Daddy, especially now that I’m going
away. I worry about you, Mom.”
fine, Lindsey. I swear that I’ll find something outside of the home
to do once you’re gone, okay?”
Lindsey,” I’d replied, laughing. “You do realize that you’re
a nag, right?”
I wiped the
countertop off, thinking about my beautiful daughter. I missed her
terribly. I knew that I would. We were close, very close. She’d
made everything over the years worth it. Jack loved her - that was
abundantly clear. Maybe that was all I could have hoped for under the
more children, but Jack wouldn’t budge on that topic. He’d gotten
a vasectomy when Lindsey was seven years old, due to my pressuring
him for another. He came home one day and said I could put my
diaphragm away (not that it had gotten much use anyway). He’d taken
care of the problem, stating that one child was enough.
Jack had come
from a family of four children. They’d struggled financially. He’d
been the oldest and when his father had taken off when he was just
twelve years old, he’d borne a lot of the responsibility while his
mother worked two jobs. She’d finally remarried when Jack was
sixteen, but by then, he’d had his fill of caring for his younger
siblings. He hadn’t gotten on with his stepfather either. Even now,
he had very little to do with his family.
rang. I picked it up in the kitchen.
just finished up the dinner dishes. What’s up?”
George is in Chicago on business for a couple of days. I wondered if
you wanted to hang out tomorrow. I figured you might be having
knew me too well.
sounds great. I’ve been thinking I’m in dire need of having a spa
afternoon. What do you think?”
it,” she said. “Meet me at Cappelli’s at noon. We’ll do lunch
showered, wearing my sexiest nightgown and reading a book on my iPad
when Jack came to bed. He was fresh from the shower, his brown locks
beat,” he said, pulling the covers up and fluffing his pillow. “The
light doesn’t bother me, though. Go ahead and read.”
I closed my
iPad and set it on the nightstand. I switched the lamp off next to it
and rolled over, scooting close to Jack.
I lowered my
lips to his, kissing them gently. He wrapped his hand around my neck
and pulled me closer, his tongue briefly tracing my lips.
kind of thought maybe we would make love tonight. It’s been a
he sighed, a bit of impatience in his tone, “I told you how beat I
am tonight. Rain check?”
said, rolling away from him. “Love you.”
I lay in the
darkness, a single tear escaped and rolled down my cheek. Within
minutes, I heard Jack’s even breathing signaling that he was
What the hell
was wrong with me? Becky said I was still gorgeous. That presumed I’d
been gorgeous as a teen or as a twenty-something. I figured best
friends were obligated to say things like that. Jack had never said
that to me, though. I wanted Jack to think I was beautiful, or
ravishing, or goddamn sexy.
went back to the honeymoon cruise my parents had given us. Jack had
been attentive then. He’d romanced me, charmed me, and we had sex
every day of the cruise, sometimes even twice. The sex wasn’t what
I’d expected. Jack avoided kissing during sex. He had a tendency to
be a bit rough. I attributed it to the fact that Jack had been
pressured into marrying me. Still, I loved him, for whatever reason.
returned from our honeymoon, I’d busied myself decorating our new
condo, buying baby furniture, and outfitting the nursery.
family hadn’t bothered to acknowledge our marriage or the impending
birth of our daughter. They did, however, periodically hit us up for
My father had
started Jack out at a generous salary. Money had never been an issue
for us, though I suspected this was all new for him. He loved having
money and sometimes flaunted it a bit when he got together with his
buddies while they were home on summer breaks from college.
mother and step-father had come to the hospital to see Lindsey
shortly after her birth. Jack’s mother, Louise, had commented that
Lindsey was probably set for life. It was a strange comment. I’d
looked over at Jack to see his reaction to her comment. He’d
remained impassive to it. The truth was, I think he somehow enjoyed
the fact that we were financially comfortable in life and that the
rest of his family continued to struggle. I knew deep inside that was
the only reason he’d allowed my father to force our marriage. Jack
was set for life, too.
I turned over
on my side, clutching my pillow beneath me. Why had I settled,
though? Perhaps contentment was all that mattered to me. I’d busied
myself with Lindsey and her activities, and Jack had participated as
well. He’d coached her softball team and never missed her soccer
games, school concerts or plays. He’d taught her how to drive, and
was extremely protective of her when she’d started dating. He was
the one who had insisted on taking her to Cornell for freshman
orientation. I knew that he loved Lindsey. I just couldn’t figure
out why he’d never come to love me.
drifted off to sleep with the feeling of loneliness and uncertainty
gnawing within me.
Becky and I spent a lovely
afternoon at the spa. We were massaged, given facials, waxed,
manicured, and pedicured. We were now sitting in the sauna, white
towels wrapped turban-style around our hair, another wrapped around
is just what the doctor ordered, right Sam?”
does feel great.”
talk to me, Samantha.”
I knew that
Becky wouldn’t let up until I shared whatever I was feeling with
her. She knew me too well.
just that, with Lindsey gone, I have nothing, Becky. I need something
of my own. I even promised Lindsey I would find it.”
get it. Lindsey is right, you know? I just can’t figure out why you
had to hear it from your daughter. How many times have I told you the
I got up from
the bench and dipped the wooden ladle into the bucket of water,
pouring it over the hot stones. I took my place back on the bench,
pulling my knees up and resting my chin on them.
know. I guess it was easier not to think about myself as long as I
had Lindsey to take care of and to occupy my time with her
kind of a lot of bullshit, you know?”
I looked over
at her quickly. Where was this coming from?
haven’t had to take care of Lindsey for quite some time, Sam. She
just didn’t suddenly go from diapers to college in a day. You chose
to fill your time over the past eighteen years by caring for her as
an infant, then as an adolescent, but face it, once she hit her teen
years, it was more of you and her buddying around together.”
sure if I understand what you’re saying.”
saying is that, once Lindsey reached the point where she was
independent, you know, dating, going to dances and parties, you kind
of lived your life vicariously through her. I mean, come on; think
contemplated what she had said silently. She continued on a roll.
“All of the
photos you took, the scrapbooks you made, the video journals you
created to document the sports she played, the hobbies she had. What
about you always being one of the chaperones on the class trips she
took throughout high school?”
it?” I asked, now getting a bit defensive.
saying is that I can see why you’re suddenly out of sorts with what
to do next. You can’t plan your life around Lindsey’s anymore.
You need to find a life of your own.”
you suggest? It’s different with you. You still have your
two kids at home.”
“Yes, but I
still have my own life, too.”
about it, and it was true. Everything that Becky was saying was true.
I’d centered my life on Lindsey’s. I’d not developed any
interests or hobbies of my own. My only social activities, outside of
volunteering at Lindsey’s high school, were occasionally hanging
out with Becky, or Jack and I having dinner with my parents. My
father was retired now. He and my mother traveled quite a bit, so
even seeing them socially was rare these days.
right. I need to focus on myself. Jack has been nagging me to finish
decorating the house. I guess I could throw myself into that.”
her eyes and sat up from her reclining position.
not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about something for you,
Sam. You aren’t into decorating. Let Jack decorate, if it’s so
damn important to him.”
She shook her
head as if she was becoming impatient with my cluelessness.
know what you want me to say? I agree with you, okay?”
not getting it, Sam. Your daughter is off to college, so what? You’re
going to try and build some kind of life around that mannequin
husband of yours?”
I was taken
aback. Becky had never taken such a harsh attitude with me, ever! She
had always stood by me through everything, as far back as high
school. She was Lindsey’s godmother, for Christ’s sake. Why was
she giving me shit? I didn’t respond to what she said. I grabbed my
thongs, putting them on my feet, and exited the sauna room, heading
for the showers.
showered, I dressed and headed out to the front to pay the bill.
Becky was just a couple of minutes behind me. I paid our spa bill,
though Becky protested when I picked up her tab as well.
I was signing
the credit card slip when I saw a stack of business cards on the
counter in a holder that was labeled, “Take One.” I did, not even
sure what the card said, but I liked the artwork on it. It was a
slender woman in a kick-boxing pose. I shoved it into my pocket and
headed out the door.
please,” Becky called after me. “Stop, I need to explain.”
I stopped on
the sidewalk outside to look at her.
she said, “all I’m saying is that you need to do something for
you, Sam. Get a job, go back to school, or take an art class. Start
living for yourself because you never have, and it hurts me to see
that you have no identity of your own.”
thanks Becky, I think. Have you considered that my fate is to just be
a mannequin’s wife?” I hissed.
apologize for that, Sam. You know how I feel about Jack. I’ve never
She was being
honest about that. Becky had little use for my husband. She
considered him to be self-absorbed, demanding, and unable to bond or
to be intimate with a woman.
sure how qualified she was to make such a diagnosis, but I felt it
was likely due to my intermittent complaints about him over the
years. Perhaps it was my fault that Becky had developed the opinion
she had of Jack. I never shared with her the good things about our
that you’ve never cared for him, but he is my husband and Lindsey’s
about what I said, okay? I’ve got to run now. I’m late picking up
Shawn from football practice. Call you tomorrow.”
later,” I said, suddenly absorbed in the business card that I’d
picked up inside.
The name of
the establishment was Foxy & Fierce Body Shaping Shop. It boasted
several types of martial arts training, along with kick-boxing and
yoga classes. Why the hell not?
Foxy’s in a somewhat seedy neighborhood not far from campus. I
decided that if everyone in there was Lindsey’s age, I would turn
around and leave. There was always the YWCA.
stepped inside the doors, I was pleasantly surprised. The
receptionist looked to be about the same age as my mother, but holy
hell, was she ever fit.
sweetie,” she greeted me, “what can I do you for?” I noticed
her nametag read “Vonda.”
I said with more enthusiasm than I’d felt for quite some time, “I
want a body just like yours.”
It had been nearly four weeks
since I started my membership at Foxy’s. I’d lost a total of
twelve pounds, and dropped two sizes. My sweats were practically
falling off of me. The part that I was most proud of, however, was
the muscle tone that I’d developed, both in my lower and upper
kick-boxing was awesome for building muscle tone in the legs. My
other workouts included lifting with free weights for arms and
shoulder toning, along with a Pilates class for my torso and abs. I’d
been spending about four days a week at the gym. I hadn’t told Jack
any more than that. He’d mumbled an obligatory, “That’s great,
Sammie,” not bothering to feign interest.
wrapped up my workout for the day and showered when Vonda came into
the locker room looking for me.
caught you, Sam,” she said. “We need one more person to sign up
for pole-dancing lessons. The instructor has a minimum registration
number in order to meet what she charges. I figured you’d be
you? You’re pretty damn limber and it’s a hell of a way to build
up your biceps and triceps that you’re always whining about,
but Vonda, come on. Don’t you think I’m a little bit old for that
type of --?”
the word you’re looking for is exercise, Sam. Good grief,
it’s not stripping. It’s a great dance art form, and to answer
your question, no. I’m on the roster. Do you think I’m too old?”
Vonda had me
there. At fifty-six-years-old, there wasn’t too much that Vonda
couldn’t do. Maybe it wasn’t out of the question. After all, I’d
taken three years of ballet under the tutelage of Madame LeBlanc when
I was in grade school. She had told me I had natural grace. I had
taken it to appease my mother, who insisted on lessons of some sort
during my formative years.
Vonda, I’m in. When does it start?”
tickled pink that we had enough members signed up to bring in who she
claimed was the ‘queen of pole-dancing.’ The instructor’s name
was Ginger Cooper and she’d actually won a third place trophy in
the Midwest Pole Dancing Competition the year before.
started the following week and were daily for the following three
weeks. I had no clue that pole dancing was recognized globally as a
competitive sport and art form. I’d always regarded it as being a
second cousin to stripping. Boy, had I been misguided.
extremely talented and driven. She expected no less from her
students. She was brutal in her training and assessments.
third day of lessons, I told Vonda I was contemplating dropping out.
I could barely move a muscle. It had certainly burst my “I’m in
great shape” bubble. My God, I hadn’t known the muscles that were
now feeling a slow, burning pain even existed.
not,” Vonda stated, in her authoritative tone. “If I can hang
with it, you sure as hell can, Sammie. Besides, you’re doing
“How do you
figure, Vonda? You heard Ginger today telling me to get the lead out
of my gluteus maximus while she was instructing us on the snowflake
or pretzel, or whatever the hell she called it.”
tough, I know, but really Sammie, you’re doing great. Hey, I bet
your husband would love a pole dance demo once you finish this
right,” I said, getting clothes out of my locker. “He hasn’t
even noticed my new svelte body,” I replied, rolling my eyes.
“I guess he
doesn’t find me attractive anymore, maybe he never did,” I
replied with a shrug.
Vonda said, shaking her head. “You’re gorgeous. You do realize
that, right? I hope to God you don’t see yourself through his
clueless eyes, Sammie.”
required to say stuff like that to paying members, right Vonda?”
so full of shit, girlie,” she replied, still shaking her head. “I
hope to Christ you wake up and smell the coffee one of these days.
That’s all the pep talk you’re getting from me today. I’ll see
your getting-tighter ass in here tomorrow for our lesson.”
I started to
say I wouldn’t be coming, but then I thought about it. Maybe Vonda
was right; maybe I did have potential. Maybe I would give Jack a demo
when classes finished. Maybe he’d even want to touch me again.
I stopped by
Becky’s on my way home. I hadn’t talked to her in the last couple
of weeks. She knew I was totally wrapped up in my “exercise”
classes as she called them. She was simply relieved that I was
finally doing something just for me.
shit,” she said, her eyes widening as she held the door open for
me. “You’ve lost a ton of weight, Sam. You look fantastic!”
I said, rolling my eyes. I didn’t do well with compliments. It was
probably because I wasn’t used to getting them.
“No, I mean
it. Your damn body looks like a teenager’s. What type of exercise
class is it? Maybe I’ll join you.”
kick-boxing and Pilates. I just added pole-dancing to it.”
There’s no way I could hang with that, but Sam, it looks so
freaking good on you! I bet Jack is drooling, right?”
I look great,” I lied.
“I bet the
mannequin hasn’t even noticed, has he?”
Becky knew me
so well. She seemed to know Jack much better.
he’s been pretty busy these days. He’s been traveling for work
quite a bit. We barely see one another.”
she replied. “He’s such a fuckwad.”
I said, my tone cautioning her to just let it go, “how have things
been with you?”
good. Shawn’s playing junior high football. Megan’s doing well
with her piano lessons. George still fucks me at least three times a
I said, with a smile. We both laughed, and the mood lightened.
I loved my
best friend, but our worlds were different. That was just the way it
was. She’d finished high school and college, married George, had
two great kids: a boy and then a girl. She had done everything right.
Her life was the American dream. It was the way that things were
supposed to work out.
We made plans
to meet the following day. I needed to shop for new clothes, she’d
pointed out bluntly. She was right.
surprised that Jack was home by the time I got there. He’d been in
Charlotte, North Carolina, for the past three days on business.
Banion Pharmaceuticals had plans to open a large distribution center
on the east coast.
Jack had been
negotiating with members of the Chamber of Commerce both in Charlotte
and in Charleston, South Carolina, for tax incentives. The two cities
were competing with each other to be awarded the location where the
facility would be built. It would employ up to five hundred people
finished up in the shower when I came into our bedroom. I made it a
point to undress in front of him, hoping that he would notice and
perhaps get the hint.
your trip?” I asked, kicking off my shoes and lifting my sweatshirt
up and over my head.
he replied, getting his nail clipper from the top of his dresser. “I
have to fly to Charleston on Friday. Our meeting is early Monday
morning, so I figured I would have the weekend to prepare my
I slipped my
sweat pants off, and unhooked my sports bra, springing my breasts
free. I’d always been rather proud of them. They were still full
and perky. I sauntered by Jack who was now sitting on the bed,
clipping his toenails. I got clean underwear from the drawer and sat
down on the bed next to him.
looked up at me, noticing that I was practically naked in front of
him. His eyes narrowed infinitesimally, as he actually looked at me
for the first time in weeks.
lost weight, Sammie?”
nice of you to finally notice.”
been feeling well?” he asked.
great. I’ve been working out, getting in shape. What do you think?”
that you’ve probably lost all of the weight you need to lose. If
you get much scrawnier, people will think that you’re ill.”
said, moving closer to him on the bed. “How about I go with you to
Charleston? We’ll have a romantic weekend together. We haven’t
gone away together alone for as long as I can remember. This would be
he said with a sigh, getting up off of the bed. “The whole point of
me going down Friday and staying over the weekend is to prepare for
Monday’s meeting. I mean, you know how it is with me. I need that
total concentration, no distractions when I’m preparing for a big
presentation. How about a rain check?”
said. “I’ll just list that in our rain check voucher. Maybe one
day I’ll be able to cash in on all of these IOUs.”
even bother to respond.
Well, so much for that.
No mention of
how my legs, arms, and abs had gotten into shape with ample muscle
tone. No mention of how he missed our making love, since it had been
months now. I guess that was too much to expect from my mannequin
husband. Christ, I was sounding like Becky now. Maybe she was right.
The bottom line was that I was getting sick to death of Jack’s
inattentiveness towards me. Maybe I needed to take the next step in
getting a life of my own.
into the bathroom and took a shower. I decided I would start looking
for a part-time job as soon as possible. I needed more things of my
It was the final day of our
pole-dancing lessons, and Vonda and I were chatting in the locker
room after showers.
you glad you finished the lessons?” she asked, towel drying her
flaming red hair. “Ginger certainly gave you kudos today after your
number. I was a bit jealous, Sam. Did you hire a choreographer to put
I knew Vonda
was being funny. She loved to tease me about how well I was doing
with the whole pole-dancing thing.
Vonda,” I replied, smiling. “You certainly didn’t do too badly
in Ginger’s eyes, as I recall.”
was just being nice to the old lady in the group. Plus, I’m the one
who cuts the check for her hefty fee.”
right. You know you have the body of a thirty-five year old,” I
honey, I certainly don’t have a body like yours, though I’ll take
the compliment. Thank you. Of course, you have to recognize your body
has gone younger since you’ve been coming here.”
You’ve got the bod of a twenty-something since you’ve started
working out. Now, if we could just do something about your hair and
I rolled my
eyes as I put a clean sweatshirt on over my head.
eyes all you want. I mean it, though. Plus, you still wear clothes
that cover all of your toned muscles and ligaments. What a shame.”
She was shaking her head and ‘tsking’ me.
I closed the
door of my locker, fastening the lock into place.
you wouldn’t be in need of any part-time help here, would you?”
seriously looking for a job are you? Come on Sam, I know you don’t
open up a lot about your personal life, but I wasn’t born
yesterday. I see the car you drive, the brands of the clothes and
shoes you wear. I have a hard time believing you need money.”
really about the money,” I replied, tying the shoelaces on my Nike
Air Max shoes. “I just want something of my own, I guess. A job
working here would give me that, plus I’d be doing what I love to
thoughtful for a moment.
Sam, I don’t have anything at the moment. My tight-ass husband does
the books for this place, and he keeps telling me to cut back as it
is, but I might have something else for you. I just need to talk to
my sister, Janine.”
Janine manages a gentleman’s club over on West Washington Street.
With your looks and dance skills, I’m sure she might be able to
hook you up with some part-time hours.”
“Uh . . .
Vonda, I’m not thinking of stripping or giving lap dances. I was
thinking more along the lines of personal trainer, maybe?”
luck with that, sweetie. But before you slam the door on my
suggestion, let me clarify it for you. This club has a variety of
clientele. Granted, late night and early morning hours, the clientele
wants to see a lot of skin and private dancing. I know that’s not
your gig, sweetie. I was thinking maybe she could hook you up with an
early shift. That’s when there’s more interest from the
after-five businessmen in viewing pole dancing with the classier
chicks. That way, you will be doing what you love, right?”
don’t know. I mean I’ve never pictured myself as being a dancer
at a gentleman’s club. I mean, what do they wear?”
little,” she answered, honestly. “What are you worried about?”
think I’m the type, Vonda. It’s just not me, you know?”
trying to think about how I visualized myself. All I came up with was
how other people visualized me.
visualized as a daughter, a wife, a mother, a best friend by those
people in my life, but I had no clue as to how I viewed myself as a
person. I’d never bothered to carve out an identity for myself.
what I thought,” Vonda replied with a smirk. “Look, before you
shoot the idea down, visit Janine at the club. I’ll give her a call
and see if she can meet with you some afternoon next week. See you
here,” I said, giving her a weak smile.
myself on my drive home that there would be no harm in at least
meeting Janine and seeing what the club was like, but I sincerely
doubted that pole dancing at a gentleman’s club was the identity I
truly wished to carve out for myself.
I spent the
weekend cleaning the house. Jack was in Charlotte again, only this
time he had mentioned the fact that Susan was accompanying him. They
supposedly were meeting with the city government officials to wrap up
the deal. The decision had been made to build the distribution center
in Charlotte. Jack had said he’d be gone a week this time. They
were meeting with surveyors and contractors.
I was fairly
certain that Jack was fucking Susan. His increased obsession with his
looks and wardrobe hadn’t gone unnoticed by me. I was surprised at
my own impassiveness about the situation. Perhaps having gained some
self-confidence these past couple of months had given me some
perspective on my marriage. Becky was right, Jack was a mannequin.
Correction: Jack was a cheating mannequin.
I was putting
some of the new clothes I’d purchased into our large, walk-in
closet. I had to shove Jack’s clothes over to make room. He had one
whole side of the closet, and half of mine. Becky had pointed out how
unacceptable it was that Jack had a much larger wardrobe than me.
thought, his clothes were all going to the other side. I wasn’t
going to have my new wardrobe getting wrinkled because they were all
crowded together. I removed handfuls of hangers with Jack’s shirts
and sweaters on them and hung them on the bar on his side of the
closet. There. His clothes could get smashed together now. My cell
chimed from the bedroom. It was Lindsey.
she greeted cheerily from the other end. “I’ve been worried about
call me as often as you used to. I’m beginning to think you don’t
miss me anymore.”
you know better than that. I just know you’re busy with college.
I’ve been trying to find some hobbies of my own to fill the void.”
glad to hear you say that, Mom. What have you been doing?”
been doing kick-boxing and Pilates.”
Mom. I’m serious.”
“So am I.”
Well, that’s fantastic. It just doesn’t seem like you. So are you
it,” I replied, honestly. “I had to buy all new clothes, though.”
due, Mom. I’m really happy that you’re finally doing stuff for
yourself. How does Daddy like it?”
sure he’s really noticed, Lindsey.”
that he has. You know Daddy. He’s just not one to make a big deal
out of anything. Is he home?”
sweetie, he’s in Charlotte for a week or so. He finally tied up the
deal with locating the new distribution facility for Banion. He’s
been pretty distracted.”
then,” she replied, giving him the benefit of the doubt for his
lack of attention to me. “I’m sure once that facility is up and
running, Daddy will have more time to spend with you.”
realize that the distraction wasn’t the distribution facility. It
your classes going?” I asked, desperate to change the subject with
most part fine. I mean there’s the usual struggles with chemistry
and trig, hut no surprises there. I have an upperclassman tutoring
me. He’s totally hot so it’s kind of distracting.”
I laughed, “Your dad and I aren’t paying that kind of tuition for
you to be distracted.”
there. He’s totally about the tutoring, trust me.”
I breathed a
silent sigh of relief. Lindsey had gone through a painful break-up
the previous summer with her high school sweetheart, Lance. I’d
done my best to soothe her pain, all the while really wanting to tell
her that it was probably the best thing that could have happened. I’d
seen a lot of Jack in Lance, and I wanted better for my daughter.
still planning to come home for Christmas, but I’m sticking around
here for Thanksgiving. One of the girls in the dorm has invited me to
her family’s home in Connecticut. We’re going to do a little
skiing. Are you okay with that?”
fine, Lindsey. I’m not even sure what we’ll be doing. Your
grandparents are still in Hawaii until after the first of the year.
Things have sure changed in a year, I guess.”
sad. If you want me to come home, I will.”
sweetie, I’m fine. You stick with your plans, okay?”
I was sitting at the bar at
Jewels waiting for Janine to finish chewing out one of the employees
in her office. Kevin, the bartender, had given me a glass of club
soda to drink. He chatted with me for a few minutes. I picked up on a
distinct Boston accent. He was a fairly friendly guy, telling me a
little bit about the club and the clientele.
It was just
after 11:30 a.m. The club officially opened in ninety minutes. I
looked about, studying the layout. There were three separate
horseshoe shaped stages with seating around each. Towards the back,
there was a sunken seating area with round tables and cushioned
seats. I figured those separate seating areas were for customers
requesting private attention from a dancer.
of doing lap dances or dancing privately for a customer didn’t
appeal to me whatsoever. Vonda had assured me that the club offered a
variety of different types of dancers. She’d let Janine know that I
was only interested in pole-dancing. The fact that I was here waiting
to be interviewed by Janine meant that she must have been receptive
to my conditions.
The door to
Janine’s office opened, and a teary-eyed, twenty-something girl
came out. Her face was blotchy from crying. I felt sorry for her
without even knowing why. She couldn’t have been more than early
twenties. I cringed at the thought of Lindsey ever having to make her
living in a place like this.
hell? I was here fully prepared to do just that. What a
contradiction. I rationalized that I wasn’t here to really earn a
living. I was here to find my identity. That made it more palatable
in my mind.
I saw a woman
who I presumed to be Janine poke her head out of the office and look
over towards me.
guessed it, sweetie. Come on in.”
I made my way
over to her office. She closed the door behind us and instructed me
to take off my coat.
I’d worn a
pair of my new, tight jeans with a clingy spandex top, and
three-inch, heeled boots. This was done per Vonda’s strict
“She has to
see your body, sweetie,”’ she explained. Vonda had also told me
to wear a bikini underneath my clothes for my dancing demo. I’d
been forced to order one online because it wasn’t actually bikini
season in Indianapolis. I’d paid more to have it shipped next-day
than for the bikini itself. It was a simple black bikini, trimmed in
gold. I thought it had a classy appeal to it.
says you’re looking for some part-time shifts, pole-dancing only.
Let me take a look at you.”
That’s what I call my sister, Vonda. I mean seriously that hair of
hers is something else, right?”
She lifted my
shirt up to look at my bare stomach. “Nice and flat tummy, no
stretch marks. Those tits your own?”
uh yeah. They’re mine.”
jeans, babe. Red says you have a perky tush that’s to die for.”
I felt myself
blush. I hadn’t done that in ages because I hadn’t had cause to
do that in ages. I unfastened my jeans, kicking my boots off and
lowered my jeans, stepping out of them.
I did as
instructed, letting Janine peruse my bikini-clad body.
right. You’ve got the body for this place. Need to see what you can
do on the pole, though. Follow me.”
Janine back out into the main room. She headed over to the jukebox,
asking me what song I wanted for my dance.
Some Sugar on Me’ by Def Leppard on there?”
this is satellite music. We can get anything your little heart
desires. Def Leppard it is.”
Kevin’ was still behind the bar, setting up glassware I noticed as
I took the stage. He was totally inattentive to my dance demo, which
made me more comfortable. It was probably old hat to him anyway.
started. This was the song I’d used for my dance at Foxy’s.
Ginger had given me a 9.5 out of a perfect 10 score. I now put
everything out of my mind. I let the music take over. The length and
width of the horseshoe stage allowed for lots of creativity, and
there were three poles spaced apart on each stage.
perfect form on my spins and climbs, twirling around and around on my
triple snowflake. I ended the song with my upside-down twirl, hooking
my outside leg around the pole, my arms outstretched, my back arched
as I descended down the pole, my legs outstretched into straddle
splits at the end, my head bowed down, my face buried behind my
forearms that were now clutched in front of me.
not bad at all, girlie. Let’s talk.”
Janine back into her office. I put my shirt and jeans back on while
she gave me the lowdown on the club. There was an open slot left by
the previous dancer, Diamond. Janine was willing to give me a shot at
All of the
dancers had stage names. My name would be ‘Diamond.’ She
cautioned me about giving personal information out to the other
dancers or the clientele.
a strip club and it’s not a whore house. We provide entertainment
to mostly male clients. Most of them are regulars, and some of them
are wealthy. I don’t know your particular situation, Samantha, but
I have a feeling you’re a babe in the woods, even at your ripe old
age of thirty-five.”