Submit to Desire

By: Tiffany Reisz

“Another one bites the dust,” Charlotte said, raising her glass. Two other glasses met it and the resulting clink sent Amaretto sour dripping over her fingers and onto the floor.

“Good riddance to bad boyfriends.” London downed the last of her Fuzzy Navel and sat the empty glass on the bar.

“I’ll drink to that,” Sasha said, sucking out the last drops of her Long Island Iced Tea.

Steele, the bartender, refilled her glass.

“That’s the problem.” Charlotte tucked a stray strand of red hair back into her straw cowboy hat. “Nick wasn’t a bad boyfriend. He was…nice.”

Sasha and London stared at her over the top of their drinks.

“You already dumped him, Char.” London wadded up her napkin and tossed it at Steele. “Don’t add insult to injury.”

“You women are all the same.” Steele set three shots up in front of them. “God forbid you date a guy who’s nice to you.”

“Nick was nice.” Sasha picked up her shot. “And kind of hot. Nice isn’t bad. Nice is just…boring.”

“Boring,” London agreed.

Charlotte sighed and gazed down into her drink.

Nick was nice. Too nice. So nice she wanted to kill him for it sometimes. Last week had been the last straw. She’d fallen asleep during sex. Missionary position. Five minutes of foreplay. Five minutes of thrusting. Ten minutes after of “I love everything about you.” Just…like…always.

“Boring,” Charlotte echoed as she looked up and met the eyes of a man walking through the bar. The man, whoever he was, looked to be in his mid-thirties and had shoulder-length dark hair and olive skin. From what Charlotte could tell, he wore a weird suit, kind of Victorian-looking, like something off a romance novel cover. And he wasn’t walking so much as strolling, as if the crowded nightclub was a park in spring, and he was a country squire out on a pleasant Sunday ramble.

“Steele, who is that guy?” London asked.

Steele gave the three ladies a half-cocked smile.

“That is Kingsley Edge. And he is the opposite of boring. And if you three have any sense you’ll stay away from him.”

“What sense I had just took her panties off and laid down in front of him,” Sasha said with a drunken giggle.

“God, he looks like a pirate.” London ran her finger around the rim of her glass.

“I think he looks dangerous.” Sasha shot the man her best come-over-here smile.

Charlotte sighed. Sasha and London had promised her a girls’ night out to help cheer her up over yet another failed relationship. “No men” had been their promise. Only alcohol and dancing. Maybe it was time to get some real friends.

“He looks like he needs a haircut.” Charlotte downed her shot in one bitter swallow.

“Hey, do your trick, Char. That’ll get his attention,” Sasha begged.

“I don’t want to get his attention. He’s a pimp.” Charlotte had heard of Kingsley Edge. No one who haunted New York’s nightlife hadn’t. His respectable business interests included owning several of the city’s top clubs. Rumors swirled about the man, however; rumors that he made the vast majority of his money pushing flesh and not cocktails.

Steele laughed and the three friends spun back around on their bar stools.

“Kingsley Edge is not a pimp.” Steele poured Charlotte a fresh Amaretto sour. “Kingsley Edge is a talent scout.”

“Talent scout?” Charlotte’s eyes followed Kingsley Edge as he made his way through the club. Every few feet he’d pause and gaze at her through the crowd. “What sort of talent?”

“Maybe your talent.” Steele winked at her. She’d worked at this club, Le Cirque de Nuit, a few years ago and had picked up a trick or two.

Sasha and London looked at Charlotte with pleading eyes. Steele held out a shot glass full of liquid paraffin. Once again Charlotte decided to make getting new friends a top priority. She was almost drunk. They were definitely drunk. And they were making her perform for them. Fine—if they insisted.

Charlotte sighed and took the shot glass. Sasha handed her a lighter.

Sasha and London clapped while they hopped off their stools and stood far away. Charlotte noticed that the commotion had not just gotten the attention of most of the nightclub patrons, but had alerted Kingsley Edge as well. He stood next to a column and leaned against it with one eyebrow raised.

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