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Never Performed Like This Before

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The curve of lip, of hip, of skin. All eyes focused on him. The coil of leg around the pole, the twist of hand, the circle of fingers splayed on silver. Everybody is crowding around him. The ripple of muscle under flesh, the dip and bend of spine. This is why he came here tonight. The line of his body, the hidden strength as he hangs himself upside down by just his thighs, the extension of his arm from shoulder to painted nails.

Tommy dances.

Sutan gave up the pole for him tonight; dragged him over to it and told him to just do what felt right. He really shouldn’t have done that. Tommy’s gone on whiskey and the joint he smoked earlier has made him feel amazing, the drugs and alcohol buzzing under his skin where electricity arcs across his veins, through his blood, sparking off the pole between his hands. The music isn’t about notes and lyrics now – it’s about the thump, the pulse, the jump and silence between the drum beats. He doesn’t know who picked it, who’s playing it, who’s dancing to it – it’s just him and the silver pole in the middle of this club. The air burns in his lungs as he twirls, bends, and slides.

Adam watches.

Arch of his spine, pointed feet to add non-existent height, little black shorts hiding nothing. He’s here of his own free will, but the collar around his neck is telling the crowd around him something else. He couldn’t give a fuck what they think, what they want to do to him, what their faces tell him in the flashes of red and yellow light.

He’s only here for one person.

He dances; swings his hips, swipes a hand down to brush past where most people’s eyes are focused, kneels and spreads his knees like he wishes someone would step forward to fill the space in between them. Nobody steps forward, and that’s exactly what’s supposed to happen. Tonight, he’s just a fantasy, just a figment of their imagination that will disappear as soon as the lights go down. They don’t know his name; don’t know his history – hell, by tomorrow morning, half the people in here will struggle to know that about themselves, never mind a dancer with a collar and not much else on.

Tonight, he dances for just one man.

The beat changes, rocking into a faster pace, and Tommy follows the music, using his body to express the things he wants to do to someone, to have done to him. His partner is a cold metal pole standing in for warm human flesh and skin but the Freudian symbolism is clear as he grips it between both hands, strokes it, licks the metal. The air thickens, the crowd pressing in closer, but Tommy avoids the few hands that dare reach out for him. He’s supposed to be for watching, not for them to play with.

Look. Don’t touch.

That’s the rule, always the rule and those that are breaking it are soon schooled in it by the bouncers who are hovering around the edges, keeping an eye on the more aggressive audience members. Those who still object are shown to one of the doors in the back. And asked not to return.

He feels eyes on him, burning into the back of his neck but he doesn’t care. Why should he? He’s three sheets to the wind and more, loose and flowing, moving with the beat, uncaring of the fact that normally, he’d be running and hiding at this point. When he’s drunk, he’s quite the performer. He’s never performed like this before, though.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, he’s desperate for one person to notice, only one person in this room full of hungry eyes and dark fantasies. He grinds against the pole, then climbs it – uses his thighs to wrap around it, reclines backwards and lets his body hang there, suspended by pure strength alone. He stretches out one hand, then the other, points his toes, lays every inch of himself bare for inspection and judgement by the masses.

When a hand catches his, he’s not surprised. He shakes it off, uses it to grip the pole, return himself back to the normal way up; spins around the pole to press himself up against the intruder’s back, nuzzles at their ear. He licks at their neck, tasting sweat, glitter, and smoke. It tastes like the stage, like audiences, and tour bus; it doesn’t taste like home.

It tastes better.

The darkness of the club would hide this person’s identity from him if he didn’t already know it – would make this person’s face into shadows and shapes in the misty air. If only he didn’t know it like the back of his own hand, wasn’t able to describe it from memory alone, couldn’t have laid his finger on every freckle on that face – lips, jaw, the little raw of three just behind his left ear, and told you exactly what they looked like.

“Hey.” He offers, quietly, before ducking away, spinning around the pole to gain momentum before he rises into the air, uses his body to dangle himself four feet of the ground, stretching himself out to lay himself flat in the air, the only thing between him and a painful drop is his own conviction in his body. He likes the dangerous feeling, the pushing edge of it, the ache and shake of muscles being pushed to limits.

“Interesting.” No surprise, no greeting, no anything in that voice. Is it a good or bad thing? He doesn’t know, doesn’t care as he brings himself back to embrace the pole, slide down it slowly – he knows exactly what he’s doing to this guy. He’s pushing the boundaries, playing a game that he doesn’t want to win because losing is far more fun.

When a hand comes around the back of his neck, he bites his lip, bares his teeth and arches his back to push his groin to the pole, pressing cold metal to overheated, over sensitized flesh.

He was waiting for it.

 “Home time, Tommy.”

He lost. Adam won.

Tonight, he doesn’t care.