Uta sat in front of a mirror, wrapped in a robe. Ruki was almost finished with his set, which meant Uta was up next. His job constantly stirred up conflicting emotions. He hated taking his clothes off and dancing for strangers, but he couldn't deny the money was pretty damn good. It paid for his university and his rathole apartment. It didn't stop him from throwing up before every shift, though.
The current song ended, and Uta groaned because he was up. He stood on shaky legs and removed his robe, not looking at his reflection. Ruki came backstage and caught up with him.
“You're pale,” he said. “Did you get sick again?”
“Ruki!” Their manager called. “Your construction worker is ready for his weekly lap dance.”
“In a minute!” Ruki pinched Uta's cheeks. “That'll get you some color. Just try to lose yourself in the music. And Die and Kaoru are out there. They won't let anything happen to you.”
Uta took a deep breath.
“There you go. Now, I'm off to play with Kyo.” With a wink and a smirk, Ruki sauntered off.
Uta took several more deep breaths as the music started- something heavy, foreign. Toshiya was the dj and he was excellent at his work. He had an amazing ability to find songs that allowed Uta to forget what he was doing- or at least block it out while he was on stage. Toshiya had a playlist for each dancer, and modified it based on their performances on stage. Ruki loved the spotlight, so he loved fast songs that got his audience all riled up. Uta always wanted to disappear, so Toshiya would play thumping, yet melodic music that would allow him to see past the patrons, past the club, into something, somewhere else.
The Garden of Eden was a club that catered to blue collared men, mostly laborers, pretty rough and rowdy. The dancers went by flower stage names. Ruki went by 'Rose', because even though he looked beautiful, he could be harsh- pushing his customers away, demeaning them. They all lapped it up. Uta was 'Sunflower'. Warm, inviting, a promise of happiness and dreams come true. Everyone became more mellow when Uta performed, just drinking him in.
Uta was halfway through his second song when a new customer walked in. He certainly didn't belong among this audience. He wore a charcoal, tailored suit, and what looked like an expensive watch. He had dark hair just past his square jaw. He didn't sit at the stage, but settled at a table a little further back. When his gaze settled on Uta, his breath caught. Intense eyes bore into his as if the man could see through him. He smirked at Uta, who blushed.
Uta kept his eyes on the man, dancing only for him, hoping to entice him to the stage. He was certainly attractive, and maybe he would tip well. The man never moved, only sipped from a flute of champagne (Uta didn't even know the club stocked it since no one ever ordered it), but he didn't take his eyes off Uta, either. Something about this man was making Uta dance in a way he never had before. Luckily, Toshiya followed his lead and played music that allowed him to move his body languidly.
He was breathless when he got backstage.
“What is it?” Ruki demanded. “Did someone try something?”
“There's a newcomer,” Uta whispered. “In a suit, sitting away from the stage.”
“A suit?” Ruki peeked through the curtains. “Damn, he's gorgeous. And is he drinking champagne? I bet he tips well.”
Uta felt an arm on his waist and turned to see their Tulip- Shinya- smiling at him. Uta smiled back. “I don't know. He stayed put.”
“How about all three of us go out together?” Shinya asked.
Ruki grinned. “More tips!”
Uta had to grin himself. Although he didn't get to do it often, he loved dancing with others. It was easier to hide.
The man was definitely intrigued by the three dancers on stage. He leaned forward, resting his forearms on his knees. Uta thought he was being watched, but it was hard to tell with the two other beauties on stage with him. Although, they did try to make Uta the focus.
“I can't believe he still didn't come to the stage after that,” Shinya panted once they were backstage.
“Yeah, but his eyes were glued on Uta the whole time, which was the whole point,” Ruki replied.
“Really?” Uta asked. “How do you know?”
“I saw him.” Ruki licked his lips and grinned. “Uta definitely has a new fan.”
Uta dressed quickly, blushing. “You better not let Kyo hear you talk like that.”
Shinya giggled. “Are you kidding? I bet Kyo keeps Ruki occupied all night the next time he comes.” He winked.
“Damn right. And our businessman will be back. Make no mistake.”
Ruki was right. He was back the next night. He sat in the same spot and was uninterested in all of the dancers.
Uta tried his best not to blush as he danced. It was difficult, especially when he caught the man smirking at him. Butterflies tickled Uta's belly and he forced himself to look away.
But still, the man never approached the stage.
It went on like that for a couple of weeks. The man showed up every night, sat away from the stage, drank champagne, and watched Uta. The other dancers finally noticed him as well, but couldn't seem to catch his attention. They often approached him only to be politely turned away.
“He was on his phone during my set!” Cazqui whined.
And then it happened. Uta's businessman (as Shinya and Ruki referred to him) moved to the stage. He waited until he had Uta's attention before slowly strolling over. He held out a large bill, his dark eyes penetrating. Uta did something he'd never done onstage before- he slid down to his knees, and slowly crawled over to his patron. The man's gaze was unwavering as Uta slid closer on his belly. The man dragged the bill down Uta's throat, before letting Uta catch it between his teeth. Uta stood and slid the money slowly into the front of his G-String before moving back to finish his set.
Uta's legs were shaking as he walked up to Shinya and Ruki after.
“That was so hot,” Ruki gushed. “How much did he tip you?”
Uta pulled out a twenty dollar bill. The other dancers looked impressed.
“Just sitting side stage!” Ruki exclaimed. “I wonder what he would tip for a lap dance.”
“Uta!” The manager called. “You've been requested for a lap dance.”
Uta froze, and turned wide eyes to his friends.
“You'll be fine,” Shinya murmured. “I bet it's that businessman.”
“He could be a monster,” Uta whimpered. “And those rooms are sound proof.”
“Don't worry,” Ruki assured Uta. “Die will watch out for you.”
Uta watched as his friend walked up to the redheaded bouncer and talked with him. Die smiled and walked over to Uta.
“Everything will be okay,” Die promised. “If you come out first, I'll know all is well. If he comes out with no sign of you he won't get very far.”
“I'll stop by for a listen,” Ruki volunteered.
Everyone laughed, except Uta. He released a shaky breath. “Okay.”
Ruki smacked Uta's butt. “Go make some money,” he winked.
Taking a deep breath, Uta walked into the small room his manager indicated. Shinya was right- the businessman was waiting for him. Those dark, intense eyes focused on Uta, who bit his lip. But the man smiled warmly, and his features softened.
“Good evening,” he murmured. “My name is Atsushi.”
“Uta,” the dancer blurted out, before it dawned on him that he had given out his real name instead of his stage name.
“Don't worry, little Sunflower. Your secret is safe with me.”
Uta blushed and bit his lip again. The music kicked into another one of his favorites, but he was rooted to the spot.
Atsushi quirked an eyebrow. “Will you dance for me, Sunflower?”
Uta snapped out of it. He closed his eyes and tried to lose himself in the music, moving closer to Atsushi. His eyes fell open, and he noticed the other man watching him.
“Are you alright?” Atsushi asked, sliding a bill into Uta's G-String, his fingers lightly grazing Uta's hip.
Uta straddled Atsushi, resting on his own heels, and not fully in the man's lap.
“You scare me,” Uta whispered as he began to move his hips.
“You don't need to be scared of me,” Atsushi murmured. “I won't crush my little flower.”
Uta closed his eyes again, and sank fully onto Atsushi's lap. The businessman groaned, hard as a rock, but made no move to touch Uta. Uta gently grinded against him, whimpering himself at the delicious friction.
Atsushi shifted and leaned closer. Uta kept his eyes closed and tried to relax. Atsushi brought his lips close to Uta's, but didn't kiss him. There was barely a space between them as they exchanged breaths. Uta slowly opened his eyes, peeking at the businessman demurely.
“You are so lovely.” Atsushi murmured before leaning back in his seat.
Uta exhaled, and the song ended. He carefully eased himself out of Atsushi's lap, noticing his impressive bulge. Uta was sporting one himself.
“One more thing,” Atsushi began, pulling a hundred dollar bill out of his pocket.
Uta's eyes widened.
“Will you turn around?”
Uta did so.
“Will you bend over?”
Uta froze. Atsushi didn't say anything else. After a few moments, Uta took a deep breath, and bent over.
Nothing happened. No sounds, no touches.
Finally, Atsushi murmured a “thank you” before sliding a bill into Uta's G-String once again.
Uta straightened up and leaned against the wall, panting. Atsushi offered a wink on his way out. Uta blushed to himself, and took a deep, steadying breath. That was when he realized Atsushi had gone out first. Uta bolted from the room in time to see a glowering Die making his way towards Atsushi. Uta frantically waved his arms to get Die's attention, and gave him a thumbs up. Die raised an eyebrow, and even Atsushi turned around. Uta blushed to have the businessman's eyes on him once again, and he scurried past him to stand in front of the bouncer.
“It's okay,” Uta rushed out. “Everything's fine.”
Die narrowed his eyes. “Are you sure?”
Uta nodded, smiling. “I was just a little overwhelmed and needed a moment, and forgot I was supposed to leave first.”
Die smiled back and ruffled the petite dancer's hair. “If you're sure.”
Uta smacked Die's hand away with a pout before disappearing backstage. He didn't notice Atsushi's eyes on him, his eyes following Uta's every movement with a small, soft smile.
“I can't believe how much he tipped you!” Ruki exclaimed.
Uta had scored $150 from Atsushi alone that night. That was half his rent in a single work shift. He even had a good amount of money left to tip Die and Toshiya, which he always did anyway. Tonight they would be getting a little more, a thought that made Uta happy. He liked helping others, especially his coworkers who had become his brothers and best friends.
“Is it really so hard to believe?” Uta asked in a small voice.
“Of course not!” Ruki replied hastily. “I just didn't think anyone who had that kind of money would ever come here.”
“If anyone could catch this guy's eye, Uta could,” Shinya said, giving Uta a little squeeze. “Hey, do you think he's a recruiter from a nicer club?”
“No way,” Uta said. “I'm not leaving you guys behind.”
Ruki and Shinya both smothered Uta in a hug.
“Do you guys want to get a cab?” Uta asked. “My treat.”
Shinya shook his head. “I'm going home with Toshiya tonight,” he blushed.
“Are you guys actually getting anywhere?” Ruki teased.
Just then the side door opened, and Toshiya came out. He walked up to Shinya, wrapping an arm around him and smiling. “Ready?”
Shinya nodded and waved to the other two. Toshiya nodded at his coworkers before leading Shinya over to his motorcycle.
Uta and Ruki smiled after their friend before linking arms and climbing into the nearest available cab.