Lance reached over the bar, grabbing a tall, sweating drink from Hunk. His fingers fogged the cup when they touched the cold glass. The club was hot tonight, both literally and figuratively. Lance’s t-shirt was sticking to his back with sweat. It was only half from the heat that his DJ booth gave off and the bodies that were packed into the club. He looked to Pidge. She was getting ready to close the ticket box, the place reaching far past its max capacity already.
It was a rare night that they had a full house. Altea Boulevard, the street that the club was rooted to, was brimming with competition. Strip joints and burlesque bars sat on the street like the drunken crowds’ litter, abundant and stinking of liqueur. But Keith had a new routine, new music, a new outfit.
At the moment, the red lighting of the stage was flashing on Keith, slow to the heavy beat of the song that Lance had left playing. Keith leaned back, a pole resting against the crook where his neck met his shoulder. It supported him as he continued to descend, bending half backwards, presenting the bulge beneath his clinging leather pants. Keith was the other half of the heat in the club.
Lance turned back to Hunk, sharing a look. They’d shared it before, on packed nights, when news of Keith’s grandeur had passed through the streets and drawn in the crowd. It was all well and good for the crowd, but Keith was gone beneath his sultry smiles and half-lidded eyes. They still weren’t quite sure if he was lost in the dance, or if he was gone somewhere else completely.
Lance took a long swig of his drink to the sound of a low whistle from the man beside him at the bar. He looked at the man, middle aged, most likely closeted and married based on the wedding ring and unfashionable business suit. Not bad looking, but not good either.
He noticed Lance giving him the once over and saw it as an invitation.
“Could you imagine parading him around?” The man asked over the loud boom of the music. Lance tried to stifle his grin. He didn’t bother looking back at the stage where the man was staring hungrily. “That’s the kind of guy who dresses all sexy, does crazy shit in bed -and wherever else the mood hits him- just smilin’ the whole time. Happy to do it for ya, like you’re a king.”
“Oh yeah?” Lance asked, baiting the man. Hunk rolled his eyes with a smile before moving on to other patrons. The man was practically drooling over Keith.
“Hoo, yeah,” the man whistled. “Whatathey call him? Cherry?” He looked to Lance, who nodded once in confirmation. “Even his name, that’s old school twink shit. He’s hunting for a Daddy. He wants to serve someone. Just look at his pretty hair. Long enough to get a good hold on it.”
“You’re probably right,” Lance lied, pushing away from the bar with a laugh. He had to announce the next dancer, fade out Keith’s music, and start the new track.
It wasn’t the first time someone had given that persona to Keith. He put on a good act, after all. But it couldn’t be any farther from the truth. The outfits, the routines, the everything, it wasn’t Keith. The way he moved was his, but the smiles, the winks, the songs. Everything else was manufactured.
In fact, when Lance first started working at the club, he’d fallen for the act. He’d been given Keith’s song list and watched him bump, grind, and strip throughout the night. He’d seen the sneaky smiles and flirty touches. He though he could tell from a dance who someone was. But he was wrong.
And he’d done everything wrong.