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history out on the floor

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The thing was, you just needed to know where to go.

Angie never went only because such places were bright and respectable until well after Griffith's curfew. There was no sneaking back in smelling like booze and all smeared over with different lip colors. She had done that only once at her Mama's house and had woken up with her head in a tub of ice water and Father Del Ciello praying over her in Napolean Italian. She didn't risk it again until she moved out.

But once Peggy's secret had been shared, piecemeal, and the fuss all died down (Angie's head still swam with an alphabet soup of SSR and FBI and CIA and MI6 and more when she tried to think it through), Angie started thinking. Because Peggy had been sneaking in and out of the building, clearly and if she could scale a gutter, if Loretta's dumb lug boyfriend could, so could Angie.

Which is how she found herself deep in the darkest parts of the City, Peggy trailing along beside her. She loved this kind of thing -- real New York, she called it. The true city and all its underbelly beauty. For Angie, it was just home. More home than home, even was. She was never a good girl. Her Auntie Bonnie had apparently been all this scandal in the flapper scene and Angie would listen rapt to her tales, sure that her life was too late for her. Speakeasies seemed the only place she could be but then she found that just 'cause liqour was legal again didn't mean there weren't dark corners with passwords and in-crowds.

With a quick rap and a name-drop, she and Peggy were inside. A theatre basement with heavy drapes and smoke so thick even Peggy's breath faltered. Or maybe that was just at the sights. Ladies all pressed close to each other, sharing long cigarettes with legs slung over lap. Angie just smiled, wiggled her fingers in a wave to the familiar faces.

"A regular, then?" Peggy asked. Angie turned, worried suddenly, but there was happy mischief over her friend's face and Angie was pleased because she had been right.

With a smirk over her bowed lips, Angie gave a demure nod. "Oh, you know me. I like being right in the middle of things."'

"Like, say, the dancefloor?"

Angie honest to god giggled and then could nod fast enough. Taking hold of Peggy's hand, she ducked and weaved her way to the center of the floor. A lady in a burgundy suit batted her eyes toward Peggy and Angie took no time in setting their hips together. Her eyes met the other woman's gaze steadily with a clear message in them. When she looked back to Peggy, there was an amused look over her smile.

"Hey, I brought you here," Angie said, only a bit sheepish. "You're my dance partner tonight."

There was a blush over Peggy's cheeks but it very well could have been because of the heat of the cramped space. Either way, she set her hands on Angie's hips. The band struck up and some songbird picked up the pace, doing a tight little Charleston in place before she opened up, took it closer to swing. Angie gave a bright laugh and swayed her hips like a necklace too-long. Her knees knocked together as she improvised through an almost jitterbug. Peggy's fingers through hers gripped tighter as she watched their feet, keeping up.

"Loosen up, English," Angie called over the crash of the brass. Peggy's chin darted up but something in her clicked, something from Angie's eyes let her. She smiles and nodded and dropped her center of gravity to her hips. When her shoulders joined the sway a moment let, Angie gave a crow of triumph and spun herself out on Peggy's hand.

Pumps clattered over the polished wooden floor and glasses tingled to shatter over tabletops. Smoke ebbed through the support-beam eaves and Angie's shirt buttons tiptoed lower until her undergarment was part of the outfit. The blush in Peggy's cheeks grew and the bright red of her lips lost its precise lines. Slow songs brought their cheeks together and Angie's lips to Peggy's ear, murmuring about how long she's been wanting to come here, how glad she was hat Peggy had agreed to come out with her that night. They sprung apart for the next wail of the trumpet, hands sweating and laughter spilling terribly from their smudged lips. Around them, drinks were whirling around on trays but they needed no liquor. Angie was thinking of breaking open some bourbon that she had found once they made their way back to the room, but she was already drunk enough -- drunk on the dance in Peggy's eyes, the sparkle of the symbols under stage-lights, the hair whipping as pretty girls turned themselves and others around to the tunes. Another slow song and it was Peggy's English lilt in her ear this time, thanking her and confiding that she was so pleased to have met Angie, to have made friends, to have moved in next door. That she would be stopping by for that cup of sugar sooner rather than later.

The crescendo of Peggy's innuendo had Angie blushing herself and moving so close their skirts folded in on the other.

When they finally rose from the underground stairs, they were both sheened over with sweat and the pigeons were just cooing themselves awake. Angie had a whole day of work ahead of her but she couldn't have cared less about that. She was lit up, she was on fire, she was electricity in a bottle. Scaling the building seemed like everyday fare at that moment, with Peggy's hand in hers and their wrists crossed over. The night cooled on their skin as they walked, Peggy in raptures over the club. She detailed every sight she had seen, flushed and pleased and every bit the young woman that Angie didn't think she got enough of a chance to be.

When they reached the back alley to the Griffith, Angie couldn't help it. She pressed Peggy's shoulders against the brick, slotted their bare legs together and kissed her -- all heat and momentum and climbing brass music. Peggy's sure hand slipped through Angie's hair, cupping her head to bring her closer while the other hand settled low on her waist, just on the swell of her bottom. Angie was dizzy when they pulled apart and she put a hand to her forehead, thought she might need to sit for a moment and laughed through her nose at the feeling. Peggy just smirked back at her and tweaked her nose playfully.

"We've still got a building to climb," she whispered into the undone curls over Angie's forehead. Angie laughed again and nodded, taking the boost that Peggy offered, and wondered whether her Auntie Bonnie had ever felt quite like this