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Take It Off

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He needs the money. It’s the only reason he’s here. Marcus stares at the piece of paper in his hand. The place looks like a normal bar. He really really hopes it’s not terribly skeezy, but there’s nothing he can do about it at this point.

He can do this. Sure he can. He takes a deep breath and goes inside at the side door, as the advert had instructed.

A strip club is a weird place in the early afternoon. It’s deserted, half dark, and completely devoid of any purpose. It’s cleaner than some of the places Marcus has been in, and the stage is a good size. That’s a good thing, right? There’s a half cat walk curving around the side of it, and he studies it, trying to imagine himself up there. People watching…

“We’re closed.”

Marcus turns, squinting the gloom. There’s a young man in dress pants, a nice shirt and suspenders hanging down his hips, standing beside the bar with a newspaper spread out before him. Bartender, Marcus concludes. The guy is pretty cute for a bartender, though a little on the short side.

“Hey, can you tell me where I can find a,” He glances at the paper again. “Mr. Cunoval?”

“What for?” The guy looks bored, as he turns a page. Apparently, he’s a got a million better things to do than help Marcus get a job. Fair enough.

“This.” Marcus holds up the advert. “Says they need dancers.”

“Dancers, not footballers. Can’t you fucking read?” There’s something off about his accent. It takes Marcus a moment to place it. The guy’s British. Right, so that’s why he’s a prick.

“I can read and I can dance.” Jesus, this guy is annoying. “Is your boss around?"

“Why?”

“I’d like to talk to him.” Marcus manages to keep the “obviously,” inside his head.

“No, why are you here?”

Because I’m fucking broke and if I don’t do this, I’ll have to go crawling to my uncle for money and if there’s one thing I was raised not to do…it’s crawl.

Marcus shrugs. “I like dancing.” He really doesn’t want to explain himself to this guy.

“You like dancing…” The guy snorts in derision. “What, like at the frat house? Getting drunk girls to grind on you so you can fuck them and brag about it later?”

“Screw you.” Marcus says irritably. “I mean I like dancing.” He’s been dancing since he was little and his dad first put on a David Bowie record. Not that his dad ever intended him to dance for cash, but what the dead don't know...can't hurt them.

“Right.” The guy goes back to his paper.

“Look, are you gonna get your boss or not?” Marcus asks. He’s annoyed now, frustration building as the guy just keeps reading. He needs this fucking job.

The guy looks up. “Impatient, are we? You’ll never get customers that way.”

“What?” Marcus just stares at him.

“If there’s one thing a stripper needs to be able to do, it’s be patient.” The guy finally lowers his paper and walks over to Marcus. He may be short, but he’s built. Under that shirt Marcus can tell he’s muscle. And then there's his eyes...

“Thought the ad said ‘dancers,’” Marcus mutters, telling himself not to stare at the bartender's eyes, no matter how pretty they are.

“Oh come on, you’re not that naive, are you?” The guy shakes his head. “If you’re not willing to get your kit off, you can turn around and walk right back out that door.”

“Says who?” Marcus looks over his shoulder, looking for anyone else to talk to, since clearly this guy is gonna be no help whatsoever.

The Brit laughs, and Marcus finally looks at him. “Esca.” He holds out his hand. “Esca Cunoval.”

“Fuck.” Marcus says, and this time, unfortunately, he does say it out loud.

* * *

“Look, man, I’m sorry, I just really need this job.” Marcus is babbling. He needs to shut up, but it's hard.

“Save it.” Cunoval goes back over to the bar where his suit coat is slung over the polished wood. He dips into the pocket and comes up with a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. He lights one, and Marcus wonders if it’s obvious that he was staring earlier, cause that could be awkward.

“Well?” Cunoval raises an eyebrow at him. “Get on with it then?”

“What?”

“Christ.” Cunoval mutters something about "fucking footballers", and then jerks his head at the stage. “You, up there. I want to see how you move.”

“Uh. Right now?”

“Yeah, right now.”

“I don’t have any music.” He doesn’t have any anything. He’s lucky he’s wearing clean underwear. At least he thinks he is.

Cunoval just sighs slightly. “I think we can work that out.” He goes around behind the bar and brings out a ipod stand. Scrolling through it, he comes up with something that’s not too fast, just right.

“Get on with it.” He leans back against the bar.

Marcus shrugs off his jacket and drapes it over a chair. He’s not sure what to do about his shoes, so he goes ahead and takes them off too, and his socks. He can feel Cunoval just watching him. Finally, just wearing his t-shirt and jeans, he gets up on the stage.

“You have three minutes to impress me.” Cunvoal’s eyes are starting to drift toward his newspaper.

Marcus grits his teeth and lets it go. He listens to the music and then he just starts moving, slow, sure, swaying his hips, the way he does when he wants to get noticed at a club.

He runs his hands over his chest, teasing his nipples. He tries to pretend he’s doing this for someone special, someone he wants to take home and fuck into next week. It’s not a tactic he should use, he knows, but just to get the job, right?

“You still have your clothes on.” Cunoval sounds bored out of his mind.

Marcus turns his back and grinds his ass slowly against an imaginary guy, someone hot, somebody who's completely fucking desperate for him. He undoes his belt and slides it out slowly, before dropping it on the floor. Next he goes for his jeans, unzipping them, easing them down his thighs, before he steps out of them. Plain white boxers, thank fuck. For a moment he hadn’t been able to remember.

He turns around so he can see Cunoval’s face when he takes his shirt off. Marcus knows he has a nice body, and normally he doesn't flaunt it...but if there was ever a time for flaunting. He pulls his t-shirt up slowly, revealing an inch of skin at a time, before finally pulling it over his head. Marcus does the move easily, thrusting slightly, and then he’s there, clad only in his boxers, dancing alone on the stage.

The half gloom works for his imaginary setup. It’d be like this. He’d be dancing, and the other guy would sink to his knees and just mouth against his boxers until Marcus is dripping straight through and Marcus would fuck his mouth right there on the stage. Then…

“Is that going to be a problem for you?” Cunoval drawls.

Marcus glances down. Fuck. He’s got an erection the size of the Empire State building. He has two choices. He can give up, leave and go jerk off in the grungy gas station bathroom halfway down the block…or he can keep going.

He looks Cunoval straight in the eye. “It’s not a problem.”

“Really? It looks a bit…uncomfortable.”

Marcus shrugs. He rolls his shoulders, letting his muscles ripple, and dips into a low squatting thrust that has never failed to get a good response, especially with a hard-on like this. Cunoval doesn’t look particularly impressed, but at least he doesn’t look bored any more. He’s waiting for something, and Marcus tries to figure it out as he moves.

* * *

And then…fuck, the man can’t be serious. He can’t really expect Marcus to just shuck his shorts right here, can he?

Cunoval takes a drag on his cigarette. “Your three minutes are almost up.”

Marcus takes a deep breath and shimmies out of his shorts, kicking them off. That’s it. He has no pride left. He’s completely naked in front of a complete stranger, with the kind of erection you only get when you really don’t want one. There are moments when Marcus wonders what he's done to deserve this life, and this moment, right here, is definitely one of them. He resists the urge to cover his dick.

Cunoval walks over to the stage and just stands there, looking at him. Marcus's sweating, from the dancing, and from the ache in his groin. His dick throbs and he wonders what Cunoval would do if he just started getting himself off then and there. Maybe the prick wouldn’t be so smug when Marcus shot all over his face. Maybe…

“Get your clothes and come up to the office.” Cunoval turns and heads for the stairs.

“That’s it?” Marcus says incredulously.

“If you need a few minutes to take care of your non-problem, go ahead. There's no job in it for you though, if you do."

* * *

Which is why Marcus is now standing in Cunoval’s office wearing only his boxers, and clutching his jeans and t-shirt like a life-preserver. They were the only thing he had time to pull on before Cunoval poked his head out of his office and barked, "Now."

“So…” Marcus swallows and tries not to look so hopeful. “Do I have the job then?”

Cunoval ignores him. He‘s at his desk, with an open folder of paperwork spread before him. Just when Marcus is about to give up on the man ever talking again, he looks up.

“So, what’re you studying?” Cunoval asks conversationally, like it’s totally normal for him to have young men just standing around in their boxers.

With a leftover hard-on, even, Marcus thinks miserably. Maybe it is. How would he know? Cunoval’s just waiting, and Marcus remembers the man asked him a question. “Uh, what?”

“You need money for school, right? That’s why you’re doing this.” Cunoval smirks a little. Like it’s only smart boys desperate for tuition money that end up half naked on a stage, shaking their ass. Maybe he’s right about that too.

“Uh, history.” Marcus shifts his stance slightly. Trying not to let it get to him that he’s standing in the man’s office and he‘s still hard.

“History. Really?” Cunoval sounds skeptical.

“Yeah, why?”

“Sure it’s not…” Cunoval’s gaze travels down his body, examining it critically. Marcus’s face heats up like he’s on fire. “…sport?”

Cunoval’s goddamn mocking him and Marcus would like nothing better than to slam the skinny little prick up against the wall and then leave. But he does need the money, so he grits his teeth and just shakes his head.

“Well then. I’ll give you a trial period for a week. You do well, and we’ll talk full time. Drop them."

“What?“ Marcus says again.

Cunoval points at the pile of clothing in his hands. “Those.“

Marcus does, wondering whether it’s policy to treat all potential employees like this, or if he’s just lucky. Cunoval clasps his hands on his desk and studies him like he’s a store mannequin.

“Where’d you get the scar?”

Marcus stiffens at that. “Does it matter?”

Cunoval tilts his head, considering this. “You want to work in my establishment. You play by my rules. You do what I say. What do you think?”

“It was an accident.” That’s all he can manage, and if that’s not enough, he’ll flip the little shit off and walk out of here with his head high.

Apparently that’s enough for Cunoval at the moment. He nods. “Right. We have rules here and they are enforced. There are bouncers at the doors and at the VIP Room. When can you start?”

“Uh, whenever.”

“Be here tonight at nine. Back door. Don’t be late.” He jerks his head at the door and Marcus nods, reaching for his discarded clothing.

“Out of curiosity.” Cunoval’s tone makes Marcus stop at the door and he turns back.

“Yeah?”

“If you can’t take just a look, what’ll you do the first time someone palms that nicely curved ass of yours? Or sticks their hands down your shorts? What then?”

Marcus swallows tightly. “I thought there was a no-touching rule.“

“Not all clubs have that rule. I own one of the ones that doesn’t.” Cunoval smirks slightly, showing his teeth. It makes him look oddly predatory and Marcus shifts his clothing slightly over his groin. Cunoval's waiting for Marcus to back down.

Marcus lifts his chin. “I guess we’ll see, won’t we?”

“I guess so.” Cunoval turns back to his paperwork, "Take a shower before you show up back here. I run a clean establishment."

Marcus stares at him open-mouthed, and then mutters, "Yes, sir," as sarcastically as he can without getting fired on the spot. With that, he leaves.