It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. It is also wrong. Most nights what they want is a few drinks and a pretty face that doesn't say "no."
Allure is a high-class place*, and within walking distance of the financial district, so business is good. Twentysomethings with fat wallets and flecks of white around their noses come through all night, and into the backrooms for private dances and strictly over-the-clothes action. D-dawg (real name Dennis Johnson), has invested about four hundred dollars in overpriced liquor, but is still too proud to pay for a lapdance. His friends have filtered out for the night, looking for callgirls and excuses for their wives, but D-dawg talked a big game about landing a dancer and stuck around. His eyes dart twitchily from the dancer (Constance Crash, who keeps her smile on even when no-one's watching) to the bouncer (Big Tyrone, whose real name is David) to the private rooms, to his half-empty beer and back again. The cocaine is wearing off, and the pounding bass has sync'ed with the pounding in his temples, and something's gotta give. He holds up dollar bills and Constance, gleaming teeth and exhausted eyes, slides across the floor to grab them in her teeth.
*(which is to say the floors are clean, the booze has foreign names and the girls get a fair commission)
"Hey babe, wanna ride me home when you're done?" he slurs. She slides the dollar bills coquettishly into her g-string, "sorry babe, I'm just for dancin' tonight," and she arches her back while she crawls back to the pole for another spin.
"Cunt" mumbles D-dawg, sinking back in his seat and burning the last of his cash on a bottle of what he thinks is quality whiskey. The last dance fades as Constance walks off stage. Out of habit she gives the room a twirl and a wink as she darts through the curtain, though no-one sees. Big Tyrone starts clearing away the chairs and the girl behind the bar (real name Stephanie, but Tila to the customers) locks up the last of the bottles.
"Ay yo closing time, man, you gotta go," booms Tyrone, efforlessly sliding a heavy steel table across the floor, a stack of chairs in his other hand.
"Hey fuck YOU dog, I'm dri—hrgh—drinking! I paid for this sh—shit" D-dawg gestures wildly with the bottle neck, hiccoughing "I paid for this fffuckin' whiskey SHIT and your fucking beer and and and fucking and fucking SHIT for fucking..."
D-dawg peters out slightly as he tries to get up and stumbles back on his ass, nearly tipping the chair, prompting a fresh string of expletives as he unsteadily steadies himself. David, silver cross under his shirt, quietly prays for the Lord to see the poor man home, but Tyrone puts down the chairs and takes a few meaningful strides D-dawg's way. It'd usually be enough to get the point across, but D-dawg is too drunk to read subtle social cues. David quietly resigns himself to sweeping up the inevitable mess of spilled drink and broken glass, but before Tyrone can do his job a white hand gently touches his shoulder and he backs off. In fact he hurries off. Tila, who's new, gives him a quizzical look but he shakes his head and beckons her out. He walks her home because he's scared of the dark.
Meanwhile, D-dawg tries to focus on a pale girl with dark eyes and shiny white hair. She sits down across from him and smiles.
"I'm outta cash," he slurs, "I spennit all on this—" he gestures with the bottle, trying to remember what it is, "on this... this THIS, y'know."
The girl just smiles, and blinks her perfect lashes slowly, interest radiating from her face.
"Y'can have some," says D-dawg, with the magnanimousness that comes from libido, proffering the bottle. The girl gently lowers his hand, and leans in towards him, cream-colored lips promising a kiss. She stops short, and whispers... something. Something in his ear. He didn't recognize the words but they tell him to follow. Another little smile, and a flash of dark eyes and she takes him by the hand. He follows, steadier on his feet in her grasp than his blood alcohol percentage should allow, and walking backwards she leads him gently past the satin curtain, past the claustrophobic row of private rooms, down this hallway, past the other. Smiling, eyes on his eyes, and down the stairs and round this corner, another corner and another smile and then there is the door. It is black and heavy looking, but to her touch it swings open like a curtain, and the room beyond is bright - as bright as her - speckled with sunlight, and touched by a gentle breeze through silk curtains. Backwards, stepping like a dancer, she pulls him to a silk bed and stops. D-dawg, sensing something is required of him, draws a breath and barely mumbles, "I din' assh your name... ?"
The girl giggles, and her arms embrace him and her thigh rubs against his hip and gently in his ear she whispers, "it's Huldra." When he touches her back he feels nothing but hollow air, and it's far, far too late.