Big Brother Billionaire (Part Three)

BOOK: Big Brother Billionaire (Part Three)
8.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Part 3 of 3



L E X I E    R A Y

Copyright © 2015


All Rights Reserved
. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.


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Chapter 1


Things were fine—great, even—for whole weeks. I continued dancing at the club, using much of the money I earned on improvements to my apartment that Ron continued to suggest. We made love often and fervently, focusing on the fact that we didn’t want to lose each other into that strange darkness again.

During the day, we tooled around Miami on Ron’s bike, took walks, or went to the beach. At night, he accompanied me to the club.

“I love watching you dance,” he said, as I packed up my oversized purse for the night, getting ready to depart the apartment. The purse was more like a gym bag—or a weekender, rather—full of makeup, costumes, and a change of clothes, just in case.

“Are you sure it’s not weird?” I asked, wriggling my nose. “Everyone’s watching me—all the other customers, I mean. That’s just my job.”

“Are you dancing for them?” His voice was quiet, contemplative.

“No,” I said, hesitating over picking stilettos with laces that went all the way up my thighs versus knee-high, shiny pleather boots. I could keep my costumes in my locker at the club, but I wanted to ensure everything got cleaned and maintained regularly. “I dance for myself. Always have. It wasn’t ever for attention. It was for the money.”

“If I asked you to stop dancing, would you stop?”

I turned around in the closet and looked at Ron. He seemed pensive, resting his chin on a fist as he sat on the bed, picking at his leather loafers. His long hair was down tonight, giving him a wild look.

“Why would you ask me to stop dancing?” Maybe I hadn’t been proud of my craft in the beginning and desperation had been a small part of my decision to start, but I felt like I was doing really well for myself. I was a popular dancer. Some customers came to see me and me alone; I had regulars. And what would I do if I gave it up? What was I qualified to do? I’d never made it very far supporting myself in retail or the food industry. In my desperation to try to stay afloat, I’d somehow found my niche. I felt like I belonged in that club.

“Maybe I feel a little jealous,” Ron said, shrugging. “I mean, those men get to see about as much of you as I do. I can’t help but be a little bit possessive. I mean, you’re my girlfriend.”

“There’s nothing to be possessive about,” I said. “It’s my job to make the customers think I’m sexy so they’ll give me their money. I don’t do it because I want to flirt with them. It’s a job, like any other. It gives me the means to survive.”

“But you could do something else,” he argued. “You could do anything you wanted if you just put your mind to it, Parker. Why sex? Why dancing?”

“I don’t sell sex,” I said, wrinkling my nose. There were plenty of dancers who did, but I was trying to keep myself above that fray.

“You sell your sexual image,” he said, throwing his hands up in the air. “And I frankly don’t like it. I don’t like assholes ogling your tits when you’re up there. Those are my tits.”

The skin between Ron’s blue eyes was slowly creasing again, and I thought back to that night on the couch, the way my wrists had ached. I chose my words carefully—or at least I thought I did.

“If I didn’t work at the club, I wouldn’t have the money to afford all the nice things I have in this apartment,” I said. “You like all the new stuff, right? I love it, and I’m glad I have the money to buy it. But without the club, I wouldn’t. I tried to work other places, Ron, and flipping burgers doesn’t afford this kind of lifestyle.”

“There has to be something other than dancing,” he said, pushing himself up and pacing around. “I mean, how could I even tell my friends what you do and be able to be proud of it?”

That stung. He wasn’t proud of me? He wasn’t proud of the money I made to make our lives better and our home a more beautiful place? He wouldn’t tell people what I did for a living because he was ashamed of the fact that I earned men’s money based on my body, my persona in the club?

“If I didn’t work at the club, if I got a job in a position that didn’t pay as much, would you support me?” I asked. “Because that’s the only way we would be able to continue to enjoy our lifestyle. You would have to help.”

Ron made an ugly scoffing sound. “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times. A majority of my money is locked up in properties, in businesses. They’re not banks. I can’t just go withdraw a couple thousand bucks whenever I need it.”

He had told me that…multiple times. I paid for nearly everything, from my monthly rent to the bills I accumulated to the things I bought for both of us to enjoy, like movies, tickets to shows, and nights eating out at restaurants around town. I’d even bought Ron several new outfits when he confessed that he’d lost the majority of his wardrobe when an airlines had lost his luggage in his last international jaunt. The twenties didn’t just drop from his wallet anymore, not since that first night at the club in the private dance room. I wondered if perhaps I’d bankrupted him on his liquid assets that time.

Not having physical cash—but being wealthy in other matters—was perhaps something I could try to wrap my mind around, but if Ron was going to dig his heels in about me working at the club, I was going to have to stand my ground and be firm on this point of contention.

“All I’m saying is that if you don’t want me to work at the club anymore, I’m going to need some kind of contribution from you to help us keep having a good life,” I said. “And we can talk more about it, if you want to, but I have to get to work.”

My hand hovered over my drawer, trying to decide if I was going to go with a sleeveless lacy leotard number or a shiny back bolero with a matching bustier and hot pants. Both of the outfits had obvious perks and downfalls, but I decided on the lace piece. It tended to get a little cold, as there wasn’t much material to it, but that meant I’d just have to keep moving to stay warm in the icy climate of the club. Better to be cold than hot, I always thought, and so much pleather would make me sweat through the night. Besides, if I was on the move, that usually meant I was hustling for the paycheck.

I zipped my purse and tested its weight—not too bad. The lace outfit helped keep the bulk down since it was a single piece. However, when I turned around to face Ron again, I almost dropped it. His face was an ugly mask of disgust, the pupils in his blue eyes sharp pinpoints.

“I thought you were better than this, Parker, I really did,” he snarled, the heat of his anger scalding. “I really thought you cared about me. You said you loved me.”

“I do love you,” I said, puzzled. Where had this come from? Why was he so upset?

“I can’t get close to people because the minute they realize that they can, they try to cash in on our relationship, and I realize they were only around me for the money from the beginning.” Ron smashed one fist into his palm, again and again. The sound of flesh pounding flesh made my scalp prickle inexplicably, made me swallow hard.

“I don’t want to cash in on your money,” I said, trying to fight down the rise of panic inside of me. “All I’m saying is that if I were to quit the club, like you suggested, we couldn’t do all the things we’ve been doing lately. We’d have to follow a strict budget if I were only waitressing, or working at a boutique.”

“You’d need my money to keep on buying nice things for your apartment,” Ron sneered.

I held my hands out, helpless. “The only reason I’ve bought these things is for you,” I said, incredulous, pointing one by one at the plush new mattress that didn’t hurt his back like my old one did, the down comforter to cover it because he liked to turn my air conditioner to frigid at night to sleep better, the extra dresser for the clothing I’d bought him. “You said you wanted them, Ron, and I wanted to make you happy.”

“What you spend your money on is your own business,” he declared. “How dare you throw all of this in my face? You think I owe you something?”

If we were being fair about it, maybe he did. He’d been living in my apartment for months, now—rent free. He didn’t pay the bills, and he didn’t contribute for food or entertainment. If there was an accountant somewhere keeping track of the finances of our relationship, I was positive that my spending had far exceeded what Ron had dropped on me that first night in the private dance room.

“You don’t owe me anything,” I said, turning carefully away. “I like buying things for you because I love you. Let’s continue this conversation later, when you’re not so angry.”

“You haven’t seen me angry, bitch.”

Those shocking words, spoken to me in anger from my boyfriend’s mouth, were the only precursor to his searing touch, as he grabbed me by the arm and whirled me around. I only had time to gasp in pain at the way his fingers were digging into my arm with bruising force.

“Don’t you ever turn your back on me,” Ron warned me, giving me a shake, his fingernails breaking the surface of my skin. “And keep your grimy, hooker hands off my money!”

I braced myself for something worse than those words and that grip on my arm, like a slap to the face, or maybe a punch to the gut, but it never came. Ron finally released me with a shove and stormed out the door. His motorcycle engine revved from the parking lot, then faded in the distance.

I didn’t want to cry. It made my face blotchy and ugly, and I was about to go work at a place where appearances mattered. But I somehow didn’t have any tears in me. It was probably the shock, but I simply put my purse down on the bed, grabbed a wad of tissue, and dabbed up the little half-moons of blood that were welling up on my arm from Ron’s fingernails. The skin around each tiny wound was already starting to bruise, and yet I still didn’t have tears for myself or my situation. I dabbed some antiseptic on the nail marks and unzipped my purse. It would have to be the bolero outfit tonight after all. I didn’t want this obvious paw mark marring my performance, and so I couldn’t have my arms showing.

It was good to have something to focus on, and I was glad I was working at the club tonight. Maybe I would’ve cried if it would’ve happened on a night when I didn’t have any plans, but tonight I was planning on making money. I didn’t have time to roll the incident over and over in my brain until I grew dizzy over it. Instead, I focused on my smolder, on my dance moves, on earning every single dollar I possibly could. I was friendlier than normal, seeking out companionship with customers I normally wouldn’t give a second glance to. It was something of a relief for Ron not to be in the club, watching me like a hawk. I felt freer.

It had never really bothered me before tonight, before Ron had sank his claws into my skin and threatened me outright to my face, that he came to watch me work. He obviously found life at strip clubs entertaining. He’d come here that fateful night we met, after all. I didn’t mind that he came to relax, throw back some beers on my employee discount, and watch my coworkers strut their stuff. However, I was always cognizant of those blue eyes on me, like they were even before we introduced ourselves to each other. They were always watching, and it made me hesitate in moneymaking situations that I would normally plunge headlong into.

I gave more private dances than I ever had before that night, spending more time in that secluded room than out, earning money by the fistful.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you so driven like this,” Sally observed, as I dabbed sweat from my forehead during a brief stint in the dressing room to freshen up from all my dancing. I was wearing the pleather, after all. The lace would’ve been cooler…but it also would’ve showed my newly acquired injury.

I paused for a moment before responding, looking at my wild eyes in the mirror. If I stopped to think about it, I would cry. Then, my face would get blotchy, and I wouldn’t earn as much money. I didn’t want to waste my time here. I’d fought for it, hadn’t I?

“I just have a feeling tonight’s going to be a good night for everyone,” I said, glancing at her. “You should get back out there. The customers are getting pretty loose with their money. Someone behind the bar must be mixing strong cocktails.”

I had to keep busy. I had to keep moving. I couldn’t stop.

I danced my heart out. I flirted my heart out. I stayed until the bitter end, chatting with my mentors until, one by one, they all slipped out of the door and into the night.

It was time to go home and deal with this. It was clear to me then that I didn’t have anything near a perfect relationship or a perfect boyfriend, and I fully expected to never see Ron again.

What I didn’t expect was that he’d be waiting for me in the parking lot outside. The sight of him startled me enough to stop me in my tracks, to make me consider making a run for my car or dashing back inside to see if Jake was sober enough to help me. I took a couple of steps backward, considering my options, trying to buy a little time and distance between Ron and me.

“Parker, I am so fucking sorry,” he sobbed, his shoulders heaving. “I’m so fucking sorry. You hate me. I know you hate me. I fucking hate myself. I’m so, so sorry.”

He wept into his hands then slowly fell to his knees, right there in the parking lot.

I approached him slowly. I’d never seen Ron cry before, and it was gut wrenching. It was as if he were doing all of the crying I’d wanted to do all night but couldn’t, distracting myself to the point of exhaustion.

“Please don’t cry,” I said, putting a tentative hand on his shoulder.

“I want to die,” he groaned, turning his face to the sky. His cheeks were wet with tears. “I don’t know what came over me, Parker, I really don’t. I…I hate myself so much. I would absolutely understand if you don’t want to be with me anymore, if you can’t….”

BOOK: Big Brother Billionaire (Part Three)
8.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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