Categories > Celebrities > Panic! At The Disco > Tripping Eyes and Flooded Lungs


by JokeMeKisses 0 reviews

Olivia loved, lost, and ran away. She knew that even Catholic strippers went to hell. And is still figuring out the difference between love and lust.

Category: Panic! At The Disco - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Romance - Warnings: [X] - Published: 2010-08-24 - Updated: 2011-07-20 - 1979 words

Chapter One

It’s Better To Have Loved And Lost Than To Have Never Loved At All. Such a sentiment was lost on me, Olivia Ashton. And as the first beats of a familiar dance number pulsed through the Fantasy Strip Club, the love that I had lost was the only thing on my mind. Enticing the audience with a smirk, I ran my fingers through my shoulder length blonde hair; he was the only thing ever on my mind. Slow, sensual moves quickened as I loosened the laces on the red corset I wore. It slid to the ground. Uttering his name in a moan no one who watched me could hear over the music.

“Noah” left my lips every night because it’s biblical connotation reminded me that even Christian strippers went to hell.

Taking my place in front of a shiny vertical pole, my inner thigh was the first part of my body to feel the cool metal against skin. Fighting to keep my teary eyes open and my lips set in a sexy pout, I spun in circles hoping my next step wouldn’t end in a slip or broken stiletto heel. My insecurity was hardly seen as I teased the men who watched from their tables, my broken heart stayed hidden even after I stepped out of my skirt. The holes where my fishnet stockings had worn against the pole were now as clearly visible as the tassels on the red panties I wore. The hoots that erupted from the darkness conveying approval was only one of the reasons that kept me performing each night. The other was an inherent desire to cast myself as just another piece of “Sin City” trash. I wasn’t worth anything more. Not without him anyway.

I blew kisses into the crowd as each garment fell to the ground. I scanned their faces, settling on each man for no more than a few seconds. Setting my breasts free, I strutted over to where one man sat as the center-point of a group of drunken twenty-somethings. As I folded my body down onto the floor of the stage, the man propositioned I personally help him “enjoy” his last night as an unmarried man. Stalling only long enough for his friends to rise from their seats and tuck dollar bills into what fabric I still wore, I licked my lips and wiggled back up to my full five and a half foot height, memorizing the bachelor’s face with the assumption I’d see him for a lap dance later in the evening. After all, this was how I survived on my own.

As the end of my first routine faded into darkness, one man, who sat alone at the table nearest the stage, dug deep into his messenger bag to further his own career. With an almost cherubic face, he looked both too young and embarrassed to be frequenting a strip club. Yet, something in the way his eyes floated effortlessly from one dancer to the next, made it seem as though this wasn’t his first visit. His hair was long and shaggy, but not enough to hide the intrigue in his eyes. He buried his gaze in a notebook, and let the strings of words that had formed in his mind flow freely through his pen. The point of his escape was not nearly the same kind of heartbreak as the girls on stage; it was more of a relief just to go unnoticed for a while.

The two dancers that took the stage next glanced over him already jaded by routine, but as he filled the blank space between lines on the page I watched him carefully. His behavior was charmingly peculiar. He was the same clumsy sort of boy, I would often seduce to both bring me closer and distance me from the old love I was burdened with. The kind of guy that reminded me of Noah in only the most horrible of ways. After quickly changing into my next costume (a leather fitted number complete with chains and whip to please another facet of customer) I chose to forgo the time I normally spent milking the crowd for extra tips to observe him from just off stage. He didn’t so much as peek up from the scene he was creating in poorly scrawled letters on those notebook pages.

The two dancers that left the stage peeling off their fake eyelashes was my cue to bask in the spotlight once more. In the same fleeting instant the start of a new song boomed into my eardrums, I felt as if I was onstage for the very first time. The lights reflecting off each piece of fallen glitter managed to blind me. My limbs and brain had stopped communicating as flawlessly as they normally did, which made each movement a little less fluid. Knowing the audience was either too drunk or completely enthralled at this point to notice my mistakes, I continued the routine, letting the whip snap onto the stage with a loud “Crack!” Focused on the wall at the back of the bar, I channeled the poise of every childhood ballet class before taking on a few quick, consecutive spins. Breathing out when I slowed to play to the crowd from around the pole again, my eyes fell onto the same man who had stolen my attention before. Clenching my fists around the pole until my knuckles grew white, I had convinced myself that I was a free spirit, a fully sexual being, and although an odd sort of attraction was evident, I had no intention of messing with anything like feelings or a relationship, with him, or anyone ever again.

The night beyond my performances progressed in a whirlwind of winks and smiles. I kissed the drunken bachelor’s cheek as his friends cheered around them for more. While he graciously wrapped his hands around to my waist, he was hardly conscious as I dipped back onto his lap. From shallow conversations (with men who surely intended to do more than talk) to wiggling my hips as I walked through the club, I had perfected the art of swindling money out of young or desperate men. Nonetheless, it was a relief when the club’s manager began clearing the patrons out for the night. Smiling a round of goodbyes as the bachelor party stumbled out I wished the groom luck at his wedding and let myself fade into the backstage area.

While the small talk between the girls in the dressing room was a riveting discussion about the benefits of breast augmentation, I silently changed into sweatpants and a tank top and ducked out the back door before I could be stopped. Every night on stage I performed as a woman who I never intended to be, a woman Noah would be ashamed of, but every holler and dollar helped to devalue every warm feeling I had ever felt. Vegas had become a sanctuary. I had chosen a new name, a new identity (because the innocence of a sweet Midwestern girl was only a memory).

I took in a deep breath as I exited the club through back entrance. And although the air had grown stale in the dimly lit alleyway, I rejoiced in the brisk winter night. Pulling my jacket close to my body, I repeatedly gazed over my shoulders attempting not to let every city sound shake me. There was a shadowy figure of a man that walked less then half a block in front of me. He was tall and lanky. His slim frame didn’t invoke enough fear to waste the energy it was take to dig the bottle of mace from the bottom of my bag. When he turned to check the street for oncoming traffic I recognized him as the man who had held my attention the great deal of the night.

Typically, I kept to myself, but as I turned to follow his path on the way back to my own apartment, the intersection’s light blinked “WALK” and I quickened my pace to match his.

“Could I bum a cigarette?” I asked, slowing my steps once I had caught up with him.

“I’m trying to quit?” His reply seemed more like a question than an answer.

I sighed, digging in my bag and pulling out the pack of Parliaments. “Got a light, then?” I smirked placing the cigarette between my lips. The remnants of blood red lipstick stained the filter as I waited for his answer.

He opened his mouth to speak, but quickly closed it in hesitation.

“Never mind,” I shrugged, pulling a lighter from my jacket pocket and flicking the flame free. I took in a deep drag and continued to walk beside him. The clap of our feet hitting the pavement echoed in the silence that had replaced my attempt at dialogue.

“So, what were you writing?” I asked suddenly. The spark of conversation startled both of us equally.

The innocent expression that hadn’t left his face all evening turned up into a devilish smirk as he replied, “My next fortune. What’s it to you?”

“I guess I’m used to being the most captivating thing in that place.“ She replied with a laugh. Her confidence had left the stage with her that night.

Returning a quizzical glare in reply, he carefully studied my face. Without the layer of make up required to accompany my stage ensemble, my soft features were artless, a natural beauty (or so I've been told). It almost diluted the fact that he had already seen me naked. Before he could announce any observation, I tore away her eyes in fear they’d whisper him a secret.

“You’re cute, hardly trashy now that you’re ‘out of character’” He emphasized the phrase with air quotes. I had never heard stripping described with such consideration. “So what are you doing in a place like that?”

Now I turned up my face in a smirk dropping my cigarette near the curb and stamping it out with the ball of my foot, “I’m still making my first fortune.”

“Now I’m sure there’s better ways to do that.” He rolled his eyes.

“There are,” I agreed. The truth I was so willing to share with him was almost alarming, ”But I stopped having sex for money two years ago.”

“Damn,” He mumbled, “And I was sure that’s why you were following me home.”

Catching the jest in his tone, I paused beside him on the sidewalk outside of a very nice apartment building. The streetlights burned holes in the concrete slab between us while I debated whether to formally introduce myself or slip off when he turned his gaze to his feet.

When the silence had almost become distracting enough to make me forget why we were still standing awkwardly on the street at three am, he scratched at the back of his neck and muttered a quick, “So, you coming up or not?”

Finally pinning her initial attraction to him on the clumsy way he bordered adulthood and adolescence, I pushed my hair aside and insisted, “I told you, I stopped having sex for money years ago.”

Shedding the final skin of uneasiness, he fumbled with his key in the gate’s lock and said, “I never intended to pay you.”

“And you seemed so shy.” I giggled as the gate closed behind us with a clap. I lived for nights like this. After all, I had loved and I had lost. But even five years and a new life failed to dull the memory. Olivia Ashton would have been better off if I had never loved at all. (Actually, Olivia Ashton wouldn't exist if I had never loved at all)
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