The Champagne Room
Disclaimer: Yes, mine, send money. Or even better, send Hugh. *g*
Summary: As Jenn calls it, Stripper!fic. Nuff said.
Archive: If someone actually wants this? Wow. Cool. Just let me know. And to any archive with list rights.
AN: Thanks to Jenn for her hand-holding throughout my freak out about gathering the guts to post this baby, and her mucho encouragement (or nagging ;) ). And to Donna and Bree who also had to listen to me bitch and moan about it. Actually, if it weren’t for the three of them, I can guarantee that I would have chickened out and never written a word of this. * Pauses * I can’t believe that I posted stripper!fic.
“Just remember this one thing…no matter what a stripper tells you, there’s no sex in the Champagne Room.” ~Chris Rock
“Has anyone seen my mascara?”
“Damn it, these heels are already giving me a blister!”
“Did you see who was out there tonight? Senator Kelly’s advisor.”
“It’s true. Guess he wants a little mutant action of his own.”
“Is that my g-string?”
All the noise and commotion in the dressing room ground to a halt. Bottles of perfume and make-up compacts lay forgotten on the mirrored countertops. Jubilee crossed her arms and focused a steely gaze on her best friend, Kitty, who gulped nervously.
“Kitty, are you wearing my brand new glow-in-the-dark g-string?”
Kitty shifted her eyes around the room, focusing on the red velvet drapery of the walls. “Umm, the new g-string was for you?”
“You damn well know it was!”
The g-string: the most sacred part of the stripper uniform. But it was more than that. Once the miniscule clothing was thrown off, or shrugged off seductively, all that remained was….the g-string. Style, color, size, fit--it all told a story about the girl. The woman. Jubilee was flashy; she wanted to have flare and her customary yellow g-strings certainly did draw the attention of the crowd. Her favorite one had yellow feathers that customers could pull off for a ten-spot. Shaking around and shimmying along the pole, the feathers made her look even more exotic as she left a little trail of gold along the stage.
Exotic fit Ororo Munroe, Storm, just as well. With her long white hair, cocoa skin, and skin tight black leather g-string, she was a consummate favorite of bachelor parties and lap dances. The occasional addition of a lethal snake wrapped around her shoulders as it slithered down her lithe body only added to the mystery that was Storm. On stage with the pulsing beat of the music that DJ Iceman played in the background, Storm’s hips would roll sensuously and the snake curled around her long legs searching out tight, warm spaces.
Kitty’s choice seemed innocent in comparison to her friends’, miniscule blue lace number that sat low on her hips and dipped well below her belly button. She loved to phase through the walls, giving the customers a thrill as to where ‘Shadowcat’ would appear next. But this evening she’d wanted a change. Her tips at the end of the night were decent, but nowhere near what Storm took in. She had hoped that spicing up her usual bump and grind routine could attract more than the barely legal broke college boys.
Jean, Phoenix on stage, chose a more traditional g-string, if there actually such a thing for strippers. The red satin seemed to glow against her tan skin under the colored lights. Her poised demeanor gave her a stage presence that was infamous in Westchester, New York. She was the favorite stripper of club owner, Charles Xavier, and received top billing each night. At least, she was the favorite for now. Jean had been in a secret relationship with the bartender, Scott, for nearly four months now. They’d to be beyond careful and furtive to keep a secret from one of the world’s most powerful telepaths.
“Cerebro” was known as the world’s foremost mutant strip club. Humans were allowed as long as full respect was given to each of the ladies. The rules were simple and to be followed. Never touch a stripper. Three drink minimum. Tip. The rules were simple indeed. Yet every night some drunken fool got grabby, got greedy, and got his ass tossed by the newly acquired bouncer. He was generally quiet and could be found at the bar smoking a cigar, his eyes ever watchful for trouble.
“Problem, ladies?” Logan pushed open the door and leaned against the frame, admiring the view. Fighting, cigars, drinking, and strippers: the job fit him well. His eyes trailed along Jean’s legs as she bent down to adjust the strap of her heel. Her stark white nurse’s uniform rose too low in the front and too high in the back. Her long legs were encased in white fish-net stockings and high-heeled come-hither pumps.
“Enjoying the show?” She smirked up at him good-naturedly.
Her quirked an eyebrow and smirked at her. “Always. You’re on.”
“Thanks.” Jean straightened out and turned to the girls. “Jubes, I’m sure that Charles will buy you another, all right?”
“Whatever.” She huffed and sank down into the chair in the corner. Crossing her arms over her bare chest, Jubilee glowered at Kitty darkly in the corner. Kitty sighed but knew that she could buy her friend a drink, or four, after work and all would be forgiven.
“Why are we stopping here?” Rogue looked around the parking lot in confusion. “I thought you were gonna take me to Canada.”
“Gotta take care of some business first, Girlie.” The smelly trucker winked at her as he opened the door to the cab and stepped out into the lot. Rogue opened the door and hopped out. She shivered at the harsh cold. His feet crunched under snow and ice as Rogue stood freezing next to the truck.
“Nice business,” she muttered under her breath at the neon flashing sign of a mostly naked woman. Bringing her gloved hands up to her lips, Rogue breathed out slowly, trying to warm her icy fingers. She mentally debated the options ahead of her: freeze to death in the parking lot of a strip joint, or actually go inside the strip joint. Sighing, she hung her head in defeat and thrust a shaking hand into her pocket. The few coins left of her measly money clinked together. It wasn’t nearly enough to even buy a cup of coffee more than likely. But it was all she had, and she was starting to lose feeling in her toes.
“Get out of here!” A deep, rumbling voice startled Rogue. She stepped back, her eyes wide with fear, as the door to the club burst open and a tall well-muscled man flung her ride out.
“I know what you are!” he spat hatefully at the larger man.
“No shit. We’re a fuckin’ mutant club.” The man rolled his neck and cracked his knuckles. “You don’t *ever* touch one of my strippers.”
“Fuck you.” Jumping forward, the trucker swung clumsily at the mutant. The trucker stumbled back as the man cocked his fist back, landing a blow squarely on the trucker’s jaw.
“Don’t ever come back here again.”
The man pulled a half-eaten cigar out of his pocket and chewed with satisfaction on the end.
Rogue shrank into the background towards the wall of the parking lot, her hands reaching out behind her to feel the cold bricks. She ducked her head into the shadows as her previous ride angrily muttered to himself and jumped into the still warm truck, taking off quickly. Squinting her eyes, Rogue bit her lip nervously as she noticed that the trucker’s wallet had fallen out when he had been shoved out the door. The debate in her head to pick up the wallet was shorter than the one to enter a strip club.
“I need something warm,” she convinced herself. “That requires money. And besides, he left me here.”
Not wanting to give her conscience a chance to remind her of her southern manners, Rogue stepped cautiously out of the shadows. Looking around to make sure no one was watching, she quickly pilfered the money out of the wallet. Her gaze lingered on the few credit cards that the man had carried. Shaking her head, she decided that fraud was a little more than she was willing to handle at the moment. Stealing money was a step enough.
Twenty-three dollars. Twenty-three dollars, freezing, hungry, and a strip club.
Not much of a prospect, but it was all she had at the moment.
The atmosphere of the room hung heavy. The rich, deep aroma of cigars mixed with the cheap aftershave of a dozen club patrons filled Rogue’s head. Her eyes were drawn to the center stage as a long-legged red head rolled her hips seductively, her lips parted in a sigh. Long deep blue velvet curtains lined the walls and tall silver stools paralleled the bar. A strange combination of Italian suited business men, khaki wearing frat boys, and flannel covered truckers leered appreciatively of the tall red head. Her eyes lingered on each man watching her, giving them a playful wink designed to lure the big bills from their pockets.
Rogue made her way silently to the bar, hoping to avoid everyone and avoid touching anything. The rough guy who had thrown her previous ride out sat at the end with a lit cigar gripped between his knuckles. She expected to see a bottle of Jack Daniels, or perhaps a dark ale, sitting on the mahogany top in front of him. Instead, a bottle of water sat perspiring.
A cute bartender with unusual sunglasses on moved quietly behind the bar fixing drinks, only occasionally glancing up to take notice of the writhing stripper on the stage. Sliding into an empty stool, Rogue pulled her overcoat closer around her. In a room full of sweaty men and half naked women, she had never felt so exposed as the only dressed female in the room.
“Hi.” The bartender smiled warmly at her, placing a cocktail napkin down.
Logan watched the girl as she tried to shrink into herself and away from the men that wandered around the room hitting on the half-dressed women. He had, and he only admitted this with great difficulty, felt her arrive. The tiny hairs on the back of his neck prickled in anticipation as he eyed her swift, deliberate movements that were only offset by her nervous twitching of her hands. He watched as she went and sat, sat at the bar, away from him, and near Scott. Scooter the lucky fuck, he cursed in his head.
”Hi.” Rogue stammered and blushed. Her fist closed tighter around the twenty. A small sign on the mirror behind the bar caught her attention. “Um, I’ll have…three coffees, please.”
The bartender smiled softly at her. “Why don’t we just start with one?”
Nodding, Rogue smiled shyly back at him. A deep rumbling cough interrupted. She glanced next to her to see the rougher man shaking his head slightly at the bartender.
Walking over the man, the bartender bent his head low and the two exchanged what to Rogue seemed to be a heated conversation.
Logan glared over at the girl as he growled deep from his chest.
With a sigh, the bartender leaned over to her across the bar. “I’m sorry, but….”
“We need some ID.” A gruff voice startled her in her ear. Rogue looked over her shoulder at the larger man.
“Twenty-one and over only,” Logan chomped on the end of his cigar.
“I just want some coffee.” Rogue sent a pleading look to the bartender.
Scott’s forehead crinkled with concern for her. “Logan, come on.”
“You know the rules, Scott.” Scott frowned and his eyebrows crinkled together.
“How old are you kid?” Logan crossed his arms and raised one inquisitive eyebrow.
“Logan?” Storm walked over to the tense conversation at the bar. “I have a dance in back in ten minutes.”
Ignoring her for the moment, Logan stood staring down the girl at the bar. Her eyes were deep and penetrating. It bothered him. It bothered Logan that he couldn’t stop looking at her. That he didn’t want to stop.
“Where am I supposed to go?” Her soft voice interrupted his thoughts.
“I don’t know.” He threw open his arms and glared at her. He didn’t like noticing how her neck was long and lithe, how her gloved fingers twisted together nervously, how her lips pouted at him.
“You don’t know, or don’t care?”
“Both.” He growled out at her and smirked as he lifted the cigar to his mouth, biting down on the end.
”Logan.” Storm admonished. She raised her hand to the girl’s shoulder. Rogue flinched noticeably and back away. “You don’t have to go.” Addressing Scott now, “There should be some food in the back still.”
“No. No, I’ll go.”
Rogue’s chin quivered but she refused to let any of these…these people at the strip club see her cry. Her pride had forced her to hitchhike, steal money, and stow away in people’s cars, but she would not let them see her cry.
“Logan, she’s just a scared kid.”
“Exactly.” He snarled at Scott’s good-natured concern. “She’s a fucking kid. Look around, Scooter” he waved his hands, gesturing around the bar, “we’re in a strip club. And she’s only twenty. You wanna get arrested or fired? Cause I sure as hell don’t.”
“She’ll be all right.” Ororo tried to subtly step in between the two men. “She can go to the shelter. I’m sure she’ll be fine.”
Logan shook his head. He didn’t believe her, and he doubted that she believed herself. That kid, under twenty-one kid he reminded himself…just had something about her though. Something that ticked at the back of his mind. He hated it when that happened.
The sharp, piercing, terrified scream cut through even the loud music of the club. Logan never hesitated as he pushed through the crowd that had immediately gathered around the front door.
Stopping, deadly still, Logan sniffed at the air.
“Sabretooth,” he growled under his breath.
In sudden motion now, the Wolverine pushed the crowd aside. His breath furled from his flared nostrils in angry bursts in the cold air outside. A snarl released from his lips as he saw the former “Cerebro” bouncer circling the girl. My girl, the Wolverine thought irrationally.
“Stay away from me.” Rogue trembled with fear but still held her hands out in front of her. “Don’t touch me. I’m…I’m a mutant too. You can’t touch me.”
“Hey, Furball. I thought I told you last time to stay away from my club.”
“Grrrr,” Sabretooth growled and flicked his head around to stare at the bouncer that stole his job. But The Wolverine didn’t hold his attention, and the metal claws didn’t make his hands itch for a fight. Not the way that the girl did. Sabretooth could smell her fear; he got off on her fear. And he wanted to make her hurt, to smell her blood as it spilled from her dying body.”
“Oh, God.” The curse slipped from Storm’s lips as she watched her ex-boyfriend circle the scared girl.
With a roar, Sabretooth leapt at the girl, his talons ripping into her soft feminine flesh. She gasped at the contact and slunk back against the wall, her body slumping limply to the ground.
Logan pushed off the ground, flying at the hairy beast just a split second too late. Sabretooth hurt her. He hurt the girl. Logan, The Wolverine, could smell her blood. It surrounded his senses. The tangy, coppery smell overlapped with her terror.
In a burst of speed and strength, Logan clawed at the back of Sabretooth. Scott ran around the crowd and raised his hand to his visor, a red optic blast to the back of the beast and Sabretooth roared from the pain.
“I’ll come back to finish this later.” He growled at the girl. Shaking Logan off of his back, he ran to his nearby car and drove off, leaving the rest to clean up his mess, as always.
“We have to get her out of here.” Scott knelt down next to Rogue and reached his hand out to her, hearing the sirens of the police.
“Don’t.” Her voice was weak and raspy. “You can’t touch me.”
“We’re not gonna hurt you kid.” Logan joined Scott and Ororo at her side.
“I’m a mutant. You can’t touch me.”
Ororo lifted the girl’s shirt, careful to avoid any contact with her skin. “It looks like a deep flesh wound. She needs some cleaning up and bandaging. But I don’t think that stitches are necessary.”
Rogue wanted to protest at the medical expertise of a stripper, and not even the one in the nurse’s uniform from the stage. But her sides were burning and her head pounded painfully.
The sirens in the background drew closer.
“We have to get her out of her. She needs help and if we have one more arrest here…the police are just itching to shut us down.” Storm looked back at Logan.
“Why the Hell are you looking at me?” Logan crossed his arms over his chest.
“Logan, we can’t take her back to the mansion. She’s not twenty-one. You know X’s rules. And you’re the only one that doesn’t live there,” Scott pointed out rationally.
“I can’t fucking take care of anyone!” Logan protested loudly. He didn’t care about others. And he certainly refused to feel guilty about sending her out of the bar. She was just a kid. Damn it, he hung his head, she was just a kid.
“Do you want to get shut down? Lose your job? The club?”
“Fuck” Logan rolled his eyes and sighed softly. The girl’s face was pale and the blood left a bright red trail growing in the white snow. “Let me get my truck.”
Logan jogged to the back of the lot and started up his old, dilapidated truck. Scott smiled at Rogue gently. “You’ll be all right. We’ll make sure that you’re safe. I promise.”
Wishing that she could smile back, but in too much pain, Rogue nodded weakly and let her eyes drift close. She could hear the rumble of a car and the sound of heavy footsteps approaching her.
“Let me get her.” Logan bent down and lifted the slight girl. She molded into his embrace and against his chest. It felt a little too comfortable for Logan’s sake. A small, weak smile formed on Rogue’s pale lips as she listened to the strong heart beat under the warm chest she cuddled against.
Setting her in the cab of his truck, Logan couldn’t help but feel a little anxious. Just what the hell was he supposed to do with her now?
"I'm just saying, if you were in an accident, I wouldn't stop for a beer." Josh
"That was to calm you down." Michael
"There's no sex in the champagne room. None." Chris Rock
"Ain't nobody dope as we are." OutkastGet more from the Web. FREE MSN Explorer download : http://explorer.msn.com
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]