Colourful neon lights illuminated the pavement of the boulevard, the hot summer air still palpable. Among cigarette smoke, loud chattering and some frankly, shady characters, Ermal Meta found himself standing in front of the Lisbon Club, the borough’s strip club. “This is a terrible idea.” he muttered to himself as he was contemplating if he could just go home now and forget the whole thing but he could already see how Marco would mock him on Monday. Fucking Marco, that was all his fault anyway.
You see, life as a lawyer is stressful as it gets; a thousand different cases to study, speeches to write, analyse evidence, actually debating in court. On top of that, Signore Meta was a chronic workaholic - he gave 100% to each case, sacrificing the sleep of countless nights’ in the process. This work ethic made him one of the best in his field, however at the expense of his health. So yes, overworked and burned out as he was, his assistant Marco had a ... peculiar suggestion how to relieve the stress.
“Look, Ermal, I’ve worked with other big names and let me tell you, all of them burn out sooner or later. And that’s when they seek refuge in Lisbon for a few hours.”
“You make it sound as if it’s some sort of mental health center and not the sleazy strip club down the boulevard, Marco.”
“Hey, it’s not sleazy, just a little…..chaotic! Also, what harm could it bring? They’ve got the hottest people working there; Girls, guys - Whatever floats your boat really. And even if that isn’t something for you, Ermal, at least you could have a drink there. At least, you’d have relaxed for one evening.”
Ermal really didn’t see himself as one of those Wealthy Lawyers who spend all their hard earned money on sex and drugs. That really wasn’t him. However, Marco did have a point, he could at least grab a drink there. And that’s when he finally pushed through the front doors of Lisbon. A dark corridor stretch out in front of him, the more he approached the end of it, the more he could feel the vibrations of the music. He reached some sort of large dimmed main room with a illuminated stage in the middle, and was promptly hit by the musty smell of cigarettes and alcohol. “‘Not ‘sleazy’ my ass, Marco.” Ermal slowly looked around and was surprised to see many familiar faces; a few fellow lawyers, some judges even, he might have spotted a former client or two but none of them acknowledged him, none of them wanted to break this illusion of a safe space where all real life worries ceased to exist.
He must have been brooding for a while, because he could suddenly feel slender hands gently stroking his arm. “Well, look at this, a new face.” the sparsely clothed woman purred and Ermal had to admit, she was downright gorgeous with that curly mane and those bright red lips. “Maybe we should get to know each a little bit better,huh? You can call me Eleni, sweetie.” She gestured towards the more secluded part of the club, where curtains hid the individual booths and the one-on-one dances that went down there. It was tempting, Eleni looked hot as hell and there was also a certain kindness surrounding her, however Ermal had just arrived and this felt like a little bit too much at once.
“Well, certainly sounds good, sweetie, but maybe later. For now I, uhm, I’d rather enjoy a bit of the show from the stage at first.” Ermal, renowned lawyer, tried halfassly and sat down in the chair right in front of the empty stage. The next dancers were expected to come out soon.
Eleni, seemingly not offended by the rejection, just smiled. “Alright, cowboy. At least let me get you something to drink. You’ll need the alcohol for the next show.”
Puzzled Ermal watched her disappear as suddenly the music changed, a slower song oozing with sensuality. The lawyer looked up to the stage to see a few people emerge, all of them dressed like police men and women. The women in thigh short leather skirts and ridiculously huge high heels, the guys also clothed in thigh leather pants, and all of them wore half buttoned police themed shirts. It was eye candy of its finest form and they were all honestly stunning, nevertheless there was one guy in particular that truly peaked Ermal’s interest. A man really shouldn’t be allowed to have the body of a Greek God, tattoos like a biker gang member and a face carved by angels, and yet this guy had the audacity to had all these things at once. Ermal honestly didn't know what to expect from this visit to the strip club but a heart attack at the age of 37 certainly wasn’t on the list of possible outcomes because Tattoo Guy was absolutely breathtaking.
Tattoo Guy casually swaggered around the stage lazily observing his audience, no doubt looking for the wealthier customers among them. Ermal ‘Armani suit’ Meta certainly seemed to fall into his target group so it was not surprising that he leaned against the pole in front of Ermal. Grinding his back against the pole, Tattoo Guy lowered his gaze and with that his sunglasses slid down his nose to reveal not only a pair of stunningly dark orbs but also an unwritten challenge. And, oh yes, Ermal was so up for that challenge. “Enjoying it so far?” The lawyer jumped as Eleni returned with a glass of cognac to his seat. “Who is he?” he whispered to her, never breaking eye contact with the beau on the stage who was slowly working on his buttons in the meantime.
“Oh, that is Bizio. One of the most popular guys here.”
“I can see why.” He didn’t know when Eleni left, he actually didn’t pay attention to anything around him anymore as his whole focus was directed at this Bizio. Bizio, who was losing the police vest and was now dancing in all his shirtless glory against the pole. Ermal, coming slowly back to his senses, pulled his wallet out and threw a few banknotes on the edge of the stage. Bizio fell down on his knees and started crawling towards him, like a tiger about to jump his prey. “Thanks, dear.” a raspy voice thanked him as he collected the money; his full, sensual lips crooked in a half smile. God, he had such blowjob lips. “Keep up the good work and there’ll be more.” Ermal replied, surprised to find his own voice sounding deeper than usual.
“Whatever you say, dear.” the stripper provocatively dragged his teeth over his bottom lip before flipping to his back and slowly, so agonisingly slowly, getting rid of his leather pants, leaving him in nothing but a leather thong. Ermal chunked his whole glass of cognac down. Eleni really didn’t need to tell him that the tattooed stripper was one of the most popular around here, his moves spoke for themselves. The way he grinded against the pole, the way he bent around it - he wasn’t dancing with the pole, he was making love to it.
Soon Bizio’s show came to an end but instead of disappearing backstage as the others, he approached a certain lawyer whose glance was glued to his form.
“Ciao, I take it you enjoyed the show?”
“We could say that, yes, but I’d enjoy a little private session even more.” Ermal wasn’t sure where he was going with this, his mind was racing and the only coherent thought at the moment was ‘BizioBizioBizioBizio’.
“Follow me then.” the stripper lead the way to the private booths and as soon as his client took a seat and the curtains fell, Bizio straddled his lap for a lap dance.
It wasn’t the first time he’d give someone a lap dance but this was different. The problem was when he looked down at this curly haired man, he regarded him with such … mesmerisation. Sure, the dilated pupils revealed his arousal, but there was also a genuine mesmerisation in the way he looked a him. This didn’t usually happen to the stripper. There was something about this client... something different from the other customers. Soon Ermal’s hungry hands slide up and down stripper's tanned body, brushing over every muscle like it's a fragile piece of art. After all, he was indeed art dressed in nothing but that leather thong sitting on his lap and grinding against his crotch like his life depended on it. He was already hard during the performance but now it started to get painful and if the bulge was any indication, his companion found himself in a similar situation.
"Hey, wanna get out of here? " Ermal's hot breath graced Bizio's ear "To ...catch some fresh air. How does that sound?" If it wasn't for the hardness Bizio's felt poking him, Ermal's slight breathlessness would have given away that he intended to do way more than to just catch fresh air. And the older one wouldn't have minded it either. God, he knew he shouldn’t. It was not against any rules to sleep with clients but it just made things messy and complicated afterwards. However this sharped dressed man...... Bizio bit his lip as he felt Ermal slightly thrust upwards. "Sounds perfect, sweetheart." the tattooed man got up from his lap and took his hand, guiding him through the back door of the club.
The second they were standing in the back alley, Ermal spinned the other man around and pushed him harshly against the wall, attacking his mouth viciously. Hungry hands trying to touch every spot of this perfect body, to memorise every muscles, every hair.
"You know how fucking hot you were on that stage? With all that sweat running down your body and that cute little thong of yours, and don't get me started on those - " Ermal pulled provocatively on the stripper's nipple piercings. A gasped escaped the older one's mouth.
"God, and those tattoos. I could have fucked you on that stage then and there."
"Then don't just talk about it and do it" Bizio shot cockily back, no doubt an attitude he regularly used at work.
"With the greatest pleasure, baby” he felt the smirk against his neck and suddenly he was spinned again, face pressed against the door, his thong hitting the ground in a second. The older man glanced behind his back to see Ermal getting his thick throbbing cock out, Bizio gasped at the sight alone.
"So how you want this to go down, baby?" Mockery coated Ermal's voice while he spit on his hand, smearing saliva around his cock in an attempt to make up some makeshift lube. "...Slow?" Ermal traced his fingers gently over the other man’s naked beautiful form. "...or hard?" and then he roughly pushed his body even more against the wall, his nails practically digging into his hips. "Agh- I - shit" Bizio weakly tried. "Didn't hear you, baby. What do you want?" Again the ridicule in his voice. "Agh, I want you to fuck me. F-fuck me as hard as you can" he felt Ermal’s hot cock brush his hole. "As you wish, babe" Ermal whispered into his ear, before he pushed inside in one go.
The older man groaned loudly. God, it's been a while since he's been dry fucked like that. "You alright?" Ermal purred against the back of his neck, this time tattooed man could have sworn there was a hint of concern in his voice.
"I - ah. I will be alright if you start moving already!"
"Ooooh a rebellious one? I like those." With that, Ermal started thrusting rough and harsh. The stripper really couldn't deny the initial pain but he took it like a champ. Each thrust filling him up, each thrust widening him and despite the dryness he craved more and more. Soon enough the pain was subdued and raging lust pulsed through his body instead. “God, more, please, more!” Bizio begged with a whiny voice while Ermal continued hammering into him until Ermal hit the golden spot and the stripper groaned in pure pleasure. In this dizzy state of mind Bizio reached behind himself in attempt to touch Ermal’s hair, face, anything of Ermal really but was promptly denied that satisfaction as the lawyer grabbed his wrists with one hand and held them against the wall. The stripper rolled his eyes in frustration before Ermal leaned on his shoulder to whisper “Don’t be so grabby, alright. Otherwise I’ll just- “ And suddenly his thrusts stopped and he carefully withdrew which only caused his partner to groan even louder, his hips desperately trying to push back but being held in place.
“Alright, alright. I won’t touch until- “
“Until I tell you to.”
“Yes, God, yes, everything. Just keep moving.”
“Sure.” The lawyer smiled into Bizio’s neck before nipping on it and with one hard thrust he picked up where he left off. Soon enough the stripper was a yelling mess, moaning and begging for more while his head was thrown back too absorbed in his own pleasure. All he could register was each time Ermal hit his prostate and sent him bit closer to the edge. With his pulse gradually accelerating and his breathes becoming more shallow, Bizio could almost anticipate his climax. He was so close, just a little bit longer just a little bit harder and -
In one swift motion, Ermal abruptly pulled out leaving Bizio momentarily shocked.
“Wh-what the - “
The lawyer tore the older man from the wall, flipped him around and lifted him off the ground holding him tight under his legs. However, he didn’t completely lower him onto his cock just yet but only low enough so that he’d lightly stroke his partner’s opening. Bizio wanted to die then and there. Deprived from the sweet release and just being left with nothing but agonising teasing, the stripper looked down to that handsome face covered in sweat and smugness that caused him that turmoil.
“Can I at least touch you?” breathed the older man.
“Oh is that all you want to do?” Yet again that annoying if not charming smugness.
“If you don’t finish me off, I’ll just do it myself.” grunted Bizio while his patience slowly wore off.
“And we wouldn’t want that now, would we?” And with that Ermal pushed inside him once more with as much force as the lawyer could muster and was met by cry of pleasure from his companion. Despite his lean built, Ermal was surprisingly strong as he held Bizio up this entire time and even his stamina seemed to be endless while he kept ramming his dick up his shaft, each thrust now harder and faster than the previous one. Bizio ran his hands through Ermal’s locks, over his face, his back. He didn’t know what body part he was touching but he simply had to have the contact and judging from the fact that Ermal kept on assaulting his neck with bites, he felt the same. Bizio’s ears were pulsing, his cock bright red and smeared in pre-cum and the only thought racing through his mind was ’More! I need more!’. Ermal pressed even closer to him, he needed to inhale that sweet scent of his, needed to thrust as deep inside him as possible, he cannot remember a time he felt better.
“I’m-I’m - “
“Shit, me too.”
And while his cock was engulfed by Bizio’s hot tightness, he kept up the fast pace until he felt Bizio clunch around him and a roar escaping the stripper at last.
That alone was the single most erotic thing Ermal has ever seen and it immediately pushed him off the edge. Hot liquid filled up the stripper while Ermal grunted into his neck. They stayed like this for a few moments catching their breaths, where the only sound that filled the air where the cars passing by in the distance. Ermal pulled out at last and carefully let Bizio down to the ground again who quickly found his thong on.
“H-Hey, - uhm, what’s your name even?”
The lawyer in question looked up at his companion. Right. He didn't even tell him.
“Er-mal. Ermal. ” The stripper let the foreign sounding name roll over his tongue, contemplating how it sounds like coming out of his own mouth. He decided it’s a nice sound.
“And you’re... Bizio? Bit of an odd name, if I’m honest.”
“Oh that’s only my stage name, my real name is actually Fabrizio.”
“Fabrizio... “ Ermal tried to connect this new name to the face he’s already became familiar with. He decided it’s a beautiful name.
Silence. “B- Fabrizio, uhm would you happen to have a tissue backstage? I might have uhm, well, - “ Yes, he might have gotten cum stains on his 2.000€ suit trousers. Today was simply that kind of day.
Fabrizio’s eyes landed on the stain. A stain he was partially responsible for. That thought must have crossed his mind too because a blush spread across his cheeks. Ermal had to admit it was a bit bizarre to be flustered about it. ’As if I didn't have my cock buried inside him minutes ago’ the lawyer mused almost affectionately.
“Yeah sure, let’s get inside.” Fabrì seemed to have found his strength again and lifted himself up.
This was most definitely not something Fabrizio did with any client he had so far. He was a stripper; hooking up wasn’t part of the deal, let alone bringing Ermal backstage or even disclosing his full name. And yet…. There was something sincere in Ermal’s eyes. Something raw and sincere that made Fabrizio trust him and that was something he didn’t do easily.
They made their way backstage when a few of Fabrì's colleagues passed them by, probably on their way to the next stage performance. giving them both knowing looks but none commented on it and.
Having arrived in Fabrì’s dressing room, the first thing Ermal noticed was the overwhelming smell of what could possibly be the collection of every fragrance ever realised.
“Jesus Christ” the lawyer coughed. “what is this? A dressing room or a perfumery?!”
“Hey, I simply have a fondness for perfumes !”
“This isn't just a ‘fondness’ for perfumes, Fabrizio, you are literally the most perfumed man on Earth. How can others even stand being here?!”
“Well, to be honest, other people aren't really here often…”
Now when Ermal took a closer look at his surroundings he did notice that this dressing room seemed oddly private. It was a small space with a clothes rail to the left. Various stage outfits were hanging there, from leather gear to even a sexy Santa outfit. Makes you wonder who'd go to the strip club to get off to the image of Santa.
Next to the door stood a beige couch. It was tiny, two people could probably squeeze in at most, and did look quite well used over the years. Under the couch, an object peaked out. Not any object, it was... a guitar ? On the other side of the room the dressing table stood. It was undoubtedly the piece of furniture that drew most of the attention with its large illuminated mirror, several hats on top of it, a thousand of colorful perfume bottles on the table and a few sheets of paper. Music notes? There were several polaroid photographs attached to the mirror. Ermal slowly approached the object in question and inspected it closer. There was a candid of Eleni laughing, another was one of the other male strippers chunking down a glass of beer, one showed Fabrizio lying on his back and casually playing the guitar. 'So it really is more than just decoration.' Another one was showing a young boy in a football jersey, next to it was one of a toddler drawing with finger paint. One picture in particular caught Ermals attention and he took it off the mirror. A young Fabrizio holding a baby in his arms.
"They're- they're yours then. You're a father."
More of a statement than a question, but Fabrizio neverless answered as enthusiastically.
"Yes! That's my son Libero, he's 10, he's a smart kid, thank God. And that's my youngest Anita, she just turned five the other day." Such pride and genuine fatherly love glinting in his eyes that Ermal felt overwhelmed for a second.
Several pictures depicted Anita and Libero with their father, a few even showed Eleni with the kids. Wait a second
“Is she the mother of your children?” A sickening sensation spread in Ermal’s stomach at the thought of what he might have got himself into and more so at the thought that Fabrizio, who knew better, seemed to have allowed it to happen. Some might call him a bastard or an asshole even, but a homewrecker Ermal Meta sure as hell wasn't! He of all people was painfully aware of all the factors that could destroy a family; an unnecessity like cheating shouldn't be one of them.
“Who? Entela? No,no,no! Sometimes she just watches the kids during the week when I'm preoccupied.” he huffed a laugh as if the assumption of Eleni being his partner was too ridiculous, but then a somewhat sombre, more serious expression captured his face.
“I’m a single father, have been for a while now.”
Chocolate coloured orbs fixed Ermal with an intense look that not only evaporated his previous worries but also gave Ermal hope for something he wasn't aware he'd possibly want. So here they were. Two people brought together under the most untraditional circumstances, their worlds polar opposites of each other and yet a certain pull to one another lingered. Two people with implications and possibilities hanging heavy between them, the music from the stage softly through the walls, while the men in question remained at a loss for words. Ermal was suffocating in this silence, he needed to break it with something, anything, and he did so when Fabrizio's last statement replayed in his mind.
“Wait, 'Entela’? Entela is Eleni’s real name?”
“That's how stage names usually work.”
“Don’t get smart with me, I'm just surprised that she's Albanian!”
“Some people are indeed Albanian, Ermal.”
“Oh me të vërtetë? Nuk e dija këtë! Faleminderit që më informove.”
A beat passed before Fabrizio registered that Ermal had not spoken Italian now and his eyes widened in understanding before he wholeheartedly laughed.
“Oh, well, I guess I just made a fool out of myself. But, yeah, Entela is her real name, though she likes being called Eleni too.”
“Okay, speaking of stage names, why ‘Bizio’ of all things? Why not ‘Fabrì’ at least or something entirely else?”
“La mia piccola. You see, when she was younger we tried to get her to say all sorts of things. One day we tried to get her to say “Fabrizio” but she could never articulate it properly. She always kept saying ‘Bizio’ instead. When I took this job here and they asked me for a stage name…. well, Bizio was the first thing that came to my mind.“
Weirdly endearing, Ermal concluded. When Ermal followed Marco’s suggestion to go this strip club, he didn’t necessarily though he’d end up finding a loving father of two.
“Oh, yeah, you wanted a tissue. Here you go.” Fabrizio somewhat awkwardly fished a tissue out of one of the drawers, apparently having forgotten why they came inside in the first place.
“Thanks.” The lawyer answered and he too didn’t really know how to proceed from here on but was saved by the sounds of footsteps outside the door.
“Oh, I guess their stage performance is over. My turn would be soon then.”
“Of course.” Ermal didn’t need further explanation and yes, perhaps he was strangely sad to say goodbye to Fabrizio already.
“Yeah, I’m sorry. But let me escort you outside at least.” Fabrizio offered with such an earnest expression on his face that made Ermal believe he didn’t do it out of politeness but that he truly wanted to see that he’ll be okay even if it’s just out of the backdoor.
They made their way outside in the same back alley where just a while ago their naked bodies had collided, but now two figures stood there smoking. One of them Ermal at least already knew.
“Ai është?” The short tattooed guy asked Eleni while curiously eyeing the lawyer.
“Po, mesa duket atij i pëlqeu djali jonë aq shumë sa që vendosi të qendroj për pak kohë” she replied with a juicy smile on her face.
“Aw come on, what is this? Is half of Albania working in this club? Also, has nobody ever told you it's rude to talk behind someone's back in a language they doesn't understand? Ose të paktën një gjuhë që ti mendon se ai nuk e kupton.“
That quickly shut two of them up and if their tendency to avoid Ermal’s eyes was any indication, they felt sheepish as well. Sensing that he might have made this whole ordeal even more awkward, Ermal decided it was a good time to get going.
“I'll have to go. I should pretend to have caught at least a couple of hours of sleep.” Ermal spoke to Fabrizio.
“See you then. I guess. Hopefully. If you ever have time, that is. Well, you know where to find me.” finished the stripper somewhat nervously when he really didn’t have any reason to be nervous in the first place. Ermal would have described him as endearing.
“Yeah sure, maybe I’ll drop by another time.” He held his counterpart’s stare and for a moment Ermal felt like he wanted to say so many things,that he should say something, anything at all, but a certain kind of anxiety held him back. Paradoxical how you can experience the most intimate of encounters with a person and still feel the insecurities manifesting inside you. Ermal didn’t trust himself to say more so all he did was shortly nod towards Fabrizio, a silent goodbye and a grain of hope, before he slowly turned around and disappeared into the night. Only hours later, at home and still unsure of what had transpired that evening, Ermal found a little polaroid picture in his suit pocket. A polaroid picture showing a young man holding a baby. A polaroid Ermal might have accidentally put into his pocket. A funny accident it was indeed, mused Ermal. A fateful incident, the universe would call it instead.
Shout out to the Discord Server at this point!
Comments would be appreciated,thanks!
Translation of Eugent, Eleni and Ermal's Albanian dialogue (thanks to Lori for the translation):
"Is that the one?"
"Yeah, he apparently liked our boy so much that he decided to stick around for a bit."
"or at least a language you think he doesn't understand."
Soft brown eyes, a messy nest of dark hair, sun kissed body. A touch here and there, a swift kiss maybe even too. And this voice. This raspy, deep voice moaning his name. ‘Ermal, hmm E-Ermal’ A truly divine sound Ermal’s ears could never get enough. ‘Errmaal, oh God, Ermal, Er- ‘
“ERMAL!!! OPEN UP ALREADY!! ERMAAAAL!!”
With a scream and an unpleasant awakening, a certain blanket burrito found himself on the floor of his bedroom. You see, this morning wasn’t like other mornings. Usually when Ermal opened his eyes he was met by the sight of his ceiling or at least the world 40 cm above ground. Another funny detail Ermal noticed about this morning was the fact that it was not Bach’s Air in D major that woke him up like always, but the maniac hammering and yelling which occured at his front door.
“OPEN UP ALREADY, META, FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!”
Deciding that the only thing that could make this morning even more relaxing than it already has been, was to check on his apparently rabid assistant, the blanket burrito slowly made his way to the front door.
When he reached the entrance, the pounding has stopped and opening the door revealed a very nervous Marco typing on his phone.
“Don’t be dead, don’t be dead, please don’t be dea- “
“Good morning to you too, Montanari.”
“AHH!” Marco jumped in surprise and clenched his phone to his chest.
“Jesus Christ, Erm. Can you not answer that damn phone of yours? You make me almost call the police, I was mentally preparing to find your body or something.”
“Lovely. I hope you picked nice flowers for the funeral though.” That promptly earned him a glare from his friend. Okay maybe he did get worried a bit.
“Well, why do you even expect me to be up this early? Couldn't you wait until I'm in the office to tell me what you so desperately need to tell me?”
“It's- It’s not 'this early’, Ermal. It's 11 am and you just haven't showed up!”
Eleven am. That meant he overslept? He overslept four hours?! All of his morning dizziness flew straight out of the window and was replaced by an unparalleled energy pushing Ermal to storm into his bedroom and get dressed as quickly as possible.
“FOUR hours, Marco?! Four hours and now you decide to come to check on me?!” Ermal scolded while putting on the first tie he could get a hold on. Purple? Nice colour, too bad it doesn't really pop with the grey suit.
“Well, we waited an hour, alright! Thinking maybe you're stuck in traffic or I don't know what, but you just wouldn't turn up and Andrea started calling you on the phone which you didn't pick up obviously! So we kept sending messages but you still didn't respond, so I came over and here I was banging at your door for 40 full minutes now!”
On his way outside, Ermal picked up his suitcase and grabbed his mobile phone from the night stand. 27 missed calls, 12 unread text messages. Alright. At least they did try to contact him so they were not to blame.
Once inside Marco's car, Ermal read through the case files which should have been today's cases.
“What about my appointments? Wasn’t Rossi supposed to arrive at 9 this morning? And the Moretti case is scheduled at 11 too?”
“Andrea rescheduled Rossi for later this afternoon and he keeps telling the new clients you had to rush to an emergency and you are terribly sorry, while Filippo is managing already opened cases”
Good. Good. Not ideal but good. Filippo was a skillful apprentice, he might have still a few years until he finished university, but Ermal had faith he'd be a terrific lawyer one day. He was capable of dealing with the clients for a few hours.
“Alright, looks like crisis averted for the moment.” Ermal sighed and leaned back into the seat and watched the streets of the city passing by.
“How did that even happen? I know you, you spend more nights awake than asleep but you still get up in the morning. Can't imagine the Rossi case being that exhausting. Unless..” Marco’s eyes grew comically large as he turned his head to Ermal.
“Marco, the road.”
“You didn't work on the Rossi case last night, did you? Otherwise you wouldn't have looked into the case files.”
“Marco, eyes on the road!”
“You didn't seem as stressed out as usually this morning either which means.. OH MY GOD DID YOU ACTUALLY GO TO LISBON LAST NIGHT?”
“RED LIGHT! MARCO! RED LIGHT!!”
Barely escaping what would have been another crash in the chaos of Roman traffic, the car stopped at the crossing at last.
“Oh my god. Oh my god, you actually did go to the strip club, right? See I told you it'll relax you.”
“We almost died a second ago but obviously, my sex life is the more relevant topic here.” gritted the lawyer through his teeth still not trusting himself to let go of the console. The only relief was that the light has turned green so he only had to sit through this for a few more streets.
“Oh so you had sex too??” a shit-eating grin found its way onto Marco’s face. Why did Ermal always have to say too much? Why did he always have to dig himself deeper?
“Girl? Guy? Brunette? Blonde? Ginger? Tall? Small? Vanilla? Kinky?”
“Okay that's enough, alright. It was just a ...generic guy working there. We hit it off well enough and one thing lead to another. End of story.” Not entirely true, Ermal had to admit. But he really didn't want to expose the fact that he shared a weirdly emotional connection to a man with the body of a Superhero and the soul of a Golden Retriever puppy. Having finally arrived at Ermal’s office, the two men got out of the car and Marco mustered his friend. “Well, too bad you won’t see him again. That guy must have been something else when he managed to make you catch more than three hours of sleep.” Ermal chose not to inform his assistant about the polaroid which he’d have to give Fabrizio back sooner or later and instead swung the doors open, ready for another few long case discussions.
At exactly 17:30 two sounds echoed at the same time. One being the last client closing the door behind them, two being Ermal letting his head hit the conference table.
“I don’t think it went too bad, Signore Meta. Perhaps we could settle for compensations in exchange we’d drop the charges, how does that sound?” chimed Filippo in an attempt to cheer is mentor up.
“Sounds desperate to me, if I’m honest. Signora Rossi almost died because of the poisoning and even after that she wasn’t afraid to press charges against her boss. We cannot let him get away with this.” The lawyer run his hands through his locks and sighed. “Only if we had more evidence, better evidence, dammit!”
“Hey, tomorrow we’re supposed to go to the police station anyway! Perhaps we’ll find notice something among the evidence that we missed at first! There’s no point in racking your brain about it today anymore.”
“When did you get so wise, huh?” Ermal ruffled his apprentice’s hair before calling it a day. The kid was right; Ermal needed a clear heard for tomorrow’s investigation. On his way outside Andrea, his secretary, caught his attention. “Oh Ermal, the court called! They’re rescheduling the first hearing for the Rossi case on the 16th. Also, Marco had to leave earlier, his apartment is apparently flooding or something, so should I give you a ride home?” Bless Andrea. Always such a considerate guy.
“Thanks, but I’ll walk. I’ve been in this office for the entire day, I could use the exercise.” Ermal said his goodbyes to Andrea and hit the road. Ermal was fond of such summer evenings when the air was still warm but not uncomfortably hot, the sun was gradually setting but there was still daylight. Summer evenings truly held a powerful positive energy. Ermal waltzed through a large, vivid park and even here he noticed how the the chirping of the birds fused with the chirping of the crickets, it was a such a relax-
For the second time in 24 hours, Ermal Meta found himself yet again lying on grounds where he almost certainly shouldn’t be lying on. He quickly propped up on his elbows which he soon realised was a mistake when the world around him started spinning. “S-Sir? I’m so sorry,I didn’t mean to! Are you- are you alright?” a young anxious voice chimed in, almost too afraid to ask. The lawyer massaged his temples and turned to the blurry figure of a kid holding a ...football (?) beside him. “Kid, amazing kick, just next time please don’t use my head as the goal, alright?” Ermal’s vision slowly cleared and he noticed the kid still standing beside him with tears in his eyes.
“Woah, kid, It’s alright,really! You didn’t hurt me….much. I’m not mad.” The boy kept staring at him as if to verify the validity of Ermal’s claim and something clicked in Ermal’s head. Those brown eyes, that hair. He knew the kid. He had seen him somewhere before.
’Wait a second…’
“Liberoooo! God, how often have I told you to be careful with your penalties! Oh Lord, Sir, you alright? I’m so sorry, my son didn’t mean to hit you, God I hope you don’t have a concussion.” A very nervous man came running towards them carrying a little girl along. He was dressed in black jeans, a partially unbuttoned denim shirt underneath which a few very familiar tattoos peaked out. The glasses might have been a new sight but the sun-kissed skin and the messy dark hair certain weren’t.
Ermal decided that he did not in fact deserve that. The football he could manage, the bump he felt swelling on his head would go away soon too. Being attacked and rendered speechless by the powerful sight of Fabrizio in all his ravishing glory was downright unfair.
’Well, ain’t that a kick in the head’
Thanks for reading! :) Consider leaving a comment!
also, please listen to "Ain't that a kick in the head" if you haven't already, i love that banger.
Chapter 3: Pining hearts and silk emeralds
a bit of Fabrizio's POV this time around!
TW: sexual harassment later in chapter
Fabrizio wished it would have been a window. Or a car. Or a statue. Or a dog. Okay perhaps not a dog, but Fabrizio sincerely wished anything but the frontal lobe of an unsuspecting, innocent guy would have fallen victim to Libero’s fatal football skills. Anita insisted on joining them so they ended up lightly kicking the ball to one another, Fabrì reprimanded his son to kick it gently ever since his five year old sister sister wasn’t exactly Lionel Messi, to which the boy reluctantly agreed. It seemed fine, truly, the afternoon sun wasn’t shining that strongly anymore and one could comfortably do sports. Not too stressful, just a light, casual game of football, or that’s at least Fabrizio’s idyllic ideal situation which his kids apparently didn’t agree with. Maybe he was truly getting old now. Soon the kicks became sharper when the small girl challenged her brother “Lib, you kick like you’re four!” The boy in question shot the ball to his dad before addressing his sister “Four? You were four last year, you dummy!”
“Libero.” gently scolded Fabrizio before passing the ball to his daughter again.
“Hey, I’m not dumb, you’re dumb! Also I play,like, five bajilion times better than you” she stretched her tongue out to him and kicked as strong as her little legs could.
It was a known thing that his son loved that sport, he always had, but what football God possessed him on that afternoon was beyond Fabrizio as the ball seemed to pass by him with 80 km/h. What followed was a tragedy in melodies. First off, he heard the hit before he saw it, a bright sound that was so characteristic for plastic balls hitting a surface. That pop sound that once heard could be recognised everywhere. Then a shocked gasp from the little culprit himself followed by a surprised “Oh” from his sister. As for the crowning finale, the dull sound of the poor guy’s body meeting the ground confirmed his fate and for the Encore, Libero’s fast steps running towards the injured party.
If the guy was truly injured and demanded financial compensations, Fabrizio would, quite frankly, be fucked. That was certainly wasn’t something Fabrizio would have needed right now, not with Libero’s school trip coming up, not with Anita wanting a bike for so long. Fabrizio picked his youngest swiftly up and sprinted towards the scene of the accident where the man was slowly lifting his head off the ground. ’Okay, good. At least he’s not dead. Good to know that my ten-year old didn’t kill a man in broad daylight’
“Liberoooo! God, how often have I told you to be careful with your penalties! Oh Lord, Sir, you alright? I’m so sorry, my son didn’t mean to hit you, God I hope you don’t have a concussion.” He let Anita down to the ground and Fabri too went down on one knee to inspect the man closer from head to toe. Grey suit, expensive and well worn. Purple tie, again expensive, but the shade didn’t fit well with the suit sadly. Curly hair and -
Fabrizio’s mouth fell open and he felt momentarily paralysed.
See, the truth is Fabrizio never really remember one-time customers. They were usually college kids feeling brave about going to the club or people being dragged to the club for a birthday lap dance. He didn't need to speak to them to know that the strip club was a somewhat taboo zone for them and that their visit served as an act of braveness but that's as far as they went. And Fabrizio was fine with it, they were just passing by, he wouldn't need to remember them. However, forgetting the guy who fucked you so hard that he might have poked a hole into your liver in middle of the back alley where everyone could have seen them, is impossible. Despite the bizarre spark that flew between them that night ( A spark did fly, right? I didn't just imagine that?)
“Mister, did Libero give you that bump on your head?” Anita gasped while pointing at the man’s forehead. “See, Lib, I told you I play better than you!”
“Shut up!” the boy barked back after wiping his tears away.
“Hey you two, cut it out!” Fabrizio brought the situation back into close to reality when he tried to focus on what's actually important here. He forced himself to look back into Ermal’s eyes, now without a trace of awkwardness.
“Ermal, are you dizzy? Is your head hurting? Should we take you to a hospital?” Ermal regarded him intensely for a few moments which made Fabrizio wonder that maybe he did forget his face already. Who knows, maybe picking up strippers was something Ermal did every night and ..
“As I told your son before, I'm fine. Honestly.” he looked at Libero on that last word, most likely to calm his son down and then turned back to Fabri. “Yes, the bump hurts a bit but that's normal I'd say. I don't think I need to go to the hospital, but thank you for the offer, Fabrizio.”
Oh. So he did remember him after all.
“You know papa?” His little girl stepped closer to Ermal, curiosity written all over her face. Ermal bent down a bit to be on eye level with her when he responded.
“Yes, I do indeed, piccola. I know him from..uhm.. “ Ermal seemed lost for words how to describe their unorthodox way of meeting and when he glanced up to Fabrizio, it was clear that he wondered how much would be okay to let the kids know.
“From the dance classes.” Fabrizio kindly helped him out there which only confused Ermal more. “Dance classes?”
“Oh you go to papa's dance classes? Do you know Eleni too? And Genti? Sometimes when Eleni is visiting us, she braids my hair really nicely. Better than papa anyway. Mister, you also have nice hair, maybe Eleni will braid yours too!”
“Uhm ...thank you?” A clearly overwhelmed but nevertheless smiling Ermal replied. Yes, his Anita was a sweetheart but sometimes when she started rambling, people couldn’t quite follow anymore.
“Alright, Anita, darling. Let him breath.” Fabrizio stood up and offered Ermal his hand to pull him up. When Ermal was on his feet again neither man let go of each others hand immediately, it was the first physical contact between them after that one night but did bring back memories of where those hands had once been. Where they could be again.
’Not now, Fabrizio, dammit, get your mind out of the gutter, you’re with your kids!'
“I have to say, I didn’t recognise you immediately with those glasses on.” Ermal chimed in rather randomly and Fabrizio wondered for a second if maybe similar memories replayed in the other man’s head and he needed a quick distraction as well.
“Yeah, I probably should wear them more often actually. I just forget to, if I’m honest.”
“Mum scolds him whenever she finds out he’s been driving us without them on.” Libero apparently felt the absolute need to expose his father like that in front Ermal.
“And she’s right to do so! God knows people are already driving like crazy with their eyes working. No need for blind bats behind the wheel, isn’t that right, Fabrizio?” Ermal concluded with an amused tone and Fabrizio huffed. Today the universe was truly conspiring against him and that theory was only further validated when Anita giggled “You’re funny, Mister. Come play with us? Lib needs help anyway.”
“I do not!”
Little Anita had the purest intentions but Fabri was no fool. Ermal wouldn’t possibly like to spend time with them after this incident, especially since it seemed like he just came out of work….whatever his job may be, and he was probably tired anyway.
“Sweetheart, I doubt Ermal has the ti- “
“Actually, why not. Two-on-two seems like a fair match, as long as I’m not the actual goal. Also, call me ‘Ermal’, please. I’m not that old yet.” Ermal said and was already making his way to the grass field which left Fabrizio a little speechless. Fabrizio had occasionally encountered clients in the city during the day, but for the most part they pretended to not have seen him or simply dignified him with a short nod. Playing football with his kids was most definitely not something he’d see himself doing with anybody he met at the club and yet here was Ermal taking off his suit jacket and folding it on the ground and already colluding with Libero how to make the most of the game. As it turned out, Libero and Ermal worked quite well together, they had clever maneuvers in store, nevertheless Ermal sometimes mercifully allowed Anita to snatch the ball from him. In the end, they played for another hour, with Libero and Ermal winning 5 - 3 against the father-daughter duo, partially because Fabrizio’s mind may or may not started wandering every time he came face-to-face with a drenched and huffing Ermal.
“You’re rather good with children, y’know. Having any of your own?” Fabrizio curiously eyed the other man while they both were catching their breath.
“No, in fact I don’t. I guess yours are just really easy going” Both men threw a glance at the two kids who were absorbed into a very crucial debate about their favourite cartoon.
“I think the fact that they liked you right away might have been a factor too. You really didn’t need to agree to the the game, you know. Especially playing in a suit must be uncomfortable.” Fabrizio took notice of a few green stains on Ermal’s trousers and was promptly reminded of another kind of stains that were left on his pants last time they met. Fabrizio blushed. That passed unnoticed by Ermal as the other picked his suit jacket up off the ground. “Ah, I would have taken a shower tonight anyway. It was fun and yeah, you were right. Libero is a smart boy.” Yes, he was indeed, Fabrizio thought proudly. “Oh that reminds me, I accidentally took a polaroid picture of you and Libero with me from your dressing room!”
“Ah so you had it! And I already turned my whole dressing room upside down searching for it! Well, I guess at least that means I didn’t lose it, that’s a relief.” It was the very first picture ever taken of his son, it was dear to him and Fabrizio would have been devastated to actually lose it.
Ermal must have concluded that too as he seemed quite apologetic.
“I’m really sorry, and I would gladly give it back now but it’s in the pocket of my other suit and to be honest, I didn’t exactly expect to run into you right now.”
“It’s fine, really. Why don’t you drop by the clu- dance classes later on and return it then? I have a shift tonight.” While he said that, a certain tangible tension twined around them. The same kind he felt between them when he ogled Ermal from the stage, when he felt that certain pull towards the curly haired man for the first time.
“‘Dance classes’? Really? That’s what we’re calling it now?” Ermal huffed a low laugh.
“Among the younglings, yes. Also, I am delivering some real athletic skills, so I’m not far off.”
“No you’re really not. You’re probably bendier than most dancers.” Ermal licked his lower lip and Fabrizio’s breath hitched for a moment there. As they held each other’s stares the tension just grew hotter and hotter until suddenly annoyed boy tug on Fabrizio’s shirt.
“Papa, can we go now? We’re hungry and Mama’s gonna be angry if we turn up too late again.”
“Oh sh- damn, you’re right. Ermal, it was very nice to see you again and thanks for joining in for the game. Again, sorry about your head, I won’t happen again. Also, come by later on if you have time.” He didn’t really need to remind him to come by when they just spoke about it a second ago and now Fabrizio probably appeared incredibly desperate but Fabrizio wanted the polaroid back……. and Ermal’s company wouldn’t hurt either.
“Yeah, I had a lot of fun and I’ll see if I can make it tonight.”
Ermal said goodbye to the kids with Anita suggesting that next time she should team up with Ermal instead. Next time. Fabrizio mused on if there would be a ‘next time’. The small family slowly parted ways with Ermal and Fabrizio had to admit, he was indeed looking forward for tonight’s shift. The night was young, who knows what all could still happen.
The curtains were pushed to the side and the young woman wobbled out of the booth slowly. The red face and the slightly heavy breathing ensured that she enjoyed the show she just received. She turned 25 today and the strip club was the idea of her friends, a classic. The cause of her arousal walked out a few moments later with a bunch of bank notes slipped into his black leather shorts. It’s been a good night so far, a few lap dances, a few stage shows. People appeared to be in a generous mood as well. Still, there was something missing. Someone missing.
“Did she give you any troubles, Fabri?”
“Huh?” Fabrizio was torn out of his thoughts by that question.
“I asked if she gave you any troubles.” Rasmussen, one of the bouncers of the club repeated, leaning against the wall. Despite his shaggy and perhaps intimidating looks, he was in fact a gentle soul. He never neglected to look out for anyone, not even for fit guys like Fabrizio himself and the stripper genuinely appreciated that.
“No, no. She behaved, don’t worry.”
“Still, you look troubled, friend. Maybe take a break, have a drink.” Rasmussen gave him a good-natured pat on the shoulder and Fabrizio made his way to the bar. Among the seats and chairs occupied by clients slurping on their drinks and some of his colleagues serving them and making their rounds, Fabrizio found an empty chair at the bar. He leaned against the counter and observed the main area. No curly haired man to be found. Perhaps he misinterpreted their whole interaction after all, perhaps Ermal really only wanted to return the photo and nothing more. But then again, he would have still needed to go to the club for that. He sighed, Fabrizio wasn’t a teenager anymore, infatuation shouldn’t cause him such distress.
“What’s gotten your panties in a twist?” Fabrizio threw a glance over his shoulder to see Lea the bartender cleaning the counter. Fabrizio knew the smile on her face was to encourage him to open up but when the stripper hesitated for a moment, she brought out a glass. “Okay, you know what? Here, a nice glass of Barcadi & Coke. That always helps to loosen up and raise the mood.” After she finished preparing the drink, she pushed it towards him.“It’s on the house.”
“I work here, Lea. I sure hope it is.”
He took a sip and let the cool liquid slowly flow down his throat, the bitter taste of rum tingling on his tongue. Turns out the drink wasn’t a bad idea after all.
“So, you’re looking for someone?”
“Waiting for someone then?”
“....... Not really.”
“.....You are hoping for someone ?” the Slovenian woman raised her voice expectantly. Fabrizio massaged his temples and took a bigger sip from his drink.
“Ohhhh, is it Fancy Curls from the other night? The one who impaled your ass in the back alley?”
Never has Fabrizio turned around quicker in his life than in that moment.
“Wh-Wh- that’s not- h-how do you even- I mean- he didn’t fucking impale me, alright!” Embarrassed and irritated he drowned his drink in one go, the rum quickly reaching his brain.
“How do you even know about that?”
“Well, the back alley is after all right next to the dressing rooms, word travels fast and you weren’t exactly quite, if the rumours are to be believed.” Lea raised her eyebrows.
“Lea, one Gin-Tonic please, make it a strong one.” Eleni suddenly joined them at the counter vaguely motioning to a customer in the crowd, before noticing Fabrizio’s sullen mood.
“Hey what’s he moping about?”
“I’m not moping.”
“He’s moping because Fancy Curls hasn’t shown up to rescue him on his white horse and ride him into the sunset.” Lea made a very theatrical fainting gestures.
“That’s not true and stop calling him Fancy Curls.”
“Oh yeah and what is his name actually? He’s Albanian, that I know, so must be his name.” Eleni challenged. Fabrizio was well aware that she had been curious about the whole encounter since it happened and it had only been a matter of time until she finally started asking questions anyway.
“......His name doesn't matter.”
“I said it doesn’t matter.”
“Eleni, please.” He rolled his eyes. Despite best intentions,sometimes she could be a bit intrusive.
“Ermal? Agron?” At the sound of his name, Fabrizio almost dropped the glass he was mindlessly playing around in his hands and Eleni stopped in her tracks. Her eyes widened and it seemed like she observed him now even more closely. As she was about to make a groundbreaking discover.
“Is-is it Agron??? Hmm, no, it isn’t. Then Ermal?? Oh is it Ermal??? Oh my god it is!”
Fabrizio genuinely had no idea what on his face could have possibly given it away, maybe he winced, maybe he averted his eyes in the wrong moment, who knows, but it was the clue Eleni needed. His friend squeaked excitingly and she momentarily reminded him of Anita whenever she sees baby animals. In the meanwhile, Lea had finished the Gin-Tonic which Eleni grabbed before she turned towards the crowd.
“Okay, first off, I'll need to bring this to the big guy over there but then I have to find Genti and tell him that we have a name reveal. He was wondering about your loverboy too.”
“He’s not really my- “ But before Fabrizio could justify himself, the curly haired stripper was bouncing off.
Slightly exasperatedly he watched Eleni go until he noticed Lea tipping on his shoulder. “Hey, Bizio, hey, Toupee Guy over there is ogling you.” the bartender whispered to her friend and he tried carefully turned around to see who that guy might be. Ah yes. Him. Sturdy built, not exactly athletic, in his late 50s with a terrible grey-brownish goatee gracing his face and toupee that was definitely two shades too dark to be his natural hair. He was coming to the club for a while now, but he kept a rather lowkey profile. Always ever observed the stage performances, never even spoke to the strippers, but only threw the money bills onto the stage. But this silence oozed a certain kind of assumed superiority over the rest of them, the way he threw bills away clearly a sign that he couldn’t care less about money. Fabri tried to professionally suppress that thought but the truth was he didn’t quite enjoy dancing on the pole when that guy was in the audience as it was so clearly written in his eyes how less he thought about him, about all strippers probably. There’s always arousal on customer’s faces, but it’s rarely paired with such conscension. Not a trace of that sweet, genuine mesmerization Ermal appeared to have when he watched him strip. However, Ermal wasn’t here right now and Ermal would most likely not be coming anymore and Fabrizio had already spent an embarrassingly long time of his shift pouting about it hence he decided to get back into his job. He made his way to the Toupee Guy who checked him out from head to toe as he approached.
“Ciao.” Fabrizio tried in a low, (fake) sensual voice which he’d dubbed his Stripper Voice. He put each of his hands on the the armrest of the guys chair, lowering himself to his eye level. “You seem lonely. Would you like some company?” Toupee was always dressed to the nines, tonight wasn’t an exception with a beige suit that probably costs more than Fabrizio’s paychecks for half a year. Therefore Fabri reckoned it was worth to try his luck even if the guy gave off some strange energies.
“You bet your sweet ass I do.” Toupee mumbled before slapping the stripper’s thighs.
“Fantastic.” Fabri put on a fake smile but his eyes screamed disdain. “How about we go to the booths?” And as the Toupee Guy took a seat in the private booth, Fabri’s show commenced. It went on as usual; a bit on his knees, sitting a bit on the client’s lap, running his hands over the guy’s legs. Fabrizio was slowly coming to an end, his shorts were by now filled with many pretty brown Euro bills so at least this did pay off. Fabrizio was about to get off the guy’s lap when he tugged on his shorts holding him in place for a second.
“Don’t run off so fast, pretty boy. Here’s a little souvenir for your good work.” Toupee said as he was reaching into his suit pocket. He produced an emerald green handkerchief with golden golden edges and red little details. It looked like it was made out of silk and a Fabrizio got confirmation that it was indeed silk a few seconds later when he felt it against his skin as Toupee was trying to shove it into his pants.
“Hey, hey, what the fuck?!” Fabrizio tried to push the man’s hands away as he started rudely groping him in areas where he most definitely shouldn’t.
“Aw, c’mon, pretty boy. You think that little lap dance of yours was all I wanted from you?”
“I don’t give a fuck what you want, that was all you’d ever get!” Fabrizio’s voice grew louder and despite the fact that he could easily knock the guy out, he seriously doubted ‘got fired for violent outburst at work’ would look good on his CV. Thankfully, the curtains of the booth were pushed aside and a certain scary-looking Dane ended his suffering as he tore the client out of his chair.
“I think he made himself clear and I also think you should be able to understand what that means.” Rasmussen grunted in a low and dangerous voice. There was a bit of fear glittering in Toupee’s eyes if Fabri wasn’t mistaken but the arrogant aura hid it well. It was a matter of moments before Rasmussen escorted him out of the door and Fabrizio felt like he could breathe again.
“Thank you, Rasmussen. That asshole really couldn’t take no as an answer.”
“Don’t mention it, brother. I’m sorry this happened in the first place.” He gave the stripper a sympathetic look before gently pushing him away from the booths. “You know what, Fabri? You already made some cash tonight, perhaps it’s for the better if you call it a day.”
Fabrizio was about to protest but he honestly felt exhausted from this incident so he said goodbye to the bouncer and made his way to his dressing room.
The second after closing it, he leaned against the door and took a deep breath. He collected the money and fished the goddamn handkerchief out of his pants and regarded it for a while. That was truly not what he had in mind for tonight. At the beginning of the night, he was in high spirits because frankly, some part of Fabrizio did truly hope and perhaps even expect Ermal to show up tonight. “Wishful thinking is not something you can afford at your age, Fabrizio” he cynically told himself. Yes, he had to admit it, that despite all secret hopes and wishes, in the end, Fabrizio was left with pining heart and a silk emerald.
....yeah so that happened.
Sorry I let Fabri have a shit evening, he doesnt deserve that <3
anyway, leave comments, leave kudos, leave whatever you have.
See ya next time!