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Destiny Redux

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(Some Thursday Evening in April)

Stacie groaned as her phone rang for the third time in two minutes. She paused her application and finally answered. “What?”

Ashley snorted. “Don’t get all pissy with me, Missy. You told me to call until you answered. It’s Thursday night.”

“Shit, already?” Stacie rubbed her eyes. “But I’m right in the middle….”

“I can accidentally send room service to your door every ten minutes,” Ashley interrupted with a sickeningly sweet tone of voice.

Stacie groaned. “You wouldn’t dare.”

Ashley laughed. “Wanna try me?”

“No,” Stacie grumbled. “I have to shower first.”

“Beca is getting antsy. Make it fast. First misdelivery in fifteen minutes,” Ashley nearly sang it before hanging up.

Stacie swore repeatedly under her breath. She’d hear about it from every corner if she didn’t show, and that damn room service interruption would stall her out anyway. She saved the matrix she was fighting with and hurried to the bathroom. Instead of a shower, she dunked her head in the sink and took a sponge bath. Fifteen minutes was not gonna be enough to get really clean. She hurriedly combed out her hair and let it drip dry while she selected her outfit for the night. Black jeans and thigh high boots with a black half tank would show off the work she’d been doing on her abs. She towel-dried her hair before putting on deodorant and make up. Checking her watch, she decided to test Ashley and take the time to really dry and tease her long brown hair.

Sure enough, she heard “room service” just as she turned off the hair dryer. She hurried to the door. “I’m sorry, darlin’, there must be a mistake. I didn’t order a thing.” Stacie smiled sweetly and pressed a ten into the waiter’s hand. “Sorry you made the trip for nothing.” She blew him a kiss as she pressed by him, locking the door on her way. He was still standing there and staring at her as she pressed the lobby button on the elevator. She wiggled her fingers again as the doors closed.

When she arrived at the lobby, she made a bee line for the bar, tossing a wave at the hostess at the concierge desk. Stacie hopped onto a bar stool. “Not nice, Ash. Poor guy may still be gawking. Is he new?”

Ashley nodded with a smirk. “Great way to haze the new kid and get your ass down here at the same time.”

Before Stacie could reply, the KJ walked up. “Shit, Squirt, you had me worried. Thought I was gonna have to start without you.”

“Sorry, Becs.” Stacie winked. “On my game now. Whatcha got planned?”

Beca leaned against the bar. “Rodeo in town this week. I bet we can get some of these cowboys pretty hot and bothered.”

Ashley laughed as she handed over a Guinness for Beca and a glass of Chardonnay for Stacie. “Why do you do that?”

“First off, they tip better. Mostly they wanna show off and see if Squirt here notices. Second, they’ll all sign up in hopes they can impress her with their talent. Which leads us back to point number one.” Beca smirked. “I really should give you a cut.”

Stacie shrugged, “eh, it’s fun. But you didn’t answer. What should I start with?”

“How about Love Me Harder?”

Jessica nearly spit out the sip of her gin and tonic she’d just taken. “That’s the warmup?”

Beca looked over at Jessica. “Too much?”

Ashley laughed and took off her apron. “Nope. Come on Jess. I’ll give the beat.”

Jessica laughed as Ashley pulled her to the stage. Stacie hopped off the bar stool and sauntered over to join them. Beca chuckled as she took her spot by the karaoke machine. “Ok, guys and gals. Let’s get this party started! First up, Ashley, Jessica and Stacie.”

After a polite round of applause and a few catcalls at Stacie and her outfit, Beca began the music. Ashley emphasized the rhythm as played on the back track while Stacie began to sing. Jessica took the backup vocals.

As the song progressed, Stacie made eye contact with several of the cowboys who seemed to be at the bar as a group, or at least without feminine companionship. She ran her left hand down her side, accentuating the curves her clothes had barely left to the imagination. She winked at a young guy, someone who gawked as if this might be his first trip to a big city bar.

Beca chuckled again as the sing came to an end. “Who boo, howdy, those girls surely know how to warm everyone up. Who’s next?”

As several of the men rushed forward to put their names down, Stacie wandered over to the guy she’d seen staring. “What’s wrong, cowboy. Never see a woman before?”

“No ma’am.” He stammered. “I mean, yes ma’am, just, none like you.” He was openly admiring.

“Where you from and what’s your name?” Stacie moved the man’s chair back so she could land on his lap. She played with the hair at the back of his neck and the other guys around him were elbowing each other and laughing.

Blushing, he answered, “Tommy, I’m from Broken Bow.”

“That’s not from around here. We got a Broken Arrow, but not a Broken Bow.” Stacie nearly purred as she replied.

“No ma’am, it’s south and east of here.” Tommy answered with a hard swallow.

“Well, Tommy, I think I’d like to hear more about Broken Bow late Ron if you don’t mind.” Stacie moved her hand up to play with the hair the stuck just out from under his hat. She removed the hat and said quietly, “Don’t you know its impolite to leave your hat in when in the presence of lady?”

Ashley, watching from the bar, almost snorted as a dozen men removed their hats at the same time. Ashley whispered to Jessica, “Stacie is in rare form tonight.”

Jessica laughed and nodded. She looked over at Beca, who was watching the scene with both merriment and concern.

As the crowd of men surrounded Tommy and Stacie, Beca picked up a mic.“Ok, folks, time for Stacie to do us another little number. You ready, girl?”

Stacie stood up, out his hat on her head and sashayed away from the crowd. “See you soon, Tommy.” She made her way through the small room to the stage and picked up a mic. She nodded at Beca as she saw the title come on screen.

I go out walkin' after midnight
Out in the moonlight
Just like we used to do, I'm always walkin'

Jessica and Ashley added back up from the bar, singing the echo.

After midnight, searchin' for you (wa-wa-walking, wa-wa-walking)
I walk for miles along the highway
Well, that's just my way
Of sayin' I love you, I'm always walkin'
After midnight, searchin' for you (wa-wa-walking, wa-wa-walking)

I stop to see a weepin' willow
Cryin' on his pillow
Maybe he's cryin' for me
And as the skies turn gloomy
Night winds whisper to me
I'm lonesome as I can be

I go out walkin' after midnight
Out in the moonlight
Just like we used to do, I'm always walkin'
After midnight, searchin' for you. (https://youtu.be/bsRNCvHXHHU)

 

Stacie winked at Tommy again as she ended the song. Jessica met Stacie at the stage, took the hat and brought it back to Tommy.

“Sorry, Tommy, Stacie needs a break. She’ll be back in a little while.” Jessica apologized and then squeezed out of the crowd of men who were slapping Tommy on the back and encouraging him to speak up bolder for the little lady.

It was almost two hours later that Beca looked around the gathering. The first batch of cowboys had moved on. She didn’t see any of the original group, especially not, Tommy. She walked behind the grand piano at the back of the stage and leaned on it. “All clear kid.”

Stacie rolled up from her position laying on the bench. “I probably turned it on too thick for the poor kid. I wasn’t thinking about his buddies. It got a little scary when they all started crowding around us.”

“My bad, I let it go on too long.” Beca apologized. “Whatcha wanna do next?”

“S & M?” Stacie said without batting an eye.

Beca laughed out loud. “I don’t have enough security to protect you if you start telling these boys to come on.” She shook her head. “Play nice.”

Stacie sighed but also smirked. “Spoil sport.” She sat a few minutes longer and then got a mischievous look on her face. “Why don’t you do right?”

“Squirt!” Beca laughed again and then shook her head. “You aren’t bad, you are just drawn that way?”

Stacie arched an eyebrow before gesturing toward her own body.

“‘Nuff said.” Beca chuckled again. “OK, but ima station Jessica and Ashley by the stage to make sure you get out of here and quick when it’s done.”

“It’s early, Becs!” Stacie pouted.

It was Beca’s turn to arch an eyebrow. “Ashley said you were dragging your feet because you were in the middle of something. She made me promise to cut you out early.”

Stacie blinked. “Oh, yeah.” She blushed and laughed, “I have a project I need to finish for work tomorrow. She’s right, I oughta get back to it.”

“Ok, let me set this up. You get ready.” Beca nodded and went to talk to Ashley and Jessica.

When all four girls were near the stage again, Stacie smiled at Ashley ad Jessica. “Thanks for having my back.”

Ashley winked, “any time. You ready to rev these boys up one more time?”
Beca picked up the mic. “Ok, boys and girls. We got a good one fir Stacie’s swan song tonight.” As the crowd groaned, Beca laughed, “I know, but some people have this weird thing called a job. And Stacie has to get ready for it. Here you go, boys, just for you.”

Stacie laughed and took the mic from Beca. Then she placed t back on the stand and caressed that long piece of metal throughout the song. Ashley and Jessica shook their heads as they watched the men in the audience nearly drool outright.

 

Get out of here and get me some money, too
If you had prepared twenty years ago
You wouldn't be wanderin' now from door to door
Why don't you do right?
Like some other men do

Get out of here and get me some money, too
I fell for your jiving and I took you in
Now all you've got to offer me is a drink of gin
Why don't you do right?
Like some other men do. (https://youtu.be/B8xp-qfP1B0)

As soon as the song was over, Beca spoke over the roar of the crowd on a second mic. “That’s the end of this hour, folks. Better get your drink orders in during intermission. We have some good old-fashioned sing-alongs next. People have asked for American Pie and Bohemian Rhapsody. We’ll break it up with some of these good old boys doing some Blake Shelton and George Jones. Back in ten.”

Beca, Ashley and Jessica spirited Stacie through the kitchen and to the service elevators. Jessica laughed the entire way. “You are so going to get one of us into trouble one of these days.”

Stacie shrugged, “Sorry, not sorry?” Then she laughed, “It was fun.”

“I’ll ask security if we can have someone in the lobby on karaoke nights.” Ashley winced, “never know when one of these out of towers is gonna get handsy.”

Beca nodded, “I get it. We can tone it down.”

“Like hell!” Stacie said. “Singing sexy songs is not an invitation to assault. If I have be the person to teach that lesson, I sure as hell will.”

Jessica out a hand on Stacie’s arm, “We just want to keep it from getting out of hand.”

Stacie huffed, “Ok, but if you all get boring, I’ll find a new place to sing.”

Ashley smirked, “I never said boring. I said we bring in security to keep the boys under control. You were steamy, girl.” She pretended to fan herself.

Beca considered, “maybe just one overtly sexy song? At the beginning of the night. We can still do other stuff that’s fun, just, keep it from devolving into a riot.”

“Oh, all right.” Stacie nodded and gave each girl a peck on the cheek. “Thanks again. Now I gotta get back to work.”

“One of these days, you are gonna tell us what you do,” Beca laughed.

Stacie shrugged again, “Maybe not.” Then she winked and headed into the elevator.

Ashley watched her go, “I swear it’s a sugar daddy.”

Jessica shook her head, “dang if I know.”

Beca stared at Jessica, “Did you really just say dang instead of damn?”

“Yeah,” Jesica laughed. “New manager hates it when girls swear.”

Ashley rolled her eyes, “Wonder how they would feel about other things we do.”

Jessica leaned over and kissed Ashley softly, “They never have to know.”

“Get a room, guys,” Beca snorted, “I gotta get back to work.”

“Mmm,” Ashley teased. “Maybe we will.”

Beca rolled her eyes and headed back to the bar.

 

Across town, later that night, Chloe woke up slowly. It started with a tingling in her fingertips, then it grew to a full roar the enveloped her whole hand. She opened her eyes and saw Tom’s back. She groaned a little, cradling her hand. Clearly it had been under him for some time after they fell asleep. When the tingling subsided, she sighed heavily. Now she needed a bathroom. Chloe crept from the bed and followed the subtle floor lighting that led to the master bath.

When she crept back into the bedroom, she noticed that Tom had turned over again and was leaning on one elbow. “Hey, gorgeous,” he said fondly.

She tucked back into the bed, snuggling in beside him. “I’m sorry I woke you,” she said as she ran a hand through her hair.

He smiled. “It’s okay, I got to watch you come back to bed. Do you know how incredible you look in the moonlight?”

Chloe glanced over her shoulder at the open window, full moon bright in the darkness. There were some perks to a penthouse apartment, she had to admit. In her one-story house she always closed all the curtains tightly by dusk. “You’re sweet,” she purred.

Tom rolled over onto his back and Chloe moved so her head rested on his chest. “Do you really have to leave for almost two months,” she whined.

He chuckled. “I’m still pretty low on the totem pole, Red. The firm has a client who is in trouble in the UK, so I’m apparently the man for the job.” He stroked her hair absently. “I’ll miss you, though.”

Chloe was pensive. “What are we, Tom?”

“Hm?” Tom replied.

“What are we? Are we a couple? Are we a long-term fling? I mean, we go out every now and then,” she started.

“Hey now,” he put his finger under her chin, so she looked up at him. “We promised no strings a long time ago, right?” He considered, “In fact, I remember you insisted on it. Changing your mind, Red?”

Chloe pulled back and sat up to look at him. “No,” she said uncertainly. He watched her, a small smile on his face. “I just, I don’t know. I don’t want to end up alone.”

He smiled more fully, “Chloe Beale, are you asking me to marry you?”

Chloe laughed out loud and slapped his arm, “Hell no!” Her giggles subsided. “But what if I never find anyone to marry?” A shadow moved across her face. “I know I’m not ready to adult yet, but I feel like someday I will be. What if the day comes and I’m alone?”

“Oh, thank God,” Tom teased. He pulled her back to his chest and continued stroking her hair. “I can’t imagine you being alone for long.”

“How long have we gone out together?” She asked softly.

“Oh, I guess four, five years?” He replied.

Chloe simply nodded.

“I’ll tell you what, Red. Make a deal with me. When we hit 30, if we haven’t found the loves of our lives, you’ll marry me. That way neither of us will be lonely forever,” he kissed the top of her head. “What do you say?”

Chloe thought about it, her fingertips tracing patterns on his chest. “Yeah,” she finally answered. “That’s a deal I can live with.”

“Seal it with a kiss?” He asked lightly. “It’s a lawyer thing,” he was grinning.

Chloe leaned up and gave him a long, thorough kiss. “Date night when you’re home?”

“The third Tuesday in June,” he said quietly. “I’ll pick you up at 7:00.” He kissed her again. “Wanna give me another taste of what I’ll be missing until then?”

Chloe giggled and started running kisses along his jaw. “It would be my absolute pleasure,” she breathed.