their first meeting.
She sits alone at the bar, bouncing a foot encased in flesh colored stockings idly up and down and twirling her index finger around the rim of her glass. The makeup she wears, the sticky mask that encases her features and obscures her flaws from the world, is melting a bit under the intensity of the lamp that sits next to her.
Queenie looks back up at the bartender with her coal-grey eyes and quirks one artfully thinned brow at him. Obediently, he refills her empty glass with bourbon that glitters dark amber in the lamplight. He is a short and stout fortysomething who slicks back his oily hair to hide his near-baldness. She had slept with him, once, long ago, a sticky and rushed fumbling in the back of the bar on a Thursday night. He came. She didn't, but that hadn't been her goal.
A sigh pushes its way past shiny red lips. Famous Queenie is bored, something that she never thought would happen but doesn't catch her by surprise when it does. Dark eyes flick up, but avoid the bartender this time and move slowly towards the man who just sat down with a dark-haired girl no more than seventeen by his side. He’s calling her ‘sweetheart’ and his hand is on her knee. He is older than Queenie, who had just turned twenty three this past weekend, and his thick, dark hair curls around his ears.
His nose looks red, irritated. The teenager giggles something inane and excuses herself. Queenie leans over and rests her chin in her hand, tapping white-lacquered nails against her jaw.
“Got a cold?” she asks him coyly.
He looks confused, caught off-guard for a moment before his large hand lifts up and touches the bridge of his nose, and he understands. “No,” he says. He reaches into his pocket, pulls out a little red ball, and fits it over his nose. “Been wearing this all night.”
Queenie laughs, and it sounds as fake as it feels. “You're a clown.” It isn't a question.
He nods, sticks out his hand. “Burrs.”
She shakes it. “Queenie.”
“I knew I recognized you from somewhere.” He takes the nose off. “You're the dancer, aren't you? ‘Little Miss Legs’, from the vaudeville joint on fifth and Watson?”
She shrugs and knocks back her drink like a pro. He is nonplussed “Guilty as charged. And you're the clown from Reed and Eisenberg.”
“The same.” He is wearing a navy blue suit and a red tie, and he keeps running his hand through his hair like its a wig he's scared will fall off. His eyes are the color of cocoa, with dark lashes around them, and he narrows them at her. Queenie knows this look-- He's sizing her up, trying to figure out if she’s worth his time or a common whore.
“Who was the juvenile?” Queenie asks him dryly.
“She's not with me,” he replies, looking back. He's right; the kid is now sitting in a booth with a middle aged woman dressed in a gaudy pink and blue dress with feathers stuck in her dirty blonde hair. She keeps taking drags from a cigarette and passing it to the teenager, who, eager to feel like a grown-up, inhales deeply and coughs wildly afterwards.
Queenie looks quizzical. Burrs answers her eyes with a reply of, “Madeline True. She likes her paramours young.”
“She must be terribly jealous about you putting your hands on her date,” Queenie says. She doesn't comment on Madeline’s taste for women, for she has seen enough lesbians in her day (And even busied herself with a few). “Unless she’s looking to drag you into bed with her and the girl.”
Burrs laughs humorlessly. “Madeline doesn't like to share.” He tugs at the cuff of his jacket.
“You've known her for a while, then?”
“Long enough to know the habits by which she picks out her pussy.” The vulgar word hangs in the air like the smoke from Madeline True’s cigarette. Queenie doesn't flinch. Burrs presses on. “Just be thankful she hasn't chosen you.”
“Perhaps I want her to have chosen me.” She doesn't; She's needling him, and he knows it. “Perhaps I’m sick and tired of cocks. Do you think she's let me join in if I asked?” She matches his vulgarity blow for blow, and he eyes her with much renewed enthusiasm, looking rather like he's just had his morning coffee. It’s clear that by now, he realizes she isn't exactly a shrinking violet.
“Doubtful,” he says, needling her right back. “She doesn't like blondes. Especially bottle blondes.”
“I’ll have you know that I am a natural talent, Mister Burrs,” Queenie purrs, lowering her voice just enough to play at seductress again. She’s used to doing all the work when it comes to getting men into bed with her-- a twirl of the hips here, a blown kiss there, and they're hers for the taking.
But Burrs doesn't fall over the way other men do, playing at strength but ultimately weak to the charms of a woman. He sits with a stature that weakens her knees a bit, and if she had not been already sitting, the combination of bourbon and the intoxication of his eyes would have sent her reeling. This is not like her, she knows. She is out of control. She likes it.
His smile is cunning, a fox ensnaring a lamb, and yet it is different here, for what lamb willingly walks into the jaws of a fox? An exceedingly stupid lamb is little Queenie, and she feels like when she first arrived in the city, young and stupid and easily taken advantage of. Only this time she is aware of her fate. She is not stupid, sixteen year old Shannon O’Connelly who strolled into many a producer’s bedroom and sank to her knees in front of him thinking This is how it happens, this is where is begins. Now she is a vaudeville star in her own right, and this Burrs, though he is presumably just as sleazy as the producers were, has nothing to offer her but his crocodile-fox’s smile and his hands on her body.
He is searching her eyes for recognition of his intentions, and he finds it quickly. In a blinding flash, he reaches forward and snatches her smaller hand, roughly yanks her off her barstool and tosses a few bills at the bartender. She stumbles a bit but keeps up as he strolls past Madeline True and her young companion, pushes past men and women and enters a bathroom where he pushes her back against the cold wall and presses his lips to hers.
His hands are insistent, the right trailing down the front of her white dress (Virginal white, chaste, pure white--) and the left taking her arm and jerking it behind her back roughly. And she likes this, despite herself, knows that others may consider such roughness violating or disgusting, but she groans audibly and uses the hand that isn't trapped behind her back to grab at his tie and pull him forward, presses her lips against his again and again in hot, rough, open-mouthed kisses.
She lifts her leg, hooks it around his waist and lifts her hips up, finding the right angle and grinding against him, and when he feels the pressure of her cunt against his cock, however seperated by his trousers and her underwear, he fucking growls under his breath. She opens her eyes long enough to see her red lipstick smeared across his mouth and he looks angelic like that, all soft, dark curls for hair and red streaked across his cheek and lips swollen from kisses.
She is throbbing, not sure when the last time she was this wet for a man was. He says something unintelligible but that sounds quite a bit like her name and flat refuses to let go of the arm that still sits at an uncomfortable angle behind her back. She grinds against him again, just to hear his growl at her once more, and she leans her head against the wall and lets loose what she thinks is the most debauched sound she's ever made of her own accord.
He lets go of her arm and she uses her newfound freedom to grab at his curls, pulling them so hard he hisses in pain, and he does the same to her blonde tresses until they are both whining and hissing and moaning, guttural, animal noises. Realizing very suddenly how little progress either of them have made where their clothing is concerned, Burrs lets go of Queenie’s hair and discards his jacket. Queenie does the same to her dress, shuffling it off over her head and kicking her heels off. Burrs takes off his tie and rips open his shirt so quickly that Queenie can hear buttons skitter across the floor. Despite herself, she giggles.
Suddenly his hand is around her swan’s neck, squeezing tightly until she sees spots, but strangely enough the action only arouses her further. He presses his lips to the shell of her ear and tells her that she is only to laugh at him when he tells her a goddamn joke, do you hear me you little whore?, and she nods as best she can in her condition.
He doesn't take his hand off of her throat, but loosens it enough so she can breathe, and at some point he must have gotten his trousers and boxers off because that's when he enters her, suddenly and at such an odd angle that the intrusion is at first vaguely unwelcome. After a moment she shifts herself to make it a more comfortable experience, and as his thumb presses insistent circles around her clitoris, she hungrily continues to cry out with each thrust of his hips.
It is not simply a standard fumbling, for Burrs clearly knows what he is doing, and how to please a woman, but it is perhaps even more than lovemaking, for there is no love in his merciless taking of her flesh. As he lets go of her throat, he leans down and hungrily bites at her chest, not caring whether he receives a mouthful of her breast or of her bra but determined to bruise, to mark, to claim.
His hips stutter after a long while of thrusting and moaning and rutting, and he pulls out of her suddenly and without warning and spills himself into the floor. In his absence she swiftly replaces his cock with her long fingers and finishes herself off, still crying out his name as if it'd been him who had pushed her over the edge.
It takes a while for them to come down, and Queenie can feel finger-shaped bruises and teeth-shaped marks forming on her throat and on her breasts. They stand there like that for a few moments, breathing deeply and letting themselves float back to Earth, join the rest of the human race. Queenie feels more exhilarated than she had about much of anything lately. Burrs doesn't look too far behind.
“You oughta come meet me after my next show,” he tells her earnestly. “They'll all wonder who the mysterious woman in white is.”
“She's the one fucking the clown,” replies Queenie, leaning down to fish a cigarette out of Burrs’ jacket pocket. “Have you got a light, Burrsie?”