Poe peered out of the windshield of Jess’ car as they pulled into the half-full parking lot squashed between two buildings on the fringes of downtown. The building they wanted was on the right, all black-painted brick and chrome-plated corners. Above the red awning covering the door was a neon sign, spelling out the name of the establishment—Niima’s—in vibrant white cursive letters.
From the backseat, Snap clapped a hand on Poe’s shoulder.
“Best club in the whole city; I guarantee it,” he said, jostling his friend lightly. “Only the finest for the birthday boy.”
Karé and Iolo voiced their agreement where they sat next to Snap, and Jess nodded enthusiastically in the driver’s seat. Jess had told Poe that they’d come as a group to scope out the place earlier in the week, to make sure it was “up to par,” as she’d put it. Apparently they were all very satisfied and excited to take Poe along.
“What are we doing sitting here, then?” Poe grinned.
His friends let out a cheer, swinging open their car doors, and scrambled out onto the pavement. As Jess came around the car, she slung her arm around Poe’s waist. Karé did the same at his other side, and Poe rested his arms across their shoulders.
“So, ladies. Any surprises planned for me tonight?”
Karé smirked. “Do you seriously need to ask?”
“Of course there are,” Jess chimed in. She squeezed her arm tighter around him, and he laughed.
Then they were at the door. Snap and Iolo handed the bouncer their IDs, and Jess and Karé unwound themselves from under Poe’s arms to dig in their purses for theirs. Poe was the last to be nodded in. He found himself in a dimly lit hallway, painted red like the awning outside. Music thumped around him, and he could see the white glow of lights ahead of him. He followed his friends down, past the coat check, until the hallway emptied out into the main room of the club.
The space was large, high ceilinged, the walls painted black. Down the very center of the room was a raised catwalk covered with luminescent white tiles. Four smaller extensions jutted out into the walkway, and red-cushioned chairs had been placed around low tables in the spaces between them. There was a shiny silver pole at each extension, and one in the very center of the catwalk, effectively partitioning the structure into 5 stages. Along the edges of the room were situated semi-private seating areas, separated from each other by low black walls, and from the rest of the room by a few steps. They contained plush couches and divans upholstered in blistering red, arranged around chrome-and-glass coffee tables. Small modern chandeliers dangled from the ceiling in concentric silver squares, spreading a soft glow over the room.
Already the place was full of people, lined up around the catwalk or lounging in the seating areas with drinks in hand. It was to one of these areas that Poe's friends led him, weaving through the people standing in the walkway.
Poe whistled as he sat down in the corner of the couch. The cushion was firmer than he expected.
"Are you guys sure you can afford this?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at his companions. "This place seems pretty upscale."
Iolo leaned down and put his hand on Poe's shoulder. "Poe. It's your birthday. Relax."
"We totally got this." Snap slid onto the couch next to him. "You're gonna love it."
"With you guys in charge, who the hell knows," Poe shot back, and accepted a half-hearted shove from Iolo.
Iolo, Jess, and Karé flopped down onto the rest of the furniture just as a woman stepped up into the seating area. She was dressed in a sleek, body-hugging white dress, accented with strips of grey along the hemline and the shoulders. Her long, bright orange hair shimmered in the light of the chandeliers as she ascended the steps.
"Hello everyone!" she chirruped. “I’m BB; I’ll be your waitress this evening. Can I get you anything to drink?”
Jess perked up from where she’d flung herself onto the divan.
“Oh, yes! We want those blue fizzy drinks you guys do.”
Poe cocked an eyebrow at her. “Shut up,” she commanded, waving a hand in his direction.
BB smiled. “You mean the Sky City?”
“Yes, that one!” crowed Jess. “One round of Sky Cities, please.”
“All right, I’ll be back with those in just a minute!” The waitress turned and descended the steps back onto the walkway, her hair swishing across her back. Poe watched her walk away, noticing the way her dress accentuated her curves.
He laughed. “If that’s what the waitress is like, I can’t imagine how the dancers’ll look.”
Karé flashed him a wink. “Just wait. I think you’ll like them.”
He leaned back in his seat, shaking his head. For all that his friends had been excited to bring him here, they had been frustratingly secretive about the place. He had absolutely no idea what to expect from the night. It couldn’t be too much different from the normal strip club fare, though. He hoped his friends weren’t blowing their pilots’ wages on anything too extravagant.
After a minute of mindless chatter from his friends, BB returned, holding a tray laden with their drinks. When she handed Poe his, he couldn’t help but stare at it for a moment. The glass was slim and tall, a perfect cylinder, and the liquid inside a brilliant light blue. Tiny bubbles fizzed gently at the bottom. Tentatively, he sniffed the rim of the glass. It smelled heavenly, fruity and bright, with just enough bite to make his nose tingle.
Snap raised his glass next to him.
“To the birthday boy! May he have many more!”
As the group’s glasses clinked together, a doorway to the side of the catwalk swung open. From the shadows stepped a woman unlike any Poe had ever seen in his life. She was tall, imposing, calling every eye in the room to her. The shiny silver fabric of her dress rustled around her legs, and as she ascended the steps to the platform directly off of the catwalk, the slit in her skirt revealed a very well toned thigh. At her neckline, the silver fabric was slashed through with a thin diagonal stripe of red, giving way to black over her shoulder and down her arm. Her short blonde hair fell in stylized waves over her forehead.
“Wow she’s tall,” Jess marveled, turned to watch the woman. She towered more than half a head over the man who climbed up to the platform after her, dressed in a high-collared black jacket. His red hair was partially hidden by an old-fashioned black cap, pulled low over his forehead.
Once on the platform, the woman took her seat in a plush wingback chair, and picked up a microphone lying on the tiny side table next to it.
“My, my, what a good-looking crowd we have tonight,” she purred. Several people along the walkway gave a cheer in response. “Hello to everyone, and welcome to Niima’s!”
Poe joined in the applause as Snap let out a whistle next to him.
“My name is Phasma, and I’ll be your hostess for the evening. Here to provide the soundtrack is your DJ, Hux.” The man in black nodded to the room, then turned to his equipment and slipped a pair of headphones around his neck.
Phasma leaned forward in her seat. “Without further ado, your entertainment.”
Hux nudged a lever on his soundboard, and the music filling the club slid into a new song, the slow bass thumping through the speakers.
At the cue, a pair of dancers stepped from the alcove at the end of the catwalk. The man and woman were dressed in matching outfits, all black, with thick straps crisscrossing their bodies.
“The Lover Gods,” Phasma announced. “Yun-Txiin –” The man tossed his shaggy hair out of his eyes. “And Yun-Q’aah.” The woman smoothed her braid over her shoulder, smirking out at the crowd, who shouted raucously. The couple paced down the catwalk in their identical platform heels, their muscles rippling under the straps of their outfits. As they reached the poles at the end of the stage, they immediately launched into their routines, even as another dancer emerged onto the catwalk.
Next out was a long-legged woman, dressed in green and black. Her ensemble was made out of one long strip of mesh, looping around her neck, covering her breasts, and crossing low over her stomach to attach to thin black garters high on her thighs. She wore a vibrant green belt and choker that matched the material of her panties.
“The breathtaking Oola.”
Oola struck a pose at the center pole, turning slowly to reveal her exposed back to the audience. The crowd cheered and hooted.
Back at the end of the catwalk, another figure stepped from the alcove. Her body was lithe and toned, her pale skin dusted with freckles. She wore a top made of crisscrossing layers of sheer off-white fabric, and the shortest shorts Poe had ever seen, with a thin brown belt slung across her hips. Her hair had been puled half up into a loop at the back of her head, the rest falling across her shoulders.
“Our clever girl, Rey.”
The girl only had to take a few steps before she was at her spot, but she made use of them, swaying her hips entrancingly. As she swung herself up onto the pole, the final dancer appeared behind her.
He was wearing tiny black shorts and nothing else, his athletic chest and arms left bare. His dark skin glistened in the low light of the glowing tiles at his feet. He grinned lazily out at the crowd as he stepped up to his pole, and carefully body rolled into it. Whistles almost drowned out the last of Phasma’s announcements.
“And last but not least, beautiful Finn,” her low voice hummed. Then the woman got to her feet, spreading her free arm out in front of her. “Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy your evening!”
The club burst into applause as Phasma set her microphone back down on its table. She surveyed the crowd for several moments while everyone settled down, turning their attention fully onto the dancers on the stage. Poe watched her make her way down the steps and cross to the bar before he too turned to concentrate on the stage.
The slow base thrummed through Poe’s chest as he sat forward, his eyes flicking between the different dancers. He couldn’t help but think that they were all very beautiful, even though their styles varied. The Lover Gods danced almost aggressively, throwing themselves into their spins and complicated poses, continuously switching poles and letting their bodies meet in the middle. Oola was all round shapes and sinuous slow turns, one move connecting to the next and the next. All three dancers knew how to work the crowd, frequently ducking low to accept bills from the patrons seated around the edge of the catwalk.
Despite their skill, though, Poe felt his attention being drawn by the two dancers at the end of the catwalk closest to the wall. His gaze returned to them again and again, mesmerized by the ways their bodies moved. Finn danced like the ocean, his limbs and body rolling in waves upon waves. His muscles rippled and stretched under his skin, belying the ease that he portrayed in his motions. Rey was graceful and fast, tucking herself into twirls that took Poe’s breath away. As she shifted from one pose to the next, her back arched, showing off the tone of her stomach. Every so often, their eyes would meet, and they would smile at each other, serene and self-assured.
Poe could hear his friends whispering around him, but he couldn’t tear himself away from the catwalk to join in the conversation. As he watched, Finn knelt at the edge of the stage, offering his hip to a woman who stood there. She peeled the fabric of his tiny shorts away, sliding her bill against his hipbone.
It wasn’t until Snap nudged him that he realized his mouth had fallen open. He closed it with a snap, his cheeks warm.
Snap smirked, but only gestured to Poe’s glass. “Man, you haven’t even touched your drink yet! Bottom’s up!”
The smooth cylinder had warmed slightly, gathering beads of condensation around Poe’s fingers, but the drink still fizzed tiny bubbles towards the surface. Poe sheepishly clicked the glass against Snap’s a second time before raising it to his lips.
His first sip sparkled over his tongue, the bubbles snapping to release a fresh fruity flavor and the crisp taste of alcohol underneath. He sat back, pleasantly surprised, and glanced over at Jess.
“This really is good!” he enthused.
She winked. “You better finish it fast, then. Our waitress is coming this way and the rest of us are ready for another round.”
“I’ll catch up with you guys on the next one.”
Karé leaned forward, looking scandalized. “Nuh-uh. We are not getting drunker than you on your own birthday, Poe. C’mon, drink up.” She reached out and put two fingers on the bottom of his glass, nudging it back up towards his face.
Poe laughed, but complied, swallowing another mouthful. “You guys are such a bad influence.”
Iolo jostled his arm. “I think you mean great.”
As Poe rolled his eyes, the dancers on the catwalk once more caught at his attention. He was vaguely aware of Jess waving BB back into their seating area, but he couldn’t quite make himself concentrate on what they were saying. When he managed to tear his eyes away from Finn and Rey’s long limbs and sensual moves, it was only for a short moment, and then he was drawn back in as Rey flipped herself upside down, suspending herself with only one knee squeezed around the pole. In that single instant, though, Poe glimpsed Karé shaking her head, a sly grin tugging at the corner of her mouth. He flushed and gulped at his drink again, but kept his eyes trained on the lithe figures at the end of the catwalk, now almost too afraid to look back at her.
His discomfort didn’t last long, though, as he quickly became entranced once more by the ways that Finn and Rey moved. He watched them swivel around their stages and glide gracefully from pose to pose as they danced. Once, as they swung past each other in the middle of the catwalk, Rey ran her fingernails along the length of Finn’s arm, and Poe almost gasped. But then they were sliding back into their own spaces, and he sat back again, feeling the strange tightness in his stomach loosen.
Soon, the song began to fade, and Phasma’s voice purred back on over the loudspeakers. Poe’s head snapped from the catwalk to the platform above it, where the woman sat once more in her plush seat.
“Let’s give a hand to our dancers, shall we? Show them how much we appreciate them!” The club was filled with loud cheers, and some of the people down on the walkway threw their extra bills up at the dancers as they waved and made their way offstage. Poe clapped as hard as he could, watching Rey and then Finn disappear through the alcove they had come out of.
As Oola and the Lover Gods filed out after them, Phasma continued into her microphone. “If you like what you saw with our first round of dancers, private sessions can be bought. Please ask your waiter or waitress for details. And now, our second act of the night. Please welcome to the stage the Tonnika sisters!”
Out of the alcove stepped two women, identical right down to their matching black leather boots. Their hair was piled in elaborate braids on top of their heads, and they wore skin-tight steel-blue bodysuits that left their thighs bare. Thick black belts accentuated their tiny waists. They were undeniably sexy, but even as they began their strut down the catwalk, Poe felt his attention slipping. He couldn’t help but wonder where Finn and Rey had gone. Would they come back out later for a second performance? He thought about Phasma’s announcement. Would they be out here, giving other people private dances? Poe felt the back of his neck grow uncomfortably hot, and snapped his attention back to his friends seated around him. Karé was whispering something in Jess’ ear, making her giggle, while Snap and Iolo watched the twin figures on the catwalk dance.
Jess glanced over at Poe. “Having fun yet?”
He blushed again. “I guess you could say that,” he answered, twisting his mouth up into a self-deprecating grin. Jess laughed.
Iolo looked over from his seat. “Glad to see you finally joining the conversation, Poe. I thought it’d take an earthquake to shake you out of that trance.”
Poe felt his flush deepen. “Remind me why I’m friends with you guys again?”
Iolo ignored the comment. “I guess these ladies aren’t capturing your fancy, then.”
Poe looked back to the catwalk, where the Tonnika sisters were bending backwards into simultaneous walkovers. “They’re very beautiful,” he replied.
Iolo burst out into laughter. “It’s all right, I think Snap here is interested enough for the both of you.” Snap waved his hand, vaguely acknowledging the statement, even as he kept his eyes trained on the stage.
“Finish your drinks,” Jess said, recapturing Poe’s attention. “We need to get you at least a little tipsy before our big surprise.”
After tipping his glass back obligingly, he fixed her with his best puppy-dog look. “Can I get a hint?”
“You know better than that, Poe,” Karé interrupted, scolding.
“All right, all right, worth a try.” He gulped down the rest of his fizzy Cloud City and reached for the one sitting on the glass coffee table.
“That’s right, you just keep drinking.” Jess looked around the club. “You guys see BB? Should I flag her down for another round?”
“Ooo, wait, we should get those crazy shots! What were they called, Knockback Nectar?” Karé jiggled her knees excitedly.
This seemed to finally get Snap’s notice. “Aw man, those were wild,” he said, looking round at the group. “I definitely second that idea.”
Iolo rubbed his palms together. “Count me in.”
Jess bounced in her seat. “Yes! Oh, there’s BB! I’ll get her.” She waved an arm over her head at the waitress, who was standing near the front entrance.
BB responded almost immediately, waving back and starting to weave through the crowd. She brushed her bright hair over her shoulder as she ascended the steps and smiled at Poe and his friends.
“Ready for another round?”
“Actually, could we get some Knockback Nectar shots?” Jess asked.
BB grinned. “Looking for a little extra liquid confidence?” she said, shooting Poe a wink. He felt his eyebrows flick up. She must be in on this surprise.
“Think I’ll need it?” he said, reaching for his most suave expression. Maybe he could weasel a hint out of her. But she just shook her head.
“Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t want to ruin your friends’ surprise.”
She flicked a second wink at Jess as she turned to go, and Poe slumped back into his seat.
“Damn, this girl is good,” Jess admired. “We should give her, like, a ginormous tip.”
“Uh huh. I’m sure you have a few ideas how to do that, don’t you?” Karé nudged her knee and Jess slapped her hand away.
“Shut up, I mean it,” she retorted.
Karé laughed. “I know, I know. We will, I promise.”
BB quickly returned with a tray of shot glasses, all full of golden liquid. She expertly balanced the tray on her hip as she set the glasses down on the table, not spilling a single drop.
“All right, everyone enjoy! I’ll just get these out of the way for you guys,” she said, beginning to gather the empty glasses from the group’s Cloud Cities. When her tray was laden once more by glassware, she bent down to whisper in Jess’ ear.
“Excellent,” the other woman responded, looking up from under BB’s curtain of orange hair. “Thanks, BB.”
As the waitress stepped carefully down the stairs, Iolo leaned forward to claim his shot.
“To Poe,” he said, raising the glass in the air, “and the totally kickass time we have planned for him.”
“Hell yeah!” Jess whooped. Poe grinned, and his friends laughed.
He clinked his glass against everyone else’s and knocked back the soft gold drink. It hit the back of his throat like a hot desert wind and sped straight to the pit of his stomach, warming him from the inside out. He whistled.
“Hoo. Wow, that’s something.”
Snap set his glass back down with a sharp clink. “Man, if I had more money, I’d come here all the time. Their drinks are wizard.”
“The view’s not bad either.” Iolo winked as he gestured towards the catwalk. The Tonnika sisters were finishing up their set, sliding into a complicated series of mirroring twists and turns as the crowd hollered.
“Can’t argue with that!” Snap responded, slapping a hand on Iolo’s shoulder.
Just then, BB reappeared on the stairs, leading two men carrying a chair between them. The taller of the two was wearing a dazzlingly shiny gold shirt, while the other was dressed in white with a bright blue bow tie. BB directed them to set the chair down with its back towards the coffee table. She patted the white leather cushion, looking right at Poe.
“All right, birthday boy, come have a seat. Your surprise is coming right out.”
As Poe stood, Karé gave his ass a quick pat. “Go get ‘em, tiger,” she said.
Now that the pieces were falling into place, Poe knew exactly what the surprise would be. A lap dance. In front of all his friends. Great.
He sat in the chrome-and-leather chair, eyes flicking around the club in embarrassment. He was looking at the ceiling when he heard his name from in front of him. When he looked down to see who it was, he nearly fell out of his seat.
It was Finn and Rey, the dancers who had so captured his attention from before. They were still dressed in their same outfits, standing on the steps before him, with Rey propping an elbow on top of Finn’s shoulder.
Poe twisted in his seat, looking at his friends in astonishment.
Jess grinned at him from the divan.
“We know you like boys and girls,” she drawled, “so we got you one of each.”
Slowly, Poe turned back to the dancers still standing on the stairs. They both grinned coyly, Rey drumming her fingers lightly against Finn’s chest.
“May we?” Finn asked, and Poe realized that he was the one who had said his name. He nodded mutely.
Rey’s hand slipped from Finn’s shoulder as the two stepped into the seating area and up to Poe’s seat. It slid instead up Poe’s arm as they knelt at his sides, with Finn’s fingertips resting against his knee.
“So Poe,” Rey murmured, “how would you like us?”
His mouth opened and closed a few times. “Oh, I – I didn’t realize that – I don’t, um –”
Seemingly unperturbed by his stammering, Rey grinned over at Finn. “Oh good, we get to pick how to start.”
Finn grinned back before shifting around to the back of Poe’s chair. His hand slipped up Poe’s leg as he went, making him gasp, before coming to rest on his chest. The other hand slid into the hollow of Poe’s throat. Poe could feel his swallow against the man’s fingertips.
Rey stood in front of him, stooping to gently push apart his knees, then fit herself between them as she straightened. He dimly registered the sound of Phasma’s voice and the song changing over the loudspeakers, but Rey’s hips were swaying and it was taking all of his willpower not to reach out and touch the smooth skin of her waist. She sank to a crouch, flipping her hair over her shoulder, and started to walk her fingertips up his thighs, past his belt, and over his stomach. When she reached his chest, she leaned back up and put her mouth to Poe’s ear.
“C’mon, Poe. Go ahead and touch me.”
He breathed out shakily, and Finn’s hands moved over his shoulders and down his arms, directing his hands to settle against Rey’s ribs, then back up, where they buried themselves in Poe’s hair. He groaned, his eyes slipping closed and his fingers tightening against Rey’s sides.
Finn hummed. “You like how that feels?”
Poe nodded, letting his hands slide down. Rey’s hips undulated under his fingertips. He opened his eyes to find her reaching for a lock of hair at his temple, fingering it in a gesture that surprised him in its intimacy until she rolled her hips forward and made his breath stutter. As she stepped over his leg to straddle his thigh, Finn’s fingers left his hair. Before Poe could make any noise of disappointment, he quickly circled the chair to copy Rey’s position on his other leg, moving his hips in time to hers. Poe moaned quietly and moved his hand from Rey’s hip to Finn’s. His fingers flexed as they grinded against his thighs, his breath coming fast. Feeling overwhelmed, he closed his eyes again, tipping his head back slightly.
But just then, he felt Finn and Rey shifting to new positions. His eyes snapped open as Rey lifted her leg out of the vee between Poe’s thighs just as Finn swung his leg in, with his back to Poe’s front, so he was sitting in Poe’s lap.
“Oh shi–” he had time to say, before Finn was grinding against him, and he broke off into a groan. Rey was standing at his side, one hand buried in his hair, and Finn was rolling his ass against him so perfectly, he almost felt like he was dying.
Then Finn stood and turned to face Poe again, taking Rey’s hand and reeling her towards him. Pressing himself against her back, his fingertips caressed her neck. She arched against him, throwing her head back against his shoulder, as he slid his hand down her body, following a line over her stomach, past her tiny shorts, to her inner thigh. Poe gasped, his pants uncomfortably tight. Rey opened her eyes, fixing him with a wicked smile. She stepped out of Finn’s hold and clambered into Poe’s lap, her knees on either side of Poe’s hips.
As she circled her hips over Poe’s, she took his hands and drew them behind her, to where Finn had stepped up against her back, and put them on Finn’s hips. Finn swayed in time to Rey’s movements, pushing Poe’s hands lower to cup his ass. Poe was practically panting, puffing air against Rey’s chest as he clutched both dancers closer.
When their rhythm started to slow, hips settling into a gentle roll, Poe almost whimpered, knowing his time with them was coming to an end. He tipped his forehead against Rey’s breastbone and smoothed his hands over Finn’s lower back, trying to hold them as close as possible. Soon, though, Finn was gently slipping from his arms, and Rey was sliding off his lap. Poe looked up to find BB standing off to the side. She must have come to let Finn and Rey know that their time was up.
He wanted to stand, to say goodbye or something, but he wasn’t sure if his legs would support him.
“Thank you,” he said instead, barely able to control his own tongue.
Rey giggled, and Finn ran his hand across the back of her neck, smiling.
“Any time,” Finn replied. Winking, he turned with Rey and walked down out of the seating area, threading through the crowd to the door by the bar. Poe watched them until they disappeared behind the black-painted door, then let his head fall back against the chair.
“Did you enjoy your experience?” he heard BB ask from somewhere to his right. He nodded weakly in response. “Would anyone like something else to drink?” she said.
There was a chorus of yeses and requests for more Knockback Nectar shots, and Poe heard BB’s heels as she stepped down the stairs.
After a moment of silence, Snap spoke up.
“Shit man,” he said. “That was intense.”
“Yeah, fuck,” Jess joined in, “I was turned on just watching.”
Poe groaned, scrubbing his hand over his face, then got up to return to his spot on the couch. “Imagine how it was for me then.” As he flopped down onto the cushions, Karé patted a hand on his knee. “I owe you guys.”
“You sure do, bro. This place is expensive.” Iolo grinned as everyone laughed.
Jess leaned towards Poe, punching his thigh lightly. “So, you have a good birthday?”
Poe looked over to the black door that Finn and Rey had disappeared behind and grinned.