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"Is it hard?" one of the younger dancers asked her one night before the show, so wet behind the ears with nerves it's a wonder her makeup stayed on.

"Is what hard?" Kiki asked, adjusting the top of her sequined gown, turning in front of the mirror to check how the fringe moved, caught the light, drew the eye.

The girl bit her lip, looked down at the floor, at the faintly scuffed toes of her secondhand shoes.

"Landing a man's attention. You know, making them look...making them want to give you their...hearts." she said, carefully.

"Oh, honey," Kiki said, pulling silken gloves over her hands, smoothing her skirts. "It's easier than skipping rope."

She'd wished someone had told her it was so easy. She winked - they talked. She smiled - they talked more, so long as she pretended not to notice their drifting hands. It was easy to draw their eye - a steady look for some, a demure, timid glance from under dark lashes for others.

Later on, she smiled tightly over the drink he brought her. Men delighted in using her, never realizing that she was using them back.

She took their expectations, which were few, and revolved around the length and spread of her legs (despite what "propriety" had to say about that subject), but they never realized she was taking more from them than that. She took many things in the deep night: thrills, comforts, use (but never love). They thought they were taking, but she also took, in moments, in glances, in gin-soaked kisses, and she adored the game.