Alexis kept busy enough throughout the night. Business at the bar was slow, although the pace was unpredictable. Customers came and went, creating a rise and fall in activity, rather than a steady flow. One lonely dancer graced the stage, moving suggestively to old worn out rock and roll songs. Alexis wanted to talk to the woman, but stayed just busy enough to be serving drinks each time the dancer took a break. Besides, during every break, the dancer went into the small crowd sitting with a customer.
She finally caught the dancer leaving the stage after a short set. Business in the bar was in a lull, so Alexis decided she would take a short break, and get to know the only other female employee in the place. She gave the woman a smile as she left the stage, and followed her to a table along the outside wall of the bar.
"Mind if I sit with you," Alexis said as she pulled out a chair. "By the way, my name's Paulina." Alexis gave her the name she gave everyone else since arriving in Montgomery.
"Sure. Whatever," the woman said, not mentioning her name, instead taking a tube of cherry Chapstick off the table, and running it in a circle across her lips like a car along a racetrack.
The woman lifted a container of bottled water up, screwing the cap open, and bringing it to her lips. Alexis watched as she tipped the bottle up, drinking about half of it in one long pull. She wondered why a dancer in a shady strip club would choose water over any of the harder drinks probably provided free to her while she worked. The woman suddenly stopped, looking at her through her uplifted water bottle.
"What, you never saw a dancer drinking water on her break?" The woman sat the bottle back down on the table, screwing the cap back on, a wry smile forming as she stared at Alexis. After what seemed a lifetime of staring, the woman finally broke her gaze, picking up the tube of Chapstick again for another two laps around her lips.
"Becky," she said, as she pushed the cap onto the Chapstick tube. "My name's Becky."
"Nice to meet you, Becky." Alexis watched her stand the Chapstick tube upright, and pull her water toward the edge of the table. Becky moved with a grace and fluidity that Alexis thought was beyond that of a dancer in a club. Surely, Becky had some other professional dancing experience. She asked, "How long have you worked here?"
"About a year or so." Becky stared at her again, as if trying to see beyond her eyes, and into her soul. "I started out in the New York ballet. After an injury, I moved to Vegas. I did the circuit there for awhile, and then ended up here."
"That's a big jump, Vegas to Montgomery, Alabama. How did that happen?"
Becky grabbed at her Chapstick again. "Let's just say, a relationship brought me here, and when it ended, I was stuck." She uncapped the Chapstick tube with a pop, and ran it around her lips again, faster than before, as if she truly thought her lips were a race track.
Alexis decided not to press the issue any further, afraid of finding out what kind of horrific thing prevented Becky from leaving this place. She looked away, not wanting to go any deeper into conversation. Across the dark room, she saw Lefty raising his glass and shaking it until ice cubes spilled out the sides onto the floor
"Looks like you've met our resident jerk sleaze ball," Becky said as she pushed her chair back, getting up from the small round table.
"Yeah, he's been making me nervous all night." Alexis followed her up from the table, and extended her hand. "It was nice meeting you, Becky."
"Yeah, same to you. Take care of yourself, Paulina. Don't let guys like Lefty get to you. If you do, you won't last a week here."
"Thanks, I'll keep that in mind." Alexis glanced over to Lefty and saw he was still holding his glass up, an expectant look on his face. "I guess I better go fill his drink before he has a fit."
Becky strolled seductively back to the stage, grabbing the pole, and beginning a slow dance in the middle of a song. Alexis waited for another minute before making her way over to Lefty's table, just to make him sweat it out a little.
It didn't take long for the bar's crowd to dwindle down to only a few customers. By eleven o'clock the bar was empty except for the creepy, greasy-haired man, Sam called Lefty. Alexis wanted to show Sam that she was a valuable employee, willing to take initiative and get things done. She found some plastic trash bags behind the bar, and walked through the bar, emptying ashtrays and garbage cans. She filled both bags by the time she made it to the side door, leading out to an alleyway, and the dumpsters.
She hoisted the heavy plastic bags up, and backed into the door, moving into the alley backwards. Once outside, she dropped the bags and jumped for the door, but it closed before she reached it, leaving her stranded and alone in the dark alley. After throwing the bags into the dumpster, she turned to walk toward the front of the building, and something made the hair on her arms stand up. She sensed someone in the dark shadows nearby and nearly shifted before she saw him. Lefty's dark shadow filled the small alley space as he double-stepped, closing the distant between them. Alexis pushed back her shift, deciding she could take care of him in human form, if it came to that.
"What's a pretty little thing like you doing out here all alone," Lefty said as he reached over and grabbed her arm at the elbow.
Lexi said nothing, giving him a nasty look as she yanked her arm away. Undaunted, Lefty moved in closer, gripping her elbow again. She felt the hairs on her arms tickling her skin, and a primal urge to attack flashed through her mind, as he pushed her against the side of the dumpster.
"Leave me alone," she said, as she did her best to will the shift away. This was the last thing she needed on her first night of work. She couldn't afford to bring attention to herself, but she couldn't just let this creep take advantage of her either. Lefty moved close to her, his breath making her want to gag. His lips were parted, not in a smile, rather in that way a child might let their mouth fall open when all their attention is concentrated elsewhere, overriding physical control of their body. Alexis clenched her jaw, her hands curling into fists as she slid across the cold metal of the dumpster. She felt her body and mind giving way to an animal desire to rip lefty's head off. It was a difficult task as his actions brought on a flood of memories of Leonidas taunting her throughout her childhood. It didn't help that Lefty kept moving against her, his open mouth venting a putrid cloud of alcohol and stomach bile.
"Come on, Baby, I saw you looking at me in the club." Lefty leaned into her again, pushing his nasty body against her and running the stub of his half-finger across her cheek. "I know you want it."
That was it. His disgusting breath and stub of a finger, and his intent he was making so clear pushed her over the edge. Alexis felt the hair on her arms thickening, her canines growing painfully in her mouth. She yanked her arm out of his grip again, and let a low growl build within the depth of her throat.
"You alright ma'am?" A voice came from the alley entrance.