Author's Note: I'd like to thank KevH for his outstanding editing skills. His tireless efforts were much appreciated. Also, thanks to Tom Collins for her help and suggestions.
It was cold, bitterly cold as the snow fell sporadically, lightly dusting the street in a white blanket.
At least the holidays won't suck for everyone, Tyler thought cynically.
His eyes wandered away from the road to the strip malls he was passing. Christmas used to be his favorite time of the year. He would watch the people busily preparing for the holiday, or just spending time with their families, and it always brightened his mood. As his eyes took in the sight that used to bring so much pleasure, Ty was saddened by how apathetic he felt toward the jovial atmosphere.
"Who cares?" he said aloud, his eyes briefly returning to the road, before moving back to the stores flashing by. The last year had been very difficult for him. Despite support from his family and friends, Ty felt himself sliding into a chasm that seemed bottomless.
With a loud sigh, he looked again at the families scurrying about happily, enjoying the light layer of snow. The scene reminded him of Christmas for the first time all season.
"Shit!" he screamed suddenly, as his eyes moved back to the road in front of him. Traffic had come to a sudden stop and there was no time to react.
Tyler slammed on the brakes and turned the wheel hard to the left in desperation, trying to avoid the semi that had stopped directly in front of him. His car spun, turning almost completely sideways, before gaining some traction. At the last second, he managed to veer into the turn lane, and then watched helplessly as he passed within inches of the stopped truck.
After sliding another fifty feet, the car finally came to rest in the left-turn lane, almost as if he planned it all along. Ignoring the alarmed stares of the drivers beside him, Tyler pulled his shaking hands from the steering wheel and looked at them in wonder.
"I should have died," he said quietly, shocked at how loud his voice sounded in the eerie silence. His hands returned to the wheel, but were shaking so badly that he decided to pull over and give himself a second to recover.
Looking around, his eyes settled on a familiar sight. Years earlier, Tyler lived nearby and would occasionally stop at Johnny's on the way home. In addition to being a relaxed place to hang out, they featured live entertainment. He used to love winding down there after a tough day at work.
He waited until there was a large gap in the traffic, then did a U-turn and pulled into the parking lot. The non-descript building looked more like a house than a place to go for a good time. Tyler stepped out of the car and was surprised to find that his legs were still wobbly. He took a moment to steady himself before walking to the front door.
As he entered, he was greeted by a wave of blaring dance music. There were two pool tables in back, where several young men were playing. He turned the corner to the right and managed a smile for the first time, as he caught a glimpse of the entertainment. She appeared to be in her early twenties, about five foot six with long brown hair and the most amazing ass he had seen in as long as he could remember. The woman was wearing a mesh top and a white thong with thigh-high stockings.
Tyler looked around, surprised that she was the only dancer in the room. Normally, he would have expected to see two or three girls working the bar. Then again, since there were only six other men in the room, it was possible that any other dancers might have gone home early.
He walked to the bar, where he asked a pleasant looking blonde for an import, but she told him they were out. Annoyed, he said to just give him whatever they had on tap. As he stood, impatiently waiting, he felt something brush the back of his head and realized it was the dancer saying hi as she walked toward the back of the room. It caused him to smile again, this time with a little more enthusiasm, both from the contact and the scent of her perfume. He glanced to his left, but only caught a glimpse of her before she stepped out of sight.
The bartender handed him a beer, which he accepted, trying to do so without indicating his displeasure. He walked over to the tables against the wall, not wanting to sit with the men at the bar. Tyler took several deep gulps, trying to calm his frayed nerves. When a new song came on, he glance around, surprised that the woman hadn't returned to the front. He glanced to the back of the room and realized that she was talking with the men playing pool.
Swell, he though, aggravated. I come to a strip bar and still get ignored. He quickly finished the first beer and thought about leaving, but decided he needed one more to calm his nerves. When he returned to his seat, Closer by Nine Inch Nails began blaring from the jukebox. Tyler chuckled to himself, well aware of the explicit lyrics. Just then, the dancer appeared, walking to the makeshift stage against the front wall. It had a pole mounted to the small riser that ended about a foot short of the low ceiling. The haphazard appearance added to the impression he already had formed about not expecting much from the show.
Tyler watched with mild interest as she began her routine to the beat of the slow, driving, primal song. Despite his mood, he was anxious to find a way to escape the negative feelings he'd had for the last few weeks. He leaned against the wall, deciding to give her a chance to atone for the slight.
The woman began with the typical bumping and grinding most dancers used, but caught his attention when she grabbed the top of the pole with one hand and began spinning herself like a ballroom dancer. She ran her hands down her body, bringing them between her legs, then grabbed the pole and climbed. Reaching the top, she flipped upside down, using her strong thighs to stay aloft. She caressed her smooth, tanned skin, while the music pulsated and her dancing became more and more erotic.
I want to fuck you like an animal I want to feel you from the inside I want to fuck you like an animal My whole existence is flawed
Tyler's breath quickened and he felt a stirring in his groin while he watched her amazing performance. How anyone could be so sexy while performing for a nearly empty room was beyond him.
She put her foot on a table, spreading her legs tantalizingly, again running her hands over her panties, staring at Tyler like it was all for him. He watched her move with a grace that was beyond most exotic dancers he had seen, while never losing the eroticism that seemed to emanate naturally from her.
Without warning, she dropped to the floor, quickly spinning to her knees. She looked over her shoulder, flashed a devilish grin, and slapped her ass with an open hand. Rolling over again, she spread her legs, running her fingertips up her thighs before grabbing the pole with one hand. Using it for leverage, she arched her back, her head just above the ground. She slowly brought one leg straight up until it reached the pole high above her, her toe pointed like a ballerina.
Suddenly the song ended and Tyler realized that he was leaning forward in his chair, anxiously waiting to see what she'd do next. He applauded enthusiastically, along with the few men present, then impatiently waited for her to make her rounds. After visiting each of the men at the bar, she made her way over to his table.
"Hi, did you like the dance?" she asked in a soft, sultry voice.
"It was amazing," he stammered, feeling foolish and cursing himself for acting like a love struck teenager. "So, are you a dancer...a professional dancer, I mean," he quickly added.
"No," she said, smiling at the compliment. "Not unless you count me dancing in my room. I always wanted to be, but this is as close as I'm ever going to get." She regarded him with a sly smile. "Would you like a private dance?"
Tyler couldn't suppress a grin. "I thought you'd never ask."
She offered her hand and said, "I'm Faith".
A flash of pain in Tyler's eyes was the only sign that her words struck a nerve, but the look was immediately replaced by one of open admiration. He took her hand and introduced himself.
Faith walked him to a more private area in the back of the other room. They talked for a moment while the song on the jukebox ended. The lighting was better there and he was able to look closely at her for the first time.
He noticed that she wore very little make-up, but still looked beautiful. Her lips were full and sensual. She had brown eyes that peeked out through oval lids, giving her the look of someone always on the verge of smiling, a mischievous smile that belied a quirky sense of humor. Her hair, dyed red in the front, gave her an untamed appearance that fit her dancing perfectly.
But what caught his attention the most was her chest. Through the mesh shirt, he could see a red shape that stretched from between her breasts to the middle of her stomach.
"Is that a drawing or a tattoo?" Tyler asked in fascination.
"A tattoo," Faith answered with a satisfied smile. "It's a phoenix; I designed it myself. Do you like it?"
"Yes," he said, staring brazenly at the tattoo. "It's beautiful."
She regarded him cautiously. "It's kind of a spiritual thing."
Tyler couldn't take his eyes off of the design. He had never seen one like it, nor one in the particular spot she had it placed. It was beautifully crafted and made him wonder about the story behind it. He smiled wryly as he realized the tattoo was distracting him from a much more interesting sight.
The sound of the jukebox starting again jolted him from his reverie. He heartily approved of her choice, Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On. Faith immediately began swaying to the sensual beat. Tyler resisted the urge to look at her body, finding her eyes mesmerizing. She stared back at him lustfully as she slipped the strap of her top off her shoulder, while moving toward him. Her head dipped close to his lap before dragging up his body, her hair brushing against him tantalizingly, until her lips hovered beside his cheek.
Tyler could feel the warmth from her face as she brushed lightly against his cheek, causing his penis to begin twitching. He'd had lap dances before, many that caused an erection, but never one that created this kind of immediate reaction. She purred into his ear, raising goose bumps on his neck, then lifted her head over his, letting her hair spill into his face. Her perfume threatened to overwhelm his senses.
He sighed aloud, bringing a knowing smile to Faith's lips. She had him and knew it. Standing slowly, she turned away and shrugged the straps off her shoulders, letting the garment slide down. Her skin looked smooth and soft, making him wish he could touch it, just for a second. The top bunched when it reached her hips. With a seductive shake, it dropped to the floor and she slowly reached down to retrieve it, giving him a perfect view of her ass and her mound pushing against the thong.
He struggled to maintain his calm, sliding his hands under his legs to avoid giving in to the temptation to touch this amazing creature. Faith stood back up and set the top on the table beside them, and then turned to face him, her hands covering her breasts. Her hips moved as she massaged them teasingly, refusing to let him see more. His breath quickened and he shifted, trying to relieve the pressure of his rapidly growing prick trapped against the seam of his pants.
Faith gave him her naughtiest look, as her hips swayed and her knees bent. She moved her hands down slowly, letting her small, firm breasts slide into view. Tyler felt a lump in his throat as he saw her light brown nipples for the first time.
She saw him staring and moved closer, pressing his face between her breasts. Normally she wouldn't be so bold, but something told her that this man wouldn't do anything she would object to. His warm breath washing over her skin made her feel weak in the knees.
What is going on? she wondered. Faith enjoyed teasing men, but she rarely let one get to her like this. There was something about him; something sad, vulnerable and tender that touched her.
Shaking her head to gain control over her emotions, Faith redoubled her efforts to arouse him. She dipped her head low toward his lap and could clearly see his erection straining against his slacks. Turning her head, she dragged her face against his clothes as she moved upward, putting her hands on his legs for balance. She nuzzled against his cheek, delighting in the slightly rough feeling of his unshaven face.
She put her foot on his shoulder, giving him a view of the inside of her thigh, leading up to the crotch of her panties. The material stretched and molded itself into the shape of her mound. Tyler forced himself to look into her eyes, a part of him uncomfortable with ogling her in such an obvious way. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see her hand move across the cloth, her finger teasing the opening of her sex, while he watched her smile.
"It's all right, you're allowed to look," she teased, amused by his shyness.
Tyler returned her gaze intently. "I'm looking exactly where I want to," he said firmly. He saw surprise register in her eyes, then it was replaced with the look she wore earlier. 'It must be how she looks at all the guys to make them feel special,' he thought.
She turned again and moved her back against his chest, leaning her head against his shoulder. Her left arm curled up and around his head, while she ground against his cock, which was now completely erect. His head spun as he tried not to embarrass himself. Just when he was afraid he couldn't hold out any longer, the song ended and she stopped moving, lingering against him for a few moments before stepping away.
"So I guess you enjoyed that," she said mockingly, the twinkle in her eye letting him know she intended no insult.
Tyler blushed, "I'm just glad the song ended when it did or you might have found out how much I enjoyed it."
Faith leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, her breasts brushing against his arm. "Always glad to have a fan," she teased.
"Forever, milady," he said flamboyantly. He reached into his pocket and grabbed his wallet to fish out the money for the dance. As he handed it to her, Tyler gave her a strange look.
"Can I ask you something personal?" he asked. Her expression was a little guarded, but she nodded. "Faith isn't your real name, right?"
She laughed warmly. "Yeah, it really is my name. I know, almost all dancers use stage names. I did when I first started, but I grew up around here. The first time a guy I went to school with came in, that was ruined. After that I just started using it because people like it as much as any of the fake ones."
Again, she noticed something in Tyler's expression that disturbed her, but she couldn't get a read on it. Whatever it was disappeared quickly. She decided to change the subject before the mood was ruined.
"Care for an encore?" she cooed. She was surprised to see his expression darken.
"Honestly, I'd love to, but I need to get going."
He smiled, but it looked strained to her. Faith tried to change the subject, not wanting to see him look so sad. "So a rain-check then?"
"I'd like that." This time his smile looked genuine. Impulsively, he leaned forward and gave her a quick hug. "Thank you. I really needed that."
She hugged him back, then watched him walk toward the front door. As she turned to reclaim her shirt, she tried to understand why she suddenly felt unhappy to have to go back to work.
Tyler pulled his car in front of the red brick house. He turned off the ignition, but paused before opening the door, his eyes fixed on the steering wheel. Despite wanting to be there, it was still so difficult.
He walked slowly to the door and rang the bell. There was loud barking from inside, followed by footsteps. The door opened and an older man's face appeared. He looked kind, but his appearance was marred by wrinkles and dark circles under his eyes. It looked like the weight of the world was on his shoulders.
"Hey Ty," he said wearily.
"Hi Dad," Tyler responded, stepping in the door to embrace him. He was jarred by a weight crashing into his leg. Looking down, he smiled. "Hi Fia," he said affectionately, patting the dog hard on the ribs, then scratching behind her ear.
He walked into the living room as his father closed the door behind him. Glancing at the wall, he felt a heaviness on his heart as he saw his favorite picture. Desperate not to relive those emotions yet again, he turned to his father.
"Anything interesting happen today?" he asked, already knowing the answer.
The old man shrugged. "Not really. I've been pretty tired so we've stayed around the house," he said, gesturing toward the dog, who had already found a warm spot by a heating duct and was curled up for a nap.
Ty frowned. "Dad, this has got to stop. You can't stay cooped up here forever. Why don't you go out with friends from work? It's not like you don't have enough of them."
His father looked at him sharply, his exhausted appearance quickly replaced by one of concern mixed with annoyance. "Look who's talking. When's the last time you did something other than come home from work and sit by yourself?"
Tyler met his father's stern glare. "Well, now that you mention it, I stopped at a bar tonight. I met a nice girl and we talked." Looking at his father's skeptical expression, Ty was ashamed of himself.
"Fine, I don't have a life. Is that what you wanted to hear? I almost had an accident on the way here and stopped off at a bar to get a drink and calm my nerves. I paid a stripper to dance for me."
His dad gave him a wry smile. "Was she talented?"
Tyler laughed at the double entendre. "Yes, she was very beautiful, sexy and a marvelous dancer. Honestly, we had a nice chat. It's the best I've felt in a while." He paused, weighing the possible consequences of his next words. "You know the strangest part? Her name was Faith."
His father stared at him for several seconds with an expression of pain. He looked away, wiping his eye with the back of his hand. "Maybe you should talk to her again."
Tyler nodded absently while the two men sat quietly, absorbed in their own thoughts.
"Just go inside already!" Tyler scolded himself angrily.
He had been sitting outside Johnny's for a half hour, but hadn't gathered the courage to get out of his car. He looked again at the door, then tightened his hands around the steering wheel in frustration. Sighing, he reached into his pocket and grabbed his keys. He started the car and reached for the gearshift.
As he pulled the lever into reverse, a flash of movement caught his eye. He turned his head in time to see the door to the bar open and a small figure step out into the snow.
"Faith," he mumbled, instantly recognizing her. Without thinking, Tyler shifted the car back into park and watched, longingly. He noted how differently she appeared from the previous week. She was wearing jeans and a turtleneck sweater, topped by a light jacket. It seemed odd, since the temperature was supposed to reach single digits. She had a scarf draped over her shoulders, that she quickly pulled across her face.
Tyler watched as she hurried to her car, opened the door and slid inside. He faced forward again, watching his knuckles turn white as he gripped the wheel, trying to decide what to do.
The sound of a car door slamming startled him, shaking him from his thoughts. He looked over his shoulder and saw Faith walking to the front of her car, and then pulling up the hood. The desire to help immediately outweighed his indecision, so Tyler stepped out of his car and walked toward her, the cold wind stinging his cheeks.