Nicole's Valentine's Day SurprisebyMrKitty©
Author's Note: This story is a continuation of my Christmas contest entry, St. Nicole's Christmas Miracle, which you can read if you want the history between the character's first meeting. Thanks to everyone for all the positive feedback on that story—I hope you like this one…
My Valentine's Day was quite eventful this year. I'll tell you all about it, but I suppose I should start first with my strange Christmas. Strange, but good. In throwing a neighborhood party for the kids, I sort of fell for the guy I hired to play Santa. His name is Rick. And no, he isn't fat.
We didn't plan it. Both of us were having a terrible year. Rick's wife left him and he lost his job, and my Duane died in a car crash a little over a year ago. We were both lonesome, emotionally damaged goods, so I suppose it was natural that it went from comforting each other to something else rather quickly. It probably wouldn't have happened under other circumstances. But I'm glad it did.
My girls took to Rick easily. I was happy for them; they needed a father figure around. I didn't share it with Rick, but it made me deeply sad how easily their young hearts made room for Rick by pushing their father's memories aside, without guilt or mourning. If only I could heal that simply. Rick did bring joy back into my life, and he was respectful for my loss, but every time I saw Marcy's eyes or Kayle's smile, I thought about Duane.
Thankfully, it didn't seem to even enter their young minds that he was white. I longed for the blissfully simple child's view, untainted by the strain of living. I claim that I don't have a problem with Rick being white, and he claims he doesn't have a problem with me being black. It's hard though when your whole life has been filled with friends and strangers pointing out our differences. When you're taught that we're not like them. Rick and I want it to work so badly that we overlook any unconscious slights. We're so unlikely that it has to work. It's us against the world. I think that the race thing almost makes it easier because we're just that much more sensitive to each other. We almost never argue, and so far we've never fought.
He's been so kind to me, and to the girls: it's embarrassing. I'm his brown sugar princess, so he says. He got me a little white Pontiac for Christmas, and he'd piled a mountain of presents on the girls. He'd known me for maybe two weeks, and he got me a car. I knew he'd fallen for me, but I guess I didn't realize how hard. I almost didn't believe it, and I almost had him take it back. Almost. I felt kinda shitty because I can't afford anything extravagant like that. Instead, my present for him in return was to fuck his brains out. He said that he liked his present way more, which made me smile, a sly dirty-girl smile. God, did I need a new car.
I couldn't afford the mortgage after Duane passed, so I'd taken a seamy, but better paying job as a cocktail waitress at a club called the Landing Strip, out by Metro airport. It was a topless club if you couldn't have guessed from the name, a standalone building in a blue-collar town, with a gaudy pink neon sign. It wasn't a bad place as those places go, and the money was pretty good. Far better than my secretary job. The money would have been better if I was willing to take my clothes completely off. I wasn't a dancer, but they tried to talk me into it. "Come on Nikki, you'd make a killing!" No thanks: not for me. My momma had raised me with at least a little self-respect.
Momma had been watching the girls on my work nights, but now that Rick was in the picture, he'd taken over that job. Rick won a lot of points when I first introduced them. He was respectful and courteous, listening intently to her stories, and calling her "Mrs. Gregson" all the time. She might not have picked a white man to date her daughter if I'd asked her, but I didn't, and she seemed to take it in stride.
She only embarrassed me a couple times. Once, when she found out Rick was out of work, I could tell she almost called him a dead-beat. She stopped herself short, but I knew her too well. But she did admonish him: "you better take care of my Nicole, you hear!" He replied in all seriousness, "I don't buy cars for just any girl I date, Mrs. Gregson." She cracked up after that pretty good. Yeah, I think she likes him.
Rick was staying over almost constantly these days, and I was grateful. He had a little dump of a bachelor's pad out in Redford he'd rented after his divorce. He took me there once—it was sad and lifeless, unpacked boxes all around, nothing of comfort or beauty, no environment. He said he liked staying at my place. I like having a man in the house, and I know the girls do too. He's always trying to help me fix it up. Not that I couldn't do household things, but like every good man he has an innate skill and patience with handyman tasks, combined with a little extra height, a little extra strength, and a little extra know how. With Rick around, our home seems warmer, more alive, and more safe. We live in downtown Detroit. Although there are worse neighborhoods, there are plenty better—I liked knowing he is there to protect us, just in case.
It was nice to have the house buzzing again. Over the dinner dishes, I'd hear shrieks of delight filtering in from the family room as Rick would play with my Marcy and Kayle, picking them up and tossing them in the air, or rolling around on the floor with them. Once they had gotten sufficiently tired out, he'd tuck them in and read them bedtime stories. I know why they first fell for him; they believed he was Santa. My oldest had recognized Rick even without the big white beard he'd worn at the party—must've been his eyes—and it was their little secret that Rick kept up. Eventually she'd find out, but why spoil it now?
On nights that I wasn't working, after the girls were put down, Rick and I would sneak off to my room and we'd go at each other like teenagers. I loved to feel his hands roam my body, manly calloused hands, gently exploring my soft curves as if he was afraid I would break. He loved to play with my curly hair, nestling his fingers in it while I lay against his chest. I'd slide my head down his chest, over his stomach, and pop his cock into my mouth, nursing on him and massaging his balls while he'd stroke my hair. He liked to go down on me too, which was a wicked new pleasure for me. Not too many men I'd dated did that, but I eagerly spread myself and he would devour me greedily. He'd get me nice and wet, begging to feel him inside me, bumping up back against him while he massaged my tits and stroked my back. God it felt good to get regularly laid again.
On nights I did work, I'd come home late, around 4AM. The first few times he tried to stay awake for me. I didn't expect him to stay up, and after a while he'd always have fallen asleep when I came home. Hell, I'd be sleeping if I could too. I loved to come home then, knowing he was there watching over my girls, not having to worry about picking them up from Momma's house in the morning. I'd open the front door quiet as a mouse, pull off my cold, sloshy boots, hang up my coat, and tiptoe to the bedroom. Once I'd taken a quick shower to cut away the smoke, I'd slide under the sheets next to him, naked and clean, cuddling up against his sleeping body.
He asked about coming to see me work. I didn't want him to. I wasn't embarrassed about him, not at all. He was the one worried about our slight age difference, not me. I just didn't want him seeing me there. It was one thing to be a private slut for him. It was another to have him see me there, watching other men leering at me, barely covered by my skimpy blue dress. He begged and begged, saying how he thought I was so sexy, he wanted to see my outfit, see where I worked, see the friends I talked about. Eventually I relented.
The night he was coming to my job, we dropped off the girls at Momma's, each of us carrying one of their bundled sleeping forms. I insisted that we drive separately, just in case he didn't want to stay my whole shift. He didn't want to, but he let me have my way, thankfully as it turned out.
We came in the back, and I quickly got undressed in front of him, and started to put on my costume. Rick smiled, and looked at me with eager loving eyes as I was fitting myself into the black leotard and the skimpy little blueberry dress with it's built-in push-up bra. I'm not very big on top, and Rick insists he likes them small. After stuffing myself into the cups and the appropriate tugging and yanking into place, even Rick had to admit that they looked bigger and quite sexy. I spritzed my hair and gave myself a generous splash of Kai on my wrists and neck, ready for the night.
"Okay hon, time for you to go out front," I told him.
"Alright. You look gorgeous," he said. Rick looked at me, his eyes wide and wet with a strange mix of lust, concern, and care.
"Don't worry; I do this every night."
"That's exactly what I'm worried about. I'll see you out there," he said, giving me a soft kiss and walking out the back door, back around to the normal customer entrance.
Jasmine, one of the dancers saw us part. "Boyfriends are trouble here, sweetie. The green-eyed monster inside can't take it," she said, tapping her heart with her finger.
"Yeah, but I thought maybe since I'm not naked it'd be okay."
"You're still on display, girl. I've lost boyfriends by bringing them here."
I got suddenly very worried. Jasmine obviously saw it and immediately covered for herself.
"I don't think that'll happen to you Nicole."
"God I hope not. I really like this guy, and I don't want to mess things up. Maybe this was a huge mistake!"
"I'm sure it'll be fine. He seems more mature than most." She gave me a hug. "I'm sorry—I didn't mean to make you worry."
"I know you didn't. It's okay." I got my order pad, and strode out to the front of the house.
This is the only strip club I've ever been in, so I really have nothing to compare it to, but I hear this is better than most. The atmosphere is loud and smoky, full of sweat, alcohol, and male lust. The women dancing know how to manipulate men so easily, coaxing male wallets empty, more with their eyes and their smiles than their tits and ass. At first I was repulsed by it, but after a while I almost felt sorry for the men, brains hanging between their legs, willing slaves to something I wouldn't ever truly understand. But I had learned how to get good tips too, and I wasn't sure I wanted Rick to see me working it.
I saw him sitting at the bar, watching the proceedings, talking with our bartender Amy. Two of the girls were on stage, executing their motions in a long slutty unsynchronized dance routine: strutting around the poles, looking straight at the men seated around the stage, stretching their legs in the air, squatting down on their asses right in front of them, then turning to cup their bare tits for their mark. They swiveled and rotated their bodies, bouncing in time to the music, blowing kisses, winking seductively at the crowd and each other. They stroked themselves, touching their breasts, their asses, rubbing their thinly G-string covered crotches.
Rick stared at them—no straight man could resist—and that didn't bother me at all. But once he saw me, he smiled and fixated on me, and I squirmed a little, wondering what he thought of me. I almost wished he'd stare back at the dancers. I worked my assigned tables ignoring Rick, bending over deep to put down the men's drinks, and making sure to bend over at nearby tables to give a good show of my rear as well. I was all smiles, not completely fake, but not completely real either. The music was loud, so I leaned in close to talk into their ears, brushing up against them in the process. I flirted and chatted up the men, making them feel good about themselves, loosening those purse strings.
A big group of rowdy blue-collar guys came in and got seated in a circular booth next to the bar. Next to Rick's bar stool. They had pretty well gotten their drunk on before they'd come here. Sheila, one of the other waitresses, squinted at them cautiously, then asked me hopefully if I wanted that table. Feeling brave, I said yes. A big fat guy in a purple pin-striped shirt was clearly the ring-leader. He bellowed out "Two MGD's all around, pronto!" to which I replied "Coming up sweetie!" and hurried off to the bar to grab a dozen beers from Amy. I was standing by Rick's stool at the bar waiting for my beers, and he leaned over. "I bet you have some real jerks in here some nights, huh babe?"
"Most nights. But not every guy is. Some are kinda sweet."
"I don't know how you do it."
"Money is a good motivator." Amy finished popping open the dozen beers, placing them on my tray. "Beers are here dear—gotta go."
"Good luck," he said, as I carried my tray of booze off to Trouble.
I started setting them down, two to a man, bending over to give a good look at the goods, and the king pin shouted "Nice tits, huh guys?" Most guys were quiet about stealing a glance, as if they were getting caught doing something they weren't supposed to. Not this guy.
He started laughing uproariously, and some of them nervously followed suit. I did my best to not look in Rick's direction. I didn't want to see what was on his face. I hurried off to serve less drunk patrons, while the louts busied themselves looking at the less clothed entertainment.
A while had passed with me occupied elsewhere, too long obviously, and I heard the rowdy table shouting "Over here!" Downing two beers a piece, on top of what they'd already had that night hadn't helped their inhibitions. That's when it happened. The fat guy shouted "Hey darkie—get your ass over here!"
I was two tables away, and immediately looked up. There was no question who it was directed to. African-Americans in the crowd were few: no customers that I could see, a bouncer Maurice, a dancer who called herself Coco and who wasn't even on the floor. And me. Rick had sprung up from his stool, and within a stride was at the loud-mouth's table.
"What did you just say?" he demanded. I stared at him, never before having seen rage on his face like that. The music kept pumping, but conversation had stopped. The dancers still gyrated, but had turned themselves to watch the action, just like everyone else within earshot. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, but I was speechless. Rick was an ex-engineer, not a fighter, and I didn't like where this was going.
"You must be deaf son, 'cause I was shouting! I was asking, real polite like, if your nigger girlfriend over there could get to work so we could get some drinks!" He started a self-congratulatory laughing fit. Quite suddenly Rick leapt across the table, scattering empties in every direction, and smashed the fat man straight in the face with his fist, following up with another immediate blow to the man's stomach. "Don't you dare, you fucking piece of shit!" he hissed between clenched teeth.
The man had not been expecting anything from Rick, certainly not an explosion of rage like that. He struck back ineffectively, his nose bleeding, his swings wild and drunken. The rowdies also were quite surprised, but they managed to pull Rick off. Our bouncers arrived quickly there to break it up: Maurice escorted Rick off to the far corner of the bar, while Tommy talked down the fat man and his friends. I didn't hear much, but I did hear some more unflattering remarks made in my direction, at which point, Maurice and Tommy ended up escorting the fat man, who'd subsequently vomited, and his drunken gang out the door.
I rushed over to Rick, and I held his face to the dim bar lights in concern. He had gotten a little beating in the tussle, but not bad. "What was that for?" I said, incredulously.
"I'm not having some asshole talk to you like that!"
"I can take care of myself," I said defiantly.
By this time, Maurice, and Amy the bartender had come over.
"Hey man, are you okay?" Maurice asked Rick, his body towering over Rick sitting on the stool.
"Yeah, fine," Rick said.
Maurice gave him a little lecture. "I understand getting pissed at those drunk racist crackers. But why don't you head on home and let your woman finish up the night? We'll take care of her, like we do every night. A'ight?"
I turned to Rick, and softly added, "I'm sorry I had you come. Please go home. Now."
"I'm sorry for causing problems," he said to Maurice, and then to me "I'm really sorry babe. I'll see you at home." Rick gave me a peck on the cheek, and walked out, his head hung dejected.
Maurice watched him leave, then turned to me. "Skinny little boyfriend could'a got his ass beat, you know that?"
"Yeah, I know. I've never seen him rage like that."
Maurice smiled. "I'm guessing he ain't never seen his woman treated like that."
Amy winked at me, with a knowing smile. "Well, I think it's kinda romantic. A man defending your honor like that. And they say chivalry is dead!"
I thought about what had happened the whole rest of the night. I was going through the motions even more woodenly than normal. We finally closed up, and after we'd cleaned up the place, I sat at the bar with Amy, Jasmine, and Coco, using whisky sours to wash the night away.
I sighed. "I still can't believe Rick went ape-shit on that guy."
Coco was miffed, "Damn it all that I wasn't out front—I didn't see anything!"
Jasmine smiled, "Well, I could see pretty well from the stage. You don't have anything to be worried about, Nicole. Rick took care of himself just fine. Stuff like this happens every once in a while, and nobody cares or remembers."
"Thanks," I said, half-heartedly. "You were right—I shouldn't have brought him."
Jasmine was good enough not to say I-told-you-so, saying "Nicole, it's obvious he loves you. You're lucky."
Amy piped in, "I had a ring-side seat, and you should have seen how pissed he was when that asshole started calling you names."
"I saw it," I said. A proud chill went down my spine, knowing that my man would fight over me. "I hope he's not mad at me."
"For what?" Coco wondered.
"I don't know, maybe I was too hard on him when we asked him to go home," I said.
Amy hopefully interjected, "You can always make it up to him on Valentine's Day."
"Shit!", I started.
"Oh oh. You didn't get him anything?" Jasmine asked.
"No, I totally forgot. When is it?"
"Tomorrow, honey. Being that no stores are open at 3AM, you're screwed." Jasmine wasn't doing a very good job consoling me.
Amy giggled, "No, he's screwed. Just give him every man's most wanted gift and every woman's best fall-back gift ever. Sex!"
We all laughed, and Amy added, "You know you wouldn't laugh if it weren't true."
I moaned, "Yes, my man loves sex, but that's all I got him for Christmas!"
"Girlfriend, did he complain?" Coco asked with a grin.
"Well, no. But isn't that really lame to just repeat it?" I worried. The girls were all leaning in, fire gleaming in their eyes as they helped cook up a plot.
Amy offered the first suggestion: "Bump it up a notch. Does he have a fantasy you can act out?"
I thought for a while. "Yes," I said. He had told me that he'd tried to get a call girl twice after he was divorced, but he chickened out in making the actual plans. He told me how he'd fantasized about it, needing a woman, wanting that illicit sex, but afraid and how the danger fueled his need. Yes, that would be perfect.
The hens pounced, all clamoring to know what it was, but I refused to spill it.
"You're not finding out that easily. But thanks for the great idea guys!" I yelled as I jumped up and ran for the door.