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*disclaimer* I’m not satisfied with this but ive been sitting on it for like 3 months now, so here it is.
Erik was frustrated. No, he was beyond frustrated. He was livid. Sitting in his truck with Amber next to him, he restrained himself from beating on his steering wheel, but only barely.
Walking into the first lawyer’s office hadn’t been a big deal. They didn’t practice in what he needed. That hadn’t been a big deal to him.
The second lawyer had offered a consultation. Fifty dollars for a thirty minute meeting. Erik paid up front, waited a few minutes in a conference room, shook hands with a man in a suit then turned over his notebook. After reading for five minutes the lawyer had closed the book and said, “I’m sorry but we won’t be doing business together.” Then he left the room. The secretary had come in and asked them to leave a few minutes later because a meeting was about to start. She was also sorry, but there would be no refunds.
Erik had went to a third lawyer, gotten a free consultation remarkably, and was shown to another conference room, this one in an office building four floors high. Erik had stared out the window on the top floor, waiting for the lawyer to come in. A woman came in, looked at his papers and in disgust asked him if he had any decency. Then she left the room as well, no explanation given. This had enraged him and he didn’t wait for someone to show him out.
Now, Amber looked at him from the other side of his cab with pity and maybe even a little fear.
“I’m sorry, it’s just frustrating that I’m trying to get something done and no one seems to want to help. I’m a paying customer even! Well, willing to be, but they don’t want anything to do with me it seems.”
“I know, I get it, you’re fine,” she reassured him.
“Are there anymore on the list?” he asked her.
Amber looked at her phone, a list of results from searching for lawyers on the web browser. “There’s one a few blocks away we can try.”
“Okay, let’s do it.” Erik started the truck and backed out of the parking stall. “I’m not giving up. I’ll go to every attorney in the county if I have to. But fuck, this is harder than it seems.”
She began navigating him to their next destination. “Would touching my tits help you calm down? I’d offer a blow job but I’m afraid you’ll donkey punch me or something.”
He looked at her, confused, “What the fuck is a donkey punch?”
She laughed and pointed him onto a main road. “It’s where you punch a girl in the back of the head to make her spaz out on your dick.”
“Dude!? Not cool!” He laughed then, and together they devolved into a fit for a moment.
“Right?” she said, covering her mouth with her hand until her laughter subsided.
Erik’s frustration eased with the humor in the air. He was glad she had come along. Her presence had been a quiet support he hadn’t know he had wanted. He could have gotten along without her but it was nice that she was here.
“Tell me about yourself. I don’t know much about you except that you like sex with me, and you work at an office supply.”
Her face fell and she turned away. “Not much more to say,” she said, looking out the window.
He felt the mood grow heavy and looked over at her. Undesired guilt crept over him, seeing her sit as if forsaken. He wanted to pull her body close to his and make her feel special.
“I’m sure there is, come on,” he encouraged.
She didn’t say anything back to him, didn’t even look his way. Her eyes turned sad, her face downcast.
He knew he should compliment her somehow now. What was he supposed to say to a woman he had fucked twice on impulse? You fuck good? He sneered to himself, disgusted. “Sorry, didn’t mean to pry.”
“You’re fine, I’m just…” she trailed off.
“I’m glad you came.” He said into the silence.
Turning away from the window she gave him a sad smile, “I am too.”
She told him the last bit of necessary navigation in quiet tones and he let the silence in between directions stretch out. It didn’t bother him to be quiet but it bothered him that he had upset her somehow. He did learn to not ask her about herself anymore, and that he should just enjoy her company.
He wanted to show her what he was going to do. He didn’t know why really, he wasn’t even entirely sure of what that was. He still had to ask his employees what that should be. He wanted her to be impressed with him though, and how he was going to change things, make them better for everyone.
Erik found it a bit ironic that he wanted to be some kind of savior to a bunch of topless dancers, yet still employ them as such. Wouldn’t it be better to find a different way to employ them? Then again, people did what they did for their own reasons and there would always be dancers, so why not make life better for them.
Women who would take off their clothes and pay attention to men in exchange for money were gems to be treasured.
Treasure chest; he bostancı escort was curious if that would be a good name for his place. He imagined a pirate themed club called Treasure Chest where the dancers were all called wenches and the bartender wore an eyepatch and called himself Captain. Erik breathed out a silent laugh and parked his truck, backing into a stall.
“What’s funny?” Amber asked in the downtrodden tone. Erik explained. She snorted with laughter. “God, don’t do that. Its a terrible idea.”
Erik agreed while parking.
He was in front of a small strip mall with four other businesses open to the public. A realty company, a pet store and a comic book and game store, plus the attorney office in the middle. They all had glass windows that ran the full height of their fronts, letting everyone see straight into the front of the offices. The comic book store had theirs covered with posters and the realty office had their blinds pulled down.
He stared a moment, preparing himself for rejection again, seeing as how that was the pattern.
“Maybe I should come in with you this time,” Amber said.
He looked over at her. “Sure, if you want to,” was all he said. They got out at the same time and walked to the door.
A bell clanged when they walked in and after standing there awkwardly, Erik saw a blond, short haired woman waddle up the counter. She was almost as round as she was tall but her smile was genuine. “Can I help you?” she asked immediately. Her voice was clear as a bell.
Erik jumped in bluntly, “I’ve inherited a strip club from my uncle. I need an attorney to help me with the legalities of running it. Will you still help me?”
The woman blinked, pausing before her smile came back. It touched her eyes and Erik relaxed as she spoke, “Well sure, I think we can take care of that for you!”
Erik breathed a sigh. The relief that washed over him was unexpected, but welcome nonetheless. “Thank God because no one else has.”
“Really? I would think it wouldn’t be much of a problem.” Her voice rang in the office, hanging in the air.
Amber spoke up, “Yeah, he’s been rejected by three other firms.”
“Wow! Well we won’t do that here, why don’t you come on back and I’ll let Kay know you’re here.” The receptionist moved over to a half door in the counter and swung it open for them. Erik let Amber in first, following her down a narrow hallway to a conference room behind the main area.
The receptionist waddled to a closed door, opened it and went in, holding it for them. “Do you have any of the paperwork with you?” she asked.
Erik turned to her after entering and replied. “Yeah, it’s all in the truck.”
“Oh! Well why don’t you get that and I’ll go get some of the standard paperwork we have to do.”
Without a word, Erik left the room making a bee line for his truck. When he came back he sat down the box if papers he had found at David’s as well as the black leather binder he had gotten from Amber. Setting that on top of the box, Erik looked up with a smile. He was happy to have finally found someone willing to help.
“I don’t think that I’ve introduced myself, I’m Sue,” the receptionist said, offering her hand to Erik.
“Erik,” he replied back, shaking her hand. Amber introduced herself too, quietly, then stepped back behind Erik.
“Well Erik, we’ll be happy to help you out here. Kay is our attorney and she’ll be just a moment. We’ll get ya all figured out in a jiffy, does that sound good?” Sue said, gesturing with her elbow as if to elbow his ribs. Her smile was genuine and her eyes were bright.
“I hope so.”
Sue, scurried out and Erik took a seat at the long conference table that stood in the middle of the room. There weren’t any windows but fluorescent panel lights hummed over head, casting white light everywhere. A long narrow bench occupied one wall with a series of encyclopedias on top of it. A tree over six feet tall stood in a corner and Erik wondered if it was just a fake plant for decoration. It was likely.
Renaissance era prints hung on the walls. Erik recognized The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, God’s hand outstretched to Adam’s, Venus of Urbino lounged in her red chair, La Fornarina held her breasts in a delicate hand. Others he didn’t recognize captivated him.
Erik found himself sucked into studying the various pieces of nudity. They were all of naked women except for Adam, and considering the reasons he was here, Erik found that encouraging. He was curious if the attorney could be bisexual.
The door opened and a tall woman with auburn hair pulled back in a professional bun walked in wearing a black pencil skirt and a grey blouse without sleeves that buttoned up the middle. White crescent moon earrings were in each ear and black chopsticks stuck out of the bun. She sat down without a word and looked at Erik with flat eyes through black eyeglasses.
Her smooth, emotionless face and silent çeliktepe escort entrance gave Erik pause. He met her eyes without blinking luckily, but wasn’t sure how to break the imposing silence. He chose to go about it matter of factly. “Do you want to represent the owner of a strip club and help me translate the legalities of running it?”
He expected her to either continue to silently stare him down, or to jump into a monotone drone of some kind. He was wrong.
“I can do that. What paperwork do you have?” Her voice was monotone as expected. There was no variance in her pitch or speed, just clipped words that sounded as if a drone were speaking.
“I have a bunch of stuff from my uncle who died. I’m not even sure what I have,” he slid the paperwork to her, “but all of this came from his house and his lawyer. They gave it all to me and won’t answer my calls. I’ve barely bothered to look at this stuff but-“
She cut him off, “Can I have the short version?” then she looked down at the stack, then opened the leather binder with one delicate finger.
Erik stopped his entire thought process. If thinking could be represented by a driving car, his thinking would have hit a wall at forty miles an hour. He took a long moment to regroup then appreciate the situation.
This attorney was unlike anyone else he had met before and he didn’t know what to do or how to think. Maybe just listening to her and doing as she asked would work best, so he gave her the same brisk tone she had given him. “My uncle died and left me a strip club and some money. I don’t know anything about it, him, or what to do. I want to be right and legal. Will you work things out so I can run the club?”
Kay never looked up while he spoke, just slowly flipped a page, read it, and flipped another page. When he was done, she flipped another page before speaking and said, “Yes,” in the same tone as before.
Erik didn’t say anything else in the silent room. Amber shuffled a little to one side but he didn’t look at her and neither did Kay. He studied Kay, interested in who she was and instantly fascinated with her robot like demeanor. Questions of who she really was and how she thought and what she was thinking rolled through his head. He watched for her to fidget or wiggle or adjust and was left with no observations. He even stared at her mouth to see if she licked or pursed her lips. Looking at her chest even it barely raised and fell with her breathing. How could she be so calm?
Amber shifted again and he glanced at her. She was scrolling her phone, barely paying them any mind. The silence stretched and Erik began thinking that he should go and let her silently review his papers.
Finally she looked up, closed his book and folded her hands on top of it. “I want to ask you some questions, ” Her voice showed a ripple of emotion, “What are your goals in running this club? Besides money.”
Erik was taken aback but after considering a moment, he felt himself spill out. “First and foremost, above money, I want a good place where people can enjoy themselves thoroughly but also where the girls enjoy being there to work. My goal is to have the best, safest, sexiest, club with the best girls for the best customers.”
Those thoughts hadn’t even solidified in his mind when he spoke them. He wasn’t even aware of wanting all of that until the words came out, but it was like the idea all came together at once in his mind, like a growing billboard.
He did want the best club with the best girls for the best customers. He wanted his place to be the spot where people could gather and enjoy their time there. He wasn’t sure how he was going to accomplish that, but he was going to try.
Kay just nodded. She looked down for a time, and her eyes took on a look of seeing something that wasn’t there, like she was remembering something. When she looked back up, she was still blank faced, but softer somehow.
Erik glanced at Amber and she wasn’t on her phone. She was smiling at him for some reason. He didn’t know why but he smiled back at her anyway.
He looked up at the attorney as she stood. He stood with her and she spoke, “I’ll have answers for you in a couple of hours and more next week. Try calling on Tuesday and we’ll have it all figured out.”
“Thank you,” Erik said. He offered his hand for a handshake. Kay returned it with a short shake and walked out. He wasn’t insulted with her brisk behavior, he just accepted it.
Sue, the overweight receptionist, bustled into the room a minute later with a stack of paperwork. Erik spent the next thirty minutes filling out and signing forms, then finally writing a check for more money than he had ever spent at one time. He had secured himself an attorney to represent himself and his business. Despite still inwardly balking at the ten thousand dollars he had given Sue and Kay for their representation, he felt good. One more step had been accomplished.
“I’m hungry, how about cihangir escort lunch?” Amber asked when they got to the parking lot.
Erik looked at his phone. It was after one. definitely time for lunch.
Erik checked his phone for time. It was six p.m. He was sitting on the stage, his feet dangling off of it, looking around. A few of the girls were looking back at him, a mixture of confusion, impatience and boredom on their faces. Bob, the twitchy doorman was also there, obediently waiting, if nervously.
Despite her desire to come along earlier, Amber had left after lunch after getting a phone call. She hadn’t said for what but she had apologized and hoped to catch up later. He smiled, remembering her joke to not sleep with all of the strippers immediately.
Bob had called all of the girls and told them each that there was a paid meeting happening tonight, and that there was big news and big changes coming, a new owner was taking over.
There had been nine dancers working the floor regularly, to his surprise, but not all of them agreed to come. Four looked at him now, waiting on a fifth. Trixie had been the only smiling face but then again she had met him, talked with him and he felt like there was good rapport there.
The fifth girl had walked in and sat down.
Erik picked up the notebook and pen at his side and titled it “Meeting Notes,” with the exact time and date. “Okay ladies and gentleman, I don’t know how to do this officially but this is as real as it gets. As you all know now, David passed away and left me the club,” a ripple of emotion passed through the tiny crowd, “and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. After contacting a lawyer today I’ve gotten the ball rolling on making everything in my name. With my unexpected take over, I’m sure there are many questions. Now is the time to ask them.” Erik stopped talking and gestured with both hands to them, offering them the floor.
“Who are you, like, will you tell us about yourself?” a red haired girl asked. Her voice made him think of an out of tune violin.
“My name is Erik. I’m twenty-five and I used to work for a call center in town. I’ve only been in a strip club a few times in my life, and only this one once before, after I found out I owned it. I took a year off from high school before college and that was seven years ago, and still haven’t started college.” he finished with a laugh.
The red head nodded her head, satisfied with his answer.
Another girl spoke, “What do you plan to do differently?” She was a thicker bodied girl in grey sweat pants and hooded sweater. Her eyes were like ice blue lights.
“Well,” Erik began, “I intend to hire more help. That will be a huge benefit I think. I also intend to remodel. I want to take care of you all in the hopes that you will take care of the customers.”
The was a wave of approval from them all. A voice he didn’t recognize said “Hell yeah.”
Trixie spoke next, “How are ya gonna remodel?” her southern accent was loud and clear in the open space.
“That’s where I need the most input,” Erik held up his notebook, “here’s the God’s honest truth. David neglected you, this building, and himself. But he made money. So, I’m going to invest back into you, this building and this business. Tell me what needs fixing.”
“Can we get somethin’ done about them rooms upstairs?” a new voice said. This one was Hispanic in nature and Erik saw she had tan skin with dark brown hair in a folded ponytail and eyes dark as chocolate.
“Yes,” he said immediately, “what do you want done?”
“I don’t know, but it looks shoddy as hell up there and I don’t like it.”
Erik made sure to look directly at her then run his eyes over them all. “I’ve not been around this kind of thing much, but I know what could happen in a set up like that. If you ladies want privacy, I’ll give you privacy; if you want open, I’ll give you open. I’ll get a contractor in here to fix all of that up in one way or another.”
A murmur came from them but no one said anything specific. He waited for someone to speak up about the rooms upstairs. No one did. He had plans for it but he didn’t want to ignore Amber’s advice of listening to them tell him what he needs.
“Bob, what do you need to make life easier?”
Bob looked at him suddenly, eyes bulging. He pressed his lips together hard and his head twitched to one side then he said, “A second barkeep would be the best thing. Even someone I had to train would be good. I think the biggest thing you could do is just hire more people. We need security and bartenders and drink girls and dancers. You have the business, you don’t have the help.”
Erik wrote down his first note. Hire more help. “Okay, do any of you know anyone who would be willing to fill these positions reliably? I don’t want to go through a dozen doormen, I want two guys who can screen the customers and take out the trash. I want to hire someone for the bar that will survive the rushes and can fetch beers. Even two people-.”
Bob jumped in, “We have a kitchen, you could start serving food if you got stuff coming in and got a cook,” he started shaking his head, “I just can’t do it all.”
“What do you want to do Bob? If you could pick your job here?” Erik asked.
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