A friend of mine sent this in after reading Gin & Coke. I find that people’s need for a happy ending in passion themed stories makes it easy to blur the line between reality and fantasy. I know a lot of you are not too pleased with the way Gin & Coke ended, but it was never meant to be a love story. I apologize for the abrupt ending but I will try to do an alternate ending piece with a more robust plot. Thank you so much for reading, commenting and sharing. Please enjoy The 13th Floor.
She got up from the table and walked over to the girl who just finished dancing. She whispered something in her ear and they both turned around and looked at me. The look on her face gave it away; she was up to no good. The stripper smiled and walked right toward me, already dancing. She began to give me a lap dance while Angela sat back down next to me, laughing her head off. I sat on my hands to comply with the “no touch” policy while Angela made it rain, chuckling the whole time. The stripper had an amazing body but couldn’t hold my attention for long. She had an “over-experienced” aura about her I found rather unsexy. After about 10 minutes, it was over and she left to find her next victim. “Did that turn you on?” asked Angela, as if the bulge in my pants was a banana I happened to carry around. “What the fuck do you think?” I replied. She laughed and said I looked like I would rather sink into the chair. “You look cute when you blush,” she giggled. “Black people don’t blush,” I responded, knowing fully what her next response would be as she had said so several times. “You do.”
The visit to the strip club wasn’t planned. I had picked her up from the airport that morning. She was in town for work, the only was her possessive husband would let her out of his sight. I had timed a visit to my brother to make sure i could spend time with her. The office flirting was fun and we had never said anything serious to each other. But we could both tell the attraction was real and strong. We had had several “I’ve never told anyone but you……” conversations. Also had the “I remember the first time I saw you…..” talk. It was never too emotional, at least not for me. She was someone I connected with and would love to spend time with if we didn’t work in the same building with both our spouses!
From the Airport, I took her on the predictable errands; SIM card, bank visit, breakfast, hotel check-in and FedEx. I don’t know if it was the change of scenery or the fact that we were finally alone but she seemed to have boundless energy. Some light shopping and dinner followed. I figured she’d be tired. I offered to drop her off at her hotel. “I want to go dancing,” was her response. “How can you not be tired?” I asked. “Is that the old man talking” she responded with a teasing smile, a thinly-veiled reference to the 15-year age gap between us. She sure knew how to goad me. “You’re on,” I responded.
I took her back to her hotel and carried some of her shopping bags to her room. She asked me to sit down while she picked out something to wear. She tried on a couple of dresses she brought with her and a couple she bought earlier that day. She looked sexy in everything she tried. I didn’t feel like much help. I told her if she wore jeans and a t-shirt, I still wouldn’t be able to look at anyone else. She settled on a red dress and heels. “Can you dance in those?” I asked, staring at her feet. “When was the last time you were out?” was her laughing response.
I had googled “urban clubs” and picked the one with the highest ratings. The reviews even said they played the occasional Nigerian song. A $10 cover charge and metal detector search got us into the club. Being a fan of rock and Nigerian music, most of what was being played was unknown to me. Plus all the dance steps seemed strange as well. It had been a while since I was in a club outside Lagos. She, however, seemed to be in heaven. She was singing along to most of the songs while dancing suggestively. After about 30 minutes, I suggested we get some drinks. We sat at the bar and ordered a Long Island for me and a margarita for her. The music was so loud we had to lean very close to hear each other. As she was telling me she hadn’t had this much fun in a while, I couldn’t but take in the smell of her perfume and the sight of her cleavage.
A group of 4 guys walked past our spot by the bar and her brow furrowed like she remembered or recognized something or someone. “I think that guy went to my secondary school,” she said.
“You want to go say hi,” I asked.
“Yeah, why not,” she responded, “it would be fun to catch up.”
“Have fun and take your time,” I said, “the old man will be here watching the game”
The guy she walked up to was about my height, 6ft 2ins, but about 10 kg heavier with the build of an athlete. Plus, he was about the same age as her. I didn’t feel like I had a right to be jealous so I turned back to the game. I noticed the lady sitting next to me was alone and seemed to be excited every time the home team scored. It turns out she went to my college’s rival school. We exchanged some friendly banter but had to get really close to hear each other over the loud music. I turned around to see what Angela was up to. She had her arms around the new guy and he had his hands around her waist. They were dancing rather suggestively, in my opinion, even more so than when she danced with me. As much as I had promised myself not to get jealous, I found myself getting angry. I resisted the urge to drag her away and waited another 30 mins till she came back. She leaned into my ear and said “if you aren’t having fun, let’s go”. I asked her about her “new friend”. She said something about him asking for her number and her responding that she was married, only in town for a week and so on.
We left the club and got in the car. Before driving off, I couldn’t help myself and asked “did you have to dance like that with him?” She looked at me with part-irritation and part-surprise and asked “like what?”
“You know like what. I can see why he’d put his arms around your waist but you held him back like you were enjoying it”.
She looked away from me and out the window and said. “I’ve had enough of this shit. If I wanted to go out with my husband, I would go out with my husband. I wouldn’t be here with you. And I didn’t leave with the guy in there, I left with you”.
I knew I’d stuck my foot in it and had no right to be jealous. Who gets jealous over their friend’s wife? I told her I was sorry but she didn’t respond. I asked her what she wanted to do. “Take me home” was her response. Her voice sounded like she was holding back tears and I felt even worse. She’d confided in me about how her husband was trying to curb her free spirit and how everything she did was a problem. She was considering walking out less than 2 years in. And here I was, acting like the Svengali she was trying to escape from, even if only for a week. I started driving toward her hotel. But I wasn’t ready for the night to end on this note. I stopped at a gas station and started pumping. She still wouldn’t look at or talk to me. I went into the store and walked out with my hand behind my back. I tapped on her window. She wound down.
“You look like someone stole your lollipop” I said with the best over-exaggerated puppy dog face I could muster. “Can I make it up to you?” And then I pulled out a lollipop and handed it to her. She couldn’t help herself and cracked a smile albeit reluctantly and took the lollipop from me. It was an inside joke. “I’m an idiot and I’m sorry” I apologized again.
“Will you please get in the car?” She asked.
“Only if you’ve forgiven me” I responded.
“Just get in jor” she said with a smile on her face. The Angela I knew was back! I got in the car and she unwrapped the lollipop and stuck it in her mouth. “This isn’t the lollipop I wanted” she said with a naughty smile.
“Are we still talking about lollipops?” I asked looking right at her instead of the road in front of me.
“What do you think?” was her even naughtier retort. The Angela I loved talking to was back.
“Still going to your hotel?” I asked. She thought for a second and yelled “strip club!”
She picked the one to go to. She had gone with some friends on a previous trip earlier that year. Didn’t tell her husband, of course, but she’d told me.
After the stripper left our table, we began to do tequila shots. “We can blame the tequila for anything that happens tonight” she whispered in my ear at some point. We also got a couple stacks of $1 bills and made it rain with the girls on stage. Angela had a way of making me try things I’d never think to do on my own. I could see why her husband seemed determined to tame her but I was certainly having fun. By the time we were done spraying, I could tell she was tipsy. “It’s 4 AM” I told her. “Time to end your YOLO” day. And she seemed to agree.
Back in the car, she thanked me for a wonderful day. She was gracious enough to overlook my jealous fit at the nightclub. We got to her hotel’s parking lot and I couldn’t find the words to be suave, so I blurted out “We’re here, or would you rather come over to my hotel?”
“Why would I do that?” she responded.
“I got you something and was hoping you’d want to see it”
“At 4 in the morning?” she asked sarcastically.
“Are you upset I asked?” was the best I could come up with.
“No, I could never stay mad at you, even when you say silly things.” And there it was, rejection and endearment in one breath.
“Should I walk you to your room” I asked, already knowing the answer.
She responded “no thanks, I’ll be fine”. She said goodnight and leaned in to hug me. I hugged her back and it lasted a little longer than usual. We pulled away but our foreheads and noses were touching. We were breathing in the same air and it was thick with suspense. Neither of us could make the next move. I didn’t want to risk further rejection. I raised my head up and kissed her forehead. “Will you call me when you get to your room?” I promised I would. I watched her walk away. As pretty as she was, her back view was always my favorite. But this time, it filled me with regret and not desire.
It was a 10 minute drive to my hotel. I had a room on the top floor because she had mentioned that making love against a window of a high-rise was on her sex bucket list. I’d hoped to help her cross that one off. Now it seemed my planning and extra spending was for naught. At least I had a good view of the Houston skyline. I took off all my clothes, except for my socks, and got into bed. I didn’t feel like talking so I sent Angela a text message to say I had made it to my room. Not quite 5 seconds after I switched the lights off, my phone starts ringing. It is Angela. I answered.
“Are you tired?”
To be continued….