All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2017 Isabella Jordan
Salma Fuentes, known in Los Regalos as Salome, made her way offstage, tossing her crop onto one of the props tables as she went. Jerry, the stagehand, passed her a bottle of water. Ashley waited to help her into her short robe of crimson silk since all she was wearing at the moment were her nipple clips, four-inch stilettos, and diamond studded G-string. The backup dancers trotted along behind her, the applause beyond the curtains ringing out.
So went another night at the Ropacabana.
"Awesome show, Salome." Ashley smiled at her. "You looked so beautiful up there."
"Thanks." Salome nodded to the younger woman, hoping she could make it to the dressing room without being followed.
Salome didn't stop, knowing Ashley wasn't likely to give up until she pled her case. "Yes?" Might as well get this over with.
"I was hoping to… um… talk to you if I could." The girl's tone revealed her anxiety. "If you have a moment, that is."
No matter how much ambition she could smell on Ashley, she just couldn't bring herself to be rude. She probably should have. Sure, her years in Los Regalos had made her cynical and jaded. Yet Salome wasn't so arrogant that she couldn't sympathize with the amount of courage it took for Ashley to approach her.
She was pretty sure she knew what the other woman wanted. It was always the same thing. Every year it seemed there was a new bright-eyed girl working backstage at the hottest club in Los Regalos wanting to be the new star.
She herself had once been one of those bright-eyed girls.
"I've just got a moment," Salome told her. "I have a meeting with Hamilton upstairs in ten minutes."
Ashley nodded, swallowing visibly in her nervousness. "Well, I was hoping you could give me some advice. I've been working backstage for the last year on all the shows I could get on with as an assistant. I guess I'm interested in doing more now. I'm hoping to become a dancer. You know, like you."
Salome smiled patiently at her, looking her up and down. As far as wereleopards went, Ashley was a fine specimen. A lovely girl with cocoa colored skin, gorgeous dark hair, and a thirty-nine inch inseam unless she missed her guess. Nice slender build but not too skinny. She had large breasts but not too large. They didn't look like they'd pull the rest of her willowy frame over with their weight.
Ashley's best features were big, dark eyes that were very trusting and open. Maybe a little too open. Ashley had always been a friendly girl, like a puppy. If Ashley had been a real bitch, Salome wouldn't worry so much.
She shook her head. Had the girl already been there for a year? In two more years Los Regalos would tear Ashley apart no matter what path her future took.
That or it would make Ashley a cynical asshole like she was.
"Why?" she had to ask the younger woman. "Why would you want to do what I do, Ashley? You're smart, right? You're educated."
Ashley nodded again, wringing her hands in front of her. "Well, I do have a degree from the real world but… there's not a lot I can do with that here."
"Sure there is." Salome sat on the edge of her dressing table for a moment, opening the bottle of water to take a long drink. "You could get an office job and work for one of the admins. You can make as much money there as you could doing this. Someone has to keep the books in this place. And trust me, you'd be a lot happier."
"Happier? Being a paper pusher? Sure, the money might be good but I'd die if I had to do that every day. Locked in an office, away from the shows? I could have done that in the real world. No, I came here to do more."
"You could still see the shows," Salome pointed out. "You could afford to come and see all the shows you wanted."
Turning to the mirror, Salome hurried to put herself together to meet with her supervisor. She didn't have time to change clothes or shower. There was really little point. He probably had a client he wanted her to fuck waiting up there right now. If she looked sweaty and disheveled, it was all for the better.
"You don't think I'd m-make a good dancer?"
Salome took a deep breath. Somehow she knew the girl wouldn't give up that easily. Turning back, she took in the girl's unease as she stood there, her little hands still busy knotting and unknotting.
"Ashley, I don't know if you can dance or not. I do see a woman who could do anything she wanted. I'm just trying to tell you to consider carefully what you choose."
The girl's eyes widened a little at that.
"How old are you?" Salome asked.
It figured. "I was your age when I started dancing up here."
"You're still so young and you're the star here."
Salome didn't miss the enthusiasm in the girl's voice. Enthusiasm was a great thing but there was something Ashley didn't quite grasp. "I'm twenty-five. I've been here for eight years and yes, I worked hard to get where I am. But where I am isn't exactly what you might think."
"What's to think about? Everyone knows who Salome is. Everyone comes here to see you dance. You look so gorgeous up there, so sexy. That's what I want. I don't mind dancing nude or suggestively. It's an art, a celebration --"
"There's a price," Salome warned.