Collins was looking at me like she didn’t know what to make of my request, and I didn’t blame her. While I hadn’t planned on asking her for a lap dance, that’s exactly what had come out of my mouth.
Ignoring Richard’s comments on her being my first, Collins finally said, “I…I should probably go ask Lita or Carver if it’s okay before I even consider doing…uh, that.”
While a woman’s bedroom count wasn’t a big concern of mine, I liked knowing that she’s never danced for anyone else before. I liked knowing that she was just here to earn a paycheck and nothing more. Granted, I didn’t know the woman and just because she didn’t give lap dances that didn’t mean that she didn’t do other stuff for tips. However, she just didn’t come across like that. Plus, the way that Abby and Carol had tried to protect her with that little speech of theirs kind of confirmed that this girl wasn’t into anything more than serving drinks to the patrons.
Not wanting there to be any confusion, I said, “Why don’t we both go speak with Carver?”
Finally letting go of her arm, I stood up from my chair. “That way there’s no confusion and no one gets in trouble.”
Collins glanced around the room. “But…the drinks-”
“Oh, sweetheart, if Evander’s finally joining the fun, don’t worry about the drinks,” Rob said. “Abby and Carol can handle things for us.”
Her face turned red, and I knew that it was because Rob and Richard were making things sound seedier than they really were, but I couldn’t worry about that right now. We were in a strip club, for fuck’s sake. It was stupid to argue the nature of what happened in the private rooms.
She started nibbling on her bottom lip, but then she straightened and gave me a timid smile. “Okay. We…we can ask.”
Not caring that I was taking liberties with her, I placed my hand on the small of her back, then escorted her out of the room while my idiot business acquaintances hooted and hollered like a bunch of wasted frat boys.
I followed her to the other side of the landing, and I’ve spent enough money in this place to know that Carver’s office was this way. There was also a conference room, and from the security stationed in this area, I assumed the security booth was over here, too.
When we reached the hallway, one of the bouncers lifted his chin, probably aware that I didn’t have a meeting with Carver. This area was strictly off-limits, and I knew that because there was a huge sign coming into the hallway that read ‘Restricted Area’.
“Hey, Oliver,” Collins greeted. “Can we speak to Carver for a second?”
His blue eyes stayed on my face as he asked, “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” she answered. “Mr…uh…”
“Kendrick,” I supplied, keeping my eyes on Oliver.
“Mr. Kendrick and I just have a couple of questions for Carver,” she told him, and I couldn’t believe how much it bothered me to hear her call me Mr. Kendrick. I wanted her calling me Evander. Hell, I’d even settle for Evan, though no one has ever called me that before. I’ve always been Evander Kendrick III.
After a few seconds, Oliver stepped aside, allowing us to pass. Without a word, we walked down the hallway until we came upon Carver’s door. I’ve been here before, but always with Carver’s escort. Again, me and those fools in the VIP room have spent a lot of money in this place over the years. Carver understood that, so I knew that he wasn’t going to be too upset at being interrupted.
Collins knocked on the door, and a few seconds later, the door was opening, and it was only opening because Carver knew that whoever had been on the other side of it had been approved by his security. Still, looking at him, Carver Sullivan wasn’t a man that you’d want to mess with.
He looked surprised to see who his guests were. “Collins? Is everything alright?”
“May we come in for a bit?” she asked, and Carver immediately stepped aside to allow us inside.
As soon as I cleared the door, Carver shut it, then headed back over to his desk. Standing behind it, he gestured to the two chairs placed in front of the desk. “Have a seat.”
I escorted Collins to her chair, and I held the back as I would have had I been pulling her chair out for her. Being a gentleman never went out of style, and it was something that I’d done my best to teach Holden. Pull out her chair, open her door, carry her bags…all that shit should be a must in my opinion.
Instead of taking the seat next to her, I remained standing next to her chair. Carver immediately took note of this, and I saw his brow arch with a million questions. Carver knew me to not be one to engage, and I knew that the man appreciated how I babysat the guys. Everything that happened in our VIP rooms was consensual, and I also made sure that everyone cleaned up afterwards. No need to leave that kind of evidence behind.
“What can I help you with?” I wasn’t sure who he was addressing, but he was looking at me, so I decided to take the lead on this.
“Collins mentioned that she was just a server,” I started explaining. “We’re here to see if she’s allowed to dance.”
Those weird turquoise eyes of his shot her way. “You want to strip?”
I looked down at her, and she was immediately shaking her head. “No,” she rushed out. “He means…the private lap dances upstairs.”
Something past over Carver’s face as he leaned back in his chair. “Since you’ve never done a lap dance before, I’m going to have to ask why you’re considering it now, and what Evander Kendrick has to do with it.”
“I…uh, Mr. Kendrick requested one, and…the conversation just kind of steered towards if I was even allowed to,” she stammered, unsure if she was breaking some unspoken rule. “I…I thought it’d be best to ask you if I’m even allowed before the conversation went any further.”
Carver looked back at me. “Well, since you’ve never asked for a lap dance or have ever accepted the…hospitality of the club before, what’s changed?”
“I saw her,” I answered bluntly.
Ignoring my bluntness, Carver went back to eyeing Collins. “You are a server here, Collins,” he said. “You are not obligated to cater to any patron’s requests if you don’t want to. When you applied to work here, you had been adamant that you wanted to serve drinks only. While I have no problem with you agreeing to a lap dance, I want to make sure that the decision is yours and yours alone.”
Collins started wringing her hands together. “I know,” she replied. “I just…I can’t dance.” I almost grinned at how she kept saying that. “I’m not even sure if…” Her shoulders sagged a bit. “I just wanted to know the rules.”
Carver looked back at me. “The minimum is two-hundred dollars and the dance lasts no longer than the length of one song,” Carver explained. “The club takes ten percent of the minimum, but you are allowed to tip the dancer however much you want. If you want a longer dance, the price goes up for each song. The second song will cost you double, the third song will cost you triple, the fourth song will cost you quadruple, and…well, you get the picture. If you’re going to take one of my dancers off the floor, preventing her from benefiting from other patrons, then you’re going to pay for that privilege.”
Lifting his chin, he added, “Also, there are cameras in each of those room, just the same as with the VIP rooms. As long as everything that goes on in those rooms are consensual, I don’t make it my business what happens while you’re in there. However, it is a live peepshow for my security.” He looked back at Collins. “Whatever you do in there, the security booth will be watching, Collins. While I understand that something that voyeuristic may make you uncomfortable, it’s the only way to guarantee your safety. The second that something looks wrong, or you call out for help, that door will be opened, and the security team will take care of whoever crossed the line with you.” Leaning up on his desk, he said, “There are no rules against you wanting to do this, Collins. However, I want you to be sure that this is something that you want to do. You’re a great server, and a trustworthy one at that. I’d hate to lose you to after-morning regret.”
Collins didn’t say anything for a few seconds. However, when she finally did, it made no sense to me. “It would help,” she said quietly.
Carver regarded her closely for a bit before agreeing to let her dance. “Very well.”
Collins stood up, and her voice sounded a bit dry when she said, “Thank you, Carver.”
“Soren will escort you to whichever room is available, and he will stand outside the entire time,” he told us. Looking at me, he added. “You only get one chance at this Evander. Understand that.”
I gave him a nod of understanding. “Got it.”
“I hope you do,” he replied.
Little did the man know that this wasn’t about being teased or getting my dick wet.
This was about getting struck by lightning.