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Guaranteed, I Can Blow Your Mind

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Sophia has just quit her job, and is in a celebratory mood.

“Good fucking riddance,” says Francis, when she rings to tell him. “How’d she take it?”

“Auntie Jane? As well as you’d expect.”

“Not well, then.”

Sophia’s laugh crackles across the receiver. “I’ll tell you about it in person. Want to go for a drink?”

When has Francis ever said no to her? “Sure.”

“Meet you at eleven,” she says. Francis stifles a groan. At eleven he’s usually in bed with a book, or sprawled in front of the telly with Neptune snoring on the rug. The idea of leaving his flat after eight is positively horrifying to him.

“Right,” he says, all the same. “Where’re we going?”

“You’ll see. I’ll text you the address. Oh, and can you see if James and Ann are free? I’d love to see them. It’ll be just like old times.”

It really won’t be, but Francis agrees anyway.

*****

“This is a strip club,” Francis says, when he arrives. He’s put on his best blazer and a good pair of jeans for a strip club?

“It is a strip club,” remarks Ann. She’s shrinking further into her coat and into James’s arms. This, to James: “We got my mum in to look after the kids for a strip club.”

“Not just any strip club. Not some dive bar with a pole and some disco lights. A real establishment,” says Sophia, gesturing expansively.

When her companions look doubtful, she goes on. “Male and female dancers from all over the world. Famous DJs. Some of the best cocktails in London. Wanted to write about it, when it opened. But Auntie Jane wouldn’t let me – writing about a strip club would scandalize the readers, she said.”

It scandalizes Francis, come to think of it.

Somehow, Sophia persuades them all not only to go in, but to take up a reserved table at the very centre of the club. They’re right in front of the stage, and someone – Sophia probably - arranged for bloody champagne.

She obviously thinks it’s all a bit classy, but Francis doesn’t agree. He keeps that opinion to himself, watching the dancers come and go on stage with about much interest as he’d watch a car being serviced.

They can’t talk much over the music, but that’s fine. Francis is more content to listen - first, to Sophia’s retelling of how she walked out on Jane Franklin, then to Ann’s effusive congratulations, then even to James’s complaints about the veritable flood of undergraduate papers he’s being forced to mark. The conversation moves along quite well without him, which is just how he likes it.

Francis enjoys this company, but as for the club, it’s a different story. It’s all lurid makeup and G-strings and music that’s more synthesizer than melody. As Sophia promised, there are male and female dancers, but so far their collective flailing and gyrating has done little for him. The women are all buxom and kittenish, the men musclebound and oiled. Not Francis’s type, not by a mile – not the women, and certainly not the men, either.

Sophia’s having fun, and Francis is happy for that. James is being rather gallant in keeping his eyes very firmly fixed on his drink and his wife, seemingly not tempted at all by the parade of flesh not two feet from him. Ann actually pays for a lap dance, much to Francis’s shock and to Sophia’s delight.

Not for her, of course – she gives a man twenty quid to writhe all over James. She and Sophia dissolve into fits of giggles, and even Francis enjoys the look of mute terror on James’s face.

“You’re a very good sport,” remarks the dancer, before he leaves.

“Cheers, mate,” says James, weakly, while Ann wipes tears from her eyes.

Most of the dancers know a lost cause when they see one, and steer clear of Francis. A petite blonde tries it on with him, and finds herself politely rebuffed. She looks enough like Sophia that if he met her in a bar he might be tempted to try to pick her up, but he’s not going to give her money to pretend to enjoy rubbing her tits all over him. He wouldn’t enjoy it, either.

(Not that he goes to bars, or picks anyone up anymore, come to think of it.)

Then she angles for James, and finds herself more rudely rebuffed.

A few more dancers, more music. It all blends into a blur. Francis’s mind is hazy, and not with drink, but exhaustion.

He perks up a bit at the sound of actual screams of delight from the other patrons. This is a clue that something different is about to happen, and at first, it seems rather anticlimactic. A lone man wanders out onto the stage. Francis looks, absently, at the stage; then far more closely.

He is unlike the other dancers Francis has seen. Taller, for a start, though likely that’s partly the quite frankly ridiculous boots he’s wearing. Slighter, too, though most of him is hidden in a silky robe that nearly touches the ground.

“Oh, I’ve heard about him,” remarks Sophia. Her eyes are enormous. “He’s famous around here. I can see why. Goodness.”

“I follow him on Instagram,” adds Ann.

Ann follows a stripper on Instagram? Francis shares a meaningful look with James about that one.

The dancer, meanwhile, loiters upstage, obviously waiting for his music to start. The crowd is getting restless, the howls from men and women alike beginning to sound desperate. At a particularly bloodthirsty scream from a woman a few tables away, the dancer lifts his head and winks, then blows her a kiss.

Francis wonders if this is part of the act, to get them all riled up before he starts in earnest. Whatever the ploy, it has Francis watching with interest.

The man is beyond handsome, even Francis will admit that. He’s good-looking in a way one doesn’t often see, an entirely natural beauty. He wears his hair long, and it hangs in neat, shining waves. His features are fine without being delicate – high cheeks, a strong jaw, an elegant nose. He could be a model. Maybe he was, at some point.

Then the music starts, and it’s a tune Francis recognizes. There’s a good beat, but rather less of the obnoxious pounding he’s heard up until this point. Not that he’s focusing on the music very much now, since the dancer has begun to sway.

He twists leisurely, maddeningly slowly. He strokes his hands through his long hair, then caresses his own throat, dips his hands down the front of his robe. He flicks its hem to the side with the toe of his boot, baring one long leg.

Francis is mesmerized. He can feel Sophia watching him, but he can’t look away.

The dancer makes a great show of toying with the tie on his robe before undoing it. Compared to the rather indecent acts that preceded him, this is all a bit innocent. He spends quite a while teasing them all with taking it off, and then-

Oh. Oh, Christ. Francis’s prick – which had snootily ignored a veritable parade of women with magnificent tits and men with washboard abs – now rouses itself with interest. The man hasn’t even taken off his robe and Francis is already getting hard at the idea of seeing what might be underneath it.

He coughs and tries to cross his legs, but this only pushes his prick against his inseam, which the errant organ tries to imagine is the dancer getting one of his admittedly beautiful hands around it and starting to-

On stage, the stripper finally lets his robe go, and it pools around his feet. Someone – maybe the woman from before – actually shrieks with delight at what is revealed. Francis concurs, a little more quietly.

“Jesus Christ,” wheezes James from beside Francis. “I’m not, you know, but fuck.”

“Fuck,” indeed.

The dancer is lean and supple, strong without being bulky. He’s dusted himself with glitter, which somehow doesn’t look tacky. Instead, it accentuates the outrageous length of his limbs. This alone would be enough to get Francis going – but the rest of it is ridiculously, maddeningly enticing.

The stripper’s boots are shiny PVC, laced all the way up to mid-thigh. He’s wearing underwear, but barely – black satin protects what little modesty he has left. Added to this is, of all things, a bloody corset, which clings to his lithe hips and slim waist but bares his chest.

It’s as though this man has been pulled from a wet dream Francis didn’t even know he’d had.

He struts and parades himself in time to the music – there’s quite a lot of throwing about of hips – before he takes the pole in hand. After a few slow turns about it, he builds up some speed, then lands with perfect grace upon the pole.

He spins, he twirls, he waves spread legs to his audience. He goes up and down; he grins while suspended seemingly effortlessly by one leg. Each move is more brazen and more acrobatic than the last. It’s outrageously sexy, of course, but it’s also an impressive feat of strength and skill.

Francis didn’t know anyone was capable of doing the things that the stripper is now doing on the pole, but he and his prick are both pleasantly surprised.

“Want to try that at home, love?” asks Ann, poking James’s arm.

The dancer is upside-down on the pole now, holding on with just his thighs, and Francis is wondering what else he could grip like that, when he notices that the man is rather older than he thought at first. At a distance, he could pass for late twenties; now, Francis would say late thirties.

This does nothing to deter Francis’s interest. Makes it stronger, if that’s possible. With the man’s face so close, he also notices that either he has enormously long lashes, or he’s wearing mascara, or both.

The dancer winks at him – or maybe at Sophia, or Ann, or even James – and Francis goes rigid. He can’t adjust himself – someone will see. But if he doesn’t, someone is going to notice that he has what is becoming a massive erection. James will notice, or Sophia will – or worst of all, the bloody stripper will.

Francis hopes that though the table is mere feet from the pole, the brightness of the lights will put him and his condition in shadow.

Thankfully, the dancer’s back is to them now, as he dismounts the pole. Regrettably, this means that when he props himself up against the pole and shakes his pert little arse, it’s nearly directly at Francis.

Good Christ. Francis really needs to get out – or get laid, or both - more often.

Sophia tosses him a five-pound note, much to Francis’s chagrin, and it gets her a wink as the dancer tucks it into his boot.

“Think you’re a bad influence,” says Ann, as all across the club bills begin to flutter in the hands of increasingly frantic patrons.

This seems to be all a part of the routine. On his hands and knees, the dancer crawls over to the shrieking woman from before, who’s waving a bill in his face. To her evident delight he takes the bill in his mouth, and then sits up. Rocking back on his heels, he pulls the bill from between his teeth and rubs over his body before stuffing it down the front of his corset.

(A handy way to store it, really.)

Next, he crawls to where another two people – two men this time – are obviously eager to part with their money. With a grin, he turns over onto his back and to the very clear satisfaction of the crowd, thrusts his hips up and down as they shower him. The expression on his face is positively pornographic.

Christ almighty, but Francis is so hard he can barely see.

The dancer makes the rounds about the stage, performing increasingly lewdly for the bills thrown at him. He lets one man tuck a fiver into the waistband of his underwear; he lets a woman tuck a tenner right down the front. Never in his life would Francis imagine wasting money like that – shoving ten pounds into a stripper’s pants, for Christ’s sake – but he’d do it now, he’d get up and wave his hard-earned cash around until the dancer came over and then gleefully put it wherever instructed, if only he weren’t so ridiculously, stupidly hard.

The music is building to a crescendo now, the dancer’s movements become frenetic. As Francis watches he spins once, twice, a third more time about the pole, and then he ends his routine with a cartwheel, landing in splits.

To thunderous applause, he gathers up the scattered money – Christ, how much did he make doing this – then winks at the crowd, blows a kiss toward their table (Francis would like to imagine it’s directed at him) and sashays backstage.

For a moment, no one says anything.

“Well,” says Ann, taking a sip of her drink.

“That was, uh, good,” concurs Sophia. She’s a little pink in the face. She looks very nice like that. “Should’ve tipped him more. He was great.”

“Meant what I said earlier,” Ann goes on. “You should try that at home. We can put a pole in the cellar and everything.”

James laughs. “Want me in that outfit, too? Not sure I could handle the corset.”

There’s another brief pause, in which James seems to realize that Francis has been – even for him – suspiciously quiet. “You okay, Francis?” he asks.

“Um,” says Francis. “Yeah.”

He goes to cross his legs, which draws his friends’ collective attention to just what he is trying to hide. As he desperate arranges himself, he finds three pairs of eyes trained on the considerable bulge at the front of his trousers.

“Oh,” says Sophia. She looks a little shocked, which is silly. It’s not as though she’s never seen Francis’s prick before, is it?

James begins to howl with laughter, and slaps Francis’s arm. “Good Christ, old man,” he says, gesturing vaguely at Francis’s cock. “Didn’t know you still had that in you. Top man!”

“Leave him alone,” scolds Ann. For her husband: “Sorry, Francis.”

“I’m old, not dead. I can still get it up, thank you very much. Now if you’ll excuse me-”

In a storm of giggles, rude hand gestures, and lewd queries as to what he’s about to go do, Francis gets up and makes a beeline for the bathroom.

*****

“Back amongst us, eh?” asks James, when Francis rejoins the party. He eyes Francis’s groin. “Both of you, I see. Thought you were going to take care of it.”

Francis sends a withering look his way. He’s still half-hard, but no longer painfully so. He’d considered doing as James suggested, but the idea of sitting alone in a bathroom stall, furiously wanking, had been a little too much for him.

“James,” snaps Ann, ever the rescuer. “Leave him alone.”

James laughs, claps Francis on the shoulder, and just as Francis thinks they might be about to move past this, Sophia nudges him.

“Look,” she says, gesturing to a doorway near the bar.

The dancer has appeared again and is winding his way through the club, as elegant as he was on stage. Francis can’t take his eyes off him. He turns toward them and – does Francis imagine it, or is he looking at him?

Doing more than that, actually. With that slinking step, he’s approaching their table. First James’s head turns, when he sees that Francis is transfixed, then Ann’s, and then they’re all staring at the man as he draws up to the table.

In his boots he towers over them all. Francis expects that if he took them off he’d still be taller than any of them, but not so obscenely so.

“Hello, gorgeous,” he says. His voice is rather lower than Francis would have expected. It’s a deep, masculine growl that goes right through Francis, pooling in his groin.

It takes Francis a moment to realize that he’s talking to him.

“Er,” he says, rather inelegantly.

“Want a dance?” he asks.

“Um,” says Francis.

“Yes,” says Sophia. She’s rifling around in her purse somewhat desperately. “Yes, he does.”

“Jesus Christ, Sophy-”

Too late – she’s handed off the money to the stripper, who’s tucked it into his boot.

“What’s your name?”

“Francis.”

The dancer cocks his head. “Frauncis,” he says, rolling the name about on his tongue until, somehow, it sounds absolutely filthy. “You’re handsome, Francis.”

“Bet you say that to all the lads,” retorts Francis. His retort might carry a little more weight were he not red-faced and hard as a fucking rock.

The dancer shrugs. “I’m saying it to you. You ready, handsome?”

Francis could not possibly be less ready.

The dancer stretches, and then bends at the waist – he’s remarkably flexible, and can put his hands on the floor even with those ridiculously sexy boots on – and as Francis watches, rises into a handstand.

It’s a good trick, if not a surprising one. Sophia and Ann are clapping eagerly, and even James gives an encouraging whoop. The dancer spreads his legs and, suddenly, flips over into Francis’s lap. He lands lightly – Francis knows he’s taking the brunt of his weight on the balls of his feet – but firmly, directly on Francis’s groin.

“Hi,” he says. He smiles. Francis is enchanted by the bat of his eyelashes. He puts his arms around Francis’s neck. “You’re even handsomer up close, you know.”

He notices, somewhat absently, that the dancer is covered in beauty marks that dot his skin at random intervals. The temptation to touch one, perhaps to kiss the one on his left shoulder, is nearly unbearable. He lifts his hand, but lowers it the moment it catches the dancer’s eye.

“Bet you say that to all the-” Francis starts, and then has to choke back a moan because the dancer is actually rubbing himself up against his very hard and very eager prick.

“Mhm,” says the dancer. “Good?”

Francis had thought that just watching was bad enough. This – this is torment. Very sweet torment, but still torment.

Doubtless the other man can feel Francis’s very persistent erection. He’s pressing his own groin into it, for Christ’s sake. Francis can actually feel that the dancer’s cock is more than half-hard and assumes it’s some horrifying trick involving a ring or tape or some other hideous device he’s heard about. Still, he wonders what it’d be like to take off those stupid, silky pants and palm the dancer’s prick-

Francis can’t touch him, which is just as well – he gets the sense that if he so much as laid a finger on this magnificent creature he’d come in his pants immediately.

But the dancer can touch him, and touch him he does. He goes on grinding himself into Francis’s body as he runs his hands down Francis’s chest, humming in apparent appreciation. Just when Francis is beginning to relax into this, to get used to the rhythm, he anchors his hands on Francis’s thighs and then uses his grip to lever himself off Francis’s lap.

There is a mix of relief at a break in that maddening sensation, quickly replaced by disappointment.

Obviously this shows on Francis’s face. “Be gentle with him,” says James, to the dancer. “He’s a bit longer in the tooth than he used to be.”

Francis tries to glare at James, mostly unsuccessfully. The dancer is currently standing between Francis’s spread legs, swaying to and fro to the newest tune blaring on the club’s speakers. His delightfully pert arse is but inches from Francis’s face. Francis is having a hard time looking at anything else.

Over his shoulder, he tosses the following comment: “Think your friend is jealous,” he says. He bends over to grind his backside into Francis’s body before he’s back up and swaying.

Francis manages speech at last. “Who wouldn’t be?”

“Not of you. Of me,” he says, and then he casts a look at James. “Isn’t that right?”

Ann breaks up onto wild, manic cackles. James rolls his eyes, but with a good-natured smile.

Francis almost cracks a smile himself, but then the man sits right back down in his lap and he has to swallow a gasp. He turns this way and that, grinding his pert arse into Francis’s groin until Francis grunts like a stuck pig – his friends laugh, but who cares, there is a nubile exotic dancer currently grinding away on Francis’s prick as if it’s a genie’s lamp and he’s hoping for three wishes.

This is rather more intimate than what Francis expected, far more so than what Ann paid for with James. This more than the standard lap dance, surely – the dancer is moving in more than just an imitation of what might go on behind closed doors. They’re both hard, and were it not for a few centimeters of fabric separating them, they would actually be fucking.

Francis chokes back a moan at the idea of doing just that.

“Having fun, Francis?” asks Sophia, eventually.

He’d nearly forgotten she was there. He turns to look at her. Her eyes are wide and she’s biting her lip. She’s obviously enjoying this, not just relishing Francis’s discomfort the way James is.

If Francis had known watching him with another man was such a turn-on for her, he would’ve suggested it when they were dating.

“What do you-” he starts, but the dancer turns on him, quick as a wink. He actually takes Francis’s jaw in one of his big, strong hands, and turns Francis’s face back toward him.

“She the one putting on such a good show for you? No. Look at me, Francis.”

Now they’re face to face, panting into each other’s mouths. It’s all become rather inelegant and not at all the same showy, exaggerated performance Francis saw on stage. This suits Francis just fine.

“Yes,” says the dancer. “Oh, yes. Like that.”

He’s braced his hands on the back of Francis’s chair, and is effectively just dry-humping Francis now, here, in front of Sophia and Ann and, oh God, James, and Francis couldn’t possibly care less, because he’s fit to burst with how much he wants-

But this is mercenary to the dancer. It’s his job to make Francis feel this way, and Francis merely another patron in what is surely a laundry list of people he’s made either hard or wet with this bewitching show.

Francis wonders how stupid he looks. He’s red-faced and hard, which is idiotic enough, but he’s also wheezing like an elderly asthmatic. He’s hardly the picture of virile youth, either; middle-aged, greying, going soft around the middle. So the sight of him, pathetically aroused while a younger man (who probably wouldn’t even want to be in the same room with him without payment otherwise) gets him hornier than he’s been in years, must be quite something.

He’d feel ashamed of himself, if this didn’t feel so stupidly, ridiculously good.

The dancer leans over and whispers in Francis’s ear. Christ, he smells incredible. “Mhm,” he says, low and impossibly inviting. “Fuck, you’re so hard.”

So is the dancer, actually.

“Yeah,” breathes Francis. “You’re good, you know that?”

He smirks. “Heard it a few times before. Want to take this somewhere more private, handsome?”

Francis is about to refuse, out of habit. But what does he have to lose? It will shock Sophia, if nothing else. Francis isn’t such a poor sport, after all. He’ll pay a stripper for a private dance. He’ll shut them all up for months about his nightlife – or lack thereof – if he takes a dancer into a back room and gets the lap dance of his life.

Of course, he doesn’t particularly care about anything happening around him, and would pay rather more money than is reasonable to get this man alone.

“Sure,” he says.

The dancer smiles. It turns into a wolfish grin as Francis rises a little unsteadily. He curls his hand around Francis’s tie and yanks Francis forward into his body. Francis notices, for the first time, that his smile is crooked. It’s a charming imperfection.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” says James. “Have a good time, Frank.”

Ann, from beside him, gives Francis a rather encouraging thumbs-up. Sophia looks somewhere between pleased and – does Francis imagine it? – jealous.

 “I’ll try to return him in one piece,” says the dancer, in a tone that turns Francis’s insides to liquid. “But no guarantees. Come on, then.”

*****

Francis finds himself led into a private room. It’s well-furnished, but small. There’s no furniture except a couple of sofas covered in red velvet, and a few small tables with dinky little lamps. It’s quiet and comparatively peaceful. There’s music playing in here, but it’s at a much lower volume. Low enough that Francis can hear the dancer when he gives him the following instruction:

“Why don’t you make yourself comfortable?”

Francis nods. Then: “Wait,” he says. The other man turns to him as Francis wrestles his wallet out of his pocket. He produces a bill – what he thinks is fair – and hands it the dancer.

Based on the smile he gets, this is actually a very generous amount. “You don’t have to do this now. You can do it after, you know.”

“I want to,” blurts Francis. He can feel himself flushing. “Seems good to get it out of the way.”

“Eager,” he remarks. He arches one inky brow. God, he’s good-looking. Francis so desperately wants to kiss him. “I like. All right, then.”

There’s a beat of silence, and then the dancer sighs. “Mhm,” he says. He taps his corset with one finger. “Want out of this. That okay?”

It’s more than okay. At the idea of seeing any more of the man’s skin – even if it’s only his lean back or flat stomach - Francis gives a pained nod.

He turns his back to Francis. Over his shoulder: “Unlace me.”

Francis looks down at the laces on the corset. “Thought I wasn’t supposed to touch you.”

“I won’t tell if you won’t,” he says. He wriggles a little. “Come on, gorgeous. Help me out of it, won’t you?”

Francis begins, hesitantly at first, more comfortably as he goes on, to undo the laces at the back of the corset. He first undoes the bow at the bottom, then works his fingers under the crisscrossed ties to loosen them.

A low gasp, and he stops. “Is that-” he says, concerned that he’s overstepped.

“Feels better already. Keep going,” the other man says. He sighs deeply and stretches. For a moment, Francis can do nothing but watch.

This is a clever, clever part of the act – perhaps it’s the dancer’s sheer proximity, or the fact that they’re alone, or that Francis actually gets to touch him, or the agonizing slowness with which the corset comes off, but this is more tantalizing than anything he’s done so far.

(Well, perhaps not more tantalizing than when he actually dry-humped Francis to within an inch of his life, but a good case can be made for either one.)

By the time Francis has gotten to the top laces, the dancer reaches backward and slackens it far enough that he can slip it down over his hips and step out of it.

For a moment, Francis is transfixed by the prints left in the dancer’s skin by the garment. He wants to run his hand over them, to soothe any discomfort left by the pressing garment. But he’s not allowed, so he doesn’t. Still, he wonders what it would be like, to touch him so softly. Does he have someone at home, who caresses him as Francis wants to?

Francis hopes he doesn’t.

“Knew you’d be a perfect gentleman,” purrs the dancer, as he turns back around. He puts his hand on Francis’s chest. “Now sit.

Francis doesn’t need telling twice. With the barest push to his chest, he lands heavily on the sofa.

The other man sways to the beat of the music for a little bit, and Francis would be impatient were he not so abjectly graceful. Francis wonders if he’s has professional training. He has all the controlled strength of a ballet dancer, all that careful, sensual power.

Then he gets down on all fours and crawls toward him, as he did on stage. But now it’s just the two of them, and the dancer is looking right at him with those huge, dark eyes. He even licks his lips, for good measure, as he kneels between in front of Francis.

Putting both hands on Francis’s knees, he pushes his legs apart. He’s even freer now with his hands than he was before. His touches aren’t reserved to Francis’s chest now; he palms Francis’s trembling thighs, then lets his hands wander all over Francis’s body with an appreciative moan.

“Christ, you’re sexy,” he says, convincingly enough that Francis almost believes him. “And – well, impressive.

As he says this, one hand passes right over Francis’s cloth-covered cock. The groan that escapes Francis is awful.

The dancer doesn’t seem to think so. He grins again, wickedly. Taking back his hands, he uses Francis’s knees to push himself back up.

“Think I’m a bit overdressed,” he remarks. He tugs at the waistband of his underwear. “Don’t you?”

He hooks his fingers into the waistband of his underwear, as if to pull them down, but pauses before they slip over his groin. When Francis wets his lips with excitement – shamefully eager to see what the silky fabric conceals – the dancer merely grins and removes his hands, spinning away with his arms raised.

With his arms above his head he twists and turns, throwing his hips into the air with a series of low, needful growls. He runs his hands down, over his face, across the smooth plane of his chest, until he dips one hand into his underwear.

Is he actually pulling himself off, or just pretending to?

“You’re not going to tell on me, right?” he asks.

“Wh-what?”

“If I take these off,” says the dancer. He’s got his fingers under the waistband again, and is teasing it lower and lower. “Not supposed to. Not when I’m hard. Against club rules.”

“Um, well-”

The waistband sinks lower, revealing more and more skin.

“Because I’d like to. I’d really like to take these off.”

“I guess I-”

The waistband catches at the head of the dancer’s prick, and Francis sees just the barest tip of it poking up.

“I’d really like to take these off for you, Francis. Do you want me to?”

When the cloth goes back up, Francis nearly dies. “Yes, yes,” he breathes.

The grin is back. The dancer turns around and teases his pants all the way off, baring what little arse had been hidden by the satin. Then they’re back up again, and Francis actually groans in disappointment.

When the man turns back around, still swaying his hips in that hypnotic way, his smile is positively wicked.

“You want to do it?”

Francis gags. “Huh?”

“You want to take them off for me?”

Of course Francis does. He gives a tight little nod. The dancer closes the distance between them with one step, getting between Francis’s spread legs. With the added height of those enormous boots, the other man’s groin is exactly at eye level.

He lifts his hands slowly. Carefully. They’re shaking. Pathetic. When he hooks his fingers around the waistband, the dancer puts his hands on Francis’s shoulders and leans even closer.

“Go on,” he says. “Want to be naked for you.”

Wants to be naked for Francis’s money, more like.

Francis looks up at him. What he finds staring down at him is not what he expected. The other man’s lips are parted, and his eyes are black. The intensity of his stare is nearly unbearable. It’s seduction, of course, but either very well feigned or otherwise genuine.

That’s a dangerous thought, to entertain even the remotest possibility that this man wants Francis with even a fraction of the desire Francis has for him. Francis refuses to let himself believe it.

The dancer’s voice is at its deepest, a low, intoxicating growl. “Go on.”

The moment Francis starts to pull the stupid, bloody thing down, the dancer’s hands dart out to catch his.

“Slowly, slowly,” he teases.

Francis groans in frustration – and gets a low chuckle in response – but obeys. Inch by inch, he tugs the garment down, until he’s teased it to mid-thigh and a very hard and admittedly attractive prick is mere inches from his face. Francis thinks, more than absently, about sucking it. It’s been quite a few years since he put a cock in his mouth, but by God, he’d break out all his old tricks for this one.

(No tape, or pump, or cockring helping him stay hard, Francis notices. Francis wonders what he’s thinking about, to maintain it – surely it couldn’t be Francis.)

The dancer backs off a little. He slips his underwear off, steps out of one side, and then uses the toe of his boot to fling them across the room.

“Well?” he asks. He’s caressing his own neck with one hand and actually pulling himself off with the other. There’s no way he’s supposed to do that. But Francis is hardly complaining. “What do you think? Worth the hundred quid?”

The noise that emerges from Francis is not dignified. It’s barely even human, but it’s appreciative.

With a cocky smirk, the dancer gets one leg on either side of Francis. Then he sits right down on Francis’s lap, and Francis really ought to pinch himself, because there’s a beautiful and entirely naked man sitting on his lap, and it can’t possibly all be real.

He’s pressed up against Francis’s body when he begins to move, grinding his pelvis into Francis’s. After being ignored so long, Francis’s prick rejoices in the contact. Francis is sure he’s dribbling in his pants.

He dares a look down, sees the dancer’s bare cock sliding against his clothed one, and nearly faints.

This isn’t a lap dance, not by a mile. This might not fit the legal definition of sex, but it sure is a whole lot further thank Francis thinks things usually get taken. He’s not going to complain, not when a very good-looking man is riding him harder than Francis thought possible.

“Is that good?” he says.

Francis moans by way of response.

He puts Francis’s arms around him. “Touch me,” he says.

Francis doesn’t need telling twice. He strokes the dancer’s lean back, finding his flesh as taut as a drumhead and smooth beyond imagining. He dares going lower, gripping a firm arse cheek in one hand, as with his other he tangles his fingers in wonderfully soft hair.

“Fuck,” breathes Francis. “Fuck, that’s-”

The man presses his forehead to Francis’s. “Yeah. Yeah, it is.”

After a couple of minutes of this the dancer gets one knee up onto the sofa so he can get a better angle. He goes on rutting into Francis’s body, but he’s talking now, more than before.

“Saw you watching me out there. Knew you wanted it. Sitting there with a hard cock, for me-”

Francis uses what little cognitive ability he possesses at the moment to feel surprised by this. How the man had noticed absolutely anything about his audience while half-naked and upside down on a pole is a mystery to Francis.

“Fuck-” says Francis, very creatively.

“You want it, don’t you?” asks the dancer. He’s snarling it into Francis’s ear. “You want it so fucking badly.”

Francis lets himself moan, loud and long. The dancer pulls back, bracing both his hands on Francis’s chest, as he goes on working Francis.

“You want to fuck me, don’t you? You want to take out that big prick of yours and put it in me, don’t you?”

“Fuck, fuck, fuck-”

“Want you to get it in so deep and fuck me until I can’t walk-”

“Oh, God!”

“Feels so good, so deep inside-”

He’s grinding down into Francis so hard now, and it’s too much, he can’t hold himself back, he’s going to come, he’s going to come right there in his jeans on this couch in this stupid club-

He groans. “Christ, Christ, stop, I’m-”

“Are you going to come? Thanks for the warning,” says the other man. He increases his pace. “But I don’t mind.”

“I’m – Jesus fucking Christ-”

“Go on,” he says. He leans forward and growls in Francis’s ear. “Go on. Come for me. Come for me, gorgeous.”

With a strangled cry, Francis does. He drops his head to the back of the sofa, and trembles through his climax. When it’s over, the dancer gives him an encouraging pat on the chest, rather comradely.

“Best get cleaned up, hm?” he says. He reaches over, opens a drawer in one of the little tables, and fishes out a box of tissues, which he passes to Francis. Francis unzips his fly as fast as he can, hoping to prevent himself from soaking his jeans. He finds his briefs wet, but his trousers mercifully dry.

Slipping out from underneath the other man, Francis wobbles to his feet and finds the nearest rubbish bin. He mops himself up as best he can, then stuffs his soft – but very, very happy – prick back into his pants and does himself up again.

When he turns around, he finds the dancer watching him. He’s sitting on the sofa in the spot Francis just left, with his legs pulled up under his body. He’s still wearing his boots, but hasn’t put any of his clothing back on. Not that there was much to begin with.

Francis can feel his face beginning to redden. He doesn’t know what to do with himself. He picks at a stray thread hanging from his blazer.

“Er. Sorry. Didn’t know I was – well, sorry.”

The dancer smiles rather kindly. “What are you apologizing for? I just made a handsome man cream his jeans. Not exactly a blow to my ego, you know.”

When Francis does nothing but stand awkwardly near the door, the dancer pats the sofa next to him. “Have a seat. Rest a moment. Enjoy the afterglow.”

It sounds like a good enough idea. Francis settles down next to him.

“Would you, um, like a drink?” he asks, after a moment.

The dancer laughs. “If you were wearing these,” he says, gesturing to his boots, “you’d make sure you had a level head, too. I’m happy just to sit.”

“You don’t have to,” says Francis.

“I know. But I’d like to.”

When the pause gets too long, Francis goes on. “What’s your name?”

“At the club? Tom Bowline.”

“‘Bowline?’”

The dancer laughs again. Francis realizes, with some mortification, that he’d be happy to listen to him laugh for hours. “Used to do a fetish act. Lots of rigging and ropes. Bit of a sailor-y vibe, so ‘Bowline’ seemed appropriate.”

“And ‘Tom?’”

This gets Francis a shrug instead of a laugh. A shame. “Picked it at random. It’s short. Manly enough, rolls off the tongue.”

Francis nods. He’s not quite sure what to say to that.

“But my real name is James.”

The confession startles Francis – why would he tell Francis this?

“James.”

The man laughs, and it sends a thrill up Francis’s spine. “I like the way you say it,” he says. In a parody of Francis’s accent: “James. Jeames.

Francis finds himself smiling. After another pause, the man – James – goes on.

“You’re not…a regular, are you?”

Francis laughs with more than a little self-derision. “That obvious?”

James is toying with the zipper on one of his boots. “You didn’t exactly seem at ease.”

“No. No, I suppose I didn’t. I don’t do usually this sort of thing. Ever, actually,” he admits. He’s staring at James, and James is staring at his boots. “Clubs aren’t my, er, area.”

James’s smile is different this time. Deeper, and darker. His long fingers play with the zipper, nimble and quick. “Should I be flattered, then?”

“Don’t think you need me to flatter you.”

“Maybe not,” concedes James. He looks up at Francis. “Never hurts, though.”

The silence stretches on, and James goes back to twiddling with the zipper. Francis would like to tell him how strange this has all been, how he came here because his ex-girlfriend asked him to and he still doesn’t say know how to say no to her, that he had no plans to spend his evening in a strip club let alone paying to get off in a back room with a man he doesn’t know, that this isn’t how he would want to meet anyone, anyway, but that it felt better than anything he’s ever felt before, that, God, he’s so breathtakingly lovely that all Francis can think about is how much he’d like to kiss him-

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone as beautiful as you,” he blurts, instead.

James looks up with raised eyebrows. Francis is sure he is flushing furiously. His whole face feels hot, from his neck all the way to the tips of his ears. For a moment, he panics. He must’ve gone too far, he’s always getting too attached to people too quickly just because he’s been to bed with them, and he hasn’t even properly been to bed with this man, and he’s a stripper, for Christ’s sake, and oh, God-

“No one’s ever said that to me before.”

Francis gapes in disbelief. He jabs a finger toward James. “You’re trying to tell me that you have people screaming and waving money at you and coming in their fucking pants for you and no one’s taken the time to tell you you’re beautiful?”

“Well,” says James. That sly little smile is back. “I certainly don’t make most of them come in their pants.”

Francis lets that one go without comment. “Well, someone ought to.” Francis is almost angry about this. “Someone ought to say it.”

“And someone has,” says James.

“Huh,” says Francis.

What a strange night this has been.

“You should probably go, shouldn’t you?” says Francis, at last.

“I should,” he says. There’s a brief pause. “Can stay a bit longer, though, if you want.”

“It’s okay. Don’t want to keep you. Know you’re on the clock.”

James rubs his thigh, and then gets up. Francis actually has to look away from the sight of the entirely naked man parading around, wearing nothing but those wonderful boots. This earns him a laugh.

When James has put back on his underwear and picked up his discarded corset – hasn’t gotten back into it, which is just as well, since if Francis were asked to lace him into it he might be in danger of expiring – he loiters by the door.

Francis bustles over and opens the door for James, who grins. “Didn’t I say you were a gentleman?” he purrs.

Francis refuses to get anywhere near excited by this.

James pats him on the arse, rather encouragingly. “’Till next time, handsome,” he says, and then he’s gone.

Francis composes himself, and then goes back out into the club. He tries not to lurch as he makes his way back to the table, and lands rather heavily in his seat.

“The conquering hero returns!” crows the other James, the one who’s Francis’s best friend and not the exotic dancer.

“How was it?” asks Ann.

Sophia says nothing.

Francis smiles, but offers little in return. Let them imagine what went on, behind closed doors. He won’t tell them. It’ll surely be quite a lot more dignified, in their imaginations, not the reality that he came in his pants like an adolescent and then tried to buy a stripper a drink, just to keep him there a little longer.

“I’m knackered, to be honest,” he says. James grins and pats him on the arm as Francis begins to collect himself. “Going to head out. See you later. Thanks for the uh, evening.”

“Call me tomorrow,” says Sophia, and kisses his cheek.

*****

Neptune is asleep when Francis stumbles into the flat, but the dog manages to look disapproving as he wakes and lifts his head from the rug. Francis fends off Neptune’s inquisitive nose and resists the urge to collapse headfirst into bed. His back would regret it, and the idea of sleeping in soiled briefs is positively disgusting.

A quick shower and Francis is clean, relaxed, and finally ready for bed. It’s already half three, and he’s dead tired. He’s just shoving his laundry in the hamper when he notices something sticking out of his jeans’ back pocket.

Francis reaches into his back pocket and pulls out a scrap of paper. Squinting – his reading glasses aren’t within reach, so he does his best – he makes out a mobile number, followed by a name.

07410 487341

James

Before he can think better of it, Francis gets out his phone and composes a text.

Hi James (Mr. Bowline). Thanks for a very entertaining evening. –Francis.

He hits send, puts his phone on the nightstand, and turns out the light. He’s asleep when the mobile chimes with a response:

For me too, handsome. Do it again some time? Only this time you owe me dinner.