“No.” The man raised a brow at the club’s owner, crossing his arms.
“Please, Atem. If you do this for me I'll owe you big time. I'll do anything.” Striking Green eyes were pinning Atem with the best impression of a pleading puppy that they could manage.
It was an oddly endearing sight to take in. Ryuji Otogi was normally much more composed, though still a little excitable, particularly when it came to implementing new ideas for the club.
The current idea, however, was one Atem was loath to participate in. He couldn’t dance, and he was terrible at flirting. What did Ryuji expect him to do? Go up on stage and what? Stare at the Audience? That would just be weird, for everyone involved
No. He won’t do it.
He opened his mouth to give yet another denial when he was interrupted before he could actually speak.
“I’ll even pay you double-no, triple for the night! Please.” Ryuji reached over and placed a hand on Atem’s shoulder. “I need you to do this for me. Please!”
Atem stared the other man down for a moment before he sighed, giving into defeat. He lowered his head to pinch the bridge of his nose. “Fine, fine. As long as this doesn’t start a trend. I’d much rather be doing someone else’s stage makeup like usual.”
Ryuji's eyes lit up instantly in his victory and he quite literally jumped for joy. “Yes! Okay, man, no worries! You won’t regret this!” He then ran off to start the needed preparations for the show.
Atem sighed again once he was alone backstage and turned toward the mirror to gauge what kind of stage makeup he would need.
Thirty minutes. That’s how much time I have... Fuck.
Once Ryuji had left Atem alone, he breathed a sigh of relief. The night was saved. With Mai having called in sick, he would have had to cancel tonight’s 9 o’clock show. He couldn’t perform, because his general manager was out, and someone needed to be in charge. Marik was the only spare dancer working tonight that wasn’t already scheduled and he was busy tending the bar.
Even if Atem wasn’t exactly a performer, no one could deny that the man was sexy as all hell. And that was what mattered.
As he thought on this, he headed toward the bar to report his success.
“Wait, seriously?” The bartender replied, “You actually got him to agree? How the fuck did you manage that?”
“With a charming smile and my dashing good looks,” Ryuji quipped with a smirk as he leaned over the bar to grab himself a water bottle.
Marik barked a laugh. “If that’s all it took, you’d have gotten him on stage ages ago.” He finished the drinks that he was making and slid them across the counter. “Here you go, Honda.” With a nod, he turned back to the owner. “No. You had to bribe him or something.”
Ryuji chuckled. “Yeah, yeah. Listen Marik, He needs a stage name. And don’t give me something dumb.”
“Hey! Malik Blishtar isn’t dumb!” Marik glared at his boss. “I thought it was brilliant!”
“It’s dumb.” He turned to sit on one of the stools and hummed, curling a lock black hair around his finger in thought.
Marik scoffed as he started cleaning his station, “I dunno. You could call him... a Gem! It rhymes! Or… Or Stem! He’s about as skinny as one!” He laughed at his own joke.
Ryuji smacked himself on the forehead and groaned. “You know, the point is to change more than a single letter of the dancer’s name, right?”
“Whatever. You just don’t appreciate my genius.”
Ryuji rolled his eyes. “Sure. You keep telling yourself that. I’ll think of something while setting up the music. See ya.”
Marik gave a half salute before turning to take another order.
Honda set the drinks he’d ordered from Marik on the table and sat down. “Sounds like they’re gonna have a new dancer tonight,” he said.
“Awe~ I was lookin’ forward to seein’ Essence tonight. Dammit!” Jonouchi took his drink, making room for his companion.
“Somethin’ must’ve come up. Don’t worry man, We’ll see her next time,” he chuckled, “Besides, if Ryou’s bringin’ Yuugi, it might be a good thing that this’ll be someone we haven’t seen yet.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Jonouchi sipped at his drink before continuing, “Hey, where are they anyway? Weren’t they supposed to be here by now. The show’s gonna start soon.”
“I got a text from Ryou while I was at the bar. He said that they’re on their way. No doubt it took some more convincing to actually get Yuugi to leave his house.”
Jonouchi leaned back in his seat and propped his feet up on the low set table in front of them. “Well, as long as they don’t miss anything.”
Honda chuckled again at that, knowing how bad that would make Yuugi feel. Not because he’d have missed anything but because he’d have made Ryou miss the show. And that would defeat the whole purpose of dragging Yuugi out to begin with.
“Yeah, The poor guy’s been stressed enough as it is.”
“Good thing we made it here on time then, isn’t it?” a new voice piped in, startling Jonouchi enough for the blond man to spill his drink all over himself.
Honda couldn’t help but to burst into laughter and the newest edition chuckled, rubbing at the back of his neck. “I’m terribly sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
Jonouchi looked up to see white hair and pale skin. Glaring, he shoved his now empty glass forward. “Buy me another drink and we’ll call it even,Ryou”
“Of course. It’s the least I could do.” Ryou turned to his side, “I’ll order your favorite too, Yuugi, so you can sit and relax.” He gladly took the glass and turned toward the bar, leaving behind a much smaller man with spiked, multicolored hair and black eyeliner.
He gave a shy wave to Honda and Jonouchi.
“Yuug!” Jonouchi reached over to catch the smaller man in a headlock and hauled him onto their couch, ruffling his hair. “Gotta say, we were a little worried you’d chicken out!”
“I almost did,” Yuugi admitted after pulling away enough to catch his breath and fix his hair.
Honda leaned in to bump Yuugi’s shoulder. “We’re really glad you didn’t bail, man. And good news: They’re gonna have a new dancer tonight, so we’ll be more preoccupied watching them than making sure you’re having fun.”
Yuugi blushed, ducking his head as Jonouchi punched the other taller man. “Uh, Thanks?” he said cautiously, watching as the two devolved into lightly wrestling each other. He carefully moved so that he wouldn’t accidentally be caught in the middle of their antics and waited for Ryou to return.
When he did, the albino man laughed quietly at the sight, before setting a tray of drinks down on the table. It was then that the lights dimmed, the music changed and all attention was immediately drawn to the stage.
It was show time.