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Chapter Three


As I walked into the club, I could feel my heart pounding. I didn’t want to think about Uncle Carl being here every day. And right now, I was really glad he hadn’t left this place to my dad.

I wasn’t naïve–I knew what a strip club was like. But until now, I had never actually been to one. Aunt Trixi had been kind enough to open up earlier, and to update the staff with the latest developments. But I couldn’t run the place without showing my face.

As I made my way further into the club, I saw the dance platform with a pole in the middle. Above was a ceiling of mirrors. A shiver ran through me just thinking of what it would look like once the patrons arrived.

A curtain opened and out came a tall woman with blonde hair almost down to her ass. The only thing she was wearing was a silver sequin thong. Although I didn’t want to look, I couldn’t help but notice what great shape she was in. I was almost envious of her physique – tall and slender with large breasts. Everything I wasn’t. Obviously, she was one of the dancers. She gave me a smile and headed in my direction.

“Hi. I’m Sugar. You must be Trixi, the new owner.”

Forcing a smile, I answered, “I guess I am, but everyone calls me Anne.”

“I like the name Trixi so much better. Not so…stuffy if you know what I mean.”

Oh yes I do.“Have you been dan…working here long?”

“Six years. Started when I turned eighteen and said I’d quit once I earn enough to go to college.”

“Still saving?” I asked.

She giggled. “Not for college. Hell, I make more money at The Treasured Chest than any of my friends with a degree.”

I could easily dispute that, but what was the point? I was only here for one reason: so my parents and my aunt could get their share of the money in one year. After that, Sugar and the others would need to find another place to work because The Treasured Chest would be closing its doors for good.

“I should probably let you get ready,” I said.

She smiled and said, “I am. Then she spun around and asked, “What do you think of the tail? Too much?”

“Nope. It’s…fine.” I didn’t want to look at her that closely, but the tail was really nothing more than a fluffy white ball. “Bunny’s tail?”

“Yup. I just can’t find my ears. You don’t have any, do you?” Sugar asked.

“Sorry, I don’t.” Playing dress-up was something I hadn’t done since I was a little girl, and none of my costumes looked like that. “Did you want me to help you look?” I offered.

“Thanks, but I bet the guys won’t even notice they’re missing, if you know what I mean.”

I sure do.

“Okay. Let me know if you change your mind,” I said as I headed to the office in the back.

I opened the door and found Aunt Trixi sitting behind the desk. She looked up and said, “I can’t believe what a mess he’s left. Carl never let his paperwork pile up like this.” Dropping the papers on the desk she said, “God, he must’ve been feeling sick for a while. Why didn’t he tell me? Tell any of us?” she sighed.

Carl wasn’t one who accepted help. He was the one always giving it. “I guess he didn’t want any of us to worry about him.”

“And now he’s….gone.” She lifted her fist into the air and looked up. “Darn you, Carl. You said we’d always be there for each other. You broke your promise.”

I could see that Aunt Trixi was hurting more than she’d let on at the reading of the will. In a soft tone I said, “I guess his way of doing that is by having us work together. So neither of us has to go through this…alone.”

Trixi nodded. “I’m really glad you called me yesterday.”

“So am I. If you weren’t here, I think I’d already have thrown in the towel and locked the doors.”

“Ha. I doubt that. You know what’s riding on keeping this place open. And one thing I know about you is that you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for,” she said. “Carl was so proud of you. Every time your name came up, he bragged about you. Either your grades in college or how well you adjusted to living in Boston. He missed you, but was glad that you were brave enough to follow your dreams.”

I had no idea what her dreams were. I used to think being a stay-at-home wife had been it. The expression on her face said otherwise. “Thanks, but sometimes I think I was just running away. I love my parents, but I needed space. Even though Boston is crowded and loud, I felt like I could at least breathe there, if you know what I mean.”