Author's Note: So, I decided, since Perfect Harmony had been put on hiatus for a thousand billion years, to take it down. The thing is, though, I really liked the plot I had in mind, and the twists and the climax and such, so, ta-daa, I am rewriting it. The story won't drift too far away from the original idea. I mainly wanted to fix Tawnee's character; I felt she had some holes that needed filling, especially about her home life. So, here is the rewrite! I hope you enjoy! (:
PS: I imagined Tawnee's character based off of Vanessa Hudgens during her role as Blondie in the movie Sucker Punch. For those of you who have seen this movie, you know what I mean. If you haven't, Google her. I dunno, I remember watching that movie and really liking how she looked. And I thought as I was remaking Tawnee that I wanted to base her appearance around Vanessa Hudgens' character role. So I did. x3 Just a little trivia I thought I would share. ^u^
One | Tawnee
There's wind slapping my face as I stand here, toes curled along a cement ledge, a black sky stretched far above me. There are tiny white flakes falling, soft and dainty, and they land on my face, like an angel's touch. Even though it's nearly 20 degrees outside, I feel warm. It's comfortable.
I sigh heavily. I'm at peace. There's nothing below me except for a deep empty void. I could swim there forever. I wouldn't have to deal with the mess I'm in. No more problems, no more screaming, no more arguing or fighting or beatings. There would be nothing.
My eyelids flutter and close. Another exhale. The cold air wraps around me like a wet blanket, but it's helping me keeping my hot temperature down. Everything is so comfortable …
Suddenly, I feel a nudge on my shoulder and my eyelids fly open. The emptiness is gone and is replaced by a large oval mirror, my reflection staring back at me wide-eyed.
"Quit daydreaming, Tawnee," snaps Nicolette, or, as most people call her around here, Cherry. Her platinum blonde curls and bright red lips help her name suit well, especially with the two cherries tattooed on her left hip.
I blink a few times before shaking my head and sighing.
"Sorry," I say.
"Don't be sorry. Just hurry up and get ready. You go on in a few," she said. I nod and she walks away.
I turn back to the mirror, lined with bright bulbs and feathered boas. The woman staring back at me is so glamorous, with long sparkling eyelashes, glittery dark make-up, and long black hair styled and curled with a bump in the back to make it look bigger. To everyone, she looks incredible, a supermodel, a star. But she's not smiling. She doesn't think she's any of these things. She thinks she's a doll, a puppet, a fake, hence her choice of name, Dolly.
"Tawnee!" hisses Nicolette. Quickly, I fix my hair, smooth out silky dress, and stand, hurrying to her in five-inch stiletto heels.
"And now, for our dynamic duo … the sweetheart Cherry and saucy Dolly!"
Nicolette and I hook arms and walk out. There's a crowd of whistles and cheering. The room is dim, save for the flashing disco lights from above, shedding colors of purple and blue and red onto me. We pose for the crowd, buying us more cheers, and then we perform. They like it when we undress each other, and when our hands touch our bodies. Sometimes we'll use the same pole, which is also favorite. In the end, whatever we do, as long as it's provocative and sexual, will always earn Nicolette and me a pleased crowd.
We perform for a good thirty minutes, and then the next show starts. Nicolette and I walk off the stage, completely naked, and we're replaced with three more girls, all dancing on their own poles.
Nicolette sighs heavily as she reaches for her robe and drapes it over her figure, tightly wrapping it. I, too, grab my robe and proceed to conceal myself.
"It was good," Nicolette says as she sits upon her vanity table. "We did pretty good."
"Yeah," I mutter.
"Except that attitude wasn't very attractive. You didn't seem to get too into it," Nicolette mentions. I toss her a look as I begin to hang my clothes on my clothing rack. I sift through them, looking for my next outfit.
"You know how I feel about doing this," I tell her bluntly.
"I know. Of course I know. Some of us feel the same," she says. "It's all for the money. All of us need it. And the better we are, the more we get. It's a competition."
She becomes more sympathetic and walks towards me, placing a hand on my shoulder gently.
"It's not real," she says softly in my ear. "Everything you do, it isn't real. I know you would prefer to wear t-shirts and sweatpants instead of a push-up bra and little lace thong." She chuckles, and I can't help but make a tiny smile and shrug.
"I just … I don't know how much longer I can stay," I tell her.
"But you have nowhere else to go," Nicolette reminds me. "You'd go back to the streets, to the cold, to sell yourself?"
"I already sell myself here," I remind her. "I just get a warm roof over my head. It's the only difference."
"And you get to clean yourself," she adds. I laugh humorlessly.
"You're a huge part of the club. People come because of you," Nicolette says. "The doll no man is afraid to play with, that's you." She shakes me giddily by the shoulders, as if I should be proud of the slogan.
"Exactly why I don't want to work here. I don't want to be the doll that men are afraid to play with. That's disgusting and degrading."
"It's just for the show," she says.
"Well, I'm fed up with it. I don't want this life. I don't like what I do."
"But you're good at it."
I turn around and stare at her, my eyes narrowing slightly. Nicolette's bright green eyes flash with concern and her red lips pull into a frown. Breathing heavily, I walk away from her, returning to my own mirror and sitting down. I unclip the large hoop earrings dangling from my lobes and cast them aside. I reach for my make-up remover tub and grab a cloth.
"Tawnee, wait," Nicolette says, reaching for me. "You still have clients to take care of."
"I'm done with this slutty job," I snap at her. She's taken aback, offended. Being called a slut isn't exactly kind to us, even if we are men-pleasers. "I've done it for far too long."
"I've been fucking men since I was nine years old, Nicolette," I lash at her, my eyes brimming with tears. "And then I ran away, and came here because it was the only work I could find, because I'm—as you said—good at it." I throw the cloth at my mirror and wrap my arms around myself, pitifully. I hate reliving my past. I make it a habit not to admit why I actually ran away. Being forced into prostitution, especially as a child, is really nothing to be fond of.
"I don't want to spend the rest of my life doing this. If only I could just—" I close my eyes and I feel the cold wind against my face, the little white snowflakes falling on my cheeks. I curl my toes and feel the cold cement against my feet. The stilettos have disappeared and the bright lights from my mirror have faded. I'm alone, standing on this ledge, ready to take one step forward.
"Tawnee, stop." Nicolette's voice wavers. I think telling her about my past has shaken her. She never had it good as a child either, pregnant at fifteen and ditched by her boyfriend to raise their baby by herself. Still, I think she realizes that she probably had it better than me. At least her parents were there for her. She's been here for a while, trying to make ends me for her daughter.
I open my eyes and see tears streaming down her cherub cheeks, creating glistening streaks against her skin.
"I'm sorry," she says, trying to keep her voice steady. "I shouldn't have said anything. I shouldn't have pushed you."
"It's okay," I reply gently.
"I just don't want you to be out on the streets again."
I glance at the clock hanging on the wall behind us. Sighing, I shrug and say, "I guess it's time to meet the clients."
"But what you said—"
I scoff. "Oh whatever," I say, waving her off. I flash her an empty smile. "We both know I'm here for good."
I walk back over to my clothing rack and pick out a matching set of lacey lingerie and walk towards the dressing room backstage. Nicolette follows me.
"Tawnee, don't—don't say things like that," she says.
"Oh, now you want me to find a better life?" I snap sarcastically, although I realize I shouldn't have. Nicolette doesn't deserve to be snapped at. From day one of my life here, she's been exceptionally kind to me, always looking out for me, giving me tips on how to do things "classy." Before me, she was the club's main attraction, but now we've teamed up, and I'm one of the favorites too. I should really be thanking her for helping me earn all of the money I get.
Her shoulders droop and she looks down at the floor. I bite my lip, regretting my remark, and reluctantly walk into the dressing room, slipping into my lingerie. I pull the silky robe over my body, the hems tickling past my knees. I make my way back to my mirror, fix myself up, and then walk towards the curtain leading out to the main floor. I don't look back at Nicolette when I push through the curtain.
I stand with my arms crossed, looking sexy and putting on a smile. A few other girls surround me as we wait for our customers. As usual, I'm the first to go into the back with a client. Depending on the price they pay, I bring them for a nighttime of pleasure—for them. To me, it's business. I give them what they pay me, nothing more. I've created a system for myself when going to the back room. I block off all reality and remain a mere shell. I move when I have to, respond when desired, just to please my client. But, as Nicolette said, it's not real. Nothing I do is real.
I've finished with my third client of the night, my body and mind exhausted, but the night is still young. Someone comes in to tidy up the bedroom for my next client as I walk out, making myself presentable. It's nearing two in the morning and I suppress a yawn. I want to do nothing but fall onto my mattress and sleep for the next two days. If I wasn't professional, I would probably fall asleep the next time I let a man screw me, but I know better than that.
The club is still running high, with a full stage of dancers and drunken men waving their drinks in the air. There aren't many servers going around, since we don't really get any customers to feed at this hour.
As I walk out of the room, the club owner, Donny, presents us girls with more clients.
"Take your pick, gentlemen," he says. I put on a smile and once again cross my arms. Presented before us are two men, brothers they appear—actually, the longer I look at them, the more I realize that they're actually identical twins. They're pretty handsome, both with black hair and brilliant bluish-grey eyes, but one has dreadlocks tied back while the other has choppy-layered hair with bangs that fall diagonally over his forehead. The twin with dreadlocks has arms covered in tattoo sleeves, which are exposed by the purple tank top he's sporting. His face is beaming with excitement, the silver ring threaded through his bottom lip glistening.
He nudges his brother in the side and tosses a nod our way.
"Go ahead, Bastian. Choose," he says, a German accent thick in his voice. He then leans into his ear and whispers something I can barely make out. "You know you need it."
The other brother rolls his eyes and shrugs off his twin. He doesn't look too happy to be here, so I wonder why he's here in the first place. Usually men don't give us disinterested frowns when choosing a girl to take them into a bedroom.
His eyes skim over the group of us before shrugging his shoulders and rolling his eyes back to his brother as he scratches the back of his head.
"I don't know," he groans in another German accent. "I really don't want to—" He's cut off by the death glare his brother gives him. Groaning again, his eyes turn back to us. Finally, they land on me, and he stares.
"You," he mutters. I put on my best sultry smile, despite the fact that he's reluctantly chosen me like a lame White Elephant gift. I'm used to being treated like an object, but I've never had a client that was so reluctant.
"Aw, Bastian, I was going to choose her," the twin groans jokingly. Bastian turns back to him.
"Well then, you take her," he snaps.
"Nope, she's yours," his brother says.
Sometimes it's really hard to keep my mouth shut, but Donny would disapprove and reprimand me. After all, he does help provide a roof over my head and my income. The last person I want to displease is my boss.
So I just stand there and look pretty while the two German twins argue over me. The other girls look amongst each other. It's nothing new to them, either. I'm usually the first one chosen with first-time clients. It probably drives them up the wall.
"Sir, would you like to take her?" Donny interrupts, speaking towards Bastian. His brother gives him an encouraging look and he sighs with defeat.
"Yes," he mutters. Donny grins widely and turns to me.
"Do your thing, Dolly," he says to me. I stare at him briefly, many obscenities running through my head that I would love to toss at him. Instead I finally nod and smile widely at Bastian, reaching for his hand.
"If you would follow me," I say in my sweetest and most alluring voice, and my personal most hated.
Bastian keeps quiet as he follows me towards the back. He doesn't give me his hand, but rather keeps them tucked into the front pockets of his skinny jeans.
"My name is Dolly," I tell him. "I'll be your entertainer for the night. Come inside." I hold the door open for him and then shut it behind me. The wide circular bed is remade from the last escapade I held, undoubtedly with fresh clean sheets. A plug-in air-freshener keeps the room from smelling of body odor and leaked bodily fluids, which sometimes could be hard to mask, as disgusting as that sounds. The lights are dim, the only romantic glow coming from the low chain ceiling lamp and scattered candles that have been freshly relit. Soft music plays in the background to keep the sensual mood of the room.
"Make yourself comfy," I tell him. "It's Bastian, is it?"
"Sebastian," he corrects. I arch an eyebrow and he sighs. "Yeah, actually Bastian is fine."
"I'm okay with Sebastian," I tell him truthfully. I run my fingers through my straight-across bangs and pull a couple of curls over my shoulders. "So," I start, putting on another seductive smile, "what will it be tonight?"
He scratches the back of his head again, his face scrunched with disinterest. I arch my eyebrow again while I cross my arms.
"I don't know," he sighs. "I don't really know what I want."
I feel bad for him. He doesn't even want to be here. Now I understand that his brother most likely dragged him here, but for what I still have no clue.
But I sympathize with him. After all, I don't want to be here either.
"How about a lap dance?" I suggest. I nod towards the velvet armchair off to the side. "You could make yourself comfy over there."
He nods hesitantly and walks over to the chair, plopping himself down in it with a grunt. I strut towards him, untying my robe and letting it fly open, revealing the massive cleavage my bra creates. I climb into Sebastian's lap, grinding gently over his groin, and I run my fingers through his hair. It's really soft and feels like the fur on a brand new stuffed animal—if that isn't weird. My palms graze his ears, discovering the points of his tapers in his lobes and the cold metal of an industrial bar pierced through his right cartilage.
Sebastian sits still on the chair, his arms resting over the arms of the chair. This is so weird. Clients are typically very handsy at this point, taking the initiation of unclothing me. Instead, I'm reaching down to grasp the hems of his shirt to pull it over his head. He doesn't do anything. In fact, he's not even looking at me. He's not looking at my body, or at my face. He's looking off into the distance, presumably the door.
And I thought I couldn't stand screwing random people.
I stop dancing on him and let go of his shirt. I can't do this to him. It's one thing letting other people do it to me, but I have enough moral values to not jump into someone's pants without their willing consent.
I climb off of him and tie my robe back together. Sebastian finally looks at me. He has a mixed expression of confusion and relief.
"What are you doing?" he asks.
I shrug and flash a faint smirk.
"Letting you go. I know you don't really want to be here," I tell him.
"What are you talking about?"
"Oh come on. I may be a stripper, but I'm no idiot. I can tell when someone isn't enjoying themselves."
"It has nothing to do with you—" he adds quickly, but I raise my hand to silence him.
"I know," I say gently, and my smile becomes more visible. "Trust me, if it weren't for the pay, I wouldn't be here either."
Sebastian tilts his head and knits his eyebrows together.
"What do you mean? If you're not happy with what you do, you can always find somewhere else to work," he says.
"I've been here for so long, it's all I know." He opens his mouth to say more, but I interrupt him. "But that doesn't matter. Now, go on. I'll take the blame for it. Tell Donny I fell asleep on you or something. I have been working since eight o'clock, and I've seen too many people today." Sebastian doesn't seem too enthused by that thought.
"Maybe it's a good thing you stopped," he says, but I glare and he gives me a gentle smile. "But what about your pay?"
I shrug. "Eh, whatever. I'm not going to push someone into doing something they don't want to," I tell him. He smile drops and his face flashes with pity. Suddenly, he stands from the armchair and digs into his back pocket, pulling out an old leather wallet. He unfolds it.
"Please don't," I tell him, but he ignores me. He pulls out a one hundred dollar bill and hands it to me. "No, I don't want it. I didn't do anything."
"You deserve it, especially for not taking advantage of someone who didn't want to come to a strip club in the first place," Sebastian says.
"I can't. I didn't work for it," I argue.
"There's a whole world full of work that doesn't have to be dirty or secretive like you do. You don't need to sell yourself to create an income. There are other ways to support yourself."
"Everywhere else you need either a degree or some sort of experience. I have nothing," I tell him shamefully.
"So you resorted to stripping and prostitution?"
I glare and bite my lip. I don't want to say anymore. The flashes of being chained to the bedpost and visited by men I didn't know for a night of painful rides hurts my head. I can already feel the hot tears rising to rush out of my eyes. I turn away from him to hide my crying.
"It's all that I know," I say softly.
"What do you mean?" he asks gently. I shake my head. I'm not about to share my story with some stranger if I can barely share it with Nicolette, who is probably my closest friend here.
"You're free to go. I'm sorry you were forced to come here," I say to him, tightening my crossed arms over my chest in an attempt to comfort myself.
I can hear Sebastian sigh heavily from behind me. I hear quiet footsteps, muffled by the carpet, head towards the door. He walks out, closing it gently behind him.
I turn around to the armchair where he sat. Something green contrasts with the red velvet material of the chair. I narrow my eyes at it and realize it's the one hundred dollar bill Sebastian attempted to pay me with. I pick it up and breathe heavily, but as soon as I exhale, my tears rush down and I fall into the chair, collapsing in my sobs.