Until November(7)

By: Aurora Rose Reynolds

“Okay, Dad, I'm ready,” I yell into the living room while scratching Beast behind his ears.

“Wow, you look beautiful,” he says, kissing my cheek. “Let’s get this shit over with.” I smile at him, knowing that he’s nervous. I think at this point, he’s more nervous than me.

“Dad, it’s going to be okay.” Going with my dad to his club is completely nerve racking for me. I mean, my dad owns a strip club where naked girls work. I'm freaking out on the inside but trying to act cool. I don't want him to feel any more uncomfortable than I know he already does.

"Just so you know, baby girl, the women who work for me are not your friends. There is nothing wrong with what they do but you are not going to be hanging with them."

I raise my eyebrows at him and he shakes his head. “I know that you won't be there during club hours but I want to make it perfectly clear—there is no reason for you to ever be in the front of the house when you’re in the building. You can come in, sort shit out in the office, but there will be no drinking at the bar and no socializing with the employees. The only reason I'm bringing you here tonight is because I want the people I trust to meet you. That way, you will always have someone to go to in case I'm not around."

“Dad, don’t worry so much. You’re giving yourself grey hair and soon you’re going to look like Uncle Joe.”

“Very funny!” he says, smiling.

The club is pretty much how I pictured it. Not that I've been in a strip club but what do you really think of when you imagine a strip club. There's a long bar on the back wall with stools in front of it. Off to the side, there's a stage with two poles and a girl dancing. Along the stage, there are four tables with guys of every age watching the show. In the back of the room, the lighting is so dim that you can barely make out the couches. Behind them is a wall of mirrors. Looking around, everything looks new and modern.

"Okay, baby girl.” My dad snaps me out of my perusal. “This is Rex.” He points to the guy behind the bar. "Rex, this is my daughter, November. She's going to be doing the books and helping me out from behind the scenes. You won't see her much but I wanted you to meet her so that if I'm not around, she knows who to talk to."

“Hey, girl,” Rex says, wiping his hands on a towel. “Nice to finally meet you.”

“You too,” I say as my dad pulls me into his side.

"Wow, Mike, didn't think that with your ugly mug you could make such a pretty girl," Rex says and I feel myself turn red.

My dad looks down at me with so much pride. “Yeah, I did good," he says, smiling.

“Oh, geeze, Daddy, stop,” I say while squeezing his middle and rolling my eyes. That's when I feel like someone’s watching me. I look around but don't see anyone.

"I'm gonna take her to the office and show her my mess," Dad says.

"Okay, man, but when you’re done, we need to talk about the shit Skittles pulled the other night."

“Once November leaves, I’ll be on the floor," my dad says, pulling me with him.

After meeting a couple other people, we go into his office. He was not joking—the place is a mess. It's going to take me weeks just to get everything organized. There are papers, books and files everywhere and the computer looks like the first one ever invented. "Well, here you are. You can start tomorrow morning. Just try to be out of here by three. Once you get stuff figured out, you can always move your office to the house if you feel like that works better.”

“Okay, I'll start tomorrow. It's gonna take some time just to get things sorted. After that, I should be able to do it from home most of the time.”

"Sounds good," Dad says, looking around. Just then, the phone rings on the desk. He moves some papers around. When he finally finds the handset, he puts it to his ear. "Yeah, okay. I’ll be out. I have to go, baby girl. There's a problem out front."

“That’s fine, Dad,” I say to his back as he runs from the office. Looking around for a few minutes, I see that I have my work cut out for me. I decide to go home and get some sleep so that I’ll have all my brain cells in the morning when I come back to this disaster.

I walk out into the cool November air. I pull out my phone and text Dad that I’ll see him tomorrow. The music is now just background noise, but I can still smell the alcohol, perfume and beer that lingers on my clothes from being inside the club. I'm almost to my car, thinking about taking Beast for a walk. I want to go before it’s too late and we have another skunk incident like we did the other night. "Yo," I hear shouted from behind me. I jump and end up dropping my purse and keys to the ground. I pick them up then look around. All the air is pushed out of my lungs. The most beautiful man I have ever seen is standing a few feet from me. He is more than a foot taller than my five feet four inch frame. His dark brown hair is cut so short that I can see his scalp. His jaw is so square that it looks like it was cut from glass. He has a couple days of stubble on it that makes me want to rub my cheek across it to see how it feels. His nose looks like it may have been broken but it does nothing to take away from the beauty of his face.

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