| WARNING: This includes sexually explicit material.
Please note any unfamiliar spellings and phrases may be due to the fact
I am English, not American.
I would like to thank the proof-readers for all their help
Any comments, including constructive criticisms, would be most
appreciated. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
This work is copyrighted by the author. You may download and keep one
copy for your personal use as long as my by-line and e-mail address and
this paragraph remain on the copy. Any posting or reposting on a website,
other than the archive or Dejanews, or to a newsgroup requires my
permission first (but I'll probably say yes). This should not, under
any circumstances be used to make a profit by anyone other than the author
Exposed Chapter Two
As a wave of despair swamped her she watched tears trickle down her
reflected face in the mirror. She had no idea what to do now. The studio
didn't care about the consequences of their shows. Kate didn't even know
where to go. She couldn't return to the hotel room she had shared with
Harry last night, with Debbie right next door. She suddenly remembered
Harry making love to her last night and her stomach clenched. Fighting the
nausea, she tried to recall if she had any money or credit cards in her
Unexpectedly an arm came around her and someone gave her a brief hug,
before pressing a glass of water and a tissue into her hand. Gratefully
Kate sipped the water, trying to smile at the stranger next to her.
"Rough day?" she said sympathetically. Kate nodded, mopping at her
face. "Here, let me do that," the stranger continued. "You probably don't
remember my name, it's Suki Divine."
"Kate Robertson," Kate responded politely. Suki smeared some cream on
Kate's face, then began wiping the make up off. "What are you here
for?" It seemed bizarre to be making genteel conversation under the
circumstances, but Kate didn't really know what else to do.
"Confessing to my that I own and work in a strip bar," Suki said
casually. "They actually kind of knew already but I could use the free
publicity. Dad hammed it up great, doing all the moral outrage bit. It's
easy to see where I get my acting talent from." Kate was unsure exactly how
to respond to the explanation so she settled for smiling weakly. Suki
didn't really look like Kate's of a stripper. She was changing
into jeans and a shirt, and didn't really look any different from any of
Kate's respectable friends. If anything, she wore less make-up.
"What are you going to do now?" Suki asked kindly. Kate sighed and
began to change out her Sunday best clothes. Her respectable blue suit
seemed dowdy now. She indignantly remembered Harry suggesting that she
wear this outfit, instead of some of the clothes she wore for going out of
an evening. This suit was for funerals and meetings with the bank manager,
not looking feminine. Kate now realised that Harry wanted her to look as
dull as possible.
"Bastard," she muttered.
"That's the spirit," Suki remarked. "They seem a regular pair of
creeps, those two. Sounds like you're well rid of them, if you don't mind
my saying so." Suki's unexpected support bolstered Kate's flagging spirits.
She dug out her purse and groaned when she saw how little she had in it.
Since they were travelling together, Kate hadn't seen much point in
bringing all her cards with her. The little money she had would barely
stretch to a Big Mac.
"What's wrong, sweetie?" Suki asked.
"I don't want to go back to the hotel room, but I haven't got enough
money to go anywhere else." Kate rummaged around in her bag a bit more and
triumphantly came up with an envelope. "I have, however, got all of our
plane tickets." She took out two of them and vindictively tore them into
pieces. Suki gave an encouraging cheer and laughingly tossed the scraps in
"Why don't you come home with me?" Suki suggested, looking
sympathetically at Kate. "I live over the bar, with my partner, business
not sexual partner that is. I know it's probably not your environment of
choice but it has to be better than walking the streets all night or going
back to the hotel with that pair of losers."
"You mean, go to your strip bar?" Kate queried.
"Yep. I've got a spare bed and you won't have to go downstairs to the
bar at all. Of course, I understand if you don't want to."
"No, I'd be really grateful," Kate replied quickly, before she could
retract her offer. "To be honest, I'd really like to see what a strip club
"Well, as long as you're not expecting anything glamorous," Suki
cautioned, " you're more than welcome."
Suki had been right, Kate thought, the bar was anything but glamorous.
From the outside it was a square concrete building with no windows. It had
a car park lurking behind it and on the front a large neon sign, which
looked rather forlorn in daylight. Inside there was a small entranceway
with a ticket booth guarding the way in and plenty of pictures of naked
women pouting at the camera. Suki led the way inside and Kate found
herself in a large, dimly lit room. A wide bar ran along one side of the
room and there were small tables scattered around. In the centre was the
stage. A runway led out from a curtain-shrouded doorway and ended in a
large semi-circle with a pole in the centre. A strange cocktail of stale
smoke and alcohol combined with furniture polish and floor cleaner. A
couple of women were on the stage practising a routine, while a tall was directing several others as they wiped tables and mopped the floor.
"I'll just say hello to my partner and check there's no crisis, then
we'll go upstairs. It won't take a minute," Suki promised. Kate trailed
after her, trying to look at everything at once. As soon as Suki was
spotted, everyone crowded around her asking questions about the show. Kate
stood awkwardly in the background, listening to the exuberant chatter and
feeling out of place, until the tall approached her, smiling.
"I thought I knew all of Suki's friends, but I don't remember meeting
you before," he said with a slight accent, taking Kate's hand.
"No. That is, I'm not exactly . . ." Kate stopped and tried to start
again. "What I'm trying to say is that I only met Suki today so that's why
you don't know me."
"I thought I would have remembered such a charming lady," he said, and
kissed the back of her hand. Kate was taken by surprise and completely
flustered. Snatching her hand away, she eyed him warily.
"What are you trying to do?" she asked. He raised an eyebrow and looked
at her quizzically. "Well?" she demanded crossly. "Do you go around
kissing complete stranger's hands all the time?"
"Only the female ones," he replied with a wink. Kate scowled at him.
Men were not her favourite creatures at the moment and this particular one
seemed to be amusing himself at her expense.
"Oh, lose the phoney accent," she snapped. "You sound ridiculous." To
her astonishment he threw back his head and laughed out loud.
"As smart as you are beautiful," he declared, speaking in a normal
voice. "Where did Suki find you? Are you going to be working for us?"
"Working for you?" Kate echoed questioningly.
"You're a bit than our normal but you've got a nice figure,"
he informed her, looking her up and down appraisingly. "Do you have any
"What kind of experience?" Kate asked, not sure if she had been insulted
"I take it you've never stripped before," he said briskly. "Some kind
of dancing training always helps, or a bit of theatre work. Do you have
any costumes or props with you?"
Before Kate could formulate an answer Suki interrupted them.
"Hey Steve, I see you've already met Kate. She's had a rough day and no
where to stay tonight so I brought her home with me."
"You mean she's not here to work?" Steve asked.
"Of course not," Suki replied. "Don't tell me you've been wasting your
world weary European aristocrat impersonation on her. Why you think that's
how a strip club's owner ought to sound is beyond me."
"I tried, but she saw through it right away," he said mournfully. "And
now I've probably mortally offended her so that she'll never speak to me
again. I'm mortified."
Kate would have hurried to reassure him but she could see the laughter
in his eyes as he hung his head.
"Do you know this play-actor, or has he just escaped from a lunatic
asylum?" she asked Suki, looking down her nose at him. He threw back his
head and laughed again.
"You are one smart lady," he said. "I can see it's impossible to fool
you." His words immediately reminded Kate of the afternoon's revelations
and she quickly turned away as tears filled her eyes. For a few moments
her unusual surroundings and Steve's silliness had made her forget why she
was there. She could hear Suki explaining her circumstances to Steve as
she fought for composure. She braced herself for the pity in his eyes when
she turned back to face him and was surprised to see anger there instead.
"There are times when I'm ashamed to be male," he declared. "What an
idiot! I'll give you the number of a friend of mine who's a divorce
lawyer. He's very good, and he'll make sure you get everything you're
entitled to. Now let's go and see what we can find to eat."
The upstairs apartment was surprisingly bright and spacious. Soft
evening sunshine fell through generous skylights in the ceiling. It was
mainly open plan, and the few walls were painted bright cheerful colours.
Plants were scattered around, adding to the airy feel of the apartment.
Bowls of potpourri and incense burners filled the air with soft aromas.
Kate took a deep breath and felt some of the tension leave her for the
first time that day. Suki tossed Kate some towels and a bathrobe and
directed her to the bathroom.
When she emerged, damp and refreshed, Bob Uncle's Talk Show was just
starting on the TV. Steve and Suki were perched on a sofa watching it.
Kate stopped in her tracks and numbly watched her face appear on the screen
as the whole nightmare repeated itself. A stranger might have thought that
she showed no reaction, but Kate could see how each word hurt, flaying away
her self-respect and leaving her raw and exposed. She dimly heard
sympathetic murmurs from Suki and Steve, but she focused on Harry's face.
Not once did she see a flicker of remorse or regret on his face as he tore
her world to pieces. At last it was over and she took a deep breath to
compose herself. She walked forward as calmly as possible.
"I'm not surprised they cut the remark about the tacky talk show," she
remarked lightly. Steve and Suki looked around with startled faces.
"Oh sweetie, I thought you were still in the shower," Suki said
remorsefully. "We would have turned it off if we'd known you were there."
"Don't worry about it," Kate replied, trying to smile. "I had to see it
sooner or later. Oh, look, you're on now Suki."
"Here, have a drink," Steve said, passing her a glass of wine. "You'll
need it to get through Suki's performance. She makes my acting look Oscar
"You're just jealous that I got on TV, not you."
"Hey, I was drinking at a bar in an episode of Dallas, I'll have you
know," Steve said, pretending to be indignant. As Steve and Suki tossed
insults and crazy remarks at each other Kate relaxed again. Once the talk
show was over they all moved into the kitchen. Kate was given a pile of
carrots to peel and another bottle of wine was opened. Kate was slightly
surprised to find that they were feeding everyone, not just the three of
them. A big pan of pasta and a large bowl of salad were set out on a table
and people drifted in and helped themselves. Kate found herself sitting on
a sofa with two skimpily dressed women and a very big long-haired who
introduced himself as 'Tom the bouncer'. She was slightly surprised how
commonplace their conversation was, considering their profession.
She drank more than was probably good for her, but found she was
brooding about what Harry had said. She tried to dismiss his words, but it
wasn't that easy. She didn't know where the idea came from, but the more
she drank and the more she thought about it, the more she liked it.
Draining her glass she went to find Suki and Steve. To her surprise they
took a lot of convincing.
"I just don't see how stripping for a lot of strangers is going to make
you feel better," Steve said again.
"I've been humiliated in front of millions of people today," Kate said.
"My husband publicly said that I was less attractive naked than Debbie was
fully clothed. My self-esteem needs to know if I'm really so unattractive.
I could go to a bar and see how many I could pick up, but this seems
like a better way. It's a golden opportunity. I can't see why you won't
let me do it."
"What if you go out there and end up making a fool of yourself?" Steve
asked. "Where will your self-esteem be there?"
"I used to take dance lessons when I was at school. If you helped me,
why would I make a fool of myself?" Kate asked. "Or are you trying to say
that Harry was right and no one would be interested in seeing me naked?"
"No, no, of course not," Steve replied quickly. "It's just that you're
such a nice lady."
"So are all of your that I've met tonight."
"I give up. Suki, you explain it to her," Steve said.
"I can see both sides of the argument," Suki admitted. "People who come
to strip-clubs aren't usually the cream of society. But on the other hand
I can see why you think it would help your self-esteem. There's a unique
feeling walking down the stage with of willing to pay money just
to see you naked."
"So you'll let me do it?" Kate asked.
"I think we should go downstairs to see if we can put a routine together
for you. If we manage to produce something that looks professional enough,
I don't see why not." Elated, Kate ignored Steve's disapproving look and
Copyright Vickie Morgan, June 1999 E-mail email@example.com