Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Professor - Ch. 1.1

Three Months Later – Early August

Aurelia was almost at her wit’s end on that starlit Monday night. Another semester of tuition was due in two weeks and she simply did not have it. She knew where to get it though – Dingo’s, a strip club in the next town to the north.

Had Aurelia returned to exotic dancing before now, she might have been able to come up with the money in enough time. More than enough money considering her talents. Yet Aurelia had delayed going back to that profession until she’d completely run out of all other viable options. She ran out of those options sooner than expected.

After working a slue of part-time jobs over the summer, Aurelia found herself still three grand short of her tuition. Those jobs barely kept her fed and in the one bedroom apartment she rented on the poor side of Alcove, much less provided excess money for college savings.

On top of all that, she’d had to send more money home than usual this month to help her struggling mother and little brother out of a new financial fix that arose due to a leaky roof. Even maxing out her school loans weren’t going to be enough to pay for her remaining matriculation.

Getting help from a wealthy new boyfriend was out of the question. Aurelia was still too traumatized from that Cain experience to even go on a date with another man. Just today she’d turned down five date requests from five different men, despite the fact that her hormones had never raged louder.

Aurelia didn’t want or need the added aggravation of a man right now. She wasn’t into one-night-stands, so her hormone driven libido would just have to wait for satisfaction.

Since Aurelia wasn’t a prostitute and never would be, she decided to earn the money she needed through exotic dancing. Although her primary job as a switchboard operator in the Alcove Mall was more respectable, it paid chicken scratch compared to this one.

I have to score big for the next two weeks, Aurelia mused, parking her ’68 white Volkswagen Beetle in the back of the strip club. Either that or sit out this next semester. She really didn’t want to do the latter.

As a new senior, the twenty-two-year-old only had one more year to finish college. Aurelia didn’t want to delay her chemistry degree for one day longer, much less a whole semester. That college degree was going to be her and her family’s ticket out of poverty once and for all. It was also the key to unlock the door to Aurelia’s dream career, which was to one day become a forensic scientist and work in a real crime lab.

Maybe I can hook up with Crystal and them on that bachelor’s party in Cabo, Aurelia thought, hoping it wasn’t too late to join in. After all, that party was this Friday.

Already a club favorite in the month that she’d been here, Aurelia was asked by Crystal a week ago to join the traveling crew to the upcoming event in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Out of pure hatred for her second job, she promptly and yet politely declined the head dancer’s invitation.

Aurelia didn’t want to do any more exotic dancing than was absolutely necessary. Especially since every time she danced for money it was like dishonoring her father’s memory. For it was he that bartered three years of lawn care service to a top dance studio in St. Thomas just so she could enjoy free dance classes there.

Now Aurelia realized how important it was to put her hatred aside for the greater good – her degree from a university with a top-notch forensics program. Now she wished she’d been wiser…sooner.

“Hello, Six-Eight,” Aurelia said, pleasantly greeting the burly bouncer by his nickname and actual height as she approached the back entrance. A black garment bag with tonight’s outfits was draped over her right forearm. A black leather purse with matching accessories inside hung from her left shoulder.

“Hey, lady.” Six-Eight gave her a gap-toothed smile as he held the door open for her. “Ready to make that paper tonight?”

“You know it.” Aurelia grinned, mindful to always be nice to him.

Not only was Six-Eight the brother of the owner, he was always respectful to the dancers, kept the occasional unruly customer from attacking them on or off stage, and he always made sure they got safely to and from their cars. Who wouldn’t be nice to a great guy like that?

“Here, I brought a little something for you,” Aurelia added, reaching into her purse for a king-sized pack of Now and Laters, Six-Eight’s favorite sweet treat.

“Ahhhhh…snap! You got the grape kind and everything.” He grinned. “You all right, lady, you know that?” Six-Eight said, receiving his candy with a grateful nod as she passed by him.

“I try to be,” Aurelia replied over her left shoulder as she continued down the back hallway of the club.

© 2009 by Mi’Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier

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Aurelia’s car:

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Six-Eight’s (and Suprina’s) favorite candy treat:

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