When college kids need a way to make money, they usually flip pizzas, wait tables, or sell tickets at the theaters. Those jobs are great and all, but compared to what I do, they're... a little mundane, and pay way less.
Not a lot of people think my job is a good one. It's under the table, guaranteed to get you hurt, dangerous, and--you'll love this one--it's illegal. But that sort of makes it a lot more interesting; for the fighters, the ones placing bets, and the heads managing everything in between. I happen to fall in the first category.
Yeah. I'm a fighter. Carson likes to brag that I'm his best one, that I'm even better than the boys. I try to pay him no mind. It's probably just because I bring in the most money each night. Most people bet against me. They see me and think, ooh a girl. Easy money. But eventually, they learn not to underestimate me.
It all takes place underground in the stripclub on Pacific and Montgomery, placed in the far corner of town as if it was meant to be hidden away. Carson says after he bought the building and finished installing everything, the last thing he needed was a name to complete it.
He turned on the neon lights that lit up the empty space where the sign should be. It glowed, dark-blue and purplish in hue. That's when he decided to name it Indigo. Those who aren't in on the business don't suspect much from the place besides pretty girls on the poles and good drinks.
But to those in the know, the real fun happens underground. _________________________________ The only time I make eye contact with the other fighter in the ring is at the beginning of the match. Most of the girls that work for Carson are upstairs as strippers, servers, or bartenders.
Not a lot of them are down here like me, so most of them are new faces--challengers. They give me one look, and then I find out everything there is to know about them. I can tell if they're ready, excited, scared. I see how much they want to beat me, how hard they want the money that was promised them if they manage to win.
But they usually don't. It's rare they ever do. Sure, I can be cocky. But the thing is, I can back it. Once the bell rings, my eyes are on their stomach. At the slightest movement, their core gives them away.
I'm blocking their punch and throwing my own before they can even come close to touching me. Challengers aren't usually much of a challenge at all. But tonight, mine had endurance. She knew how to dodge and block, and she lasted until the eighth round before I got annoyed and knocked her out.
People were already out of their seats going wild before she hit the floor of the ring. The overhead speakers declared me the winner, but I was already walking off. All I could think about was the 6am class I had to attend the next day.
- Morgan -
-Morgan- My alarm is so damn loud. I slapped it quiet and turned over in bed. I’ve had to haul some ass for the past couple days juggling shifts and schoolwork, but hey it was all worth it.
Now I have more than enough for rent and I can shove the rest into savings… or maybe I can go shopping… I pulled the covers over, trying to go back to sleep but every time I close my eyes all I can see is the haze of Indigo’s bluish-purple neon lights, wrapping my legs around poles, and fishing out the cash that eager customers have left in my thong.
I opened my weary eyes and forced myself up. _______________________________ Peyton has been my #1 since sophomore year of high school and honestly, since then nothing has changed. She’s just as confident, wild at parties, boy-crazy, and equally as responsible as she has been since we’ve met.
Actually, one thing that changed is her love for tea. We had so much coffee during our first year of college that it basically ran through our veins. Believe it or not, it’s easy to get sick of it when you have it as often as we did.
One of our friends at the cafe here introduced us to tea and boba and I swear it saved us from our coffee addiction only to throw us into another one. Peyton and I had some time before our classes started so we went down to the cafe to grab some breakfast. Our usual? BBS baby. Bagel. Breakfast. Sandwiches.
Peyton’s was an everything bagel and mine was asiago. Whenever she bit into hers, crumbs and toppings scattered everywhere on the table and her lap. I snickered every single time. Something across the room caught my eye. When I recognized who it was, I nearly hid under the table to avoid being seen.
Peyton questioned my actions and looked around. “What are you doi… ohh.” Tori strolled into the cafe and stood in line, eyes on the menu. I pulled at Peyton’s sleeve, harshly whispering for us to make our great escape, but she yanked her arm away from my grasp.
“Oh will you just relax?” she snapped. “There’s plenty of people here. You’re fine.” She bit into her sandwich nonchalantly, scattering more crumbs. I glared at her. “We dated for like four years, we could recognize each other from a mile away!”
She gave me a scolding look. “Well maybe if she sees you, you can finally stop avoiding her. Maybe you could even man up and talk to her.” I shook my head. “No, she doesn’t want to talk to me. She hates me! I’d hate me too after the way I broke up with her.”
Peyton shrugged. “Then you can apologize and you can both move on.” She raised her eyebrows at me before I could even try to form my rebuttal. I rolled my eyes. “You suck.”
I kept my eyes on Tori as we stayed in the cafe, somewhat paranoid that her eyes would catch on me like a lit Las Vegas sign against the dark night sky. I don’t even know what I’d say to her if we actually run into each other. But eventually, she got her drink and left and I breathed a sigh of relief. ________________________________
- Tori -
I think I would’ve slept through the day if it wasn’t for Carson calling me. I don’t even know what time it is. All I know is I took notes like a beast and went straight to bed as soon as I got out of class. I dragged my phone from the bedside table to my ear. “Boss.”
That’s what I meant to say. But I kind of just whine-mumbled a noise into the phone and hoped he understood. Thankfully he did. “Check day,” he said. His voice sounded even more deep and southern over the phone. “Come 'round and get it before I rip it up.”
I haven’t even opened my eyes. I couldn’t fathom getting myself out of bed let alone having to actually get up and go somewhere. “Now?” For a moment, there was a pause. Then I heard a tear, as if Carson had just ripped a piece of paper in half.
“You wanna come get the rest or do you want me to shred the rest?” _______________________________ The club looks so different in the daylight. No blaring music, no neon haze, no crazy hollering from those who’ve had lots to drink. It was quiet and empty, save for the bustle of people wiping down tables and sweeping floors.
Some of the girls were on stage, going over tonight’s lineup. I observed as they practiced walking out on the platform. Morgan stood beside her colleagues with an absent expression, as if her mind was elsewhere. I wondered how she just seemed to be so naturally beautiful. Sometimes, I catch myself staring for too long and I scold myself for being such a creep.
“Toriiiii.” A few of my fellow fighters dapped me up in greeting. Monroe was probably the biggest dude here and Rolan was a newbie but damn can he swing a kick. “Did Carson threaten to rip your guys’ checks too?” I asked.
Monroe laughed. “I don’t get what his deal is when it comes to check day. He’s so OCD about it. And it’d be different if we can prep for it, but it is literally a random day he picks when he can pay everyone properly.” Rolan shrugged. “Ahh, ease up on him. I think it’s a good system. I don’t mind it. We all get paid don’t we?”
“There y'all are!” Carson’s voice pulled our attention. He placed a rough palm on Rolan’s shoulder and the other on mine. “Your shares from the last couple of weeks are inside, come on,” he said. We followed him into his office and scanned the layout of envelopes on his desk.
“It’s payday for everyone, huh?” I guessed. “Yep,” the boss muttered, “but that’s everyday for me.” He burst out in a deep-belly laugh, and it reminded me of a Georgian Santa Claus. A few of the girls joined us in Carson’s office, searching for their envelopes.
Carson asked them how practice was going and they commented on its progress. I got nervous and started eyeing the door. Morgan could walk in here and then I’d shit myself. The boss grabbed a few envelopes on the corner and reviewed them to make sure they were the right ones.
“This is for you, and this is for you” he recited, handing them to us. Once the boys got their shares, they waved goodbye and left. I received the envelope with my initials labeled on its surface.The thick wad of cash inside was heavy.
I gave Carson my thanks and began to head out, but as soon as I turned around, I immediately bumped into one of the girls. “Sorry, I didn’t-” I started to apologize, but after seeing her, I seemed to be at a loss for words.
Morgan raised her glance from scanning me and caught a glimpse of my shocked expression. I thought she’d look away, but her eyes stayed. The shade of gray in her irises haven’t changed one bit. I tried not to stare, but there she was right in front of me in a thigh garter and lace underwear, good lord.
“Tori,” she greeted in surprise. I didn’t expect to ever hear her say my name again. But it sounded the same. I could almost recall the last time we had ever spoken to each other, but its unpleasant memory reminded me of the reason why we had chosen to go our separate ways.
I was almost rendered speechless, but I managed to find my voice. “Morgan.”
I don’t think I’ll put the entirety of the story here since it’s pretty long, so I've put the link to the rest in the description if you'd like to continue reading it :)