Byron used the towel to dry some of the sweat off his body. He winced, and turned to show bloody scratches high on one buttock. “Got me from behind, just at the end of m’ act.” “Hit-and-run, or did she give you extra money for it?” Nathaniel asked. “Hit-and-run.” I must have looked puzzled, because Nathaniel explained. “A hit-and-run is when a customer gets an extra grope, or scratch, or something intimate, and we don’t know who did it, and they don’t pay for it.”Also known as ASSAULT. This is a chance for LKH to address a pretty big issue: Sex workers get abused and assaulted A LOT. They don't ask for it, any more than anybody else asks for it, and it's not right for a customer to take liberties the worker didn't agree to. It's wrong for a customer to do that to a dancer, it's wrong for a customer to do that to their waitress, it's wrong for a random stranger to do that to me. LKH could be discussing the hazards of being an exotic dancer.
But instead, it's all about how desirable her men are.
“Oh,” I said, because I didn’t know what else to say. I didn’t like watching my boyfriends being groped by strangers. It was another reason I stayed away.It's not that the groping is wrong, even in the context of a strip club (ESPECIALLY in the context of a strip club) and that Anita has to watch her loved ones be casually assaulted by strange assholes just so they can survive. Nope. It's that it's HER MEN being groped that makes it wrong. See, when "my lover" sounds a lot like "my dog" or "my boots", that's when it becomes a big issue. Anita isn't disturbed that her lovers have their rights and bodies violated as a matter of course and that NOBODY in the club seems to be taking steps to protect them. She's disturbed that her property is being damaged by strangers. I know this because after Anita thinks about the groping we move on to her pawing Requiem.
He quotes Milton at her. Because religious poetry about the war in heaven and good and evil is exactly what you want to be quoting at a strip joint. For FUCK'S SAKE Laurel, there's an entire book in the Bible that is literally nothing but erotic poetry. I'd be much more aroused by the verses where the Shulamite describes Solomon's penis.
And of course, it's just Requiem's way to complain that Anita is giving Nate and Bryon more attention than she's giving him, because Nate is a lover and he's just food. AKA a lover that Anita doesn't care much about. It bugs Anita that she doesn't care, and that she's lost out on a potential friend by sleeping with Requiem, even though sleeping with Jason didn't blow that friendship. Requiem is a whiny infant, and in a minute he's gonna passive-agressively quote Donne. That's the issue.
Byron and Requiem start circling each other verbally, which isn't very effective because Requiem keeps quoting the poets most popular with English teachers. And then Bryon starts doing it too, because OF COURSE we're going to have a literary dick measuring contest in the back of a vampire's knockoff Chippendale's.
And then, without any warning whatsoever, Bryon starts yanking Nathanial around by his hair. It's like post-work chatter, What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks, RANDOM ABUSE. Anita pulls a gun on Bryon (FINALLY AN APPROPRETE RESPONSE TO BAD BEHAVIOR) and Bryon says it's fine because Nate likes it.
YOU DID NOT ASK NATE IF HE WANTED TO HAVE HIS HAIR PULLED, ASSHOLE.
Nathaniel’s lips were half parted, his eyes fluttering closed, his face slack with pleasure. His body was tense with anticipation. He was enjoying the pain, enjoying being manhandled. Shit.No. There is a major difference between consensual playacting between two adults who cleared everything with each other beforehand and got into the mindset for whatever game they want to play tonight, and being randomly attacked without any warning at all. It's the difference between actual sex and rape, bondage games and assault. Nate should not be having an orgasm over having his hair pulled until his neck is at a potentially life threatening angle, ESPECIALLY not with his long history of abuse. This should flip his fight-or-flight trigger, not his fuck-me trigger.
Byron stood there and watched him. “Duckie, this much reaction, you have been neglecting your boy.”SUBMISSIVES AREN'T POTTED FUCKING PLANTS. THEY DON'T WILT IF YOU DON'T BALL GAG THEM ONCE A WEEK. Jesus.
Byron then introduces Anita to the concept of a switch--somebody who gets off on being both a dom and a sub. This is treated as revelatiory information, because it's not like Anita spends a TON of time around sex workers, is intimate with at least one major submissive, and is in and out of bondage clubs all the damn time.
“Feed the ardeur on me and Nathaniel, while I abuse him. If this is a preview, the energy will be amazing.”BONDAGE IS NOT ABUSE. YOU SHOULD NOT BE USING THOSE WORDS INTERCHANGABLY.
Requiem gets pissy and expresses himself with more poetry. You know, because the brooding creative types do that. Did I mention he's dressed in a black velvet cape? AND NOTHING ELSE?
Bryon asks Requiem if he's considered just killing himself because Anita doesn't want him the way he wants her to.
These people are such pieces of shit.
Jean Claude comes in. He's wearing a Tuxedo...made of leather. With silk suspenders and no shirt.
Excuse me, I think I snorted something up my nose on that one.
Anita gets all hot and bothered, and then gets upset because she describes JC's cheekbones as being like a swallow's wing and that's not like her. It's another sign that someone's messing with her (Though my vote is LKH forgot which series she was writing for a minute) but we don't address that at all. Instead, Jean Claude and Lisandro argue over who Anita should pick as her next Animal to Call because the next one needs to be stronger.
Anita figures out that touching Jean Claude makes the whatever go away, so they have a breif makeout session. Jean Claude asks Requiem if he knows what this is, and Requiem says yes. They send Lisandro out and the chapter ends.
I don't have high hopes for the plot, but we're seven chapters in and nobody's had sex yet. Things are looking up.