Wed to the DevilBy: Ada Stone
There are a dozen different jobs just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road in Las Vegas, the devil’s playground. Unfortunately, they all involve having breasts spilling out of your dance number or a bared pussy for a gentleman caller.
In other words, the exact reason why I lived just past the city limits in a suburb of the real deal. It wasn’t as glamorous and I would make more in the city, but I just didn’t want to deal with the liberties people thought they could take with pretty young women in the city. Like we were all just a step away from prostitution.
It was maybe worse for me, because I had the body for it. Curvy hips, a slim waist, and breasts that made for a full show of cleavage with little prep work on my part.
I was sweeping up the floor, clearing away the loose hairs that had accumulated over the last hour or so since I’d swept before, when my phone buzzed on the table. I finished sweeping before going over to the table, taking a seat in the cushy chair that spun a little as I kicked off the foot rest at the bottom. When the spin completed its turn, I came face to face with my reflection. I wasn’t a bad looking woman, though I was nearing thirty and you could see it around my wide green eyes, but I was doing better than most thanks to a healthy diet and a lot less makeup. My hair dropped nearly to my waist, though maybe that wasn’t a good promotion for my profession.
Shouldn’t a hair stylist have more cutting edge hair?
I couldn’t bring myself to cut it, though. I couldn’t decide if it was because I liked the long silky strands or if it was the lingering restrictions that had once ruled my life.
Taking a deep breath, I looked away from my reflection and reached for my phone, unlocking it to read the text. My shoulders tensed instantly as I saw who it was from. Tom. My ex. I slammed my phone on the countertop face down before even catching more of a glimpse of what he’d said. I had to clench my eyes shut and slow my breathing before I forced myself into a panic attack.
We’d broken up only two months ago, but it felt both like an eternity and yesterday since that night. The night things had gone from bad to worse to over.
I finished cleaning up, putting away the chemicals, the hairdryers, the combs, and tossing the used towels into the laundry. When I was satisfied that the shop was clean—I wanted it to be spotless, a low key means of showing that I deserved the promotion I was gunning for—I finally went to my phone. I didn’t want to check it, even after I’d had some time to calm down, but ultimately I couldn’t resist.
Curiosity killed the cat, right?
I flipped the screen up so that I could read the text.
I miss you, babe. We’re so good together. Don’t let one bad night wreck us. You’re mine; you’ll come back.
A cold feeling slid down my spine, but I just turned off the screen, shoved the phone in my pocket, and left the shop, ignoring the feeling. I locked the doors and headed towards the bus station—I didn’t have a car right now. I was saving up, but it was hard because I’d only just started working again. People liked me, but they didn’t give cars away for free and loans needed proof that you could pay them back.
So, the bus and I were good buddies now.
I tucked my hands into my jacket pockets, walking to the nearest stop and stood next to the bench. There was a man, maybe a little younger than me, sitting on the bench, and though there was enough room for me on there, too, I didn’t want to risk it or invite any unwelcome attention. I’d already caught his eyes wandering low over my body, lingering at the slight line of cleavage peeking out from my collar.
I closed my jacket tighter around me and pointedly ignored him. I didn’t dress for attention, but I dressed to impress. No one wanted a frumpy hairstylist.
When I felt the man still staring at me, I pulled my phone from my pocket and searched through my contact list. I needed a little distraction tonight, I decided. Some fun. By the time the bus came to pick me up, I’d texted Sylvia and Lynn, both of whom would meet me in an hour at Shiverly, the nightclub that was as close to exciting as you could get without actually going into downtown Las Vegas.
I felt a little better, but I still sat in the front section of the bus with my back to a wall and my bag beside me, making it clear I wasn’t inviting any attention from anyone.
Lynn was driving, because I didn’t have a car and Sylvia’s boyfriend used hers to get to and from work. I liked to remind her every so often that he was a little possessive, but she just shrugged it off.
“He’s not possessive,” she told me nonchalantly. “He’s protective. There is a difference, you know.”