By: Sara Wylde

“You can’t say that doesn’t feel good.” He pulled out of the parking lot and headed toward the river.


“Having something that’s just for you. Something that her physicality keeps her from doing.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond. I’d admit, it made me happy in a way to be able to say that she was too thin for my line. If she’d put out a clothing line, I’d never even ask to model for her. But even that made me feel shitty.

“It’s the same for me and Kieran,” Brant confided before I could reply. “He and I have been friends for a long time. Did you know I bench as much as he does, but when he picks up a woman during his act none of them ever wonder if he’s going to be able to hold them up.”

“And they do with you?”

He flashed me a look that said I should know better. “You wouldn’t let me pick you up.”

“I wouldn’t let Kieran pick me up either.”

“Bullshit. I seem to recall Rosa’s birthday when you got hammered and Kieran carried you to the car.”

“And he bitched about his back the whole way.”

“Only because he didn’t want you to struggle and hurt yourself.”

I pursed my lips. “He could have just said that.”

“No, he couldn’t have. You were determined to dance that night and you flung yourself off the pole and if he hadn’t caught you…” He shrugged.

“What? I don’t remember that.” I would never get that drunk.

“Of course you don’t. You were toasted.” He grinned. “It was a good show, though. You can work that pole.”

Heat suffused my face. “I don’t know if I should take that as a compliment or not.”

“From a stripper? Definitely a compliment. Didn’t you wonder why you had all those dollar bills in your bra?”

“I didn’t have any dollar bills.”

Brant laughed. “I bet Kieran kept them. That asshole.”

That meant Kieran had been foraging around in my bra like a squirrel. He’d had his hands on my breasts.

Oh Jesus, I couldn’t think about that right now. I shouldn’t think about that. I was out with Brant. Brant who was nice, Brant who thought I was beautiful. Brant who didn’t fucking live in my house.

Change the subject, but don’t be too obvious. “Is Brant your stage name?”

“No. I’m really just Brant Bowman.”

“That sounds like a superhero name.”

“Right? I didn’t see the need to take a stage name.” He snorted. “Adonis. Jesus. That guy.”

“Yeah, I’m glad I didn’t see his bit. Especially since he was just there trying to get my digits after being a colossal ass.”

He slowed the Mustang to a stop in an almost empty lot. “Looks like this is going to be an interesting ride.”

Brant paid for our fare and we boarded the boat. I only saw one other couple board after us and soon we cruised the river at a leisurely pace.

“So, are you okay being stuck with me alone for an hour and a half?”

It was strange—life. Before going to The Rooster, I thought being alone with him would be pretty damn horrible, but it wasn’t. I thought it would be like being in a pressure cooker with all this expectation, but we were just hanging out.

“It’s not what I expected, so yeah.” Shit. That sounded bad.

“Oh really?” He laughed. “What did you expect?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m not very good in social situations. I feel like I’m supposed to be this certain thing all the time.”

“Didn’t we just say fuck ‘supposed to’?”

“Yeah.” I nodded. “That’s why I’m having fun.”

The air on the river was a little chillier and I probably should’ve brought a sweater. I must have shivered because Brant grabbed me and before I realized it, he’d maneuvered me so I leaned back against his chest and we were half-reclined on the bench; his arms around me and his chin resting on the crown of my head.

He was so warm and he smelled so good, a light splash of D&G Blue. It was easy to forget he was a dancer, easy to forget that I’d been avoiding him for months, and easy to forget he was four inches shorter than me.

This felt good and nothing had felt good in a long time. It was nice to be touched. Held. Treasured.

I looked up at the stars again.

“You do that a lot.”


“Look up at the stars. That’s what you were doing on the roof of The Rooster.”

“It’s one of my favorite things to do.”

“Do you know the constellations?”