His Very Own Private Dancer

Icy got ready for work. Her mother woke her up even though she went to bed only three hours ago.

“Jonty called. You have a job. He will be fetching you in about fifteen minutes.” After delivering the message, her mother went back to her friends. They were playing a lively game of bingo.

Icy didn’t complain. Quietly, she took a shower. She was putting on a costume when Jonty came. Her manager was early by five minutes.

What’s up? she wondered.

She opened the door to gesture to wait. She had not combed her long hair. Her face was bare of make-up.

“No. We don’t have time. The car is waiting.” He came inside the room and picked up the work bag. “Put all the paints later. Our client is impatient. Come!”

Stories Inspired by Songs

I’m your private dancer. A dancer for money. – Tina Turner, ‘Private Dancer’

Jonty almost dragged her out of the house and into the parked car. He didn’t bother calling out to her mother.

Icy got the impression that the car was expensive before it started and drew away. She was squinting against the bright afternoon sun.

“This is the client’s car and driver,” he explained shortly. He was fussing over her things.

She watched him pulled out her other costume and a handful of cosmetics. She shook her head when he handed the two-piece.

“You wear these,” Jonty insisted with a hiss. “It’s only a thirty-minute journey. C’mon, I’ll turn my back.”

Reluctantly, she changed. It was still new because it hadn’t seen the light until now.

The top was midrib and looked like a bra, a sequined embroidered brassiere. The bottom was a bikini, also flirting with gold flashes as she moved.

“OK? You’re done?” Without waiting, Jonty faced her again. “We must put a heavier make-up. Your age must be at least twenty-five.” He was muttering to himself while he did her face.

“You will dance ‘The Dance’ with whatever music he chooses. And remember to smile!”

Icy frowned. He?

“Just one. No other audience.” Jonty guessed at what she was thinking.

But…

“Don’t worry. I’ll be there.” He continued teasing her hair to become tall all around. He applied a bit of hair spray here and there.

“We’re here.” Jonty announced proudly.

The ‘here’ was a mansion. In Icy’s eyes, it was just a large building. Its windows with blinds looked like sleepy eyes staring at them.

She felt chill running on her bare back, making her shiver.

Jonty noticed. “You’re cold. Wear this.” He threw a flimsy shawl around her slight shoulders.

She was numb by the time they reached a large room on the second storey of the large house.

“Remember what I told you: dance and smile!” Jonty whispered sharply while watching the manservant opening the double heavy doors.

The room was huge. At first glance, she didn’t see the occupant. There was a huge bed in a far corner, partially hidden by curtains.

“Ponso, give him the money.” A deep voice rasped from her left.

Icy swiveled to look at the speaker.

He was tall and lean. His features were hidden in the shadows.

“Thank you, sir.” Jonty almost curtsied before he turned towards the door. He avoided glancing at her.

Suddenly, they were alone. Icy was still staring at the closed door.

“Come.” A hand held her arm imperiously.

Icy shook her head but he paid no attention. A door on their left was half-opened. It looked like an artist’s studio. A makeshift pole was in the middle.

She wriggled until he let go. Her eyes were on the stainless steel pole. Her hands were itching to hold it.

He closed the door firmly before coming to the long table, where a stereo was located. He sat on the chair behind it and switched on the stereo.

Music softly flowed around the room. It filled her head. She felt her limbs soften and her body supple.

Her hands caressed the pole before twirling around it. Slowly at first, then gradually becoming faster and faster.

Her legs gripped the pole strongly, carrying her slim body effortlessly as she danced around and against it. Her slenderness undulated like a snake as it went up and down without touching the ground.

The music stopped and there was slow clapping. The sound was coming closer.

Icy let herself slide down to the floor. Her face was shiny with sweat. Her whole body was alive with exertion.

She could observe him but her eyes were lowered.

He was standing in front of her. Staring at her.

“Not breathing fast,” he murmured. “You do this every day?”

She nodded. Still not looking at him.

“Look at me.” It was a command. His voice was low and deep. Rusty. It felt like fine sands caressing the small of her back.

The thought made her shiver a bit. The room was warm.

She looked around instead of at him.

“I said, look at me.” The voice was closer.

When she swiveled her head, he was standing a few feet away from her.

Icy let her eyes stared at him. He was taller and broader. Slim hips and powerful shoulders. He was breathtaking.

Not breathing at all, she looked at his face. It was hard and unyielding. The eyes were dark and sharp. As black as a moonless sky.

“Your manager said you’re living with four older brothers and mother. No father. He died in a car crash when you were little.” He narrated the miserable story of her life in a toneless voice.

Icy felt her throat closing. Her eyes started to water. Yet she could not move. She remained standing, with perspiration coating her face and body.

“Is it true?”

She nodded.

“All of it?”

She nodded again.

“No live-in lover?”

She shook her head. Her breath whooshed out slowly. But then her heart began beating faster, and her lips opened slightly to accommodate the air she was starting to gulp.

Strangely, she did not feel threatened. She just felt exhilarated.

“I need your help. In exchange to one million pesos, you will dance for me.” He continued after a short pause.

One million pesos!

Her eyes grew large and rounded.

“Here. And in my work studio.” He walked around her and the dancing pole. “You have to refine your movements. The choreography needs some improvement. Your appearance also must change. I want natural.”

Without warning, he wiped the make-up off her face. The tissue came off with the dirty color grey. Her eyeshadow was running all over her face.

He ceased any movement as he studied her. “So young…”

She was crying. She wanted to ask: why? Why her? Did she dance that well?

But her lips remained closed. She was clamping her mouth so her crying made no sound.

But her wide eyes were expressive. They were full of questions.

He read them all. He answered the one reverberating the most.

“You look like my late wife. She danced as well. Pole dancing.” He turned away and walked towards the desk. He pulled open a drawer. Several framed photos were laid face down.

He picked the first one, look at it for a second and faced her once again.

“She died at child birth along with our first baby.” His voice was as expressionless as his face.

She wiped her eyes with her knuckle before she touched the framed picture. She stared for a few moments, unmoving.

The woman in the photo looked like her. The clothes were different. The teeth were whiter and more even but the eyes…

The eyes were brown. They were bottomless and full of emotions no one could ever interpret, except someone who felt the kind of pain she herself suffered.

She turned suffering eyes towards him. And for one moment, he seemed suffering pain as well.

Then every emotion was erased. His face appeared hard and unyielding once again.

“She was an unknown actress when I met her.”

He took the frame from her unfeeling fingers. He continued speaking without looking at her.

“She had an unfinished part in the film she was making when she fell pregnant. She knew I wanted the baby so she took care of the pregnancy.”

He put back the frame inside the drawer then pushed it back with force.

“But she was wrong! I want her more! I want her back!”

Icy was alarmed. She took a step back.

He took a deep breath. “She couldn’t have a baby. She had a heart problem. I discovered all of these in the hospital. If only I had known…”

If…

If only she had not called her father to fetch her at the house of a friend…

“Now that I met you, I’d like you to take her part in the film. I’ll pay you one million pesos for the task.”

She didn’t answer. She couldn’t answer. She was too busy dreaming of what she could do with that amount of money.

She’d buy a small two-storey house with a small store attached to it, for her mother. Her brothers will have their own rooms. She will have her own dancing studio.

Lastly, she will see a doctor. A psychiatrist, to be exact.

He got impatient. He misunderstood her silence. He thought she was waiting for more.

“Don’t be greedy! You will work for just one week, with a choreographer. Then the actual filming.” Suddenly, he stopped speaking.

He stared at her accusingly. “You’re a mute!”

Icy felt ashamed but she remained looking back at him. She was trying to let him see her agreement. She would accept the money and gladly work for it.

He shook his head while walking out of the room. He came back with Jonty.

“Explain to her. I want to wrap this as soon as possible.”

Jonty fussed over Icy while explaining things she already understood. He was using a wet tissue to remove the mess on her face.

“You’re a fool not to accept his offer, Icy!” he whispered fiercely. “The offer stood still even though you’re younger than he thought.”

She used her hands to communicate her acceptance.

Jonty smiled as he read her sign language. He turned to the man watching them closely.

“She said yes!”

“What else?” He enquired with narrowed eyes.

Jonty looked at her questioningly. “And? And thank you for being kind.”

He nodded shortly then went out of the door. The manservant appeared almost at once.

“Follow me,” he said.

She asked Jonty: Can’t we go home?

He answered with his hand: No.

She ceased asking questions. Strangely, she trusted the man with the hard face.

Jonty phoned her mother when they reached their rooms. She gathered that her manager would stay with her.

He gave the phone to her.

“Icy, Jonty said you will be gone for a week?”

She nodded albeit her mother could not see.

“Be good. And thank you for the money.”

She frowned.

“Mr. Cruz was sure that you’d accept. He sent back his driver to give money to your mother.” Jonty was amused although a bit cynical. He also looked a little worried.

“What else does he want with you? I gather you look like his late wife…”

She left him musing aloud. Her new employer was named Mr. Cruz. It sounded an alias but she didn’t care.

A girl knocked on the door. She introduced herself as Diday. “I will be your personal assistant.”

Jonty was shooed out of the bedroom.

“Your choreographer will arrive shortly. You have time to have a shower.” Diday announced bossily. She spread a black leotard on the bed. “You’ll wear that.”

Icy nodded. She was ready to go back to work after an hour.

This time, the studio was larger. It had more light. And there were many poles. About five. And there horizontal bars along the mirror walls. All gleaming stainless but she guessed the dance studio once belonged to the late Mrs. Cruz.

She fingered each one.

“Which do you prefer?” A man in grey leotard asked as she reached the last pole.

She indicated that any pole would do.

They were alone. Diday disappeared after showing the studio. The slender mentor switched on the stereo located on one corner.

Icy needed no further command. Her hands itched to hold the pole. And when the music started, each beat entered her bloodstream. She danced like she was in her own world.

When the music stopped, there was a moment of silence. Then the choreographer clapped his hands.

“You dance really well!”

Icy smiled her thanks. She was wiping her perspiration with a white towel.

“Now, I’ll show my style. I want you to emulate my movements. Okay?”

Again, she nodded her understanding.

“By the way, call me Kyle. And you have to wear this.” He put a headset against her ears.

It was a new experience for her, watching somebody dance without hearing the music.

She was able to concentrate on his dancing. He held the pole as though it were a lover. He was making love with it as he twirled around it.

She blushed. She felt the sensation all over her body.

Unbidden, a man with the hard face appeared in her mind. In between her arms, he stood as rigid as the pole.

“Dance like I did,” Kyle instructed while he removed the headset.

Icy began dancing shakily. She closed her eyes and did it slowly. She made her movements flow like water.

“Yes. Just like that… Pull yourself higher… higher… then let yourself slide down slowly… slowly…”

They repeated the dance several times until it was dinner time. Diday fetched a very exhausted Icy.

She picked on her food sleepily. She fell asleep once her head hit the pillow.

The next morning, she met with Kyle. And the next morning. And the next. They did the dance routine again and again.

They even watched the tapes. Kyle pointing out small mistakes to her. He was a perfectionist.

She felt changed. Her dancing technique had taken a new dimension. The pole became a living man. Not just any man. It was Mr. Cruz.

It was strange because she didn’t see the man again. He never went to the studio or to the dinner table.

On the fifth morning, Kyle and Icy danced one final time.

“You’re good to go, honey. The crew will be here any minute now.” Kyle shook her hand. “Go and have yourself ready.”

Diday was there to assist her.

Jonty was there too. “Your mother and brothers are alright. They send their love to you,” he reassured her.

Icy didn’t believe him but she wanted to. Who would love her? No one would ever do.

She was shrouded with self-pity when something made her shiver. She turned her head around.

Diday and Jonty were both gone. She was alone.

No, not alone. He was standing by the door.

“You’re ready.” He was staring at her.

She was wearing a two-piece of nothing. The top consisted of two triangles taped on her breasts. The bottom covered her bottom and her front… almost.

She felt her bones melt. Her fingers itched the way they do to dancing poles. Her hands wanted to feel his hard muscles.

“I want to see,” he murmured huskily. “Dance for me. No music…”

In her head, a seductive music played. It flowed through her blood and made her movements languid.

Icy half-closed her eyes. She didn’t want to miss his expression.

His face was still hard but his eyes were piercing. He commanded her with a look.

She danced. She pirouetted. She slowly pulled herself higher and gently slid down the pole.

She closed her eyes as she did the last spin upside down.

When she looked again, he was not there anymore.

She smiled sadly. As she said to herself many times, no one would ever love her.

The crew arrived in one group. Suddenly, the silent studio became a hub of noise and organized chaos.

The director sat in the chair while giving everyone instructions.

Icy listened to hers intently. She was determined to dance perfectly. She would give her best for this film.

Everyone was quiet as the camera started rolling. She gyrated and twisted and whirled around the pole.

When the last note of music faded, the whole room exploded with loud clapping and congratulations. It was only a one-take.

Diday wrapped a large towel around Icy’s shivering body. “C’mon. Let’s get you out of here.”

After a change of clothes and removal of make-up, Jonty took charge. He whisked her to the car.

She slept deeply. No dreams. Just oblivion.

When she opened her eyes, a small attache case was waiting for her.

“Oh, you’re awake at last!” Jonty seemed to be waiting just outside the door. “That’s yours. Now, what will you do with it.”

Icy did not hesitate. She enumerated her dreams, making the last one private. At least, for now.

Jonty helped with her plans enthusiastically. They found the two-storey house. Her brothers built the sari-sari store for their mother.

The upper floor became theirs. They divided the space into four male abodes. The rooms for her and their mother were carved from the first floor.

While shopping, Icy and her mother had a chance to talk. Her mother did the talking and she did the sign language.

‘Mother, I hope you’ve forgiven me.’

“Oh, Icy, there’s nothing to forgive! It was an accident. And you were just a child.” Her mother whispered as she held Icy against her bosom.

They cried for the father who was not there for them.

After that, mother and daughter went to a trauma doctor. Icy was in the car when the accident happened. She witnessed the last moments of her father.

Her father had talked of many things. How he and her mother had met, fell in love, then eloped. How he loved her and their five children very much. He was afraid he would leave them earlier than he’d expected.

She was twelve years when it happened. She never spoke of them to anyone. She was afraid they would tell her point-blank that she was to blame why their father was not there anymore.

Her traumatic experience was healed gradually. Her speech came back bit by bit.

She did not go back to dancing. In fact, she did not dance anymore. The studio she planned for herself remained a plan she kept to herself.

She trained to be a teacher of deaf and mute children. Her knowledge of sign language was an asset.

Jonty did not manage dancers either. He became a proud owner of a beauty salon. His other dancers became his beauticians.

The man with the hard face was her nightly visitor. His piercing eyes would look at her and she would dance for him.

But she would not speak about him to Jonty. It seemed the man who brought changes in their lives was a taboo subject.

She wanted to forget him. And as months turned into years, she dreamed of him once in a while.

“Icy, you need a new hair style and a manicure. Come here.” Jonty was wearing a violet wig. His pink shorts and orange blouse clashed cheerfully.

“Just a haircut will do.” Her voice was still rusty. Her brothers thought it husky and were envious.

“No, let me try on you a new hairstyle.” He fluttered around her like a colorful butterfly.

Icy was resigned as she let her bestfriend do his experiment. She fell asleep when she had a facial while her fingers and toes were being cleaned.

When she opened her eyes, something was not right. The light was dim. She stirred.

“Hello, Icy.”

“Huh! Who’s there?” She turned around but she was alone. Although she knew the owner of the voice.

The light slowly turned bright. She stood up, still looking around her.

It looked a mini-theater. There was a large screen in front. The eight seats were upholstered with red leather.

“Did you see the movie?”

She shook her head. Somehow, she knew what he was talking about.

“No? Go back to your seat then.” The light turned low.

A film was played on the screen. It was edited and was cut very short. The woman who looked Icy but moved and spoke differently from Icy dominated the screen.

The woman was elegant and sophisticated. When she danced, her movements were languishing and lethargic. She was pale and beautiful.

Suddenly, Icy was on the screen. Dancing like a… like a wanton.

Her signature pole dancing was just polished but she was still a woman who sold visual sexuality through her near-naked body. Men in clubs and private rooms paid her to dance while displaying her wares.

She stared at her old self. Young but matured through years of private dancing. She started at fourteen but managed to look twenty because she was tall.

The film was taken when she was twenty-one. Now, she was twenty-seven and leading a different life. She didn’t appreciate a look in her murky past.

She forced herself to endure the film until the end. When the light went bright once again, she remained seated. Her legs lost its strength.

Then he appeared by the door. He walked slowly towards her, their eyes never leaving each other.

He seemed taller. More muscular. More virile.

“I couldn’t let you off my mind,” he said matter-of-factly. “You dominate me, awake or asleep.”

Her mouth dried but she could not lick her lips.

“I am obsessed with you.” His voice turned deeper.

“W-why? Because I looked like her?” she whispered huskily.

“You watched the film. Are you the same?”

“No, but…” Her tongue stuck once again.

“Your eyes are very expressive. They spoke eloquently about what you’re feeling.” He stopped a few feet from her.

He sat, cross-legged, in front her. He still stared up at her.

“I waited. I waited for six long years. You never mentioned me to Jonty or anybody.”

“Am I so forgettable to you?” His eyes seemed pleading.

“How can I forget you?” was all she managed. Her throat was almost closed.

“When I paid that amount of money?”

“No.” Her tears started to water her eyes. “Thank you very much for the money. It changed our lives. It helped all of us.”

“The change for the better comes from all of you. You took care of the money.” He moved restlessly. “But let’s not talk about the money. Do you really forget me that easily?”

Her eyes dilated. Her breathing became shortened. She remembered her dreams with him. Touching him. Kissing him.

“I kept dreaming about you at first,” she admitted. “I did not discuss you with anyone because I want to forget you.”

“And did you succeed?”

“The dreams stopped but they would come back whenever I meet a man–” She broke off.

“I would beat Jonty to a pulp if you met a man without giving me a chance,” he said fiercely. “Please give me a chance, Icy.”

“A chance to own me?” She asked when she was ready to give him all the chances he would want.

“A chance to woo you. I loved my late wife but what I felt for you is more vibrant. With you, I feel I could fly. When I watch you dancing, I felt dizzy and elated.”

Where was the man with the hard expression? she wondered to herself. The man in front of her had eyes that suffered.

“First, you have to tell me your name.” She almost wailed. The man of her dreams was nameless.

“Nobody told you my name?”

She shook her head.

“I am Jake Cruz.”

Her eyes widened. “You’re really Mr. Cruz?”

“Yes. May I come to your home?”

Their hearts communicated through their eyes.

“You know you don’t have to do that. I was yours. I still am,” she whispered.

“Oh, Icy, you made me the happiest man. You make me feel alive.”

Jake straightened and held up his hand to her. She accepted it.

“I love you,” he murmured as they danced slowly without music.

“Yes. I love you, too.” Icy admitted with catch in her happy voice.

“Will you marry me, my very own private dancer?”

“Yes!”

Inspired by the song, “Private Dancer” (Tina Turner)

Lyrics:

Private Dancer (Tina Turner)”

All the men come in these places
And the men are all the same
You don’t look at their faces
And you don’t ask their names
You don’t think of them as human
You don’t think of them at all
You keep your mind on the money
Keeping your eyes on the wall

[CHORUS]

I’ll do what you want me to do
I’m your private dancer
A dancer for money
And any old music will do

I want to make a million dollars
I want to live out by the sea
Have a husband and some children
Yeah, I guess I want a family
All the men come in these places
And the men are all the same
You don’t look at their faces
And you don’t ask their names

[CHORUS Twice]

Deutshmarks or dollars
American Express will do nicely – Thank you
Let me loosen up your collar
Tell me do you want to see the shimmy again

[CHORUS]

(Courtesy: azlyrics.com)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.