Ratton

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Lacey showed up at the saloon at noon the next day, looking disgusting again.  Charlotte let her in and got her some basic supplies.

“We all put together a few outfits for you.  Taylor wants to give you a haircut, and Ashley wants to see how you can dance, and give you some general pointers on handling the marks that come in here.”

“I got thirty minutes of sleep last night.  I can barely function.  I was hoping that I could get a shower and a few hours of sleep, like we talked about.”

“Sure, honey.  I didn’t mean you have to do all that now.  I was just letting you know how excited we all are that you’re joining us.  Do you remember where the shower is?”

“Yep, top of the stairs, on the left.”

“Good.  Knock yourself out.  Try to keep it under three minutes.  Then you can sleep in my room, until we can find another for you.  The only empty rooms we have right now are the boys.  Brian’s room smells like a high school locker room, and Andy’s smells like a gun store.  The rest of them are worse.  Normally I’d put you on the couch, but I think you’ll sleep better in a real bed.”

“Thank you, Charlie.”

“Any time, hun.  If you’re ever looking for someone to wash your back, you know where to find me.”

“Uhh, thanks.” Lacy turned red and ran up the stairs.

Charlie spent the afternoon deep in inventory, setting the night’s specials based on what they had the most of, and of course, putting up the bounty of the week.  This week it was sheets and towels.  Anyone who brought in sheets, towels and other linens that were not worn out got double credits on everything they brought in.

One of the shop’s best suppliers, Jacob Weis had been receiving double credit for months.  He never talked about where he found anything, but he was definitely her best finder.  Every Friday, he came in with four or five hard looking men.  They drank all they could, tipped well, and were generally well behaved.  She didn’t expect tonight to be much different.

At five, she went upstairs to wake Lacy.  Charlie heard something odd, and listened at the door for a moment.  A faint buzzing and heavy breathing came from her room.  She’d left her toy basket out that morning, and Lacy was apparently enjoying  herself.

Charlotte waited until he was finished, gave her a minute to catch her breath, and then opened the door.  “Hey Lacy.”

The girl pulled the sheets up quickly.  “Good morning.”

Charlie sat on the edge of the bed.  “No reason to be shy.  We all do it.  In a few hours you’re going to be naked on stage.  Get up, we have work to do!”

Lacy sat up, just as Taylor and Ashley walked in.

“Damn, lazy! Get out of bed.  We’re going to make you beautiful, little girl!”  Ashley called every girl little girl.  Probably because she was six feet tall with a wingspan to match, and always wore platform heels that made her tower over anyone.

Taylor tossed Lacy a towel.  “Go get your hair wet, be fast, we only have an hour.”  Lacy ran across the hall, and less than a minute later was back, shivering and wet.

She quickly put on a pair of sweatpants and a thin white tee shirt that were sitting in the chair and then Taylor got to work. Lacy’s hair had almost four inches of dead ends, which Taylor removed before she added layers and shaped it up.  When she finished with her hair, she started with makeup.

“Remember you’re on stage.  Stage lights do terrible things.”

On the small table in front of her was the most makeup Lacy had seen in a very long time.  Before everyone got sick, she would occasionally shop in the makeup store close to USC when she was in college.  She had learned a few tricks and picked up an expensive foundation one time, but that was nothing in comparison to the sheer volume of products that sat in front of her.

As Taylor worked, she explained to Lacy what the different products would do and why they were important.  Concealer to hide the dark circles under her eyes, foundation to even her tone, blush to give her face some color, contouring to shape her face and highlighter to accentuate her cheek bones and the bridge of her nose.  Taylor had clearly done this before and worked the products with ease.  Lacy was simply overwhelmed.

“Darlin’, we gotta make those honey eyes of yours pop!” Taylor winked at her and swirled her small makeup brush in pan of cobalt blue shadow.

“Uh…are you sure?”

Taylor grinned at her.  “Absolutely.”

Fifteen minutes later, Lacy’s eyes looked to be five times larger than they were before.  The bright blue she was worried about blended seamlessly into a dark brown.  Her eyeliner went out into a wing and her lashes looked enormous.  As she blinked, she couldn’t even tell they were fake.

“Kinda like a modern Marilyn Monroe.  Whatcha think?” Taylor asked, jutting her hip out to one side.  She looked pleased with herself.

Lacy stood up and leaned into the mirror.  “Wow.  I never…  I haven’t…  I’m speechless,” she said.  Lacy spun around and hugged Taylor.  “I don’t know what to say.”

“Get dressed,” said Taylor.  “You can thank me later with a lap dance.  I’m claiming the first one.”

“Oh, I.. I mean, you’re really beautiful, and all.  But I just.”

Taylor leaned in close to her ear and whispered softly, “You’re just what?”  Her breath was hot in Lacy’s ears.

“Oh shit,” Lacy said.

“See,” said Taylor. “It’s not so hard.  No one knows how to show you a good time like another woman.”

“I just can’t.” Lacy was firm this time.

“I’m sorry, darlin’.  You just get dressed and go on down to Ashley.  She’s going to show you some moves.”

“Thank you.  Really.  I’m so sorry.”

Lacy pulled on a black g-string, and a tiny pair of black shorts, then put on a floor-length black coat.  The entire front of the coat was made up by a three inch zipper between her ample breasts.

“Damn girl, you look hot,” said Taylor, slapping her on the butt.  “Go on down to Ashley.”

Lacy went down stairs, and Taylor and Charlotte sat down on Charlie’s bed.

“How long do you think she’ll last?”

“I give her three days,” said Taylor.  “If she comes back tomorrow.”

The pair heard the music start up.

“I don’t think she’s going to come back tomorrow,” said Charlotte.

“You know, we have a few minutes,” Taylor said softly.  She leaned in towards Charlie and kissed her softly.

Forty five minutes later, the pair looked up.  “I’ll go see what’s going on,” Charlotte said, pulling her pants back on.

She made it to the door when she heard gunfire, and then screams.

“Shit. Fuck, shit,” She whispered.  “In the headboard, grab the pistol, Tay.”  She pulled a short barreled scatter gun out of her closet, and put a handful of shells in her pocket.

“I have to get to my room.”

There was shouting from the room below.  “No time, we have to go.  Stay close behind me.”

Charlotte opened the door to the hall and walked halfway down the stairs.  She stopped, and shouted, “Who the fuck is shooting up my god damned bar?”

“I apologize for the gunplay, Ma’am,” called Jim Ratton.  “It was a misunderstanding at the door.”

Charlie strode down the stairs.  “And why exactly are you in my bar? We don’t open for another forty five minutes.”

“I hold, here in my hand, a writ.  You are hereby ordered closed, and all assets to be seized by order of the New Vegas council.”

She strode up to Ratton and pressed the barrel of her shotgun into his chest.  “We’re not in New Vegas.  You have no authority here.  I’ll appreciate if you would leave the writ here though.  We’re running a little low on toilet paper.”

Ratton puffed his chest.  “We will cut off all citizens of New Vegas from visiting this establishment.  We’ll see how well you do without any patrons.”

“You aren’t going to do shit, Ratton.  Except, you’re going to turn your fucking ass around and walk out of this bar.”  She pulled the shotgun back and punched him in the chest with it, knocking him a step back.

Two of Ratton’s men pointed their guns at Charlotte.  Taylor stepped forward and put her gun in the face of one.  Lacy pulled a small derringer from between her tits and put it to the temple of the other.  “This gun ain’t big,” she said, “But it’ll splatter your brains all over the governor there.  You put that gun down.”

“This isn’t the last you’ll see of me.  You hear me?”  Ratton was practically screaming.  “This place is shut down! No one is allowed here.  Anyone caught coming or going will be staked to the wall overnight.”

“You’ll have riots in less than three days and a new council by the end of the week. Enjoy your time there, Governor.  Get the fuck out of my bar.”

“Next time, I’ll bring an army,” Ratton said, turning to walk out.

“Next time, you better.”  Charlotte stood her ground until Ratton was gone.  Then she went to the bar and poured herself a whiskey.
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