A New Beginning 2/?
Next part - and welcome Tony to stage. About 6k words, so watch for the cut.
Music poured onto the street, a thumping base and a higher sputter of melody that made Steve’s heart rate pick up. Steve hesitated on the sidewalk, eyeing the long line to get into the club. His throat tightened and he swallowed hard, trying to loosen it. The tightness spread down to his collarbone, and into his sternum, making his chest ache. He felt the ache in his shoulders, his elbows, his hips, his ankles. It was a fever-ache, and no position was comfortable – even standing still sent throbbing pulses up his legs and wedged a deep pain in his lower spine.
The people in line added to the thrum of the music. They were a constant tug on his attention, a radiating warmth that made him shiver. His teeth ached, and his mouth flooded with saliva.
He moved a hand over his stomach, even though he wasn’t that kind of hungry. He was frustrated and unhappy, restless in his own skin.
Steve looked up. The bouncer had one end of the velvet cord in hand, his eyebrow twitched up his forehead, chin tilted slightly down, but chest thrust out. It was the curious mix of subservience and dominance that a man in his position had to take on.
“You coming in, or what?”
Steve transferred his gaze to the long line of patrons waiting to get in and then cocked his head questioningly at the bouncer. He pried a hand out of his jacket pocket to gesture to the waiting crowd. “There’s a line.”
“Not for you, hotcakes. Come on.” He gestured into the darkened interior and gave Steve an obligatory smile, turned down slightly at the edges. He didn’t meet Steve’s eyes.
Normally, Steve would have gotten in line with the rest of the patrons. He glanced over at them again, expecting anger and annoyance. There was some of that, but more of them were eyeing him in either trepidation or lust. He ducked his head, kept his eyes away from theirs, and slid sideways into the depths of the club.
Steve hated the noise, the crush of bodies, the mingled scents of sweat, colognes and perfumes, the dry ozone of the fog machines, the sharp tang of dust burning on the lights. He’d always hated clubs, but the ache started fading as soon as he’d stepped down to the floor. He’d gone with Bucky the first few times, watching his friend work his magic among the patron that flocked to Steve’s side. It had been miserable with their hands on him stacked against the knowledge that he could Seduce any of them and they wouldn’t be able to say no if he didn’t want them to. So he started going alone, huddled against the bar for as long as he could get away with being alone, and just soaked up the energy of the room. When the ache got bad enough, he would move into the crowd and stand among the strangers to feel their skin brushing against his.
He let out a slow breath, felt his shoulders start to unknot. His entrance did not go unnoticed, and fingertips ghosted over his shoulder and down his spine as he passed through the crowd. His skin jumped, and his throat tingled at the contact, but he shied away from the hand and pushed his way to the bar.
“Stupid,” he hissed to himself. Contact was what he’d dragged himself into the club for in the first place.
A long-limbed nymph slid down the bar. She was just over seven feet tall, with pale green skin and luminous yellow eyes, her hair caught up in a tall violet swirl atop her head that added another foot to her height. Her neck seemed too slender and too long to hold her head up, but she leaned down to the bar top with a graceful swoop.
“What can I get for you, lover?” she asked.