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Center of Gravity

By:Lina Andersson

ortable with seeing my leg. I didn’t have much of a choice; he massaged it and after the first five times it felt okay. I assumed he’d seen worse––or at least just as bad.

“Figured out what you want to do for a living yet?” he asked as he stretched my bad leg.

“No. Got any ideas?”

He held it out straight to massage the muscles and the scar tissue on the back of my leg.

“Well, any job that keeps you standing up is pretty much out of the question––at least for now. Although moving around a little bit might be good for you.” He had a big smile. “How about receptionist?”

“You do know that I’ve been dancing my entire life? I mean, I have a high school diploma, but that’s pretty much it.”

“Answering the phone and making appointments doesn’t require more than a diploma. And you’ve been a dancer, that requires a lot of discipline.”

“That’s nice of you to say, but people don’t always see it that way. They see an airhead who spent her entire life prancing around in a tutu not giving a crap about anything else.”

He laughed and put the leg down, and started to massage the front of it.

“If you got the opportunity, would you take it?”

“Sure. Sounds like something I could do. Getting pretty tired of walking around at home. It could be nice, something to take my mind off things.”

-o0o-

Brett called me two days later. A friend of his worked at a small theater in Phoenix and they needed someone in the reception. The pay wasn’t good, but it was something. I still lived at Irina’s, so I didn’t have many expenses, and I had saved all the money from the insurance that was paid out for my ruined leg. My parents had insisted on the insurance policy, and even paid the premium. That was what important choreographers could do, since they actually earned a lot of money. I had found it extremely embarrassing at the time, but considering what had happened, I was pretty happy about it now.

I was at the theater just the next day. It really was small, but it had a family feeling to it, so I liked it. It wasn’t just reception work, but selling tickets, and generally just helping where it was needed. It seemed okay, and it was at least something to do. After living with an extremely strict routine since I was fourteen, I missed having a routine and this would help to get some of that back. It was theater––an environment I missed, but not dance which would just make me sad. Good middle ground, in other words.

That’s when Lisa called. She was in Greenville and was going to stay for a week, so she wanted to see me.

“Can you meet me at the compound?”

“At the compound? The clubhouse?” I laughed. I’d been there but found the place pretty scary. Just like I found her dad quite intimidating as well. I’d been wrong about Bear, though, and once I stopped going quiet and just staring at him whenever he was close by, he turned out to be a really nice man. “Sure, I’ll just wave my cane around if anyone comes close.”

“Oh, Vi told me about your cane, she said it was beautiful.”

“It is.” And that was how I remembered Lisa, always seeing the silver lining—I might have a cane, but it was a beautiful cane. “Gotta have some perks when I’m hobbling around.”

“I was so sad to hear about the accident, but I don’t want to talk about that on the phone. We’ll get to that when you’re ready for it.”

“Thank you.”

And another typical Lisa trait, she’d make me talk about it, pushing just the right amount of what I could handle. It had always been like that. Whenever all the training got to me when I was younger, she noticed and made me talk about it, gave me the positive side, or whatever I needed to continue.

We decided I’d meet her the next day around noon, she said she’d be there from early morning, so whenever it suited me was fine. I also threatened her with serious bodily damage with the use of my cane if she wasn’t there. I did not want to walk in among those men, and realize I was alone in there.

CHAPTER TWO

You’re a Shitty Wingman

-o0o-

It was a slow Wednesday, and Mitch was lying on the couch at the clubhouse. He looked around and noticed Mac coming towards him.

“Finding anyone?” Mac asked as he dropped down into an armchair.

“Nope. Think I’ll head over to The Booty Bank. Heard there was a new girl working tonight.”

The Booty Bank was the strip club owned by the Marauders. Almost all of their sweetbutts worked there, and most of the girls working there were sweetbutts. It used to be how the club laundered their money until they came up with a better system for it. They’d still kept the clubs, though.

Sisco, Mac and the others had been released about eighteen months earlier, and Mitch had been worried that he’d be pushed back to not doing much for the club again, but Sisco’d told him to keep helping. Sisco was good with finances, but didn’t know much about computers, so Mitch was handling that part of the finances. He’d also taken a bigger part in helping Mech with the intel. He liked it, and he especially liked the feeling trusted of being with those things.

There were other reasons he was glad for having done it, too. Learning how to work the finances had meant traveling around to different clubs to talk to the other treasurers. He’d noticed that the feel of the different charters varied a lot. Some were about family, others were more about partying, and some were basically a bunch of bitter, slightly too violent, ex-military guys. Or as he used to described them, ‘A club full of Bulls.’ Bull was their Sergeant at Arms, and he was a violent and pretty bitter man. Quite funny, though, and with a lot more humor than most thought. It was just well hidden between his growls and threatening looks.

After visiting all those other clubs, Mitch had realized that the Greenville club was by far his favorite. Not only because it had his dad as the president and his blood brother as member—even if that surely helped—but also because he liked the fam

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