Disclaimer: Still don’t own anyone, anything, or anywhere from either BtVS (that would be Joss Whedon) or the Anita Blake series (but Laurell K. Hamilton does). No animals were hurt in the writing of this fic, and I’m returning everyone safe and sound (for the most part) back to their respective owners.
A/N: Fic for my most bestest beta, dulcinea (I’m assuming you can see why I need a beta ;) - Enjoy!
Summary: Wild times await Riley when he returns back home for a friend’s bachelor party.
Riley grabbed his bag out of the bed of Jeff’s truck, and turned to walk into the Grimes’ house. Dr. Walsh had given him a leave of absence to take a long weekend trip back home so that he could be the best man in his friend Charlie’s wedding. The other groomsmen, Jeffrey and Jeremy Grimes, had picked him up from the airport in Iowa City, and they were just stopping off at the house long enough for him to drop off his stuff. Then they were headed out for the much-anticipated bachelor’s party.
"Anything new in town, boys?" He had to ask. When he’d left a few years ago, there certainly wasn’t anything in Fairfield that screamed out "party hard here!" to him. He wondered if they were planning another party at the Dairy Bar – he’d seen on the way through town that it had recently been painted. ‘Exciting times back home,’ he thought, grinning. ‘I never realized it was so small before.’
"Gosh, no. Well.. the high school did get three hundred dollars worth of new books in the library. Can you believe how much a stack of paper with a bit of ink on it can cost? Man!"
"Where’s the party then? We gonna run by the grocery store and buy a 6-pack or two and play poker at Charlie’s?"
The twins just turned and grinned. That couldn’t be good, could it?
. . . . . . . . . .
"Vacation, all I ever wanted, vacation – have to get away! Vacation…" Really, why did Jeremy think he could sing? At least he’d stopped screeching "Jenny, Jenny, I've got your number!" over and over. Riley wrapped his fingers around the steering wheel, imagining that it was the throat of one of the drunken louts currently in the back seat of Jeff’s extended cab truck. ‘Why did I agree to do this? Why? I should have known better. After a few months in Sunnyhell, you’d think my sense of self-preservation would have kicked in a bit better. Oh yeah, I remember – darn it, shouldn’t have agreed to be Charlie’s best man. Not a smart move.’
It had been all good for a while. They’d picked up Charlie, and yes, they had gone to the store. They’d even run by their old football coach’s house, talking about their glory days, and playing darts for a while. It was there that the night had turned horribly wrong. The twins had pinned a couple pieces of paper to the dartboard, then blindfolded Charlie. They’d written the names of the biggest cities in the area on the papers, and whatever Charlie hit – well, that’s where they’d go. Riley wasn’t amused, since he knew he’d be doing the driving. He was the only one not drinking - Dr. Walsh wouldn’t want him bingeing and messing up his diet and exercise regimen.
At least he’d managed to get Chicago taken down – that was a 300 mile drive! No sirree, he wasn’t up to that. He’d also vetoed Des Moines – that was too close to his grandparent’s place, he’d hate for them to hear about this adventure. All it would take would be one neighbor going into the city… he knew all too well how gossip could spread in Huxley. He’d gotten lucky; Charlie had hit St. Louis – that was a heckuva lot closer than the other cities. The plan was to get there, get some dinner, do a little clubbing, and then hit a strip club.
Three hours later, the truck passed the "Welcome to St. Louis" sign. ‘Welcome to the big city, I hope it doesn’t chew us up and spit us back out.’ Riley couldn’t help thinking.
. . . . . . . . . .
After a quick supper, the twins insisted on stopping off at the nearest gas station and asking for directions to the city’s best dance and strip clubs. Riley had thought that wasn’t such a great idea, but he couldn’t stop them. The man had looked at them funny, but directed them towards something called the Blood District. The boys had looked at each over and shrugged; must be a lot of hospitals in the area.
. . . . . . . . . .
Riley looked at the old warehouse where the dance club was located. Red neon lights sporting the club’s name shone above the heads of the people walking into Danse Macabre. He shrugged and turned back to the guys. "Well, are you coming or not?"
The men strode into the club, only to stop short when they saw the interior.
"Are those bondage Barbies hanging from the ceiling?" Charlie asked the question they all were thinking.
"Yeah, I think they are." Riley couldn’t help but thinking that coming to this place was a mistake.
They strode up to the bar, and got their drinks. Leaning up against the bar, they surveyed the scene in front of them.
"See that girl? Yeah, the one with the red leather catsuit? I’m going to go talk to her." Jeff swaggered over to the blonde, only to be stopped when a man wearing a fishnet shirt wrapped his arms around her and growled.
The boys laughed as Jeff slunk back over to the bar. "She wasn’t that pretty anyhow," he muttered as he motioned for the bartender to bring him another beer.
They stayed there, talking and drinking for a while before Jeff spotted the woman. A petite woman with curly black hair had just walked in. Half the club seemed to recognize her, and a bartender immediately brought her something before leading her to a reserved table. Jeff waited for the man to leave before approaching her. From this distance they couldn’t hear what she said, but it seemed to Riley that she was reaching for a gun. ‘I’m just being silly,’ he thought, ‘where would she have a gun on with that outfit, and why would she want to shoot Jeff? He’s not that obnoxious. I’ve been spending too much time around the boys in the Initiative.’ Jeff backed off, and started back towards the bar. Riley got chills when a hauntingly beautiful man approached Jeff. Something about the man gave him the willies… Riley unconsciously slid a hand towards his hip holster before he realized that his stun gun was back in California.
"Come on guys, let’s get out of here. This place is starting to freak me out, and Charlie’s already spent enough on drinks here." The rest of the group agreed with him, and filed out of the club. Guilty Pleasures, they thought the strip club was named, now that sounded promising…
. . . . . . . . . .
Riley swung the truck into an available parking spot, and turned the ignition off. The pounding bass from the music in the club assaulted the men as they climbed out of the truck. With Charlie being supported by the twins, they slowly made their way to the door. As they entered, they were surprised to find a "holy item" check stand. The girl at the stand popped her gum, and looked them up and down. Riley knew that they weren’t dressed exactly right. They were all wearing jeans and sneakers, and he’d seen a lot of ladies in leather and vinyl going into the place. Tight clothing and stiletto heels seemed to be the fashion de jour. He’d assumed that the women he’d seen were some of the dancers, but he was starting to wonder what type of place they’d been sent to.
Maybe the girl was looking at the twins. That might explain the amused look in her eyes. Jeremy was watching the people parade with a dropped jaw, and Jeff kept elbowing Charlie in the stomach, saying "Golly, will you look at that! I haven’t seen that much vinyl in one place since they put the new booths in at the Dairy Bar! Would ya take a look – just look at THAT! Is that a bar in that girl’s eyebrow? Gee!" Charlie was so drunk already that Riley suspected that he couldn’t focus his eyes well enough to take a look.
Riley had never felt so much like a small town yokel before in his entire life.
The check girl popped her gum again, and asked "Any holy items to check?"
Holy items? Huh? Riley was reluctant to give up his hip flask of holy water, but he assumed that if anyone saw it later, he could say it was just vodka. Who’d know the difference? He just shook his head, nope, no holy items here. Jeff had been holding Charlie up, so he carefully propped him up next to the wall. Charlie slowly sunk to the ground as Jeff removed his cross necklace. Jeremy shook his head; neither he nor Charlie had anything to check.
It just seemed too weird. Why would you check your holy items? Riley guessed he was getting paranoid from patrolling the Hellmouth so much, but the request bothered him. He guessed it was just that maybe patrons of a strip club didn’t want to be reminded of religion? Maybe they had a problem with local preachers coming in and getting rowdy? Nah, not likely. Still… it set his nerves on edge.
It also bothered him that it was mostly women going into the club… had they found a lesbian bar? St. Louis was a lot more cosmopolitan, and… Hmm. Still, naked ladies, that’s all good. It wasn’t like he was going to be trying to hook up with any of them anyhow.
They slipped further inside the club. It appeared that the show hadn’t started yet, people were still milling about, and the curtain was down. Riley tried to direct the other men towards a table in the back, but they insisted that it would be better to grab a seat at the stage. He still felt uneasy, and the feeling increased as Jeff and Jeremy drug Charlie to the front. He followed behind, looking to the left and right as he walked. There were an inordinate number of women here. He’d thought maybe the rest of the men were already inside, but it appeared that the audience was ninety percent female.
Jeremy waved over a waitress. "Hey miss! Miss, over here waitress! I need us three Natty Lights for us gents, and a water for Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes!" The drink waitress wrinkled her nose at the thought of the Natty Lights, but she didn't say anything about it.
"Sure you don't want anything?" She set the drinks down on the table, and turned to Riley.
"Nah, I'm the designated driver, and we have a long drive back." Riley admitted.
The waitress couldn't help but think the man's dimple was just too adorable. "Oh yeah, where ya boys from?"
"Iowa. Fairfield, actually." Riley grinned "Go Trojans?" He added weakly.
"Oh," Just her luck to end up with a table of Iowans. Country boys were horrible tippers, she thought, walking away. She stopped though, to look back over her shoulder and wink at Riley. "You boys have fun watching the show. Looks like you're… celebrating… I'll tell 'em to put on a real good show for you."
The night was starting to get better.
. . . . . . . . . .
The curtain rose just as the room grew progressively darker. Smoke started rising as the spotlights were turned on. The crowd started getting quieter as the music started to swell. A pounding ‘boom cha cha boom boom chica wow wow boom boom’ apparently was the trademark of a favorite stripper because most of the women in the club went hog-wild when they recognized the tune. Riley and the boys looked around in disbelief. One woman had already thrown her panties on the stage, and the stripper hadn’t even come out yet.
"Did she just do what I thought she just did? That lady tossed her bloomers up there! Woohee, we’ve found us a good club here!" With that comment, Jeremy raised his beer in a toast to the rest of the awestruck men at the table.
Jeff leaned way out of his seat, craning his neck trying to get a view of the stripper behind the curtain. He blinked, then rubbed his eyes. He sat back, and pushed his beer away from him. "There’s a hot number standing back there – long auburn hair, kinda slender. But dude, when she turned around – I thought that she was a man! That’s it, I’m through drinking! No more for me, boys."
The auburn-haired stripper slunk onto the stage, and turned to wink at Jeff. To their shock and horror, it WAS a man! What type of place was this?!? Riley and Jeremy just looked at each other, blinked, and then back at the stage. Charlie sat there with his mouth half-opened.
Riley was all for leaving then and there, but Jeff was certain that a female stripper would be coming out soon. "But she’s just got to! What type of strip club can stay open just with men strippers? Dude, there’s got to be some naked ladies here somewhere! Maybe they don’t come out until midnight?"
Over the roar of the crowd’s screams of "Nathaniel!!!" and "Take it off!", all four of them motioned to the waitress at the same time – they definitely didn’t have enough alcohol to watch male strippers until the women started dancing.
They all winced as Nathaniel ripped off his leopard print thong and tossed into the crowd. It was a testament to their shock that no one said a word or even laughed when it landed on Charlie’s head.
. . . . . . . . . .
Riley was sure this was a night he’d never forget, no matter how hard he tried. It would stick with him until the day he died. He was also sure that if one more of the strippers came up to his table that he’d be dying of embarrassment right then and there.
It didn’t help that the other three men had continued to drink. ‘Beer goggles won’t help them that much’ Riley couldn’t help thinking. Currently, they were trying to make fools out of themselves. Jeff had started talking up the girls at the table next to theirs, and Riley had to keep pulling Jeremy back into his seat. He kept wanting to jump up on the table and sing. He also kept trying to take his own clothes off. Would this night never end? At least he’d have plenty of blackmail material against his friends.
Riley’s thoughts were disrupted by the other men at his table. "Trojans, Trojans, all the way! March to victory, we all say! Cream them, cream them, fight fight fight! Trojans, Trojans, what a sight!" Jeremy sang drunkenly. Jeff and Charlie looked at him, shrugged, and joined in. Riley just put his head in his hands. They apparently had gotten into the tequila when he wasn’t looking. He knew what they were like on that to-kill-ya stuff, and he’d been trying to prevent it. This was not going to be a pretty sight. He managed to shush them right as the next stripper came on stage, but Jeremy started into the second verse before Riley could get his hand over his mouth.
. . . . . . . . . .
So far, Jason had been having a good night. He’d gotten a primo spot in tonight’s schedule, and the manager had ok’d his newest act that afternoon. He was going to make a mint with this routine, he just knew it.
He slipped into his costume, double-checking the velcro strips to make sure the pants would easily rip off. He was just about to go on stage when he saw Nathaniel motioning for him to come over.
"What’s up, Nate?"
"Special party at table 5. Bachelor party. They seem a bit… squeamish… Seem to think that some ladies are coming out at midnight." Both of the guys started laughing at that idea. Midnight was when the vamps took the stage, not women.
The stage manager starting frantically motioning to the weres. Jason just smiled, and took a running slide onto the stage when he heard his music start. He did a few hip pumps before jumping to his feet. He began a slow dance that led him to the center of the stage. He flung his Stetson hat out into the crowd, and began twirling his prop lasso over his head as he did a shimmy. His shirt quickly joined the Stetson, leaving him in a pair of black leather chaps and a red bandana-print thong.
He looked over at the bachelor party. ‘That’s odd. They look slightly familiar. Where have I seen them before? Hmm…’
As soon as the drunk in the blue shirt started bellowing out "Trojans, Trojans, kings of the field" Jason recognized them. It was the stars of his high school football team: the quarterback, two of the linebackers, and a star tight end. For the first time anyone had ever seen, Jason Schuyler stumbled during a routine. When he stumbled, he ended up falling off the stage into the audience.
. . . . . . . . . .
This night would never end, Riley just knew it. Not only was he the only sober one in the group, he also was the only one who had a male stripper in his lap. And not just any male stripper... a kid that had gone to high school with him. Mrs. Schulyer had been Riley's Sunday school teacher; he couldn't help but wonder if she knew what her son was up to now. ‘Is he not going to get out of my lap anytime soon?’ Just then, Jason looked up at the group.
"Hi boys. Taking in the show? How you folks been since graduation?"
The twins and Charlie just stared at him, not capable of answering.
"Come to town to take in many shows?"
And again, no response.
"Hel-looooo? Anyone home?"
One of the twins blinked.
"Trojans, Trojans, ra ra rah?"
That did it. Amazingly, they did manage to respond with "Trojans, Trojans, siss boom bah."
Jason loved the predictability of the jocks. It was one of the few things in this world he could always count on.
"Well boys, good seeing you, need to get back on stage. Keep in touch, and don’t forget to tip well." With all the dignity and grace that he had, Jason unseated himself from Riley’s lap, bounced back onto the stage, and continued his set.
. . . . . . . . . .
Charlie was passed out in the back seat, with his feet propped up in Jeff’s lap. Jeff had his head propped up against the window, staring out at the corn fields they sped by. Jeremy kept messing with the radio, while Riley concentrated on driving.
Jeremy kept shooting looks over at Riley, but couldn’t seem to figure out how to say whatever he was thinking.
"Is St. Louis our Vegas?"
Riley just stared at him, wondering what he meant by that comment.
"I mean, what happens in St. Louis stays in St. Louis, right?"
"Good." Now that he felt more secure about that, Jeremy stopped messing with the radio and leaned his head up against the window. He quickly fell asleep.
‘Oh yes, what happened there definitely won’t be talked about again. Ever.’ Riley just kept driving on, hoping to get back to Fairfield in time to see Charlie safely married off and catch his plane. He couldn’t wait to get back to Sunnydale.
. . . . . . . . . .
"Breathe, come on Jason, breathe." Nathaniel instructed as he helped Jason fit a paper bag over his mouth. "Come on, it’s over now. You’re ok."
Once the hyperventilating stopped, Jason was still shaking. "I never thought I’d see anyone from back home here. I actually thought I wouldn’t see any of them ever again. It’s not like I was planning on going back for the reunions and all that jazz."
"Shh, it’s ok, they’re gone now. Keep blowing into that bag." Nathaniel couldn’t help grinning, though, when he added "although I think the big one took that bandana of yours with him."
The sounds of Jason’s gasps and wheezes and Nathaniel’s laughter filled the backstage area.