It had been a long time since I'd left Los Angeles... what, a couple of years now? I don't know, I wasn't really keeping track. I mean, it didn't really matter. There wasn't much in LA I wanted to remember. It wasn't all sunshine and good times, you know? With the exception of that Angel guy, of course. Helping me find myself like the Good Samaritan he was. But the whole being used by an evil law firm thing? Not really something I felt like remembering. So I didn't. I put it behind me.
I never went back to Ohio, though. There was no going home. There was no home to go to. My dad... well, he'd almost met his end on the LA pavement, but not quite. I'd been feeling generous, knew I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I'd squashed him... Angel'd taught me that much. Didn't mean I wanted to go home with the guy. Dad went back to Ohio, and I went... wherever I felt like going. I went all over, first to San Francisco and then Santa Fe, big cities like that. I hit a few other towns on my way back to the northeast, spent seven or eight months in the Big Apple. Wasn't really my kind of place, but I was getting to like the city life. I liked what I'd seen of the West Coast better, so I decided to head back to LA. Never made it that far, though. I ran out of money by the time I hit Vegas, so I got a job and tried to solve my cash flow problem.
It sort of worked. I made enough money as a waitress to pay the rent and buy groceries, but that wasn't going to get me back to sunny California. So I started dancing. One of the girls I waitressed with got me a job. I forgot about waitressing pretty fast after that. You can make a lot of money dancing, once you get past your own personal hangups. If you don't mind showing more than a little thigh, you can make a lot more. Lots of girls put themselves through college that way. 'Course, I didn't wanna go to college, but the money was nice. I was living comfortably, and I had no intention of leaving Las Vegas. I liked Sin City. It was big and exciting, and worthy of its nickname. Maybe I liked it because I was so tired of the small-town life. I liked having money, I liked people paying attention to me, I liked having men buy me drinks after they tucked $20 bills into my waistband. The place I was working was good, too. Didn't have to do anything I didn't want to. That was nice. Some of the other girls I danced with, they told horror stories about clubs that didn't have as much money, where they wound up doing more than taking their clothes off on the catwalk. No way, I wasn't going that route. I was a stripper, not a hooker. I was only gonna sleep with the guys I thought were worth my time.
Helped if they were willing to pay my bar tab, though.
I didn't have any interest in the opposite sex tonight. I was tired, finished my shift at work and was looking forward to getting home. Didn't even feel like sticking around and letting one of the cuter patrons buy me a drink. I just wanted to go back to my apartment, kick my heels off and crash. Absolutely beat, that's what I was. Grabbing my bag, I pulled my jacket on as I walked out of the dressing room, heading out the back door and circling around the club to the street. It was late, but the strip was always bright... there was no day or night in this place. I liked it that way. I didn't even bother trying to get a cab. My place wasn't too far off. Pulling my jacket closed, I started walking, keeping an eye out for any creeps that might try to start something with me. Much as I liked Vegas, the place had more than its share of creepazoids, no matter what time of day it was.
Every step I took made my feet ache more, and I almost regretted not getting a ride. God, I was exhausted. I just wanted to get home.