I've often felt that the characters in P&P can often be a little too naive (especially in a modern setting) or a little too immoveable. Lizzie's hatred and Darcy's arrogance for example, but in particular Jane and Charles' malleability and door-mat decisions. Here, especially given the adult setting, I wanted everyone to be a little more wised up, and whilst there's still misunderstandings, mishaps and the usual P&P, there's (I hope!) a lot more positivity and sass... and sex.
I really hope you enjoy- it's my first P&P, and first x-rated story, so please bear with me and of course, review. :)
They had walked past the doorway twice before finding it. It was simple and unobtrusive; black double doors with elegant gold lettering on the left hand side. They had only noticed it by the tall gas torches by the door's side, flaming brightly in the darkening street. The blonde turned to his dark haired friend.
"Ah, finally, this is the place. Shall we?"
"Are you sure Charles? This place looks… dead."
Charles gave him a smile.
"It'll liven up inside. Plus I thought you'd like dead — part of the reason I chose this was it's still off the radar. You'll be as anonymous as the rest of us mere mortals in here."
With a cheeky grin, he pushed open the doors and they stepped into the hall before them. As the doors slid shut, the hustle of the busy London street behind was smothered, and they stood in silence.
The hallway was dark and long, dimly lit with more gas lamps, and at the end stood gold double doors. They appeared to be no signs of life. Apart from the plush burgundy carpet under their feet, the room was entirely mirrored, each long panel angled discordantly with the next, reflecting the flickering lights over and over. The effect, combined with the sudden hush, was disquieting. The men paused, suddenly uncertain of whether to carry on, or return to the familiar outside street.
"Charles, what on earth is this pla-"
Before Charles' dark haired companion could finish his sentence, a loud whisper came from somewhere behind.
Both heads whipped round at the sound, but found only the closed door behind them.
"Welcome to Qandisa."
Again the whisper came, sultry and soft, but from in front of them this time. They both turned back to face the still empty hall.
"Please, come in…"
The whisper was further down the hallway now, and the two men faced each other in silence, one with eyebrows raised, the other's drawn.
"Well," said Charles eventually, his own voice quieter now, "best do as the lady says eh?"
They started down the mirrored hall towards the golden door at the end. As the lights flickered around them, their own movements seemed to flash in every corner, the mirrors playing games as they went. The voice continued as they did, echoing its welcome in a teasing whisper. As they reached the door, Charles heard his friend mutter under his breath-
"Where in God's name am I?"
As soon as the golden doors were pushed open, the sound and sights of the bustling place enveloped them. It exuded mystery — the walls were a deep burgundy, with ornate lanterns and diaphanous drapes hung from the ceilings. People reclined on the floors, men in high end suits talking in deep rumbles and elegant women laughing musically and sipping champagne flutes. The low lighting was exotic, but the abundance of plush velvet cushions made it almost cosy. As the two men entered the club, one sized up the surroundings whilst the other, Charles, approached the impossibly tall woman behind a lectern — the evening's host.
"Welcome to Qandisa, gentlemen. May I have your name?"
The woman's voice was husky and deep. A little too deep, in fact. Charles gave his name before his companion could consider their host's bobbing adam's apple.
"Bingley. Charles Bingley."
He gave the host a smile as she ran a long, manicured finger down the list in front of her. She stopped, and flicked her false lashes back to the young man.
"Ah yes… Charles."
She wrapped her lips around his name, as if savouring it.
"Table two has been reserved for you, Mr Bingley. Best seat in the house… bar some."
She gave an outrageous wink to his dark companion, and smiled wickedly, summoning a waitress from the shadows. Bingley risked a glance to his taciturn friend, who looked uncharacteristically bewildered.
"Vaudeville will show you the way. Enjoy your evening boys."
Both men turned to follow where her long hands pointed. Rather than the expected waitress, there was a petite mime, dressed in a red basque with dark red curls. Her look was completed by a clown's nose. With exaggerated gestures, she asked them to follow her to the table, as Bingley threw a tentative smile at his friend. He was met with a dangerously raised eyebrow. They followed the mime to their seats, which were simple Moroccan pouffes, placed on the floor around a glass table in front of a low dark stage. They both took their seats, cross-legged, and Bingley finally looked around the club excitedly.
"Dare I ask what this place has in store for us tonight, Charles?"
Bingley turned to his friend.
"It's some fun Will. Consider it your belated birthday outing. We both know you didn't do anything on Tuesday except work late and eat late, if you ate anything at all. Though no doubt Giana waited up for you."
He watched as his companion simply frowned a little, uncomfortable with just how accurate he'd been. Charles wasn't fooled. He signalled over their mime, who jaunted over ready to take their order.
"Let's get this party started shall we? It's my friend's birthday, and that means alcohol. Two mojitos and two slammers please my good mime."
The mime threw her hands up in a gesture of excitement, grinning from ear to ear, and walked to shake Will's hand. She then wrote their order in an imagined notepad, and darted off.
"Christ, Bingley. A mojito and a tequila? We only just got here!"
"Well, start as you mean to go on, don't they say? And I mean to get you hammered by the end of tonight. Plus I know you love a mojito, no matter how much of that damned scotch you put away."
"I happen to enjoy that scotch."
"Well, you happen to enjoy my company too, so attempt to look like you do, would you? I know you make millions on that pout, but I don't care for it one bit."
The last comment was rewarded with a twitch of Will's lips; an outright smile as far as Charles was concerned.
"Atta boy. You've been working your arse off recently anyway. So let those lush locks of yours down and have some fun. This place came highly recommended, so I expect great things."
Will nodded slowly at his friend, and watched as Charles' eyes darted about the place, taking in every face in every nook and cranny. Will followed his friends gaze, noting the salaciously dressed staff, and then back to his friend's face. He looked like a puppy dog searching for his master, which could only mean one thing.
"Who exactly recommended this place to you?"
Charles was too busy inventorying the staff to take note of his friend's underlying tone.
"Oh, a friend of a work colleague."
"Really? And where did you meet this friend?"
Charles caught it this time, and turned to see yet another calculated raised eyebrow watching him. He gave a sheepish grin.
"At that incredible do I went to last week. She was helping out with the event, and we got talking."
Will sighed. Corporate events were the worst in the world for hustlers and hang ons. He'd seen it before. Any hired hand looking for a cheap ride could rub elbows with their latest sugar daddy target. Hell, he'd been on the end of it enough times himself to know.
"Charles…" he began, but was cut off before he could even try.
"Darce, don't go there. I can understand where you're coming from and why, you've told me enough times, but she's not some floozy looking for a sweet deal."
"How do you know? You met her for what, an hour or two?"
Charles sighed before replying to Will.
"Well, perhaps I don't know. Perhaps she is. But perhaps taking club recommendations from the woman who organised the amazing work do last week isn't quite the same as proposing to her."
He stared at his friend, waiting for a retort, but instead saw him relent. Charles knew Darcy better than to think the conversation over, but for the moment, they had more important things to do; their drinks had arrived. Charles picked up his tequila, and Will followed suit resignedly.
"Happy Birthday Mr. Darcy. May this year bring you everything you wish for."
At that Darcy smiled.
"Love, laughter and all that shit, eh?"
"Something like that! With some longing along the way, of course..."
They laughed and their glasses met with a clink, before the contents were downed. Their faces grimaced in unison.
"I certainly won't long for any more of those..." replied Darcy, wiping his mouth. "I'd forgotten what that tasted like. Jesus."
"All those parties you go to, and you don't touch tequila? Youth and beauty are wasted on you my friend."
Will chuckled, and the two of them began on their mojitos. Will felt the sweet, sharp liquid glide down his throat, and he murmured in appreciation.
"Wow, that is good."
"Forgotten those too?" Charles smiled at his friend, until something caught his eye in the wings of the stage. "I can already tell this is going to be a great night."
At this, Will watched as his friend got up, taking his mojito with him, and walked determinedly towards the stage. On the right hand side he saw a willowy blonde woman standing in the wings, in a black lacy dress and heels. He could tell she was beautiful, even from where he sat, and the light in Charles's eyes only reiterated the fact. Her dress was tight against her model like body, but it seemed relatively conservative considering the rest of the staff were dressed in a variety of basques or stockings. She seemed happy to see Charles, and he watched as they chatted amiably for a few minutes, before he saw them turn in his direction.
Will wondered if they were talking about him, and tried to nonchalantly take a sip of his drink; when Charles pointed at him however, it was hardly mistakable. The point was followed by a beckon, and Will found himself getting up and walking to join the two hidden in the shadows. As he neared, his friend's eagerness was rolling off him in waves.
"Will, I'd like you to meet Jane. Jane, this is my closest friend, William Darcy."
Will gave a small smile as he shook hands with Jane. She was even taller close up, almost matching Charles's six foot, and she really was classically beautiful with big blue eyes and golden blonde hair. She could have been a model.
"Hi Will, it's nice to meet you. Charles has mentioned you a lot, so it's nice to finally meet you. Happy birthday by the way."
Her eyes held no recognition or admiration, but were open and honest. Even her voice was sweet and serene. He could imagine her and Charles getting on like a house on fire.
"Nice to meet you to… and thanks. You and Charles must have spent the whole of his work do talking, judging by the sound of things."
At this, he glanced meaningfully at his friend, who simply rolled his eyes. The sweet Jane didn't miss a beat however.
"Sadly I had a few more things to do than talk to your friend, lovely as he is." Charles smile grew impossibly wider. "We managed to chat a bit through text in the week though. Talking of things I have to do, I better go and check on the acts. The show's going to start soon, and I should probably be back there, you know, managing things."
She smiled at Will, and then turned to Charles and positively beamed at him before disappearing behind the curtains. Will turned on his friend.
"The show? What show is this? I didn't realise there would be a show."
"Calm Will... it's the whole reason I brought you here."
Darcy knew that his friend was trying to side step things.
"What kind of show…?"
"A bit of everything I think. Circus, dance, burlesque…"
Will snorted and rolled his eyes.
"You brought me to a burlesque show? Please tell me your new girlfriend's not in it."
Charles looked horrified. "Shh, someone will hear you. She's not my girlfriend. And no she's not. She's the manager. She runs this club."
Will looked a little impressed, but still continued unabashed.
"Well I have seen too much shit burlesque in my time to be hopeful. Correction, you have taken me to too much shit burlesque in my time. It's always too large women stuffed in too small corsets, attempting to dance and wiggle their way across stage. It inevitably ends with me suffocating with some hefty, overly mature bosom in my face. "
Charles stared at Will, before bursting into laughter.
"God Will, you do say the funniest things sometimes. To think I'd almost forgotten the look on your face that night. I admit it was a terrible idea, and that woman in particular was god awful, but at least it was a memorable 21st birthday."
"Bingley, you had to pay her to get off me. I almost needed to be given oxygen."
At this, Charles's laughter began anew, and even Darcy began to chuckle.
"It's the last time I take Caroline's advice when it comes to your birthday entertainment. I still think she knew that company was abominable."
"Think? I'm bloody certain of it."
"Well she is a little determined when it comes to you and other women… Come on, let's get another round in and loosen you up. You're at a club that's new and upcoming, where no one knows you, and you're about to watch some sexy women and circus acts. Stop worrying and enjoy yourself. I can guarantee there'll be something here that will keep you entertained."
Charles clapped him on the back, and they made their way back to the table, ordering another round before the show began.