Though we never took money—unlike a few others who “performed” at the club—Wednesday night in Room Six grew to be one of the most popular acts in the place, and quite a profitable show for Johnny. The only reason Sara and I knew this, however, was that he told us. We never saw a single face in our audience; other than our first night and until tonight, we’d only ever come into the club through the back entrance.

And just on my short walk from the front door to the table, I could feel the rustle of movement, the way people sat up straight in realization. I could feel the subtle gestures, the quiet whisper of They’re back.

Had Sara felt it, too?

Had she liked it? I felt a shiver climb up my spine, felt my heart begin to thunder at the idea that she was sitting here, thinking of how many times these people had watched me fuck her. Thinking of her growing wet at just the idea of it all.

Sara looked up when Trin led me over to her, and stood, making my blood come to a thudding stop in my veins.

She wore a short black dress, simple but with a beading detail that gave just a hint of sparkle. It would look amazing under the lights, I realized, then smiled when I noted that it would look even better off, lying in a pool on the floor. Her eyes were lined with a soft brown, her lips an edible red. There was nothing particularly special about how she had put herself together tonight, but the heat in her eyes—the devilish fire, the flirtatious tilt of her mouth, the way she looked at my face for only a beat before ogling my body—set my skin into a heated flush.

Bending, I kissed her jaw. “Hello, Petal.” I inhaled the sweetness of her skin, dragging my lips to her ear. “You look fucking beautiful.”

“Hey, Stranger.” She sat, glancing at the space on the bench beside her as if to say that I was meant to be immediately beside her, and not across the table. There were strict rules at the club: two-drink maximum, no touching between clients, everyone is there by choice and any evidence to the contrary results in the fist of God—aka Johnny—coming down.

I knew I wasn’t supposed to touch Sara out here on the main floor, but did the rules really apply to us, when it was clear that we were part of the show? More people were watching us at our tiny table than were watching the naked woman deep-throating the man bound to the chair in the middle of the room.

Sitting beside, her, I leaned close, sucking at her neck.

“They’re watching,” I told her. “You think they want to see me come in here and follow the rules?” I kissed my way to her mouth, parting her lips with mine and sucking deeply on her tongue before whispering, “I haven’t seen you all day. I’m going to greet you the way I bloody well feel I should. Fuck Johnny and his rules.”

And proving that I was right, no one appeared at the side of our table asking us to leave.

No one signaled a warning to me across the room.

Instead, it felt like the entire room held its breath, watching.

“How long have you been here?” I asked.

She shrugged, tucking her long hair behind her ear. That was another thing that had changed over the past year. Her hair had grown out, curves had bloomed. “About ten minutes before you.”

I studied her face—the pink flush to her cheeks, the quick intake of breaths, the way her gaze could barely stray from my mouth. “Did you feel them watching you?”

She shook her head slowly before whispering, “No.”

I slid my hand under the table, up her bare thighs to the soft lace of her underwear beneath. I could feel the heat through, warming my fingers. “Did it make you wet?”

“What do you think they remember the most?” I rubbed my fingers over her clit beneath the lace, kissed her cheek, and then moved to her lips, kissing her once at the fullest part of her perfect fucking mouth.

“Maybe the time I tied you up,” she said, taking my face in her hands so she could tilt my head and scrape her teeth over my jaw. “Or maybe the first time we . . .” She trailed off, smiling knowingly.

I nodded. The first time we’d had anal sex, we’d had it here. Somehow it felt safer, slower. Her hunger, her surprise, her pleasure had been so raw. I was sure as soon as she said it that if anyone here tonight had seen it, they would never forget the soft curved shape of her mouth when she felt me fully inside her, and when she came harder than I think she ever had before.

The attention in the room ebbed and returned, ricocheting between the main act and us. We were the quieter option; we had always been the quiet act. What we offered wasn’t hard kink, it was simply us—a relationship that deepened, trust that intensified, sexual exploration that matured. What we received in return was a safe place to try it all. Their focus was a paradoxical sort of respect: they watched nearly every move we made but they loved it. They were invested.

We didn’t normally drink much before a show, but since this particular occasion seemed to be about breaking all the rules—arriving separately, entering through the front door, and touching each other on the main floor—I waved the waitress over with a subtle lift of my hand. She brought me a vodka gimlet, and Sara ordered a club soda with lime.

I was so excited for what would follow that my hand nearly trembled as I lifted the glass to my mouth, which was all the more reason to do this. I needed to be calm, to settle into the atmosphere before we walked back to our room. We sipped our drinks as we watched the others around us, and wordlessly agreed to save the real show for Room Six.