The patrons called her Angélique, a name Yuliya came to embrace. With the port so near, Odessa allowed her to meet so many people who struggled with her Russian name. Yuliya Natalia Antonova knew that this week would provide many fresh faces. Several of the Allied Nations were getting together to flex their collective muscle. That meant many lonely men, even possibly women, would pull into port in her city.
Around eight, an early crowd of Americans bumbled their way in. Most of them looked dumb and drunk, but one seemed different…
“Gentlemen! For your pleasure, Angélique!”
Yuliya sauntered onto the stage and began her routine, leaping onto the pole centered precisely in the middle of the room. Her target, a tall, blond American, had found the farthest corner of the room, and seemed brooding. She couldn’t simply walk over there, that’d make her employer suspicious. This patron obviously had no desire to pay for his entertainment.
She watched carefully as several of the other girls approached, and were rejected, one by one. He obviously spoke little, if any, Russian; or perhaps he wanted them to think that? By her second dance, Yuliya finally spotted her chance. The rest of the patrons were extremely occupied by her fellow performers, leaving the rude observer all by himself.
“Hello,” Yuliya said as she approached, ignoring the otherwise occupied room.
“Nyet, Spasiba,” the strange man said robotically.
Yuliya giggle in spite of herself as he flashed his wedding ring, as though it possessed some sort of deterring power. She completely ignored the gesture and sat in the booth next to him, aligning herself to perfectly show off her ‘assets’.
“Hello, my name is Angélique,” She said, extending her hand politely, “what’s your name?”
“Delta, it’s a pleasure to meet you Angélique,” he said, obviously taken back by her English greeting.
“May I offer you a private dance?” Angélique said, with her eyebrows raised.
“Nyet,” Delta said, declining her offer indifferently.
The lack of accent in his answer caught Yuliya slightly off guard. Maybe there was more to this one. So she offered him a drink instead.
“Nyet, I don’t drink, but Spasiba,” Delta answered, this time in broken Russian again.
“The why are you here?” Angélique asked, trying so hard to sound slightly disinterested.
“To protect my friends,” Delta said, gesturing to some of the more drunk and rambunctious patrons.
“Ah, I understand,” Yuliya said, recognizing that she needed to protect her cover. She flounced away, acting completely confident. This guy considered himself altruistic; no problem.
Yuliya knew that she needed Delta to feel like she needed him. Considering her options, she grabbed her silver bikini set, that would match his eyes. Then she grabbed her toga, knowing that that the folds would do more for his imagination than she could ever do. Finally, Yuliya requested a special song from her manager, one with a more romantic undertone.
As she staged herself at the beginning of the runway, Yuliya mentally prepared for her next move.
The song started with a beautiful guitar chord, her cue. Yuliya leapt onto the pole and began climbing. She reached the top in nothing flat, and began her routine, keeping her eyes focused on the farthest corner the entire time. Then, as the last chord faded into the next song, she flipped off the stage and pranced straight towards Delta.
When she stepped literally inches away, Yuliya turned completely, prancing to the opposite end of the room. She took her time, thrilling every drunk slob in the room. As she went, some of the other dancers glared at her in disgust as she collected massive wads of hryvnia from each man.
“I’ll pay for this later,” Yuliya thought to herself as she finished her demonstration.
She sat down next to the American again, and this time avoided the small talk approach. Keeping eye contact with him the entire time, Yuliya took the time to ask about his friends. She commented on the respect she had for him. Then, as the conversation truly began deepening, she suddenly stood up and went back behind stage.
Yuliya thought for a moment about what she knew. First, this American operative may or may not understand Russian. Second, he cared deeply for the well being of his comrades. Third, the American didn’t have a tell-tale erection; this last fact made her wonder if perhaps he might be gay.
“One way to tell for sure,” she said to herself.
As she prepped for her next dance, Yuliya instructed her DJ. He’d been working with her here in Odessa for long enough that he knew not to question her, so he queued up the song and placed his hands on the lightboard in preparation.
The deep beat resounded through the club, sending the entire place into pitch black. Yuliya stepped confidently onto the runway and began her routine, syncopating her steps so that the strobes would make her look surreal. As she reached the stage, red lights erupted around the room. She swung her tail as she stepped around the pole…
After the first song, Yuliya pulled the quick release on her red corset and had to suppress a giggle as she threw it to Mr. Delta. He glanced away momentarily as her white robe billowed around her. The gesture of modesty confirmed what she suspected, he definitely liked women. So she continued her dance through the second song, this time dressed as an angel.
The song began winding down, and instead of her usual stunt, Yuliya rolled off the stage onto a pole near the American. As the last few bars played she slowly lowered herself in Superman, giving the illusion of descending from above. As Yuliya reached Delta, she allowed her hair to momentarily hide both their faces and smiled at him.
“I rest now,” She said, landing with a flourish next to him.
Without a word of warning, she grabbed his hand and dragged Mr. Delta into the private room next to his booth. As she expected, as soon as she let go, he made a beeline for the curtain door. Yuliya blocked his exit and instructed him to sit, momentarily dropping her sweet persona.
“I have no money,” Delta said, contorting his face into what might have passed for concern.
“Sit! Please, I want no money.” The American sat down hesitantly, and Yuliya realized she needed to fix her cover slightly, “I feel very hot, please, I need to cool down.”
Mr. Delta seemed compassionate again and allowed her to sit next to him. She picked up their earlier conversation as though they were already friends and within minutes they both felt at ease with one another.
“Shouldn’t you get back to work?” He asked her as the song ended.
Yuliya knew he spoke out of concern for her boss, so she instructed him to simply tell any other dances that he was waiting for her to prevent them from getting him kicked out. Then, she escorted him back to his seat before she pranced back into the dressing room.
“Time for some fun,” she said out loud as she grabbed another costume off the rack, and a couple of props off the table.
Yuliya peaked through the window in time to see Pelevina trying to pick up her American. It made her smile to hear him say in near perfect Russian “YA zhdu Angelique.” He just confirmed her suspicion that he knew more than he let on.
When her song started, she marched onto the runway swinging a billy club. The prison outfit felt perfect for what she had in mind next. As she finished the routine, Yuliya moved around the room, collecting her fees from the now plastered drunk men. At Delta’s booth, she paused, stalking as though he were her intended prey.
Delta eyed Yuliya suspiciously as she inched closer and closer. Then in a flash, she slammed his hands above his head and slapped her handcuffs on one of his wrists, locking Delta to her wrist.
“Wait, what?” Delta said in real surprise. He’d recognized her handcuffs, and Yuliya just continued smiling, now on hundred percent certain she’d located an actual American Operative looking for her.
Wordlessly, she slipped the cuff off her own wrist, and secured it to the pole behind his booth. “I’ll be right back,” she purred, smiling as though nothing were out of the ordinary.
Yuliya moved around the room collecting a few additional tips before she came back to Agent Delta.
“No more dancers will bother you tonight.”
She smiled in spite of herself, knowing that she’d be able to finally provide some actionable intelligence that just might allow her to finally move on from Odessa.
Tonight, Yuliya felt no need to rush. She had Agent Delta dead to rights, and she knew it. The confidence this instilled in her made everything else seem just fun. So she dressed in a green milkmaid costume, and began her next dance.
As Yuliya moved around the room, she could still see Delta in his booth, securely handcuffed to the pole. Then, as she finally reached him again, she placed her lips so close to his cheek, that she could feel her own warm breath on her face.
“Let’s go long time now,” she told him confidently, reaching for the key on her corset.
A momentary shock hit her when she realized she must have dropped the key during her dance. In a flash, she realized her wrist was now locked onto the pole, and Delta stood up comfortable as a man who just got off.
“Dasvidaniya Angelique, Spasiba.” She froze.
“You go?” Yuliya asked innocently, trying her hardest to sound hurt.
“Yes, it’s time to leave. Thank you.” In moments Agent Delta had taken his comrades by the arms and escorted them outside.
Yuliya took no time at all to flip onto the pole, slide the cuffs over the top and run outside to try and gleam anything about this American Agent. Alas, as she stepped into the cold night air, there was no sign of any American’s anywhere.