Title: Things We Do for Money (1/2)
Pairing/Charcters: Jeff/Annie, Group
Rating: R for sexual situations
Spoilers: Reference to 2.10 Mixology Certification
Disclaimer: It should be fairly obvious which parts are not mine.
Notes: A combination and slight variation of two milady_milord Ficcy Friday prompts from crazyqa215 and ravenecho
Summary: Jeff begrudgingly agrees to go to a strip club with his former coworkers where a familiar-looking waitress catches his attention.
“You’re going to church?”
Jeff halts, and his shoulders stiffen at the sound of Abed’s voice. He glances to his side and wonders how long the young man has been next to him. More importantly, he wonders, how had Abed managed to divine the contents of the newly opened text message? Jeff dismisses his initial suspicions and decides to attribute the feat to Abed’s stealth and agility rather than the absurd concept that his friend is omniscient.
Jeff smiles. “Hello, Abed.” Continuing his trek across the Greendale campus, Jeff stresses his next words, hoping to illustrate the awkwardness of the other man’s greeting. “I’m fine. How are you today?”
“Hm.” Abed keeps in step. “I hadn’t thought about it, but now that you ask, I do seem to be a bit more solitary since Troy started trying to date that red head.”
“He has been putting way too much effort into that,” Jeff agrees.
Abed tilts his head and repeats his original question as if he’d never changed the subject. “So why are you going to church?”
Jeff’s forehead wrinkles. “Abed, have we not explained yet that it’s rude to read texts over people’s shoulders?”
“No, you have. But when I don’t, I miss out on a lot of juicy character insights.”
Jeff sighs as he slips his phone into his jeans. “That’s kind of the point.” Abed looks puzzled, and Jeff decides it’s not worth the effort to explain further. “Nevermind.”
“Like this,” Abed continues. “This religious character arc came way out of left field, unless...” A look of alarm flashes over Abed’s face. “Did I miss an episode?" His face relaxes. "Or is this a fan fic with really bad characterization?”
Jeff shakes his head. “No, you didn’t miss anything, and this isn't whatever you said. I’m not going to church. I’m going to The Church.”
“Ah.” Abed nods, but after processing Jeff’s full statement, he asks, “What’s the difference?”
“The Church is a strip club.”
“Oh, irony.” They walk in silence for a moment before Abed asks, “Can I come?”
Jeff frowns. “Trust me. You don’t want to.”
“Why not? Aren’t strip clubs a fundamental male bonding ritual.”
“They are,” he pauses, “if you’re eighteen.” Jeff smiles at a blonde walking past before he continues, “After that, the only men who like strip clubs are the ones who can’t get women naked for free. When you look like this,” he gestures toward his face, “you don’t need strippers. And you don’t look forward to being in a building full of women who are paid to get you excited with zero follow through.”
Abed nods. “Then why are you going?”
“A guy from my old firm just finalized his divorce. Alan arranged a...” Jeff groans, “celebration.”
“I thought we hate Alan.”
“Not hate.” Jeff feels his phone vibrate and retrieves it from his pocket as he explains, “I don’t hate my alarm clock for blaring in my ear every morning. It’s just doing what alarm clocks do. Alan is a weasely, two-faced attorney who’s just doing what weasels do. So we dislike and distrust him...” Jeff glances at his new text message then finishes, “except when liking him benefits me.”
A few yards ahead, Jeff watches two hacky sack players simultaneously attempt a jump kick. His lips curve upward as he watches them collide and topple to the ground. Their misfortune helps Jeff feel a bit less like a loser as he tells Abed, “It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that I don’t have a job.”
Abed responds in his matter of fact tone, “Nope, that’s pretty obvious.”
“Yeah, well.” Jeff stifles a pang of irritation. “What I do have is a continually shrinking savings account. Luckily or -- depending on how you look at it -- unluckily for me, Alan has a case I can consult on. Win or lose, I get paid my generous, yet well-deserved hourly rate. If Alan wins, I get a bonus big enough to cover the rent on my shitty apartment for a full year.” Jeff dodges an over zealous hacky sacker who back-peddles onto the sidewalk for a save.
“But since every cloud has a lead lining that drags it to the ground and turns it into mud...,” Jeff’s voice grows tense as he stuffs his phone into his pocket. “And because a cloud can’t just have a single untarnished thing in life, Alan had this condition, a condition to which I agreed, because sucking it up and smiling for just one night is a small sacrifice if it means I never resort to the alternative shame of becoming a middle-aged man who bags groceries.” Abed opens his mouth, but Jeff stops him with a raised hand, “If you’re about to reference any movie involving a prostitute, don’t.”
Abed closes his mouth and nods. “Why don’t you just blackmail him? Use the email we found, and tell him you’ll expose him as a dirty rat if he doesn’t give you the job.”
Jeff allows himself a fragment of a laugh, “That would be a waste of a very powerful piece of ammunition.”
Abed’s eyes show understanding. “I get it. You’re saving it for a sequel.” He continues a few steps before adding, “I know we already covered conspiracy thrillers, but if you involve the FBI and throw in a Gene Hackman character, it might work as a trilogy.”
As Jeff pulls open the library door, he sees to the matter of ensuring he doesn’t receive a lecture -- or worse -- about his planned activities. “Just don’t tell Shirley,” he insists.
Abed stops and analyzes the request. “Given her religious beliefs and history with strippers...” He nods. “Of course.”
“Or Annie,” Jeff adds as Abed rushes into he building and makes a bee-line for the study room.
Jeff stands in the lobby of the The Church, a sophisticated establishment if its stained glass windows are any indication. Staring at the colored glass, he wonders if the owners had to custom order it with silhouettes of women bending over, or if stained glass stores keep them regularly stocked between the St. Peter and Virgin Mary variety.
Alan approaches the hostess podium and requests a bottle of Glenlivet, a bottle of Jager, and a private booth. As Alan reaches for his wallet to open the tab, Lew demands he be allowed to pay for his own divorce party, which prompts each of the remaining lawyers to make their own request to cover the bill. With no intention of actually paying, Jeff joins in the show of male bravado. After several minutes, Alan “wins” the dispute by pointing out that, as the firm’s newest partner, he’s the highest paid and can most easily afford the cost.
A blond server introduces herself as Mindy, and Jeff instinctively gives her a once-over as she requests the expensively dressed group follow her into the main room. She’s not exactly gorgeous, but she’s unfortunately attempted to make up for it via extreme surgical enhancement. Nick and Lew can barely contain their tongues as they stare at her obscenely large breasts, but Jeff has a hard time piquing his interest when he can’t stop imaging her on the arm of a douche bag in a skull t-shirt with Affliction scrawled across the front.
The distinct smells of cigar smoke, perfume, and sweat sting Jeff’s nostrils as he passes through the curtain and enters the dimly lit, velvet upholstered lounge. Bass notes and flashing multicolored lights blast Jeff’s ears and eyes as he watches a topless woman complete an agile spin down a pole.
To secure an outer seat in the booth, Jeff lags toward the rear of the group. He observes Nick, aka Flash, slinging an arm over Lew’s shoulders and guiding him in Mindy’s direction as he asks her to give the poor, recently divorced man some extra attention. Jeff watches the server politely laugh and promise to see what she can do. From the way she side steps and redirects the conversation as Lew inches too close, Jeff figures Mindy isn’t new to the job.
A blur passes to Jeff’s right. He first notices the tray of drinks pass under his line of site. Then he sees the tray is carried by a petite brunette who balances it on her left shoulder as she strides briskly ahead. He watches her make her way to the other side of the room, and his focus drifts to her gold hot pants. His eyes dart back to Mindy, and he finds himself even more disappointed with their server. If he has to be stuck with Alan, watching the brunette come and go would have at least added a glimmer of enjoyment to what promises to be an otherwise abysmal night.
“Woah!” Jeff exclaims as he runs into a stocky, middle-aged wall. “Sorry,” he apologizes to Pete as he steps away from his former co-worker.
“No problem,” the older man responds. He shrugs and nods toward the stage. “It’s easy to get distracted by the scenery.”
Decent guy. Terrible sense of humor. Jeff forces a laugh and watches the others file around the knee-high table before he claims his own seat. A cart arrives, and Mindy transfers three bottles of alcohol, two stacks of glasses, a bucket of ice, and a few decanters of fruit juice to their table.
Alan and Nick each lift a bottle. Nick pours five shots of Jager. Alan pours five glasses of scotch with no ice. As Nick hands out the Jager and exchanges a high five with Alan, Jeff realizes this new guy, whom he hasn’t met until today, is quite possibly a younger, taller, more hair-endowed version of Jeff’s balding frenemy.
Once all the shots are passed around, Alan raises his glass and begins a count down from three. Jeff tries unsuccessfully not to inhale the cough syrupy scent as he lifts the Jager to his lips and downs the dark liquid. He hides a shutter as the licorice flavor lingers on his tongue. Plopping the glass on the table, he swears to himself that he won’t repeat that experience tonight.
Nick’s shot is already drained, and he’s in the midst of retrieving the bottle to pour another round when the remaining three glasses strike the table. Pete coughs and receives a smack on the shoulder from Alan. Pete isn’t a regular drinker, but he makes an enthusiastic request for another. Jeff pushes his glass away and waves Nick off when he attempts to offer refill the shot.
“No thanks, kid. I’ll stick with this,” he says as he lifts the scotch.
“Booooo,” Lew mocks. “This is my divorce party, so drink like it and have a shot!”
“Yeah,” Alan shouts. “Don’t be a buzz kill. If Pete’s down for it, so are you.”
Nick has Jeff’s glass in hand and is already refilling it. Jeff groans and reaches up to retrieve it from the younger man. He lifts the drink high as he announces, “Here’s to your freedom, Lew.”
A few cheers of “here, here”, and they all toss back the vile liquid.
Jeff puts his shot glass upside down on the table then washes the taste from his mouth with a sip of eighteen year old single malt scotch whiskey. Unfortunately, this results in Nick launching into a spiel about high quality scotches, ones which Jeff can no longer afford. As Nick continues, Jeff recognizes that the kid either makes more money than Jeff did at his age, or he’s a poser quoting things he read in some scotch aficionado magazine. Jeff isn’t sure which idea he finds more objectionable, but he stuffs down his serious case of annoyance and proceeds to debate which expensive scotch is better than which. At least he’s an expert on the topic.
He’s sipping scotch and talking on auto-pilot as his eyes scan the room. They eventually land on a gold pair of hot pants adorning a familiar looking, slender brunette. Jeff is fairly certain she’s the same waitress who breezed past him as he arrived.
He watches her shoulders shake as she giggles, probably at some lame joke one of her not funny customers told. When she bends and stretches to hand a drink across the table, Jeff swallows and tries to keep his eyes from bugging out of his head like a cartoon.
He jumps when he feels a hand brush his cheek. He looks up to find a woman with a Betty Paige hair cut and a set of double D’s cooing down at him, “How about a dance?”
Jeff pastes a grin on his face. “I’ll pass, but that man right there is dying for one,” he says as he points toward Lew and reaches into his pocket for a twenty. “Last time he saw a naked woman, the Olsen twins countdown hadn’t hit zero yet.”
Betty Paige plucks the bill from Jeff’s grasp and reaches across the table to pull Lew to his feet. She grabs his hand and guides him toward the back, accompanied by the hoots of three lawyers.
As he reclaims his seat, Jeff looks across the room. He expects the brunette to be gone, but she’s still chatting with the table of salivating young men. He takes a sip of scotch as he mindlessly answers some question Alan asks.
There’s something familiar about this woman, and Jeff tries to remember how he knows her. Then he realizes that maybe the alcohol is already messing with his head, because he hasn’t even seen her face yet. He wonders what she looks like as he studies her shoulders and the curve of her hip, waiting for her to turn. Seconds pass, maybe minutes, but she’s still flirting with that stupid table of college idiots. He takes a gulp of scotch and glances at Alan, who’s taking another Jager shot with Nick. Pete is grinning and tossing one dollar bills at the stage, and...
*Why the hell won’t she turn around?*
“Winger? Jeff Winger?!”
He shifts his eyes to where Alan is shouting his name. The other man waives the scotch bottle, offering a refill for Jeff’s nearly-empty glass.
Glad to see Alan is not holding Jager, Jeff pushes his glass toward Alan and shouts, “Never refuse free scotch.”
Jeff glances toward the brunette. She’s turned but not enough to make out her face. However, Jeff can discern the curve of her chest, which, although significant, he’s relieved to see, isn’t comically disproportionate to her body. She’s laughing again, and every laugh creates a jiggle that makes Jeff certain she earns lavish tips.
He returns his attention to his now-filled glass and notices Alan’s eyes have followed Jeff’s gaze across the room. Jeff groans as Alan’s jaw drops.
“Oh, man!” Alan bellows as he elbows Nick, who is intensely focused on a half naked woman. Alan points the younger man in the brunette’s direction.
“Nice find, Tango,” Alan shouts as he fist bumps Nick and laughs his loud, obnoxious laugh.
Jeff sighs as he accepts that he’s going to need a lot more alcohol to enjoy this evening. He sets his scotch on the table, and in an effort to save the poor waitress from the lecherous attention he has inadvertently drawn to her, Jeff picks up the bottle of Jager and shouts, “Who’s ready for another?”
Jeff feels great. Not even that backstabbing jerk-off and his smug protege could ruin his mood. He’s turned the tables. Enlisting Lew and Pete’s help, he’s kept the glasses of the obnoxious twins continuously drained and refilled. Now he’s beating them at their own game. Before Jeff lost count, he knew Alan and Nick had each consumed twice as much as himself, and he’d drank quite a bit.
That was prior to Alan stumbling toward the bathroom. Judging from the length of time he’s been gone, Jeff assumes the other man is currently praying to the porcelain goddess. Jeff considers that a success. One down, one to go.
While Nick is busy talking to the waitress, whose name Jeff has forgotten, Jeff elbows Pete -- possibly too hard -- then purposefully focuses on a naked woman crawling across the stage. Though he has a hard time getting his eyes to cooperate and focus on her, he tosses up a dollar as Pete nudges Lew, who dumps the Grey Goose bottle into Nick’s vodka cranberry. Then Pete pours water into three shot glasses as Lew fills a fourth with tequila before sliding it over to Nick.
Jeff rolls his eyes as the younger man keeps chatting up the waitress. Some jerks have no consideration for people who are messing with them.
“Pick up women on yer own time, Flash,” he shouts, and Jeff thinks that he can hear the slur in his own words.
Jeff lifts his glass when Nick turns toward him. After exchanging a few more words and a nod with the waitress, the other man lifts his own drink. All four glasses clink together, splashing liquid onto the table before everyone downs their drinks.
Jeff hopes Pete’s smirk doesn’t give away their ruse. He has a terrible poker face. If the guy didn’t have such an incredible memory for legal precedent, Pete would probably be out of a job.
As Jeff struggles to think of another method to get Nick hammered, he spots something gold from the corner of his eye. The brunette. She’s walking toward him. Where has she been? Wasn’t she supposed to be their waitress? No, he remembers as he stares at her cleavage, their waitress was blond.
Wait. It dawns on him that the elusive brunette is finally facing his direction. He forces himself to tear his eyes away from her chest to survey her facial features. One side of his mouth curves upward. He fully expected her to be a fifty year old who just happened to have really, really great legs. It wouldn’t be the first time that had happened to him. But no, she’s stunning, and Jeff hopes it’s not just the alcohol that makes him think so. It wouldn’t be the first time for that either.
Her hair is in loose waves and slightly tousled. Britta could have been her hair dresser. As Jeff shakes away the thought of his blond friend, his alcohol clouded brain seizes on another female member of his study group. *She’s Annie,* passes through his mind.
He barely manages to suppress a burst of laughter as he realizes how stupid that thought is. He must be completely out of it, he thinks. As if innocent little Annie would set foot in a strip club... wearing those heals and that much eye makeup. Also, Jeff is pretty sure she’s not old enough to be a waitress here. Although he could have been wrong about that fact, there’s no question Annie would never be caught in public showing this much cleavage or this much leg. He grins as he mentally adds, *Without a pair of tights anyway.*
Only in Jeff’s dreams would Annie dress this way or walk with this seductive sway of her hips. Literally. Annie does very dirty things to him in his dreams, things he will never confess to fantasizing about even if he were forced to listen to a Taylor Swift album.
Still, something in this woman’s smile, or maybe it’s her eyes, reminds Jeff of Annie. He’s just drunk enough that he’s not ashamed that her resemblance to his friend makes him seriously want her.
He suddenly and uncomfortably notices that the brunette is standing next to Nick, gaping at Jeff with a look of fear and surprise. *Shit! Stop staring like a creep,* Jeff tells himself. He curves his mouth into a smile as he tries to figure out how she’d gotten so close so quickly. Her face relaxes, and she returns his smile with a hesitant one of her own.
“We want you to sit with us,” Nick shouts. “Tha’s why we asked for ya.”
The brunette leans toward Nick and touches her finger to the tip of his nose as she replies with a thick southern accent, “Well, I sure am flattered by the attention.” She pushes her shoulders forward, enhancing her bust line. “I’m real sorry though. That’s against the rules.” Her eyes shift quickly toward and away from Jeff. Her naughty southern belle smile slips away for an instant before a triumphant return.
“Aw, come on,” Nick points at Jeff and then slurs out, “Do it for this guy. I think he’s into you.”
As if to help, Lew and Pete chime in with agreement.
She laughs nervously, and Jeff is mortified. If he were sixteen, this might be cute, but he’s a grown man whose friends are talking to a girl for him. He’s gone from creepy to creepy loser. For fear of making the situation worse, Jeff just drops his head into his hands and remains silent.
“Come on,” Nick begs her. “He’s been staring at your ass all night.”
“Oh, my!” she exclaims. “I see someone who looks real thirsty. I better get over there. Maybe y’all can come back some time and ask ta be in my section so I can give ya the proper attention. Enjoy yer night now,” she finishes as she rushes off.
As Jeff wallows in humiliation, he hears Alan’s voice from above. It’s way too up beat for the state Jeff had hoped he was in.
“Guess who just made out with a stripper!”
Jeff lifts his head, which feels as if a hang-over is already setting in, and decides he must have done something horribly wrong. Tonight the universe is pissed at him.
Alan’s smug face grins. “What, I’m gone for a few minutes, and the party dies?”
“Ugh,” Jeff mutters as he lets his head fall to the table.
(To Be Continued at Part 2)