As the music swelled and applause rippled through the dining room, Yalet tensed her muscles, poised on her toes, and gave a last tug at the sparkling molded silicate bustier that enhanced her mammary glands. On cue, she high-kicked out from behind the proscenium, perfectly synchronized with the other eleven women who made up Dastek’s Divine Dozen Dazzlers, working their way around the arched thrust that put the stage show “right at the side of your table!”
There. That one, maybe… though he had a woman sitting next to him. Or possibly that one, although he looked half-toasted already, maybe wouldn’t be able to go the distance. Barely breathing hard, she reached the end of her promenade, pirouetted, chausee’d back two steps, then forward three, then started back across the thrust. She gave more careful consideration to the older of the two men sitting at table eighteen as she passed, making him for exec-class, possibly a junior boardsman. And the woman with him, so much younger—wife, or daughter? Hard to tell.
On the third pass she gave him the eyeball, catching his gaze and giving him a just-for-you-honey smile. Daughter, certainly. He had not the slightest hesitation about smiling back, and there was a definite family resemblance. But maybe not an exec, after all. Something about the way he sat said mil, possibly retired. Hopefully not an undercover proctor’s nark, he looked too high-up for that.
She went into a series of gliding kicks, circling the warbler as the song reached a crescendo, then sinking slowly, with exquisite control, into a full split, her torso stretched back over the extended left leg, arms extended to meet those of the dancers to left and right. Behind the show, the holscreen showed the overhead view of the pattern they made, the warbler’s swirly dress coordinated with the glittering costumes of the dancers, and there was another spattering of applause.
The music paused, the warbler went into a brilliant cadenza of vocal flourishes, and then the FX flares went off as the playback crashed back in. Yalet let her arms drift to the floor, began drawing up her left knee slightly, found her balance and lifted the front leg into a full back walkover in slow motion. As she and the other dancers’ right legs reached full vertical extension, the bows perched on the front of their flirty high-heeled shoes shot fountains of rainbow-colored sparkles over the tableau for the blowoff. An old-fashioned number, but a crowd-pleaser.
Next number was a cracker, to give the Dozen a costume change. On the way back to the dressing room, she walked past Ild Devet, one of the assistant maiters, standing in the wings watching the show. As she passed, she murmured. “Eighteen. Senior,” and he inclined his chin a centimeter, without looking at her or giving any other sign he’d heard.
The Dozen’s next number was the climax of the early show, a bravura display of acrobatic dance, posing, and special effects. Billed as a “Celebration of Beauty,” there was nothing overtly erotic about it—they weren’t in that part of the resort; Treasuredome was billed as a “family” hotel—it nevertheless gave male customers so inclined a chance to assess the physique, limberness, and energy of twelve extremely attractive young women. For those in the know, that assessment could be turned into a more—personal—encounter later, if the right palms were greased, and the girl was willing. Most were. The income from such unofficial services generally exceeded official salaries, even for the most highly-paid of the Treasuredome’s entertainers, like the Dozen.
Yalet was an old hand at letting this or that audience member know that if he were so inclined, she wouldn’t turn him down. She liked the look of the older man at table eighteen. He wasn’t getting spliffed, but that was the second ninety-credit bottle of wine in the holder beside their table. The other couple, obviously married and pleased about it, and the younger woman who might be daughter or perhaps sister, were laughing and applauding openly, clearly enjoying themselves, and he was clearly enjoying their enjoyment even while he rather sedately appreciated the show.
During the number, she eyeballed number eighteen, awarding him just the right number and intensity of smiles, and once holding his gaze quite provocatively as she was posed, in the front row, in a position that was only just this side of doubtful for a family hotel’s floor show. She was pretty sure she saw interest there, and as the number ended he was watching her as he applauded.
“Oh, mother, gonna get me a rich senior exec tonight, I am,” Lispet gloated behind her as they made their way back to the Dozen’s dressing room. “Did you see table twenty-six? Four of them. Definitely off the chain, betcha the brides and kiddies are at the lightshow bally. Thank you, beautiful Bride!” She leaned over and lifted the icon that hung from the corner of her dressing mirror, kissed it.
Yalet chuckled amiably. “Y’think? Well, don’t let Ild shake him for too hawt a room.”
Lispet nodded. If a guest had to pay too much for an extra room for the unofficial visit, the tips were likely to be reduced. And with the rake-off from the hotel, the split to Ild, and the assorted expenses—Association fees, proctor’s bribes, extra tithes to the Church—a girl already saw less than a third of the outrageous “service fees” collected. You could make a lot more going official with the Association and staking a corridor beat (at least, if you didn’t have a pop to support or a joyjuice habit,) or working the illic shows at the “adult” resorts, but the risks were a lot higher. No one wanted to collect a thirdstrike, and end up doing penance in a warren reformatory, assembling microparts and getting old and fat on res-class rations.
Yalet wasn’t surprised when, as she waited in the wings for their first number in the late show, Ild walked past, and murmured “Forty-three twelve.” But she was pleased that it wasn’t one of the “Jenny” rooms on the sixtieth level, rented by the hour rather than the day. She’d guessed right, no wife for her nice (she hoped) number eighteen to escape. She’d see he had a really nice time.