Wicked Love by Gianna Gabriela



And no sooner than I absorbed her words, I did indeed drift off into a restful sleep.





2





The Dream Sequence





"Carson, come on!" Shelby yells from the hallway outside my dorm room. "If you're coming with me, I'm leaving now!"

"Okay! I'm coming," I yell back to her, grabbing my backpack and opening the door. "Geez, in a hurry much?" I ask.

"What is that?" she asks, pointing to my backpack with a look of disgust.

"Uh . . . a backpack?" I reply giving her the bug-eye.

"Leave it inside," she says tersely. "I've been over the rules with you already, Carson. Anything you want to bring inside the club has to be inspected. I'm not going to wait for twenty minutes while the bouncers inspect your backpack. Anything you need to have like your keys or wallet must be in a small purse or wallet."

"Well shit," I snap. "I wanted to take notes and shit. I know my phone can't go inside, but I'd like to have it with me."

"You can check it at the door, and they will hold it until you leave. No note-taking either. This isn't a lecture you're going to, this is a sex club."

"Shh," I hiss, tossing my backpack inside my room and closing the door. "You don't have to let the entire floor know where I'm going."

"Hey," Shelby replies, "Don't knock it until you've tried it. It's not nearly as dark and seedy as you might think. It sure as hell helps me take the pressure off. Oh, and just so you know, if you don't want to stand out in this place, you need to look like you're willing."

"Willing to what?" I ask, a hint of alarm showing itself.

"Don't be dumb. Willing to partake or at least not get snotty if you're approached. I told Derek this was your first time as a guest. And please - don't let anyone know your purpose for being there. No names, no descriptions, and you've got your fake I.D., right?"

"Yeah, got it," I reply. "No sweat. I'll just say I'm in it for the voyeurism aspect. I'm sure many of the members are quite happy to watch."

Shelby was doing me a major favor by allowing me to be her guest. I wasn't about to go into a sex club as a Single White Female looking for sex in all the wrong places. This was research for my investigative journalism assignment. These clubs weren't illegal, because it was all consensual, twenty-one and over, and there was no charge per anything. It was a private, by membership only club.

We're standing in the plush lobby area of Sanctuary. Thick piled, deep red carpeted flooring, red velvet settees, and sofas line the walls as members do a meet and greet for tonight's party. Shelby Parker is a junior at Columbia. We met in a Communications class we attend together. She's a Jersey girl with no shame or filter, and I kind of dig that honestly.

When I learned about her sex club hobby, I immediately knew this would be the topic of my project next semester.

A large, intimidating Suma Wrestler type walks over to us. I marvel at his shiny, shaved bald head and multiple piercings. His upper arms are covered with a myriad of colorful tats, all of them professionally done. But he isn't intimidating; he's more like a business-like gentle giant.

"Hey, this is Carson, Derek. She might be interested in a membership but wants to check it out first."

"So you said," Derek replies, his voice deep and commanding. "Carson, please come into my office so we might get you a guest stamp."

I walk dutifully behind Derek as we head into his office. "I'll need your I.D. to ensure you're twenty-one or over, and also, I'll need to take a picture of you for our files. It's regulation."

I reach into my wallet and present him with the very authentic looking driver's license I paid a hefty price for back in D.C. "Here you go," I say with a smile, handing it over.

He looks at it, and then at me, and gives the nod, handing it back over to me. "I'll also need you to sign and date our club's rule list. Make sure you read each one carefully as we have a zero-tolerance policy for violations."

I take the paper from him and read through each bullet point rule:

•    Sanctuary is an adult lifestyle (swinger) party studio in the heart of NYC, where on-premise play is allowed. Single ladies are highly respected in the Sanctuary community. Stalking or harassment of single ladies is never permitted and, if excessive, can result in temporary or permanent suspension of a couple's membership.