Ian lowered his head. He slicked back the bronze bowl of his hair, then glanced sideways. After a moment, he poked his chin at the dance floor.
Two girls were dancing together, close to our table. One had her hair up in a ponytail. She wore a sheer black blouse that showed her satin bra beneath it, and one of those delightful and absurd micro-skirts that reveal the top of the thigh and shadowed hints of more. The other, loose-haired, was more modestly dressed: a dress shirt unbuttoned to suggest the nook between her breasts, an A-line skirt to the knees, sandals rather than the first girl’s heels.
It took me a moment to realize that they had the same auburn hair and pale skin, the same fullness of lip. Even their figures matched, firm and athletic but blossoming into the curves of young adulthood.
The chaos of neon and shadow played over their bodies, their hair and faces; I couldn’t make out the color of their eyes, but they were dark.
“Twins?” I called.
The one with the ponytail was watching him. When their eyes met, she quirked a wicked little grin. She slipped behind her sister and turned her so that they were both sideways to us. Her forearms draped the other girl’s waist and her curled fingers brushed the front of her skirt. In time to the pounding music, she let her hips sway from side to side against her sister’s bottom.
I leaned towards Ian and said, “What have you told them?” The Zodiac Club might not be one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets, but we value our privacy. When people assume that your sexual escapades are an urban legend, there are fewer prying eyes.
“Relax, Gemini.” Ian’s face was a mask, but his icy blue eyes followed the weave of the girl’s bodies. “I told them that I know people who throw parties for adults. Expensive parties. With restraint and pain.”
The one with loose hair danced with her head down, her eyes closed. Dark and glossy colors bobbed about her cheeks. Her arms uncoiled above her head, and that movement passed like a wave along the contour of her body, down to her ankles. She seemed scarcely aware of the club, even of her sibling pressed to her back.
“Tell me you didn’t meet them here.”
Ian adjusted the cuff of his shirt so that its violet cloth just crested the black pinstripe of his jacket’s sleeve. “We were introduced at a party.”
I had a vision of Ian, immaculately bare-chested, his paddle a blur, swatting the naked asses of those girls to the strains of Baroque violin. Vivaldi’s Spring, perhaps. My lips turned down at the corners.
“How much have they played?”
Ian turned his bland expression on me and said nothing. In my head, I said a little prayer for patience.
“Never,” he called at last. “But they’re curious.” His pale eyes sparkled.
I was reminded then why Ian enjoyed a position of prestige in our house second only to mine. He had his moments. As often as we disagreed, he had his moments.
“Are they of age?” I asked. Consent can be a complex idea in our games. To avoid recriminations, the club has a firm rule that only those twenty-one and older can play.
“Alright. You have my attention,” I said. “Invite them over.”
Ian gestured and the two women stopped dancing. Ponytail brushed his thigh with her knee as she came up to the table. The other slipped into the seat beside me and crossed her legs; the first remained standing.
“Gemini,” Ian said, “I give you April and Miranda Greene.”
“And it isn’t even my birthday.”
Ponytail smirked at me. Her sister blushed behind a polite smile. Their eyes were a remarkable dark green, the color of malachite.
“Ian, you puckish bastard,” I said. He raised his eyebrows, feigning besmusement. I settled back in my seat, crossed a leg over my thigh and studied his finds. “April and Miranda.” Something about the names intrigued me; I glanced from one to the other. “Which is which?”
“I’m April,” the standing girl declared. She stared into my eyes as she spoke, grinning. “That’s Miranda.”
“Is it,” I called over the crash and rumble of the music. “Aren’t you a little old to play the name game?”
She bent over and put her hands on the table, bringing her face closer to mine. Her posture gave me an excellent– and not accidental– view of her breasts above the satin bra and the sweet little vale between them. “Do you know of another game we could play?” she asked.