Businessman Richard is waiting for the show to start at his favorite strip club, but little does he realize his wife will be the first woman to take the stage.
“Daisy, he’s here!”
Daisy nodded to the woman beside her. Both of them were peeking through the gap between the red stage curtains and the wall to watch a particular man who’d just arrived.
Daisy looked down at the outfit she was wearing and laughed nervously. “I guess I’m really doing this.”
“You don’t have to.” The woman beside her put her hands on Daisy’s arms. “There are other ways…”
Daisy shook her head. “There’s nothing that will top this.”
Daisy moved forward to take her place behind the curtains. She took a deep breath, struck a sexy pose, and waited for her cue.
“…gentlemen, put your hands together to welcome the beautiful goddess Hera on stage for her debut performance!”
Two days earlier
Daisy woke up in the darkness. Her bedside clock showed it was nearly two a.m., and her husband, Richard, was not in bed beside her. A strip of light lined the bottom of the bathroom door, and a hushed voice sounded from the other side. Curious, Daisy scooted out of bed and entered the bathroom.
“Stop crying,” Richard hissed.
“I’ll be there soon to take care of everything.”
Daisy shielded her eyes from the light and saw Richard dressed in jeans and speaking on the phone while he buttoned up his shirt.
“Where are you going?” Daisy asked.
Richard’s phone slipped out from between his shoulder and cheek. He fumbled to catch it, muttered a quick goodbye, then ended the call.
“You’re awake. I need to go to work quickly to sort something out.”
“But it’s the middle of the night, Richard. What’s so urgent that it can’t wait until morning?”
“Well, we’ve recently started working closely with a company from Taiwan.” Richard looked away from her to finish buttoning his shirt. “And because of the time zone difference, it’s actually business hours there.”
“And they expect you to work their hours instead of your own?”
“Sometimes.” Richard flashed Daisy a dazzling smile. “It’s complicated, baby, but if I impress them now then there’s a good chance I’ll be chosen to head up their future operations here.”
“Sounds important.” Daisy yawned. She’d never entirely understood her husband’s desire to chase promotions and titles when he was already earning a good salary.
“It is, but you don’t need to worry your pretty head about it.” He gave Daisy a hurried kiss on the cheek and sidled past her. “I’m not sure how long this will take, so don’t wait up.”
Daisy crawled back into bed and snuggled up to her pillow. As she drifted back to sleep, she hoped these midnight excursions wouldn’t become a regular feature in their lives.
Hours later, Daisy was on the phone making frantic calls to anyone who might be able to help her. Someone had withdrawn eight thousand dollars from her bank account.
“Of course I didn’t make the withdrawal myself,” Daisy told the bank representative.
“Then you should check with any family members who have access to this account, ma’am.”
Daisy clenched her hand into a fist and bit back a scream.
“Only my husband has access. He would’ve told me if he made such a huge withdrawal.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but there’s nothing more I can do to help you.”
Daisy threw her phone onto the sofa and put her hands in her hair. She had one day to get that money back into her account before the mortgage payment was due. She glanced at her phone and swore. There was one more call she needed to make.
“Money?” Richard replied when Daisy called him. “Uh…yes, I did withdraw money. I had a good reason, but I have to go now. Important meeting.” Richard let out a high-pitched laugh. “I’ll tell you when I get home.”
Daisy pinched the bridge of her nose. “But this is important, Richard! There won’t be enough money to cover all the expenses billed to my account that will be deducted in the next few days.”
“We’ll figure it out, baby. I have to go now, love you, bye!”
The call ended, and Daisy was left staring at her phone in disbelief. How could Richard be so cavalier about this? They were about to be in serious trouble with the bank.
Daisy paced around the house as she worried about what to do. Richard earned a good salary, but they didn’t have that much money available to move into her account to cover the payments.
How could he have spent so much money without telling her? What could’ve been so important? Daisy didn’t understand why her husband was acting so strangely.
Daisy was waiting when Richard returned home from work. She immediately brought up the missing money, but he deflected her questions.
“Baby, I know this is important, but I’m exhausted.” Richard tossed his shirt onto the floor.
“Our company is changing its strategic vision to an investment fund of macro-financial conditions. Analysts see that currency deformations are rapidly approaching cyclical reflection and we need to pivot so we’re prepared for that.”
“What the heck does any of that have to do with our missing money, Richard?”
“Sorry, baby, I’m so tired I forgot you’re just a house spouse for a minute there.” Richard laughed. “I’ll explain it to you later, but all you need to know now is that everything will work out in the long run. Now, I’ve had a long day and I’m going to sleep.”
Daisy set her hands on her hips and glared at Richard as he climbed into bed. Did he really think he was fooling her? Had he somehow forgotten that they had two teenage children and Daisy was very well versed in the art of knowing when someone was trying to baffle her with bull?
“Okay, baby.” Daisy smiled viciously at Richard. “You go to sleep and I’ll take care of everything.”
Daisy went straight to the sitting room, where Richard had set his briefcase down when he arrived home. She turned on his laptop. Within minutes, she’d logged on to his banking profile.
Every beat of Daisy’s heart pumped fury through her veins. She’d found several charges with a reference for ‘household’ that didn’t correspond to any home expense she was aware of. Altogether, these added up to nearly four thousand dollars over the past two months.
Richard was definitely up to something, and that something was costing their family a lot of money.
“I have to put a stop to this.” Daisy shut down the laptop. “There’s got to be receipts for all those payments lying around here somewhere. I just need to find them.”
Daisy padded through the house. She first peeked into the bedrooms to check that Richard and their two sons were fast asleep, then started searching. She went through every drawer where Richard tended to toss his receipts but found nothing. Daisy then searched the trash bags in the garage—still nothing. Then Daisy’s gaze landed on Richard’s car.
“Filthy pig,” Daisy sneered as she noted several empty takeout containers lying on the backseat in Richard’s car.
She scooched across to the passenger seat and opened the glove compartment. A tidal wave of crumpled papers, plastic cutlery, and paper serviettes fell into her lap. Daisy pulled a face and started going through the mess.
Her heart skipped a beat when she found a receipt from a casino, but it was for two thousand dollars Richard had won last year. Daisy’s search became frantic now. Some of the pages tore as she snatched them up to smooth them out.
Daisy’s heart stood still when she discovered a thousand dollar bill from a women’s health center. Her fingers shook as she read the words ‘pregnancy termination’ and a woman’s name, Grace.
“Who are you, Grace,” Daisy whispered, “and why is my husband paying for your abortion?”
Daisy found Grace’s number on Richard’s phone. She selected the message option but then froze. It wouldn’t help her to accuse this woman of being Richard’s mistress like she wanted to. No, she had to be smart if she was going to get to the bottom of this.
‘I want to see you tomorrow,’ Daisy typed into the message bar. She hit send, and a reply popped up a few minutes later.
‘I’ll be at The Pelican from eight. See you there xox.’
Daisy sobbed once she’d read the message. Richard was having an affair! Her fingers swept across the keys as she typed out exactly what she thought of Grace, but she deleted it all. There was only one way to resolve this: confront Grace face-to-face.
Tears ran down Daisy’s face while she searched on her phone for The Pelican. She stared at the search results in disbelief. She hadn’t thought anything could be worse than discovering Richard’s infidelity, but she was wrong.
Daisy parked opposite the entrance to The Pelican and stared at it through the window. She’d had no appetite that day, but her stomach roiled. It felt like she was going to puke.
“It’s okay,” she muttered to herself. “You just have to go in there long enough to find Grace.”
Daisy strode to the entrance with as much false confidence as she could muster. The man at the door stepped up to block her entry.
“Sorry, miss, but this is a gentleman’s club,” he said. “No women allowed.”
“Yes, I did read the sign,” Daisy replied. “I’m here to see Grace.”
The man jerked his thumb toward the alley beside the club. “You’ll need to go round to the staff entrance then.”
The heavyset woman who answered Daisy’s knock left the door open while she fetched Grace. Beyond the threshold, Daisy glimpsed a world she could never have imagined. Lithe women wearing bright, elaborate outfits moved confidently about the dressing room like professional dancers.
When Daisy had looked up this club, she’d immediately realized that ‘gentleman’s club’ was a euphemism for strip clubs. This had conjured images of a dirty place filled with gross men watching desperate women go through the motions. What she saw here was far removed from what she’d expected.
Daisy’s wonder soured the moment she spotted the bouncer returning. Just over her shoulder, Daisy glimpsed a gorgeous woman. That had to be Grace.
Daisy clenched her jaw as the woman trying to steal Richard stepped out to join her in the alley.
“I’m Grace.” The woman offered her hand to Daisy. “I don’t think we’ve met before. How can I help you?”
“You can stop sleeping with my husband,” Daisy snapped.
“You’re crazy.” Grace backed away. As she turned to leave, Daisy grabbed her arm.
“Don’t you call me crazy! I’ll bet you and Richard thought it was a great joke to carry on behind my back, but I’ve caught you now.”
“Let go of me, you weirdo.” Grace tugged free of Daisy’s grasp as she spun to face her. “I don’t know who you are or why you came here, but I’m not going to listen to any more of this crazy talk.”
Grace fearfully gestured to the bouncer, who immediately closed in on Daisy. She side-stepped the bouncer and yelled at Grace, who was walking back into the club.
“I found the receipt for your abortion in his car.” Daisy dodged to the right as the bouncer lunged to grab her. “Did he give you the other seven thousand he took from my account?”
Grace froze in the doorway. Tears glistened in her eyes when she turned back to look at Daisy.
Daisy raised her hand to display her diamond wedding ring. “Fifteen years of marriage and two children. That’s what Richard and I have together. You, on the other hand, are just a—”
The bouncer grabbed Daisy and shoved her toward the street. “You’re out of here, lady,” the heavyset woman snarled. “I’ll call the cops if I need to.”
“Wait.” Grace’s high heels clicked on the concrete as she hurried over to Daisy. “If you really are Richard’s wife then you deserve to know the truth.”
Daisy followed Grace inside. They sat together on a loveseat in an alcove just off the dressing room. Grace inhaled deeply, looked at Daisy, and burst into tears.
“I didn’t know,” Grace wailed. “He never wore a ring…told me he was single. I was so happy when I found out I was pregnant. I thought we’d get married but instead…”
Grace buried her face in her hands. Her shoulders shook as she was overcome by heaving sobs. Daisy found it impossible to stay mad at Grace in the face of such heartache. She leaned over and put her arm around Richard’s mistress.
“He forced me to terminate,” Grace sobbed, her words almost unintelligible. “Said he wouldn’t support the child, couldn’t afford it, and then…” Grace took a shuddering breath, “Then he tucked a wad of cash in my shirt and told me…told me to buy myself something pretty.”
Daisy’s jaw dropped. She’d realized early into their marriage that Richard wasn’t a man in touch with his emotions, but this behavior bordered on being sociopathic!
“He told me I shouldn’t tell anyone.” Grace was trying to compose herself now, wiping her tears as she gave Daisy a grim smile. “You were right about that money you mentioned. He gave it to me as hush money.”
“He’s played us both for fools,” Daisy said. She took a tissue from her purse and offered it to Grace. “And I think it’s high time we gave him a taste of his own medicine. Are you with me?”
Grace blew her nose and nodded.
“His usual group has booked a table for tonight. They’ll be here at nine. We should confront him.”
Daisy nodded and passed Grace another tissue. “I think I know exactly what to do…”
Daisy outlined her plan. When she finished, Grace let out a wicked laugh.
“Oh my God, that’s perfect!” Grace stood and cupped her hands around her mouth. “Ladies, can I have your attention please?”
The other performers immediately surrounded Grace and Daisy. Some looked at Daisy like they’d dogpile her if Grace said the word, but they were all smiles when Grace finished speaking.
“So, will you help us teach scumbag Richard a lesson he’ll never forget?” Grace asked.
And that is how Daisy ended up strutting onto the stage in a strip club. Lengths of sheer, gold fabric billowed behind her, and she wore a gold half-mask decorated with feathers. The announcer handed her the microphone as she approached the pole near the stage’s end.
Richard was seated at a table right in front of the stage. Several men Daisy recognized from his job, including his boss, were also at the table. Richard was staring up at her with a hungry grin. It faded fast when she removed her mask and threw it at him.
“Before we get to the fun part, I want you all to know I’m filling in tonight for my husband’s mistress.” Daisy pointed at Richard, and the spotlight lit his table. “Say hi to Richard, everyone.”
The spotlight followed Richard as he leaped from his seat and rushed to the stage. The bouncers nearby grabbed him roughly when he tried to climb up to Daisy.
“See, Richard’s mistress is recovering from the abortion he forced her to have,” Daisy continued as she slowly circled the pole on the stage. “He also stole money from my account to pay her to keep quiet. Since that money was supposed to be used for paying our household bills, you gentlemen might get used to seeing me around.”
Richard broke free of the bouncers and leaped onto the stage. He grabbed at Daisy but ended up with nothing more than a fistful of material torn from her costume before the bouncers grabbed him once more.
“I’m not sure if Richard is trying to help me or stop me,” Daisy continued.
Daisy quickly exited the stage as the bouncers marched Richard toward the exit. She reached the sidewalk just as they kicked him out.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Richard shrieked when he saw Daisy.
“Exposing you for the scumbag you are!”
Daisy pointed at her husband.
Richard laughed. “And who do you think cares, Daisy? The men who came here to enjoy the show, just like me? Men who came here to find a little side action before going home to boring wives, just like you?” Richard shook his head. “All you managed to do tonight was embarrass yourself.”
Daisy hugged herself. Was Richard right? Had she accomplished nothing with her plan?
“Actually, I think your wife has made her point, loud and clear.”
Richard spun as his boss strode toward them. “Damian, you really didn’t have to come out here,” Richard said. “I’m sending Daisy home then I’ll come back in.”
Damian shook his head. “Sorry, Richard, but I’ve suspected for a while now that you’ll stop at nothing to get what you want, even if your actions harm others. I refuse to employ anyone so ruthless and untrustworthy. You’re fired.”
“You can’t be serious!” Richard threw his hands in the air. “You’re seriously going to fire me because these women are throwing a tantrum?”
“How dare you!” Daisy shouted.
“The only one throwing a tantrum here is you, Richard.” Grace rounded the corner and came to stand at Daisy’s side. “By the way, you’re officially banned from The Pelican.”
“And don’t bother coming home because I’m divorcing you,” Daisy added.
Daisy and Grace walked away arm-in-arm. Richard pleaded with Damian, but he turned his back on Richard.
“Clear out your things tomorrow and make sure I never see you again,” Damian said as he went back inside.
Richard tried to follow him, but the bouncer refused to let him in. He stood on the sidewalk, completely alone.
What can we learn from this story?
- You can’t hide the truth forever. All we accomplish when we try to cover up our bad choices with lies and bad behavior is an even bigger problem.
- All people should be treated with empathy and respect. It doesn’t matter what their profession or life situation is, all people are complex beings trying to get the best out of their lives.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a wife who becomes suspicious about her husband’s strange reaction to her sister’s pregnancy.
This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to [email protected].