"I thought you told that creep to bugger off," Myra snapped from inside.
"He's not the sort of man I can say no to every time, Missy. This was the easiest compromise."
"For you, maybe! Not for the girls," Myra hissed.
I shouldn't have been snooping. Fights between the couple were so common, they never even bothered to keep the door closed. Now they were hissing and whispering, and curiosity itched through me. What secrets did they have to keep from the rest of us?
"Hazel can handle it," Reddy said softly, almost lost beneath the chatter from the girls behind me. I straightened, and any reservations I had for spying vanished.
"Oh, can she? You always say that! You work that girl to the bone every night as it is, Red."
"No. Listen to me. She's getting tired. And rightly so. I'm going to find her a nice man who will set her up in a lovely house and worship her all day long. Preferably with his mouth."
I rested my forehead against the doorjamb gently, a warm rush of gratitude for Myra rising up in me.
"So long as you find him for her after we get through this," Reddy said with a sigh.
"Oh, Reddy. I hope you know what you're doing," Myra said, sounding equally as weary.
"If I don't, I know you'll tell me, love."
There was a muffled sort of shifting from within and I waited, trying to decipher everything I'd heard. Had Reddy agreed to allow a guest to join the company that Myra objected to? One he would pair with me? Resentment and acceptance seemed to slide in place inside of me at the same time. I would be the best choice of all the girls if Reddy and Myra had concerns, and I would be fine. Better me than them.
After the scrape of a chair, and before the couple had time to get too amorous, I knocked on the door.
"Who is it?" Reddy barked.
"Come in, lovey," Myra called.
A few years back, Myra had asked Mr. Reddy for a desk of her own in his office, and it had been a chilly atmosphere for three weeks in the theater before he'd finally agreed. I opened the door and stepped up to the small but tidy desk in the near left corner of the room, Reddy's great old behemoth scooted back in the opposite direction.
"Has Beth arrived?" Myra asked as I entered.
Neither she nor Reddy showed any signs of their discussion, and if I hadn't known they'd just been talking about me, I wouldn't have guessed.
"She hasn't. We've got Evie taking her spanking, Margaret's getting advice on entertaining two cocks for the group mid-show act, and I'll run the silks with Ronan."
Reddy chuckled from his desk but didn't look up from the notebook he was scribbling in, and Myra blinked at me for a moment before sighing. She smiled, and I wondered if I was imagining the hint of sadness in her gaze.
"Thank you, Hazel. You have it in hand, as usual," Myra said.
"She always does," Reddy echoed, and Myra flinched before turning away from me, nodding.
"Good girl, and tell Alexa to take your chase scene. You deserve an easy night for once," Myra said.
Reddy looked up from his desk, staring at Myra's back, but he said nothing and I slipped out, shutting the door behind me again.
* * *
The real trickto The Company of Fiends' aerial act wasn't strength or knowing how to wrap the long stream of silk correctly around your body. As far as I knew, Mr. Reddy had seen a proper aerial act at a carnival once, and decided to throw it into the theater's rotation. After all, how hard could the work be when you had actors who could fly?
No, the most important part of our version of silks was trusting Ronan Fuchs.
Trusting an imp was always a risk. Ronan might be struck by a spontaneous impulse to drop me at any moment, just to make the audience gasp and me scream. He had a flair for that kind of drama. It was what made the act so good. But an imp's mischief wasn't cruel, especially not Ronan's. He would always catch his partner.
Still, I held onto his horns like my life depended on it as he held me upside-down, the silk and his hands wrapped around my waist as his long black tongue licked me from ass to clit.
I gasped and writhed, eyes wide in the blinding glare of the spotlight as he thrust that tongue inside of me, growling against my sex. We were spinning slowly with the gentle force of one of Ronan's wings flapping. I tried to remember all the notes for the scene—keep your body extended, point your toes, make a pretty picture with your legs around his back—but Ronan knew my responses too well to let me focus on the work. My toes were pointed because they were starting to curl, and my back was arched because of the sparkling blade of an orgasm now racing through me.
I gasped and whimpered as Ronan rumbled, pleased with me or with himself. I didn’t care. He lapped at me as I shivered, my legs starting to slip from their coil around him. He pulled away, sliding me against his chest until we were nose to nose, his cock bumping against my now slippery sex.
"You don't taste like orc cum," he said through a bared-teeth smile—our usual way of communicating with one another on stage.
I gasped at the words, afraid I might suddenly burst into laughter on stage, and before Ronan could thrust into me, I reached down and loosened the spiral of the silk around my waist. I spun in the air, and after a bark of surprise and a great gasp from the audience, Ronan was diving after me, a graceful hurtle toward the stage floor.
He caught me by the swirling tail of rich blue fabric, snagging it in his grip and then catching me by the waist. Below, the audience roared with delight, clapping as Ronan flew us up to safety.
"Daring," he said. He untwisted the silk from around my waist, creating a cradle for me to sit in, and then tossed the loose end of silk up to the rafters, where it was caught by another imp and tied off.
"He was a very shy orc," I answered through my broad smile as Ronan's hands braced my back. I stretched out, my stomach tightening to hold me straight as Ronan hovered over me.
"A shy orc?" he asked. "Never heard of such a thing."