I clenched my teeth and forced a polite smile to my lips. With minimal struggle, I righted myself to a mostly vertical position and wobbled on my stiletto heels. My courage returned a few deep breaths later and I started for the short staircase. The lecherous old man groped my rear as I passed. It took the entire strength of my will not to backhand him. Beating up the clientele wasn’t considered good customer service.
Pity applause greeted my return to the stage. I saw humored smiles half-hidden behind drinks and napkins. Fine, so I was new to this whole dancing with a pole concept. These people had come for entertainment. I was determined to deliver.
A glance over my shoulder cued the musicians to pick up my song where it had left off. The music wrapped around and flowed into me once more. Flame flickered to life at my fingertips, casting a warm glow that warmed the stage. The roiling sphere fit perfectly in my palm and followed my movements, sweeping the air above. Another joined the first, illuminating me from a second angle. Light refracted off the dark cuts of gemstone of my bodice, splaying monochrome rainbows across the wall. I gazed out at my audience with immense satisfaction. I held them captive, expressions etched with awe.
Manipulating fire was simple for someone like me. It was easily explained away as a theatrical gimmick, not to be revealed to thieves of trade secrets. The natives of this world didn’t need to know I wasn’t completely human.