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The night Imogen met Michael Levenstein, she was sitting at the bar wearing a fashionably short skirt, a pair of impossibly high stiletto heels and she was sipping a cocktail.
It had been a bad idea coming here, because men frequently followed her out of the club; men and boys, who assumed just because she was an exotic dancer, they had a divine right over her legs. The boys followed her in groups sometimes with their hands in their pockets walking right behind her and talking too loudly and making comments and whistling; the older men, studying the back of her legs like a cat studies a bird in the grass, tensing up ready to pounce. Already, that night, some guy had come too close to her and put his hand on her thigh and it irritated her, the way they always seemed to be touching her up or thinking about touching her up. Just because she had these damn legs, yes, this curse of a pair of legs.
Early on when she was 17 she’d learnt that, although not a show-stopper, she was a passably pretty fräulein and men gazed at her because Imogen had other more enviable attributes; she oozed sex, she oozed it from every pore. She’d always been a bit too fond of butterkuchen and when she was a child Imogen had constantly been caught with her fingers in the cake bowl, or stealing one of her grandma’s honey cakes to feed her insatiable appetite. This had given her an exceedingly attractive, softly rounded body with plump arms and legs, and ample hips. It was when she sat down or bent over though, that you really noticed that the show-stoppers were her legs, which she had inherited from her mother – the silk stocking whore. Guys had been known to jerk off on street corners looking at Imogen’s legs and simply the sight of her leaning against a park bench easing out the creases in a pair of her fine silk stockings was enough to get them panting like rutting dogs.
On the day, quite some time ago, when she walked into the Blue Palm Club for the job, Luther said he’d never seen a girl like Imogen. He said she had jerk-off legs, a particularly powerful destructive weapon which were capable of some kind of erotic conjuration. Luther had seen a lot of women in his time but Imogen’s legs turned his insides to water.
‘Hitch up your skirt and put your foot on that chair,’ Luther asked. Imogen did so.
‘Now move around a bit.’
She wasn’t a trained dancer at all, in fact, up until that point in her life, she’d never done a dance class but Imogen had an easy, show girl way of walking with a forward thrusting gait which was very sexy and she could pose exotically, not unlike a hooker, tantalising the audience by crossing and uncrossing her legs and occasionally touching them with her long red fingernails. When Imogen came along Luther’s takings went up by 70 per cent. Well, every guy enjoyed looking at a silk stocking whore. Often, men came up to her and whispered things in her ear such as, “hey, how about I cream your legs, your fabulous fucking legs,” or, “Liebchen, I want to get down on my knees and worship your hose and next I want to lick you all over.”
Michael Levenstein wore a nice light wool suit and he didn’t have the hard-bitten look of most of the guys who frequented Larry’s bar and that was what captured Imogen’s attention. Now, if I wanted a boyfriend, that’s the kind of man I’d go for, she speculated. He had smoothly rounded Nordic cheeks and unruly hair which he kept running his hands through, it was his eyes though which melted her. Michael’s emerald green eyes were as much show-stoppers as Imogen’s legs.
She stirred her drink with her finger. Goddamnit, now he was looking at her legs. Ah well, it was a fact of life. Her mama would have warned her about Michael’s kind. He was what Mama would have called smooth, as smooth as the best pair of silk stockings; a man too attractive and pretty for his own good. Well, it hardly mattered since she wasn’t in the market for romance. Imogen had learnt how to instantly size up men. It came from a strong sense of self-preservation and living when she was younger like a tramp and having men continually coming up to her and cornering her so that they could slide a hand under her skirt and feel her silk stockings.