Ready for some fireworks? Better grab a hose. I think Chantal's gonna blow! Ready? Enjoy!
Hustle Into Love
“I do not have to put up with this!” Chóngdé tossed her head proudly. “I am more to this casino than you will ever be. You do not understand the workings of this country. You will do well to be very careful.”
Chantal only narrowed her eyes at the threat. In her years as a dancer she’d been threatened by politicians, the Vatican and the mob. No way this little baht poh was going to scare her. She’d been holding back, but now her temper exploded.
“Lay yow mow low gah?” she gritted out, reverting to gutter Cantonese. “Do you have a brain? Do you understand I don’t care who you are or who you decide to screw? All you’ve just shown me is that I find Mr. D'Avranches taste in women deplorable. I would have thought anyone related to Lì would be more discriminating.”
Chóngdé’s eyes widened at the insults. “You dare speak to me so. Did you not hear me? You cannot.”
“I just did. And as I said before, I suggest you listen very carefully, Chóngdé. Trust me. You don’t want me to say this again." Chantal stepped closer and glared at the Asian woman. "I don’t care if you are sleeping with Mace. He’s not the boss. I don’t answer to him. I don’t answer to anyone but Lì, and if you understood our relationship in the slightest, you’d know better than to even try what you just did.
“Sow seng!” Chantal’s words were like sharp shards of ice. “Shut. Up. I was willing to work with you. Even though you have no talent and absolutely no willingness to learn. I would have tried to help you. I would have at least attempted to bring you up to the abilities of the other girls in the chorus. But no. You think you’re too good. Too special to take any help. Well, I won’t have anyone like that in my dance troupe. You aren’t worth the time and effort it would take to teach you. Because you don’t want to learn. And that is just stupid, Chóngdé. Anyone who thinks they have nothing to learn in life is a fool, and I don’t work with fools.”
“You cannot speak to me this way.” Chóngdé was crimson with fury. “My father—”
“Honestly, I don’t give a damn about your father,” Chantal interrupted. “He has nothing to do with me or The Golden Tiger. If Lì had wanted me to worry about what your precious daddy would do, he’d have told me. He didn’t. So I won’t. It’s just that simple. But—” This time Chantal did poke Chóngdé in the shoulder, right above her obviously man-made breasts, “—no one threatens me. No dancer under my direction gets to speak to me the way you have. And no one…no one ever gets to play the, I’m-sleeping-with-the-boss-so-I-can-do-what-I-want game and get away with it. Because I don’t play games. Period. End of discussion.”
Chantal stepped away from the stupefied dancer, and her eyes glowed like golden stars. “So you can run on up to Mace and cry on his shoulder or grab his dick, I really don’t care. But when you’re finished with your boyfriend…get your ass into the dressing room and clean out your locker. You’re fired!”
Chóngdé just stood and stared. If her face went any redder, Chantal worried the Asian might have a stroke and keel over. And even though she knew CPR, Chantal wasn’t sure she’d try to revive the irritating bitch. She shot an angry glance up into the seats. Mace could do it. After all, he was used to playing tonsil hockey with Chóngdé.
And she wondered why that fact seemed to hurt so much.
“You cannot fire me!” Chóngdé sputtered, interrupting her morose thoughts. “I will not leave.”
“Now you’re just getting ridiculous.” All of the sudden, Chantal was tired of the whole confrontation. She turned and picked up her small dance bag. “You have a choice. You can just pack up your stuff and get the hell out of here, or I can call security. What’s it going to be?”
“You think you can turn your back on me?” Chóngdé raged. She grabbed Chantal by the shoulder and pulled her back around. “I am the daughter of a very important man. I will make it so you can never work in Macau again.”
The new threat surprised Chantal, but she wasn’t worried. Lì’s influence and her own reputation would prevent any backlash. Especially from a spoiled woman who was all but holding her breath to get her own way. “Knock yourself out, Chóngdé. You’re really scaring me.”
“I will knock you out!”
If she’d been expecting it, she could have blocked the punch. But Chantal really hadn’t expected the Asian woman would get her hands dirty by fighting. So the hard slap to the side of the mouth took her by surprise and sent her sprawling.
But she was up and spitting out blood a second later. “Very bad move, Chóngdé,” she snarled. “Moving around like I do, you learn how to take care of yourself. And none of that girly type of slapping, either. I’ll put you on your ass and you won’t get up again.”
“Okay, that’s enough.”
Mace’s deep voice came from the front of the stage, but Chantal was too angry to care. She just stared at the other woman and squeezed her fists closed. “Come on, Chóngdé. I’ll give you another shot at me. Now that I’m ready. No more sucker punches. I guess your precious daddy didn’t teach you about fighting fair.”
Now Chóngdé looked frightened. She backed away and when Mace stepped up on the stage, she threw herself into his arms. “She is going to attack me,” she cried. “You heard her. You must help me. Send her away, Lo Gong. She is dangerous.”
Wow. It hurt. Chantal could only blink at the revelation. Seeing Chóngdé in Mace’s arms…hearing her use the endearment that was usually saved for husband or fiancé, actually made her heart ache. And with her temper still flying, Chantal had to admit now she had another reason to hit the other woman.
She was jealous.
And that was a first. Never in all her life had she cared enough about a man to be jealous. The only one who’d ever come close was Lì, and what she felt for him wasn’t in the man-woman romantic or I-want-to-jump-your-bones way, but as a beloved friend who she missed with all her being when he wasn’t with her.
But once she’d looked into Mace’s dark eyes, all those emotions she’d thought she didn’t have? Well they were alive and well and living in Macau.
“Are you all right?”
The question was directed at her and she blinked again. The honest concern on his face almost did her in, and when his hand reached out to gently touch her bruised cheek, tears came to her eyes. But then she saw Chóngdé huddled smugly against Mace’s chest, and sudden fury pushed out every bit of pain she was feeling. She jerked away from his soothing hand. “I’m fine. But I suggest you get your girlfriend out of here. If she’s not gone in the next ten seconds, I won’t be the only one bleeding.”
Chóngdé gasped. “You see? She is violent.”
Chantal gave a loud snarl, but Mace only shook his head. “Forget it, Chóngdé. I saw you hit her first. Bloody hell. You’re lucky she didn’t knock you on your butt.” He sized up Chantal’s small but muscular frame. “Very lucky.”
“But nothing. I think it’s best you get out of here. Go to my office.” He stared at the small woman. “You and I will discuss this.”
Chóngdé tossed her head, and looked down her nose at Chantal. “You see. It is as I told you. I will dance, and you will have nothing to say about it.”
Chantal literally saw red. She lunged at the other woman. “Over my dead—”
“I said enough!” Mace roared, grabbing Chantal around the waist and pulling her back. Then he pushed Chóngdé offstage—none too gently. “Just leave. I’ll be right behind you.”
“You might as well go with her now,” Chantal said, wanting to strangle both Mace and his irritating girlfriend. She hated the fact she was as hurt as she was angry. “I have nothing to say to you either.”
“Chantal, you don't understand—”
But it was Chantal who interrupted this time. She put her hands on her hips and glared at the man who made her wish for things she now knew she could never have. “Get off my stage, D'Avranches, or you’ll see it isn’t just Chóngdé who should be worried about me getting violent.”
You wanted fireworks, you got 'em. LOL How will Mace get himself out of this one? Check back on Thursday to find out!
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Follow Your Dreams