7 Jaguars, Cougars and Mountain Lions



Blindknyttstories: So, this is a continuation from my captor’s er…friend’s last chapter. She is a fantastic writer and I guarantee you with my life you will enjoy this chapter! (No Really if you don’t enjoy I might not live to see another day…)

JP: *smiles innocently, jingles cell keys in pocket.* We are at the mid-way mark of this comedy of errors…I needed to expand and extend parts of this tale that had naught to do with Nick’s actual parts…we now see his POV on his encounter with the cough-up queen! Enjoy! 🙂

The Borscht Bowl Club – June 29, 2024


Phoenix was fed up with putting on his plastered-on, saccharine smile for the drunken masses. Happy, inebriated customers liked show tunes and upbeat melodies, ergo, that was exactly what he gave them, even though he’d yearned to play tunes more suited to his mood. Earlier that night, he’d played the famous Glen Frey tune, You Belong to the City, and even sung along the lyrics about how a crowded city could be a very lonely place.

Nobody knows where you’re going
Nobody cares where you’ve been
  ‘Cause you belong to the city
You belong to the night
living in a river of darkness, beneath the neon light
You were born in the city
Concrete under your feet
It’s in your blood, it’s in your moves
You’re a man of the street…

Then his manager Boris had curtly told him to stop immediately, and that he was depressing the pub patrons, as well as his wife and co-owner, Natasha.

Phoenix wasn’t quite sure if that had been a pot-shot about his choice of music or his actual singing.

Oh please, Natasha isn’t even here tonight, and most of these drunkards are too shit-faced to care what I’m playing! He thought sullenly. Dang jackass Russian! He wanted me to play famous theme songs…well, that song was from the show Miami Vice, for Pete’s sake!

Phoenix rebelliously found himself mentally singing along with the words to the songs better suited to his disposition as the night drew to a close.

Against All Odds by Phil Collins.

So take a look at me now, well there’s just an empty space
And there’s nothing left here to remind me, just the memory of your face…

Someone Like You by Adele.

Nothing compares
 No worries or cares
 Regrets and mistakes
 They are memories made…

All By Myself by Celine Dion.

All by myself
 Don’t wanna be
 All by myself
 Hard to be sure
 Sometimes I feel so insecure
 And loves so distant and obscure…

Oddly enough, the more bottles he downed, the more clear the notes seemed to flow through his fingertips! Boris was even bobbing his head in recognition of some of the angst ballads, and this was a Russian immigrant who hadn’t even recognized the famous theme song from The Flintstones!

Of course, at that time, he’d only had one bottle of wine at the time, so maybe his skills had been rustier earlier that evening.

It was all good now for him to play what he liked; there was nobody left at the bar to criticize his less than upbeat song choices, as the first last call for alcohol had been made.

Everyone was long gone, including Tiffany, who couldn’t peddle Natasha’s secret family recipe for the disgusting homemade borscht to save her life (why did she even bother?!), not even to the lone, obviously tipsy customer seated closest to the bar, who’d been drinking like a fish since she’d entered several hours earlier from her bottomless glass of amber.

He couldn’t help but be impressed that the blonde, who was way too overdressed for a dive like this, was still upright. She was a petite woman, slight of build and stature, but somehow, she was still holding her own. She’d been matching him nearly drink for drink most of the night, except he had capped himself on the fourth wine bottle, and she was still pounding them back the liquor like it was going out of style by the time Tiffany made her final rounds.

The customer was also…oddly familiar looking to him…Phoenix noticed absently, although it’d been hard to ascertain; his inebriated mind had been attempting to focus on his music while trying to drown out his morose, desolate thoughts with more wine.

It was pathetic, he knew, the vicious, redundant cycle, as the sadder the songs he chose, the more bottles of wine he seemed to need.

Luckily, I get to drink for free at work. Good old Tiffany…she’s been extra generous with slipping me the bottles ever since I slipped her my… He smirked and continued with his current melody.

It was when he’d finished the closing bar to the ending song, mentally crooning the concluding lyrics of Celine Dion.

All by myself…Don’t wanna live…I never, never, never…Needed anyone…

That he felt a set of eyes watching him intently.

Looking up, he saw the attractive blonde had turned around in her stool and was flashing him an appreciative smile, although he wasn’t sure if it was intended for him or the song itself.

Phoenix met her gaze steadily, watching as she got up from her seat and leaned back against the bar, displaying her notable assets even more visibly, while eyeing him with a sultry expression.

“That’s a pretty sad song you’re playing there, stud,” she murmured, giving him a coy smile as she held the glass to her full lips. “Why so blue?”

Having now gotten a chance to get a good look at her, and at last hear her voice, the mystery of her identity, and why she’d seemed so familiar earlier, was conclusively solved. Luckily, years of perfecting his poker face kept his visage from registering his inner screeching thoughts.

Holy Toledo! It’s Angel Starr! Damn if she hasn’t even aged a day since I saw her last, even though it’s been almost a decade! And she’s totally eye-banging me – I’d recognize that predatory look of hers any day! Hmmm…she doesn’t appear to recognize me…since she called me ‘stud’… I’d better see how this plays out…I’m in no mood for making idle small talk, and I don’t like revealing all my card hands just yet. Jeez, of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine . …

Besides, it was none of her goddamn business why he was blue! He sure as hell wasn’t going to spill his guts to Madame Man-Eater, regardless of how much wine was in him; loose lips were not a side effect of the sauce for him whatsoever, and he was sure Siamese twins slept alone more often than the former detective did, so it wasn’t like she’d be able to empathize with his plight in the least!

Despite his terse mental ramblings, since she was strutting her stuff so blatantly for him, in place of response, Phoenix allowed himself to take a long, leisurely leer at the goods that were so aptly being displayed.

Hell, after all, no matter what his personal feelings were of this promiscuous tart, he was still a man. And Angel, he noted, with some disinclined admiration, was most definitely all woman.

Out of habit, his eyes fell to her man-hand to look for the proverbial ring, yet found none.

So no fella had made a respectable, honest woman of her yet, it seemed. He wondered how many boyfriends she still had on the roster, and why she wasn’t warming one of their beds that night instead of the bar stool in this barely legal, obscure, hole in the wall.

Not that it mattered. Phoenix had zero desire to be amongst her vast collection, which he instinctively knew, more sooner than later, joined an even larger one of discarded shattered pieces that had previously been normal and unbroken men.

When Angel had first come into the crowded bar earlier, despite not immediately recognizing her, amongst a sea of disheveled regulars, all in tattered jeans and beer-stained shirts, she’d stuck out like a sore thumb from the crowd right away.

In her sleek, low-cut black dress, heels, and fuzzy white jacket, she didn’t look like she belonged there anyway. She was like a man’s fantasy bad girl from a Hollywood film, dropped onto the LA sidewalk.

Sexy, dangerous, and mysterious…like a sleek, prowling jaguar.

Heck, she’s pushing 40 now…more like a  cougar. But still quite a few years away yet from being dubbed a  toothless mountain lion…

Undaunted by the brief interruption, Phoenix set out on playing his last melody of the night, Ask the Lonely by Journey. It was one of the retro band’s more obscure tunes, and if you didn’t know the lyrics, which most people didn’t, it was hard to tell how a poignant song it was due to the misleading upbeat tempo. It was kind of like playing his secret sad thoughts out in public, unnoticed, he thought smugly, as he mentally sang along.

As you search the embers
Think what you’ve had, remember
Hang on, don’t you let go now
You know, with every heartbeat
We love…Nothing comes easy
Hang on, ask the lonely…

She spoke again just as he was rounding up to the final chorus, a grimace on her lovely face.

“Damn, I hate bourbon,” she muttered darkly as she took yet another sip nonetheless.

Phoenix grinned to himself. You had to hand it to Angel, she was a persistent one, both with men, as well as deplorable-tasting alcohol. Oh well, kudos to her for toughing out the watered-down, vile, piss-water Tiffany had undoubtedly been pouring her. No doubt that was one of the only reasons she was still vertical and coherent!

“Yeah, I’m more of a grape juice person, myself,” he replied, downing the last of his bottle and rewarding her with a crooked smile.

Or so I convince my daughter, anyway…

“Why’d you stop?” She asked, sounding disappointed as she gave him a lopsided grin. “I was about to start singing along.”

“The song’s over.” The hobo shrugged and looked pointedly at his watch, hoping to get the hint across without being unnecessarily rude. “And now, so is my shift.”

He was just about to rise from his bench when Angel’s voice stopped him.

“Play the chorus again, please,” she breathed, coming over and leaning over the base of the piano, giving him a tantalizing glimpse down the low V-cut of her dress. “Play it for me.”

The pianist wasn’t even going to pretend not to stare, or try to do the proper thing and avert his gaze. What was the point? He was several bottles past from feigning to be a gentleman, and Angel Starr…was no lady.

She had breasts more like a French actress rather than anything North American TV and movies had to offer. The tops caught the dim bar light, leaving the rest of her body in soft shadows. Angel strutted more than she walked, and was now leaning with her cleavage just inches from his face, without shame or false modesty. She was a maneater fully cognizant of her assets, and that her entire package, was bewitching to the eye. Her perfectly proportioned and rounded curves were well in conjunction with her sleek, athletic frame.

Phoenix’s eyes were transfixed on the generous swells of creamy flesh threatening to tumble free from that plunging neckline, and decided it wouldn’t exactly be the worst thing in the world if they did!

What the hell…after giving him a sight like that, if she wanted him to play again, and it extended his viewing pleasure a wee bit longer, who was it harming?

He shrugged and resumed playing the main chorus, awe-stricken when Angel began to sing along in her husky, throaty voice.

Does she actually know this song? Phoenix was pleasantly surprised – he never would have pegged her for being any sort of music aficionado.

Hang on, ask the lonely
When you’re feeling love’s unfair
You just ask the lonely
When you’re lost in deep despair
You just ask the lonely…

“I’m impressed. That’s one of Journey’s lesser-known ditties.” Reluctantly, an admiring smile crept over his face. “And you sang it with such meaning.”

“You played it with enough passion for me to give it all I had. Definitely a man after my own heart,” she purred. “You never answered my question, sexy. Why so blue?”

Phoenix’s eyes narrowed, the brief moment of amiability now completely surpassed with the obnoxious reiteration of what he felt was way too personal an inquiry to be asked.

So, she was on that again, was she? No doubt she was accustomed to such interrogations in her former line of work and using her wiles to get people to cough up details. The first invasive line of questioning could have been dismissed as a mere cute curiosity if she’d taken the hint the first time he’d refused to answer, but just like with her bourbon, Angel Starr couldn’t let things go.

“Oh?” His smile faded. “What makes you say that?”

“Because I know men, honey.” She remained in her leaned-over position and gave him a sassy wink. “Happy guys don’t play remote, sad 80’s songs like Ask the Lonely.”

Subtlety wasn’t going to get him anywhere with this broad, it seemed. So much for not trying to be rude. It took all his self-restraint to keep from snapping: well I don’t know the piano well enough to play Barracuda by Heart and Maneater by Hall and Oates may have been a bit too close to the mark! How do you like them apples, Cough-Up Queen?

“You’re very presumptuous, lady,” he replied instead, not even caring to hide his laconic tone. He was sick and tired of her games and was now even less inclined than he’d been earlier to indulge in indolent chit-chat with her overly prying self. He didn’t even give a rat’s ass if she thought he was an asshole anymore. “Considering we just met, I can’t say I care for that too much.”

No way in hell was he going to admit he knew her. Not now. She’d just thrown that opportunity right out the window! Phoenix let out a mirthless chuckle as he abruptly slid back the bench and got up, preparing to stalk right past her and out the door.

He’d gone no more than a few feet past her when Angel’s voice floated out to him again, the desperation in her voice as clear as day, even as he could tell she was struggling to atone for her slip-up and resume their friendly exchange.

“Usually I’m more of a wine or nothing gal, myself,” she called. “But those won’t get you drunk fast enough. So desperate times call for desperate measures.”

He stopped then and turned to look at her over his shoulder, the wry smirk back on his face.

“You seem to have had a very desperate night, then. I would’ve guessed you liked what you’d been ordering all night.”

“Guilty as charged.” There was a forlorn expression on her face now, which she wasn’t quick enough to hide from him, even as she dropped her gaze down at her glass, her full lips beginning to tremble, as though fighting back tears.

Phoenix was starting to feel like a complete shit-heel. Maybe Angel hadn’t been intending to come across as overly pushy and invasive after all. She was obviously just upset about something and had been attempting to drown her sorrows that night, while trying, albeit a bit too hard, to forge a connection of some sort with a man she thought was a friendly stranger. She couldn’t possibly have known what a loaded question she’d been so innocuously asking him; had no way of knowing that he was more damaged goods than she could ever have imagined.

He felt an even deeper stab of conscience as Angel sniffled then, her long honey-colored hair falling into her face as she rose from the piano. The one-time lunch lady was discernibly embarrassed as she tried to rush by him to the door so he wouldn’t see her tears. However, in trying to get past him, she stumbled slightly, her soft curves colliding with his body as she nearly lost her balance.

Instinctively, Phoenix reached out an arm to steady her, wrapping it around her slender waist and catching her just in time to get a heady whiff of her fragrance as he did so.

Oh boy, for a broad who’s pushing 40, I’ve got to admit, she’s still mighty firm…

“Oops,” she giggled. “How clumsy of me.” She smiled sheepishly and continued moving past him, apparently still determined to beat him to the exit, pausing with her hand on the doorknob.

Phoenix had already started heading over to her when she spoke again.

“Sorry to have ruffled your feathers, handsome.” Angel’s cadence was both forlorn and contrite. “I was all sad to be all by my lonesome, and sought nothing more but the innocent pleasure of your company, but I see that it’s impossible for you, even though you’re now off the clock. When you finally relax, come find me, and maybe the offer will still stand…I’m in the phone book if you want to look me up. My name is…”

Phoenix had to stop her. He couldn’t let her leave like this; so visibly sorrowful and having had her advances rejected by this rude, unfeeling bastard whom she thought was just a random pianist in a bar.

“Hold it!” He was at her side now, catching up just before she pulled the door open.

The next thing she knew, he’d caught up to her within only a few strides of his long legs.

Angel tossed her hair so it fell fetchingly over one eye, smiling smugly to herself.

Phoenix caught sight of the triumphant smile she wasn’t quick enough to hide, on the very face of the woman he’d just naïvely thought he’d brought to near tears just moments ago! Fuming now, his jaw tightened as he realized he’d been played like a piano this whole time! His compassion completely fizzled then, replaced by cold anger. He didn’t know what kind of game Angel thought she was playing, but he was going to end it.

Right here, right now!

“You can stop the games now, Hiccup Heiress,” he stated firmly as his strong fingers wrapped around her wrist.

She spun at the alluding to her old title and looked at him with eyes that were wide with shock…and fear.

Good. He’d scared her, had he? Well, she deserved it!

H – how, w- who…” she spluttered, losing her composure entirely as her eyes roved over his face, jaw set and eyes glinting with determination.

“Cut the crap already! It’s been nearly ten years, but I know exactly who you are, Angel Starr! So…Take that!”

Journey – Ask The Lonely

Celine Dion – All By Myself

Adele – Someone Like You

Phil Collins – Against All Odds

Glen Frey – You Belong To The City



Filling The Void Copyright © by JordanPhoenix. All Rights Reserved.

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