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The Real Tiger King

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[ Chapter One ]

"How is it legal to fly for over 20 hours?", I joked to my younger sister, Martie, as we arrived in Oklahoma City.

Martie has a lucky way of getting what she wants without even trying. She had somehow charmed our parents into covering this trip to Disney World (I know, don't judge us). Something about us needing a sister-bonding holiday. It was also a chance to fulfill our childhood dream of going on the teacups. It goes without saying that we watched the Disney Channel every day after school without fail.

Honestly, it was definitely something she just threw out there, half joking, but we didn't want to question it when they said yes. It's probably the most cliched travel choice we could have come up with but our inner child's were screaming for it.

You wouldn't be surprised to learn that Martie is a Disney lover. She's practically a Sanrio character. She has a Harajuku, baby doll way of dressing and we share a love of everything fun from the early 2000s from NSYNC to Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Less people would probably assume I'm a Disney fan from a surface level assumption. I'm a liberal arts student at college and I definitely feed into the stereotype of that, like being interested in politics and listening to bands like King Gizzard. But growing up there was nothing I loved more than princesses, mermaids and dancing and this pretty much hasn't changed.

Dancing ended up being a major part of my youth and how I met most of my friends. And actually since Florida is such a trek from Australia, we decided to begin our trip in Oklahoma and stay with one of my old dance friends who is now a soloist with the Oklahoma City Ballet. "Holy shit, that is not her!", Martie said as she pointed at Jade just outside the terminal doors. She was easy enough to find with her pink tights and leotard only covered by an oversized college jumper. But Martie was right, she had gotten so much taller it was insane. And she was vaping too? She really was embodying that whole off-duty ballerina thing. I suppose I hadn't given credit to the fact that she'd grown up a lot since the last time I saw her. It's funny how in your head someone can seem like they'll always be fifteen.

"Hey pretty lady!" I shouted. Jade and I used to have the worst habit of speaking in a Southern Belle accent when we were messing around, which I couldn't wait to annoy everyone with this week. We got into her red Jeep after hugging for way too long at the sliding door entrance. "So, how many shows are you in this week?", I asked Jade, "so it turns out they want me to fill in for one of the other soloists a few extra nights this week... this girl's dodgy ankle isn't getting any better... like it's AWFUL but you know how much I love the Pas de Quatre, we used to watch clips of the New York City Ballet doing it all the time", "yeah we were obsessed! It's one of the best things in Swan Lake... I'm so happy for you Jade, what the hell!" Shit. After congratulating her my selfish brain realised that Martie and I might be stuck in the middle of bum-fuck Oklahoma for a week with no tour guide.

"So you might be performing most nights?", Martie asked. "Yeah.. and that'll be after matinee and rehearsals as well... oh my God I'm the worst aren't I guys?... I'm so sorry we won't have more downtime! But the fact you guys are going to watch me is incredible... no one from home has seen me dance professionally yet, not even my parents". Obviously, I was so happy to be seeing Jade but all this time in Oklahoma sounded pretty dull. Despite being so proud of her, Disney next week was sounding pretty good at this point. "No, it'll be awesome! We'll come to watch every night, it'll be great" I said reassuring her that we were glad to be there.

"Yeah, that's okay! You do your thing... So what can we do around here besides the ballet?" Martie asked clearly unbothered by the impending jetlag. "Okay so I haven't seen a tonne of the tourist stuff here but the science museum is pretty sick and there's a couple of water parks and theme parks, one's like wild west themed so you'll probably love that... you'll probably have better luck asking one of the other ballet girls". "Actually my housemate was telling me about this exotic zoo today... they've got tigers and lions and everything in the middle of Oklahoma, like what the hell?" said Jade.

"That's hectic, I'll look it up!" As I searched for the zoo on my phone I felt pretty torn by my animal activist side. I really would love to see some big cats though, I'm not going to lie. "They do shuttles from the city and it's pretty cheap, we could go tomorrow morning Martie?". "100%, I'm down! Aww, I can't wait to see some kitty cats".


[ Chapter Two ]

It was 10 AM when the shuttle arrived at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. We were wrecked after only three hours of proper sleep but simultaneously buzzed after a vanilla nitro coffee fix. We decided to wake up with the ballerinas at dawn to watch them stretch at the studio. Really I wanted to see as much of Jade as I could before her first show tonight and before our strange, Oklahoma, safari moment began.

Already from the entrance, the park didn't look too polished. Scrap metal and unruly long grass made up the outside of the zoo. We were leading the group as we made our way into the front office. The park owner was pacing behind the desk, energised and gearing up a microphone, ready to make a speech. He seemed eccentric, about middle-aged with dyed blonde hair, kohl eyeliner and a piercing hardly hanging onto his eyebrow. "Well hi, welcome to my park, where are you from?", "Hey, we're from Australia! I'm Gwen, this is Martie". "Nice to meet ya, I'm Joe Exotic, otherwise known as the Tiger King, the gay, gun-carrying redneck with a mullet", he laughed to us whilst diverting his attention to the rest of the crowd building behind us. "Make your way through there to the zoo and let's get this show on the road!" He was definitely a showman- classic American. In saying that, he seemed pretty likable; Martie and I also tend to appreciate the crazy in people.

"How y'all doing?... Well, that sucked. HOW Y'ALL DOING?" wouldn't be a tour without that classic introduction. "Let's get into this... here you go chief, here you are mumma", Joe was handing out guides and offending people progressively as he made his way through the group. Martie and I were smiling at the comments as we made our way closer to the cages. Joe Exotic guided everyone towards the tigers and I couldn't help but feel so sad but also in awe. They were thinner than you'd expect and confined to such a minimal space, which was upsetting. At the end of the day, Martie and I love animals and are vegetarian ourselves. I don't know what we should have expected from any type of zoo but I didn't think they would have cages that were this restrictive. After showing us the tigers, pumas and lions Joe was finally getting the crowd's reactions and enthusiasm that he was after.

"Now that we've broken the ice, we're gonna get the baby ligers set up, we're going to get the snow leopards set up, you're going to kiss snakes and be holding alligators in just a minute". The tour was on pause for our lunch break and a chance to get photos with the animals. It felt wrong to pose with the half sedated animals. Since he brought up ligers I couldn't help but say to Martie, "it's like a lion and a tiger mixed... bred for its skills in magic".

"haha damn, knock it off Napoleon!" a voice replied. Well, that was embarrassing... one of the workers heard my awful Napoleon Dynamite interpretation. I would've been blushing hot if I wasn't already overheated as hell from the sun.

"Haha, make yourself a dang quesadilla", damn, continuing that quote definitely didn't make this interaction any better. "Ooh," Martie said as though the cringe physically hurt her. How come my banter is at an all-time low in front of the hottest guys? This guy was seriously a babe... Usually, I'd do anything for a skinny, white boy but I couldn't deny this guy was built like a freaking God. He had the cutest smile and these stunning dark eyes. I'm pretty sure he was about my age as well. "Haha yeah", he walked by holding a ladder and a rake and I noticed he had these bold, black tattoos down his arms.

"Gwen, you are the thirstiest bitch ever, haha! You're such a dick, of course, you got caught out quoting Napoleon Dynamite" Martie said to me. "Well, I can just die in a hole now haha, cheers, see ya later!" At least I am never going to see this guy again after today, so who the hell cares. While everyone was lining up to have photos with the animals, Martie and I decided to sit on the grass in front of the snow leopards and eat the sushi and Reese's cups we'd bought at 7/11 that morning.


[ Chapter Three ]

"Well I'd have to kill Mark Zuckerberg... kiss Elon Musk because he's a daddy obviously", "haha obviously" Martie replied. "And unfortunately marry Jeff Bezos... but then divorce him so I can take his billions and save the world". "Well I'm glad we've got that sorted," Martie and I laughed to ourselves as we lay on our jackets in a mock picnic set up.

Martie was licking chocolate off her fingers as she stood closer to the fence. "The poor babies, do you think they ever let guests feed them?" She said gulping down the water from her dewy drink bottle. "I wouldn't be surprised, it seems pretty slack around here. I doubt their eating enough either", "I know right, I wish I brought them something they'd like...", "I mean, it's not often you go to a zoo and wish you brought a steak with you, they're just super unorganised here... but you're right, it's really upsetting". The snow leopards started to slink down their ladder as Martie contemplated which of her snacks they might enjoy.

"Hey! Get away from that fence, what the fuck!", it was that muscly guy from before.

"Do you need to swear at her like that?!" in retrospect, he had a right to worry about our safety and the leopards but cursing at her like that was unprofessional and rude. "Look, these animals and your safety are more important than your feelings so back off!" I wasn't going to be intimidated by him but I respected he had a job to do.

I crammed our jackets into my bag and pulled Martie away from the fence by her shoulders. "I haven't given them their water yet so can't you see you were teasing the hell out of them? They're snow leopards living in Oklahoma in the middle of August for God's sake", "I'm so sorry, we were honestly really worried about them being hungry or something, I am really sorry..." Martie replied shocked by his urgency.

He started to fill up the water dispensers and the leopards were sporadically jumping at the fence. "Someone working here lost an arm not too long ago when he put his arm in a cage..." he said to us quietly, almost like he didn't intend us to hear it. "I didn't want to be a dick" he said facing us again, "I just wanted to act quickly". "That's understandable and thank you! I just got scared... we know you have a job to do," Martie replied. "And I don't take myself for being someone that swears at young girls, so sorry about that," he said to Martie before turning to smile at me.

"Come on, I'll show you back," he said wedging himself between Martie and I. "Not too scared of confrontation then hey, Napoleon", well I guess I'm not letting this down yet. "Yeah, my bad!", "No I respect it, so what's your name then..." he said looking down my body and smiling in that cute way he was before. Now he was closer, his height seemed almost intimidating, he must be way taller than six foot. "I'm Gwen, this is Martie...", "well I'm Travis, is that a British accent I hear?"


[ Chapter Four ]

I expected Travis to leave and get back to work once we continued our tour at the alligator enclosure. But nevertheless, he decided to hang around with us at the back of the tour group. Maybe none of his work was that urgent? I found that hard to believe though, considering where we were.

He wanted to know how big the spiders were at home and we spoke about Steve Irwin and how close he'd come to some his stunts. We kept joking at each other's expense, him calling me "Napoleon", "Sansa" and fire cracker" because of my red hair and I was left to call him "Pedro" which didn't work but at least made us laugh.

We also found that we both loved the same cartoons despite our big age. "No way, Phil of the Future was no where near as good as Raven", Travis said. "Hey, Travis! Buddy... have you fed the snow leopards yet?", Joe Exotic yelled across the crowd, hoping that we'd hush up and let him continue with his act.

"John's looking after it, don't worry about it" he said to Joe. "Are you sure you don't have to go" I whispered to Travis this time. "Nah, Joe's always on my ass but don't worry about it, he'll let me do whatever", Travis replied under his breath. "Lucky you", I said sarcastically but really I was glad he didn't have to leave just yet. It's pretty strange that Travis feels like he can get out of work though, maybe Joe's his uncle or something like that.

"You guys are annoying, I'm going closer to the front," Martie joked as she swam into the crowd to find another girl we'd been speaking to on the bus. I hadn't genuinely enjoyed talking to a guy like this in a long time. It became more apparent that I wasn't listening to anything happening on the tour and we eventually got the hint that we were just distracting everyone. "So, what's your favourite animal then?", I decided to ask as an escape route, "the tigers are everything, that's why I'm getting this", he said tracing the unfinished tiger tattoo on the left side of his chest. "Come on, you're not paying attention anyway," he said as he grabs the left side of my ribs to guide me away from an angry-looking Joe Exotic. "No thanks to you!"


[ Chapter Five ]

"I'll be back in a tick Martie, sorry!" I yell back in the general direction of my sister as I trailed a metre behind Travis. I shouldn't have left Martie but walking away with a hot zoo keeper for a private tour was surely going to be interesting. He reached back to grab my hand to help me step over some rocks and I almost died. Okay, get your shit together Gwen. Being polite and holding your hand while you step over some rocks is a bare minimum of what any person should offer to do.

My mind drifted as I thought maybe Travis was wanting to hook up, which wasn't a completely unreasonable thought. Could that be why Joe was mad? Honestly, I'm not against sleeping with someone the first time I meet them either, but at the zoo? Surely not. Shut up brain, stop jumping to conclusions... And what about my safety? My intuition was telling me that I could trust Travis. I guess I could call emergency services or message Martie quickly if it felt necessary, like it has in the past. My stressed brain was already creating the worst possible scenario in my head, a blessing and a curse.

I zoned back in as Travis was guiding me off the path towards the trees saying, "there's always new drama around here, like seriously every week... Hey, you're not worried, Napoleon? I just wanted to show my secret spot, I-", "no it's fine, I was just feeling bad about leaving Martie," I replied too quickly to be believable, Travis was definitely onto my anxiousness. "Trust me, I'm not trying to lure you into the woods like a creep! Yeah I feel bad about leaving her, damn. But I'll get you back there quick enough I promise!"

"Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah, so there's always new people working here, shit is getting stolen and obviously issues with the animals, having enough to food and whatever... and the dumbest thing ever is there's this lady, Carole Baskin, down in Florida. Her and Joe are going to KILL each other. Their fighting is the biggest money pit I've ever seen..." This gossip was insane if it was true. But I kept getting distracted by the fact Travis was still holding my hand from before. How would I even let go at this point?

"I thought you'd only worked here for like a month?", "Yeah, well I guess there's no place like it, okay here we are". We had found our way behind the tiger cages. It was a clearing since the trees were more sparse here but they were also larger, with arching branches that were sheltering us from the sun. There was a rusty, tin shed and a wooden picnic table covered in moss by the fence. Out of everywhere in the zoo I wasn't surprised this would be the place Travis would take me.


[ Chapter Six ]

"Okay, not to be lame but close your eyes haha, trust me", no, trust me, I've never rolled my eyes so hard in my life. "Dude, you are not bringing out a tiger and surprising me with it! I get you're trying to be cute but I don't want to die?!" What could he possibly need me closing my eyes for?

"Okay fair point, but also ouch? You know I'm cute, so don't even try to take that away from me." Travis then put his hands on my shoulders and forced me down onto the picnic bench seat and backed away. I was completely kidding about the tiger but maybe he wasn't? "Travis! This isn't funny, I'm going to run away in a minute," I yelled, as Travis opened the gate to the cage.

"Gwen, chill! Obviously, I'm not bringing out a tiger, I'm not insane", "well good, because I would've ditched your ass in two seconds... can you back away from the cage now, please, come on..."

"Wait, I'm just grabbing Jet, he's one of our newbies," Travis said as he got a hold of the most precious tiger cub. He sat with Jet in the long grass and let the cub circle around him and even nibble his fingers. Jet's mumma was starting to feel quite territorial, pacing outside of the fence. "Don't worry about her, she'll settle in a minute. Are you coming over here or what?"

I treaded carefully towards them, trying not to look as scared as I was feeling. "Come sit right here, I'll teach you how to play with him". Travis said as he pulled my hips onto his lap and showed me how to hold the cub properly. I was playing with baby Jet like I would with any other cat. He went on to tell me about the day Jet and his siblings were born. Apparently, Shaquille O'Neal had even come by the zoo only a few weeks prior to potentially buy him. Surprisingly it wasn't uncomfortable sitting on him like this at all. I always felt like I was going to break my skinny, skater boy ex whenever I sat on him like this. But Travis was strong. His right arm was hugged around my waist while his left hand was resting on the inside of my left thigh casually, occasionally stroking my leg with his thumb. It made me feel like Travis could protect me but also dominate me. Like he could say I'm a good girl in a completely believable way.

Jet's mum was lying down, defeated, at the outskirt of the gate now. Monitoring whether her baby was being well looked after. "Don't you feel bad that you might be giving him up so soon? Their mum will definitely miss them." Travis instantly broke our gaze and looked confused. Had I crossed a line with him? I didn't want to offend him but I did want to know if I could respect his views on animal rights.

"Well shit, people have to make money, don't they? Obviously it can be sad... but at the end of the day, they're animals, not people, right? And we need to survive too!" Travis took his hands away from me looking pissed off, but I couldn't just agree with that statement. In shock and disappointment, I moved off of his lap, in hope of some eye contact. I wanted to make a point.

"I understand that, but doesn't that make you think, why even have this zoo set up in the first place? Like it doesn't seem to be here to benefit the animals, and breeding then selling them is so sad and money driven..." Travis grabbed Jet and marched towards the gate, insinuating he was done with the conversation.


[ Chapter Seven ]

"I'm sorry Travis, I wasn't trying to personally attack you... but I'm not going to just agree with you if that's not what I believe...", Travis had put Jet away but refused to step closer to me, which felt pretty jarring. "Gwen, you've come here on a fucking holiday from Australia? I was pretty much homeless, kicked out and addicted to meth when I got a chance to work here- don't you get it?!". I felt pretty awful at this point and I agreed, "yeah my privilege was definitely showing there... I wasn't trying to dismiss your own experience or reasons for working here." I was clearly really uncomfortable and going red, I wouldn't have guessed that he'd dealt with all that by this point in his life.

He started to step closer to me, "I'm sorry, we've just had some shitty experiences with animal rights groups, even since I've been here. But you're right... they're right... there's something wrong with the values in this place but I don't have control over that", Travis was pretty tense and I could feel every inch in the foot between us. "You're right though, at a certain point a jobs a job and I should've understood that". I reached out to stroke his arms from his biceps to his hands to help alleviate the tension. "You switch between sweet and tough bitch pretty quickly huh?". He definitely had a point there. I laced my hands around his neck and pulled his head towards mine to kiss him. Unlike his hands, his lips were soft and I could feel him smile with his teeth while we kissed, which made me pull back.

"What?", "nothing I'm just impressed Napoleon". He grabbed my lower back from underneath my t-shirt then pulled me in so our torsos were touching. My back was slightly curved as his right hand held the back of my neck with his thumb on my cheek. He could've lifted me off the ground in this moment as his kisses got harder and more intense.

Things were heating up too quickly so I turned to face the fence, pretending I wanted to spot Jet or anyone coming. He embraced me in a hug with his heart still racing. I couldn't get over stroking his arms and up his back. I assumed he wanted to stop when he took his hands away from my back, only to find his thumb stroked my nipple through my shirt. He put his hand down the front of my top and pulled my nipples out from my bra and stroked them more once he licked his thumb. I moved my hands towards his hips and started to slip my fingers inside his jeans, just behind his belt. He pulled my chest up to his mouth and sucked my left nipple, which made my whole body feel weak but also like it was on vibrate. I felt for his dick through his jeans. I couldn't believe how huge he felt. I pulled Travis back towards the picnic table and straddled him on the seat bench when we heard a jeep nearby. "Come on, let's get in the shed, quick!"


[ Chapter Eight ]

"Shit, they know we're around here...", "I wonder why", I said smiling, trying to get a reaction out of Travis but he was distracted by pulling me inside. He locked the door from the inside, left the key in and pulled me towards the back of the shed onto a wooden bench. We could hear Joe Exotic fuming from where we were, "where the heck is he then? I give that bastard everything he wants and he keeps trying to bang everyone in sight... we're meant to be getting married in a couple weeks, what the fuck!" "Yeah yeah, he'll be around here, he always is" one of the other employees said not sounding too bothered.

I froze in shock. You couldn't make this shit up. What have I gotten myself into? This was all feeling increasingly dangerous and complicated. To top it off I was in a musty barn, with no idea where my sister was. Travis mouthed a 'sorry' to me and I texted Martie that I'd meet her back in Oklahoma City in time for the ballet. I didn't hate Travis for what I heard, if anything I felt bad considering what he'd told me about earlier. He has issues with drugs, has experienced homelessness, works in the craziest zoo on the planet and now I find out he's married to the boss? I couldn't help but assume Travis was being manipulated by Joe to keep working here. If he was really interested in Joe, I doubt this afternoon would have happened at all.

Joe and some workers trailed behind the tigers cage, "I told you he must be around the gators-", "check that dang shed then we'll go!" Joe replied. The door wouldn't budge with the key still in the lock. "That cheating bastard, he's with her somewhere. I'm sick of it... John, check the gators, I'm going to loop around the tigers".

So Joe was going to be around for a while longer. I felt a rush of nervousness as I realised I might not make the ballet tonight. Travis and I looked at each other with no idea what to say and no capacity to speak even if we wanted to, with Joe roaming around. I already wished we could return to how fun things had been only a few minutes earlier. At this point I'd polarised myself from him, sitting on the opposite side of the bench laid at the back of the shed. He opened his right arm up to me and invited me back towards him, it was comforting but also felt really sad. We sat silently until we could hear Joe rattle the gate that acted as the tigers cage as he began to feed them.


[ Chapter Nine ]

"So it's probably about time I heard all of your dark secrets?" Travis joked to lighten the mood. "You know I'm definitely enjoying that I'm the more mysterious one for once". I was feeling pretty claustrophobic so I slid away from Travis and started fiddling with the rope stored next to me while we waited for Joe to move on.

"Are you a bit of an over sharer back home?" "Yeah me and boundaries don't work too well most of the time" I replied. "Let me guess, daddy issues, cheating ex boyfriend and you drink too much on the weekend?", "mmm yes and no... but let's add mummy issues and drug dependency to the list as well," I'm pretty sure I could see Travis smile from the corner of my eye. It was nice saying too much to someone that could at least relate to me on some level. Most people I overshare to just feel uncomfortable and don't know what to say, but really what else can you expect from those situations. Practically no one is going to say anything that can drastically help.

"So I'm not gay for the record", Travis insisted. I was still trying to distract myself at this point by tying knots with the rope. There was a bit of an uncomfortable silence here; I didn't know what to say. I decided to act like it didn't bother me or I hadn't heard whilst I was concentrating on the spiral futomomo knot I was doing (pretty much a basic leg tie). Shibari was something I had learnt amongst my queer friends back home but it wasn't something I'd done during sex necessarily.

"I know it's crazy but I came here to be a zoo keeper and ditch meth but it turns out Joe was more than happy to supply as much weed and gear as I wanted..." I was pretty shocked at how chill Travis was and how normalised this all was for him. "So you're going to marry him for the drugs? I mean I understand how you've gotten here, but that's awful. He's completely taking advantage of you, you're like thirty years younger than him! You deserve a lot more in life than that".

"You say you've dealt with drug dependency but that must be a load of shit then," Travis said angrily, he definitely would've yelled it if he could've. "Shhh dude. Not meth and addiction necessarily the way you have, I can't even imagine how difficult that must be. But the past few years I really did depend on some drugs in a social setting and it was depressing. Eventually, I wanted to be better than that. Do you?" I said accusingly. I wish I held back a bit there.

"No one's questioned me about this stuff since leaving my parents, to be honest", " look the setting of your life is nuts right now. And I promise I've been at that stage of loneliness before, with shit people around. But you've got to do what's okay for yourself. I'm sorry I don't want to judge you so much but unless you are gay and in love with Joe, I think you need to leave". Travis looked pretty defeated by this point, this was probably a lot of truth he'd been acknowledging.

"I was thinking about getting a carpentry job with John's step-dad, Alex, who lives closer to the city... look I'll think about it alright, but let's just leave it". "Alright," I agreed. There was only so much I could push on this guy, and for what anyway? It wasn't like I expected us to run away together and to be in love but I knew I'd feel guilty if I let Travis go ahead with this without questioning him.


[ Chapter Ten ]

"Spiral what? So is this a crazy sex thing from your darker side" Travis said as we were trying to change the topic. "Haha no, I've never done any of this during sex actually, I just think it's interesting and beautiful", "yeah right", he replied. "How about you try some on me".

"Really? Yeah of course... and only because I trust you!", I said untying the knot with one pull. I was always under the assumption that most guys sexualised bondage but weren't actually comfortable with the exchange of power unless it was violent and controlling on their part. "Shhh, too loud" he whispered pulling me closer to him by my hips. I turned my head towards the door of the shed and listened out for Joe but he'd moved to another animals cage further away from us now.

I traced his back and shoulders slowly with the rope and made sure it was aligned neatly before crossing the cords and ensuring it was tight. "Okay I think I get this," Travis said not minding how close we were getting again. His hands were still lightly touching my hips as I stood between his legs. "Done! How pretty are you?!" I said mockingly as I tugged the rope closest to his neck. I followed the rope up closer to his face then combed my fingers through the back of his hair. I brought my face closer to his and kissed him slowly. I pushed him away and laughed at myself for how seriously I was taking myself trying to seduce him.

"I'm not getting all tied up for nothing here", "shut up" I said, taking some steps back, withdrawing to my corner from before. "I know that was douchey haha," Travis said as he started to stand whilst untying the harness around him. Now he was standing I was reminded that any power I had over him was really an illusion.


[ Chapter Eleven ]

"Let me get that," I said pulling out the knot in one stroke. We were facing each other so closely now that I could sense his heart racing. My eyeline was at his chin and we held hands, slightly tugging ourselves closer and then away from each other. My nipples were slightly grazing the bottom of his chest through my thin tank top and I could feel him getting hard again. Giving in to the tension, Travis pulled my lower back in so I my body was fully touching his and kissed my lips hard. He moved his hands up to my face and started to kiss me faster. I grabbed for him outside of his jeans then pulled away to see him looking so disappointed that I would even think to stop kissing him.

I undid his belt and put my hand over his underwear, feeling his dick which felt nearly twice as long as my hand. Travis was getting super turned on and frustrated. He pulled down the centre of my top so my boobs were now outside of my bra and tank top. "Hey, are you alright there?" I said laughing before grabbing his face and pulling him towards me. He licked his fingertips and traced my nipples lightly and then slightly pulled at them. I felt so tingly and wet now, and we were hardly doing anything more than kissing.

I took Travis's dick out of his underwear and moved my hand along it. The pre-cum helped but I noticed that he was circumcised, I think. " Are you circumcised?", "Yeah, I'm not that redneck!", "I've actually never seen someone that's circumcised before, not so many people back home do it..." "Really? Well, that's weird as hell...well you're doing it fine but it's always easier when it's a bit wetter", so I licked my hand and kept going whilst keeping eye contact with Travis.

In that moment, he lifted me up by my waist and I wrapped my legs around him. He reached his left arm out behind me and pushed me into the wall. We hadn't really considered the fact the shed was tin and there was a huge rattling sound as a result. We both quickly turned, waiting to see if Joe Exotic had noticed.


[ Chapter Twelve ]

I unravelled myself from Travis and we tried to hear out for Joe. Joe was rattling the cage door open as we stood dead still. I could barely resist continuing to kiss Travis, and who cares anyway - if Joe couldn't get in to the shed all we had to do was stay quiet. What's the worst that could happen?

I kept touching Travis, while he hugged me close with his right arm around me. I bent down so I was on the balls of my feet and put as much of his dick in his mouth as I possibly could without gagging out loud. I looked up at him and smiled as I slowly pulled my mouth away with my tongue licking the underside of his dick.

I moved my left hand and mouth forwards and backwards in a circular motion. His dick had somehow gotten even bigger and his dick was so sloppy that I even had spit running down my arm. Travis pushed the back of my head towards him with both hands so that his whole dick was in my mouth and sliding down my throat. I looked up at him to prove I was game. In that moment, Joe Exotic started banging on the shed door. "I know you're in there fucker!!"

I gagged and pulled back, startled. "Don't even think about coming home tonight Travis, I'm sick of your cheating. You better pull yourself together in time for the wedding or else I'll kick you out on your ass!" The fun of it all had faded again as I looked up at Travis to see a deadpan expression on his face, fixing his clothing and hair into place. "And if you think I'm buying you any more weed this week, you're fucking kidding yourself," Joe said, kicking the door as he left like an angry toddler would. We heard the jeep start up and skid along the dirt as he left.

"Honestly you don't need this Travis... he's manipulating you so hard right now", "yeah I know. Today I've gotten so over it... he's creeping me the fuck out". "And you don't need him for anything, you know. And if he really creeps you out like that, you can't marry him, you deserve so much more than that," I said to Travis hoping I hadn't overstepped a boundary again. "Maybe I should look into working closer to town and getting off the gear", "I feel like a lot of good could come from a fresh start, I-", "you just know me so well hey, baby girl?" Travis joked, holting our conversation. I got the hint, "so what's the chance you can help me get to my friend's ballet performance in two hours?"


[ Chapter Thirteen ]

"Gwen, GWEN!... yes, you made it!" Martie called out from across the lavish foyer to the theatre. I weaved through the crowd, dragging Travis behind me as quick as I could and pulled Martie in for a hug. "You only ditched me all day, stupid bitch," Martie laughed, "and you brought the snow leopard guy with you, that's hot".

"Haha shut up! Yeah he might stay with us for a few days too, if that's okay with you..." "I mean sure, is everything okay though?" Martie said trying to pull me aside. "Long story!" Travis said smiling. I was a little worried about Travis but ultimately I had faith that everything would turn out okay. "Well lucky Jade got us those extra tickets in case we met people we wanted to invite!", "She knows us too well!"

The bell rang out subtly, signalling that the ballet would be starting soon. We ate peanut M&Ms in popcorn and told Martie all about the baby tigers and how spooked we got by Joe in the shed. I was sitting between them, Travis had his arm stretched out along the back side of my chair and I was definitely smiling and laughing too much at everything he was saying. Martie rolled her eyes hard, mouthing the word 'thirsty' to me, when the lights finally dimmed down and the red curtain rolled up.

The entire performance I was either captivated by Jade's phenomenal progress or an intense distraction towards Travis. I was so attracted to him and I hadn't even slept with him properly at this point. The fact we'd had so many close calls made me feel restless and I wanted him even more than when we were still at the zoo. He had become so much hotter to me since this morning as well. He was so tall and muscly without even trying, pretty much taking up both of our seats.

I looked up at him and he gave me that Heath Ledger like smile. That along with his deep brown eyes and tan skin made him seem so youthful all of a sudden. As if he hadn't dealt with all the unfathomable issues in his life right now.

I put my hand high up on the inside of Travis' leg and traced circles with my thumb to the time of the music. Travis moves arm from the back of my chair and places it around my shoulders, pulling me closer to him. Travis began to squirm a small amount and sit up taller, whilst circling his thumb onto my shoulder similarly to how I was on his leg.

I turned to Martie to say, "I'm going to the bathroom before the act ends." I'd already seen Jade's soloist role and Odile's fouetté turns anyway, plus theatre bathroom lines are notoriously bad.


[ Chapter Fourteen ]

Travis was leaning against the wall opposite the bathroom by the time I was done. He looked so good with his arms crossed and hair all messy. He pulled me in, so our bodies were only an inch from each other, "let's have a look around while everyone's still inside," he whispered.

We were laughing at practically nothing as we walked around, bordering on that deluded tired state you can get in after too much time in the heat. The security kept shushing us and guiding us away from the entrance doors. We stumbled back into the foyer and got cans of coke to sip on out the front before the next Act. On our way out, I noticed a staircase leading to the more elite balcony seating.

The staircase had beautiful brass handlebars in an art deco style. As we dashed up the stairs I loved noticing the Botticelli like cherubs on the ceiling of this part of the theatre. To my right, I could see security and the entrance to the balcony seating at the far end of the hallway.

Before I could react, Travis had dragged me out of the sight of the security. Scanning the corridor for an option, I noticed a velvet curtain and rope concealing a room to the left of us. Travis and I snuck behind the curtain to see a beautiful room that was painted an indigo blue with photographs from previous casts of Swan Lake on the walls. There was also a single pair of pointe shoes worn by the original Odette at Oklahoma City Ballet in a glass cabinet in the centre of the room with other artefacts. The room was illuminated with an ice blue light, which gave the room a moonlight feel. I guess the room was there to entertain people during the interval and show some history, but I wish we could just have it to ourselves for the rest of the night.

"This is beautiful," I said turning to Travis in disbelief when he put a hand over my mouth to quiet me. This was the perfect isolated moment we were after. He brushed his fingers into my hair as he reached down to kiss me. Our soft kisses were becoming more intense and Travis was pushing his pelvis against me. "We probably shouldn't hey," I said pushing away from Travis' abdomen for a second, hoping he wouldn't agree with me.

Travis scanned the room whilst I drew the curtain slightly, to check no one was coming. When I turned around Travis was holding a sign out to me that read, 'do not enter' as if he'd found pure gold. "Game on," Travis said as he slipped the sign outside the curtain.

Travis lifted my tank above my chest so my whole torso was exposed. He kneeled down to suck my breasts hard and put his hand beneath my underwear and straight into me. We could both hear and feel how excited I was, "you're so wet," he said looking up at me.

He slung my right leg over his shoulder and kissed and sucked my clit, intensely, whilst still fingering me. My eyes had rolled to the back of my head, in bliss. I let out a moan and suddenly feared that one of the security guards may have heard me. I leant to peak outside but in that moment, Travis was up and pinning me to the wall. He kissed me hard and I licked my hand as he taught me before and felt his dick get firmer with every movement.

Travis took a few breaths now and we looked at each other in lust. I leant down to replace my hands with my mouth. With my back pinned to the wall, Travis thrusted himself into me, making me deep throat for longer and longer. Eventually, I needed to push him away to breathe, my eyes watery and red and my mouth seeping pre cum and saliva.

He stroked my cheek as I looked up at him. "Good girl," he said, with as much conviction as I knew he would. He held my hands and pulled me up before kissing me slowly once again. His kisses trailed down my cheek, to my neck. Abruptly, he pulled my hips up over his, pushed my underwear to the side and entered me.

He thrusted deeper than I'd ever experienced. I could've screamed. It was so indulgent and intense that I almost questioned whether I could handle it for much longer. Later, he turned me to face the wall and Travis fucked me harder and faster. I turned back to look at him to see he'd taken his tank off, showing the beads of sweat forming on his tan, toned body.

He held my face and traced his lips on my cheekbone but I had to turn away. I felt an expansion throughout my body and a convulsion inside me I couldn't control. This was different to any orgasm I'd ever had. I felt a blood rush and tingles to my finger tips, legs and face. Any tension in my head had been released and my legs were beginning to shake now. I went to pull back when Travis trapped my mouth, "keep going".

Knowing I wouldn't make a sound, I allowed my body to react freely. I began to tighten around his dick again, ready for more.



[ Chapter Fifteen ]

I was riding Travis on the deep velvet carpet. Then he lifted me onto the glass cabinet with the pointe shoes inclosed inside. My legs were crossed in the air and Travis kept banging me hard with every inch of him inside me.

He parted my legs and licked me gently as I lay my entire back on the glass now, completely giving in. My legs were shaking uncontrollably again and it was pure pleasure. At this point we heard the bell for intermission but resisted the reality that we would need to stop.

Travis was more alert and sat me at the top of his hips with my legs wrapped around him, "I'm not finished with you yet", he said before I slid down his hips, only wanting him more.

He scanned the room and found a staff members blazer jacket over a seat. You'd half believe he'd staged the whole scenario at this point. He smoothed his hair and poked his head out of the velvet curtain as people were emerging from the theatre. "Anyone interested in seeing the exhibit, we'll be ready in about five minutes. There's some maintenance work being conducted but we'll be finished momentarily," I shook my head at him and laughed, all for five minutes.

He was slamming me in doggy with my hands pinned against the wall again before I knew it. To be cautious we were still able to peep slightly through the curtain to see people gathering around the entrance and waiting patiently. There was plenty of chatter and music in the hallways so I wasn't even holding back from moaning.

Travis had me face him next, "kneel, baby," he said looking into my eyes. I moved my hand vigorously on his dick maintaining the eye contact with my tongue on his tip. I don't usually swallow cum but I wanted too for him. "Good girl," he said again making me feel like a princess.

"You're an angel, you know that?... okay we better go," Travis said grabbing for my hand and leading me out behind the curtain. "Everything's read to go now, enjoy," Travis announced to the line before we scurried down the stairs laughing. "That was only a little less believable without the blazer on," we definitely got caught out in the end but couldn't care less.

"There you guys are!" Martie yelled out to us again. "Okay, if you guys leave me again I'll cry, haha, I'm kidding... But seriously the second act is going to exhaust me, let's get take out after this, okay?"

"We won't, yeah you've got it. Veggie Grill yeah? And I reckon we get Travis a room at the hotel too..."


[ Chapter Sixteen ]

JULY 2020

Travis stayed with us for the remainder of our week in Oklahoma. Some days he came out with us and others he was looking for work. But we always kept tabs of each other and at least met up for dinner (and sometimes a sleepover).

Travis and I unpacked a lot about his addiction, relationships and work and I really pride myself on the fact that I was able to help him make some changes in his life.

We parted ways forever when Martie and I left for New York. It was bittersweet but necessary. By the time I left he had already secured carpentry work in the city and had already begun moving his things out of Joe's house.

I had faith that he would continue working on himself and he has. I only see him through Instagram and Facebook now with an occasional message or comment. He's moved to San Antonio, Texas now with his new girlfriend and I'm assuming his addiction is being managed. I feel so much love for him and so glad I met him that day at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park.

Funnily enough, Joe Exotic has become a meme now with a television show about his chaotic life. I'm glad Travis didn't commit to him or his corrupt zoo and is living an independent life.

Everything that happened with Travis really allowed me to believe when people say: some people aren't meant to be in your life forever, some are just passing through to teach you a lesson. Travis was all affection, love and comfort with me and I didn't feel a need to possess him beyond those moments we had.