Into the Unknown
Part VIII: Heat of the Moment
Charlie stopped the bus in the middle of a neighborhood and had us get off before leading us through the streets. Havenport wasn’t any different from any suburban town; white picket fences, single family homes and impeccably trimmed lawns dominated to island town.
When we reached the edge of the small industrial row we came face with a warehouse unlike the others, it had a neon sign declaring it as the Annex. It seemed pretty busy as there was a small line outside where two men guarded the door, one of whom informed us of the rules of the house before telling us about the live parahuman band. Parahuman band were the best, mixing powers into their performance. Snobs would say it took away from the genuine musical experience but I disagreed.
After paying our entry with our Ravenhold cards, getting our hands stamped and dropping our coats off at the locker we came into the club proper. A large dance floor took the center of the place, a bar was on the right and the left hand side from the entrance was littered with tables. Loud upbeat electro pop music came out of the speakers. With all the noise, I removed my hearing aids.
“Come on!” I took Charlie’s hand and dragged her to the dance floor.
She didn’t resist and we joined the mass of dancing teens. Clearly the band had yet to arrive although instruments were set on a stage. Of all her many talents Charlie being able to dance still surprised me. She so didn’t seem the type to do it. Charlie said something but with the music and lack of aids I didn’t catch a thing.
“I can’t hear a thing!” I shouted above the music before giggling.
We kept dancing until our attention was drawn to the stage where the singer introduced himself and his band. Thankfully it was loud enough for me to understand without my hearing aids.
When he began singing I felt the singer’s voice take a hold of me instantly. His words carried an electrifying rush that spread through my whole body. And I wasn’t the only one, the whole crowd seemed energized by the music, a silent current passing between us.
Charlie and I became one, we didn’t think, losing ourselves in the moment, the music guiding us and chasing away everything else. We moved as one, bodies pressed together, she didn’t even need to signal, I just knew how to follow her movement and she knew mine. As we danced, we kissed, we touched each others, my hands and hers wandering, feeling the curves of her hips, the way her stomach went, the shape of her breasts. We were drunk on each other’s presence, filled with love and something more deep and visceral.
The soon ended and its grasp slowly faded, but the way we’d just felt didn’t. That had been us. I couldn’t breathe, my skin burned and I was keenly aware of a certain tightness… But I wasn’t the only one, Charlie’s mouth hung open as she caught her breath, her eyes fixed with mine and her skin burning to the touch.
I took her hand and guided her away from the dance floor, needing a moment to cool down. We sat down at the bar together and Charlie ordered something. I looked at the menu before asking for for a ‘Sparkling Indigo’, which was a sparkly lavender lemonade. The bartender took our orders and prepared them.
My hand found Charlie’s again. “That was wild.” I muttered, very well aware of how I aroused I still was. I put my hearing aids back in and leaned closer to her.
“—was. We — go — far —” She asked, loudly and clearly enough that with a bit of lip reading I understood the gist of it I believed.
“No, no. It was nice… Even if I’m still trying to wrap my head around my orientation.”
“ — progress —”
“Hard to with such a small sample size of experience. I could be demiromantic, maybe grayromantic or heck maybe I’m just Charlieromantic. Still very confident that I’m ace though.”
“And — fine — Does— love — less — allosex— would.” I took a second to put it together but from her smile I knew she’d said something nice and supportive.
I put my hand on her cheek and drew her closer into a kiss. Our lips met a few times before the bartender politely put our drinks in front of us. I blushed at the interruption but thanked him, he hadn’t seemed to mind two girls kissing. Charlie paid for our drinks and we enjoyed them for a moment.
A few seats further Jenna came for a drink only for Mace to follow her, trying to chat it up. By his body language I could tell he was trying to flirt but disappointingly for him, Jenna wasn’t into boys. She politely entertained him for a moment before going for the dance floor alone.
“Ready—” Charlie began before saying a few words I didn’t catch. But I caught the second to last; ‘dance.’
“Ready as ever.” I grinned.
We finished our drink and went back to the dance floor. The song that started next was quite as wild and energetic as the first one we had danced to but the power still took hold of us.
By the time we got off the dance floor, our feet were tired and hurt but we were both grinning. Charlie proposed we get our and we gathered our friends, save for Jaeger who had already left with Harley.
“Who’s hungry?” Charlie asked once we were out of the club.
After so much dancing, we all were, so she guided us to a nearby dinner a few streets away. It was a real retro place called Dean’s Diner and it was jam packed. We had to wait for two tables so we could sit down. As she usually did, Charlie paid for everyone’s orders. It wasn’t like she couldn’t afford it.
I was gorging myself on a country fried steak when a girl I’d never met came toward us. She was a rather tall latina teenager dressed in a boyish fashion; hoodie, baseball cap and ripped jeans. She gave Charlie a look a snarl appearing on her face.
“So that’s why you haven’t called.” She spat out. “Guess you found better friends…”
Before any of us could even react she turned around and left. I turned to Charlie who got up and left, running after her without so much as a word of explanation. We all sat there wondering what the heck had just happened, but none of us dared get involved.
A few minutes later the two of them came back into the dinner, their eyes all red and puffed up. Charlie’s cheek was a little red too.
“Guys, this is my best friend Marian.” Charlie said.
“Hey.” Marian said, sheepishly waving. In a few minutes she’d done a one-eighty in term of attitude.
Charlie sat back down next to me and Marian next to her on the aisles side.
“I’m Caroline.” I introduced myself, reaching across Charlie to offer my hand.
She shook it lightly. “Are you Charlie’s girlfriend?”
“That’s me.” I said, making myself smile.
In a month I hadn’t heard a word about Marian and now Charlie was introducing her as her best friend? It was a little hard to just roll with it.
“Are you all Ravenhold students?”
“Pretty obvious, eh?” I snickered.
“I’m not.” Jenna reminded us. “Just visiting my sister.”
“Well there’s only one normal school on the island and Charlie’s not attending it. Wasn’t hard to figure out where she was, what with her dad.” Marian said with a shrug. I was a little surprised at her words, she was close enough to know about Ian…
Charlie got Marian some food and the two of them chatted it up like the last few minutes hadn’t happened. I wanted to ask Charlie a thousand questions about her mysterious friend but with everyone around I didn’t want to risk a scene.
“Ugh, I’ve got to go.” Marian declared after a while. “Stupid ten pm curfew on weekends.”
“I see your folks aren’t any more lenient.” Charlie said.
“You’d think the superhero dad would be the overprotective one, but apparently paper mill managers are worst than mama bears.”
Charlie escorted her outside and Jenna came over, sitting down next to me.
“You didn’t know her?” She whispered.
“Never heard of her.”
“Damn. So… about Charlie’s friend…” She trailed off.
“Yeah?” I answered in a hushed tone.
“We were totally dancing together just a few minutes ago. And it wasn’t just friendly dancing if you catch my drift.”
“You think that means something?”
“I have no idea.” I sighed…
There were so many questions I’d have to ask once we were alone…