Marked for Death
Part X: A Night on the Town
Charlie guided us off the school grounds and onto a bus waiting for us. We got on and began the twenty minute drive into the local town. I texted Emma about our plan and she decided to join us. Apparently she and her hotel wasn’t too far from the place. Charlie got us off the bus in the middle of town and had us walk a few blocks until we reached the dock part of town where the club was.
The club was one of those converted warehouse kind of place. There was a line at the front which we joined. We were about to pass when Emma came to my side. In a little under thirty minutes she’d gotten all dressed up, wearing a short dress with rather prominent cleavage and she had time to put on makeup stylishly.
“Hey, planning on catching someone’s eye dressed like that?” I asked.
“Ugh, I hope people won’t even notice me.” She said with a smirk. “Apparently you can’t like to dress up for yourself or just for the heck of it. So I’m looking forward to a night of saying ‘Sorry, got a boyfriend.’ over and over”
“Speaking of Brien, how’s he?”
“Same as usual, which is nice. After Wallace and Alexei I can’t handle drama kings. A nice stable, boring boyfriend is what I want.” She said with a smile.
“Wouldn’t want him stealing your thunder?”
“I cannot deny nor acknowledge your allegations.”
It finally came our turn to see the bouncers who gave us a rehearsed line about entry fees and club policies. More importantly, they warned us that a parahuman band was playing that night and had us sign a waiver before we could get in. We did and walked into the place.
The Annex was fairly big, a dance floor occupied its center and the three sides from the entrance each had their things, from left to right; a bar, a stage for a live band and a selection of seats. Our little group split up almost immediately, individual couples breaking away together. Out of them I noticed Yougen and Yikaru, must to my surprise. I couldn’t tell if they’d been together a while or not, either way they had been hella good at keeping discrete.
The band wasn’t quite playing yet, instead electro-pop music came out of the speakers. I took Amber’s hand and guided her to the dance floor.
“Have I ever told you I can’t dance to save my life?” She said, looking around and looking a little embarrassed.
“Amber, vanquisher of oni and fearless warrior is afraid of a little dancing?”
She snickered. “Do I look like the graceful type?”
She had a point there, she was kind of tall, yet ungracefully thin, with long limbs that seemed like the rest of her body hadn’t caught up. None of which made her any less gorgeous though.
“And you think I am?” I asked, making a gesture with my hands up and down my body.
“Eh, that’s not what I—”
I put a finger on her lips. “Let’s just focus on having fun? Fuck, looking good while doing it.”
“That I can get behind.”
We danced together for a moment and not too terribly well but everyone was focused on their own effort at it to really notice us. I felt my heart start to work a little harder and stopped. I nodded away from the crowd and Amber followed me.
“Alright, first break.” I said, finding a large leather couch to sit on in a corner.
“That’s good with me. I’m going to get drinks, anything you’d like?”
She nodded and hurried off to the bar. She came back with a can of cream soda and a red cocktail with maraschino cherries in hands. She put the drinks in the table in front of us and slumped down on the couch next to me.
“I didn’t take you for a cocktail girl.”
“I’m full of surprise aren’t I?” She answered with a grin.
We took our drinks, raised them and clinked them together.
“So, I know this is kind of a weird place to talk about it, but I think I’m going to take your mom’s advice and try to stop.” Amber said as we were cuddling.
“That’s good.” I gave her a smile and kissed her.
“I’m starting Monday morning.”
“There’ll be school and shit to distract me. I’m probably going to punch someone if I start tonight or tomorrow and got nothing to do. I’m not the biggest smoker but I do get cranky when I need my fix.”
“Well, I’m proud of you.” I gave her a hug and she returned it. We stayed together for a moment. “Y’know, I never asked but how did you start smoking?”
“I kind of started out of spite for my parents, got around to hanging out with the ‘wrong’ crowd as they called them. It’s with them I got my tattoos too.” She said with a shrug.
“The wrong crowd?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“Not the criminal type, save for some underage drinking, smoking and some small misdemeanor. Not that I did much drinking, I’m very hard to get drunk and when I do I recover quickly. They were just the punk trouble maker type; bit of vandalism here and there, picking fights with assholes, bit of reckless driving.”
“Sounds pretty wild.” I said with a chuckle.
“We were bored and wanted to piss off our parents.”
“Any of them ever caught your eye?” I teased.
“Nah.” She cupped her hands around my face. “They weren’t my type; big nerdy and hella cute.” Her mouth shifted into a big grin before she dropped the first of many kisses on my lips, our tongues joining the fray. While she held my face, my hands were free to wander, coming up her thigh, running up her side. I could feel my whole body becoming uncontrollably warm and electrified with excitation.
We just had time to finish our drinks that the stage light up and the band introduced itself; the Unkindness of Ravenhold. Amber and I got up and joined the crowd, waiting for the music to begin.
When it did I quickly felt the energizing rush, but quickly followed by something unplanned. My senses blew wide open and the world became a dizzying, overwhelming explosion of colour and feelings. The crowd was replaced by a vortex of colours and emotions quickly flowing into me like water down a drain.
I don’t know how I got out but the next thing I knew was that I was on a chair surrounded by Amber and two guys one with a neon yellow ‘security’ across their chest and the other dressed in business casual.
“Are you alright?” Business casual guy asked.
“I think so…” I muttered holding my head.
“The performance can get overwhelming for some.” He said.
He opened a mini-fridge and took out a bottle of ice cold water. I looked around and we were in some kind of office now. He gave me the bottle and I drank some, my brain function coming back slowly.
“Try to stay away from the dance floor proper, its where the power is concentrated. If you’d rather go, I can give you a voucher for another night.”
“I think I’ll be fine, I need to avoid exerting myself anyhow.”
The guy smile and I presumed he was the owner. He gave me a free drink token before escorting Amber and I downstairs. When we came down from the office Yikaru and Yougen were at the bottom waiting for us.
“Hey, are you alright?” Yougen asked.
“Yeah, the band’s power hit my brain a little harder than I thought it would.”
I raised a brow. “It’s affecting you badly too?”
“Yeah, we’d rather not risk losing control.” Yikaru said.
I blinked at her words. What did she mean lose control?
“How about we get a seat together?” Yougen proposed and we all agreed, going back to the couch I had picked earlier. Yougen and Yikaru sat down on chairs opposite us.
We spent time just talking about silly things, Amber got us playing quarters and she was pretty good at it, probably a hold up from her delinquent days. When Yikaru and Amber got up for another round of drinks, leaving me with Yougen there was a second of silence.
“So, you and Yikaru?” I said.
“Yeah, kind of new.” She said with a blush. “We kissed last night but we only like made it official today.”
“That’s nice.” I smiled.
“What about you and Amber?”
“We’ve been together a while but we hid it.”
“Right, I’m still getting used to the whole homophobia thing, being a thing.” She said, I just blinked. “Right, I never told you.” She snickered. “I’m from another world, parallel earth and nobody really cares about same sex marriage there.”
“That’s pretty cool.”
We’d visited quite a few other worlds, but interdimensional travel wasn’t exactly a casual thing, even with earth Bet and Gimel —which were our two friendly allied worlds, and where Venusians and Gemilians came from— getting to cross even just for a visit could be quite involved due to security procedures to prevent potential catastrophes.
Our respective girlfriends came back with another round of drinks just at that moment.
“You guys want to play president?” Amber offered, taking out a pack of card from her pocket. “They rent card decks.”
“I’m game.” I smiled.