I was getting a little tired of the angry lyrics and growling over heavy thudding beats and walked breathlessly from the dance floor to slide onto a silver bar stool, making sure I wasn’t anywhere near the awful vampire girl. My friend came and sat on the stool next to me. “Are you having fun?” she yelled in my ear.
“Do you want to go downstairs and dance some hip-hop?” I asked. I glanced over at vampire-girl who was standing close to her dorky guy at the bar and shooting me evil looks. I smiled a little in spite of myself, careful not to laugh and make her more angry.
“Its too busy down there with the big game and all.”
“What big game?”
“The Bulldogs are playing the Gators tomorrow.”
“Really? Yeah, traffic was a little heavy coming in to Gainesville. “
“That’s why. And now all the Georgia rednecks are in town tonight…sure to be fights breaking out all over town.”
I nodded and thought about telling her I was originally from Athens and was technically a Georgia Bulldog myself. But instead I just handed my cash to the bartender and sipped at my third gin and tonic. I was feeling very tipsy and aching to dance downstairs to music I knew. “Come on, just for a few minutes” I said, also really wanting to get away from the negative energy that was radiating from only a few barstools away.
She shrugged and sucked down the rest of her drink. So I did too and we both stood up and wobbled a bit in our high-heels. We both laughed at our pitiful drunken state.
“Can you walk?” I asked. “How are you going to drive home?”
“I might called my boyfriend to come and pick us up.”
I felt a pang of guilt as I remembered kicking his breakup note under her wicker porch furniture.
“Oh, OK” I said, not sure of what else to say.
We clomped down the thin, dark winding staircase. I hung on tightly to the railing and we stepped out into Rihanna filling the room, apparently finding love in a hopeless place. We started to push through the crowd to find a dance spot in the middle and I looked over at the little lounge area off to the side of the dance floor. I don’t know what it was that made me look, perhaps some kind of force in the atmosphere…maybe the full moon. But I saw first, a breathtakingly beautiful guy there all sprawled out on one of the blue velvet couches. When he saw me looking at him his face changed a little. And even with my glasses off, when his grin spread across his face I knew it was Jake, my Jake, and my heart started to thud harder than the bass coming from the speakers. I could barely breath with excitement.
“Do you know him?” my friend asked in my ear, holding and peering over her straw in extreme interest.
I nodded, stunned. “He must be in town from Athens to watch the game, ” I whispered to the air.
“He’s really hot. If I didn’t have a boyfriend and if you weren’t married, we could both have some fun with him tonight.”
Was she kidding? I looked at her. She wasn’t. Did people like her really exist in this world? This was all too much. My heart felt like it was going to explode.
Jake stood up and started to walk towards me and I laughed with pure delight when he just wrapped his arm around my waist and started dancing with me. I could smell the alcohol on his breath and I was a bit dizzy from all my drinks so I rested my head on his shoulder. He was all cigarette smoke and Drakar Noir. He said into my ear, “What the hell are you doing here? Did I just dream you onto the dance floor?” He smoothed his hand over my hair on the back of my head and I bit my lip and looked up and smiled at him. His eyes glistened and in any other universe we would have kissed. Instead I put my head back on his shoulder and my hand on his arm. I ran my fingers over his muscles and took in a breath as he tugged me in closer. I probably needed to leave right now. I looked at my drunk friend who was dancing with a very grabby-guy so I left Jake’s grasp and hurried over there to her. I pushed frat-boy away from her and said, “leave her alone, idiot.” We turned and walked quickly out of the club before he could react, with Jake following. My friend was laughing “Oh my God!! Damn girl, you are lucky he didn’t push you back! Jesus!”
We stood out on the sidewalk in front of the club with the night air that perfect, Florida Spring temperature with a lovely breeze. The clubs were going to be closing soon so the sidewalks and streets were filling up with college kids.
Jake grabbed my hand and my friend looked down at our intertwined fingers. “I thought you were married,” she said, brushing past me. She went up to the wooden valet podium, long black little purse swinging from her elbow, and told the kid standing there to go get her car, “pronto”.
I was horrified. “You’re not driving home are you?” I said, marching up to her with Jake striding up behind me.
“No, I’m driving to Daniel’s house. I can’t get the fucker to call or text me back. It’s like he’s dead or something. ASSHOLE. I’m so tired of his shit.”
“You can’t drive like this. You are too drunk!” I wanted to say that he didn’t want her there, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell he about the note now. It wasn’t the right time and she needed to discover it on her own.
She shrugged, looking a little irritated. “I’m fine and…”
“Wait, Jake can drive us!” I put my hand on her arm and nodded enthusiastically at her, practically fluttering my eyelashes at her. I really needed to turn this around.
She looked at us both and smiled. She nodded, tucking her black hair behind her ear thoughtfully, and said, “Ohhh-kay! Let’s just go back to my house.”
Jake smiled to himself. “Fine. Come on girls” He took out his phone to text something, then put it away and held out his elbows for us to hold on to. Then we half-stumbled off to the parking garage where Jake had his truck.
The full moon glistened enormously in the night sky, and the red and gold lights shone in front the Hippodrome Theater while club music still filled the air. “Perhaps there is a God,” He said, as we hung ridiculously on his arms, and he grinned that evil, Jake grin that I knew all too well.