A heat wave blew through the gaps of velvet. The girls tugged on my wrists, eagerly motioning me to the dance floor. We slithered through the crowd, I bounced to the beat of the music. I observed the night-walkers. Men in dark washed jeans and white or grey tees too small for them looked all too similar to one another. The women were the intriguing ones. Their hair styles ranged from curled, straightened, crimped, up and down… blondes and brunettes mixed together but working with their pale or artificially tanned skin tones.
I looked to Sirina, her braids swung around as she danced.
“Not so scary right?” she yelled over the music. I gave her a slight smile. My movements were off-beat. I couldn’t get myself to enjoy the auto-tuned remixed melodies blasting from the amplifiers surrounding us. The cluster of dancers began closing in. I missed the lovely melodic sounds of my piano. Suffocatingly, the unstrategic dances began morphing into men and women grinding on one another. I quickly became drained.
Energy vampires, I thought to myself. The hot air got caught in my throat. I waved to Sirina, grabbing her attention.
“I’m going to use the restroom,” I said.
“Okay,” She smiled. “I’ll be here.” I pushed my way through, practically falling over once I had escaped the mass. I looked back to see Sirina lost in the mass of dwellers. When I looked ahead of me, I saw Sirina’s friend. She was sitting on the arm of an occupied chair surrounded by a small group of women. Sitting in the chair was a man in a white tee and navy trousers. His eyes glanced to me. Quickly, I moved my gaze. I took a deep breath of slightly-cooler air and made my way to the bar. The stool wasn’t too high but I couldn’t touch the floor once I was seated. Everything seemed to be themed as a modernized speakeasy. The leather couches matched the hardwood floor and dark stained bartop. The modernized splashes of LED backlights and multicoloured strobes gave a bit more vibrancy to it all. For a moment my vision is blocked by a moving figure. The figure then sat in the stool beside mine. I turned to where Sirina’s friend was sitting. The man was replaced by another woman.
“An Old Fashioned, if you would sir,” he said. “And one for the little miss, she looks like she could use one.” I turned to face the man.
“A what?” my brows furrowed. He chuckled. His chestnut coloured hair was combed back neatly, his face was framed by his stubble. A classic Night Dweller.
“Bourbon, cherries, oranges and something we call bitters. It’s quite literal.” The bartender and man exchanged head nods before placing the drinks on the table.
“It’s on your tab Archer.” The amber liquid reflected off the ice in a way that could only be labeled mesmerizing. The man pushed a glass towards me and took a swig from his. Glancing at the drink beside me, he slightly raised his drink and eyebrows to signal it was my turn. I slowly grabbed mine and sipped it. My face tightened.
“Com’on Princess. You do want to meet up with your friends again don’t you? It’s smoother than others, I promise.” I took as large as a sip as I could before the burning in my throat was too much. His smile grew. “I noticed you were with Sirina, you looked real uncomfortable out there. Maybe you’ll finally relax a bit.”
“Archer, was it?” I managed to scratch out. He nodded. “You must come here often for the bartender to know who you are.”
“You’re in Night Dweller territory, Princess. We all know each other here.”
“So I’m the outsider here.” I took another swig. I leaned my back on the bar, watching the crowd. Soon my drink was gone but my face were becoming warm.
“This is our home. May I have a dance?” Archer offered his hand, I accepted. He guided me into the mess. The crowd moved to give him space. Pulling me close, I began following where his hands traveled. It started slow. My eyes darted to each distracting drunkard around me. Music blasted from the speakers, sweat from those around us disgustingly flicked around from one dancer to another. The heat from my cheeks spread from the growing pit in my stomach. I stepped back. It was too much.
“Archer I-” His hand grabbed my waist and drew me to his. Our eyes locked together, the music began to blur as the movements of those around began to slow. Time stopped as we swayed. Holding me, I slowly untensed my muscles as he gracefully lead the dance.
Is this Beethoven? I no longer could feel the distance between us. No, it’s remixed. The soft glow of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was paired with numerous electrical tunes. Archer’s hand guided the arch in my back as my vision flipped. Pulling me back straight up to him, our steps fastened to the pace of the melodies around us, turning and stopping at each thump and pause of the vibrations across the ground. My shoulders began to move on their own. Without my permission my hips took charge. Both my physical self and mental self were carefree and communicating without the help of my conscious. Steadying me, Archer leaned in and whispered to me.
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