“Have you ever seen a guy so hot, you’d, like, do anything he said?”
The question is shouted over music that has way too much bass, some young guy in tight pants crooning his dubious attitudes to women and relationships over a pounding drum beat.
“Oh, my god,” Crystal laughs. “Have you seen Jackson Mower of Game of Loans? That reality real estate program? I’d let him do anything to me!”
She chortles into her drink and we all laugh along with her. This is a girls’ night, and if you can’t confess your crushes on unattainable male celebrities, what can you do?
“Jackson Mower? More like Jackson Mom-mower,” Stephanie pipes up. “He could lay me like turf!” We all groan at the dirty pun that doesn’t quite work. Typical Stephanie.
I’m not really feeling the conversation. It’s not that the guys we’re talking about aren’t hot, it’s that I have a snowball’s chance in hell of meeting a guy like that. We all want some five percent body fat raging muscular bull to come rut us into incoherence, but we’re more likely to get pawed by a tipsy investment banker in this bar here in the financial district. This is where people who used to go to seedy bars come to pretend they’re still twenty. At almost thirty, I can’t even remember twenty, except I’m pretty sure my jeans were smaller then.
“We should go to a strip club!” Maria suggests. One drink and she always wants to go to a strip club. We never go to one. It’s a constant source of disappointment for the poor girl. If she ever gets married, we’ll get her a stripper for the bachelorette party. That’s the deal.
The squeal is taken up around my little group of friends.
“You guys go. I’ll watch the bags.”
They think it’s a generous offer. It’s not. I’m not in the mood to dance.
“We can dance if we want to!” Crystal shouts.
“We can leave your friends behind…” Maria croons back.
“Because if they don’t dance, and if they won’t dance, then they’re no friends of mine!” they all chorus together.
Just knowing the lyrics to that song means we’re all too old for this. That doesn’t stop them from clattering onto the dance floor, all smiles and flailing limbs. Soon the music takes them, and I am left like a fawn inside a small protective barrier of handbags.
The atmosphere is thick with lust, the desperate rutting and grinding of would-be couples. Women cluster in little cliques just like mine, giggling and pretending not to look at the men who lurk around the edges of the room, the bolder and drunker ones making moves, some of which are accepted, many of which aren’t.
I’ve been nursing the same cocktail since I got here, a California Screwdriver. It’s decent. It tastes like overpriced orange juice with a slight kick. I’m not drunk. I’m barely even buzzed. Truthfully, I don’t even know why I came tonight.
No. That’s a lie. I know exactly why I came. Peer pressure, and the ache between my thighs. The need that can’t ever really be itched by toys and fingers. I’ve been driven out here by the same animal impulse that brought everyone else out here. I need to fuck. But not just anyone. It’s probably not fair of me to dismiss every guy I see within 0.2 seconds of laying eyes on him. Too soft. Too gangly. Wearing sneakers. Scruffy beard. I have as many reasons to reject a man as there are men in the club.
Until he walks in.
He’s handsome. Very. Very handsome. His jaw is hard and square. His cheeks are two slabs of muscle framed by bone. His brow is strong and sits above dark eyes that peer out at the world with a predatory kind of stare. His hair is dark, a mane of shining thick black hair that falls back from a natural widow’s peak. It has body I couldn’t achieve with all the extensions in the world.
He’s here for me.
Delusional. Narcissistic. Prophetic. Whatever you call it, the thought lodges in my mind. It’s irrational, but I can feel the truth of it coursing through me, pumping with every beat of my heart. The world has just changed, undergone a shift in state, and I am caught in that change whether I like it or not.
He moves through the crowd as if it isn’t there. He walks between tables, splits friends who are talking, ignores a small sea of gyrating femininity just to get to me. It’s not very bright in the club, and the flashing lights make it more difficult to take him in as well as I’d like. This is the sort of man who needs to be inspected in daylight, just to make sure he really exists.
As he gets closer, I see that his clothing looks a little outdated. It doesn’t matter. A man like him could be wearing a sack and still look hot. It’s also a size too small. The shirt strains across his chest in a way that is indecently perfect.
The closer he gets, the more I see that he is beyond handsome. It’s not just his appearance. It’s his vibe. Pure confidence. Kids these days would call it swagger. Not that he’d be listening, because he doesn’t seem to see or hear anything besides me. There are a hundred other scantily clad young women in this room. A lot of them are younger than me. Some of them are prettier. But his gaze doesn’t so much as flicker toward them. It is locked on me, and it remains that way as he prowls across the floor.
I turn around and look behind myself just to make sure there’s not some supermodel behind me. Nope. Just the wall. It is me he’s looking at. Me he’s made a beeline for.
I’m suddenly too nervous to know what to do with myself. All my poise evaporates as he comes around the table, reaches for my chin with one hand, grips it lightly with a touch that exudes confidence and control. There’s no escaping him, or the gaze that blazes into my uncertain eyes.
“Come with me,” he says in a husky male growl. “I’m going to fuck you.”