Hoes & Bros
With the music’s loud bass vibrating aggressively through my entire body, I swayed my hips back and forth in time with the beat and relished the feeling of being slightly intoxicated. Lights in the form of orange neon momentarily invaded my vision, giving me no option but to close my eyes as I hoped and prayed in the meantime that my legs were stable enough to stay up without the use of my sight.
"Tequila?” shouted Sasha, in all her drunken glory.
With hair redder than fire itself and an arse packed tightly into leather trousers, it was no surprise my best friend was causing speculation from various members of the male population and even some from the female variety. Envy flashed in the eyes of the many women that danced nearby.
Oblivious to the attention she was causing, Sasha simply grabbed my arm and dragged me across the dance floor at Hoes & Bros, one of London's finest establishments with regards to nightclubbing. Google research and a little investigation in the form of asking the manager had explained the rather peculiar title. As it turned out, the owner had been pressured into provocatively naming his beloved club after losing a bet to mates. Expectations were lowered and although originally intended to be a gentleman’s club, with a name like Hoes & Bros, needless to say it didn’t stick. Thus, the birth of my darling local; sticky in feel and far from gentlemanly.
We both just about made it to the bar with little to no obstacles, though were stopped short of our destination when a young gent barely out of school attempted to cop a feel of Sasha’s bottom. She simply glared at him as he apologised, "Sorry, babe. That was a complete accident. How about I make it up to you with a dance?"
"No thanks,” she gently declined. “I'm here with someone, but I'm flattered."
Continuing to push her way through the crowd, she left the poor bloke looking sad from her rejection. “Why can’t I have a man like that try it on with me instead?” she questioned, nodding her head towards the familiar body of Jace sexy-as-hell Thomlinson, the very new, very gorgeous barman.
He’d been working behind the bar for roughly two months and had certainly caught the attention of Sasha if her come-shag-me eyes were anything to go by. I couldn’t blame her though. With coffee brown hair and a glorious sun-kissed complexion, he really was what normal women would consider delicious. And I say ‘normal’ because I, Maya Crofton, notoriously known for having long, lifeless brunette hair and dull brown eyes, did not class myself as belonging in that category. Me, I preferred a more traditional man and it took one look at my track record to establish how well that was working out for me. Twenty-two-years-old and I could count the number of men I’d slept with on two fingers.
How incredibly outrageous of me!
“Ten o’clock, what do you think? A bit fake looking for Luke, no?” asked Sasha, subtly giving me the exact coordinates of the woman in question.
Surely enough, situated at my exact ten o’clock was Luke; twenty-three-year-old ladies’ man and my best friend as of nineteen years.
Believe me, it feels more like forever.
He appeared almost glowing under the battering strobe lights, sporting a rather fitted white shirt and casual jeans. His own hair shimmered under the many lights, creating a dance of rich chocolate browns with streaks of caramel thrown in for good measure.
Bright, shining and looking truly fierce, his ocean-blue eyes momentarily landed on me before settling back on his latest accomplishment: some promiscuous blonde.
“Hmm,” I agreed, further evaluating the petite figure whose back was facing me.
Her strapless dress offered me a slight glimpse into her personality. I wasn’t normally one to judge based on first appearances, but her tramp stamp told me more than I needed to know. The added quote, Made in Essex, physically made me gag. Although it would’ve appeared Luke was in no doubt where things were headed as he, unknowing to her, smoothly executed his three-step plan. Apparently, (this coming from the horse’s mouth itself) there were three consecutive stages that almost guaranteed success in getting a woman into bed.
Stage one: particularly known as The Icebreaker, consisted of a rather friendly introduction, whereby the initiator maintained strong, not to mention sexy eye contact.
Stage two: more commonly known as The Bump and Grind, saw the parties involved joining at the hips in a rather provocative motion, completely intentional on the instigators’ behalf.
Stage three: something which Sasha and I liked to call The Make or Break was considered the most dangerous move of all three and could either result in a slap to the face or a guaranteed night of no-strings-attached sex. It required a lot of careful attention and involved leaning in towards the chosen victim to seductively whisper something along the lines of how amazing she looked, all while not so accidentally grazing the side of her neck using the perfect lips to teeth ratio. After that, it was a done deal, according to Luke. Assuming he didn't receive a punch to the face, it was all systems go!
"Four shots of tequila, please!" yelled Sasha, grabbing Jace’s arm as he attempted to prepare our beverages. “Don’t bother with the salt and lemon. I’m feeling extra naughty tonight,” she added, practically ravishing him with her gaze alone.
Jace, ever the pleaser, nodded his head in careful acknowledgement and seductively eyed her up and down, mirroring the exact expression one adopted right before devouring a delicious bar of chocolate. His greedy gaze snacked on her every curve, lingering slightly on her hips before travelling further north towards the swell of her chest; her 34 DD’s certainly gaining wide-eyed approval.
"Bloody hell, Sash! I think you both just breached the potential for inappropriate behaviour. Get his number and get a sodding room, will you?" I laughed, bumping my arm with hers, suddenly feeling like the third wheel.
“Patience is a virtue,” she simply replied, offering up a subtle, albeit sly wink.
She turned her attention to our newly made up drinks, minus a lemon wedge and salt, which just so happened to be the perfect window into looking elsewhere. To my left, I noticed a rather daring Luke leaning in to whisper something clearly intended to impress the blonde. In doing so, he seductively brushed his lips against the smooth skin of her neck, and briefly met my gaze in a moment of uncertainty. The uncalled for emotion soon disappeared when the woman began to laugh and placed a perfectly manicured hand on his chest, squeezing it lightly. I smirked at his accomplishment and raised my first shot, silently sending him my congratulations on reaching stage three as I downed the burning liquid in one. I instantly took pleasure in its effects.
“Christ that burns!” yelled Sasha.
Immediately, she grabbed onto the next one, and necked it in one swift, unladylike motion. I copied her actions and swallowed the foul tasting substance again, agreeing with her mocking toast of, “Another night spent watching Luke chat up women, whilst we pay for our own drinks.”
It was true and I had to laugh. Although, Jace never did charge her for the last round of shots and I made damn sure she knew it.
“These were free,” I commented, certainly not missing the devilish grin on her face as realisation hit.
"Oh, mother of all things holy, I think he’s the one," she replied, flicking her wrist in a ‘Praise the Lord’ motion.
Sasha’s entire family were strict Catholics. She wasn’t particularly religious herself, but every now and then she would pass comment on something relating to religion in the most bizarre way possible and act as if it was totally natural. It was a trait to which I’d become somewhat accustomed to over the three years of knowing her, and I found it extremely interesting how one could actively take their life down a different route, yet still be influenced by their upbringing.
The sudden sensation of hot breath tickling down my neck caught me off guard in the most erotic of ways possible, but thankfully, I didn’t have to fight off any unwanted visitors as I came to realise it was only Luke. Instead of running, I relaxed further into his comforting heat against my heightened skin and relished the sounds of the only other person with the same accent as me. Growing up in Newcastle put Luke and me at an immediate distance from everyone else housing a southern accent, and even though it had mellowed out over the years of living in London, I found the low tones and “haway pets” a huge comfort when feeling somewhat homesick.
"Gemma and I are taking off. You good here?" he questioned, having to shout in my ear to be heard through his unusually low tone.
Unable to suppress my giggle, I shot him a goofy grin and flashed a quick thumbs up, offering him my utmost approval. He smiled in response, dishing up a helping of that perfect smile of his, spectacular enough to give even the most prestige toothpaste ad a run for its money. Not only that, his left cheek dimple popped into place and I swear I heard the entire room sigh.
"Lucas," I mumbled, feeling the effects of the two shots taking hold already. “Come closer,” I pleaded, gesturing for him to bring his head down as to efficiently talk to him over the deafening sounds of Dua Lipa telling us about her new rules.
He immediately complied, unimpressed with my use of his full name and lowered his head closer to mine, sharing his heavenly scent of vanilla and lavender. My nostrils clung on to all he had to offer.
"She’s made in Essex," I informed, pointing to the woman as she bent over to retrieve her clutch.
I tried my best to remain serious as Luke zeroed in on her tattoo for what was quite obviously the first time, but failed miserably when a traitorous smirk appeared on my lips. The small gesture soon turned into a tremendous giggle when his horrified expression transformed into amusement.
“Nice observation, Maya,” he complimented, looking devilishly entertained. “I’ll be sure to veto the idea of doggy style should such a suggestion come up.”
He reached his hand out for Gemma and she accepted it with a sickening smile slapped across her face. Seeing her for the first time allowed me to properly inspect her. While there was a definite beauty beneath the makeup, the heavy foundation and painted on eyeshadow overpowered it.
“He has a huge penis!” I bellowed, deciding to last-minute wingman him, although really it was energy wasted.
Gemma was more than up for a one night stand with our Luke.
“You’re a damn disgrace, Crofton!” he retorted, throwing his head back in deep hysterics, which only seemed to further grate on Gemma; her set jaw certainly making it seem so. “I’ll text you tomorrow.”
He smiled through his farewell and landed a friendly kiss on my cheek, holding his lips there slightly longer than normal. His warm breath fanned across my face when pulling away and I found I missed the contact when he no longer occupied my personal space.
"Love ya,” he confirmed, squeezing my upper arm in a determined gesture. “Later, gator," he then added, pulling away from me, sporting a knowing smirk.
"Cheerio, hoe," I replied, giddy from the copious amount of alcohol passing through my system and not at all at the lingering sensation of his hot breath on my skin.
No, not at all.
He quickly offered me a curt nod before addressing Sasha with the same excuse and presented her with a similar kiss on the cheek, only hers appeared far less affectionate for reasons unknown to me. Perhaps my mind was playing tricks on me, or rather the two shots of tequila were. Either way, with various alcohol-fuelled thoughts spinning around in my mind, I focused my attention elsewhere and blankly stared at the half empty bowl of peanuts resting on the bar’s surface.
Who even eats nuts on a night out?
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ponder the mystery for long as I was distracted by Luke smoothly executing his departure with the blonde. He fired one final look of accomplishment as they drew closer to the exit, and again, that foreign expression appeared in his eyes, momentarily making me wonder whether he was having second thoughts. Though, it would’ve appeared not as moments later the palm of his hand came to rest on Gemma’s lower back in a gentle guide, with only one destination in mind.
“And then there were two,” commented Sasha, slowly turning around in her stance to grab my arm and pull me towards the dance floor to participate in some more dancing.
By the time we’d swayed to Justin Timberlake, clapped with Ed Sheeran and fist pumped to Bon Jovi, the soles of my feet were numb balls of fire, prompted by the overpowering need for me to insist I am Beyoncé’s backup dancer on a night out. Neither one of us could particularly dance, but Sasha and I had easily out moved everyone on our booty shake alone. So much so, I would’ve loved to have carried on into the early hours of the morning, but suggested leaving while we still could.
It wasn’t until we were in the back of the taxi - a black cab which likely charged an arm and a leg - that I realised how truly drunk and out of depth I was. Sasha, ever the chatterbox, insisted on getting our driver's entire life story. He seemed more than happy to dish it out, never once stopping for breath. George Bronson, forty-four-year-old Dad of two, had become a taxi driver after suffering a health scare at work. Being an ex-copper certainly had its risks, but I failed to see how being a taxi driver in central London was far better equipped for a middle-aged man with a dodgy heart. Still, who was I to judge?
“So, did it hurt? Having a heart attack?”
I sunk further into the leather upholstery and offered George the satisfaction of detailing to a nosey Sasha his exact account of what heart failure felt like. I slowly closed my eyes, never once opening them, not even when I heard my name being repeatedly called by my giggling best friend. I knew we were at our flat, but my selfish mind refused to wake up. Soon enough, I felt my body being lifted from its lifeless position in the backseat before I was carefully carried up the stairs and laid on my bed. I heard the tell-tale sign of someone gently placing a glass of water on my bedside table, followed by a sloppy kiss being planted on my cheek.
“Sweet dreams you fucking lightweight,” she teased, pulling off my clothes to reveal a rather unflattering bra and knicker set, though really, describing it as a ‘set’ was probably pushing it. In order to pass for that, the items must match and my washed out bra was definitely the wrong shade of black to my slightly fading knickers. Still, parting ways with underwear was like parting the red sea.
And with that thought in mind, I slowly dropped off into a dreamless sleep; only one thing plaguing my drunken state.
Was Luke enjoying his evening?