All men are dogs, I decided, as I pushed my way to the front of the ridiculously overcrowded bar. Well, ok, not all men. That statement would have been quite unfair considering most of my friends were male. No, it was just one man in particular.
"What can I get you?" the bartender shouted over the loud music when I finally got his attention.
"Tequila," I hollered back. "In fact, make that three."
"Sure," he said hurriedly and set up three shot glasses on the bar top in front of me before expertly pouring the liquid into them and handing me the salt and wedges of lemon that accompanied the drink. I downed my first shot without even flinching just as he'd completed pouring the third and moved quickly onto my second. The bartender cast me a worried glance, "You wanna take it a little easy there?"
Polishing off the third and sucking on the wedge of lemon, I returned him with a sour expression. It was none of his fucking business as far as I was concerned. "How much was that?"
"Nineteen fifty," he informed me and I paid him the money. Turning my back to the bar, I had to stop for a moment as the alcohol buzzed through my brain, making me dizzy. Perhaps taking three shots in a row hadn't been such a bright idea, especially after the jack and coke and the wine I'd had before we got to the club. I knew I could hold my drink but I usually more sensible in pacing myself to last an entire night.
Not tonight though. I was out to get wasted tonight. I'd never believed in it before and used to laugh at people who set out to get drunk at clubs but tonight my circumstances were different. I just wanted to numb everything I felt. I was tired of caring about what every one else thought. And I was tired of aching for a guy who seemed to have no romantic interest in me whatsoever.
The truth was that I was in love with my best friend. It wasn't something I had just realised; it was something I'd known for awhile now. Or at least, I thought I was. That was the only explanation I could come up with for thinking about him all day, imaging what things might have been like if we were a couple and if he ever saw me as anything more than his friend for just a moment. No one knew me like he did, no one understood me the same way. I'd known him since we were five and had spent the last fifteen years falling in love with him.
But things were never simple and I no matter what I felt for him, I could never tell him the truth. I knew him too well and I knew he'd run a mile in the opposite direction from me if I ever confessed my true feelings to him. I didn't want to lose him and so if being near him meant that I had to keep my feelings to myself then that was exactly what I planned to do. So much for Madison Bates, the tough girl that everyone thought I was. Inside I was a complete ball of mush when it came to Josh Munroe.
I knew I couldn't exactly blame him but it had really pissed me off that he'd started seeing Sandra Cohen lately. I had never been so opposed to any of the skanks that Josh chose to date but there was something about Sandra just made me dislike her immediately. She looked slutty, in my opinion, and although I'd never admit it out loud, I felt oddly threatened by her presence around my best friend.
I had tried to warn Josh against her but unfortunately, my attempt had only sparked an argument between us. I just couldn't get why he was defending the ho so much. I was his best friend after all! Surely he would have realised that I was only saying all that I had because I cared about him. Instead, he walked out on our argument, muttering something about how he had to meet her which only added more fuel to my anger.
I forced the thoughts aside though. They were depressing me. I had come out to the Liquid Lounge tonight with the guys because I was trying to forget about Josh and the fact that I was so hopelessly in love with him. The club wasn't necessarily the biggest one in town but it blasted the best tunes on a Friday night and was incredibly popular with the students in our little university town. It was a sad fact that we were here almost every Friday but we loved the place and its pumping atmosphere. The event had almost become something of an institution to us.
Scanning the club, I tried to locate my friends but it was difficult to see in the semi darkness. However, I had the odd feeling that I was being watched and looked up to lock gazes with a stranger who was propping up the other end of the bar. From what I could see, he had blond hair and not much of a sense of style. I stared straight at him, as if challenging him to break the contact first but he didn't avert his gaze. Instead, it seemed he had figured out my game and issued a challenge of his own as he changed his position so that he could face me head on, a grin tugging at his lips. It was rude to stare and I was beginning to feel uncomfortable but refused to be the first to back down.
Our staring match continued for a moment longer and probably would have gone on had Ralph not found me at that minute. "Maddie!" he half yelled, grabbing my arm. "There you are; I've been looking all over for you!"
Startled by his interruption, I subconsciously turned to face my friend before realising I'd just lost. I jerked my head back in the direction of the other guy but he had vanished. Frowning, I turned back to Ralph. "What's up?"
"Dance with me!" he commanded, grabbing my hand and dragging me towards the throng of bodies on the dance floor before I could object. A popular R&B song had just come on, driving the crowd into a frenzy. All around me people gyrated to the rhythms, swinging their hips and waving their arms. Ralph guided us through the mass to a relatively empty patch of the dance floor before twirling me around. I quickly forgot my troubles as the beat pulsed through my body, making me move in time with the music. Ralph was a fantastic dancer and I always loved dancing with him.
We danced for two songs in a row before a slow song came on and Ralph disappeared to get himself a drink. Left to dance by myself, I swayed along to the tune, shaking my hips. Suddenly, someone grabbed my hips from behind and pulled me towards them. Thinking it was Ralph back from the bar, I allowed the movement, backing my body into his until we were pressed together, my back against his chest as we danced. The beat picked up a little and I ground my hips into him, earning a small grunt from my dance partner. Ralph and I had been friends for a long time and had always danced like this; I never worried that he'd take our dancing to mean anything more than just having a bit of fun. We danced like that for the next song as well and I was actually really enjoying myself.
"Please tell me that guy you were dancing with wasn't your boyfriend," a deep voice murmured in my ear.
I whirled around, stunned. "You…" I sputtered like an idiot. It hadn't Ralph at all but that guy from the bar earlier.
"Yes, me," the guy replied, amused. "So was he?"
"Maybe," I said, lifting my chin in defiance, still shocked that I had been dancing with someone else without even having realised it. And it hadn't been just any stranger either but that guy.
"Is that a yes? Because I really don't want to get beaten up tonight," he said, stealing a furtive glance around him just to ensure Ralph wasn't around.
"No, he wasn't," I said finally and was tickled by his obvious relief.
"So do you have a boyfriend?" he asked.
"Not really," I muttered.
He grinned. "How does that work? He either is or isn't."
"He doesn't love me," I said vaguely. "I'm trying to forget about him."
"Sounds like my ex-girlfriend," he admitted. "Can I get you something to drink?"
I wanted to roll my eyes. "Look, if you're trying to get laid you're going to have to try a lot harder than just getting me drunk."
A smirk spread across his lips. "Is that another challenge?"
"No, I think I'm drunk enough as it is," I lied. I definitely was feeling quite tipsy but was nowhere near to being as sloshed as I'd originally intended on getting.
"Well then maybe I could try another tactic," he said in a low voice and cupped the back of my neck, drawing me closer to him. He leaned in, aiming for my lips but I side stepped his advance.
"I don't think so, pal," I said. "I'm not that easy."
"You a virgin?" he asked, cocking an eyebrow.
"Would I be dressed like this if I was?" I questioned, referring to the very low slung jeans and black wifebeater that I had on.
"Ah, so you're a tease," he concluded.
"What's it with you and labelling people?"
"I like to know what I'm dealing with," he smirked.
"You sound like a jerk," I informed him, folding my arms over my chest.
"Maybe," he shrugged, "but it sure beats being a tease."
"I'm not a tease!"
"You're not? You dance with me like that and you wear those clothes but won't do anything. I respect that you're not a whore but you're a tease."
"I'll prove it," I said suddenly. I suspected it was the alcohol speaking.
"So prove it," he challenged. So I kissed him.
I awoke the next morning in a strange bed and knew immediately something was very wrong. Aside from the pounding in my head, my worst fears were confirmed when I stole a glance under the covers to discover that I wasn't alone. And I certainly wasn't dressed. Nor was the person whose limbs were entangled with my own. My right leg rested between his thighs while his arm nestled under my body held me in place against his chest. Looking up into his face, I squeezed my eyes shut when I saw who I had ended up with in my drunken stupor. I obviously hadn't been thinking at all. It was only supposed to be one meaningless kiss.
Almost immediately, scenes from the night before flashed through my memory: we were kissing at the club and grinding to the music, he suggested we got out of there and too intoxicated by his kisses, my better judgement was tossed out the window. I agreed and the next thing I knew, we were tearing each other's clothes off before we even got to the bed. I could see the red marks on his chest that had been my handiwork and a new wave of images flooded my mind as I recalled how they had gotten there. I refused to acknowledge just how good the sex had been but I must have dosed off in the afterglow of my third climax. How stupid of me!
Thankfully, the man was still asleep – what was his name?—which meant I could slip out before things got complicated. I couldn't believe what I had done. I had only had one other one night stand in my life and that was in my freshman year when I hadn't known any better. I still couldn't remember this guy's name and was beginning to wonder if I'd even bothered to find out what it was before I slept with him. Carefully I slid my leg out from between his, praying that the movement wouldn't wake him then rolled off the bed. My clothes had been strewn all over the place and I quickly gathered them up, pulling on the items as I found them. Finally, I slipped my feet into my shoes and cast a final look at the sleeping form.
In our tiny university town, it was usually easy to distinguish between the students and the locals but for some reason, this guy looked like neither. I'd never seen him around before. And even if I'd met him in a different situation, I would never have gone for him. He seemed like the complete opposite from the type I usually went for.
Last night, he had looked like an extra from an N'sync video in his blue polo shirt with its collar turned up and brown corduroys, topped with his short spiked blond hair. Now in the morning the spikes has wilted considerably but he still looked like a pretty boy despite the eyebrow piercing he was trying to pull off. I made a mental note to myself: if I ever did this again, I hoped I'd have better judgement in going for a more decent looking dude.
Better yet, I made a mental note never to do this again. While I wasn't exactly the most virginal of girls, I did have some standards for myself which didn't include sleeping with strangers I'd met at a club. It bothered me even more that I hadn't been completely out of it when I'd slept with him. I knew I was pretty drunk but I had been quite aware of what I was doing at the time and it nauseated me that it had partly been driven by my spite for Josh. I had been so upset with him and so intent on trying to put him out of my mind that I let myself get into this mess. It was the most pathetic thing I'd ever done. Disgusted at my lack of self-control, I turned leave.
"Aren't you at least going to tell me your name?" he called out, nearly scaring the life out of me.
I spun around, my hand at my heart. "Fuck, I thought you were sleeping."
"I was until you moved. You were very comfortable you know," he said, propping himself up on one elbow.
"Well, sorry to wake you," I replied hastily and took a step towards the door.
"Why are you leaving?" he asked before squinting at the digital clock by his bedside. "It's only six in the morning."
I sucked in a deep breath. Did he have to insist on making this difficult for me? "Listen pal, let's just call this what it was ok? It was a one night stand and it will never happen again. I shouldn't have been so careless," I berated myself.
"Whoa, calm down angel, there's no need to get so worked up about it," he shrugged. "It happened and we both enjoyed it. Don't sweat it."
Colour bloomed on my cheeks. "I've got to go."
"At least tell me your name?"
"What for? We're never going to see each other again," I said.
"Aww, don't be like that, Goldie," he said, his voice teasing.
"Goldie?!" I repeated, utterly confused.
"Well you won't tell me your name so I've got to call you something," he shrugged. "Your eyes have flecks of gold in them."
"And you couldn't think of a stupider name?" I retorted, instantly hating it.
"Unless you want to tell me yours, I guess it'll just have to do," he grinned.
"Whatever," I sniffed. "I'm leaving anyway. You can call me whatever you like."
"What if I want to see you again?" he asked loudly, forcing me to stop once again.
"Sorry man, I'm not interested. And I'm sorry about last night. Have a nice life," I called and walked out of door before he could say anything else.
A/N: 'smee again. Just pointing out to any of my readers (if there are any left!) that if the characters in this story sound familiar, its because I'm reworking my old story "The way it was meant to be" with a slightly different concept and a different tone. I hope it's more enjoyable than the last attempt. Drop me a review and tell me what you thought.