"Rhia? Why are you sitting around in your pajamas, moping?"

Ari, who had insisted on dropping in for a visit after finding out that Rhia was staying at Shane's for a few days, fixed a steely gaze on the photographer. Rhia sighed, rolling her eyes; she was indeed clad in pajamas and fuzzy pink slippers, enjoying some quiet time with Chloe, who was cuddled under her left arm.

She continued to sip on a cup of coffee, opting to focus her attention on the movie that was currently playing on Shane's widescreen TV. He had, unfortunately, been scheduled to work that night, so he'd rented a few comedies for his girlfriend in hopes of cheering her up just a little bit after she'd told him about what had happened.

"Ari, I love you, but I'm seriously not in the mood for this. If you had the images burned in your mind that I do, you wouldn't feel like socializing either. Come on, pull up a seat, let's laugh at Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles-"

Rhiannon's speech was cut off as Ari pulled her up from the sofa and shoved her into Shane's bedroom. Chloe jumped to the floor, glaring and growling at Ari for interrupting her cuddle time.

"Get dressed. We're heading back to your apartment and getting you gussied up. The best distraction is the kind that involves loud music, dimmed lights, and lots of people-especially hot guys," the model stated, shutting the door with a snap, and holding it shut until Rhiannon finally relented.

"Fine. I hope you know I'm still completely resigned to the idea. And, I demand to know where you're taking me before I do anything!"

This comment was yelled over her shoulder, as she hurriedly pulled on her jeans and yanked a t-shirt down over her head.

"We're going to Carpe Noctem. We're going to go dance our asses off, sing horrible karaoke, and I'm going to do a few shots. That's one of the things I love about having a straight edge best friend, I never have to worry about finding a designated driver; well, that, and I KNOW I can trust you not to wreck my baby. Oh, wonder if I can find someone who'd let me do shots of their stomach...?"

Rhia rolled her eyes again, shoving her feet into her sneakers and hastily tying them. She emerged from the bedroom with a bland expression plastered on her face.

"Ari, you're beginning to sound cheap," she retorted.

"I'm young, I'm single, and I'm ready to mingle! Nothing wrong with that!"

The redhead couldn't help but crack a smile, as Ari broke out into a fit of mirth at her own comment. Now she remembered why she became friends with the brunette in the first place-Ari never let things get too serious, too heavy-she lifted the mood just by walking into the room and belting out a one liner.

"Now, come on, we gotta get you fixed up, pronto. Ew, God, Rhia, have you showered today?"

Ari made a face as she picked up a lock of Rhia's hair, examining it closely before quickly wiping her hand off on Shane's sofa.

"I took a shower! Last night!"

Rhia shot an offended glare at Ari, who merely rolled her eyes and continued her comments, nonplussed.

"So, you went through all that drama this morning, and you didn't take a shower afterwards? Oh, that's it. You're showering, you're washing that greasy hair, and we are getting your mind off everything."

Rhia sighed, smiling and rolling her eyes as she allowed herself to be pulled into the elevator, and dragged into Ari's sleek black Mustang.

All the while, from a fire escape on the front of the building, he watched, photographing the two in rapid succession as they got into the car, talking and laughing.

"You're going to pay for that one, little miss catwalk queen. Rhiannon was supposed to stay in tonight, musing over how much she loved my gift, not go out on the town and act like a slut with you. That's okay, though. You and I will permanently solve that problem a little later," he snarled.

He silently made his way down the ladder, before leaping almost cat-like to the sidewalk below, and making his way to his own vehicle; after climbing inside and starting the engine, he waited patiently until they'd made their way to the exit before pulling up behind them. They pulled onto the highway, and he drummed his fingers on the steering wheel, allowing one more car to pass before following suit.

"Ari, you're insane," Rhia hissed, as the two of them entered Carpe Noctem.

"You look terrific!"

"It is the first week of February, Ari! It is COLD, believe it or not! I can't believe you insisted that I wear this get-up, and furthermore, you know I hate dresses."

Rhia gestured to her outfit, which consisted of a black spaghetti strapped mini-dress, which sported a wide hem at the bottom-covered in sequins, of course-along with a pair of black knee high suede boots. Thankfully, they had flat heels, which meant Rhia wouldn't be "conveniently" falling into someone's arms on the dance floor, as Ari had so tactfully put it when she handed them over earlier.

"Rhiannon. Stop it. It's not that cold and you finally look like the knockout that you are," Ari retorted.

"We're going out tonight! To kick out every light! Take anything we want! Take everything in sight! We're going 'til the world stops turning, while we burn it to the ground tonight!"

The lyrics to Nickelback's latest single pulsated throughout the night club as Ari and Rhia made their way onto the floor. The two began to dance to the music, and Rhia felt a smile crossing her face as she began to relax and enjoy herself.

Dylan must be the DJ tonight, he's the only one who loves Nickelback enough to play them this early in the evening.

It was a passing thought for the redhead however, as she turned to find her friend missing in action so to speak. Glancing around the room, she finally caught sight of Ari enjoying the company of the most attractive man in the room aside from the bartender. With a roll of her eyes, she decided to let Ari enjoy herself while she continued to relax. The smile on her face widened even more as the song changed to the new Backstreet Boys tune.

Rhia halted mid-step as she caught sight of a bright flash of light in her peripherals. Turning, she saw Dylan with an expensive looking camera that she assumed belonged to the staff at Carpe Noctem.

"Dylan, did you just take my picture?" she enquired, speaking loudly even as she stood next to him in order to be heard over the loud music.

"Yeah, we're trying to get candid shots of our favorite patrons having a good time for the MySpace page," he replied.

"And would I be right in guessing that you're the DJ tonight?"

"You would-did the Nickelback tunes give it away?"

"Yeah, they did, you're the only DJ the club uses that starts them so early. Hey, do you know what time Shane is taking his break?"

"Probably in a half hour or so, give or take a few minutes. Hey, I gotta scram, I see the manager giving me a dirty look, I'll catch you later, Rhia!"

Dylan disappeared into the crowd just as Ari reappeared.

"I leave you alone for five minutes and come back to find you flirting with Branson!" she joked, elbowing her friend gently.

"I was not flirting with Dylan!" Rhia exclaimed, laughing.

"Good, because he's a nerd anyway!" Ari retorted.

Once again, the tune changed, and Gwen Stefani's trademark voice began to pour from the sound system.

"Oh, here's your jam, Ari!"

"Damn straight!" Ari giggled, before beginning to sing along.

"I'm gonna go grab some water and say hi to Shane, I'll be back in a few minutes!"

Ari nodded to acknowledge what Rhia had said as she continued to dance in place, singing along to her favorite song. She approached the bar and took a seat, patiently waiting for Shane to turn around; when he finally did, his eyes went wide and he raised one eyebrow at her in curiosity.

"I thought you were watching movies back at my place?"

"I was until Ari showed up and insisted on taking me out tonight-I swear, I love her to death but she doesn't know how to take no for an answer," she replied, rolling her eyes in memory.

"Sounds like it-you look good in that dress, by the way," he agreed.

"Thanks, babe. Hey, can I get you to bring me a bottle of water, please? I'm about to die of thirst," she chuckled.

The bartender returned seconds later with a bottle of Dasani.

"I hate to do this, but the manager's really riding our asses about socializing with the patrons while we're on the clock. I should get a break somewhere in the next fifteen minutes, and then I'm free to talk," he stated, as he handed over the bottle.

"Know the feeling, I wondered when your boss was going to start acting like mine! I'll see you later, then," Rhia smiled, as she headed for an empty booth.

As promised, Shane joined her as soon as he got a break. The two were talking quietly when Ari approached them, trailed slightly by another attractive guy she'd found.

"We're heading out to Pulse in a bit, I just have to go pick up my ID from my place-do you want me to drop you off, Rhia?"

"You might wanna take that offer, hon. I'm here to closing, and I doubt you want to spend the next five hours in here," Shane added.

"Yeah, sure, I'd appreciate that," Rhia agreed.

She leaned across the table to peck Shane on the lips before rising to follow Ari.

"I'll see you when you get home, hon!" she laughed, calling over her shoulder.

From a table in the center of the room, he watched, almost snarling as he watched them walk out the door.

"I'm hating what she's wearing, everybody here keeps staring, can't wait 'til they get what they deserve, this time somebody's getting hurt, here comes the next contestant."

"Chad Kroger, you took the words right out of my mouth," he murmured.

Within seconds he'd taken off after them, strolling nonchalantly out the door and onto the sidewalk, glancing around casually until he spotted them. As soon as he did, he got into his own vehicle and followed.

"Time to have a little "talk" with the queen of the catwalk."