The smoke in the club was thick, curling around the patrons, wrapping the room in a haze of menthol and Marlboro. The beat, heavy and syncopated thumped wildly. His heartbeat met the frantic pace, the half-step of the ‘thumpa-thumpa’ rhythm robbing him of air. He needed to get away from the pressure, the obscenely colorful palette of the stage lights blinding him. The sea of bodies on the dance floor were awash in a swaths of blue, magenta, cyan, and emerald; the color moving so quickly, dancing and bouncing against the wall of mirrors. It was making him dizzy.
Hands clutched at him, stroking his chest, winding through his hair. He fought to leave the dance floor as various fingers blindly clawed at him. His steps were shaky; he stumbled through the darkness, sliding between sweat-slicked bodies. Make it to the door, he thought. His brain was fuzzy from the earlier hits of chronic in the bathroom, his footsteps weakened by too many shots of whiskey. He was faded beyond belief, and he loved every minute of it.
If only he could breathe some fresh air.
“Yo, man!” his friend screamed in his ear. He glanced in his direction, watching the thin frame of his lanky comrade pressed tightly against the tiny brunette, clad in a black mini-dress, the hemline riding dangerously high on her thighs.
“Where are you going?”
“It’s too live in here,” he shouted back. “I need to get some air.”
The ‘thumbs-up’ was the only response from his friend, who turned his focus back to grinding his pelvis into the bony ass of the scantily clad-brunette.
He was buoyed by the crowd, the mass of people propelling him closer until at last, he made it to the front doors. He pushed his way outside, his lungs rejoicing at the cool smoke-free air. With great care, he braced his hands on his knees and sucked in huge gulps of fresh oxygen. Slowly his heartbeat returned to normal as the chill set in.
It was a cold fall evening. He should have worn a jacket but was too cheap to spare the dollar for coat check. He shivered in the night air, the damp plaid shirt sticking to his body. A fit of coughing overtook him as his body tried to expel the polluted air of the club out of his system.
The feel of a hand rubbing his back was almost enough to throw his heartbeat into a frenzied pace. With a gasp, he clutched his chest, jumping from the touch. “Whoa, there. Take it easy.”
The voice was low, raspy and deeply sensual. There was a hint of an accent, something European but he wasn’t too sure. He fought hard to focus before glancing upwards. She was cocoa brown and radiant, waves of warm red energy dancing off her skin. The grin on his face was stupid as he stumbled over his words.
“Would you like some?” she held out a cup filled with water. With a grateful nod he accepted the beverage, gulping the water quickly. His mouth, which previously felt like cotton was at once refreshed.
He crunched some of the ice before returning the cup.
“No, go ahead and finish. Looks like you need the hydration more than I do.”
He coughed once more, his eyes roving her features freely. Her dark skin was still glowed, her limbs brightly bronze in the dim light of the streetlamps. Her dress was short and tight, a festival of African-inspired print that reached far above her knees, showing off thick powerful thighs. The colors danced when she moved, multi-faceted hues of gold, red, burnt umber, black, and hints of blue. The fitted black leather jacket couldn’t hide her abundant breasts; she practically spilled out of her dress.
She was taller than him by a couple of inches, but he chalked that up to the four-inch stiletto boots on her feet. Her dark hair was curly, the springy spirals framing her face like a poufy ebony halo.
He licked his lips. “What are you doing out here?” he said, his voice hoarse.
Her nose wrinkled as she let out a small chuckle. “I needed some air. You looked like you were doing the same.”
“It’s hot as fuck in there,” he replied with a nod, his head both light and heavy. “I felt like I was on fire.”
“It’s nice out here,” she mused. “The air…there’s something about it. The crisp coolness. It makes you want to be touched.”
Was it possible to be obsessed with someone’s voice? He liked hearing her speak; the way her tongue stumbled over the syllables, the heaviness of her voice, her roughened tone was smoothed by her Eurocentric lilt culminating in an altogether pleasing accent.
He licked his lips once more and crunched another mouthful of ice. “Where are you from?”
She smiled. “Here. By way of London. You?”
“Here for school?”
“Yes,” he replied. “You?”
She nodded. They were quiet, the background sounds taking over; the muffled thump of the music throbbing from within the club, the shouts and catcalls of the drunken patrons bar-hopping on the street above. They were tucked in an alleyway, far from peeping eyes of the main street as well as the front door of the club.
Maybe it was the party favors in his system, but there was a rush of adrenaline coursing through his veins. He felt irritable and excited all at once. He was golden and the air around her shone red, the glow bright and warm.
“You don’t remember me, do you?”
“We’ve met before?”
“Several times, actually.”
He grinned. “Funny. I would think I’d remember a girl like you.”
She smiled, and the glow seemed to intensify. The fuzziness was back, creeping up like a fog, clouding his brain. “Time has a way of distorting things.”
His back rested against the wall as he fought to clear his head. He felt his knees caving. When he legs gave out, he slid to the ground; the concrete was cold beneath him.
The sight from the ground was heavenly. The tilt of his head offered up an unobstructed view of her slightly chubby thighs and the slip of pink lack that served as underwear.
A sharp click of a lighter was enough to draw his eyes away from her crotch. She produced a joint from her pocket. Lighting the spliff, she took a long, slow drag.
He watched her, mesmerized as she held the smoke in her mouth for a beat before blowing it out in short, cloudy puffs. Another slow pull before she peered down at him.
He nodded. Pitching forward, she leaned down, her face mere centimeters from his. With a small grin, he opened his mouth and accepted the smoke, inhaling deep.
She straddled him, dragging on the spliff before crushing her lips against his. The skunky-sweet aroma mixed poetically with the wetness of her tongue.
“That was unexpected,” he said.
“You weren’t complaining,” she replied, a large grin on her face. She handed him the joint and he took a slow, deep drag.
The haze was beautiful. His lips tingled and he wasn’t sure if it was from her kisses or the excellent grade of whatever he was smoking. He tried to stop the stupid grin, but he felt amazing, cloudy and at ease; content to bask in his altered state. She was still straddling him. “Are you ever going to tell me your name?
Her laugh sounded distant through the fog of weed smoke. He coughed once, twice, and a third time, his lungs filling up with the pungent haze. It covered him, coating everything in thick veil. She was no longer straddling him, but he could still hear her laughter although it was quite faint.
Sharp cough wracked through his body, shaking his chest as the smoke threatened to engulf him. A hand reached through the haze and pulled him to his feet.
It was his friend. Peter. Peter, his friend.
“Are you okay?” his friend questioned His face was a mask of concern.
He was still a little cloudy but the cold air was bringing his system back to life. He nodded.
Peter smiled. “Whoa. You’re fucking faded man. We’ve been looking for you for almost forty-five minutes. You were gone a long time. Club’s shutting down.”
“What?” he slurred. Everything felt slow and stupid. Speaking took too much effort. His tongue was heavy like stone in his mouth and his brain like granite. “I only…stepped out..”
“No. It’s been an hour. We found you here in the alley, laughing to yourself.”
“Where’s the girl?”
“What girl? It was just you.”
He looked around, but she wasn’t there. Half a spliff lay at his feet, end still lit.
“What’s in your pocket?” his friend asked.
Grabbing for his pockets, he retrieved a small scrap of material.
Peter chuckled. “Are those…”
He smiled, the smoke tickling his brain once more.
Panties. Hot pink panties.