4 HOURS LATER
We are still giggling about everything, there’s empty margarita glasses scattered around the table, two bowls of chips with only a couple of fries in the bottom and ketchup sauce all over them. I hug my stomach again, and my eyes are a pool of tears as I try to speak while I spasm with laughter, my breath catching every couple of words.
“Your-face.” I sniff. I laugh. “Oh my,” I rub my eyes, “I still can’t get over your face when the show started,” another loud laugh escapes my lips and I hit the table with a fisted hand, trying to contain the laughter. “I’ve never seen your eyes open up so wide,” a weird sobbing sound comes out of my mouth, but I’m only half aware of it, “and your jaw was hanging open like this,” I try to pull on a silly face, mimicking Sam’s expression from earlier on, but I can’t do it properly as my body shakes with laughter all over again.
“Could you please give me a little bit more warning next time you take me to a strip club, Emma??”
Sam’s back straightens as she tries to be serious, but I can see her shoulders shaking with the contained laughter. She won’t fool me. I take another huge breath to calm myself and finally manage to get my shit together.
The show lasted for hours, first a group of male strippers that danced around the stage, and then lots of performers doing individual numbers. I even managed to get called up to the stage! Well, okay, maybe I desperately threw my arms in the air while screaming ‘pick me, pick me!”, all while Sam was hiding behind her hands and trying to disappear under the table. But thanks to that, I enjoyed a magnificent, envigorating and sexy-as-fuck lap dance. The guy had so many muscles I thought I wouldn’t have been able to count them even if I tried. Uff, I heat up inside just thinking about it again.
“Sam, seriously. Would you have come if I told you where I was taking you?”
Sam thinks for only half a second before admitting that she wouldn’t have.
“My point exactly!” I scream maybe a little bit too loud. “Butt,” I giggle, “not butt, I mean, but…” I can’t help but giggle again, “but…” I say again going all serious, “did you have fun?”
Sam looks at me with slightly glassy eyes, laughter still dancing behind them.
“I had the best night of my life,” she says with a grin.
“Boooom!!” I scream as I throw my arms in the air. I notice a few faces turning around to look at me. “What are you all looking at?!” I yell back, and I can see Sam trying to make herself as little as possible all over again.
“Lord, I did miss you a lot, Moon of my life!” She says after a second.
It warms me up inside.
“It’s cause I’m the best, you bloody shining sun in my Sky.”
We laugh at our own internal jokes, the same word-plays we’ve been using since we were kids, and then, as if reading eachothers minds, we both start slowly gathering our belongings.
“We should probably get going.” Sam says.
“I know, do you want me to give you a ride?”
“Don’t tell me you’re driving!” Sam looks awfully concerned as she crosses her arms over her chest.
“Of course not,” I say as I throw my arms in the air again, “I got daddy’s driver today, he’s on his way to pick me up already. Perks of having a rich dad, you know.” I shrug like it’s nothing, even if I know Sam doesn’t buy into my bullshit.
It would be so much nicer to have a dad that cared, rather than one that was just constantly trying to buy me with money. I’m still pissed off after the fight we had last night. Dad’s heading out on another business trip that will take weeks, and he’s leaving me at home this time. A trip…
Boom! An idea hits me out of nowhere and I quickly form a plan in my head.
“Yes?” She stops playing with her phone and looks up at me.
“I just had the most amazing idea ever. Listen to me before you say no, okay?”
“Okay.” Sam looks at me with worried eyes, but the good thing is that she always listens to my nonsense before telling me I’m crazy, so I know I have her full attention for now.
I'm absolutely sure this idea is a good one.
Well, I think.
My brain is foggy.
“You. Me. Holiday.” I say, or more like slur.
I push my brain to make my eyes focus, I’ve got a mission.
“Since you broke up with that ashole-piece-of-shit… motherfucker, I feel like you’ve been a bit…. lost. And I... need inspiration... for the next season.” I take a quick breath. “My online business is thriving and I want to come up with new patterns... for prints... for the dresses... you know what I’m trying to say. Words are not easy right now. Damn.”
Sam nods, she knows the whole story.
As soon as we left school over 2 years ago, I started working on my online business, which I named Moony. Sam always jokes that it is due to my obsession with Remus Lupin, but I will never ever admit to it.
As soon as I was able to, I started working on my financial independence so I wouldn't have to rely on my father. I wasn’t even out of school yet when I started with all the plans. I want to be able to make my own choices.
In the last year, the business grew so much that I started to outsource lots of the work, and now I can just work from my computer, from anywhere I want.
A trip is the perfect idea for us to bond all over again. I didn’t realise before how much I missed my best friend and for a bit I was scared we might have started to drift apart. We don’t get to see each other too often now due to Sam’s crazy university schedule plus part time job taking most of her time.
“So,” I slam both of my palms on the table, sit straighter, and focus my eyes on Sam’s, “I want to go on a trip, explore the outdoors for a while to get inspired… and you’re gonna come with me.”
“Ah! No complaining, it will all be paid by Moony. I need to do this trip Sam, and I can’t do it without you, I need your help, and I think you could really use a holiday too. I was thinking about winter break? We have a few months to plan it all out, and it will be amazing... Please?”
Pleading eyes, hands together in prayer, I use all my energy to try to convey my desperation. I need this to happen. We need this to happen. Sam’s eyes are still on mine, her plump lips turned to one side in her typical thinking expression.
“Please? Do I need to go on my knees and beg?” I say in a small voice.
“I will think about it, okay?” She says finally, “I’ll have to take time off work during uni’s break, and it’s not that easy. We’re not all lucky enough to have an online business like you do.”
I try to smile a little so it’s not obvious that she just metaphorically stabbed me in the chest. I look down to my phone to hide the disappointment in my face, while pretending to read a text.
There’s nothing lucky about it, I worked my ass off to get to where I am.
But instead of saying any of that, I just say “Yeah, sure… driver is here, sorry, I gotta go.” I pause for a brief second before walking away. “Take care, Sam.”
The show ended over two hours ago, but the two cute girls stayed at the booth drinking margarita after margarita and chatting away. They were loud, but I didn’t mind it. An odd pair, that’s for sure. One of them has lilac shoulder length hair that makes me think of bubblegum. It frames an apple shaped face, plump lips and when she came over to fetch a glass of water earlier, I couldn't help but notice her moss-green eyes that popped so much against her burned caramel skin. A pretty curvy girl, not quite my type, but not bad to the eyes at all, she actually seems really interesting.
And the other one, Emma, the gorgeous girl that handed me the card at the start of the night; she sure is my cup of tea. Her lush golden curls make me want to run my fingers through the length of them. She’s got a cute heart shaped face with almond-like skin, and her blue eyes are like a shinny shot of blue curacao and vodka (okay, maybe not my best food related analogy so far). She is wearing a little bit of makeup, but not too much, and I could see her freckles forming little constellations across her face. It made me want to trace a fingertip through them every time I looked at her. She’s short in an adorable way, although she tried to hide it with a dangerously-high pair of heels. Petite would be a word I’d use to describe her.
She kept winking at me almost every time I took drinks over to their table. And hell, when I watched her get up onto that stage and dance with Dan, I really wished I was working on the show then.
Without even thinking about it, I realise I’ve already made up my mind to swap shifts if she ever comes back and I’m on bar duty. Not like any of the guys would swap that easily, tips on the stage are way better, but I’ll make it happen somehow. I’ll trade two shifts for one if I have to.
I’m staring, I know I’m staring, but I was left alone at the bar half an hour ago after my break ended, and all the cleaning is almost done. Ice bays are drained and cleaned, spirits have their lids on and nip-pourers are already soaking in soda water. The bar top is sparkling despite it being a sticky mess only a few minutes ago.
I keep wiping it mindlessly as I stare.
Almost as if I called her with my mind, Emma gets up. She looks at her phone, says something back to her friend and starts slowly walking towards the bar. She stumbles a little, her eyes on her feet, her heels clicking loudly, a little black purse dangles from one hand and she swipes back a curl with the other. I wish I could go over and help her to the door.
A part of me hopes she trips so I have an excuse to go over and help her, but as soon as the thought comes, I get rid of it as I realise I’m actually scared that she’s gonna trip and hurt herself.
As quickly as I can, I open up the till drawer and look for the card she left for the tab. It’s gone. I panic a little, look under the bills, in the other till, nothing. It’s barely been a second before it hits me: I access the system and look up the last transactions.
“Fuck,” I mutter to myself.
She must have paid the bill while I was on my break.
I grab one of the club business cards, and quickly write my number on the back of it, thinking about the thousand cheesy lines I could use. But no, I don’t really want to use any of my classic lines with her. I kind of like this girl, she seems different. Yeah, we barely talked, but she didn’t look at me the same way other girls do. I really felt like she could be the kind of chick that sees the human underneath the body.
And I want her to look at me again. I desperately want her to look at me.
She’s almost to the bar now, and my eyes are pinned on her sweet face, wishing her to look up. Come on, just look up.
She’s only a few feet away when she sways and turns over to the front door, almost slipping in the process.
As she walks past, I watch the curve of her cheeks, the curls cascading behind her, the glimmer of her blue eyes. She’s so small and cute, but she seemed so fierce when she approached me at the start of my shift. Now her eyes are glued to the floor, and they look almost empty... sad.
I swear for a second that I can see tears shining in her lashes, but then it’s just her blond curls, her hips swaying from side to side as she steps out of the building and out of my life.
I break the card in half and drop it into the bin.
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