I had managed to attach myself to Noah’s side for most of the night. I just couldn’t pull myself away from his alluring voice. I didn’t even know what he was saying to me, but it sounded good. He was speaking about his homeland back in Scotland, and I was already in love with the rolling hills and crumbling castles.
Xander had taken quite some time at the bar getting us both drinks, and his friends had managed to get several probing questions in before he returned. Grant was mostly occupied by his leggy blonde, but it didn’t stop him from throwing a few barks in here and there about how lacking I was when compared with the bevvy of women Xander had access to. He was making it clear that my days were numbered. He just didn’t know how right he was.
Thomas was less talkative. He just quietly sipped his drink and divided his attention between our conversation and the dance floor. I thought he might be looking for someone, but when I caught his chestnut-brown eyes, they didn’t seem to be searching, just pensive. When Noah started asking about my job as a teacher he seemed to tune into the conversation and even more so when I said it was difficult to work now that I was with Xander. But he didn’t join in the conversation just observed with his thoughtful look before he drifted off again.
Ethan was a handful and overly flirty. He liked to be close and whisper things in my ear. Generally, dirty comments about Grant and his groping companion. It didn’t help that he smelt really good. Whatever he was wearing it was definitely worth the small fortune I knew he must have been spending on it.
Noah was just finishing up telling me about how he left one of his brothers by a stream back home, butt naked and horseless when Xander reappeared carrying another round of drinks. I noticed there was a piece of paper stuck out of his pocket that hadn’t been there before and when he drew closer, I saw it had a set of numbers written on it. When I glanced back at the bar, I noticed a group of girls giggling behind their pastel cocktails and I assumed one of them must have plucked up the courage to give it to him when he was getting the drinks.
“Here you go, sweetheart,” Xander beamed proudly as he set the red cocktail down in front of me. “Hopefully, you’ll enjoy this one more than you enjoyed my last choice.” One of the waitresses had already taken away the last disaster of a drink he had bought me. It tasted so foul I barely resisted the urge to spit it back out at him.
“I’m sure it will be infinitely better than the last.” I plucked it from his hand and leant up to kiss him gently on the check. He quickly slipped his arm around my waist and set his whisky on the table.
“If you would just tell me what you liked, I wouldn’t need to guess.” He grouched, squeezing my hip and sending unwelcome flutters through my chest.
“Now, where’s the fun in that?”
“That’s right lass, keep him on ’is toes,” Noah chuckled, his bushy red beard twitching.
“Don’t encourage her.” Noah was just about to throw in another comment when suddenly there was a collection of feminine screams, and everyone’s attention was suddenly drawn to the same set of stairs Xander, and I had walked up over an hour ago.
“Here comes the superstar,” Ethan muttered, almost bitterly and suddenly I was very interested in who was currently being surrounded by every woman present. “He is his own travelling circus.”
“What’s got your knickers in a twist?” I smirked only to receive a frustrated eye-roll in reply.
“You’ll understand when he gets ’ere lass,” Noah eluded, taking a deep drink from his glass before glancing back over at the ruckus. Strangely, it looked as if the mass of limbs was moving in our direction.
“Who is this guy? A prince or something?”
“Or something love,” Xander smirked, leaning in to press a kiss against the side of my neck as his arms tightened around my middle.
“I give it five-seconds before your new girl is changing teams, pretty boy,” Grant finally butted in. Apparently, even he was willing to come up for air from his beauty to talk about the latest addition to their group.
“Annie isn’t like your fickle women, meathead.” Xander scoffed as the crowd started to part and I got my first real look at the person behind the women. And it was no wonder he drew such a crowd. The man was sinfully handsome in the bad boy, haven’t shaved in a week kind of way. With jet black hair down to his shoulders, a collection of gold and silver rings over his fingers and bracelets made of leather tied up around his wrist. His eyes were grey and outlined in thick black eyeliner. His black shirt was tight over his lean muscles and not an inch of skin wasn’t covered in tattoos. The girls around him were practically salivating as he brushed passed them and settled in, sandwiching himself in between Noah and me.
“You started the party without me.” His voice was rich and deep, like melted chocolate.
“Isn’t that the way you like it, rock star?” Ethan grumbled before he turned his attention to one of the new guy’s groupies.
“He’s a pop star, not a rock star, dumb ass,” Grant griped as the blonde started kissing a line up his throat, displeased with his divided attention. Who were these people? And why was Xander even friends with them?
“At least I’m a star and not living off daddy’s money,” the not-a-rock-star shot back completely ignoring the girls trying to gain his attention by none-too-subtly making their tops a little lower. Grant just shrugged him off, and the blonde was quick to steal his attention away. Leaving the black haired bad boy to run a hand down his face before tossing one of the girls behind him a winning smile. He crooked a finger in her direction, and the redhead quickly stumbled forward in her neon pink heels until he was able to lean down and whisper something in her ear. I couldn’t hear what was being said but whatever it was made her turn three different shades of red before she trotted off carrying a hundred dollar note.
“So, what have I missed,” he breathed, looking around at the boys until his eyes zeroed in on me. “You’re new.” And suddenly, I was being faced with his spine-tingling smile which quickly rendered me speechless.
“She is off limits,” Xander said. Shifting me, so I was between the table and his chest again with his arms caging me in.
“Shame,” he chuckled, taking the offered drink from the girl he had sent off before turning back to the table. She didn’t give him the change. “Where have you been hiding, sweetheart?” Unlike when Xander used that term of endearment I suddenly felt dirty and shifted uncomfortably in Xander’s arms.
“Back off, King,” Noah scolded, taking another long pull of his beer. However, that didn’t seem to deter the man; it only seemed to spur him on.
“Do you know who I am, sweetheart?” He smirked arrogantly, and I could feel my nose scrunch up in disgust. So far, two out of Xander’s four friends were turning out to be creepers. The jury was still out on Ethan.
“Don’t even bother Farris, she has no interest in you or that drivel you call music.” Xander’s hostile tone suddenly made me wonder if he really was friends with the latest addition. From what I was picking up in the pieces of conversation the new guy’s name was Farris King, and he was a pop star, not a rock star.
“You don’t like my music?” He frowned, his dark eyebrows crashing down on his pale grey eyes.
“I don’t know your music,” I answered flatly.
“Sure you do love,” and I could feel the smirk on Xander’s lips as he pressed them against my temple. “I believe you referred to him as a pretty-faced pop star who only sings about the girls he’s slept with and all the things he owns. You called him lacking in substance.” Suddenly, the table broke out into a chorus of loud masculine laughter, and I was made hyper-aware of all the eyes watching us. I was acutely aware of a certain raven-haired, grey-eyed man watching me with a dropped jaw and wide eyes.
“Whoa lassie, you really know how to deflate a guy’s ego.” Noah chucked, slapping Farris on the back of his shoulder. Like a light bulb switching on in my head, I remembered the music from earlier today and how I had made Xander switch it off.
“Your lyrics have the sophistication of a third grader,” I frown remembering when I had poured over them to decide whether they were appropriate for a school dance. They weren’t.
“That’s below the belt,” he feigned hurt, grabbing for his chest as I felt Xander’s laughter vibrate through his chest against my back.
“I’d applaud you on your melody because I do actually like some of those, but I can tell from your callous free fingers that none of that music is played by you.” I nodded in the direction of his ring clad hands, and Noah just about doubled over with laughter. Even Thomas was moved enough to shoot me a smirk.
Farris seemed to have lost the ability to form words because all he was doing was opening and closing his mouth repeatedly.
“You’re...” he paused for a moment, frowning really hard like when a first grader was trying desperately to colour inside the lines before he finally blurted. “You’re a bitch.”
“Solid come back,” I scoffed, reaching for the drink Xander had gotten for me and downing it in one gulp. I was going to need more than one girly drink to get me through this night if this conversation was any indication.
Farris was about to add something else when Noah’s hand clamped down hard on his shoulder, “I think you need to learn to quit when yer behind, laddie.”
“Don’t be too harsh on him, love,” Xander murmured in my ear. “His brand is pretty strict on what he can and can’t-do.”
“Where did you even find this one, Xander?” Farris grumbled, absently, running his finger around the rim of his glass. He looked younger than the other four, and I suddenly felt a pang of regret for how I had spoken to him.
“I’m sorry Farris,” I began. “Sometimes, I forget to filter my opinions. You must work hard to produce your music, and there are obviously people out there who do enjoy it.”
“You’re just not one of them.”
“No,” I shrugged, I would make no apologies for my taste in music. “Morally, I can’t get on board with your brand of music.”
“Xander, next time you think about bringing your killjoy girlfriend along, don’t.” Grant groaned. “I’m out of here.” Then, he grabbed the hand of the blonde whose face he had been eating all night and headed for the stairs.
“I’m ready for another drink,” I muttered, slipping out of Xander’s hold and wandering off in the direction of the bar. I was only halfway there when I realised I had a shadow. I glanced back to find Thomas only a few feet behind me with a determined look on his face.
“Uh...hey, Thomas,” I frowned and his only reply was to nod in my direction and place his hand on my lower back to keep me moving.
I had already received my drink before Thomas finally spoke up, and when he did, he was closer than felt appropriate.
“So, you’re a teacher?” Strange, everything about him felt strange.
“But you don’t have work at the minute.” He had been listening to me when we were discussing my unemployment status, so this felt like more of a statement than a question, but I nodded anyway.
“I have a daughter,” Whoa, that took a left turn. I would have never assumed the silent action star had a daughter waiting for him back home. “She struggles with school, but with my schedule, I don’t have enough time to help her with it.”
“So, you want me to...tutor her?”
“I am very careful about who I allow into her life. If Xander trusts you, then I do too.” Guess I couldn’t tell him that I was almost certain Xander had very little trust in me. Almost none.
“I mean, I’d be happy to help out. I am feeling very useless at the minute.”
“Good, Xander knows my address. Come round tomorrow afternoon.” Then he slipped back across the room and resumed his spot beside the balustrade.
I followed the path he took back to our table and was quickly wrapped up in Xander’s arms again.
“You about ready to go, love?” I nodded in reply, and we quickly said our goodbyes before departing the club.