I'm armpit deep in my closet in my bra and underwear when Gemma comes in laughing.
"Let me guess you don't know what to wear?"
"I've had just about enough of your sass missy. And no I don't!" Give me something I can wear jeans and a t-shirt and I'm solid. But anything else, I'm clueless. If I thought I could get away with wearing jeans and a t-shirt tonight I would but Gemma is a tyrant on girls' night. I think these nights are her way of trying to get me to meet guys.
I'm not against meeting a nice guy but I'm not going to hunt anyone down. My last boyfriend was about six months ago. He went off to another city for a job. I'm happy for him and we still talk but it was never love.
"Here!" She says grabbing a royal purple wiggle dress. "Wear that. You'll look good enough to eat." Winking she lets me get dressed. What would I do without the women in my life? Probably wear jeans more often.
We head downstairs to say goodbye and find Papa Luca sitting at the table with a frog on a stick in his mouth. So that was the treat Gemma bought him.
"Bye papa. I'll be home later." I say
"Bye Mouse. Remember..."
"I know, I know, aim for the soft tissue!" I recite. Gemma laughs.
When I came to live with my family I had a lot of issues to work out. Papa Luca taught me how to fight so I could have some control of what happens to me. I've kept up with it, it's our quality time together.
"That's my Mouse!" He says with pride.
Soon we're out and going to dinner. Girls' nights used to be just dancing but a new supe restaurant opened up downtown so that's where we go now. We head into Tooth n' Claw and take a table. We do this every week so they know that I know. It's pretty rare that a human knows about the supernatural unless they're married to someone. The owner, Talon, knows my parents so he knows everything and never gives me any trouble. Unfortunately the same can't be said about everyone but, such is life.
Gemma orders from the 'supe menu' and I get pasta. Talon comes out to check on us. He's a beast of a minotaur with a brass septum ring. His dark coppery brown hair goes down to his shoulders in a wild mass which he ties back while he's working. He's a good guy and a great friend.
"Hello, ladies. Girls' night again?" He asks.
"Yep. Going dancing after this. The soup is lovely. Thank you." Gemma compliments looking up through her lashes at him. He grins and turns pink. I always think they are going to get together but they're stuck in the flirt stage.
"Excuse me I'll be right back," I say and head to the bathroom. Maybe one will cave and ask the other out now that they have privacy.
I make my way back and see Talon sitting in my seat. So I take a spot at the bar with a smile until they finish chatting.
"You're a good friend, Rowena." Says Cedar, the bartender. Cedar is a good guy too. A wood nymph and an absolute sweetheart.
"They just need some time together," I say with a smile.
"I agree. What can I get for you, hun?"
"A coke please?" I don't like drinking. I like my inhibitions right where they are.
"Coming right up." He leaves and a very tall man sits next to me I know he's a supe. There's just something about supes that you can feel is a bit different from humans.
"What's a tiny thing like you doing here?" He asks I know he means more than he's saying and I don't like it.
"Having dinner with a friend," I say simply waiting for Cedar to come back.
"Why don't you come with me? I'll show you a good time." Fae. They always want to take humans away to play. The humans rarely come back though.
"No thank you," I say firmly.
"Oh come on. We'll have some drinks at my place." He suggests with a wink.
"I said no thank you," I say with an edge to my voice. He grabs my arm just as Cedar comes back with my drink.
"Devin, I believe she said no... a few times." He says with a threat. With a sneer, Devin walks away from the bar.
"I should never be alone here..." I say with a sigh. "Thank you."
"Ya. I'm good."
"How are the Papas?" he asks with a smirk that makes me smile.
"They're good. Gemma brought frog-sicles for papa Luca." I say grinning.
"Huh. Never thought of that. I'll mention it to Talon for a menu item."
"Good plan. mouse-sicles were a hit too just so ya know." I say with a smile. He nods with an amused grin.
"Looks like date night is done..." he says pointing his chin to Gemma and Talon. Talon looks red and Gemma looks pissed.
"Oh, dear," I say. "Thank you again. I gotta go see what happened." I say heading over to Gemma.
Gemma's face is red. What the hell?
"Hey, hun..." I say hesitantly.
"Oh good, you're back. We have to go." She says quickly.
"Oh no no no. You're going to tell me what happened."
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Too bad. Because I do."
"Fine. But then we leave."
"Deal," I say grinning.
"Ok... so we were chatting and joking and everything was nice and he was cute and so distracting and I missed my mouth with the spoon and he said 'I'm surprised you missed such a big target' and I was so embarrassed I made a bigger deal about it than I should have and now I'm crazy!" She rushes through her explanation without looking at me. I stifle my laugh.
"It's not that bad. Would you like some damage control?" I ask.
"If you can that would be a miracle."
"Ok be right back," I say heading back to the bar. Cedar is smiling and I'm trying not to laugh still. "I'm here for damage control. Can I talk to Talon?" Cedar laughs his way to the kitchen.
Talon emerges with a red mark on his forehead like he's been hitting it off something.
"I fucked up didn't I?" He asks quietly.
"Nah! You both did. Lesson number one. Don't tell women they have a big mouth even as a joke." Cedar is coughing off to the side at the bar. "Lesson two. Go apologize and tell her you didn't mean it. Also don't say the word crazy. She already knows." I shoo him off to Gemma and sit at the bar again.
"You really are a good friend," Cedar says.
"She picked out my outfit tonight I owed her," I say with a laugh.
Talon walks up with a big smile. "Thank you, Rowena." He says and hugs me.
"Anytime hun. You ask her out yet?"
"Ya, we're going out tomorrow." He smiles shyly.
"About time," I say heading back to the table to a glowing Gemma. "Do you still want to head out?"
"Yes. I'm going to scream." I laugh as we head out and down the road to the club. She tells me that they're going out tomorrow and how excited she is. I'm so happy for her. She deserves every good thing that comes to her.
We head inside and are blasted with music. The music sinks into my bones as I grab Gemma's hand and start moving us to the dance floor. I love dancing.
"I'm going to grab a drink. Do you want one?" She yells over the music.
"Water please!" I holler back still dancing.
She heads over to the bar as I sway to the music. I lose myself in the beat when I feel someone grab my waist. I turn and see warm amber eyes. It's him. The guy from the beach. He's big, like really big. He's broad-shouldered and ridiculously tall. I feel even tinier in front of him. He's got tattoos I can't make out up his left arm. I smile up at him.
"Found you." He smirks
"Was it quite the chase?" I flirt. His smirk grows into a smile and gestures over to some tables in the back so we can hear each other.
"It was! I thought 'where would a surfer girl go?' And I still couldn't find you anywhere!" He says.
"I'm sure you would have found me if I was a surfer girl," I say with a laugh. "I was there for work."
"Where do you work?"
"The Lexington Post. I'm a photographer."
"Very nice." He says like it's the most interesting thing he's ever heard.
"What do you do?" I ask.
"I'm a tattoo artist." He says.
"Is this your work?" I ask pointing to his arm. He nods and stretches out his arm. They're castles and trees decorating his skin. "It's beautiful." I see his face pinken.
All of a sudden I am tackled almost completely off my chair.
"There you are! I couldn't find you!" Oh, dear drunk vampire.
"You were gone ten minutes how did you get drunk that fast?!" I ask incredulously. The man laughs drawing her attention away from me and to him.
"Who are you?!" Nice and polite. Note the sarcasm.
"My name is Nevan." He says looking at me. I smile.
"Rowena," I say. "And this is my friend Gemma."
"He's cute you should get his number!" She yells not subtle at all. I laugh and shake my head at her.
"You're right she should." He says with a crooked smile. Oh, I'm in trouble.
"Ok. Give me your phone." He hands it over. I put in my number and text myself. "There you are."
"I forgot your water! I'll be right back!" Gemma yells. I grab her arm.
"Oh no! Last time you came back drunk next trip you'll come back white girl wasted. I will live without it." I say laughingly scolding her.
"You're right. I'm drunk..." Oh no. Weepy drunk vampire coming up.
"I better get her home. I'm sorry. I'll text you. Thanks for finding me." I say.
"Anytime." He says with a smile. I walk away reluctantly with Gemma stumbling beside me. I drive us to my house and set her up for the night. I'm still all warm and fuzzy from meeting Nevan as I get ready for bed and sleep soundly.