Chapter One: Night Out:
-New York City, New York-
I had just turned twenty-one days ago. I stood in front of my full-length mirror. I will be celebrating alone tonight. I won’t fly down until this coming spring break tomorrow. Back home to Atlanta. I won’t celebrate my birthday with my family until then.
Tonight, I was alone.
I looked at my clothes up and down. I was just wearing what I normally wear. All black. Tonight, I wore my favorite dress. I wore long dangling silver earrings and a silver snake necklace. Grandpa sent me these earrings for my birthday this year. I didn’t do much make-up tonight. I liked my appearance for the night.
I turned when my phone rang.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Hello, Peach!” Grandpa said on the other line.
“Hey,” I said. “How are you doing?”
“Good, dear. Did you enjoy your birthday?”
“Not yet. I’m not with you guys.”
“I understand. What are you up to tonight?”
“Just going out.”
“Please be careful.”
I chuckled to myself. He’s always checking up on me every evening. I pushed my bangs from my forehead.
“Okay,” I said. “Thank you.”
“I love you,” Grandpa said.
“I love you too. Good night.”
“Good night.” I smiled as I hung up. Once I took one more look at myself in the mirror before I walk out of my room.
There is a club near my school campus. I’ve walked past the building every day. There’s always music loudly playing from inside. Someone recorded video of the club from the outside while the music played. Said video was why I was here. I stood outside the door. I wanted to come here since last year. But something always got in the way.
“No, Charlie!” I heard a woman say. “I said leave me alone already!” I turned my head. A woman with blonde hair was walking away from a man dressed like a goth punk rocker. I only got a brief glimpse of them.
“Come on!” the man begged.
“No!” the woman said. “Now leave me alone. Don’t make me report you again.” She walked into the club with him following behind. I didn’t think much about them. I waited until they were fully inside before going in myself.
I am not used to pounding music in packed places. I’m not a fan of heavy metal either. But, I just had to look around this club. I felt like I had just walked into Halloween. The black paint made me feel at home. The flashing lights didn’t feel so bad. I felt myself smiling. I happened to tun around to see a guy standing near me.
“Yikes!” I shouted as I jumped back. This dud looked at me like I had grown a second head. He had to be about 5’1” and 110 pounds soaking wet. He had on an Iron Maiden t-shirt and ripped jean with black-framed glasses.
“I’m sorry, did I scare you?” he asked. I slowly nodded.
“I’m so sorry,” he said again. We stood awkwardly for a few minutes. I tilted my head.
“Can I help you with something?” I asked at last.
“Oh,” he said. “You’re really cute.”
“Thanks, I guess…” I said. This guy cleared his throat.
“You’re new here, aren’t you?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said. “How did you know?”
“Come on! I want to show you something,” this guy said. He grabbed me by the hand before I could say anything. I looked around so confused. Where the hell were we going to go? We ended up near a game room of some sort. These were all vintage games. Mostly pinball machines and racing games. The guy walked out with his arms out.
“Do you like it?” he asked. I didn’t respond.
“Check this one out!” my captor said. I turned to a black and red video game. I believe that it was a racing game of some sort. Racing to Hell was what it was called, I guess. A black sports car raced down an empty road in the night. The player would be behind the wheel in this point of view. The car started to speed up. Faster. Faster. Faster.
The car smashed into a giant tree. But then a red devilish looking face popped up on the screen. The horns, black fangs, and the laughter made me wince.
“Um… I think I will go off over there,” I said, pointing behind me. “I just need to get my bearing for a while.”
“Okay…” the guy said, slightly confused. I backed away as fast as I could.
“Bye,” he said.
I don’t know what came over me. Why did I freak out like that? I shook my head as I wandered over to the bar. I sat down and took a breath. However, I noticed that I wasn’t alone for long. I happened to look up and see three punk-like guys staring at me. They had to be like in their late twenties, I guessed. They all looked like they came out of an 80’s punk movie. Facial piercings, fake leather jackets, ratty jeans, dyed colored hair, old sneakers or boots, tattoos, and chains. The lead guy was smirking at me. I sat, blinking.
“Uh…” I said.
“Hey cutie,” the leader said. “What’s a little hottie like you doing here alone?” I didn’t know what to say at first.
“Um… hi..” was all I said. The men looked at each other and snickered.
“You must be new here,” their leader said. I tried not to show what I was really thinking.
“I guess…” I said. They weren’t leaving. Why weren’t they leaving? The guys stared at me, snickering.
“Can I help you?” I asked. The leader took hold of my wrist.
“Why you come have a good night with us?” he asked. “This place is lame anyway.” I gently started to tag away as I started to look for an exit.
“Maybe later,” I lied. “I am just getting used to this place.” That creep wouldn’t let go of my wrist.
“Oh come on,” he said. “It will be fine. Come with us.” By now, I am nervously laughing and hoping for a way to escape.
“I said no, Charlie!” I heard a woman shout over the music. We all looked up. The woman I saw walking into the club earlier being followed by that same guy. They were heading over in my direction. The guy in the dirty jean jacket frowned at the blonde woman.
“Oh come on!” he complained. “Why are you being like this?!” The blonde woman turned to him and groaned.
“Look!” she said. “What we had last night was good, but I am not interested anymore. Besides, I am supposed to meet up with a friend tonight.” Then, she walked over to me and sat down next to me. I looked both confused and slightly relived. The three biker thugs looked just as confused as I was. The woman put her arm around my shoulders.
“Tonight’s her birthday,” she said. “I promised that I would take her out.” I started to smile.
“My birthday was a couple of days ago,” I said in a soft voice.
“Either way, I promised her a girl’s night out,” the woman added. “That means no boys at all. Go ahead. Move it. Nothing to see here.” Charlie dropped his shoulders.
“Fine,” he grumbled. He turned to walk away. Before he left, Charlie looked over his shoulder.
“Enjoy your night,” he said. The woman and I watched him disappear into the dancing crowd of other goths and punk rockers. My new companion turned her attention on me.
“Why did you run off on me?” she asked. “Creeps here have a tendency to harass girls alone at the bar, you know?” Already, I saw where this was heading. I looked over at the creepy punk rocker guys standing in front of us. They looked just as confused as I was. I forced myself to smile.
“Uh, yeah, yeah,” I said. “I got pulled away by some guy to show me the arcade. I just freaked out and came over for a drink. I’m sorry.”
“It’s cool,” my new companion said. She gave the punk wannabe guys a cold look.
“Whatever,” the leader muttered. “Let’s go.” He and his boys walked off. I held my breath until they were gone.
“Thanks,” I whispered.
“No biggie,” my companion said. “I was being serious, though. You have to be careful of creeps like them.”
“Okay,” I said. She held out her hand.
“I’m Violet,” she said. “And you are?”
“Iris,” I said. I shook her hand. Why was I getting lost in her dark brown eyes? Was it impossible for a girl to have eyes this beautiful?
“Hey, would you like to hang with for a bit?” Violet asked. “You know, just to get Charlie off for a bit.”
“Huh? Oh. Uh… okay,” I said. She pulled me along to the dance floor. I don’t think she even gave me a chance. This dance floor was so packed. The pounding music and dancing bodies made the club shake. I could feel my ears ringing. Violet instantly got lost in the music as she started to dance. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her but I felt so displaced. It started to hurt to smile. Meanwhile, Violet looked to be in her element. The deep purple lights drew attention to her black leather. Her blonde locks flowed freely. I gulped as I started to tremble. My eyes stayed fixed on her as I started to dance. Could such a girl exist? Violet turned around as the music faded from the background. I could feel my heart racing against my chest.
I… I just… I just can’t.
I turned and ran out of the club.
“Where are you going?” Violet asked. I didn’t turn around as I ran out of the back of the club. I leaned against the wall, panting. What was that?
“Hey, there,” I heard Violet say. I looked up to see a concerned look on her face.
“What’s the matter?” she asked. She rested her hand on my shoulder. I trembled as I backed up, shaking my head.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I just can’t.” Violet turned me to face her. Her gaze made my heart race. Why was she so close?
“It’s cool,” Violet said. “We don’t have to dance tonight. There are other things we can do. Plenty of other things.” Did she have to be so close? Her hand started to move down my thighs. Oh god! Oh god! Oh god! Oh god! Oh god! Oh god!
I pushed her off as fast as I could.
“Please! Just… I can’t…” I said. “I’m sorry.” I turned and walked away.
“Iris?” Violet asked. I didn’t look back. That was enough for me for one night.