15: "I insist."
"So after drinking wine in a classy joint you bring us...here?" Jones giggled, elbowing me as I looked up at the club.
"Sometimes you just need to let go. Let your hair down and fucking live. Let's go." Greg shrugged, grabbing our hands and tugging us in. We were barely through the door when Jones saw someone she knew, all bear hugs and exclamations about it being far too long.
I nodded, trying to take no notice when he grabbed my hand, pulling me through the crowds. He waved at the bartender who nodded at him in acknowledgement.
"So Greg, I think it's time I got you a drink. Considering you've been paying all evening and you're just a mere student," I laughed as he moved to allow me to step in front of him.
"I'm not gonna argue with you. Nice dress, by the way."
I slipped in front of him, as the bartender came over. I ordered three JD and cokes, before I realised Greg was now pressed up against me, thanks to the growing crowd.
"Sorry, not intentional," he said, holding his hands up innocently.
"If I feel anything remotely hard-"
"My phone is in my pocket. It's the plus size model so if you do feel anything, it's that."
I paid for the drinks and handed one to Greg as we made our way back to where we had last seen Jones.
"If she isn't here in like, ten minutes, I'm drinking her whiskey," I declared, as Greg studied the room. His eyes fell back to me, whilst he sipped his own drink.
"She won't be far."
"I just need the loo. Can you wait here?"
I followed the signs for the toilets, frowning when I saw a VIP room. What sort of pompous assholes would pay for entry to a place like that? Like the savages amongst society weren't good enough to be around. I finally located the loos, relieving myself before I checked for Jones.
I came out the toilets to see a group of guys walking out of the VIP room.
"Hey, don't you go to our college?" one asked, as I shrugged.
"Yeah, I've seen you." chimed in another, as I simply smiled politely, walking by them to get back to Greg and find Jones. I was beginning to wonder if this was normal behaviour for her- wandering off randomly when out with friends. I knew girls like this back home, and it always ended up being a crap night. You'd spend half the night looking for them only to find them spewing up in a corner somewhere.
I got back to the place I'd left Greg only to find he wasn't there.
I pulled out my phone and sent a text to both of them.
Where are you both?! I'm near the bar, the one near the entrance. Xx
Greg: Found Jones. Coming to you now. X
I scanned the room for them, when I saw Greg walking towards me holding Jones by the hand. He rolled his eyes at me before I frowned at Jones.
"What the fuck? Can you not disappear like that? I'm almost sober."
"Sorry, I saw my cousin, and she was telling me all about her trip to Europe. Anyway, so many hot men in here tonight, am I right?"
"Hmm, none that I've seen," I shrugged, as Greg shot me a look.
"Are you purposely trying to tell me I'm ugly?" he chuckled as I sighed.
"Yeah cus that's what every guy wants to hear."
"You two, honestly. Why don't you just, try it? You never know until you try," shrugged Jones, winking at Greg.
Great, so now she was on his side?
"You need to loosen up. Drake went all weird, Alex the ex was fucking mental, this one isn't any of those things. I mean, he is hot."
"Shush, Shannon," I muttered as she gasped.
"Don't use my Christian name, how rude!"
"Right, I don't-"
"Oh my fucking God."
I blinked as Jones gripped my arm, her eyes wide as she smiled widely.
"Its my ex," she whispered, her knuckles turning white. "Oh, God."
This was news to me, and clearly to Greg who raised his eyebrows at me. I followed her gaze to see a man with skin the colour of melted chocolate gazing over at us with startling blue eyes.
"Christ. Are they contacts?" I mused, as Greg peered at him. Jones was stock still, gripping me as though her life depended on it.
"No. He is just...sex," she muttered, her voice a little above a whisper.
"He's gorgeous, but he is also coming over here," I declared, as she froze like a deer in headlights. He approached us, his eyes travelling over Jones slowly, before glancing at Greg and I.
"Shannon," he said softly, lifting her hand to his lips, letting them linger on her skin a little longer than necessary.
"Axel," she breathed, as he stepped closer to her. "I didn't know you were back..."
"I'm back," he muttered, as she stared up at him through her heavily made up lashes. "I told you I would be."
I stepped back, trying to give them space, falling directly into someone. I turned to apologise when I saw it was Drake.
"Sorry," I whispered, as he barely nodded at me, turning back around to his friends. I felt hurt from his cold greeting, before turning to see Jones was introducing Axel to us.
"Good to meet you, I'm Axel, and let me introduce you to my friends."
He tapped Drake on the shoulder as he turned, his beautiful green gaze meeting mine as his smile immediately faded.
"This is Brodie, Drake, Marco and Liam. Guys this is Shannon, my...well. She's with me, anyway," he chuckled, his hand firmly around Jones as I stood staring at the floor. This was beyond fucking awkward.
"These are her friends uh, Greg and, sorry-"
"Victoria," Jones beamed, her eyes darting to mine as she made a face at me to remain calm.
"Hi," I said breezily, before turning to Greg.
"It's your round."
"Nah I'll get it," said Drake smoothly, slipping his hand around my waist as I pushed him away.
"No thank you, I'm out with my friends."
He gazed at me then, before nodding.
We stared at each other for a moment before I felt Greg stand beside me.
"I'll get the drinks, it's fine."
"I'll come with you," I said, giving Drake a steely glare. I walked away, finally realising I was shaking.
"You ok? Fuck, that was mental. I thought it was over between you two?"
"Can you just get me a stiff fucking drink please Greg," I pushed a twenty dollar note into his hand when he lifted his eyes to look behind me.
"Give her that back, I'll get this."
There was an air of authority in the voice that made it clear there was no room for arguments. I nodded at Greg as he gave me back the note, walking away before I he was replaced by Drake.
His white shirt was rolled up, revealing his tanned forearms. I tried not to focus on the vein that was currently throbbing close to his wrist, making him look even more attractive than he normally was.
"I owe you an apology."
"You can't just see me on a night out and decide to fucking apologise. You made it very clear where we stand," the bartender nodded at me as I demanded a whiskey on the rocks. Drake raised an eyebrow at me, before sighing.
"Wonderful. Now go back to your friends and leave me alone."
"Are you out with Hamlet?" he suddenly demanded, as I rolled my eyes.
"Seriously, piss off."
He chuckled slowly as I downed the drink in one, ordering another whilst Drake paid the bartender.
"Fine. Then introduce me to your friends, Drake," I smiled wickedly, as his eyes narrowed at me.
"No," he shrugged, taking a step closer to me.
"Why? Scared they will possibly find me attractive?"
His eyes darkened then, as I felt the second whiskey burn my throat.
"I don't play games, Drake Anderson. So when you said see around, that is exactly what you will see. Me. Around. Casually. Thanks for the drinks," I walked past him then, walking over to Greg who was staring at me in wonder.
"I'm not being any kind of rebound shit-"
"Oh Greg, shut up. I hate that man," I sighed, slumping onto the seat beside him. I rested my head on his shoulder as he handed me a drink.
"That's vodka and coke. Its mine but you can have-"
I drained it in one as he finished his sentence.
I leaned back in the chair, sighing as I felt the alcohol course through my veins. Finally, I was beginning to lose a little of the anger and anxiety I had from seeing that fucking man.
How dare he stare at me like he is?
I scowled in his direction as he shook his head in disbelief. It wasn't long before a gaggle of girls surrounded him and his friends, and I began to lose interest.
"I'm fucking done with this scene," I declared, the alcohol loosening my potty mouth.
"Well let's check with Jones-"
"Oh yeah, she needs some convincing doesn't she?"
I looked over in her direction, seeing her now sitting astride Axel as they kissed deeply.
"Still. Let me just make sure she is ok if we go," he chuckled, making his way over to her. I got up, pulling my dress down as I began to walk towards the exit. As I passed Drake he frowned, watching me walk towards the exit. I leaned against the door, waiting for Greg to finally walk away from Axel and Jones who were laughing with him.
"So you're leaving with him?"
The voice was in my ear as I felt his breath on my neck, sending goosebumps all over my body. He turned me around then, pressing me against the wall as he glared at me.
"Because I'm really not fucking happy about that."
"Have you ever seen someone you love kiss someone else?" he demanded, before realising what he had said. I frowned, as he closed his eyes.
"It really fucking hurts. Then here you are...leaving with another guy. Is there any window of opportunity you won't take, Victoria?"
"This one," I whispered, moving away as he grabbed my hand, tugging me back to him.
"Leave with me. We don't have to do a damn thing, you can sit and scream at me all night if it makes you feel better. But please, don't leave with anyone else."
"Are you actually insane?"
"You fucking said-"
He slammed his hands on the wall beside me as he breathed into my face, his voice low as he spoke.
"I fucked up, I really did. I was wrong."
"We barely know one another, I don't need another toxic relationship."
I glanced away from him, noticing all of our friends staring at us curiously.
"I'm not leaving here with you, I'm sorry. If you want to speak to me, do it sober. Good night Drake."
With that, I turned and walked away, allowing the doorman to get a taxi for me. I didn't look back, but I knew he would be fighting the desire to follow me or to do as I'd asked.
Let's hope it was the latter.