Eat the Rich
Just focus on his smile, he has a nice smile. Oh god not the wink. Okay I’m pretty sure whatever he’s saying is sexist, gross, or just plain stupid. Most likely a mash up of all three.
“You’re not listening to a word I say, are you Plum?” Brian crosses his arms and leans against the glossy wooden beam on my porch.
“Look Brian, I may have to go to this restaurant with you, but no one can force me to enjoy your company.”
“My witty charm begs to differ,” Brian boasts while he guides me to his car.
He drives a pristine white BMW. The pointed black designs accentuate the slender edge of the bumper and the steel blue lining the interior infects the car with colour. It sits so low to the ground that I’m not quite sure if I’m stepping inside a car or a drivable coffin. It’s probably an unspoken truth amongst rich people that the flatter the car, the more expensive it is.
“The roof comes off you know,” he shimmies his eyebrows proudly and reaches over to open the door for me. I slide in and slam the door shut, which makes Brian respond with an exaggerated grimace.
“Oh. My. God. You are such a little rich boy.”
“You don’t slam the door of a car like this,” he protests, stroking the dashboard like it’s a cat I just punched in the face. I tut and roll my eyes away from him and he turns the key in the ignition to start up the engine.
“Tell me rich boy, does your mother buy all your dates for you?”
He lets go of the key and looks over at me. “Come on Plum,” he says dismissively, slumped over the steering wheel. “No one made you come out with me today. You don’t have a leash around your neck. So stop moping and lighten up already,” he appeals, then slides his hands down to grasp the wheel and pulls out of the driveway.
“Can you at least let yourself have a good time?” he asks. “You can’t blame me for a shitty date if you’re not even willing to smile.”
My head drops down to my lap and for a second, a flicker of pity fizzles over my hatred. He may be one of the most arrogant, self absorbed people I know, but the writer in me can’t help seeing the layer of good hidden beneath every villain.
“Brian,” I say softly and lift my head away from my twiddling fingers to face him. “Are you hoping to get something… Real out of this?”
“Don’t worry Plum, I’m a real gentleman. I’m not expecting to get under that pretty little skirt of yours, at least not until the second date.”
“You know what I mean,” I groan at him.
Instead of responding, he revs up the car with a wicked grin and zooms down the street. I brace my hands against the dashboard and let out a small squeal as the speedometer jumps up to 65 in a 30 mile per hour zone.
He barrels around the bend into a parking lot and speeds straight at the building. My heart latches to my spine as the car screeches to a halt one foot away from crashing into the brick wall.
I stare at him with eyes popping out like a cartoon character. I’m still clinging onto the dashboard in fear and my mouth is open wide enough to compensate for the pace of my shaky breath.
Marvelling in his recklessness, he whips his head forward and roars a victorious “ha!”
He flicks his head over to me, smirking like he’d crossed the finish line in first place at a NASCAR race. But when he notices the terror that’s taken over my body, his smiling face drops into an awkward cringe.
“So… You’re not much of a wild ride kinda girl then?”
I stay staring at him for a moment out of bewilderment, then shake my head. “You better pray this place does chocolate milkshakes,” I threaten, steadying myself as I get out of the car. I purposefully slam the door shut and I march towards the entrance with Brian cowardly trailing behind me.
I don’t take any time to check out what kind of fancy restaurant he’s brought me to before barging in. I freeze in awe when the swinging door reveals the room.
A high ceiling that brings out the royalty in the white and gold of the room, dangling chandeliers that create the perfect glow for an ambiance of fine dining, and the richest of the rich clinging their glasses and sporting the latest Valentino gowns.
There’s none of that.
The room is large but the ceiling is low and it has a casual vibe which makes you feel that soothing buzz you only get when you step into your home. There’s more dark than light spread over the green spiked hair and ripped fishnet tights, and the jukebox is roaring the wonder of Whitesnake as the punk band sets up their instruments on the cramped stage in the corner.
“What the hell happened to the little rich boy that wouldn’t let a fly touch his hundred thousand dollar car?”
“He bought a brain. I’m not an idiot Plum, I know you’re not into any of that fancy stuff.” He nudges me with his elbow and gestures his head towards a table next to the stage.
I lean down to slurp my milkshake without picking it up and mutter through the chocolaty goodness, “aren’t your parents gonna flip when no one shows up for the reservation?”
Brian slides the fries over to him and brings one to his mouth. “One word,” he flicks the fry in his hand, “craigslist.”
He chomps down and lifts his head to look over my shoulder. I turn my head to see which Goth girl caught his attention, but it was the bartender that he had his eyes on - a tall guy with violent tattoos intensifying his bulbous muscles.
Glaring back at Brian under his heavy eyebrows, he pours a perfect beer from the tap and slides it over to a girl across the bar without breaking eye contact. I fling my head back to Brian and tap my hand against the table to get his attention. “Who is that?” I whisper. It takes a second before he snaps back to reality. “That guy at the bar, who is he?”
“No one,” he says through his mouth still full of potato. I shrug at the obvious lie and excuse myself to go to the restroom.
On my way there my curiosity cancels out my compulsion to stick to the social rules about staring at people and I start to size up the bartender. The bruises dotted around his jaw line are both faded and recent, which indicates an ongoing disagreement. And from the small red marks on his arm that he can’t stop scratching, I assume it has something to do with drugs.
Whatever Brian’s past with him is, I’m guessing I wouldn’t want to be involved.
I un-crane my neck to guide myself to the bathroom at the same time I stumble into a girl in the middle of a flirty conversation. Her vodka coke soaks the little material of her halter top and she growls in fury and spins around to face me
. I give her my “oopsi” puppy dog face but she doesn’t say anything. In one hard shove, she throws me to the floor and her future one night stand laughs like a doofus at my expense.
I glance down in disgust at the layers of filth beneath me. It feels like someone’s been paper-masheing down here; so much so that I actually have to un-stick my hand from the floor.
“You’re lucky you didn’t catch Susie sucks-a-lot on one of her bad days.” A hand appears in my view and I grab onto it before I notice who it’s attached to.
I start to dust myself off.“Susie sucks-a-wha-…Evan?” I sputter when my eyes meet his. Evan immediately drops my hand. His hovers by my arm for a second then he snatches it back to his side.
“Why didn’t you answer your phone, I called you three times earlier?” I question.
“My Dad has my phone,” he shrugs but I can see a hint of something else underneath his indifference… and then I notice. I notice what is tainting the little innocence left in the flecks of hazel in his pine green eyes.
“What happened?” I falter, lifting my hand to his head. I get a deep pain at the sight of the blotchy purple bruise stretching from his cheek to his hair line and an instinctive rush to comfort him clouds my mind.
“Nothing,” he shakes me off and drops his eyes to the floor. “Nothing that concerns you,” he says dismissing my worry. But he doesn’t snap the words. In fact, I hear more despair in is voice than anger. Unfortunately, that only makes me want to comfort him more; and I know any attempt I make to do that is useless.
“You’re not gonna interrogate me about last night, are you?” he asks with a groan.
The first few notes of “Paradise City” are dispersed from the guitarist strumming on stage. I pull Evan by his shirt to the corner of the room so that the music doesn’t drown out our far long overdue conversation.
“If you think after all this time I’m going to let something like that slide under the rug, you’ve got to be delusional,” I declare and rip my hand from its grip on his shirt.
“It wasn’t-“ he starts to defend but I can predict his next words better than Matt Groening does the future.
“Oh come on Evan, you’re smarter than that drunken stupidity bullshit excuse,” I say, frustrated.
I cross my arms deadpan and nudge my head forward to push for a response and he just sighs.
“I don’t know what else to say Elena.”
“For three years I haven’t had a name, last night it was back to Lay-Lay and now we’re at Elena. Is it me or are you struggling to make your mind up?”
“You tryna steal my babe Birsha?” Brian squishes by the bar next to me and throws his arm over my shoulders. “Thought you pulled the ’ol bathroom window getaway for a sec there,” he says to my cheek.
Evan purses his lips as he looks between the two of us. “There’s no way you guys are a thing.”
“We’d probably be in the back of my car right now if you hadn’t interrupted our date,” Brian says, somehow throwing out both a boast and an accusation.
“Elena, you’re not seriously dating this guy are you?”
I hastily knock Brian’s arm off of my shoulder and push myself out of the corner, away from both of them. The frustration inside me bubbles over and I can’t hold it in any longer.
“Okay I am stopping this nonsense right now. Brian, stop acting like I’m your property. You’re an idiot if you think this, is a real date.” I turn my head towards Evan and scowl at him. “And you. Are you kidding me? The last five years you’ve treated me like a lizard-mutant that won’t stop rolling around in whatever the hell comes out of cat-dog. Why the hell do you suddenly care who I date?”
Both of them freeze in shock at my unexpected assertion and I hear my heart thump against my skull. They’re speechless. Something I said actually made an impact on another person.
After a dragged out silence, Brian finally spoke. “So… Am I driving you home, or are you walking ten miles down a highway in the dark?” he asks cautiously. I cross my arms and Brian gets the message and hurries to my side, while Evan rolls his eyes.
When the question I asked Evan repeats in my head, I travel my eyes over his face to look for a spark of jealousy. But that’s not what I found.
Jealousy is a poison, what I see in his eyes is something else entirely.
“I left my jacket at the table,” I add and Brian doesn’t wait for my signal before rushing over to retrieve it.
Evan starts to make his way to the door when he stops at my side. He leans in to say something. “Be careful with that guy Elena,” he speaks into my hair and I can feel what it is like to be near him again, so close to that comfort that’s been lost to me for so long.
He promptly brushes past me and disappears out the door, taking my hit of euphoria with him.
“Be careful,” he said.
Jealousy is a poison, but caring is something else entirely.
*****Just though I should let you know that the chapter title for this chapter is named after an Aerosmith song <3 And the song mentioned earlier that the band was playing is Guns and Roses. Shout out to all the rock fans reading! I’m a rock girl myself so pretty much every song I mention in this story will be from the ultimate rock era, the 80s-90s. Thanks again for reading!!! Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment :)*****
Next update scheduled for 17/06/20