Word count: 1,120
The sight of the queue outside Liquid instantly sobers us up. It goes all the way round the block, twice. Defeated, in our pretty outfits and high heels, we go stand behind the last people in line.
“Do you think we can get queue-jump?” asks Jess.
“Not tonight, I’m afraid. It says so on the tickets,” says Iris, shaking her head.
“Wait, Mila, do you think Adam can get us in?” Amy looks at me, her big brown eyes hopeful.
“He can get us in on normal nights, but I don’t know about Summer Ball…” The truth is, I don’t want to call him. Sure, I want to see him tonight, talk things through, but I’m hoping he’s going to be the one doing the calling, or the looking for me. Things are weird between Adam and I, and they’ve just been getting weirder. The last thing I want is to look desperate.
I see Iris breaking away from the queue and walking round the corner, teetering on her cream white suede stilettos that are guaranteed to go dark grey by the end of the night. “I can confirm there is no queue jump and it’s going to be at least an hour before we get in,” she says, settling back in with us. “Should I go and buy a bottle from the corner shop?”
“Mila, please just call Adam. Maybe he can help. My heels are already killing me,” begs Amy.
“I honestly don’t think he can help,” I lie.
“What if he can, though? Why not just give him a call?”
“I’m with Amy on this one,” Jessica interjects. “Also I can’t wait to see his face when he sees you looking like this.”
Iris places a hand softly on my arm. “Mila, I understand why you might not want to call Adam. We all understand, right girls? But it would be so great to just get in, grab a nice cold drink and start our night. It’s the Summer Ball!”
“I know… but I don’t want to seem desperate!”
“Well, I am desperate!” says Amy. “Call Adam and tell him Amelia is desperate. Her feet are starting to hurt already, she’s thirsty, and she urgently needs to go to the loo—” Her eyes widen and fix on a point directly behind me. “Oh, Adam! There you are! I was just thinking of you.”
“What’s all this talk in third person, Aims?” he laughs. He looks at me and gives me a hug. Me, only me, not the other girls. I warm to him slightly. When his mouth is near my ear, he whispers, “Looking great, My-my.”
He’s also looking good. He’s one of those guys who are considered ‘hot’ on campus. I didn’t notice him when uni first started, I only started noticing him when the other girls started pointing him out.
“Can you please let us in?” says Amy.
“Only because you said ‘please’,” he says with a wink. Amy rolls her eyes. “Just kidding. I came out here to look for you ladies. Follow me.”
We parade round the block, in front of all the people patiently queuing up. I can feel the their on us as we walk behind Adam, making a beeline for the heavily guarded entrance. It’s only Liquid, a stupid university town club, but I can tell by the way they’re walking a looking around them that Jessica, Iris and Amy feel like they’re on the red carpet at the Oscars.
Me, on the other hand, I feel exposed. I’m obviously happy I don’t have to stand in my high heels for an hour on the sweltering pavement, moving at the speed of a snail, but I don’t like being the centre of attention like this, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
As soon as they see Adam, the bouncers step to a side and open the doors for us, stamping our inner wrists and handing us neon VIP bracelets. The loud music and darkness envelops us as soon as we step inside. The floor vibrates from the loud bass. Adam walks us to the VIP area and brings us complimentary mixer drinks.
Amy looks like she’s in heaven. “I told you Adam would’ve sorted us out tonight,” she yells over the music, then leans back on the lounge sofa, taking a long, well-deserved sip of her vodka cranberry.
Adam plops down beside me. “I’m glad you’re here,” he says. “I was looking for you.”
“Why didn’t you just call?”
He smiles his usual bold smile. “It’s more fun this way. Listen, my phone’s buzzing, I have to go get some more people, but you wait for me here, okay?”
I gather the courage to say it. “Adam, we have to talk at some point. About us.”
This time he looks taken aback, but bounces back quickly. “Sure, sure. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Bending down to give me a quick peck on the cheek, he disappears into the crowd.
In front of me, my three flatmates are laughing, looking beautiful and happy. Jess has started dancing on her seat, wiggling her bum against the faux white leather; Amy is already ordering another drink. Below us, the dance floor is packed, a sizzling sea of moving limbs. Everyone looks like they’re having so much fun.
Then why am feeling so down? I quickly gulp down half of my drink. I have to at least try to in the mood. Who cares about Adam. This night is about celebrating the end of this school year, and our friendship.
I’m about to lean over to join the conversation with my friends when something catches my eye.
Not something, someone.
He’s sitting slightly apart from other people, in a private booth at the back. Probably the only guy in here wearing a tailored shirt, so white that it glows slightly blue in the UV lights.
He has to have the most beautiful face I’ve ever set my eyes on. So much so that for a second I think I’m seeing things. He doesn’t belong here. What is someone like him doing here? In Liquid? On Summer Ball night?
There’s several other people around his table; one very pretty girl is trying to engage in conversation, but he just sits there looking mildly bored.
As my eyes focus in the darkness, I realise he’s looking at me too, his dark eyes boring into mine.