Again, why the hell had I agreed to this?
I let out an exasperated sigh as I stared at the gyrating mass of bodies writhing together on the dance floor under the flashing lights in the club. I could barely hear myself think over the remix of The Weeknd’s song blasting from the speakers and the hooting and hollering of the people packed into the confined space.
It seemed like everyone was having the time of their lives… everyone except me.
One of my best friends, Tamika, dumped her boyfriend a couple of hours ago after catching him cheating for what must be the nth time and our best friends, Harvey and Norma, made me follow them to this club because Tamika wanted to go on the rebound.
Clubs were not my scene and I had only agreed to come here because Harvey and Norma had managed to convince me that Tamika would feel better if I was here but I haven’t even been able to talk to Tamika since she separated from us when we arrived. I had her a couple of times, dancing with different strangers, and I was happy for her because she looked like she was having fun but I was more than ready to leave.
“Norma!” I called out the moment I saw her talking to someone at the edge of the dance floor and I began to quickly make my way towards her.
“Norma!” I called out again just as the person she was talking to walked away from her and her head jerked in my direction before her lips curved into a smile.
“Hey there, gorgeous. Again, that dress looks absolutely amazing on you,” she said and I glanced down at the short, clingy, dark blue dress I was wearing. “Are you having fun?”
“No,” I stated firmly. “No, I am not. We’ve been here for a long time now. When are we going back to campus? I’m tired.”
Norma pressed her lips together and shot me an apologetic look. “When Tammy is ready to go back.”
Oh, damn you, I thought because I had sort of expected that that would be her answer.
“Besides what do you mean we’ve been here for a long time. We’ve only been here for like fifteen minutes,” she added and I groaned because it felt like we had been here for hours. “How about I go find us some private seats and you be a darling and get me a drink from the bar? Don’t worry, the bartender’s not checking IDs. I’ll have a cosmopolitan and we’ll get you a juice box from the juice bar a couple of blocks from here after we leave.”
I scrunched my face up, giving her a silly look. “Hardee-har.”
She always used that juice box line whenever she, Tamika and Harvey were drinking alcohol because I was twenty years old. Just turned twenty, three days ago to be exact.
She grinned at me and I rolled my eyes before making my way to the bar. There were only a couple of people there and I was grateful for that because it meant I wouldn’t have to try hard to get the bartender’s attention.
“Two cosmopolitans,” I said to the bartender who was wearing a pretty gold dress and she gave me a nod before she began to prepare the drinks. I glanced at the crowd on the dance floor and the first thing I saw was someone knocking back what I bet is a dose of ecstasy next to a couple of people sharing a joint.
I took a deep breath and returned my attention to the bartender. I can’t wait to go back to my room.
“Sazerac,” a voice next to me said and I turned to look at the person before my lips parted slightly.
He was the most wildly handsome man I had ever seen. His dark brown hair was thick and curly and I had the sudden urge to run my hands through it to see if it was as soft as it looked. His brows were sooty and his lips were dangerously lush while his features were chiseled and well defined.
I swallowed before taking in his body which was fit, but not in the bulky, bodybuilder sort of way, and when my eyes moved back up to his face, I saw that he was staring at me. Normally, my eyes would have widened and I would have immediately looked away from him but there was something magnetic in the eye contact and I found it hard to look away.
“Here you go.” The bartender placed the drinks I asked for on the counter in front of me before I could say anything to the man and I glanced at her.
I picked up the drinks and gave the man who was still staring at me one last look before heading away from the counter. I had only taken a few steps forward when I spotted Norma on the other side of the bar and I made a beeline for them.
I thought she was going to find seats!
“I know, I know,” she said when she saw me heading towards her. “I was supposed to find us seats but Harvey had to take a call so he told me to keep an eye on Tammy.”
I exhaled in a rush and glanced at the dance floor, trying and failing to find Tamika in the crowd, while Norma took a glass from me. “Where’s she?” I asked just before someone wrapped their arms around my waist and I jolted, causing my drink to spill out of its glass.
I quickly glanced over my shoulder and relief washed over me when I saw that it was an excited looking Tamika and not some dude. “I’m right here,” she said while Norma collected my glass and I stopped myself from asking Tamika when she would be ready to leave the club because she had been really sad when she broke up with that cheating douchebag but now, she looked excited.
“Are you having fun?”
She bobbed her head and I caught the faintest whiff of alcohol on her breath before she walked around me. “I want to dance with you guys,” she stated and I let out a snort because there was no way I was getting on that dance floor, while Norma agreed to dance with her.
I quickly took my glass back from Norma before the both of them began to move towards the dance floor and when they realized I wasn’t following them, they stopped.
“Dalia, come on,” Tamika called out and my eyes darted from them to the gyrating bodies on the dance floor before I plastered an obvious fake smile on my face.
“I don’t think so,” I replied and slowly drank from my glass with my eyes fixed on them, earning a sneer from Tamika. I instantly sneered back and she shook her head sideways, a smile playing on her lips, before she pulled Norma to the dance floor.
I kept my eyes on both of them for a while and when I lost them in the crowd, I looked away from the dance floor. I let out a sigh and brought my glass to my lips again. I can’t wait to get out of here.
“You look awfully pensive,” someone said behind me, startling me and almost making me choke on my drink. I descended into a coughing fit and glanced over my shoulder to see the man from earlier standing behind me with slightly wide eyes and a drink in his hand. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you,” he added when I managed to get the coughing under control and dropped his glass on the counter. “Are you okay?”
I blinked away the tears in my eyes as I cleared my throat while his eyes travelled the length of my body in a way that made my skin tingle and heat flooded my veins. He wasn’t even touching me but I was already on fire.
I let my lips curve into a smile and cleared my throat again. “I’m fine, I’m fine. Uh, what did you say?” I asked and he slightly raised his brows before realization washed over his face after a couple of seconds.
“Oh, I said you look awfully pensive,” he repeated and I muttered an ‘oh’ while his gaze fell to my glass for a brief moment when I dropped it on the counter. “You’re running low. Can I buy you a drink?” His voice was layered with velvet and deep tones that all mingled together in delicious harmony and I couldn’t stop myself from flashing him a smile before nodding in response.
He then returned the smile as he signalled to the bartender to come over and held his hand out toward me. “Hi. I’m Noah.”
I slipped mine into it before his warm palm enfolded mine, sending shivers running down my spine. “Dalia.”
“Nice to meet you Dalia,” he replied before he finally let go of my hand and I picked up my glass to take a sip from it while he watched me. “You don’t seem like a club person.”
“What gave it away?”
“You just didn’t seem like you wanted to be here when you came to the bar earlier and you still don’t seem like you want to be here,” he said, slightly tipping his head to the side, and glanced at the bartender when she finally came to our side of the bar. He ordered another cosmopolitan for me and returned his attention to me after she went to prepare the drinks.
“So why is this beautiful woman here when she doesn’t want to be?”
A smile instantly overtook my face at the fact that he called me beautiful and I took a deep breath while thinking of where to start explaining from, before I decided to just give him a summary. “Friend dumped her cheating boyfriend. Friend is here on the rebound. I’m here to provide moral support to friend.” I dropped my almost empty glass back on the counter and faced Noah. “How about you? Why’s a gorgeous man unaccompanied in a club?”
He grinned so wide it was contagious. “I just came here to support my friend’s new business,” he replied as he gestured at our surroundings and I furrowed my brows slightly before realizing that the club belonged to his friend.
His lips etched in a knowing smirk as he slowly ran his eyes over my body, and he radiated confidence and cockiness, riding a fine line between the two. If I wasn’t already interested, I sure as hell would be right now.
“But I’m no longer unaccompanied now, am I?” he asked and the corner of my mouth quirked up while the bartender came back with my drink.
*Damn, he’s good,* I thought while he thanked the bartender and leaned against the counter before returning his attention to me.
“How often do you do this?”
His forehead creased. “Do what?”
“Buy a drink for women at bars and hit on them.”
He raised his brows slightly, a smile playing on his lips. “Not often at all. Lucky for me that your friend decided to go on the rebound in this club tonight though.” He didn’t mask the hunger in his eyes, the dirty thoughts in his mind or the fact that he obviously wanted me and I felt excitement unfurl in my body. “Do you -”
Someone suddenly stumbled into me from behind and I instinctively placed my hand on Noah’s chest to brace myself when I stumbled forward, while his arms went around my waist to prevent me from falling.
“Sorry,” someone slurred behind me but I paid them no attention because the only thing I could focus on was how close Noah and I were to each other.