My first thought upon meeting Ophiel was that he was very out of place.
I was hanging out in Storm, the cheapest club downtown, leaning against the bar and wishing that I was a girl. Man, girls had it easy. They just smile and guys are lining up to buy them drinks, and all they have to do to flirt is to look pretty. How hard could that be?
But for guys like me, we’re expected to act like we’re made of money, buying drinks, breaking into conversations with strangers, and risking those same drinks coming back in our face when we suggest adjourning to someplace more private.
Yep, guys have it so much harder.
And given that the current balance of my bank account was somewhere between fifteen and twenty-five dollars, I had it much harder than most.
This thought kept on intruding into my thoughts as I stared at the pretty girls and better-equipped guys that surrounded me. I had to be careful here. I could only afford a couple of the insanely overpriced drinks, and I had to pick my targets carefully.
My thoughts were interrupted, however, when I spotted the young man pushing his way through the crowed, attempting and failing to head towards the bar. He was dressed in what looked like some sort of frat guy toga getup, and was wearing an expression suggesting he’d just suckled a lemon. He appeared to be muttering something under his breath as he was buffeted back and forth between people in the crowd.
He looked to be heading right towards me, and I wondered whether I should be concerned. He had clean-cut blonde hair and a face that looked classically handsome, a bit like he’d stepped out of an old oil painting. Despite this, however, the muttering was making me doubt his sanity. Crazy came in all shapes and sizes, I knew.
He was still determined to get to the bar, however, and as he drew closer, I began to catch snippets of what he was saying. “Demote me down to guardian?” he was saying to himself, and also unintentionally to everyone within a three foot radius. “How dare they! There must have been some mix up with my papers. I belong in an office! Not in the field!”
Finally, the blonde man managed to reach the bar, pushing in next to me. I half expected some of the other fellows next to me to complain about his shoving, but they seemed strangely unbothered by this newcomer, wrapped in what looked suspiciously like a white bed sheet, intruding on their space. The golden-haired man flopped his arms down on the bar, sighed – and then turned to me.
He didn’t speak at first, but his eyes ran up and down me, blatantly checking me out. I tried to ignore it for the first couple seconds, but that glance was incredibly obvious. I had to say something.
“I’m sorry,” I said, deciding to take a less aggressive tack at first. “I’m flattered, but I don’t go that way.”
The other man blinked at me. “Listen, I’m not happy about this either,” he said back to me. His voice was strangely melodious, as if there was a flute playing behind each of his words. “But I can’t do anything about it – or I’d already be out of here.”
This was getting weirder. I began to consider leaving the club, just trying to get away. But I had already paid the very steep cover choice, and I wasn’t forfeiting those seven dollars just because some crazy decided that he was attracted to me. “Why not go for that guy, then?” I asked, pointing off haphazardly down the bar. “I’m sure he’s a much better option.”
The golden-haired man glanced down the bar in the direction I had indicated, and then sighed loudly. “Wish I could,” he said, sounding genuinely regretful. “But I’m stuck with you.”
I was already doing my best to tune him out. A girl in the middle of the dance floor had just caught my eye – she was smiling, looked very cute, and from the half-full beer she was sloshing around, was definitely already fairly drunk. And when I made eye contact with her, her grin widened. I was in.
“Whoa, I wouldn’t do that!” the golden-haired man beside me cried out as I started to head into the dance floor.
I didn’t stop, but tried to ignore him and keep walking. Screw this guy! What did he know?
Author’s note: this is a small section of a novel I’m considering writing. More to come!