I should not have come here alone. Why did Gavin not want to join me? Maybe he thinks I'd blow his cover. Either cover, heh heh! Not that he even knows that I'm aware of them.
A watcher on a bar stool was biding time with a wine glass that chaliced sparkling cider. Eyes of a calculating blue peered out at the dance floor of the club from beneath a thick white hood.
Lyrics boomed, from speakers carrying the voice of Erik Hassle,
"Pretty lights and no concern,
When we love we never learn,
Break apart, we crash 'n burn,
Couldn't handle this sharp turn."
The Pan was not full. The balcony was closed off. It would close within the hour, at midnight. Dancers swayed together and apart, hips grinding and hands sweeping beneath a ceiling of lights and speakers two and a half stories above them.
The watcher watched, and saw more than light and darkness. For in the watcher's sight, ethereal knowledge from beyond normal perception became tangible. It was in the minds of others and the energies of the inanimate.
The artist being played continued to deliver his song, Standing Where You Left Me, through the flashing lights and moving bodies,
"Ten o'clock, where it's dark,
On that cold October night,
You're out there, I'm still here..."
The watcher chose to ignore most of what was to be seen beyond sight. For from the minds and moods of the mesh of people came forth shallow escapism, materialistic desire and insatiable lust. The watcher preferred lust that was satiable and adjoined with a deep love. This with someone realistic, someone real; who could be found and met without illusions. For illusions, and the consequent pain of disillusionment, scarcely graced themselves upon one whose sight revealed much. It was merely a matter of waiting for that flexible profile to be fit by someone.
A young man.
His face was what caught the watcher's eyes first. Short, curly black hair. Evenly shaven unrecently, cheeks bristled smoothly either side of a goatee. Eyelids flung open to expose irises like chestnuts dipped in black ink. A faint smile below a stiff upper lip was accompanied by a flaring of nostrils. And then the face disappeared into the shadows at the core of the shifting crowd.
The watcher was given no time to peer at what hid behind that face, yet felt elation. Fingers crossed each other, playfully hoping to sense something both desirable and desiring.
The song's chorus began, filling the room with a brighter, more enthusiastic and breathless voice than what had been used to set the mood,
"Standing where you left me!
I'm standing where you left me!
Man, you really hit me hard!
And Oh. My. God."
Oh my gawd is right, that's the sexiest pair of jeans I've ever...
Looking down, the denim was second to catch the watcher's eyes. The blue of those eyes became predatory, like shark-infested water. The denim of the young man's jeans, etched so vividly in the watcher's retinas, it was toned with faded gradients of blue that accentuated the graceful masculinity of the adonis as he attempted to step a bold terpsichore amongst a spontaneously open space.
Attention was caught, eliciting cheers and catcalls from all directions.
The young man tossed his head back and laughed.
The watcher was entranced by this. The crossed fingers clenched tightly against one another in anticipation. The pupils of the eyes became more ravenous than ever.
Meanwhile, the musicality of Erik Hassle continued,
"I'm standing where you left me,
You better come and get me,
I'm standing where you left me,
I'm right here where you left me, yeah!"
He wore an off-white, dust-coloured dress shirt, barely translucent and embroidered with silver and black threads in the curling shapes of serpentine dragons. Leviathanic art sat on his shoulders like epaulets and danced down his chest. At the neck, three buttons were undone, thus exposing his collar bone. A drop of sweat rested there.
The watcher lost focused, mind occupied with the imagining of kissing the flesh exposed there. Yet when focused, a higher plane of tranquility hung around the young man's countenance like a vivid hallucination, blurred only slightly by the alcohol in the young man's system. The calm and euphoric state the watcher observed in the young man piqued further intrigue, drawing one's bottom to the edge of one's seat.
Another verse began,
"Empty heart, empty bed,
Been so long, since I last left,
Never knew what I was in for...
Still in shock, kill the clock,
Nothing lasts forever,
What the hell am I doing here?"
The blue stare penetrated the tranquility, and squinted not with face but with thought, searching the mental clout for more. The overwhelming complexity of what lay below the surface of a person's thoughts felt like a dive beneath water without taking a breath. This the watcher seldom sought. And as a plethora of senses, thoughts, feelings, memories, personas and archetypes, some tangible and some not, flooded the watcher's awareness; a struggle occured as something secret and personal was reached for.
Pain reeled through the watcher's head. Neck and back tensed, head arching back and eyes casting down just to stay on target.
The watcher gazed.
The watcher ached.
The watcher hurt.
The watcher desired.
Then, words met the watcher's ears in a familiar voice, "I need you. We're in danger, Darrion too. It would seem we have an enemy."
The watcher's white hood shook and fell back, exposing red freckles, blond hair and a hairless, boyish face that was full of youth. Long hair fell back in braids and curtained cascades. He smiled despite his pain. "Hello, Shiki."
The chorus repeated, and Shiki felt like she was standing alone.
"Did you hear what I said, Lenny?" she asked. Acne seemed to haunt her face, flanking a bulbous nose. Her messy hair had too much body.
The dazed blond had his eyes on the dancing clubbers. "I think so. But Bryan is watching me." But his mind was spinning, distracted, trying to process what it had learned from his invasive stare. It was like a word he was trying to read, marred with dried mud he had to polish away.
The recording of Erik Hassle began to sing the bridge,
"Oh my God, this is too intense,
It makes no sense,
This isn't me, all this weakness,
It makes me so sick..."
The young woman glanced resentfully at the security camera in the corner. "We can lose Bryan in the dancers, dart into the bathrooms and climb out the windows."
"W-will you be R-Rosa or Sh-Shiki on the other side?" he fumbled along.
"I will be a shadow in the night. Nothing less. And I brought something for you to wear too. We'll ditch our stuff in the dumpster for now. This demands our A-game."
"Does this have something to do with Gavin's unavailability?"
The diva in disguise scoffed. "Lenny, I really think you need better friends than Gavin."
"A pity party's still a party," said Lennox, as he listened to the chorus repeat a final time.
Shiki smiled coyly before hoisting her best friend off his stool and twirling his slender, elflike frame against hers. "Grab my hips."
"Excuse me?" he exclaimed flamboyantly, waving a hand about that was clad in a fingerless rainbow glove that covered his forearm.
"Just do it!" Shiki hissed, as the song that had been playing came to an end.
His arms snapped into place, as ordered and as if spring-loaded.
"Dance with me," she whispered into his ear.
"Faggot haggot," Lenny grumbled, too loudly, as he began to shake his hips against hers while they shuffled into the crowd. In the corner of his eyes, he saw the camera tilt towards them.
New Young Pony Club's new single began over the speaker,
"Kissing your hand,
Kissing your hair,
I'm making you smile,
Why am I doing that?"
Shiki frowned through her mask at the realization that she was dancing to some of Rosa's competition.
"I like you a lot,
I guess I forgot,
I don't like you much now!"
Then, she felt a queer hardness against her torso, "Is there a pistol in your pocket? 'Cause that'd be more useful tonight than a.... y'know..."
As the first verse repeated, Lennox's face reddened, but he remained silent as he looked over Shiki's shoulder. Don't flatter yourself or your ugly alterego, he thought. His enamoured state was not her doing.
"Laa la, la laa,
Words go too far,
Why can't we say,
When it's dark?
The sticks and stones,
Still play them hearts,
Why can't we say?"
There was something faintly Hispanic about the young man who had caught his eyes twice before. It wasn't just the couture. The angle of his face, the tone of his skin, the blacks, beiges and browns that painted his countenance.
Northern Spain, less Arabic influence from the Muslim invasion?
His eyes pulled at childhood memories of Cuban warmth that sat just beneath the surface of the other man's mind. He gleaned that it was Cuba, where the young man had grown up until the age of ten.
The lyrics whispered quite faintly,
"Looks like you've lost a girl...
Looks like you've lost a girl,
Looks like you've lost a girl...
Looks like you've lost a girl,
Which as the wings unfold..."
And then another whisper of,
"Ooh oooh hoo,
Ooh oooh hoo,
Ooh oooh hoo,
Ooh ooh hoo hoo-ah!"
Lenny lost sight of the young man. With eager vigilance, he cast his gaze in search of a clue as to where the man had gone.
"I want to pretend,
I want to pretend,
The shape of the past,
Could walk in the present tense!
I'm shaking my head,
I've certainly said,
I don't like you much now!"
"Dance toward the bathrooms," she whispered to him.
"I'm trying!" Lenny lied.
A moment passed. The song, Lost A Girl, continued to play, repeating parts they'd already heard with scarcely a difference.
"Ow!" exclaimed Lenny. "You don't have to grab my ass!"
Shiki backed away, frowning once more. "I didn't! I swear!"
"Hey there, you," said a smooth and confident voice, full of depth. Strong hands, with tiny black hairs, landed softly upon Lennox's hips at that moment. They pulled him back against a body he couldn't see. "You've been watching me for quite some time, eh heh? Looks like you've lost a girl!"
"Good thing a girl's not what I'm after," said Lenny, as if it was not plain to see.
Dejected, Shiki sneered. She didn't like the way he quoted the lyrics. Priding herself as a found woman, she knew she was anything but a lost girl. The real lost girl was Darrion's, and needed saving.
Lenny sensed this urgency in her as he looked back at Rosa. "Write your number on my arm, I've got to go. A friend needs our help."
"Really? I haven't got a pen," came the reply. He opened his cellphone. "You first."
Lenny told him his number, and it was entered into the other man's phone.
Before he was even done, Shiki had begun to tug him away, dancing a bee line toward the bathroom doors. It was a moment before he complied.