Lucas watched as the wind blew locks of Andrea’s thick hair across her face. She looked divine. The man drew his eyes away from her, and swilled the remaining beer around in his plastic glass. Beside him sat Ryan Garner, all broad shoulders and laughter from a horse.
The chemistry teacher watched Andrea shuffle into the nightclub. It was clear that the place was alien to her. In fact, he eyed her with a slight discontent; who was this plain girl who had enchanted (not to mention, bewildered) Lucas?
With his typical wave, Lucas sprang up to meet Andrea, then, having realised how silly he might have been looking, he slumped back down, turned the cutest shade of beetroot.
Andrea flinched at the booming music that was pumping out the flashing speakers. Everywhere was so bright, and overwhelming. The club was full of strange characters; some dancing asymmetrically to and fro on the sparkling linoleum dance-floor, others, like Lucas and Mr. Garner, were dining (complete with a never-ending flow of alcohol) in the mezzanine above. It was on the level below that the front door was located, and therefore, the two men had a view of Andrea before she could see them.
She finally set her eyes on Lucas lounging about in his sleek leather seat, at a table with Mr. Garner. She jumped at the second man's appearance, feeling awfully skittish today.
After the introductions, both Andrea and Lucas started to relax in each other’s company, and soon the conversation was in full flow:
“Tell her about the time you set the fire alarm off with a burnt piece of bacon!” giggled Lucas, in the midst of his third glass.
Andrea had barely touched the small glass of red wine in front of her, but she laughed nonetheless, delighting in the happiness that Lucas was spreading.
“You did what?”
“Well, I was doing an experiment for the year sevens,” Mr. Garner said slowly, rather proud of the obscure achievement, “There shouldn’t have been such a sensitive smoke alarm in the chemistry lab… And Belinda always says that I burn meat too easily… Or did she say that I burn the easy things, like meat…?”
What followed was a conversation pertaining to Mr. Garner’s wife and a bunch of anecdotes that slowly got more and more off-subject. Whilst Andrea sipped at her drink slowly, the men got more and more leathered as the night went on. It was that which caused Andrea to lose all track of time, as she tried to keep an eye on Lucas.
“Andrea, darling!” Lucas spiralled his hands above his head, “Did I ever tell you about the time when I was required to do that impromptu death-scene-thingy, for the kids’ library murder-mystery?”
She shook her head, realising that those moments would be no time to talk about Lucas’ OCD; in fact, she felt some fear of what he might say in his freer state of mind.
“You should be a man of the stage, Squire!” Ryan interrupted before his colleague could say any more.
“Stage? But what about my age? Our performance is for pupils only to...engage!” He chuckled, draining his glass.
“There, Andrea! That’s something for you to do for your birthday!”
“What, perform?” She asked, not getting his intoxicated point.
“No... The school is holding performances of ‘Twelfth Night’ all... Hmm...”
“Next week,” Mr. Garner pointed out.
“Yah, then. Tickets are £5 a piece, but, don’t worry, I’ll buy you yours. Call it a birthday gift, or something.”
“You’ll regret this in the morning,” the lady giggled.
“Just you wait, missy,” he replied in his light, southern accent.
“Speaking of which,” Mr. Garner interrupted, “I probably have to head home. Belinda might be wondering where I am.” He turned to Lucas, “I’ll see you on Monday, Sir.”
And then was promptly gone.
Andrea gazed across the table at Lucas. In the flattering night lights he looked simply gorgeous.
“Come on, let’s dance,” Lucas tugged at her hand, and out of the table.
“You know,” Andrea remarked as she was led onto the dance-floor, “You seem to have stolen the youth from your students. How do you stay so spontaneously fresh? I swear, you’re older than me, and yet tire far, far less.”
“I dunno. I’ve had many nights out, especially as a college student.” He giggled again, his laughter containing contagious hints of hyena-ness. “I like spending a good time (and often that means time becomes no object, and fades away) with my friends. I have a lot of good friends. Especially back home. And I have a big family to have a good time with. That’s Catholics for you.
“Perhaps, it’s just my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,” he added.
“We never did talk about that.”
“Leave it. I don’t want to talk. I am who I am; I do what I do. Let’s concentrate on celebrating your birthday, hey? Yay, birthdays!”
“Okay… I don’t really know what I’ve decided ye- wow!”
Lucas spun her in a tight circle, cutting off any conversation that she would be able to manage with any kind of quick moment. He then, in one swift, yet smooth, action, shifted his guiding arm so that he pulled Andrea in, whilst she was still at the end of her spin. All this gave Andrea a dizziness similar to that of inebriation; the light blindingly flashing in all directions, and the floor becoming ice under her low-heeled boots.
In Lucas’ arms, Andrea sighed, and clutched at his arm in order to stop herself toppling to the floor. He, expertly, knew exactly how to swing his arms around her shoulders and guide her body back to stability, closer to his warm body.
“Did I mention that I take dancing lessons?” he whispered.