As hard as she tried keeping her eyes from wandering, it only took a minute before she realized that the guy sitting next to her was not dressed audaciously. In fact, his blue henley and jeans seemed wildly out-of-place inside that club. He must have felt her stare, for he turned around before Anaina could avert her eyes and gave her a bit of a smile, “First time here?”
Her shoulders sagged, “Is it that obvious? My clothes must scream, 'I'm a rube!'”
He laughed lightly and smiled, “Not at all. A touch conservative, maybe, when compared to some of the clientele, but a very solid PAINT THE TOWN RED ensemble. Sexy but not slutty. Well done.”
“Yes, very well done,” she agreed, “I have been dressing myself for years now. I'm a pro.”
He nodded self effacingly, “I probably had that coming.”
“Speaking of conservatively dressed,” Anaina nodded at the man's current wardrobe, “you seem a wee bit under dressed compared to the rest of this crowd. What gives? You're not even trying to be voted 'Most Interesting?'”
The man laughed and rolled his eyes, “Certainly not.”
“Ah, but you'll be out five hundred bucks. Not exactly chump change.”
He sighed, “because I'm not interesting enough.”
“Then why are you here? There's a lot of, um... competition tonight.”
He returned his attention back to his nearly-empty beer glass and shrugged with his eyebrows, “It's like this every night.”
Now that was surprising, and Anaina's face reflected that as she asked, “How often are you here?”
“Most nights,” he said.
“Wow. And you don't care about winning the five hundred dollars? You must be independently wealthy to be able to piss away five hundred bucks every night.”
He barked out a sharp peal of laughter, “I'm not wealthy,” and caught the bartender's attention with a peace sign. The guy responded with a nod and placed two mugs of beer in front of Anaina's new acquaintance. She cocked a curious eyebrow at her two-fisted-drinking friend, but he returned her gaze with a laugh.
“I am not an alcoholic! This one's for you.”
She grinned and sidled up next to him, “Thanks. What is it?”
“Of course,” she smirked at the Most Interesting joke and asked, innocently, “but will it help me recoup my five hundred bucks?”
He chuckled and took a sip, “Couldn't hurt.”
She took a drink, then, with no more pressing things to say, simply nodded along with the music and allowed the craziness to continue around her. She was enjoying herself. Then, it struck her that she didn't know what to call her new friend, so she asked, “Hey, what's your name?”
“Oh! Sorry,” he brushed his hand against his chest, as if wiping off crumbs, and extended his hand, “William Doles.”
She took his hand, “Anaina Hendricks. Well, Anaina Mays.”
William nodded, “Nice name. Both of them.”
She looked down into her glass and suddenly wished to be someplace very far from there. She said, in a low and embarrassed tone, “It's a long story.”
William nodded jovially and replied, “It usually is,” but did not inquire further. He apparently was going to leave that at that.
“I'll let you in on a little secret,” he leaned in close and continued in a quiet voice, almost a whisper, and shielded his mouth with his hand oh-so-conspiratorially.