"Hey, wait!" a voice called out from a few feet apart. A young male voice with a dreadful American accent. "I know these girls, they're in my class! Hey, how are you? Hey, sorry guys, they're with me."
And from the group of guys emerged a Randall Crowley they barely recognized at first, dressed as he was in a leather jacket and a black shirt bearing the ugly picture of a rattlesnake with the word PANTERA printed in big red letters. The other men lost interest in them and went their own way.
"Crowley?" Sally asked in shock. "What are you doing here so late?"
"Could ask you the same, I guess."
"Yeah, but we're not drinking, or smoking!" she replied as she noticed the small cigar in his hand.
"Bah, so what? Used to do that all the time, back home. We're cowboys, you know! And, I thought, since I'm stuck in this damn rainy country for a while, better take the opportunity to enjoy some British hardcore! You're coming to the show?"
"Aw, no thanks, I think we're going home, now. Seen enough already."
He laughed. "What, going home, just the two of you, at night in Soho? Don't bullshit me! Tell you what, you come to the show with me, and then I'll walk you home. How does that sound? I'll even buy you drinks if you like, Ma's gone for two weeks and she's left me quite an allowance."
Seeing they didn't really have a choice, they joined him. The club was dark and hot as an oven, and smelled of sweat. Randy led the girls to the bar as soon as they entered and ordered three beers. They each had a glass in their hands before they could protest. Feeling it would be rude to refuse his generosity, they tried to drink. It was bitter, and too sparkling, and didn't taste that great, but after a few sips, they felt a bit warm inside and laughed at all of Randy's jokes, even the bad ones. The show itself was an awful mess of way too loud guitars, with a singer who sounded like he was spitting his lungs out, and the people were all doing this scary dance where they ram into each others, but even if they hated the music, they kind of enjoyed this mysterious American boy's attention, and they realized they were actually having a good time.
When the show ended, the three of them took the bus back to Richmond, and Randy insisted to walk the girls all the way to their homes. Sally living a bit further apart from Rebecca, she soon ended up alone with the American. There was no-one else in the street. Sally was so nervous she kept staring at her feet, and trembling.
"You cold?" he asked.
"Yeah, a bit. Didn't know I would be out so late..."
And before she could say anything else, she had Randy's leather jacket on her shoulders. She protested, arguing he would get cold now, but he said he would rather freeze to death than see a pretty girl shiver. Now she felt very hot on her face, and she began to play with the strap of her bag to avoid making eye contact. They kept going without a word until they reached Sally's home.
"It's here!" she said. "Here's your jacket, Randy, and... thanks. That was a great night. Okay, now I'll have to sneak in my bedroom, but I guess they've already noticed I didn't come home the whole evening, so I'll soon know what Hell feels like!"
"Sorry," he chuckled, "can't help about that. Well, good luck anyway, and... if you wanna go out again, here's my number. Good night, Sally!"
For a few moments she stood there on the threshold, watching him go on his way while lighting another of his small cigars. Then the cold reminded her of her situation and she went inside silently, knowing who would populate her dreams tonight.