"Nope, I'm good"
"C'mon Lee "
"It's just one drink"
"Yeah, just have one"
These shrill, loud voices had been on constant repeat in my ear for the past twenty minutes, occasionally emphasized with a dramatized sigh or exchange of annoyed looks between each other. They were only an excerpt of the real volume of conversation and noise being discharged all over the club.
New Years Eve in California. The softly illuminated sky was lined with stars and the random swirl of a distant galaxy; the air charged with excitement and magic. Surely this was on every girl's bucket list but instead of being out on a beach or at a famous monument for a New Years kiss, I was stuck in a dingy bar lost in the large percentage of shade and drowned out by nauseating music. I mean, based on interior design standards, it wasn't that bad. The comfortable, enclosed seating areas made just for you and your private party, an unlimited drink tab , Californian guys struggling to cope with the fact that for once they weren't topless; although they'd quickly adapted, most of them dressed in such tight suit shirts that they could easily be classed as a safety hazard.
This, however, still wasn't how I pictured spending the last few hours of 2013. I sat, cornered by the row of bottles littered on our table and the impatient faces of my companions. I shook my head weakly yet again declining their offer.
"Aleesia" Lore drawled, teasing my name into one long syllable.
My mouth was poised, ready to repeat my shed load of excuses before being suddenly interrupted.
"Hot guy" Kya hissed. Instantly, all three of my friends, bearing very close resemblance to meerkats, shot their heads up, scanned the area and plummeted back down in a matter of moments.
"He's coming over"
He was the seventh guy to approach our table tonight. Sitting with my back to him as he reached our seating area, I rolled my eyes as my ears were filled with the usual deep and annoyingly luscious voice beginning to speak.
"Ladies" I could sense the smugness in his smile, "Couldn't help but notice four beautiful women over here...but no men?"
Kya giggled excessively at his lame comment. I rolled my eyes again.
"How about a dance?"
My back was to him but I could immediately sense what he was...He was just like the rest. A slick, sexy asshole. Lore fluttered her heavily made up eyelashes at him indicating it was a definite yes from her.
A tanned, expensive watch wearing hand slithered into the view of my right eye and grabbed ahold of Lore's small hands, swinging her gently away from our table and onto the dancefloor. I sighed wondering what had possessed me to become friends with these easily-impressed lot.
"Don't worry Lee. We'll find someone for you" Kya consoled me assuming my exasperated sigh was down to wishes of securing my own man. She couldn't have been further off than she was. I shook my head.
"I need water". I bustled away from our secluded yet ever so prominent table. Lore had picked it especially because the subdued lighting was bright enough to highlight the contour lines on her perfectly poised cheekbones yet dim enough to throw an element of shade and mystery around us that somehow seemed to attract men more. Don't worry, I didn't understand it either.
At the bar, there were several empty stools. Some of them had been occupied by those who were now on the dancefloor. Most, however, belonged to those who had now gone off to find a quiet place to hook up with the first willing stranger girl. That's what kind of a place this was- definitely not my scene.
I wondered briefly which seat Lore's chocolate guy sat in and how many girls he had had that night before her.
"One water please" I requested to the bartender. He hesitated, taken back by the fact I hadn't ordered any form of alcohol, but quickly set off retrieving a glass, pouring glistening squares of ice inside, filling it with sparkling water and popping in a black straw for good measure.
The club didn't have many windows, perhaps to throw people off the fact that it was time they should be heading home. There was one large window adjacent to the bar allowing the beauty of the night in California to seep through. The stars were out, just as I guessed, and I could just sense the typical American breeze from where I was sitting.
You're a long way from home.
As soon as the thought entered my mind, I catapulted it out. The fact that I was missing all my friends and family tied in with my frustration of being stuck at this shitty club was sure to bring tears of anger to my cheeks if I thought about it long enough.
I remained at the bar stool, instead focusing on desperately trying to avoid attention from both my girls and the guys. It took about six minutes in total, when my water had reached about halfway of the glass, before Kya and Hailie made their way over to me.
"Well if this isn't unsociable, I don't know what is" Hailie scolded. "C'mon Lee, lighten up, relax and enjoy yourself"
"With what? When you said you wanted to go clubbing, I assumed dancing and messing about, not drowning ourselves with alcohol in the dark and sleeping with sleazy men" I snapped, finally voicing my disgust
"Sleazy?" Hailie looked offended, "These men are not sleazy! They're wearing..." Her voice dropped to a whisper, "...suits. These men are rich, not sleazy"
"What's the difference?" I could hear the sulky tone I was complaining in but I couldn't help it, I wasn't going to conform around them. These men were dirt. I wasn't for one minute going to associate myself with them.
"Besides," Kees protested, "everyone is dancing". All three of our faces swung to face the dancefloor where couples inhabited every square inch grinding and slowly dry humping each other into their own little worlds. I sighed.
"This is not how I wanted to spent New Years Eve. I want to go home" I stated bluntly,
"Whatever" Hailie hissed, "finish your drink and we'll get our jackets"
They sauntered back over to our table gloomily. I swivelled in my chair back to the bar and took another gulp of the icy water, finishing it quickly.
The ambience of the room had died a bit as most of the newly formed couples headed away to find a bedroom. I scanned the room looking for an update as to whether we were going to get going soon or not. To my surprise, Kees and Hailie had settled back down onto our table.
I stormed over, "Have you forgotten what you came over for? Your coats. Let's go"
Kees and Hailie stared up at me nonchalantly as I waited for a response.
"Let's go" I slammed my fists down on the table before jumping back at the loud noise it made.
My actions had become heavy and aggressive all of a sudden. My ears pounded with the roar of silence, as if every noise had been horribly amplified a thousand times over. I felt the creases in my face contort into a frown and then a painful smile. I began to laugh raucously and uncontrollably as my head spun. As my vision began to blur into a murky mess, Kya and Hailie stepped into sight, sharing a grin between them before grabbing an arm each and holding me steady.
Then I was gone.