While I was standing by the make-shift bar, feeling incredibly awkward, and downing the Budweiser in my hand, I took in all the scenery. Looking around gave the impression that I was at least doing something other than watching the crowd of dancing teenagers with malcontent. Unbeknownst to me, the most beautiful and mysterious girl, in possibly the whole world, was making her way over to me. Or at the very least, to the bar behind me.
Monja was dancing, if you could call it that, in the middle of a large group while her partner in crime was having a conversation with a seemingly shit-faced fourteen year old. We were in the middle of nowhere, with the tall grass and occasional trees not giving much protection from the eyes of the highway. Luckily, it seemed that no one had anywhere to be at twelve-thirty in the morning on a Monday.
The sound system was no more intricate than an iPod plugged into a truck, with the volume turned all the way up; and the make-shift bar was just a fold up table with bottles of various beverages, all of which were of the alcohol sort, stacked on top. The moon shone down sort of like a spot light, and it really was quite interesting to see all the people trying to dance and show off.
"Âloh, nice pajamas," a voice noted. It was the voice of a breeze through wind chimes, a voice of water running over smooth rock, cool and easy. I remember everything about the sound of her voice, the musical lilt of her tone played over in my mind like a song on repeat. Even though we were both speaking French, I could tell from her accent that she wasn't Quebecois, or probably even Canadian.
What I thought the first time I saw Lana:
1) Oh my God, she is gorgeous.
2) She looks about my age, good I can't put up with any more drunk fifteen-year-olds.
3) Damn it, I'm in my pajamas. Way to make a first impression.
On a related note, I'd only just embraced the fact that I was into girls and not guys. Therefore, I didn't have many practice hours logged when it came to flirting with other girls (or anyone for that matter). I just stood there, eyes wide, clutching my beer as she made her way closer and closer to where I stood. My heart was beating quite quickly and my palms were starting to get sweaty. "Thanks," I finally managed to say. "Nice... Hair." I wasn't lying. Her hair was dark and beautiful, curled into loose ringlets that framed her even, tanned skin. She laughed lightly as she reached past me and got a shot glass of something.
"Voulez-vous danser? Would you like to dance?" she asked, after downing the shot and putting the glass back on the table. The question was open ended as she began walking from where we stood back to the trampled grass that passed for a dance floor. Something about her graceful walk and twinkling green eyes was so captivating that I couldn't help but put down my beer and follow her. When she noticed that I was following she turned around and reached out a hand, helping me through the crowd. Over the blasted remix version of whatever song was playing, she said, "My name is Lana Falzorano, what is yours?"
"Amelia Chen," I replied, noticing that she was still holding my hand as she led me to the edge of the crowd.
"It's nice to meet you, Amelia. Let me ask you, why are you at a party like this on a Monday morning?" The fact that I didn't fit in there was probably written as clearly on my face as it was written on Lukas' that he didn't like socializing.
"I'm here because of them," I said pointing a finger at the disinterested looking Stephen and the probably very drunk Monja. "Why are you here?"
"To pick up chicks, and I guess it worked," she replied with a sweet smile, that's when I noticed the bright pink lipstick. Her love for it was the first thing I found out about her.
We swayed rhythmically to dubstep songs, with her always leading the conversation while I just followed. Around us the drunk teenagers danced solipsistically with more of their sloshing drinks landing on the ground than in their mouths (which was a good thing for them, not so much for the poor trampled plants).
What seemed like a very short time later, but which I could measure to be roughly forty minutes by song count, Stephen called me over. "We should go back. Work starts in six and a half hours; I need at least three hours of sleep before I can put in an eight hour shift," he said with a slight grin on his face. From his clear brown eyes, I could tell he probably hadn't touched a drop of alcohol all night. The trashed fourteen-year-old was now commenting on her drunken state to anyone who would listen, while at the same time becoming even more intoxicated. As a responsible adult, the right thing to do would have been to call the police the moment I'd stepped out of the car. But that may have invoked some questions as to why I was out there in the first place, with a stolen car, and alcohol bought with stolen money.
"What's going to happen to all of them?" I asked, motioning my head slightly in the direction of the frantically dancing crowd. With the music blasted and a position so close to the road, how could not one person have heard?
Stephen gave a shrug. "My guess is they'll wake up hungover and confused tomorrow, get picked up by their parents, and be grounded until further notice." Stephen laughed at his own little joke. I liked Stephen, I pictured him as a nice, normal sophomore. So why would he hang out with someone like Monja? I'd have to ask him that at a later date.
At that moment I finally remembered the beautiful girl with whom I'd been dancing only moments before. "Stephen, you'll never believe it! There's this girl, about my age, and she's..." As I turned in my spot looking for Lana, I came up empty. She must have slipped through the crowd. She seemed to be good at that. "Not here..." I trailed off. "Okay, you're right, we should go. You try to persuade Monja to lie down in the back seat and I'll be right there. You'll have to drive though."
"Why?" he asked, slight panic crossing his features.
"Because I've been drinking. Sorry, sorry, I know. I forgot," I amended under his judging glance. So much for Ms. Responsible. "It's not so bad. Have you ever driven before?" I asked.
"Yeah, with my dad down country roads. Never in the city."
"It's not much different. Just instead of looking out for deer you look out for pedestrians." At that I turned from Stephen and to the dance floor. With far less grace and ease, I made my way through the crowd to the other side. The trampled plants danced with the heavy base of the music, and my head thudded. It would be good to get out of there, I should have never have come in the first place. I just wanted to find Lana one more time: get a phone number, email address, or something. If I didn't find her again I could always look her up on Facebook, but I'd personally always found that a little stalkerish.
"Lana?" I called, my voice barely audible over the loud music.
A moment later my reply came. "Are you looking for me, ma belle?" she asked. "Let's dance again, I love this song." She held out a hand as an invitation but I had to shake my head. No matter how exhilarating it was dancing with Lana, I'd come on this trip to make money for university and I had a responsibility to do my work to the best of my abilities. That would be hard to do if I was fired on the first day for being hungover and late.
"I have to work in the morning."
"Quoi? You have to work and you're at a party? You Canadians sure are crazy," she commented.
"Can I see you again?" I asked, probably a little too hopefully.
From her jean pocket Lana pulled a crumpled piece of paper, then a small golf pencil. For a moment I speculated as to why she would carry around pieces of scrap paper and a golf pencil, but then it struck me that it was probably for just such a moment. She was prepared. She wrote something quickly down and passed it to me. A phone number. Her phone number. I'd actually convinced a beautiful, human girl to give me her phone number! Maybe I was better at this whole flirting things than I'd thought. "This is my number. Don't try to call me because the phone isn't my own. I will call you soon," Lana promised with a titillating smile. "Au revoir, Amelia."