Chapter 8 – Alyssa
“Get a whole round!” Cher yells over the throbbing club music. “No, I said a whole round! Good Mother Mary!” The server gestures to her ear one last time, but the music is so damned loud that even I can barely hear Cher… and she’s sitting right next to me, like I’m her best friend or something.
The server spits something back at us.
“Oh my God! Not spinning around! A WHOLE ROUND!”
Finally, the server understands that the five of us want a round of drinks to start our evening with. I’m not sure what we’re getting. A round of tequila? Probably. It’s not Pabst Blue Ribbon, that’s for sure, even though half of Portland is probably crying for one right now.
This place is way too swanky for store-bought beer.
Preston Bradley loves his nightclubs, bars, and strip joints. He owns like ten of each in Oregon alone. Blue Sky is his latest venture that opened earlier this year, and caters to the hip 20s crowd that I belong to. (Well, maybe I’m not hip, but you know what I mean.) It’s not a huge place, but then again, few places in Portland are. Instead of volume, this club is making mad money off drinks and the local celebs who frequent it because of the great food and request-friendly DJ.
Every table is VIP, or at least makes you feel like you’re VIP. Our seven-person table is surrounded by carefully crafted iron barriers that gives us a vague sense of privacy as we gab about sex, shopping, and school. You know, the three Ss of the average college girl. Both Cher and another girl are in sororities and talk up the pledging that happened earlier this semester – that they missed, because they were working their asses off at Bradley & Marcus for so little pay we probably don’t have to pay tax on it.
Three of us have boyfriends, but one wouldn’t mind breaking up with hers or cheating on him with some hot guy tonight. There are quite a few good looking guys here. The night is young at eight in the evening, but I definitely smell cologne and aftershave as guys in fitted T-shirts and tight jeans filter in with high-fives and knowing looks.
Most of the men here tonight are athletic. Maybe they play for one of the two pro sports teams, or they’re student athletes from another school. Can’t be sure. All I know is that they look loaded even though they’re wearing casual clothes. Most of them are covered in tattoos. Some of them bring dates with them, but most are stag. The other women who come in are likewise looking for a good time. A small bachelorette party explodes in the far corner of the room. Lots of guys elbow each other and waggle eyebrows. That is until they find us, anyway.
The girl sitting at the far edge of our booth is named Heather. The mousiest of us all, if I’m being honest. She’s only slightly older than me but has a worldly look in her eyes the moment a man approaches her. She glances at his jeans before chomping on her lip with a shit-eating grin.
“Wanna dance?” That’s all he says. Wow.
The rest of us goad her on to dance with him. Before any of us can say bon voyage, Heather is off to grind against some footballer inked from head to toe and with a package that says he’s been in a few women. To be fair, Heather looks comfortable enough with him even without a second drink that I’m thinking she’s not a virgin. At all.
“Lucky,” Cher sneers. Our second round of drinks arrive. “Let’s toast to Heather getting plowed in the back alley tonight.” She holds up her drink, and we follow suit. “And let’s toast to our sweet Alyssa.”
I almost spit my drink back out. “Come again?”
“Come on, girl. You’re boning the boss. We all know it. You think we don’t know that you ain’t getting his billionaire D on the reg now?”
Apparently, everyone else has drunk enough now, because they sagely nod as if they’ve been thinking the same thing this whole time. I haven’t drunk enough. I need a third drink before committing to sharing any of my personal information, let alone about Julian!
“Tell us,” someone named Lizzie says. “How big is he? We’ve got a pool going. Heather says he’s eight inches. I think he’s a full ten.”
Cher snorts beside me. “Please. Six. Tops. He’s compensating.” She looks at me. “Well? How big?”
“How big is wh… oh. You mean that.”
They look at me, expectantly.
“I have no idea.”
“Come on!” they all yell in unison.
“You’re such a lucky bitch,” Lizzie says, already tipsy. “That man struts around the office barking orders and threatening to chop off everyone’s heads, and all I can think is that I can’t wait for him to call me into his office for a spanking.”
I shift in my seat.
“Fuck spanking. I want him to fuck me,” says Jackie, the fifth girl in our group. She’s the oldest out of us all, a nice and haggard twenty-five. “He looks like a power driller.” She slams her palm against the edge of the table and uses her other hand to mimic hot, raw doggy-style sex. “Am I hot or cold here, Alyssa?”
I’m so red that I can’t even blame the alcohol on my complexion.
“What I want to know is why you?” Cher scoffs. “If he wanted to fuck an intern, you’d think he’d pick me.”
“You would say that, Cher. You’re so up your own ass.”
“I’m only saying. I’m way hotter than Alyssa.”
Both Jackie and Lizzie see how uncomfortable I am and decide to vindicate me through Cher. “Not everyone is into you, Cher! There’s a reason you don’t have a boyfriend! It’s ‘cause you’re a bitch, and Alyssa isn’t.”
“You’re the bitches,” she mumbles. “Besides, Mr. Marcus isn’t really my type. I’m more of a Mr. Bradley kind of girl.”
“Now that’s the real surprise.”
Heather stumbles back toward our table, her visage lush with dance fever and probably whatever fever the footballer covered in tats gave her. “Oh my God, you guys! That man practically fucked me standing up! With our clothes on!”
“My turn,” Jackie says, getting up. “Someone find me a dick to suck. Mama’s got an oral fixation in need of placating.”
“These are the straightest guys in the world,” Heather continues. “They’re all DTF and looking for their hookups of the night. Get. Going.”
“Don’t you have a boyfriend?” I ask Lizzie.
“Fuck him! I’m breaking up with him right now!”
I think that’s the drink talking. I think.
Even the alcohol is starting to get to me, and I’m not a super lightweight. But what can I do, besides refuse another round right now? Cher gets a third drink before mumbling about finding someone to screw that night.
“You don’t know how good you’ve got it,” she mumbles to me. We’re the only two left at the table. Don’t know why she didn’t join the others. “Having a hot and rich boyfriend? Ugh. What I would do and who I would kill.”
“Did you mean what you said?” I can’t believe I’m opening up this kind of conversation with her. “About crushing on Mr. Bradley?”
“Why do you care? You gonna hook me up with him?”
I honestly can’t see them as a couple. Mr. Bradley is so carefree (compared to Julian, anyway) that someone as uptight as Cher would drive him up the wall after a while. I’ve also never seen him around women who look as posh as her. Cher is off-the-runway old-money-heiress pretty. Mr. Bradley likes his women a bit more down to Earth from what I can tell. “I mean, I could probably put in a good word,” I say. “But he’s really against Mr. Marcus going against HR with me.”
“So I keep hearing.” Cher snorts into her empty glass. “So it’s true? You and Mr. Marcus are a real deal?”
“He’s my boyfriend, I guess.” There’s no guessing on my side, but I have to be careful with what I say. I don’t need Cher knowing every sexy detail of my relationship.
“You guess? Girl, either you are or you aren’t.”
“I guess we are then.”
She’s about to say something else to me when two of the hot men dancing on the floor approaches our table.
“Ladies!” A dark-skinned hunk with shorn hair and two piercings in both ears leans against our table. His buddy, a Portland-blond with more tats than an actual tattoo artist, waggles his eyebrows at us, as if that’s supposed to turn us on. “What are you two lovely vixens doing at this table by yourselves? Your friends are over there having fun.” He jerks his thumb toward the dancefloor, where Heather, Lizzie, and Jackie are in the middle of a muscle-bound-ape sandwich. The shrieking and laughter coming from their midst gives me shivers. “Come dance with us. We’ll show you a good time.”
“Sorry, I’m taken,” I say. “But she’s not.” I nudge Cher.
“Oh, but we want both of you! Come on. Your guy doesn’t have to know.”
What if “my guy” is the business partner of the man who owns this place? Ha! They wouldn’t believe me. “He’ll find out. He’s got eyes and ears everywhere.”
Sure enough, a man wearing all black approaches our table. “Do you gentlemen need help? The lady says she doesn’t want to dance.”
This isn’t a bouncer. Well, not one employed by the club, anyway. Even Cher instantly recognizes one of Mr. Marcus’s head bodyguards. No doubt he’s been assigned to tail us. I mean, me. Fuck.
“Hey, man, this is our table to work.”
“You’re not ‘working’ anyone. Particularly not Ms. Pendleton.” He nods toward me.
“It’s okay, Stu.” I put on a fake smile to make sure the bodyguard knows I’m not threatened. “They were mostly flirting with Cher here. You remember her from the office, yeah?”
He keeps his muscular arms crossed and says nothing. Duh, he knows Cher. I’m sure he knows the names and backgrounds of everyone working in the office. It’s sort of his job.
“I’m not interested right now,” Cher says. “Maybe later.”
The guys tuck their tails between their legs and go hit up some other table. Our friends wave at us from the dancefloor. Stu backs off into the shadows. I turn to Cher and say, “Sorry. I think he’s here because of me.”
She doesn’t say anything. Not until the server comes by and she orders us more drinks.
I know I shouldn’t have a third drink. Two is my limit if I’m out partying. Two regular drinks, and I’m tipsy enough to have fun, but sober enough to make sound, moral decisions about my life and relationships. Three? And I’m like my old friends on the dancefloor, grinding ass against random dick and hoping to get laid. (Obviously, I never got laid. Never had the guts for it, even when I had three drinks in me. And now I’ve got a boyfriend. Oh well.) So I really shouldn’t have this third drink. I know I shouldn’t. Especially with Stu babysitting me tonight.
I do it. I have a third drink. I mean, Stu is babysitting me, right? Cher downs her drink and says we should go dance together. I think… why not? Nobody will care if I’m dancing with my friends and having a good time in my sparkly tube dress I bought on the cheap a year ago. It’s scratchy, I’m sweating, but I’m also half-drunk and don’t give a fuck. Bring on the strobe lights and the thrumming club music!
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what happens. As soon as we hit that dance floor, it’s not her and me anymore. Cher is there, but so are about three other guys who hone in on us and decide it’s time to move in on some hot asses in club dresses. We’re drunk, right? This is what happens when people get drunk and wanna bone each other!
It’s like… I know Stu is there. I know Julian has told him to keep guys off me. I know he’s been told that I have a no-fraternization-with-other-men clause in our stupid relationship contract. But damnit, I’m twenty-one and wanna party!
No way am I gonna sleep with these guys. I’m barely going to dance in between them. Maybe tell them they’re hot and accept a compliment if they tell me that I’m hot. Hey! Julian can’t be the only guy who thinks I’m a smoking hot beauty! Maybe a girl likes to hear it from other guys once in a while? It’s good for my confidence, damnit.
All it takes is one guy brushing against my ass, and suddenly the party is over.
“Excuse me.” Stu puts a firm hand on the guy’s arm. “I don’t believe you have permission to do that, sir.”
Everyone stops dancing around us. Except for me. I’m still happily hopping to the beat and hoping for someone else to compliment me in my hot dress.
When I finally stop moving, it’s only because I’ve realized that everyone else isn’t moving anymore. Nobody except the guy Stu has put his hand on – because he throws a drunken punch.
At least my Friday night is interesting?