We had been in the club for about an hour and I was starting to get drunk. My face began to feel warm and my voice slowed. I couldn’t hear shit and didn’t want to. I just wanted to get faded. A group of us from work had just landed a major client for our boss Trevor. As a reward he had taken us out for dinner, then for some after dinner drinks and now we were getting wasted at some none descript club in St Kilda.
As I started to drift from the group, my glass half empty I brushed past strangers. I placed the palm of my hand on their backs as I passed. I enjoyed the tactile pleasure and the ease in which it allowed me to move through the crowd. Soon I had managed to pull up next to a bar stool that overlooked the dance floor.
Next to me were a couple in their early 20s, she had light brown hair and was smiling whilst drinking what looked like one of those expensive vodka cocktails, he was a bruiser formidable in size. Then some old dude with a bad comb over and an expensive suit slide in next to me and nearly bumped my drink.
“Could ya move over mate?”
“Sure, I guess” was my reply. Shit, I was just getting comfortable. I felt him rub his arms and shoulders over my back as he fumbled pass me to the young couple. Thanks buddy I thought, but that big dude will fuck you up no doubt if you start rubbing and bumbling to him, even if you have a fancy suit. Then he walked up to the young woman, “Hey Coopy baby, come down with me to the bathrooms, I have a treat for you.” Fuck he looks old enough to be her dad, and then he kissed her. It kind of all made sense now he was her sugar daddy and that young guy was one of his stooges.
My mind began to wander, I started to think about ex girlfriends and drugs and why people have sex in toilets. I mean surely they can wait. I never had sex in a toilet and honestly wouldn’t, does that make me weird?
Then it happened, Claire from accounts moved on to the dance floor. She was wearing a pearl white cocktail dress that made her look like Hollywood starlet from the 40s. Even though the dance floor was packed Claire still had room to move. I mean she moved in her own way, effortlessly and with grace. To be honest if it wasn’t for Claire and the job market I would have quit long ago. But she had no idea how I felt. She had a long time partner and was nearly 28, marriage surely wasn’t that far off. Just thinking about that made me want to drink.
Then I heard Trevor calling out from over my shoulder “Where the fuck did you go, cunt? It’s your shout!” he was a nervous kid even though he was in his late 30s. He constantly needed to know what was going on and where everyone was. I mean he was the boss but come on. Anyways he marshalled me to the closest of the three bars in the club which was no mean feat I’m 6’3 and pretty solid.
There were bodies everywhere moving and sliding in to place heaving in and out. Hesitantly I asked Trevor what he wanted to drink. The kid always drinks bourbon so I shouldn’t have bothered asking him in hindsight. But he just looked me in the eye and hollered “Tequila shots and bourbon”. I thought to myself “Oh shit” he wants a big night, that shit was his nemesis, he knew it and so did I. He was going to get wrecked off that cheap Mexican shit and I would be left to pick up the pieces.
But hey fuck it, this was my going away party Trevor just didn’t know it yet. I had been writing copy for five years without a promotion and barely a bump in the pay-packet. It was time to move on and I felt empowered by this secret. No more kiss ass. This would be a big night, a very big night.
We smashed two shots of tequila each and then Trevor followed me back to where I was sitting before. The DJ started spinning R&B and the dance floor began to fill. Trevor then leant in to me with his Napoleonic swagger and cheap cologne and stated matter of fact “You know Claire is single now, eh”. My heart pumped so hard I thought it would burst. I thought to myself what should I do. I can’t ask her out tonight I would look drunk and desperate. But I can’t keep working for this prick and ask her later.
Just then Claire turned her head towards me. I could just make out her hazel eyes and platinum blond hair that glistened red and blue from the house lights. Then my stomach began to churn, I wasn’t sure if it was the grog or the emotion of knowing this could be one of the last memories I would have of her.
So in a drunken stupor I got up from my stool and that Kanye West song Mercy began to play over the speakers. I felt all the blood in my body ignite and my spine tingle, this was my moment and I was about to fuck it up.
As I walked up to Claire I began to dance slow and our bodies began to move close until we wear almost touching. I wanted to breathe her in and let her know how beautiful she is. But the best I could come up with was “You look great tonight Claire”. Claire paused and politely said “thanks”. Then I pushed further and said “no, really, you look hot” to be honest I just wanted to fuck her that night. Such a terrible game plan, but I had no one to run it by. Claire laughed and told me to stop hitting on her. I was too drunk to know if she was being sarcastic or not so in a confused state I wandered back to the bar. I looked at my phone from my pocket and I couldn’t tell if it was 3:00am or 4:00am the screen was blurry as shit, I was seriously wasted. It was time to go home before I made a bigger fool of myself.
I started to make my way to the entrance not sure whether I should quit or stick it out a week or two and see how things go with Claire. Just as I was walking past the bouncer to the taxi rank I heard Trevor calling out “Oi ya wanker, just leave me hanging. Claire and that wanna know where you went.” My first thought was to go back inside on the slim chance that Claire was looking for me as a rebound or something. Then I just blurted out to Trevor “I kind of kept hitting on Claire. So I’m gunna just go. You know before I make a fool of myself” I knew he wouldn’t empathise but I didn’t expect what would come out of his mouth next. He said “Yeah I had a crack at that slut too, told her I would give her a promotion. She wouldn’t have any of it. I’m going to fire that bitch on Monday”
I’m not sure what I heard first the crying or the thud. What I do know is my hand fucking hurt. I cracked Trevor right on the bridge of the nose then he stumbled and fell back against the Greek tavern that was adjacent to the club. And then Trevor started to get emotional. He was crying and bleeding and cursing all over the place.
The scene would have been comical if it wasn’t so tragic I put my hand out to help him up. I looked at him with sincerity and said “I’m sorry mate but you know you’re a bit of an arsehole”. All Trevor could say was “Well you didn’t have to break my fucking nose” he was right I felt like a thug. A feeling of remorse swept over me and combined with the biting chill of the early Melbourne morning. I felt hollow and numb, what had I done. I had just lost my job, there was no way I would be working at the agency after breaking the boss’s nose. Shit, he could put me up for assault, what would Claire think? Jesus, I’m such a dick head. Just then Trevor made it to his feet and smudged the blood from his face. Here we go round two I thought. But it wasn’t, yet again Trevor would surprise me “I’m sorry. She’s not a slut. I think she likes you mate.” I felt like hugging the bastard.
I figured this was my chance to make it up to him so I offered to take him back inside for a drink. Trevor accepted and we walked back pass the bouncer and made it to the bar. I helped Trevor clean himself up with some napkins just as Claire approached us “Jesus, what happened to you” she said looking at Trevor. Trevor replied with a dejected look in his eyes “I called some girl a slut”. In that moment Claire glanced at my knuckles, she could see that they were swollen and red. She moved over to me and gently placed a kiss on my cheek, I felt whole again. Claire then moved to get the bartenders attention and he asked her what she wanted to order which she replied “three waters”.
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