Monday, Simtember 12, 2416 | Crypt’O’Night Lounge |Bay City, Califorsimia
Author’s Note: The following chapter is written from the perspective of Brendon Shore. The events in this chapter take place during the same time as the previous chapter, 2.19 Lost in Thought.
“Chemical explosions aren’t that dangerous!”
Brendon was content to stand at the other end of the counter, far away from the flaming alcoholic beverage. Ayesha was fearless. She had already asked him out, made a move in the car on the way to the club, and flirted with the bouncer to move them to the front of the line. And that was before the alcohol…
…the purple liquid swirling in a frosted blue glass emitting hot white flickers like a firecracker on new year’s eve… the flame crackling and tickling his nerves. He tried to avoid twitching at every snap of light. The fire both frightened and fascinated him. He could get lost there. He wouldn’t go back.
“I can watch from over here,” Brendon chuckled half-heartedly.
“Puh-lese!” Ayesha said, waving her hand. “It’s perfectly safe.”
He didn’t appreciate the judgmental eyebrow quirk from the bartender. He narrowed his eyes. What’s the harm of some little sparks? He edged closer to Ayesha.
“I’m sorry I forgot my wallet,” he apologized.
He felt like an idiot, making a woman pay for their drinks and appetizers. He had offered to turn the car around, but Ayesha had waved her little hand and assured him she had enough disposable income with her new job.
“Not to worry. I can cover ya,” Ayesha replied.
He rubbed the back of his neck. He still couldn’t help but feel foolish. Of all things to leave behind at the office! Stop apologizing, moron. It’s un-sexy.
“Seriously man, I got you covered,” Ayesha said, patting his shoulder.
“You’d think since I frequent this place I’d be farther up on their list,” he said the first thing that came to his mind, sliding onto the leather and metallic barstool and inviting her to do the same.
“Oh,” she laughed, covering her glass with her hand to put out the flame. “I imagine we would’ve got in here eventually. But I don’t have my assets for nothing.”
Brendon grinned in amusement, taking a sip of his non-inflamed Zen Zinger. His eyes trailed down her figure, her one-piece pant suit accentuating her curves, noticing the way her leg dangled and her toe taped the floor. He couldn’t help but appreciate her slim and supple form.
They talked for a few moments about nothing important – drinking in the atmosphere – the grey stone walls of the underground Crypt’o’Night Lounge, red and black and hints of chrome, and the irregular pattern of red carpet and black and grey painted wood added to the vigorous heat and mysterious energy of the room. The middle-aged, balding bartender with the horn-rimmed glasses continued to “ooo” and “ahhh” the crowd gathering around them with his pyrotechnic beverage tricks.
Brendon purposely propped his elbow on the black-marble countertop and turned his full gaze to Ayesha. He couldn’t help but admire her moxie. She was a tall cool glass of liquid courage. I wouldn’t mind drinking some of that if the opportunity arose. A smile played at his lips at the thought.
Ayesha declared she was famished and ordered two sizzling shrimp platters from a passing waitress. Brendon requested extra cayenne, stating he liked the additional kick. Ayesha giggled and said she was always game for the heat. His eyes trailed down the long slit in her pant suit just below her neckline as she leaned across the counter, amending her own order.
“What?” she grinned, leaning heavily into her own hands, blocking his view.
“Where has Kass been keeping such an exquisite female friend like you?” he flirted.
“I could say the same for you,” she returned to her straight posture.
“I wouldn’t use exquisite to describe myself,” he smirked.
“Not exquisite… but…” she trailed off, lapping up his physique like a hungry lone wolf in the woods.
Brendon didn’t mind. He appreciated the attention he still received from early twenty-somethings as a mid-thirties man. It made him feel vibrant and virile, in the spring of his youth. Ayesha was a bubbly fountain, full of life and energy. He needed this. It had been awhile since he had been on a serious date, more than just casual drinks with someone from the office, and it was a bonus that he hadn’t needed to do most of the work. Ayesha was eager to take him on.
“Al Simhara,” she said, interrupting his thoughts. “Though it really isn’t her fault I was stuck there for so long.”
“Well, I’m grateful you decided to grace us Simmians with your presence once more,” he said, finishing his drink and reaching for Ayesha as an escort. “Shall we head for our table?”
“Oh, what a gentleman!” she gushed, sliding off her barstool, interlocking their arms. “You don’t see many of those these days.”
It works every time, he thought, pleased with himself.
The lounge was busy so they were forced to sit at a table in the back corner near the women’s restroom. Ayesha made some funny joke about “quick escapes” if the evening was a dud. He laughed too. She was easy to be around and no doubt, easy on his eyes. They talked about trivial matters – the weather, the changing of the leaves, a magazine article she read, a newspaper article he wrote, and his fancy car. Brendon enjoyed watching her lip ring bounce up and down as she spoke, the club lights catching the gold at just the right angle. He remembered the feel of the metal sliding between his own lips as she laid one on him when they stopped at a stoplight. He had been surprised, but she was completely nonchalant about it, saying she had a theory.
“If I kiss the guy in the car on the way to dinner, I don’t have to wait to find out if we’ve got chemistry,” she had said.
“Oh,” he replied, his jaw slackening.
“Yeah, we don’t have to wait for the awkward tension to build up and I won’t have to go through a will-he-won’t-he moment,” she explained.
“We don’t have to waste any time or money if I decide he’s not that great and the whole thing keeps him on his toes never knowing what to expect from me. I prefer it that way.”
“Well,” he grinned. “How was I?”
“Since you weren’t prepared, I’d give you an eight.”
“I can live with that. It’s good right?”
She smiled, propping her elbow on the car door and staring out the window. “You’re still driving right?”
Their food came – and she handed the waitress two crisp twenties she had fished out from her top. He raised his eyebrows again, amused, and wondering what else she kept below the surface. They continued the small talk, but he didn’t mind. Anything to see her lip ring rise and fall like the swells of an ocean tide with her maroon lips curling around like the foam of the sea. He hoped he got the chance to kiss those lips again tonight.
“You hardly touched your food,” Brendon remarked.
“Oh, I ate earlier with Kass,” Ayesha explained.
Brendon tried to avoid thinking about Kass. She had seemed so agitated earlier this evening when she left work. He wondered why, but he figured she was probably tired. The last week had been hard for her with her accident and injuries and family in town.
He hadn’t wanted to worry Kass. The police had found one of the gunmen in Starlight Shores about to cross the border. According to his semi-respectable source, Brendon discovered the gunmen was one of two people in the vehicle who had crashed into the Wolfbane Tavern. While the guy wouldn’t talk, his tattoo indicated he was a member of the 24kTriads. Brendon had thought this news was odd since he thought the 24ks were mostly into loan sharking and money laundering and were rarely violent. Why they would drive into the tavern and start shooting people was beyond him. Unless, the thought suddenly occurred to him, the Wolfbane is in debt to the 24ks somehow, but why shoot the bartender girl? Why shoot at Kass? He made a mental note to check into the owner’s family connections. He also decided he wasn’t going to let Kass in on the discovery. She was tired and needed the recovery time.
Yeah tired, he told himself.
“We could’ve shared a platter,” he remarked.
“What?” she asked, cupping her ear.
“If you’d already eaten,” he clarified, leaning across the table.
She shrugged. “I thought I’d be hungry. Guess my eyes were bigger than my stomach. This is a good song.”
Her hand tapping her thigh to the music caught his attention. He wished his fingers were there instead, and that there was no fabric between them. Stroking her exposed golden glowing skin sounded enjoyable, like drizzled honey on his favorite pancakes.
“A really good song,” she added, bobbing her head.
“Yeah,” he agreed, pursing his lips to whistle the tune.
“You’re really good at that,” she leaned across the table, and stroked his arm. “How do you…” she tried to whistle but forced air just exited her mouth. “I could never do that.”
His hair tingled at her electric touch. “Uh, it’s easy, you just… well… I don’t know…” he laughed. “I’ve just always done it.”
“Let’s go,” she waved her arms wildly, beckoning him to the painted wood dance floor.
He joined her with pleasure, enjoying the idea of their bodies in closer proximity. Initially they were the only two. Everyone had crowded around the bar where one of the patrons had passed out after dancing on top of the counter. He didn’t mind.
“So you come here often?” she asked, rolling her shoulders back and forth like a rocking chair beckoning him to enter its space.
“Yes, sometimes,” he admitted, trying to keep his cool even if he could feel the heightened deluge in his veins. “I hear vampires frequent this place sometimes. I’m still hoping to catch a sound bite from Armando Roennigke.”
She gasped. “Seriously? The guy comes here? Whoa! That’s way hot.” Ayesha leaned closer to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “We might be rubbing shoulders with the king of vamps tonight.”
“I have yet to see him,” Brendon replied, invading her space, keeping his face a few inches from hers so he could lower his tone. “I’m told by the bartenders he rarely makes appearances in public. But supposedly this is his place ever since he was run out of Sim City back East. So you’re into vampires?”
Most people in Bay City tolerated vampires more than other supernaturals, and he supposed that was because they were still viewed as intelligent and mostly kept their Sim form. Others like blue-skinned genies, green-scaled mermaids, and hairy werewolves were not tolerated as much in the public eye. He didn’t want to tell Ayesha the real reason for frequently this locale, mostly because he wanted to have fun tonight. With the recent death of a certain strange and secretive socialite, he wondered if he really should keep up the eight-year obsession, but he wasn’t quite convinced she was really dead.
“So hot!” Ayesha whispered loudly, her breath tickling his ear bringing his thoughts back to the provocative partner he acquired for the evening. “Incentive to come back.”
He offered a suave smile. Ayesha wouldn’t be a bad cover… or dance partner… not bad indeed.
She trailed her hand down his back and stopped just above his waistline. He reached for her hips to pull her closer to his own as he could no longer resist the urge to kiss her again when a strange sound escaped from his body.
“Uh man! What was that?” she made a face.
He froze, his arms hanging limply in mid-air. Ayesha yanked her hands and arms back.
“Did you just pass… gas?” she asked with a little giggle.
He couldn’t believe it. He blanched as he staggered back.
Seriously Brendon. What is wrong with you? he berated himself.
“I’m gonna go get another drink,” she said, and he was unable to interpret her tone.
“Great idea!” he replied once he had collected himself, but then he proceeded to release yet another one.
“You’re really cutting the cheese!” she teased, but the laughter died before reaching her eyes.
“Those drinks,” he squeaked, and cleared his throat to sound more masculine. “Let’s go get ’em.”
He placed his hand on the small of her back and guided her through the couples who had joined them on the dance floor. Just as they were about to reach the bar, he ripped another more, more loudly than the last.
“Oh,” she covered her mouth, but she couldn’t conceal her giggle. “Third times the charm?” she gave him a friendly punch in the arm.
He flushed. What was in that cocktail sauce?
She ordered them more mixed drinks, and he was grateful she refrained from flaming ones. They sipped their drinks at the bar and he tried to regain his charm. He couldn’t help but worry he would do something else to ruin the evening. He didn’t have to wait long. Within a half hour, he had let four total rip, stepped on Ayesha’s toes on the dance floor three times, been caught checking his phone twice, and calling her Kass once. In his defense, he had been checking with his source about the ownership and property title for the Wolfbane. Alcohol only seemed to worsen the situation.
Ayesha bolted for the bathroom after her third drink. He was feeling like an idiot. I’m terrible at dating, he sighed inwardly. He could do shallow meaningless hookups, but he felt like he couldn’t do that to a friend of his favorite intern. Why am I thinking about Kass? Her friend asked me out and I am blowing it tonight. Kass isn’t here. I shouldn’t be thinking about her.
Brendon couldn’t help but picture her face. She had looked… what’s the word? Standing in his office, she had watched him flirt with her friend, and she looked… annoyed?
Who cares if she’s annoyed? She’s my employee. I’m her boss. There’s nothing there but the usual friendly office sexual tension, he tried to convince himself. I’m as foggy as this fog machine in here. He should have started the evening with his usual – a cherry…
“Two cherry Casanovas,” a familiar voice cut through the fog machine, and he felt the odd sensation of metaphorical suffocation.
He watched the vision in pink sit down in his section casually as if she owned the place and order beverages with ease.
“What?” she looked at him with a simpering smile. “It’s still your favorite, isn’t it, Brendon?”
“Look what the cat dragged in,” he said. “Although looks like you left the cat at home tonight. What? Flying solo, Jozelyn?”
“If you’re referring to Katarina, then yes, she stayed home this evening,” Jozelyn said, crossing her long exposed legs. “She wasn’t feeling well.”
“Crabs?” he smirked.
Jozelyn narrowed her eyes. “Laryngitis.”
He shrugged. “Probably from all the screaming she does at you. If I recall, that Kat has quite a set of lungs.”
She laughed dryly. “Is that any way to talk about my benevolent partner? And if anything, she’s lost her voice because of all her passion if you catch my drift.”
Brendon made a face, trying to avoid the picture his ex-wife was painting. “What are you doing here? Money or my good looks?”
“Ha! What good looks? Brendon, face it. You’re not the Lucky Palms lady-killer anymore. You need to man up and face your…what? Upcoming fortieth birthday?”
He frowned. “Did you lose all track of reality now, Joz? I’m only thirty-four. So money or looks?”
“Seriously, those are not the only reasons to come to this club.”
“Oh right… did you come to collect the soul a vampire sucked out of you last time you had any class?”
“Haha. Very funny. I won’t be here long. You could’ve made a better choice as this place is pretty dead tonight, old man.”
“I’m not your old man. Besides, I’m not the only one getting old here. You seem to be sagging a bit these days, Joz. You’d think with all the dough your woman makes, you could afford a proper lifting cream.”
“Your sarcasm is so immature,” she glared at him.
“You took everything else. At least I got to keep my sarcasm in the divorce,” he snipped.
“Ha! Please! You still got to keep that fancy beach house we both invested in,” Jozelyn replied. “Although I might still get it yet if you refuse to send alimony checks.”
“Who needs alimony when you’ve got a rich sugar mamma?” he grunted. “Or can Kat not support her plasma habit these days?”
She narrowed her cold dark eyes. “I’m going to let that comment slide.” She crossed her legs, and flipped her neon pink hair over the shoulder of her matching suit jacket. “We all have our vices. For you, it’s obviously still any young hot skirt you can dredge up.”
“I resent that,” Brendon replied. “She’s wearing a pant suit anyhow.”
“Are you sure you kept the sarcasm in the divorce?” Jozelyn teased as she shoved a fifty into the hands of the waitress and winked at her. “Your comebacks are a little slow tonight. And that’s not the only thing you’re slow at if I recall.”
The waitress giggled as she walked away, and Brendon felt his cheeks grow warm.
“What do you want, Joz?” he growled.
“Suit yourself,” she shrugged, and finished the second glass. “Why do you hang around here anyway? You aren’t really hot enough to satisfy the tastes of true vamps anyhow.”
“Seriously Joz, I’m assuming you didn’t just come here for the booze or the crowd since this really isn’t your scene.”
“They have high quality booze here.”
“Attitude, Brennie,” she pouted. “I don’t deserve that.”
“I hate it when you call me that.”
“I hate it when you call me Joz.”
“Fine. Jozelyn,” he said punctuating her name. “What do you want?”
“You could do better,” she answered, blowing on her nails.
“Excuse me?” he blinked. “You’re going to give me dating advice?”
“You’re right. What was I thinking?” she tossed her hair. “I mean, you like women and what would I know about women because I’m only a woman right?”
“I don’t know, hmm… maybe you can solve a mystery for me,” he replied. “Why my wife left me… for another woman?”
“Well for starters, Katarina doesn’t beg me for anything,” Jozelyn said, the laughter twinkling in her eyes. “It’s so… unmanly to beg, don’t you think?”
“Me? Beg?” Brendon choked back his own laughter. “I recall you constantly bugging me for new shoes, new clothes, new hair cuts…” he switched to a mocking tone. “Brendon, make more money so we can afford that nice house like the Morgensterns. Brendon, work longer hours so we can go on that nice vacation to the Simirribbean. Brendon, why are you home so early? Don’t you want to drive a fancy car like the Lotharios? All I wanted was to come home early some nights and spend time with you and be a father someday. And what did all my hard work and extra hours and extra pay get me?” he asked bitterly. “An unfaithful wife.”
“You shouldn’t reproduce,” Jozelyn rolled her eyes. “And talk about unfaithful! What about that roving eye of yours?”
“I never would’ve cheated on you,” Brendon said in a low voice. “At least one of us is more decent.”
“You couldn’t make a baby if you tried,” Jozelyn snarled, hitting below the belt. “Kat can keep up with me. And I mean, she can keep up with me in everything… especially in the bedroom. Better than you ever could. And you are still chasing young tail to convince yourself that you’ve still got it and you’re such a stud, but tell me…” she leaned forward, the contempt dripping from her lips. “…when was the last time any one of them actually stuck around?”
“Okay, I don’t have to listen to this. I’m not married to you anymore,” Brendon straightened, trying to make his shoulders appear broader. “And I don’t have to defend my choices to you.”
“Ha!” she laughed. “You don’t really have any viable choices. You run around town at all hours of the night with the first gal who will climb into your car and your pants, but none of them would stick around because they eventually figure out the same thing I did. You’re boring, Brendon! Bor-ring!”
“You know, Jozelyn,” he said, her words biting at his pride. “I cared about you once. You were the one who couldn’t handle the responsibility and the romance.”
“Romantic? Ha!” she laughed again. “You wouldn’t know romance if it bit you in the ass. What was the last gift you actually bought me? That you actually put some effort into and thought about?”
He blanked. Why should I play this game?
“Panties from Sim-Mart,” Jozelyn continued, and threw her hands up. “As if I’d wear lingerie from a bulk package. You try to dress all suave now and be a man about town like you’ve got to prove yourself to me like I’ll take you back…”
“No… I don’t want you back,” Brendon exclaimed in disgust.
“Well, don’t you have to prove that you’re a man since you’re wife left you for you know… a woman?” Jozelyn said with a devious grin.
“You made your choice,” he growled.
“You’re right,” she said in her sugary sweet tone. “It was a mistake to marry you in the Palms. You didn’t have enough time to really make your fortune. I knew when to get out of a dead end marriage and open up my options. Apparently, you’ve still stuck to one gender. Same old Brendon. Unimaginative and dull.”
“I think you should leave,” Brendon said coldly.
“Why? Do I make you upset, darling? I’m only trying to have a bit of fun,” she taunted. “I’m assuming you know the word. It seems to be your main vocabulary these days. All the bouncing around in clubs, trying to rub shoulders with celebrities, all the women dripping from your arm, each one younger than the last.”
“Now you’re just insulting me,” Brendon narrowed his eyes. “You’ve been insulting me. Careful, Joz. I might have to insult you back.”
“Oh you’d warn me first?” she waved her hand and threw him a fake smile. “How polite!”
“At least one of us is,” he snipped. “I think you should leave.”
“Why? Afraid your college coed will come back and catch us chatting it up? Actually, I think your date has abandoned you,” Jozelyn waved.
Brendon glanced over in the general direction Jozelyn was pointing. He saw Ayesha. Instead of returning to him, she had found her way to the bar and seemed to be doing lime-and-tequila shots with a half-naked male model from SIMA magazine. He only recognized the man because the newspaper had done a spread on fashion industry during the summer. He couldn’t explain the strange lump forming in his stomach, like a lava rock in a volatile sea. I can’t even hold onto my dates, he thought with dismay, but part of him didn’t blame Ayesha.
Jozelyn clicked her teeth. “My my! How quick she was to move on! Is that a record for you?”
“Am I a broken record?” he grunted. “I think I asked you to leave.”
“I need money.”
“You need money?”
“Yes, is that so hard to believe? Your last alimony check was low.”
“I don’t make enough to support you. Why don’t you ask that wealthy lesbian partner of yours to help you out with your shopping habits?”
“Well, if you recall, you still owe us for Kat’s car. You bashed in the headlight remember.”
“After you both bashed me in front of the owner of the Buzz.”
“As if your reputation with that jerk boss of yours really matters. And if you didn’t work at a place below your potential you might actually make more than peanuts per month.”
“That’s it. I’m leaving,” Brendon stood to his feet.
“Come on baby,” Jozelyn leaned toward him, her tone turning sickeningly sweet. “Can you front me five grand?”
“Are you kidding me? Baby?” Brendon laughed, and wondered what on Simterra his ex had been smoking. “You come here and do nothing but insult me and then have the nerve to beg me for money?”
“Well, it was worth a try,” her tone turned cold. “I need five grand and you’re going to give it to me.”
“Over my dead body,” he growled. “Because as far as I’m concerned, you’re going to have to kill me and toss me in a dumpster before I’d give you a cent.”
“I can arrange that,” she said in an oddly seductive tone, taking a little too much pleasure at the words. “Seriously, Brendon, five grand. That’s what you owe us.”
“Owe us?” he repeated. “If anything, I owe you a few Simos, but Kat, I don’t owe Kat anything.”
“Decent human respect wouldn’t hurt.”
“Oh this coming out of the mouth of a backstabber!”
“And if you had any sense at all, you’d give it to me. I want to tie my tubes” she explained.
“Oh and you’d be doing the world a favor, I’m sure, but I’m not going to pay for that. Five grand?” he rolled his eyes.
“It’s not too unreasonable a price,” she argued. “It’s too inconvenient to have them open anyway.”
“Seriously? Joz, the only reason to tie your tubes is to close up the babymaker and I highly doubt you and Kat are getting preggo ever,” Brendon laughed at the absurdity of Jozelyn’s request.
“You and your priggish mind,” Jozelyn glowered, throwing up her hands. “Remember those options I talked about? And if you weren’t so narrow-minded and thick-skulled, we may have even invited you to the party…” she lowered her eyes to below his belt, and he felt self-conscious. “That’s if you could deliver a party gift that is.”
He couldn’t believe what he was hearing as he threw his arms above his head in complete disgust.
“GAH!” he yelled. “That’s repulsive. And you have the nerve to ask me for Simos and insist on shaming me over and over again! You weren’t exactly a fairytale princess in the sack either.”
“You’re such a jackass!” Jozelyn said, stepping closer to his face.
“Right back attcha!” he stood toe-to-toe with her.
“That’s lady jackass to you,” she snarled.
“What lady? I don’t see a lady,” he looked around.
“Oh very funny,” she frowned. “I could make things tough for you and your little lady friend.”
“Who? Ayesha?” he laughed, looking over at his lost date who was chugging beer with a guy twice her size. “She could handle you. I’m sure. I’d like to see you try.”
He could just picture Ayesha throwing one of those firecracker drinks in Jozelyn’s face. He was amused by the image.
“I mean your other lady friend… that little redhaired, barely legal intern of yours,” Jozelyn snapped.
Brendon sobered. “What are you talking about?”
“Well the perky little ponytail freak attends Legacy, doesn’t she? And you know Kat is on the board of trustees,” Jozelyn said.
“Of course,” he rolled his eyes as he tried to swallow the emotion rising in his throat.
“Well, I’m sure Kat could make it very difficult for the girl… maybe even get her expelled,” Jozelyn clucked.
“Joz, that’s low, and you know it. Why would you go after an employee of mine like that?” Brendon asked, trying to stay calm. “If you’re angry at me, you should come after me.”
“What do you think I’m doing?” Jozelyn laughed hysterically. “I just had a real nice chat with your… uh… date… and she’s well… bourbon really loosens up a girl. She just told me how going out with you tonight was a mistake and how you have a thing for this redhaired chick… what’s her name? Kass?”
Brendon glared at Jozelyn.
“You’re a bitch.”
“I take it you care about her.”
“The same way I do any of my employees.”
“Oh, yes, I find that hard to believe given that girl’s best friend over there just dished up a lot of juicy details about you two.”
“Kass is more of a woman that you ever were or ever will be.”
“Whatever. Woman notwithstanding, you owe me, Brendon. And you’ll pay up so I’ll reconsider.”
“Fine,” he grunted, and jerked out his cellular phone. With a few pushes and clicks, he managed to transfer Simos to his conniving ex. “There. Satisfied?” he shoved his phone back in his pocket.
“Was that so bad?” Jozelyn asked, her tone laced with icicle daggers waiting to fall on an unsuspecting individual shoveling snow below and minding his business.
“Everything about you is bad,” Brendon swallowed, trying to get rid of the ghastly taste his ex left in his mouth.
“But that’s what makes me so mesmerizing…” Jozelyn angled her body toward him in a seductive manner. “Remember I wasn’t all bad. At least you liked the bad girl in me when we spent that weekend in the Palms.”
He tried not to think about it.
She flopped down on the leather couch and laughed. “You’re such a prude.”
He started to walk away and was pleased when he heard her howl.
“Brendon! This isn’t even half of what I need.”
“You can always tie them yourself,” he replied, without turning around, and then cast a smug smile over his shoulder. “And I make peanuts, remember? It’s before pay day. Kat can pick up the rest.”
“You’ll be sorry,” Jozelyn crossed her arms.
“What are we in grade school? Grow up, Joz,” Brendon shook his head as he walked away.
He walked over to the bar and fetched his drunk date, keeping her from tripping as she slipped off the barstool. He shouldn’t have left Ayesha for so long, but he had been distracted by his repulsive waste of an ex. Jozelyn stormed past him in her usual huff, nearly knocking over the bouncer on her way out the double door exit. “You have no idea what I’m capable of,” she had hissed on her way out. Brendon asked for a glass of water for Ayesha and for himself and made her drink it before calling her a cab.
Once he helped her into the vehicle and paid the driver to take Ayesha back to Kass’s family estate, Brendon stood on the sidewalk, numbing himself to his emotions. He thought about the miserable disaster the evening had turned out to be from his utter failure with Ayesha to the insults and requests he had gotten from Jozelyn. He still couldn’t believe she had threatened him with Kass’s education. As if she could legally do that. He hoped she wouldn’t. Kass didn’t deserve to be messed with by his ex. He decided he had to distance himself. Yeah distance would be best. After tonight, he figured Ayesha would tell Kass all about her catastrophe of a date.
I’ve let myself get too friendly with her, and she doesn’t need that. I don’t need it either. Maybe Joz is right in one way. I should switch it up. Date women closer to my age.
He swished down the last of his drink, paid the bartender with the remaining money Ayesha had fronted him, and thought about how pathetic he was. I can’t even pay for my own drinks. What kind of man am I?
Brendon figured should probably call a cab for himself too. He drank too much to drive. As he reached for his cell, the battery warning flashed and his phone shut off.
As if the evening couldn’t get worse, fat raindrops hit his forehead. He batted at the unwelcome moisture like a crazy man before he realized it didn’t matter. He was getting wet. He couldn’t do anything about it. Maybe he could sleep it off in his car. The tight seats wouldn’t be comfortable, but it was better than driving drunk. That’s the last thing he needed. A ticket… or an accident.
At first, Brendon thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. There couldn’t be a giant boulder crushing his Ferrari 458 Spider. How would it have gotten there? Then he recalled Jozelyn’s threat.
You’ll be sorry… You have no idea what I’m capable of.
Jozelyn. It had to be Jozelyn. Somehow. Some way. She had figured out a way to destroy his vehicle. He supposed he deserved it. Karma or something.
In the rain on the most miserable night of his life, Brendon threw back his head and laughed. Because laughter was better than tears. And he didn’t know what else to do. His laughter floated out into the night, drowned out by the pounding of the rain on the pavement. It was just as well. No one really cared to hear him.
2.20 Pt. 2 Coming Soon!
- Will Brendon really distance himself from Kass?
- Will Ayesha talk to him after their disastrous date?
- Will we see more of Jozelyn?
Author’s Note: Another really long chapter. I really enjoyed writing from Brendon’s perspective for once and giving you a peek into his past. Plus I couldn’t help but laugh (and this was totally unintentional) that I keep referring to Brendon as “Superman” and then he chose to frequent a bar called Crypt’O’Night. The lounge effects were a fun addition to Brendon and Jozelyn’s conversation. Ayesha proved to be less interesting than I expected in game, but next week, we’ll learn more about the evening from her perspective. I’ll be switching back to Kass soon. I bet you’re all still wondering who said hello to her at the end of the last chapter. 🙂