I look at his face, and I know I am alive.
I’m not so sure about him, though. I mean, look at him. Leaning against the bar like he’s in a GQ photo shoot—hip jutting out just so, pursing his lips so they are a tad bit more plump and pink, shoulders down, neck twisted half-cocked to the right so his jaw looks even more square. He’s been staring at some mean-looking white leather man with long stringy hair since we walked in.
He should be staring at me! This is my best dress, the one that practically guarantees I’ll get laid. Not that I thought I would need it, but it’s always good to pack extra ammo. He dragged us here to New York City on our winter break, promising “all that the Big Apple has to offer,” and I was naive enough to swoon. He didn’t mean Broadway shows, gourmet restaurants with famous chefs, or horse and carriage rides through Central Park, though. He meant gay leather bars.
I have to admit: he is pretty. I could totally see him on my arm for our family Christmas photos, or at the epic Hamlin family Thanksgiving cutting the turkey and handing around slices of pie. Clearly that was me getting ahead of myself, and any and all of those little future fantasies were knocked out of my head the first night he got here and he dragged me to the meat-packing district to go to—his words!—”somewhere fun.” Then he spent all night drooling and staring, sucking up rum and Cokes, his perfect bubble-butt ass glued to the wall, too scared to actually talk to anyone.
Next to him, I am so animated, so vibrant. He’s pretty, sure, but c’mon—David is made out of stone, he’s no fun at a dinner party.
“I am really partial to Monet’s early work, though,” I’m saying, referring to our trip earlier to MOMA, but I’m not even paying attention to myself. He is posing and trying to eye-fuck every man in leather in this place, especially that one with the stringy hair. He’s not paying one penny of attention to me, but I figure one of us should be saying something, even if it’s not him.
The only white wine they had was some shit blend that is mass-produced in California, and it tastes like watered down sweet tea that’s gone bad. I drain my glass in a thick gulp so I don’t have to taste it, and announce, “I’m going to the bathroom.”
He nods, only registering me when I twist the bar stool and hop off of it, skittering away from him. Everyone in the bar notices me. My skirt is perfectly too short and my tits look amazing in the plunging neckline of this wrap dress. The sky blue color of it makes my eyes look so deep and sparkling. This dress works on every man I’ve ever been with—well, except for the gay ones. They’re easy to pick out: they’re the ones who don’t look as I switch my ass when I walk by.
I don’t really have to pee, I’m just bored as fuck. There are two bathrooms, but neither of them are gender-specific, probably because this bar doesn’t exactly get a lot of female patrons. The dark wooden door is so thin, it feels like I could knock it down if I tapped it with my Jimmy Choo strappy sandal, it’s hinges groaning in protest as I push it open. The mirrors are filthy, the walls are slate grey but covered in graffiti, all sorts of “suck your cock $5″ kinds of notes that I find quaint. I find two square inches of the mirror that aren’t covered in Sharpie writing or stickers and wipe off all my lipstick, then pull the shade of Shiseido red from my pocketbook and reapply.
That’s when I see someone watching me. She’s leaning against the wall behind me, her head bent back just enough that her throat is exposed. Her blonde curls fall around her shoulders, looking perfectly placed. I wonder who her stylist is. She’s wearing a tight fuchsia dress with a pencil skirt, and the thinnest black leather belt high around her waist. It has a small bow that is strategically off-center. The neck is high, the arms sleeveless. I can’t see how long it is or what shoes she’s wearing from my glimpses at her in the bathroom’s filthy mirror. She has a small leather vest on, one that is more like a holster than a vest. Her arms are crossed over her chest.
Lips pursed, I focus, painting the red back on my mouth and pressing my lips together, touching the edges to get the lines just right.
“What are you doing in a place like this, sweetheart?” she says, and her voice is much lower than I’d imagine. Thick and syrupy and it makes me bite my lip.
“Not enjoying the company, that’s for sure.”
She raises one perfectly arched eyebrow. “Oh?”
“Oh, I didn’t mean you.” I cap the lipstick and make eye contact through the mirror, my back still to her. “I mean, that boring dope I came in with.”
“I have half a mind to ditch him. Just can’t quite … I’m not sure how. We’re sharing a hotel room up the street.”
“We’re not from here.”
“No shit,” dripping with sarcasm.
I take a deep breath, opening my pocketbook and sliding my lipstick back in place while turning around. The dress goes just past her knees. Her calves are sculpted and delicious. Her shoes are tall wedge peep-toe heels, black and shiny like the belt. I breathe in again.
“What’s your name, sugar?” She asks.
“Angie, how nice to meet you. I’m Fern.” She reaches out her hand and her fingers are long and thin, her nails short and square with an impeccable French manicure. I slide my hand into hers and it fits perfectly. She squeezes and I feel faint.
“Well, Angie, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but that boy of yours took off about thirty seconds after you came in here.”
I blink. “What?”
“He left. He went running out the door as soon as Master Wes left.”
“He WHAT?!” That son of a bitch! He’ll never get a date on our small campus again. And just wait until I tell his mother.
“Oh don’t worry. Master Wes is experienced and safe.”
“That’s not exactly what I was worried about.” I cross my arms and leaned back against the sink, pouting a little. That bastard.
Fern closes the distance between us, crisscrossing her ankles with each step. “Tell you what. Why don’t you let me buy you some dinner.” It’s not really a question. She puts her arm around my shoulders, holds her hand up to caress my other arm. Her touch is soothing, sweet, hypnotic. I can smell her perfume, something like honeysuckle and leather. I have the urge to nuzzle my face into her breasts. “I’d be glad to deliver you to your hotel whenever you’re ready. But until then, I think I can offer you some markedly improved company.”
I continue to sulk, but mostly for effect. This is turning out to be way more interesting than I’d planned.
Featured image from Crash Pad Series Episode #123, Kathryn Dupri and Lily Cade.