“Great. Just great.” The one time I was trying to hang with supernaturals and they weren’t even there. What was I supposed to do? Play spit on the drunk kids down below? I picked a group of couches that looked safe and hovered behind them. Maybe I should sit. Maybe I should get a clue and leave.
The music pulsed through me, trying to get me to move. I was a pro at keeping the urge bottled up, though. I could ignore it. Monsters or not, I wouldn’t open myself up wide in a room full of strangers. A room full of family, either, but that was another story.
Two songs later, and it started to get harder. I was way past bored. Me and bored meant trouble. “He’s anal about being early,” I said, doing a crappy imitation of Scott. I sighed and looked around. Same empty Solo cups. Same sticky floor.
And someone standing five feet behind me, watching me with an easygoing expression on his face. I swallowed my shock. I hadn’t heard him with all the noise. Was he part of the welcoming committee or just another club rat? In the dim haze of the scattered spotlights, it was impossible to tell.
What was possible to tell was that his face made Michelangelo’s David look like a dog. He was blond, pale, and way too thin, but his mouth… Wow. His mouth made you forget that. It was pouty and lush; it should’ve been a girl’s.
“Are you hiding in the shadows, or standing in them observing humanity?” he asked.
His eyes were dark grey, like burnished pewter. I had the urge to let myself get lost in them, even after his totally lame line. “What are you, a philosophy major?”
He laughed, and the sound set off a ripple in my chest. “Was it that bad? I’m trying out new lines, so I’d appreciate the feedback.”
“It’s that bad.” I blinked hard, distracted by the rainbow light from the dance floor sliding across his face. I shouldn’t be talking to him, but those lights carved his soft cheekbones into something impossible to resist. Even his “Not a role model” t-shirt made my pulse do funny things. I had the same shirt at home. It looked better on him. “It ranks up there with ‘Come here often?'”
“Ouch.” He pretended to wince, but his eyes were smiling.
“Don’t blame me. You’re the one who said it.”
His mouth curled up, changing his face into something more fallen angel than biblical hero. “So what would work?”
“How about a simple, ‘Hi?'”
“That’s it?” He closed the distance between us so fast I didn’t have time to breathe. “Hi.”
“Hi.” This close up, Michelangelo’s David went from dog to warty toad.
He moved around the couch, sleek like a cat. I followed him with my eyes, trying to get back control of my lungs. “You mind if I hang out? I’m bored.”
He dropped onto the threadbare cushions, the picture of decadence. Who was he? What was he? And did he have any idea what his eyes did to people?
“So tell me—why are you hiding up here instead of downstairs dancing?”
I sank onto the couch, as far away from him as possible. My reaction to him was too strong, like I’d gotten a contact high from what Julia had been smoking. Worse, he made me want to talk. Or do other things. Lots of things that’d make his mouth keep moving.
Distance was good. Distance was really, really good.
“I’m not into dancing.” I fiddled with my bracelets, a bunch of plain silver hoops that had made Scott smirk. “I don’t share music with strangers.”
He raised an eyebrow. “It’s personal?” When I nodded, he smiled. “What kind do you like?”
My head was stuck in sludge, probably oxygen starved. “Any kind,” I managed. “If it’s good I’ll listen.”
He stretched, somehow sprawling lower on the cushions, and everything inside me sighed. “So you’re not into dancing in public, and you don’t look like the type to get loaded. Why are you here?”
“Friends.” One-word answers weren’t going to win me any points as a witty conversationalist, but they were the best he was going to get. I was in serious trouble. I was supposed to be meeting monsters and instead I’d met him. A guy my hormones screamed at me to talk to while my brain told me to run.
“Good friends, dragging you out and then leaving you up here staring at walls.”
“Friends is kind of a lose term. They’re more acquaintances who wanted a meeting.”
“On a Friday night? How boring.” He scowled down at the crowd, the frown changing his face into something dark.
“You don’t seem to be too thrilled to be here yourself.”
“Let’s just say I have better things to do with my night than playing babysitter.” He turned away from the dance floor and smiled, and my breathing reprieve was over. “Enough about that. Have you ever wondered what it is about clubs that changes people?”
“What?” I tried to focus on his words instead of his eyes.
“The crowd. No one’s fighting. There are girls making out with guys they’d never talk to if they met on the street. It’s one big love fest down there.”
“It’s the drugs.”
“Probably. It’s just interesting that something as basic as a rave could bring about world peace. At least temporarily.”
“That’s awfully deep thought for a Friday night.”
He grinned, and all I could think was that he looked good when he looked like trouble. “I told you I was bored. It’s either think about stuff like this, or go insane waiting for it to end.”
I’d felt that way so many times in my life that I knew exactly what he meant. I didn’t feel that way anymore, though. Not there. Not with him. “What’s your name?” I blurted, being impulsive for once in my life. “I have a rule about not discussing philosophy with strangers.”
“Damian. And you’re Tizzy.” He leaned over, so close I could see flecks of faded blue and green buried in his eyes. “If you ask me, it’s very rude of Vincent to make you wait.”