I tread along behind Matt to the table from where 8 pairs of eyes were peering eagerly at me. From the way they looked, i could tell that they were anticipating me to fall anytime soon. Fretful, i might indeed, and make a big joke out of myself, I slow my pace down; focusing my energy, channelling all i could into that 1 millimetre square of small surface area my heels were depending upon for supporting my delicate, baby hippo body.
As i walked, I prayed that i wasn’t doing those typical ‘i am so drunk’ waddling walks alcoholics do, with their feet stepping wide base apart, trying not to sway too much on either sides. ‘Please God i don’t want to look like i have boils on my butt cheeks’ i begged.
The distance between the bar counter and Matt’s table wasn’t that big, just 15 steps at maximum to be exact, but it was costing me an effort of a life time. A girl suffering from social anxiety disorder; place her in a ramp and ask her to walk on it with 5 hunks as audience.. Yeah, that’s how i felt. But at least this wasn’t the worst case scenario for tonight. The worst case would have been, me showing up here with 5 inches heels, which was the initial plan.
Yup, that pointy uncomfortable block of plastic, Mia had given me for my 17th birthday! What were her intentions with those? Of course she sugar coated it with sweet words, ‘Hey shortie, you can now match Brandy wearing these..‘ But i doubt. She could have been skimming a lot of things with it.. like, wanting me to stumble down and break my leg, so that she could have some alone time with Brandon. Or may be hoping that i have a fall on it and fracture my cervical spine, so that i end up being paraplegic! Like reaalllllllly what were her intentions??
Between that time i took to cover my fifteen steps, i thought over and over about a lot of things..
I don’t quite know why i was getting so angry at Mia for. Had i not been smart enough, to sneak back into the cottage and change my shoes, thus minimising the possible hazard with extra 2 inches? Had i not been swift enough to run out, before Will had caught up to me?? Oh, i miss that look he had, i only wish i could see that often..that look of dismay on his face.. It brightens my heart.
‘What??? I still don’t get it, how i could be thinking about all these stuffs when i am so stressed here hanging both for my dear life and my dignity. This is insane.’
‘Let me help you’. Luckily Matt extends his hand before taking his seat, to help cover my last 2-3 steps, saving me from possible humiliation and another flood of paranoid thinking.
‘Aw…’ One of his friends lets out a teasing cry.
‘Come on Guys, Carems a guest. Behave.’ Matt hushes him chortling, his face gleeful like i had first seen him today. ‘Oh, don’t mind me’ i smile, trying to look less awkward, settling next to him and a similar look alike of his.
I am feeling like Jack, lost on the world of giants after he climbed up that bean stalk now. Maybe more like princess Thumbelina, feeling so tiny; sitting on Matt’s table surrounded by his humongous group of friends.
Matt was the smallest one and trust me when i say ‘smallest’ its only when comparing to others. Because for me, Matt too was ‘big’, not ‘huge’ but ‘big’. As in, if kept in room full of ordinary people Matt would stand out with his athletic build. Or if we talked in animal language, to be clear, Matt would have been a wolf in a room full of dogs. Now, think all others in his circle were bigger.
The ‘Wolf.’ It actually suits Matt, if i am to give him a nickname now. His dark hair, dark eyes, mouth watering beautiful biceps, sharply bordered neck lines, prominent shoulder blades…. Well, everything about those features talks ‘Wolf’. Doesn’t it? ‘Woof. Woof’ Oh why am i barking? A Wolf doesn’t bark, not the grown up at least.. Wait a minute! Everyone of them here looks like one. Could i have bumped into some mystical non human creatures or half human creatures by luck? How cool is it that i am sipping a pint of ale with them then?
A pint of another drink, to my already booze drunk body continues to do its wonders. I have never heard people talk about hallucination when they are drunk, but i am pretty sure i was starting to. Even when they laughed, i was beginning to hear them howling.
Its fun to be in company of men, who are all in one. Humorous, smart and nice. And although, in a group ‘Matt and others’ looked and behaved very similar; tough adrenaline junkie boys with wanderlust, it was becoming very interesting for me to discover each of their individual traits. Each, had their own distinctly different personality, worlds apart between them. Like Jason, a very much look alike of Matt, and who also happens to be his first cousin, was an old soul. Mozart’ type of guy. Quiet, pleasant and keeping things to himself. Aaroon on right to him, was more of into punk, with metallic spikes on his right ear, 6 of them in a row and and one pierced on his chin, just below his lower lip. He was more out spoken than the rest, which explains him teasing Matt.
Sitting in front of me was Ros. Still heavier and more built than the rest. He struck me as more authoritative figure with his stance and style of talking. And it didn’t take me long to find out why. He was from a military background family. Nonetheless, he was equally pleasant and he had this ‘brotherly figure’ for everyone. A group of this dynamic, must surely have a strong reef to anchor with him on board.
Still next to Ros was Sean. I was told that, Sean was the comedian in the group. But i couldn’t figure out anything about him on my own. We didn’t talk much except hi, hello and the introduction part, since he dozed to sleep right away after. Happens, he had boozed off more than enough for the night. First with some new friends in other club and second with us. ‘‘Wow, some people know how to party unlike someone, who shows up looking like a stripper, as if a pole wrapped in thousand watts of colourful bulbs and sits here doing nothing but stare like grandma with dementia!!”. That was what my response was to myself when i heard about him, filled with envy.
At last, of course there is Matt. ”A pleasant mix of everything of those traits, i suppose..”
‘Carem” Aaroon interrupts me, in the middle of my jargon thinking. ‘How come your guy is not with you?’ he asks.
‘Oh…ummm’ i stammer. What was i suppose to say, why i was drinking alone with bunch of guys i just met, past 3 in the morning??
Noticing me struggle to answer, Matt pitches in for rescue. ‘Lets talk about something else..’
‘Ah, that’s okay.. Will was working tonight. And i wanted to enjoy my last night here. Check out the pub i mean’ I reply. My answer half truth, half lie.
‘Hmmm, you like the ale, don’t you? Its home made.’
‘Yup’ i smile.
Half hour down, I’m heading home in the cab with Matt. Rest of the group are behind us. At the end, the night had been ‘fruitful’ if not ‘very fun’. I had gotten myself drunk but managed to remain sober some how and earned a delightful companionship of good looking men. What more is there to ask?
Matt is sitting back relaxed with his head laid back on the seat. He looks extremely gorgeous right now. His neck is extended with a prominent protruding notch on the middle of it, featuring his beautiful muscle lines, extending from the jaw to his shoulders. On his sleeveless black Tee with wide cut on arms, it doesn’t take me much effort to trace down from there to his arm, to his hand then to his fingers. His sun kissed skin is beautiful too and so is, his hair, border of his nose and his plump lips. Quietly, i steal a glimpse of those, reading them individually, now and then, again and again; my eyes hooked strangely on him.
I sigh. A deep sigh, hearing which he immediately springs back to check from his light sleep.
‘Are you okay?’ he asks.
‘Yup’ I lie. No one is okay, being in a closed space, sitting next to guy like Matt, especially with troubles harassing their minds. But who would tell him? Not me.
I look away, realising, I am getting attracted to this man by every passing minute. And this wasn’t just my alcohol talking. He really was an attractive guy.
The taxi stops. And as soon as it does, i struggle to get out. I didn’t want another headache, i had enough to go on with in my life right now.
‘Hey’ Matt follows me, worried i might stumble with my heels on, on a pebbled road. I probably was doing my drunk duck walk, judging by the way he was hurrying after me.
I stop for him to catch up with me. Then, taking out my shoes and carrying them on my hands, i thank Matt for his pleasurable company giving him a tight goodbye hug. ‘You guys are amazing! Wish we had more fun time together’ i add.
Matt smiles. And before he could reply, Will’s voice interrupts us. ‘Finally. There you are’. he says.
Immediately withdrawing from Matt’s comforting arms, i turn my head to look at him, reflexively, as though someone had just given me a light electric shock. Will stands at the door, his eyes staring fixedly at me, holding it half open with one hand and carrying a cellphone on the other. My phone vibrates on the bag responding to his call. Three times, before he stops it approaching us, his stance upright and his muscles tensed.
My mind is alert now with fear or with guilt i don’t know. He paces steadily, his aura marching before him like a thick mist of shadows, engulfing the weak beam of sun rays surrounding us that had narrowly escaped the night. And even with my mind fully awake, aware of the present, i couldn’t tell apart whether i was hallucinating this or it was for real, these black silhouette forming around him. He looked peculiar, the black part of his eyes covering more than third of his margins, glazing with anger and with bitterness, as if the eclipse has been set and the door to the third eye has been swung open. I stare at him without blinking for minutes, the moistness of my eye rubbed dry by the chilling wind. My deepest fear had come to life..
Will wore a black inner vest and a black trouser. With him, he carried a strange energy, a commotion of a disquieting sensation.. Walking to us, stopping by, it felt to me like he was invading our space, displacing our existence from here into loops of his unceasing dark aura. The only thing missing on him now, were a set of pitch black feathered wings and a black metal halo floating over his head..