Revelations of the Loving Kind
Meanwhile, standing in line with her older brother and his wily friend, Crys wished that someone could come and whisk her away from the drudgery of standing in line to get in. Every so often, Heero would complain about being there and threaten to lock her away in her room until pagers came back into style, while Duo would see a pretty girl and negotiate terms for acquiring her number. Crys just shook her head and tuned it all out.
After what seemed like an eternity, they were inside. The pulsing air of the club seeped through her clothes, down to her skin, and through her body. She felt the atmosphere affecting her. While it may have seemed too loud before, now it was just right.
Clubbers crowded the dance floor or sat at tables sipping on drinks. As Crys tried to decide what her first act as a clubber was going to be, she spied a familiar face.
It was the girl from the Sakura Center—Gretchen. Quatre’s girlfriend. Happy to see a familiar face, she jumped up, waved, and yelled.
“Gretchen!” she called. The girl didn’t turn, but the guy she was with frowned and nudged her. She finally turned and Crys walked up to her. “Don’t you remember me? I’m Crys. From the Sakura Center. We both work in the Dance Department—”
“Oh!” the girl said, laughing. “You must have mistaken me for my little sister. I’m Danie. And you would be…?”
Crys introduced herself, Duo (he and Danie had known each other already), and her sullen brother Heero. Danie greeted them all and suggested that they go back up to the VIP area. It was nearly time for the Fray to perform, and Danie figured that they should join in on their fun.
As they were heading toward the velvet rope, a redheaded girl came rushing up to them, flushed and angry. Her dress was damp, as was her hair, and her eyes were blazing with anger. She took the guy’s arm. Danie smiled at her, a feral smile, and Crys could sense that the girl didn’t like Danie.
“Well, we meet again!” she declared. “Sorry, sweetie, but my friend Orlando here has something he wants to tell you.”
The dark-haired guy turned to the dumbfounded redhead and said, “I’m sorry, Johanna, but I think it wouldn’t work out between us like I thought it would.” He shook his arm from her grip. “You’re not the girl I thought you were. This mockery of a relationship is over.”
The girl seethed but the group breezed past her. Danie clapped enthusiastically, grabbed his head, and kissed him in front of a seething Johanna. Crys was confused and inquired about the circumstances.
“Oh, that was just an annoyance we had to get rid of,” Danie explained. “Orlando over here was trying his best to convert her from a booty call to a girlfriend—”
Orlando gave her a look. “When you say it like that, it sounds wrong.”
Danie laughed. “Man, you almost make this too easy.”
They shared a laugh and entered the lounge. The music was less loud, and the air was a bit calmer and a lot more intimate. Sitting at a table in the corner of the room was Gretchen and her friends. They cheered when Danie entered the room with Orlando. Crys was still confused but figured she’d figure it all out eventually.
“Well, well, well,” started the spiky haired guy with the accent. “It looks like Orlando has returned after all.”
“You didn’t hurt him too bad, did you, chica?” the brunette with the golden streaks in her hair asked.
“Oh hush.” Danie grabbed Orlando and hugged him. “Orlando knows Danie loves him.”
Orlando hugged Danie back with a wink for his friends. “Oh, I love you alright. Just not in the way you’re thinking.”
In mock outrage, Danie disentangled herself and slapped him playfully. But then she leaned against him and said something in his ear that made the hair on the back of his neck stand at attention and he had to control his nether regions from following suit. Of course, Danie was playing around, and he continued the joke by placing a sly palm on her ass. She winked at him as the others laughed.
“It makes you wonder doesn’t it?” Melanie commented to Samantha. Samantha didn’t respond.
Danie told Gretchen about meeting Crys downstairs. Gretchen smiled at her co-worker and they started chatting. Chris stood and walked to Orlando as Danie took his seat and started gabbing with Miranda, Melanie, and Megami. Duo walked over and flirted with the girls as Heero watched his little sister intensely, not able to trust the people he shared the room with at the moment.
Chris patted Orlando on the shoulder. “It looked grim there for a second, mate.” He gestured toward Danie, who was shooting Duo down with one of her Danie-esque smart remarks. “She’s one of a kind, isn’t she?”
“Yes, she is,” Orlando admitted. “And I’ve got the bruise on my stomach to prove it.”
Before either of them could continue their conversation, they heard a squeal from Gretchen. The duo turned and found just why Gretchen had squealed.
Quatre stood there, wearing a white collared shirt and pewter gray slacks. He looked extremely out of his milieu in the VIP section of Soul Love Live but Gretchen was elated to see him. She jumped out of her seat in a cloud of lavender scent and hugged him.
In her seat, Crys watched. There was an absent smile on her pretty face, but it didn’t quite meet her eyes. As Gretchen kissed Quatre on the lips, those eyes dulled with regret.
And Orlando knew exactly how she felt. He didn’t know why. Or he didn’t want to admit that to himself yet.
* * *
Max Harris, the spiky-haired owner of Soul Love Live, came out and introduced the Fray when it was time for them to go on stage. Crys watched from beside Danie, Miranda, Melanie, and Megami as Samantha, Gretchen, and Chris entered the stage, along with Mason “Mase” Briggs, the band’s unofficial drummer.
He counted out the beat when near-silence descended, then Samantha joined in on the bass.
Gretchen stepped up to her mike first, guitar in hand.
Damn, where’s the beat?
Where’s the beat
The beat, the beat
As Mase started the percussion, Samantha sang the first verse in her lower-pitched voice.
Chilling at home gets so boring
So I gotta get out, out, out
I’m not gonna wait alone
For my life to show
Because it’s taking too long
And I don’t wanna wait for eternity
To find my groove thing
In the audience, clubbers reacted to the infectious beat of the song by dancing in place while a few decided they wanted to bump and grind. Crys grinned sidelong at Danie, and the taller girl took her hands and shouted that they should dance. Crys laughed sheepishly and agreed even though Heero was staring at her with that signature glare. She was too giddy to care.
Don’t be the one who’s left at home
You better go and get it
Don’t be the one who can’t find the one thing that makes the blood go
Don’t wait for it to come to you
Quatre, on the outskirts of the crowd, watched with pride as Gretchen sang the second verse with Chris, who was playing the keyboards. In her lime-green hoodie dotted with black skulls along with the leather skirt from Lolita and lime-green heels, Gretchen was a mix of the feminine and the eclectic. That just made Quatre love her more.
So listen to this very elementary education
‘Cause it’s not very hard
To get out and shake your ass
Get out and show your sass
Doesn’t matter who laughs or has jokes
‘Cause you’ve got more hope
Than those haters on the sidelines
A smile crinkled at the corner of his eyes, but then those same eyes strayed to the dance floor, where a dark-blond haired girl danced with a taller, raven-haired woman. The blonde was Crys, he remembered, and the statuesque one was Danie, Gretchen’s older sister. The guy named Orlando, Gretchen’s friend, came up and danced with them.
Quatre knew some about the dark-haired Englishman; Gretchen gave him a full treatment of her best friends, and he was a part of that prestigious group. He was a fourth-year drama student at Kaminari University, and he worked in a cubicle at Merrell Enterprises. Orlando had entered their circle twenty-six months ago when he came to California to take up drama. He had survived attending the wedding of Irene Thomas, Gretchen’s lawyer mother, and David Wolfe, the current mayor of Gracia and became a family friend of the Thomases. According to Gretchen, he was a great actor, and one of the best friends she’d ever had.
Now, as Quatre examined him, he believed that Orlando was going to be much more than a friend.
People would have called him crazy, or even weird, but he was an empath, and he lived with that every moment of his life. He didn’t just see people when he looked out on the streets from his office high in the Johnson Continental Building in downtown Gracia. He saw colors, auras billowing around them unheeded, unread. Colors that told him things that most people couldn’t find out within one conversation. And the color billowing from Orlando was a dull blue-red, indicating that the one that he was supposed to spend the rest of his life with was not next to him.
But she was nearby. She was on-stage at the moment, an electric guitar in hand.
Knowing that made Quatre both sad and happy at the same time. He had thought that Gretchen was his soulmate and was quite sure that she was. It turned out, now, that he was wrong. But he had the consolation that Gretchen’s true love was nearby, and so beloved by her. It would be a smooth transition. Or so he hoped.
* * *
When Orlando got back to the apartment he shared with Chris that night (or, quite honestly, early the next morning), the first thing he did was go into his bedroom and stand there. He didn’t move, just stood in front of the closed door and observed his room.
It was ransacked.
That was no surprise given what had happened that night with Johanna. She would be the only one capable of this sort of sabotage. So, with a sigh, he stepped forward and picked up a pair of jeans cast aside angrily in the tornado. He was not mad, just resigned. The mess would be dealt with, and Johanna would be gone from his life completely.
Once the last item was in its place, Orlando’s cell phone sung from the bedside table. Recognizing the number, he flipped it open with a smile and answered. “Hello?”
“Orlando? It’s Claudia. You’re still awake?”
As he flopped onto his messy bed, Orlando’s grin widened. “Yeah, I’m still awake.” He leaned back into his still-battered pillows, preparing for a long, entertaining conversation. “Actually, I’m glad you called. You won’t guess what happened tonight…”
“You Better Get It” written by Dennie-chan. © 2006, 2011 Fear Not Productions.