The bar that used to be Element, and was then something else. Was now something else entirely. Well, they’d redecorated. To be honest, neither of us could remember what it looked like. Or before that. But they did make great cockatils. Very great. Very great? I was drunk.
“Very great? How drunk are you?”
“I’m not that bad!” I lied a bit. “I’m just a bit giddy. How’s yours?”
He held up his glass – it was almost empty so I guessed that he was impressed. “Really nice. And half price! Does that mean we can have another two?”
“I think that’s exactly what it means, Walter. I’ll get them.” We’d been sat in on an awkwardly straight-backed sofa shaped like a huge pair of lips. I weaved through the crowd of overly-perfumed men laughing, joking and flirting outrageously with each other. A couple of them made eyes at me. Well, I think they did. I’m pretty terrible at working out when someone’s flirting with me and when they’re just trying to see what’s going on behind me. I played it safe and kept a mildly inane grin on my face.
I reached the bar and squeezed in between all the taller people. Which means I squeezed in between everyone.
Much to the disappointment of everyone around me, I caught the barman’s eye and ordered two drinks. I had a purple coloured thing. Walter had something made with gin and loads of fruit. I paid and left the two pound coin as a tip. I was feeling flush. I’d regret it when it got to the end of the month and I was living on non-brand beans and toast. Cheap white toast. Actually, it doesn’t sound too bad. He could keep the two pounds.
I weaved back, through the crowd. I turned into the little back bit and sat on my half of the lips was a guy who wasn’t me. I held back for a second. Tried to work out what my chances might be if I had to defend my date’s honour. Or if my date chose this new suitor over me, who would win in a three-way fight between us all. Or if I could just neck both drinks, subtly grab my coat and fuck off. Was this guy better looking than me? I couldn’t really tell. They were on the edge of my poor vision. He looked okay though. Nice shirt, actually. I think may be I had it in blue. I was debating escape strategies when Walt looked in my direction. Then he smiled. Then he pointed. And the other guy looked. He sort of smiled. Said something. Got up. Walked towards me and smiled properly this time. “Lucky boy.” He said.
“Him, or me?” I said.
He winked at me and walked on by. I took my seat and handed him a drink. He flashed another toothy white grin. “I think he was trying to chat me up.”
“I think he was. Did he succeed?”
“Does it look like he succeeded?”
“Not just yet.”
“Not just ever – I told him I was with someone.” More toothy grinning.
I looked around the room. “Really? You are? Who?” I was still looking around the room when the bottom lip beneath me sank in a little. Then a hand was on my knee. I turned. His face was so close it took me by surprise, but before I had chance to register the surprise on my face he planted both his lips on mine. Lips, on lips, on lips. It was close mouth. No rancid tonguing each other on the tacky lip sofa. Not just yet. Maybe a couple more cocktails. But, for now, closed lips. Strong, but not angry. He put his hand behind my head ever so gently. He pulled away just as my lips turned up into a smile. He looked right at me with his big brown eyes and said:
“I’m with you.”
“Thought so.” I was a bit shocked still and couldn’t think of anything massively witty to say in return.
Two more cocktails in and the bar was rammed. We’d both been to the toilet twice – too much information? And had another couple of cigarettes on the pavement outside. I’d been asked if I had a lighter twice. I lit both cigarettes but kept hold of my lighter. It was an heirloom – a tiny bic that I’d managed to keep hold of for nearly three weeks. That must be some sort of record? If everyone did that, lighter companies around the world would go bust. It was nearly Cinderella time and that meant it was make or break. Questions needed answering. Well, one in particular.
Shall we dance?
If we left now, we could make a club and not have to queue too much. Or we stay for a couple more and call it a night at one o’clock. But then that meant the very awkward ‘your house or my house’ chat. That’s if it was heading that way. I was pretty sure it was heading that way. But I fancied a drink. And a dance. Oh, God I was drunk if I was ready for dancing.
Over the noise, I shifted my weight forward on the lips – the sofa ones, not his. “Do you fancy another drink? Or…”
“Well, I was wondering if maybe you fancied a dance?”
We’d met the previous week in a club and I had distinct memories of dancing. Well, I say distinct. Fuzzy. But had some form of memory of some form of dancing. And lots and lots of embarrassing kissing.
“A dance?” He arched an eyebrow in a way that would have made most people look like a twat, but made him look cuter than normal. “I guess that means we won’t be having that awkward ‘who’s house will we go to’ chat for a while?”
“A couple ore hours maybe? Dance some of this booze out?”
“You mean sweat it out?”
I smiled. “Well?”
He emptied his drink. “Where do you want to go?” That smile again.