The rum burned on the way down.
Travis blinked and looked up as the drink made a fiery run down his esophagus. His heart was aflutter; this was the only time he could be truly inspired.
Lights went off like fireworks as dancers molested themselves with music. He wrapped his scarf tighter around his neck and tucked his head deeper into his coat. This was not his arena.
He was only here because she was here.
Over the rim of his shot glass, Travis saw the bartender, who gave him a strange and steady look. Travis saw Derrick, his roommate, as he slowly worked his hand up a girl's skirt. 'Ah, if only I had that finesse,' thought Travis. He couldn't find Jones at first; he looked through the mob of dancers and along the catwalks near the roof, but no sign of her.
And then, there she was.
Garbed in something skimpy and red, a very tall and lanky girl neatly dodged her way through the masses of people dancing on each other. This was Jones. This was the only reason Travis wasn't back at the loft, in his room, on the computer, mapping out the human face and making murals on his walls. So what that he could turn math into art; the masterpiece was heading towards him.
She saw him and a smile broke across her face. This was the Jones he loved.
"Hey Travis, have you seen Derrick?"
With a subtle glance to his left, Travis replied, "No, but Jenny Del Mario has."
She looked in the direction Travis had pointed with his eyes and laughed. "Incredible. Is there ever a moment when he doesn't have his hand up a girl's skirt?"
"Not that I've seen," he said.
Jones seated herself on the bar stool beside him and hunched over the table. "What are you having?"
"Oh, nothing. I was wondering if… maybe we could get out of here soon?"
"Aw, did Rebecca turn you down again?"
Ack, a jab in the heart. Travis' head skipped to a picture of a short girl with even shorter hair who wore vibrantly liberal makeup and had a personality to match. If only he could tell Jones that the reason he'd tried to hit on Rebecca was so that he could try to get over his deep infatuation with-
"Well, I'm sorry, bud," she said as she downed a shot. "There are more girls out there, you just haven't met the right one yet."
He gave a shy smile.
There was a silence between them. It wasn't one of those awkward, unwanted silences that seemed to happen more often than not with him; it was a calming, shared silence that only good friends have. He liked this most of all about Jones. It would happen most over breakfast when he was sitting at the table over a newspaper; she would stumble out of her bedroom garbed in the ridiculous bathrobe she always wore and quietly munch on a bowl of cereal across the table from him, or sometimes she would come into his room while he worked and she would sit in her pool of silence and just watch his hands turn the world into his canvas.
Derrick wasn't quiet like Jones. Jones could watch the world go by with her soft, understanding eyes. Derrick couldn't sit still to save his life; he always had to be moving, had to be touching something, had to be talking to someone… If Derrick wasn't the one paying for the loft, he wasn't sure how they'd be able to live together.
"Yeah, I don't think we're going to get Derrick to come home till later," she commented about their stud roommate. "You want to go back home?"
He gave his shy smile again. "Sure."