Lynetta had lied to me. Did we arrive at a club to listen to a hard core scream-o band? No, my friend, we showed up to a jungle with wild, vicious animals and a watering hole full of beer.
We had barely taken two steps into the building before my baby brother instincts kicked in and I was grabbing for Lynetta's hand for protection. She whirled around to give me a death glare.
"I didn't take you here to baby-sit you," she screamed over the music, yanking her hand away. She shifted her head to watch the Baker twins ease into the crowd of people, and I knew it wouldn't be long before she was following them, leaving her helpless, underage brother alone to fend for himself.
"Don't leave me here," I pleaded. God, I sounded pathetic, but I was desperate. The band hadn't even played a song yet and I wanted to leave.
"Bryce, you're fine." Lynetta said, moving towards the mass of people grinding across the dance floor. "We're meeting at the door at eleven. Be there."
I stood there and stared as the last of my courage followed Lynetta to disappear into a mass of confusion. Man, what had I gotten myself into? So much for escaping the war zone at home. This was plain old anarchy.
And this began the five step process to having the worst night ever.
Step One: Get ditched by your posse.
The deep thud of the bass drum pounded inside my head, and I quickly moved towards the corner of the room to make more distance between me and the gothic looking band members on center stage. It turned out to be a bad idea. Pressing my back against the wall, I immediately realized the corner had been reserved for couples who wanted to make out.
Embarrassed, I literally ran towards the bar area. It was a short run since the club itself was small. Shaped into a square, a bar and stage took up two of the walls and the other half of the room was full to capacity with drunk bodies. Seizure worthy lights flashed from the stage, making the whole scene a little more disorienting and chaotic. The entire color scheme was a wash of midnight black.
Was this really Lynetta's idea of fun? Gosh, if Mom and Dad found out about this, they'd freak. I could definitely use this as a form of blackmail. That was, if I made it out alive.
I caught a glimpse of a person that looked vaguely like Lynetta and I spun around, slamming into someone with so much force they crashed to the ground.
"Oh, sorry," I said on instinct.
A woman looked up from the floor as she tried to pull down her skin tight white dress. Her blue eyes locked with mine, and, man, the smile that spread across her lips was nothing but flirty. She eyed me up, stopping at a very awkward area. Glancing down at her empty wine glass and then back up at me a few times, she laughed.
"Well, that's embarrassing," she exclaimed over the music.
I looked down. My crouch was soaked. Sometime during her fall, the woman had spilt her wine on my pants. It looked like I had wet myself.
I couldn't see any way out of the situation, so I laughed with her, though I was more pissed than anything. Hopefully it was too dark for anyone else to notice. Lynetta wouldn't let me live it down if she saw this.
I was too busy terrorizing myself with different scenarios relating to wet pants that I didn't notice the woman had stood up until she tapped my shoulder.
"Hey, there, I'm Sandra. Wanna get a drink?"
I looked up and I swore drool was dripping from my mouth. Sandra was hot. She had bouncy brunette curls that fell nicely over her curvy body and lipstick red lips. Whatever heels she had on made her tower over me. She had to be in her twenties.
"Um, what?" I mumbled.
She laughed again, wobbling a little on her feet. She was drunk. "You're funny. Come on." She winked, brushing a hand down my arm. "Let's go to the bar."
"Um, okay." I gave her a small smile back and it was enough for her to pull an arm around me to lead me towards the bar area.
Step Two: Flirt with a chick double your age.
She almost slipped again when she tried to sit down on a bar stool and I had to grab her hand to straighten her up. Breathing out the smell of liquor, she leaned in close, took my offered hand, and kissed it, loud, dramatic smooching sound in all.
"You're my hero," she giggled breathlessly. "Where have you been all my life?"
I probably wasn't even born yet. Her face fell into a pout as I leaned as far away from her as possible.
Didn't this chick see I was half her age? Or were the lights, dark room, and her drunken state enough to camouflage the fact that I was half a foot shorter than her, as pale as a ghost, and had barely a muscle on me? Thinking about my own problem with older, flirty women, I wondered where Lynetta was. Was she getting hit on by some thirty-something-year-old man? Was she getting thrown into some big, black van to never been seen again?
I took a quick glance behind me, but like I expected, I saw no glimpse of Lynetta or the Baker twins. The band had just begun playing, so hopefully the three of them were together near the stage.
"Here!" A hand grabbed my face and turned me around.
"Drink this!" Sandra told me, sliding over a shot glass.
She as well as a few others around the table had one as well, and it looked like one guy was attempting to give a speech. After a few loud cheers, they all chugged it down in one gulp.
Sighing in satisfaction, Sandra looked upset when she realized I had not participated in their "bottoms up."
"Just try it. Please. You'll love it, I swear. Please, please, please!" Her pleases went on forever.
I looked back down at the shot glass. Maybe it wasn't a horrible idea. I mean, what was one drink going to do? And if it got Sandra to shut up, all the better.
I grasped the glass with my fingers, brought it up to my lips, and, with a jerk of my head, emptied its contents into my mouth. Immediately, a disgusting taste burned in my throat and I starting coughing.
Sandra patted my back hard. "Try another one, babe. Everything goes down better after the first one."
Finding another shot glass thrust into my hand, Sandra forced it to my lips. She was right. This one went down better, but it did not lessen the awful aftertaste in my mouth.
Step Three: Drink something nasty.
I forgot how many shots we took. It had to be between three and seven. I wanted to stop, but Sandra just kept forcing them into my mouth.
It wasn't long after that when the room started to spin. The blinking lights faded from my vision and all sound became slowed and muddled.
Sandra took both my hands and tried to stand both of us up. We wobbled on our feet for a few seconds and narrowly fell twice, but we found our ground and headed towards the dance floor. Pulled into the midst of a jungle full of wild animals, Sandra seemed content in joining in their crazy dance. She started moving her hips in time to the bass beat and her hands flailed above her head. When she noticed I was just standing there, she pulled up close. Too close.
"You… dance… me?"
Her words made no sense, but by her actions, it was clear she wanted to dance with me. She pulled both her arms around my waist and my hands rested on her shoulders.
The height difference made our attempt at ballroom dancing a disaster. I think Sandra picked me up once to equalize our height to try to kiss me, but I managed to dodge it as a large body bolted into us.
Sandra staggered. Landing back down on my feet, I rushed to save us, but when the same guy slammed into us again, we crashed down.
For a moment, all I could see was black. The liquor in my system was making it difficult to think, see, or act straight. After blinking a few times, my eyes caught the abrupt movement of a fist moving to make contact with a face. There was a loud crack, and the guy groaned as blood poured from his nose.
I stared at the face. Why did he look kind of familiar? Then it clicked. The guy who had just been punched one either Matt or Mike.
"Ma- Mik-" I slurred, getting up on my feet. "Are you o-"
Step Four: Get caught up in a drunken fight.
Man, I was down again before I could take three steps.
Whichever guy Matt or Mike was fighting wanted all the space he could get. My back landed hard on the cement floor. I tried to register what was happening and where I was just as one of the Baker twins fell on top of me.
Slamming back down to the floor, I groaned. What was going on? Honestly, all I wanted to do now was go to sleep. I felt sick, I felt tired, and I did not like the fight getting thrown down here.
My eyes started closing. Maybe I could get a few minutes sleep-
My eyes flashed open. That was Lynetta's voice.
"Mike, just stop! Come on, let's go! Matt is getting the car and I just need to find Bryce. Mike, seriously!"
I vaguely watched Lynetta pull Mike away from the angry man who had seemed to calm down once seeing Lynetta there. Mike yanked his arm from Lynetta's grip but obeyed and stormed towards the entrance. Lynetta found me in a second.
"Bryce, what the hell happened to you?"
"I- I don't-"
She pulled me up, and I had to lean all my weight on her to walk without falling. The entire way towards the doors, she didn't stop complaining.
Soon I found myself in the backseat of the Baker's crappy Pinto. Lynetta slowly shrugged a seatbelt over me. I could tell by her face and slow movements that I wasn't the only one a little drunk. And based on what Matt and Mike were saying, they were too.
"Go home?" Matt the driver said abruptly and awkwardly.
"Drive," Lynetta ordered before slumping down beside me. Her eyes starting closing as sleep pulled her into unconsciousness. It didn't take long for me to follow her, and I was barely awake when we completed the last and more terrifying step in the five steps to the worst night ever.
Step Five: Drive home with less orientation than you arrived with.