FACT: I didn't even know his last name
When the neon of lights downtown Las Vegas steadied on the midnight horizon my breath hitched in my throat. While I had spent the first twenty-two years of my life as a soft-spoken, well-mannered Orange County debutante, tonight the jittery remnants of anticipation itched like a healing wound. Tonight I was in search of a different type of attention.
Regina’s sultry performance in front of the JET nightclub caused the bouncer to drop the red velvet rope quicker than he could his jaw or pants. Blowing sweet kissing, I followed her inside only to be enveloped by the extravagance of the room we entered. Bodies pulsed on the dance floor sweat glistening like a thin cover over any exposed skin. A gate of red couches encircled them, although the crimson upholstery could hardly be seen beneath the bodies that blended together in an attempt for privacy.
Moving only my gaze, I stood with the fear of taking any steps away from my morals. You see, I had never been the type of girl to take risks. Still entranced by the sensory thrills before me, I only noticed Regina had left my side when she returned balancing two shot glasses in each hand.
“Drink it up Cassia,” She snickered over the music, “These will be the only drinks we pay for tonight!”
Smiling unsurely I swirled the contents around in the glasses. Regina turned up her face in a bitter pout as she downed both of her drinks quicker than she could taste them. I only understood why once the first few drops hit my lips. Recoiling with a mix of panic and hesitation I swallowed only once Regina aided me in tipping the mysterious liquid down my throat. My esophagus burned, my eyes began to water, and every fiber of my being screamed to abandon the second glass, but no sooner then I could recover it too was emptied. As I let out a shout in triumph the glass slipped from my fingers hitting the ground with a SMASH.
Giggling Regina and I deserted the mess in search of company more vibrant than shards of broken glass. Knowing a return to California awaited us in the morning, we could not afford to bemoan old mistakes (be it clumsiness or heart break).
Regina wasted no time at all. While I sat perched on a lanky barstool nursing the sweeter drinks three and four, she threw her arms around the neck of a winsome man whose chin told stories of only the slight ability to grow facial hair. He had large brown eyes and a foolish smile, but seemed authentic enough to relinquish my best friend to.
It wasn’t until the cool ease of drink number six slid into the depth of my sorrows that I finally began to succumb to the tingling effects of the alcohol. Around the same time a man whose brown hair fell in his face as he spoke approached me with a simple, “I like your shoes.”
Glancing down at my bare feet I giggled and attempted to retrieve the pair of high heels I had abandoned on the floor beneath my seat. The man caught me before I could stumble from the stool and steadied me there so I could watch him remove the flip-flops that he wore. I shot him a shy smile knowing any string of words my mind could construct given this state of inebriation would sound irrational to a stranger’s ear.
“You have very pretty teeth.” He nodded as if to communicate he was familiar with both intoxication and the senseless strings of words that escaped his lips as a result.
“Thanks,” I replied attempting to slip off the stool gracefully. With the hem of my dress caught I was unsuccessful, but the man turned away politely disregarding the split second my panties had been revealed.
“Can I follow you?” I asked hoping I had only misinterpreted his action as disinterest. The smile that spread across face was warm, open, and guileless. The invitation it communicated surprised me as much as the words that I had spoken. This night had begun to introduce me to facets of myself that I hadn’t known existed.
Fooled by the semblance of privacy caused by the red couches arranged around the perimeter of the dance floor our two pairs of bare feet tangled together and his calloused fingertips traced the length of my arm. When he spoke to me I only paid brief attention to each word because I was distracted by his distinct annunciation. The hint of a lisp or an accent, I could figure out which, would ingrain his voice in my memory long after I started seeing double.
Whispering into the crook of my neck he asked my name. Instead of replying appropriately, I grabbed hold of the watch he wore on his left wrist.
“What’s it’say?” I slurred squinting my eyes at the timepiece. Dizziness clung onto the last grasps of consciousness and I surrendered in my quest for the time.
Soon after the club’s light flickered a “last call” warning I found myself enjoying sensation of concrete on my bare feet. I held my key ring in one hand and gazed out into the parking lot with the impression that I hadn’t seen this pattern of white lines painted on the ground before. With the scent of rum still strong in the air around me, a sweater that didn’t belong to me draped over my shoulders, and the warmth of a hand on the small of my back I didn’t have to turn my head to see that I was still accompanied by the man from the bar. I turned anyway.
“I can’t remember where I put my car.” While my breath was stiff around the confession, my words a little short, I smiled in an attempt to only border the “damsel in distress” line.
“My name is Jon.” He announced more into the darkness than to me directly. The night accepted the introduction as both permission and an excuse. He led me into a hotel that was just up the block.
While I was distracted by the trickling of wine as it traveled in a steady stream from its bottle to the two glasses Jon had removed from a cabinet I realized this room was much nicer than the rundown motel Regina and I would have ended up in if we hadn’t been separated by own our lustful desires. Both too drunk and invested in the situation I placed the glass he handed me on the bedside table and slowly closed the space the room had put between us.
“Have you ever been in love?” I whispered in a deep throaty breath as I approached him. It wasn’t an appropriate beginning for a night such as this, but I still counted myself a novice of one-night stands. He met my gaze and tried to place the emotion behind my words only to be distracted as my fingers begin to trace slow circles around the lowest button on his collared shirt.
“Only with every sip of rum,“ He replied brushing hair behind my shoulder. The motion was an attempt to excuse his hand as it crept down my back relieving my dress’ zipper of its duties. If I could have spoken I would have thanked him for using his tongue to keep any further questions from coming out of my mouth.
In a mix of slurred words meant as one last opportunity to back out I pushed him against the wall and gave myself permission to explore the skin beneath the crisp linen of his shirt. I used my mouth to cover his only pausing as the hook of my bra was opened flawless by his right hand. Chuckled with self-approval he maneuvered our bodies so now it was my back against the wall. He pushed hard against my thigh, and I fumbled with his belt buckle knowing I’d deem my actions “RECKLESS” if given the chance to sober up. And while I’m not sure if I should blame the alcohol or a deeper purpose for memory repression but after we fell into the sheets of that hotel bed my night was not accurately documented.