We went to the club without Kathleen. Connie had borrowed a black dress of Yasmin’s, which she wore with high-heeled black boots, and all her piercings. She looked terrifying. I think the doorman fell in love with her instantly. Yasmin wore a loud vintage Versace dress, which had originally been modelled by Naomi Campbell. She carried it as well as Naomi. Gina looked like a hipster as usual, but had swapped her brothel creepers for some super high heels which made her walk like Marilyn Monroe. Lina and I wore black dresses from a Thakoon sample sale.

One of the guys behind the bar recognised Connie, and gave us a free round of drinks. She asked him to point out Adrian Roth, but he wasn’t at the club that evening.

I have to say, it was a good club. They mixed the drinks well, and the DJ played tracks I’d not heard before. Furtively, I found myself glancing around the club for drug-dealers, which is stupid because they don’t exactly wear name-badges. Hello my name is Colin and I’m a coke dealer. Like staff in one of those midwestern diners.

I slid over to the bar to order a glass of iced water and found myself chatting to an older man in a dark suit and tieless shirt. He was nondescript enough, and I politely explained that I had come to the club with my girlfriends, and that we all worked in the city. He complimented me on my accent, saying that he found English girls charming, and I blushed. He slipped me a business card.

He was Adrian Roth. I stared at the card for a second, almost blurted out something about Katy, and then became embarrassed. A man across the room caught eyes with him. “Excuse me,” he said, touching my hand and moving away, “work”.

I slipped the card in my purse and handed the barman a note for the drinks. He shook his head. “Are you sure,” I mouthed over the noise of the DJ, but he wouldn’t take it.

I took my bottle of Badoit back to our table and started to feel uncomfortable. My mother had always warned me against accepting drinks from strange men, and Adrian Roth definitely fitted that category. “Where’s Connie?” I asked, noticing her absence.

“Ladies’ Room,” said Lina,

I went after her, needing to fix my hair and get away from the thumping noise of the dance-floor for a few minutes.

I found Connie in floods of tears, a glob of wet tissue pressed against her cheek, trying to stem the black rivulet of mascara running down her face.

“Oh my God Connie, what’s wrong?” I asked, rushing to her and trying to brush limp strands of hair from her face.

“It’s nothing,” she said, sniffing loudly and trying to calm herself.

I managed to get out of her that she had been casually dating some guy she knew via the bar where she worked. She wouldn’t say who, or give any hint to his age or type. “I keep thinking I’m ok with it, but occasionally it gets to me,” she said.

The night was growing tired, and I decided to take Connie home. I cleaned up her face as best I could, and the doorman gave her a sympathetic look on the way out. He may even have muttered something like he’s not worth it, but I don’t remember.

Image: Optics, by Connie


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