If Love Were By Design, page 10
“There he is!” Kimmy shouted over the music. She pointed to an upstairs loft that overlooked the crowded room below. They had to pass another bouncer that checked their names before they got upstairs. There was a large right angle bench that had an oversized coffee table in front of it. There were four men sitting at one end of the bench. One of them was Travis. There were three girls sitting at the opposite end talking. There were more tables and chairs in the spacious loft, and neon blue lights shone on the ground from underneath the tables. There was a private bar that was glowing an ice blue as well. People were getting drinks and mingling around it. Over all there weren’t more than twenty people in the private section. The atmosphere was chic.
“Kimmy!” Travis yelled when he saw her. He jumped up from his seat and approached them. “You’re here.” He drew her into an embrace and kissed her. “You look beautiful.” He paused to say in a loud voice over the music, “Those are my friends over there, but let’s go to the bar and I’ll get you something to drink before I introduce you. Veronica, I’ll get you something, too. Come on.” They started to walk to the bar. It was when they were half way there that Veronica recognized someone.
William was at the bar with his back to her, talking with two men and a woman. Travis walked up to the bartender and requested a screwdriver, and a rum and coke. He then turned to Veronica and asked her what she wanted. She told him that he didn’t have to buy her a drink, but he insisted.
“A Long Island Ice Tea.” Veronica yelled over the music close to his ear. Travis ordered the drinks.
There was an outburst of laughter from William’s small group. Travis immediately flung an arm around William with exuberance and accidently pushed him into the small circle as he yelled, “What’s so funny!”
“Veronica!” William said the moment he saw her. Travis let go of him, and apologized to the girl who William bulldozed. She didn’t seem to mind; in fact she flung her arms around William and pressed herself against him. William broke free and greeted Kimmy. “I didn’t know you were coming, Veronica. I asked Travis the other day if you were. He thought you might, but wasn’t sure.” William paused. “Can I buy you a drink?”
“Travis already ordered for me, but thank you.” Veronica said.
“Then I’ll buy all your drinks after this one.” William offered.
“Who is your friend?” The woman asked William.
Kimmy whispered into Veronica’s ear so she couldn’t be overheard. “That is Aurora Sveska. She’s a model from Sweden. I met her last week at Travis’s dinner party. She was all over William like bees on honey. And she’s absolutely atrocious. Poor William.”
Aurora looked like a model. She was tall with creamy–white skin, and a perfectly proportionate, flawless face. She looked like an airbrushed pin–up with beautiful everything. It was no wonder that while she was paying attention to William the other men were paying attention her.
“This is my friend Veronica and her best friend Kimmy. But you know Kimmy.” William informed her. He then pointed to the two men. “And this is Kurt and Dale.” He then mentioned what Kimmy had told her by adding, “And this is Aurora.” He didn’t even pause to ask, “Veronica, do you want to dance?”
“I only got here a minute ago, and I think I’ll have my drink first.” Veronica said. Travis handed Kimmy and Veronica their drinks.
“What’s that you’re drinking? So, I know what to get you later.” William implored.
“That’s a Long Island Ice Tea.” Travis told William. Travis then took Kimmy’s hand and started to lead her back to the bench where he had been sitting when they arrived.
“Thanks, William, but Kimmy promised to buy me my drinks, and since she dragged me here last minute I think I’ll let her.” Veronica jested. She had enough time to say it, but a second later Kimmy pulled her arm and the three of them went to the bench.
Travis sat next to the men he was talking to earlier. He had Kimmy sit next to him, Kimmy in turned pulled Veronica. She sat and drank her ice tea as Travis introduced the three guys. “This is Ronny, Sean, and Tobias.” Ronny, a thin, tall, lanky man with sandy blond hair said hello. Sean smiled, and Tobias nodded. Sean and Tobias both had rich chocolate skin. “Sean and Tobias are brothers, and their sister, Vicki, is around here somewhere. Those three girls on the end are Sandy, Bianca, and Nicole.” The three girls on the end got up the moment he mentioned them, but they weren’t looking at them, nor could they hear them over the music. However, they came over and smiled at Kimmy and Veronica because Travis was still pointing. “I was telling Kimmy and Veronica who you were. Sandy, Bianca, and Nicole.” Sandy was beautiful, and Veronica’s first impression of her was that she was a model. All three of them had blond hair and blue eyes, but Sandy had perfectly white teeth. Bianca was the smallest and shortest girl. And Nicole was big–boned and chubby, but still quite beautiful. Travis then introduced Kimmy as his girlfriend. They exchanged small talk for only a moment before the three mentioned they were going downstairs to dance, and that was why they got up in the first place.
“I think we should go dance, too!” Kimmy announced.
“I’m game.” Veronica agreed. She drank her ice tea, taking a few big gulps.
“We’ll go down with you.” Sean said. He nudged Tobias on the arm and all nine of them went downstairs as a group.
Veronica didn’t mean to, but she glanced at the bar. William was now on the opposite end talking to someone else and Aurora was watching him from afar. He had his back to her. Veronica couldn’t help but remember what Kimmy had said. He looked as if he was trying to avoid her. He turned to look at the bench where she was a moment ago. Veronica gasped and looked away. The last thing she wanted was to be caught staring at him.
The music had a good beat, and they were playing songs Veronica knew and liked. She always had a great time when the clubs played music she loved. It made dancing that much more fun. The bubbles thickened as they entered the dance floor. By the time they reached the middle, Veronica could only see a few feet in front of her, but no more. Kimmy and Travis started to dance together. Veronica threw her arms in the air like the song was saying to do. Sean spun her around by taking her hand, and he immediately started dancing with her. She laughed, and yelled over the music, “You’re a good dancer!”
“You, too!” He said.
“No, but I love to. I took a few classes while in high school.” After that they didn’t talk, however, Veronica didn’t mind. She danced another two songs with him, and then excused herself to go to the restroom. She passed by the bar on the way back and ordered another ice tea. She drank it slowly while people watching until she hit ice.
Aurora appeared at Veronica’s side. Her sneer expressed more than reproach, but vanity as well. She leaned against the bar with her back to the bartender. “I didn’t catch you name earlier.” Aurora struck up a conversation. “Did William call you Vanessa?”
“Veronica.” She corrected her. She wished she had something else to add that was friendly, but for some reason she didn’t care to engage in a lengthy dialogue with her, and therefore Veronica didn’t try that hard. She imagined it was because Kimmy didn’t think much of Aurora, but on second thought she wasn’t sure that was the only reason.
“Oh, that’s right. Veronica.” Aurora flashed a beautiful smile of perfect white teeth. “He’s gorgeous, isn’t he?”
“Who?” Veronica asked.
Aurora looked to the upstairs loft eyeing William who was leaning against the rail conversing with another man. “William, of course. You should see him naked. He’s a daydream come reality.” Aurora smiled.
“Sorry?” Veronica asked. She looked at Aurora in shock. Her mouth dropped. She didn’t want to ask any questions, and wished she hadn’t asked to her repeat it. She felt suddenly sick, and aware she was jealous.
“Oh, he didn’t tell you? I’m his ex–girlfriend.” Aurora added, “Well, sort–of–ex. We still have an occasional fling now and then; an–on–and–off–agai
“I . . . why are you telling me this?” Veronica stammered. She looked at William, and she had to admit that it hurt to hear Aurora say that. She wished it didn’t.
“I thought that was obvious. He’s evidently friends with you. I want to make myself clear: he always comes back to me. So, you may end up liking him for his money . . .”
“Let me interrupt you there, Aurora. I have no romantic feelings for William. I hardly know him! I don’t care if he’s sleeping with you, and I don’t care . . . . Oh, never mind—I’m not wasting my breath.” Veronica turned around. She snapped at the bartender to hurry with her drink. He merely pointed to the drink at her elbow.
“Good.” Aurora smiled. She kissed Veronica on the cheek. “Nice meeting you Vanessa.”
Veronica didn’t know what happened. She stood at the bar feeling shaky. She took a sip of her ice tea, but then pushed it aside and ordered a double shot of vodka. She tapped her finger impatiently until her shots came. It was apparent too, that she had made him upset, because he was taking a long time to do it. She tipped it back and drank it in one gulp. She ordered one more, and knew the moment she drank it that she would be sick by the end of the night. “Hey!” Kimmy said coming up to the bar. “Oh!” Kimmy looked at her face, and queried, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. Aurora. You’re right; she’s a total hag! She had enough nerve to tell me to stay away from William because they sleep together all the time, and to not get in her way.” Veronica added, “I don’t know what bothers me more, her attacking me like that, or wondering if it’s actually true he could have ever been with someone so,” she thought a moment, “horrible.”
“Poor William.” Kimmy said.
“I guess.” Veronica replied. “Either he chose to love her and it was his own fault or he wasn’t thinking at all. Either way . . . I’m not having fun anymore. So, we’re going to dance or I’m going home.”
“No! I want to dance—you and me. Let’s go.” Kimmy insisted and took her by the arm. They went to the middle of the dance floor. Veronica had so much alcohol in her she was loosening up. And to her relief, dancing had made her instantly feel better. She was laughing in no time. She screamed when a song came on that she loved. “Are you better now?” Kimmy yelled over the music. Veronica nodded. And before the song was over she was feeling her vodka more than ever.
“Do you want to dance?” William came out onto the floor to ask her as Travis took Kimmy into his arms.
“Are you sure it’s okay?” She asked. She looked around but couldn’t see Aurora.
“Why wouldn’t it be?” He asked with a curious smile. He took Veronica’s hand and the moment he touched it, she was horrified because the song changed to a slow love song.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” She muttered. People began to leave the floor. Bubbles floated down making it nearly impossible to see more than a foot away. People kept bumping into them, as they left the floor. He drew her closer to him. His arms hugged her waist.
“So, I was thinking you could come over tomorrow night and make me dinner.” He suggested.
“I don’t know. I had a disturbing conversation with your ex, Aurora.” She confessed and knew it was the alcohol talking. “I’m not competitive, and I certainly won’t fight your ex just to be your friend. So . . . I don’t think I will.”
“Excuse me? Aurora, my ex? Ex–what?” He asked. “Girlfriend?”
“Yes.” She concurred.
He laughed but quickly stopped. “I have never and will never date Aurora. She’s psycho!” He added, “What did she say, exactly? So I can once again tell her to back off.”
“She said you two have sex on–and–off and you’re crazy hot naked, and to leave you alone.” She divulged.
“I would never touch her, let alone sleep with her.” He asserted.
“You didn’t have to tell me that.” She said.
“Like hell, I don’t! I don’t want her spreading nonsensical garbage like that about me. And I certainly don’t want you believing . . .” he began to say but she interrupted him.
“No. Please, don’t. You don’t have to say anything. I don’t care if you have or haven’t. Although, she said you broke it off because you got jealous, and I know you to be the jealous type. It’s okay if you have. You don’t have to explain anything to me.”
“Veronica! Really? You’re going to believe her over me? She’s crazy! If I wasn’t a guy, I would seriously consider getting a restraining order against her.” He laughed, but she could see he didn’t find it humorous. “As it is, she’s rarely in the States, so I never see her. But I’m not lying to you, and it hurts my feelings that you would believe her. I told you I’ve had three girlfriends: Alison Higgins, Laura Swanson, and Jennifer Sharp. So, let’s not talk about Aurora anymore. It will ruin my entire night.”
“Okay.” She said, suddenly realizing that she was a jerk for not believing him. She relaxed, feeling relieved; she hated the idea of them together. She was stupid to have believed Aurora. “Sorry.” She sounded as guilty as she felt.
“No, let’s not be sorry. Let’s have fun.” He said shaking his head. “I think we should hang out for the rest of the night. You’ve been dancing so much I haven’t had time to talk to you. I mean, we’re friends, right?”
“Of course.” She said.
“Alright. I want to buy you a drink, and we’ll sit at a table together. Only you and me.” He insisted.
“I had two Long Island Ice Tea’s and four shots of Vodka. If I drink anymore I’ll be sick.” She said.
“Alright. You probably need water and something to eat then. That’s a lot of alcohol for you!” He said, let go of her, and led her upstairs.
They sat at a small table for two by the bar. He ordered nachos, and a carafe of water. She started drinking the water right away, and they talked while they waited for the nachos. “You didn’t answer me if you’re making me dinner tomorrow night, at seven.” He said.
“I will. A bet is a bet.” She acknowledged as she picked out ice from her glass and ate it. “But let’s make it six so we’re not eating around eight.”
“I won’t be at my apartment until six–thirty, at least, but I’ll tell Tom to let you up the elevator and into my apartment so you can get started.” He proposed. “Did I tell you that you look nice tonight? I recognize the dress, too. I like you in designer clothing—you wear it well.” He moved his hand off the table as the waiter brought the nachos.
“Thank you.” She said when the waiter left. She ate a chip. “I feel a joke coming on. You usually tease me about now.”
“No. I’m not going to tease you about looking nice.” He replied and started eating the nachos. He added, “I’m serious.”
She smiled. “So what have you been doing all week?”
“Working, I went to Travis’s dinner party on Wednesday night, which was torture, but I don’t even want to get into that right now. Thursday I had a volleyball match, and won. You?” He asked.
“Working! That and spending any free time I have sketching shoes. I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do, but I’m seriously leaning toward quitting. I think.” She said.
“Veronica, that’s great. I’m really happy for you! You’re going to be amazing. No, scratch that, you are amazing, and will do amazing. Anyway, you know what I mean.” He said.
“That’s two compliments. Are you drunk?” She teased.
“No. I’ve only had one drink tonight—not even. I’m getting sick of drinking,” he shrugged. “I go through phases. I like to go out a lot, and then I don’t. I’m getting bored of clubbing all the time.”
“You’re such a social butterfly. I can’t see you staying home.” She said.
“It’s because I hate being home alone. If someone was home all the time, I would be there.
“I’m sort of the same way. I change back and forth too, and it seems like they come and go in three month increments.” She said and smiled.
“Three month increments? Who is teasing who, now?” He smiled. He poured her more water.
“I’m not teasing you. I told you, I’m weird and boring. Kimmy will testify that I’m boring; she tells me all the time.” She affirmed.
“That’s coming from a girl who fell asleep on my boat and woke up the next morning three miles off shore. I hardly call that boring.” He jested.
“I can’t believe you brought that up. I was starting to forget about it.” She laughed and feeling uncomfortable, tucked her hair behind her ear.
Aurora came over to the table and stole a chip from off their plate. She put her hand on William’s shoulder, and leaned closer to him. “William, will you buy me a drink?”
“Aurora, I’m eating with Veronica. Those aren’t your nachos, and no, I won’t. Especially since you told Veronica we’ve been together when we both know it’s not true!” He snapped and sat back in his chair so she had to take her hand off him.
“Then I will buy it and you can pay me back.” Aurora said.
“Go ask Dale.” William grumbled. “He’ll buy you a drink.”
Veronica watched Aurora puff up with anger. However, she smiled at William and touched his cheek, telling him he was cute. It made Veronica’s blood boil. She couldn’t stand Aurora. She stood. William looked at her and sat up, “Where are you going?”
“He isn’t in love with you, Aurora.” She said ignoring William’s question. She slowly moved over to his side of the table. Veronica spun his chair around so William was facing her. She looked at Aurora and smiled. “And I’ll prove it to you.” William flashed the smallest smile and looked in her eyes as she leaned forward. “Tell her.” He stared at Veronica for several heartbeats. “Tell her you love me.” He blinked.
He searched her eyes. He gave a half smile, and then turned to Aurora to say, “I won’t deny it.” Aurora glared at him.