Arnanda was looking forward to the New Year celebration; she knew that this year would be unlike any other.
She had tired of being the wall-flower, of being passed over for the prettier girls, the sexy girls, the girls who smelled like they might put out. After paying bills she took the remainder of her paycheck–which she usually dropped into savings–and bought a new dress, some heels, and a fancy French parfum. She listened in to the conversations of the other girls at work and found out that the hot spot this season was an unmarked club down at the wharf; it was one of those trendy places built into an old warehouse that catered to the hip and wanna-be hip 20-somethings who worked in the office district downtown. It gave them a sense of danger since it was in a so-called seedier part of the city. Having no signage made it the ultimate choice. Those other girls knew she was listening, and because they thought it was funny, left one of the oh-so-exclusive-gotta-know-the-right-people-to-get-one invitation passes on the floor near Arnanda’s cubicle like so much dropped accidental trash, which she found and clutched to her small bosom like lost treasure. She made no mention of it, but one of the girls noticed and snickered about it; vultures they were, and anxious to feed off the sadness that seemed sure to ensue.
It was 10pm on New Year’s Eve; the invitation suggested that the cheapest drinks would be served starting at 10:30 but a place in line would need to be secured by 10. Arnanda pulled at the hem of her dress in hopes of adding more coverage to her usually unexposed thighs; the dress didn’t have much to it and it excited her almost as much as it made her uncomfortable. From behind her, at the nape of her neck: “Do you want to borrow my jacket until we get inside?”
She turned and was almost nose-to-nose with the most beautiful man she’d ever seen; her experience was limited to the workers at the grocery store around the corner from her apartment complex, the guys at the office, and the stars of her favorite murder-mystery shows. “Um, no–” she stammered, lamely, “I’m cool.”
Mr. Beauty smiled. “I can see that by all the goosebumps up and down your arms,” he said as he draped his body-warm coat around her.” Oh, and my name is Bret, but the way. And you are?”
She told him her name as they inched their way into the club, and as those other girls from work watched. Bret took her to the bar. “What’ll you have? First one’s on me.”
Arnanda had never been to a place like this; there was no drink menu and the bottles were hidden beneath the bar. She thought quickly. “I’ll have whatever you are having.”
Bret ordered two Ouzo’s and while his conversation kept Arnanda charmed, slipped the powder into her glass. “Cheers, and Happy New Year,” he whispered in her ear as she tipped the glass as nonchalantly as she could. Those other girls were at a table to the left, and grinned in the darkness as Bret and Arnanda continued their conversation briefly. They could tell when the powder began to have its effect when Arnanda, and a tear from her right eye, slipped limply to the floor at the stroke of midnight.
This is my submission for this week’s Picture It & Write.