I can't believe I'm actually publishing this stuff on the internet.

Vol. 0

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Vol. 0

Vol. 0

Believe it or not, this is set in the same universe as Erin, but about 15 years prior. Ya know, before the apocalypse. There’s an entire 20k word story involved here but this is the beginning. I wrote it for Camp NaNoWriMo in 2015 I think? Maybe 2014, I’m not really sure.

~~~

“He’s attractive.”

“There’s something very off about him though.” Lynn, my ever present, ever cautious best friend sat beside me as we nibbled on ‘authentic italian cuisine’ at a little cafe on the edge of Edenbourough. Our day filled with shopping and galavanting around the city was coming to a close.

“You say that about a lot of people though.” I let out a heavy sigh and tossed a strand of long blond hair back behind my shoulder where it belonged.”

She rolled her grey-blue eyes. “I’m serious Nora. You can’t just go up to someone based on looks alone. There’s something seriously wrong with that guy.”

The ‘guy’ in question was standing at the register ordering his food. The clerk was as smitten as I was. He was tall, well over six feet, had the body of a greek god, dark hair and eyes to compliment his olive skin.  There certainly didn’t seem to be anything wrong with him. He gave the clerk a courteous smile as she handed him the reciept and he turned to find a table and wait for his food. Secretly, or not so secretly, I was hoping he’d pick the table next to ours. It wasn’t that far from where he was standing anyhow. Lynn shot me a disapproving look as I eyed him. Although I wanted to strike up a conversation with this man, in reality I was much too shy. I dared glances in his direction but that was about it.

The clerk brought out his pasta primavera and he stood and walked out he door. Hm, so much for that dream. Lynn finally put her fork down, something that I had done long ago. She had this nasty habit of finishing her plate no matter what was on it but worked out enough that it didn’t show. She always said it had something to do with her parents or something but it had never really concerned me.

“Where to now? I knew that we’d have to be heading back to our sleepy little town of Villanova soon but wanted to milk this trip for all that it was worth. It wasn’t often that the two of us got to escape like this.

She hummed as she thought. “How about a movie? Or maybe a club?” My eyes lit up at the prospect of a club. I had never been to one but it was something that Lynn did every time she came to the city. “We’re not really dressed for it.” It wasn’t more than a couple of blocks. We could leave all of our stuff in her car here and just walk over there. Club scenes weren’t known for being the safest places to leave a car.

I looked down at my jeans and old battered blouse. She was right. “We can fix that though.” I grinned at her as we got up and left the little restaurant.

Before hitting up the club we found a little boutique not far away. They sold dresses and skirts short enough to make me blush but my partner in crime loved it. She never had any problems with the opposite sex. I, on the other hand…

She thrust a hanger into my arms when she saw the terrified look on my face. “Here, try this on.” I looked at it. Maybe a yard of fabric all said and done, just barely covering the essentials. I crammed myself in the tiny fitting room and pulled it on. I stepped out in a red halter top dress, covered in rhinestones that extended maybe three inches at best past the part in my legs. This was certainly not something that I could sit down in. Lynn and the little asian woman that ran the place squealed in delight. After calming themselves the woman declared that we just had to do something about my mess of hair. She pulled a fake flower off of one of the shelves and positioned it in my hair, pinning some of the front strands back. Lynn produced the candy apple red pumps that I was somehow supposed to walk to the club in.

By the time they had me all done up Lynn has transformed into her fabulous self. Her dress was strapless, something that I swore I would never wear myself. That shade of amethyst looked stunning on her. The light grey stilettos didn’t clash like I thought they were going to. A small bird pendant dangled just above the top of her dress. She gave me the same coy smile that she used on pretty much every gullible man she met. “Ready?” I nodded. We paid the woman and set off for the club.

Simply observing the people on the streets was enough to make me happy but Lynn had this nasty habit of commenting on them all. “I bet she’s a hooker.” She said as we passed by a woman barely dressed standing on the corner.

I rolled my eyes. “I’m sure that someone is saying the same thing about us.”

She looked us over. “No, darlin’, we look hot. That woman was obviously a hooker.” I just played along. When she had her mind set on something that was all there was.

When we reached the club we were met by the huge black bouncer at the door. He had that menacing look that all real bouncers had but when he took a look at us he took our cover fee and ushered us in the door.

This was one of the most revered clubs in all of Edenbourough. People came from miles around to see it and that really showed. The amount of people in here was astonishing to me, and they came from all walks of life. Lynn took my hand and led me to the bar. She had insisted that we didn’t need to bring money dressed as we were. Some fool would buy us drinks. Sure enough, as soon as she flagged a bartender the man next to us looked her over and casually laid down the cash. I however was not so lucky. I didn’t have the air of confidence my best friend had. I had money tucked away in the cup of my bra just in case.

She got her drink, something that I wasn’t really interested in anyway, and we moved closer to the dance floor. My brunette partner in crime swayed her hips to the beat of the music while she sipped the orange concoction in her hands. The man that had bought her the drink was sauntering up beside us. He slipped an arm around her waist and drug her off to the dance floor. She shot me an apologetic look as she handed me the glass. i stood there for a few seconds before taking a sip. There was no sense in standing here watching her have all the fun. I found a little table not far off the bar and sat down. These shoes were going to be the death of me.

“Can I ask your name?”

I looked around, unaware of anyone paying attention to me. When I turned my head to the right I found the man from the cafe standing next to me. “Nora.” I did my best to subdue my blush. He was even better looking up close. “And yours?”

He gestured to the seat opposite me as if to ask if he could take it. I nodded. “You can call me Zeek.” His grin was infectious. Here I was, little ole me, getting chatted up by the hottest man I’d ever seen in real life. “This doesn’t look like your kind of atmosphere.”

I looked out to the dance floor and then back to him. “No, I guess not. It sounded like a good idea at the time.”

“You were in the cafe weren’t you?” I nodded. He hummed. “You look quite a bit different here. Younger almost.” I didn’t’ really have ground to argue that. My clothes had a tendency to date me quite a bit. “I like it.”

As the music changed to something else, more bass if at all possible, he nodded towards the sea of people on the dance floor. “Care to join them?” The shocked look on my face gave away my apprehension. “It’s safe, I promise.”

Not knowing what else to say I took his hand as he lead my down the few steps to the sea of people grinding on each other. It reminded me of an orgy or something. I was sure that some of these people were actually having sex. I’d heard things about clubs like that. He placed his hands on my hips and I put mine on his shoulders. Due to the obnoxious people around us we were closer than I would have liked. I didn’t really know how to dance in a place like this. I was brought up on square dancing and the jitterbug. I took cues from him, bumping and grinding with the music. Then, all of the sudden, he spun me around so that we could mirror all of the other couples. I could feel him press against my back. I wasn’t surprised that his erection was rubbing against my ass but that didn’t mean I liked it. He snaked a hot hand around my waist and held me there. I was beginning to relish the sensation.

Lynn wasn’t too far off, getting into things with the man that had bought her a drink. The same thing was happening to her but she was enjoying it. I took a deep breath and did the same.

When the song ended and he let up a little I turned. “I want another drink.” I had polished off Lynn’s while I was chatting with this handsome stranger. He gave me a curious eye. Truly I just wanted the alcohol to loosen me up a bit. I took his hand and drug him away, not quite sure why I was bringing Zeek along though he was my only other somewhat friendly companion in this place besides my currently occupied best friend. He happily obliged and was sure to keep some semblance of physical contact as we walked. I flagged the bartender. “Crown and coke.” I didn’t know much about alcohols but that was something that would probably keep me a little looser.

Zeek grinned down at me. “Make that two.” I was about to pull the money out of my bra when he pulled my hand down. With a grin he handed the man cash.

After we got our drinks we went back to the little table we had chatted at before. Lynn’s glass was still there, holding our place in a way. I scooted it aside and hopped up to the tall seat. “Thanks,” I murmured before I took a sip. Damn, this guy makes strong drinks. That was ok though. I needed it.

“So what do you do?”

I was taken aback a bit. Is there really idle chitchat in a place like this? “Well, I work at a motel.” It wasn’t that I was necessarily ashamed of it, I just wasn’t proud of it either. My parents couldn’t afford to send me to a state school so I was doomed to live the life of a small town girl.

“Really? Which one?” He seemed genuinely interested in my personal life. Maybe it was just an air to get laid. Not that I would mind.

“Well, I don’t live in the city. Probably not one you would know of.” He nodded. “What about you?”

He looked out towards the crowd of people. “I’m a HR person.”

“HR?” I echo.”What kind of HR?”

He took another sip of his drink. “Well, all I can tell you is that it’s an international thing. We bring people together. It’s all really top secret.” I nodded. Damn, I want to know now.

Lynn and the man that bought her a drink came sauntering up. She looked elated. She tapped me on the shoulder and looked at Zeek. “Can I talk to her for a minute?” He nodded and got up and stood by the other man. “Hey, you alright over here?” I nodded. “Nothin sketchy going on right? Is he being nice to you?” I nodded again. Obviously she had another drink since the last time I talked to her. “How do you feel about me giving you my keys? Would you be ok to drive back to Villanova by yourself?”

My eyebrows knitted together. “What about you? How are you going to get back?” I knew sheh wanted to sleep with this guy. That’s probably why she normally came with other people with cars. That way she didn’t have to worry about them if she went gallivanting off into the night.

She looked over at the man. “Sam said he would bring me home.” After licking her lips and stealing another glance she got closer to me. “He’s the son of the man that owns this place. Isn’t he just gorgeous?” I finally got a chance to look him over. Dark, almost black hair covered his head and a decent portion of his face. He wasn’t quite the epitome of greek god that Zeek was but this man definitely worked out. “Sam Thorne is his name. I think I’m smitten”

I nodded warily. “Be careful. He might still be an asshole.”

She rolled her eyes. “You be careful too. I still don’t have a good feeling of this guy that you’re chatting up. Hot or not, I don’t want you getting hurt.” I nodded slowly. “Well, then, I shall be off. Don’t have too much fun here.” She shot me a wink as she took Sam by the arm and the pair sauntered towards the door.

Zeek sat back down across from me. “She leaving you to your own devices?” I nodded. “You two must be from Villanova. Small town girls.”I gave him a questioning look. “You can’t trust everyone here. It’s not smart of her to leave you alone here.”

I looked at my half empty drink. “Yeah.” I looked around the room for a clock but turned up empty handed. “Do you have the time?”

He pulled out something that I hadn’t seen anyone my age carry around before, a pocketwatch. “Quarter after 11. Still a little early.”

I gave him a humorous look. “Says you. I’ve been up since 6 this morning.”

He raised an eyebrow at me. “And you’re supposed to be driving back tonight?”

I looked off into the crowd. “I’ll stop and pick something up on my way out to keep me awake.”

“You’ve been drinking.”

I looked at him with a hint of disdain. “Are you my father now?” Being badgered by men I barely knew wasn’t exactly high on my list of things I enjoyed.

He dropped his eyes back down to the table. “No, I suppose not. But if you want I do have an extra bedroom if you would like a place to stay for the night.”

I bit my lip. “No sex?”

“If that pleases you then yes, no sex.”

Mulling over my options in my head I came to the conclusion that if Lynn could sleep with random strangers not knowing what diseases they might be carrying I could at least sleep in a bed at a residence I did not know and not sleep with the guy. Only made sense. And he was right. I really was in no condition to drive the 50 miles back home. “Okay.”

He looked a little shocked. “Where are you parked?”

“Over by the cafe.”

“May I walk you to your car?” I live not too far from here. I can just give you directions from there.”

“Did you bring a car?” I finished the last of my drink. Beginning to feel a little tingle in the pit of my stomach I realized just how much of a lightweight I could be.

He shook his head. “I came with people.” I thought that was a bit odd. I hadn’t seen him so much as glance around the room as I had to look for Lynn. I nodded. We stood up and wandered out into the now chilly streets. This dress didn’t cover much but I did my best to refrain from showing any semblance of chill. Without saying a word he wrapped one arm around my shoulders as we walked. “You’re cold.” I let out a snort. Maybe men just knew these things.

The streets were quiet, almost eerily so but we made it to Lynn’s little blue car with no incident. I held the key in my hand as we approached.

He directed me without fault to the high rise apartment building he lived in. He was right, it was no more than half a mile from the club. The lobby was decorated like some sort of office, with marble and silver tones reflecting everywhere. It was swanky without a doubt. He grasped my hand and lead me to the elevator. Still, there wasn’t a soul around. The idea of being alone with this man was beginning to take it’s toll on my psyche. Maybe Lynn was right, maybe he was some kind of psychopath killer who only wanted to get me alone so that there were no witnesses. Not wanting to believe in inherent evil I chastised myself for thinking something like that.

We arrived on the 17th floor and scooted down the hallway. Being so much taller that I, he could walk much faster.

He stopped in front of the door numbered 1706 and pulled out a key. Being gentlemanly and such he ushered me inside. “Wait here.” He disappeared behind the corner of a wall. Down a hall maybe?

I stood awkwardly just past the door with my hands clasp in front of me. Maybe he had a roommate, I mused. Before I could finish my train of thought he returned with a t-shirt. “Something to sleep in,” he explained. “I don’t want you to be cold.”

I took it and folded it in my arms. “Thank you again for your hospitality. I do appreciate it.”

He nodded and smiled at me. “I’ll be up for a while if you’d like to join me. If not your room will be the first door on the left down the hall.”

“What will you be doing?” I blurted out without really minding my p’s and q’s. I was a guest here, I should behave with the utmost respect. Maybe the alcohol was getting to me after all.

He cocked his head an almost unnoticeable amount. “Probably read the paper, and have a small bite to eat. What do you have in mind, my lady?”

I blushed. “I was just curious. I’ll be off then.” I couldn’t wait to get out of the heels. And the dress was beginning to take its toll on my patience as well. The bedroom was neat and tidy. A white comforter adorned the bed and the walls were painted pale blue. There was a window overlooking the street below behind wispy white cotton curtains.

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