, she thought, while finally getting her arm free from his. Thankfully the pathway next to the building had narrowed and the three of them could not easily walk abreast there. She said, "He's all yours, Elisa," while unhooking him and pushing him not so playfully to Elisa.
There was no way he could touch her without leaving Elisa alone. Elisa, innocent of the nuances, prattled on as Greg led them deeper in the alley. Lani wished there were more lights in the brick lined corridors, but Greg seemed to know exactly where they were headed. Just when Lani was ready to just turn around and go back to the van, they arrived at the corner of a building that spilled out to a main street.
People lined the side of the structure behind carefully laid out velvet ropes. The various club goers were patiently waiting their turn to get into the nightclub. She could not see the end of the line, just the shadows and shapes dancing and leaning next to the wall. The doorway into the building had a large man standing with his arms crossed impressively over his massive chest. Not just a steroid gym monkey by any means, this bouncer was serious bounce from hours of workouts every day. Lani was pretty amazed at his size. He stood well over six and half feet tall, with a skin-tight shirt showing definition that could quite easily be seen on the cover for any muscle magazine. Elisa detached herself from Greg and ran up to the man squealing, "Donnie!" He did not look like a 'Donnie' to Lani but a 'Butch,' maybe.
To Lani's utter astonishment the man put his arms out and Elisa flung herself upwards into his chest. Elisa was picked up like she weighed less than a child and they exchanged a friendly kiss. Lani glanced over to see Greg's face. He was not pleased by her friend's display of affection. He caught her looking at him and shut down all expression.
Watching them made Lani realize Elisa had spent more than just one night at this club. She noticed a sign by the door with the name engraved on a brass plate. Dark Whispers. Then she took a glance down the line of waiting club folks. A Goth club? Her friend's favorite hang out was filled with sullen-faced, angry kids? Okay, it said it was an over twenty-one club, so in theory they were all of age. But both Elisa and Lani were of the age they could actually have parented any one of those kids. The posted admittance fee of ten dollars was certainly not going to make this place any more upscale than the local Denny's. But then she saw that the bouncer, Donnie, was actually denying various kids' entrance. She noticed he shook his head at a rather small, wan faced youth who was dressed in torn jeans and a severely bad attitude. The kid flipped Donnie a nasty gesture while stomping off, to the waiting line's amusement. Chuckles followed him as he left.
Elisa had slowly disconnected from Donnie when Greg walked up to them. Greg took the time to establish ownership with an extremely elaborate display of affection. Elisa seemed oblivious to the spectacle they were making with their kisses and pawing. The some of the kids in line hooted and cat-called. That was when Lani noticed anyone that made comments were denied entrance by Donnie. He had continued his job of waving patrons in while Elisa and Greg were kissing. He caught Lani's eye and nodded without a smile.
"Come on, Lani," Elisa came up for air, "Let's go inside!"
The fall chill was cutting through her outfit but still she hung back saying, "Don't we need to get in line?"
Elisa cheerfully laughed. The new Elisa was amazingly happy, Lani noted. "No, dear, we certainly don't have to be in any old line. Right, Greg?"
Greg smiled and waved his hand towards the entrance way like he owned the club. Lani did not think he was as important as he thought he was from the look Donnie threw him. She smiled slightly and wondered what Greg had done to tick off the man.
"You are definitely allowed to come in out of the cold. I have some friends I want to introduce you to."
That invitation did not warm Lani in any manner. If they were anything like him she would rather stay in line and take up smoking clove cigarettes and talk trash music with the white-faced, hollow-eyed Goths. She hesitated for a minute, then Elisa ran to her side and pulled her over to Donnie.
"First, Greg, she has to officially meet Donnie. In case she wants to come back some night you and I are busy." That disturbed Lani. Like she would come to this club without Elisa? What was going on here?
"Donnie, this is Lani, my best friend. Lani, this is Donnie, my best bouncer." She had sprung away from Greg and pulled Lani to meet Donnie. She tweaked Donnie's arm with her fingertips. Donnie extended his hand and Lani was pleased to find he had a great handshake and did not try to suck face with her.
"Hi," not much else she could think of to say but she smiled brightly up at the man. He smiled back and appeared to understand her reluctance. This had been an awkward situation with Greg bristling and overreacting to Elisa's greeting. Elisa was trying too hard and Lani wanted to leave, not go inside.
"Hi, yourself, what are you doing alone?" He seemed to genuinely be curious.
Lani laughed loudly and said, "Thanks, somehow I rather think I will exit alone. Not exactly my scene." She pointedly looked down the line to further illustrate the differences in ages.
"You will be surprised, Lani, to find not everyone inside is so young," Elisa interrupted another kiss long enough to say.
"It is true," a deep voice came from behind Donnie. Lani heard squeals of excitement run down the front of the club. She looked at the man who moved out of the bouncer's shadow. He was a handsome man wearing deep brown pants tucked into leather calf high boots and seemed to be wearing a magenta colored, ruffled and flowing shirt -- in all seriousness looking like a modern day Peter Pan or escapee from a Renaissance festival. And he did appear to be a decade or so older than the crowd she had seen so far.
"Hey there, Boss, meet Lani. She's one of Elisa's friends," Donnie performed the introductions.
Greg added, "Yes, Kenyon, I brought her."
It was like he was claiming ownership of Lani. Every last hair on the back of her neck was standing straight up. She did not care what Elisa thought of him -- she was bailing as soon as she could.
"Lani ... that is an interesting name. Is it short for something?" Kenyon asked.
"No. Just my name. Kenyon is your last name?"
"No," he smiled widely, "Just my name."
"Point taken," she mumbled underneath her breath.
He nodded and smiled more. She wondered why they all smiled so much. It was really getting on her nerves.
Kenyon clapped his hand softly together.
"Well, let's not stand outside in the cold. Come along now and let me introduce you around. This is your first time here, right?"
With that, the group was swept in past the ever-growing line waiting for admittance. The lady taking money for a door fee waved off Greg's half hearted attempt to hand her a twenty. It made Lani wonder if she was supposed to have paid for herself. Yet another strike in the loser column for Greg the sleaze, she thought. The wall of noise hit her as they turned around the wall that had been buffering the entrance door. Deep sounds of music thumped darkly in the lowly-lit cavern. As her eyes adjusted she wondered why they were even letting people in the front door. It looked like the place was packed to the wall.
Lani glanced at her watch to see it was only a little after eight. She had never seen a club get crowded so early. Turning to Elisa she asked, "What Early Bird Special -- half-priced drinks?" She heard Elisa laugh in response.
"Nah, it's just the right place to be. You have to show up early or you can't get in the door. One night the place was completely full by 9 and there was nearly a riot outside, Donnie told me."
With new eyes Lani looked carefully around the room. The lighting was poor but that seemed to keep with the theme of early cave dwelling. As more of the definition came into view she could see there were niches cut around into the walls with no lighting at all. From the flaying glimpses of flesh and body parts, a very popular place in the club. Art deco wall sconces were the main source of the lights, as well as some strategically placed recessed spot lights that danced off the bar glasses and various shapes and sizes of liquor bottles. The walls were painted a flat dark gray. This further made the club seem extremely small. But as Lani looked it was a large place just well-designed to appear small and intimate.
The tables were annoyingly small and there were very few chairs to be had. It didn't seem to matter as most of the people were dancing and drinks littered tables unattended. The few folks scattered off the dance floor were clustered in groups of ten or more. All in all it really was an 'in' spot from that Lani saw. And Elisa had not misled her, there certainly were people over twenty inside. Not a ton, like a fern bar at happy hour, but more than she had expected from the group hovering outside. Not everyone was dressed for Halloween either. Quite a few were dressed like Elisa and Greg, elegant and adult. She didn't feel completely out of place, but was not ready to make this her local hang out by any means.
Kenyon led them deeper into the club. Everyone parted without a word spoken. He was obviously known in his own club. Lani started to notice here and there an enthusiastic girl rushing to try to reach Kenyon only to be met with a wall of security. It was like he was a rock star. A petite blonde wiggled past one guard to stop in front of Kenyon.
"Oh, sire, I must speak with you." Her voice was musical and carried well into the surrounding crowd. She sounded like another Renaissance festival sort. She was dressed in a theatrical style with heavy make up and expensive-appearing jewelry. Her dress pushed up her cleavage to an alarming degree that Lani feared she would spill out in her excitement. Greg also had noticed the same thing and had a lecherous grin on his face. Elisa was too busy waving to assorted people in the crowd to catch him.
Kenyon stopped and put a hand on the girl's white overly-made-up face. She was definitely was another escapee, Lani thought, as the girl sketched a modest bow. Her eyes were exaggeratedly large with use of much mascara and eyeliner. Lani noticed her pupils were so huge that she could not discern the color of the iris. Major recreational drugs there Lani assumed.
"Heather, I told you I need time with my friends."
"But Merilyn came with me tonight. She is perfect for you."
Kenyon shook his head subtly and allowed one of the large bouncers to move in swiftly. The young girl was whisked out of his way in a blink of the eye.
"I am sorry," Kenyon's voice rumbled, "Too many kids doing far too many drugs. I try to keep it out of the club but at times they do get past Donnie."
That was all he said to dismiss the youth. Lani thought there was more to that scene than he admitted. At the end of the room she saw Heather talking with one of her escorts and introducing him to a table filled with twenty-something aged girls. Most were made up in the basic Goth wardrobe of black, tattoos and unexplicably popular piercings.
One fresh faced girl seemed different from the rest. She was introduced to the security guard and jumped up and down joyfully. Lani thought that was cute. Most Goth kids showed nearly no emotions. She definitely wasn't going to be hanging out long with that crowd.
Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2018-07-09
Image(s) are public domain.