What was I doing? Thinking yet again about Mila requesting a date from me, I couldn’t help but worry. If tonight’s date worked out, would Mila get jealous? Would the date be jealous of Mila? No, Mila didn’t have a body, but she was definitely developing quite the personality, not that I had romantic feelings for her. Spend enough time talking with someone, and you developed some sort of feelings for that person. I couldn’t deny that I cared for my wonderful… car? Assistant? If Mila wanted actual pay someday, what would her job title be? This situation was far too confusing for me. I enjoyed a simple life. I worked, paid bills, and tried to enjoy life with my friends. I only graduated high school a couple months ago. I doubted many of my classmates were very far into college yet, but here I was with employees, constant training, and a surpassingly beautiful girl trying to rule my life. What appeal did I even have for her? Lady Alma dealt with global leaders, and probably had business problems I’d never imagine. She probably knew guys around the world. Why was she here? How old was she? I really wasn’t sure. One day I thought I saved her life, and then I couldn’t get her out of my mind. She was petite enough to pass for someone quite young, but there was something about the way she carried herself that made her seem much older.
“Scared that I wasn’t going to make it, James?” came a voice before I noticed the porcelain skinned girl. Alma’s skin was very light as well now that I thought of it. “No. Sorry. Umm… I’m afraid that I don’t remember how to pronounce your name at the moment.” I told her. “I’m surprised you didn’t just take a shot. You couldn’t be that off, right?” she replied with a teasing smile that made me feel a bit uncomfortable. There was something different about this girl beyond the black, lacy dress that rose above her knees before dipping down to her calves in the back. There was a lace bracelet around her wrist with a chain going to a ring and a lace choker around her neck sporting a red gem, but those weren’t what really made her stand out either. “Eye-rah-wen is how you say my name. It means ‘snow-white’, similar to the princess from the Brothers Grimm, don’t you think?” she informed me, winking at the end. The red of her lips really went well with the red of the gem. “My apologies,” I said, breaking into a sweat as her finger trailed down my arm. I quickly stood and asked what she would like to do. I didn’t really plan this one too well with so much else on my mind. In response, she wrapped her arm around mine and started walking. With the sun already blocked by the buildings, the city was dark, but Eirawen’s skin seemed to glow in the lamplight.
“Where are we headed?” I asked, feeling exceptionally nervous. I realized that the cut of Eirawen’s dress wasn’t all that dissimilar to what Phèdre had worn on our… date, if I could really call it that, but Eirawen’s demeanor was what really made the difference. They both held onto my arm, but where Phèdre seemed like she was cuddling, Eirawen seemed to be toying with me. I was the mouse in the cat’s paws. “Are you sure this is safe?” I asked as we turned down an alley. “Perfectly.” she told me. There was something cat-like even about her voice, like the word purred out of her mouth. Despite my racing heart and my uncomfortable mix of emotions from Eirawen’s touch, I was able to prepare a few spells in case we were attacked. Part of me was hoping that Alma was nearby again, but I did my best to suppress it. From the dark alley, we went even further into darkness, down some stairs to a closed door. Eirawen pressed a buzzer that I failed to notice in the blackness until her incredibly white skin was over it. A large man opened the door, glanced at her, and proceeded to look at me long enough to add to my discomfort. Perhaps a bright green shirt wasn’t acceptable here? Before I managed to find something to say, the man jerked his head to the door, and Eirawen pulled me inside.
We walked down a hall lit by black lights, which really made her skin glow. I was surprised by the lack of lint on my own clothing. Last time I was under a black light, I felt distinctly embarrassed by it. The door at the end of the hall swung open as we approached, and the music that filled the hall was incredibly loud, as if there was a metal band performing therein. I felt the bass of the music hitting me and the matching change in Eirawen’s steps. Not far into the room, she started dancing against me. The types of dance in which I was schooled seemed far more classical in comparison to this bouncing room. Nonetheless, I dispersed my spells and started to move with the music as well. I never would have thought of going to a club for a date, but I hadn’t even realized there was one that allowed people under twenty-one inside either. Eirawen’s dancing emphasized what really set her apart enough that I couldn’t ignore it. Where Raine was cute, Phèdre was crazy, and Niele was studious, Eirawen was provocative, a sensual creature whose every movement seemed dangerous to me. With the realization came a powerful urge to flee. My heart was thumping loudly in my chest, or perhaps that was still the waves of bass slamming against me. I wasn’t sure anymore. The room was so alive with sound and motion, unlike any place I ever visited.
There was no way I’d be able to explain anything to her over the roaring music. Perhaps she would simply follow me if she noticed me head to the door. Where was the door? Without breaks in the music, I wasn’t sure how long we had been dancing. Looking around me, there were so very many girls, far too many pressing against me. How did I end up so far into the room? I tapped Eirawen’s shoulder, pointed to myself, and then pointed off to where I hoped the exit was. She gave me a peace sign and kept dancing, so I guessed the date was over. Making my way toward the wall, I found a bar instead of an exit. This was not what I wanted at all. Looking at the various beverages which seemed to glow in neon colors, I doubted there was anything safe to drink here. How did people even place orders when they weren’t likely to be heard yelling? The bartender was staring at me, so I gave him a wave and headed back into the crowd. I needed to let Eirawen know I was leaving, not getting her some unknown drink. Too many girls were trying to block my path, dancing against me. What was I supposed to do?
I winced as someone squeezed my wrist and pulled me through the crowd, and then was shocked when I found myself in a small open space where the music was only a light buzz. “Calm down. You’re safe here.” came a familiar voice. I looked down and felt the frown slip off my face as my racing heart skipped a beat. Alma’s eyes were exotic pools of glowing violet in the light. She was standing calmly with several feet of open floor between her and everyone else. I didn’t realize I was staring until she spoke again, saying, “I own this club. It’s a trap for a number of would-be killers, although most seem to stay clear now.” My ears were ringing slightly from the music. I felt like thanking Alma for giving me a break from the crowd, but I felt angry as well. Why did she always follow me? I didn’t get a chance to say anything. The music suddenly crashed back into me as Alma did the unthinkable; Lady Alma Lucy Pendreigh V started to dance. There was no rubbing against me or pushing around. When she spun, her incredibly long hair moved as a ribbon around her, an undulating stream in shades of red that briefly hid her face when she stopped. A single eye was visible past the hair, staring up at me, when she took my hand. I wasn’t certain how long we danced together in our private oasis, but I found myself reaching after her when she disappeared, felt the smile leave my lips.
One moment we were dancing together, someone bumped into me from behind, and then Alma was gone, the crowd instantly filling where she had stood. My outstretched hand was snatched by Eirawen whose approach I hadn’t even noticed. I saw her ruby red lips move as if she was talking, but didn’t know what she was saying. She started pushing her way through the crowd, and I followed, gripping her hand. Eirawen’s grip seemed a tenuous thing after Alma’s, although Alma’s touch was feather light when we danced. When we stepped out into the hall, the thick door cutting off the music behind us, Eirawen said, “Sorry about that. I was swept up in the crowd when you went to get drinks. Isn’t that place wild!?” She was sweating and breathing heavy, but I felt that wasn’t why her beauty seemed somewhat diminished. Alma was still dancing in my mind. “I’m the one who should be apologizing. I ran into someone I knew and lost track of time.” I confessed. She shook her head and told me “Hey. We’re here to have a good time. Loosen up and smile!” Her smile looked playful and reminded me a bit of Emma in that respect. I smiled at her, and she leaned against my arm and started walking. I felt the heat pouring off her and was a bit embarrassed by the state of my shirt, which seemed drenched in sweat.
We sat at a burger joint talking and eating for a good hour, mostly about Ancient Tribes of Earth. She was shocked when I told her that I was leader of The Garde but was obviously quite proud of her own guild. She asked if I wanted to come back to her place afterward, and seemed disappointed when I declined. I felt guilty, not at declining her offer but for thinking of Alma the entire time we talked. Eirawen got on her toes and kissed my cheek before telling me “Well, feel free to call whenever you have time. I’d like to meet up again.” As I walked to Mila, I knew I wouldn’t be calling. The contrast between the panic I felt around Eirawen and the fun I had dancing with Alma was too great. The former definitely could not help me get over the latter. I allowed myself a smile thinking about how pleasant Alma’s company was when she wasn’t maneuvering me. Tonight she was a girl happily dancing, and I was a foolish guy enjoying how well she danced. With the night coming to a close, I was all too certain that the overly-controlling Alma was going to return. Dancing with her was a mistake. Yes, she was the reason I had fun tonight, but she was also the girl who followed me uninvited. I wasn’t going to escape her iron grasp if I gave into her whims. I needed to try harder to gain freedom.