Jessie F Royle
“Come on, Syd, you’re not getting out of this one,” Desiree hands me the fresh fake ID she acquired for me this week.
“What makes you think I’m going to try?” I ask her, taking the card and scrutinizing it. “Jane Johnson? Could this be any more generic?”
“It has to be easy to remember, and remember the birth date, too. They’ll ask for sure if they think it’s a fake,” she instructs.
Desiree, my best friend, regularly likes going to clubs, but since she isn’t twenty-one, she relies on her fake ID. I study the birth date and repeat it in my head over and over.
I’m twenty-one, not eighteen, tonight.
“You always bail. Every time you agree to do this with me, it never happens,” she complains, “but not tonight. Actually, I’m surprised I got you this far, so that’s a start.”
“What if we get caught?” I ask.
“Worst-case scenario, they take your ID and cut it in half, that’s about it. I’ve had it happen a couple of times now. But, I’ve since got a new guy for my ID purposes, and his always pass. They’re flawless.”
“If you say so,” I sigh.
Desiree has been on a mission this whole summer to try and get me out of my safe little bubble, and I thought I could probably use a fun night out before school started back next week.
Senior year. This summer, I’ve been pretty preoccupied between my summer job at a day camp for underprivileged local kids and tutoring math at the Learning Center.
I’m on a mission to fluff up my college applications, so I thought these particular extracurricular activities would do just that.
“Ready?” Desiree asks, grabbing her purse off the backseat of her brand-new Jeep Wrangler, a generous gift from her dad for her eighteenth birthday.
An only child, Desiree has always been spoiled, even more so since her mother died when she was ten.
My car, an old black and grey Chevy Blazer, was a hand-me-down from my parents when they bought a new truck last year.
“Ready,” I confirm, grabbing my purse off the floor.
We exit the vehicle, and I follow close behind Desiree as we cross the street toward the end of a long line leading into a nightclub called The Wrecker.
“How’s my hair?” Desiree asks me, smoothing her hands over her long black hair that she spent an hour meticulously straightening.
“Great, as always,” I assure her. I fidget with my hair, twirling it around my fingers in a nervous gesture.
“Quit it, you’re going to ruin all the work I put in,” she swats my hand out of my long blonde hair that she had styled for me, although it felt more like an assault with all the teasing, curling, and hair spraying.
My hair now has more volume than I’ve ever seen it have, with the ends all perfectly curled.
Desiree made me trade my glasses for contacts tonight, and I’m wearing her clothes, too-tight skinny jeans, and a slinky black camisole.
I don’t look like myself tonight; I look more like her, which I suppose is not a bad thing. My usual style, as Desiree would say, is geeky chic.
I don’t know what that means, but I think it’s kind of like a hipster or something.
“So, have you finished your summer assignment history essay?” I ask her.
“Oh no, you don’t, Sydney, there will be no talking about school tonight. Tonight, we are twenty-one years old, and we don’t go to high school.”
“Fine. So what am I supposed to talk about?”
“I don’t know anything but school. We only have another week of freedom before we have to go back, so I’d like to forget about it.”
“I know, you’re right.”
“Of course I’m right. I’m always right.”
“No, you think you’re always right,” I laugh at her.
“Well, most of the time I’m right,” she argues.
“If you say so.”
We make it to the front of the line where a three-hundred-pound bouncer, covered in tattoos, right up to his shaved head, stands guard at the door.
“ID?” he orders in a deep, intimidating voice.
Desiree reaches into her purse and hands it to him. He glances at it, then at her. Desiree smiles and bats her eyelashes at him. He offers back a hint of a smirk and hands her back the card.
“Okay,” he nods and gestures with his chin for her to go in.
She steps aside as I hand him mine. He glances at it, then at me, then back at the ID.
“Jane Johnson, is it?” he asks, sounding dubious.
“I know, right? My parents weren’t very creative,” I say with a dismissive shrug.
The bouncer man looks up at me.
“Birthday?” he asks.
“July 3, 1992,” I answer as quickly and confidently as possible.
He sighs loudly and hands me back the ID.
“Alright, in you go, then,” he says, waving me in.
I let out a breath of relief and join Desiree at the door.
“That was a close one,” she whispers as we go inside.
“Yeah, I guess I’m not as charming as some people,” I say dryly.
Too-loud music assaults my ears as we head deeper into the club. Desiree has a firm grip around my wrist as she pulls me along toward the bar.
“I think we should start with some shots to loosen you up,” she shouts in my direction.
“I don’t know, Des…” I begin my protest.
“Nope. Nope. Nope. I don’t want to hear it, Syd.”
Desiree pulls a twenty out of her purse and flags a bartender. I can’t hear what she orders, but I see her hold four fingers up. I sigh in defeat.
She’s not going to let me off easy tonight, I just know it. I take a moment to examine my surroundings.
The club is dark, and there are flashing lights swirling around the center of the room, over a large dance floor.
Dance music pounds from speakers that sound like they are in every corner of the room, giving no chance for quiet.
The place seems kind of grungy and smells of stale beer, but it’s packed, so people must like it here.
My eyes travel toward a large stage at the front of the room, set up with instruments just as I feel Desiree nudge my shoulder.
“Here, drink this,” she orders, handing me a shot glass filled with a sickly green fluid.
“Ugh, what is this?” I ask, scrunching my nose.
“It’s yummy, trust me. Just throw it back.”
I take a deep breath and tentatively raise the glass to my lips.
“Here goes nothing,” I mutter as I tip it back at the same time Desiree happily throws hers back.
Expecting it to be disgusting, I’m surprised to find that the drink tastes like key lime pie. I look at Desiree, who is smiling proudly.
“See? I told you it was yummy. Here, take the second one.”
After our shots, we order some girly cocktails and decide to try our luck at finding a table.
“I want one near the stage if possible. There’s a band playing tonight that I heard is excellent.”
“You didn’t say anything about live music,” I say.
“So? Why do you think this place is so popular? Every weekend they have a few bands play here. Some are well established, some are up and coming, some are…well some are terrible, but those bands never get asked back.
“Someone told me the band playing tonight has been playing here almost every weekend for the whole summer. Teagan said she was here last weekend and saw them, and she told me they were awesome.”
“What’s the name of the band?” I ask her.
She reaches into her purse and pulls out a flyer and hands it to me. Four guys that look to be in their late twenties stare back at me with their bestI’m a rock star and don’t give a shitlooks.
Their band name, Unclassic Heroes, is written over their heads.
“This one is cute,” I say, pointing to one of them.
“Which one? They’re all kind of cute,” she asks, leaning over to see whom I’m pointing at.
“This one,” my finger presses on a guy with shaggy dark brown hair that curls slightly under his ears, intense brown eyes, and a little bit of scruff dotted along his solid jawline.
“Cute? I’d call him downright hot,” Desiree agrees, “Wow, Syd, I didn’t know you had such good taste. The only guy you ever hang out with is Dane.”
“Dane is just my friend,” I say for what feels like the millionth time.
“Maybe he is to you, but he’s in love with you, and everyone but you knows it.”
“That’s ridiculous,” I shake my head adamantly.
“Yeah, you just keep telling yourself that,” she snorts.
Luckily for me, the lights on stage brighten, and the rest of the lights around the room dim, halting our conversation.
Desiree never believes me when I tell her what Dane and I have is nothing more than friendship. I’ve known him since fifth grade. He’s like a brother to me.
He’s been away all summer, volunteering with a charity called Homes for the Heart, building houses in areas that have been struck by hurricanes. I won’t see him until we get back to school.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome once again to The Wrecker stage, Unclassic Heroes,” a DJ announces loudly over the system.
Everyone starts clapping as the band makes their way onto the stage. My eyes quickly find the hot one, who appears to be on lead guitar.
“Ooh, lead guitar. Very sexy,” Desiree shouts.
“He’s better looking in person,” I add.
“You should try and talk to him after the show,” she suggests, giving me an encouraging nudge.
“Are you nuts? Look at him. He’s at least thirty years old.”
“Des, I’m only eighteen.”
“That’s legal enough.”
“Also, someone that looks like him, probably already has a girlfriend, or a dozen groupies already forming a line in the back.”
“Ew, groupies. Come on, Sydney. You can talk to him. It doesn’t mean you want to do more than that, not that you’d give it up anyway,” Desiree giggles.
“Yeah, yeah. I know my virginity is so hilarious to you,” I snap.
“Oh, take it easy, tiger. It is not hilarious. I’m very proud of you for holding on to it. I wish I could say I did the same, but then Sean Harris came along and…well, you know the rest of that tragic tale.”
“Then Curtis, and John and…”
Desiree smacks me on the shoulder, and we both laugh. Despite our vast differences, Desiree and I have always just clicked. She came to our school in ninth grade and was instantly popular.
We ended up sitting next to each other in science, and I found out that she was a lot different than the other popular girls. She was kind, funny, and didn’t care about social cliques.
She just liked whom she liked, no matter what anybody thought of it. She instantly took me under her wing, and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
She can seem a bit brash at times, but my level-headedness evens us out. We complement each other.
The band starts to play, and Desiree and I soon find out what all the fuss is about. The band is really good.
“You know, the lead singer is pretty hot, too. Maybe both of us should try and talk to them when they take a break,” Desiree says.
“You think we’d even get close to them? How many other girls do you suppose are waiting to do the same thing?”
“I have my ways. Just you wait and see, we’ll be the ones leaving with them tonight.”
“How confident you are,” I say, shaking my head at her, “and I’m not leaving with anyone tonight, except you, when we go home.”
“Okay fine, but we’re talking to them anyway, maybe get their numbers.”
I realize this isn’t a scenario I’m going to be able to talk her out of, so I just go with it.
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