The original Partihaus crew marched into Narwahl Arms like they always did; India was late, and so was the DJ. They hung out at the bar and warmed up with a few rounds of juice while they waited. Jade’s mind was preoccupied. She tried to act normal, but it couldn’t be helped.
“You aight, ma?” Marcus asked.
She tried to flash a smile. “Yeah, yeah. I’m straight.”
She was worried about the possibilities of changes happening. First of all, how were people finding out that she had gotten married? Especially that creepy Jones guy from work. She and Gunther secretly had gone to the city hall. Jade was very deliberate about him not telling anyone yet. Now she was wondering if it had been a mistake. She liked him enough, but was it really the right thing to do? They weren’t even living in the same house. He still lived at home with his mother who refused to have “the likes of her” living in her house. Jade lived with the other Partihaus members and was barely paying her share of the bills. She kept telling Gunther that they needed to get better jobs or promotions so they could get a place together that wasn’t a tiny rat hole. He’s been patient so far, but honestly, neither of them seem to be making any strides in their careers. Did he feel it was a mistake too?
Whenever people looked at Jade, they saw Partihaus. People judged her and treated her like the good time whore they thought she was. But she was so much more than that. She wasn’t afraid to work hard. Her employer may not have seen her talents yet, but that didn’t mean Jade wasn’t giving it her all. Her goal in life was to own the largest house in Windenburg, but secretly she was hoping to have a little family in said house. Gunther wasn’t much to look at, but she loved his mind. His head was filled with all kinds of facts, and his interests were varied. He was also a writer, and he let her read some of his stuff; she was impressed. She liked that he didn’t care about her party life and saw the whole Jade. That made it easy for her to like him. She was hesitant when he proposed, but she felt like she needed to marry him. Perhaps settling down with someone who was light years away from the party life was the key to living the normal life she thought she wanted. It also could have been the key to get people to change their minds about her. But, sitting there at the bar with a stranger’s eyes on her was making her ask the hard question: did she want to give this life up?
Finally, India arrived.
“Hey guys. I’m so sorry I’m late. I had a fight with my son.”
“Hmm, well that’s too bad,” Marcus said. “You know what happens when you’re late?”
India got nervous.
“When you’re late…you battle me! Let’s go, Molly.”
She laughed. “Am I still Molly?”
“You don’t wanna be Molly? Show me what you got! Let’s see if I’m a good teacher or not.”
“Good teachers should expect the students to pass them, huh? Am I still Molly?”
They shared a laugh and went back to the bar. India spotted Eliza and thought it was a strange place to see her. She was always so uptight and snooty. Why would she be slumming there with her?
“Hi, Eliza. Funny seeing you here, heh.”
“Oh, hello, India. The Old Town District is in my beat, so you’ll find me here from time to time.”
India was surprised. “Oh. Wait, but, aren’t you a detective? Don’t regular officers have beats?”
“That is true. But, I wouldn’t want to get rusty, now would I?”
Meanwhile, the DJ still hadn’t shown up, and Jade still found herself drifting with her thoughts.
“Jade,” Eva said. “What’s up with you tonight? You’re all quiet and junk.”
“I’m straight! Aight? I’m just waiting for the DJ.”
“Mmm hmm. Yeah right.”
India was quite intrigued with Eliza’s work and was barraging her with questions.
“So, if you’re patrolling your beat, then you’re drinking on the job right now?”
Eliza blinked a few times. “Young lady, I am a civil servant. I may not be on the clock, but I am always on the job!”
At last, the DJ arrived, and everyone rushed the dance floor. The place was packed. There was barely a place to be a wallflower. India squeezed her way to the middle of the floor and began to do what Marcus had taught her. He showed her some technique to add to the feeling she already inside. He took her awkward, jerky moves and made them flawless and graceful. She was definitely a sight to behold—at least one particular person thought so.
She was blushing. There wasn’t a place she could go where his eyes didn’t meet hers. No one had ever taken notice of her before in that club, and she was flattered. Also, she found him to be quite attractive, so there was that. After a song or two, she made sure to give him something to look at and found herself performing for him. On the sidelines, Jade was watching her—unaware that India had an audience—and felt so proud. I am a miracle worker! Look at her go! And? I have successfully kept the Partihaus ways from corrupting her. I rock!
Her thoughts were a bit premature. India was enjoying be gawked at, and she wanted more. She danced closer and closer until she was within range to talk to her admirer. He saw her coming. “Hey, Marcus…”
“What up, D?”
“This young lady looks like she wants to talk to me.” He knew they were around the same age, but he also knew that flattery would take him places.
Marcus looked up and saw India standing before them and smiled. “You’re full of surprises tonight, huh, Molly? She’s cool, D. She’s cool.”
“Hi,” India said.
Dominic nodded his head toward the sidelines suggesting they go talk.
There was a certain glimmer in his eye. She recognized it from people who were later found in the closet. That’s when she realized. It was her turn. Closet woo hoo wasn’t something that appealed to her, but it seemed to be part of the way of life at Narwahl Arms. If she did this, she felt like she would solidify her place not only at the club, but also within Partihaus. If someone would have told her what Partihaus did outside of dancing three weeks ago, she would have been appalled and wouldn’t want to be part of it. But now? She was all in, and the handsome stranger in front of her with the kissable lips knew it.
“So…Molly, is it?”
She was still blushing. “No. They just call me that.”
He smirked. “Is that so? Why’s that?”
She didn’t feel like giving him the history lesson that would need to accompany her saying they named her Molly to go with her suburban soccer mom persona. “Umm…that’s not important now is it?”
“Ok, ok. So…what’s up?”
Something she couldn’t explain took over her when she was at the Narwahl Arms. Whatever it was—whoever it was—was on 10 that night. She was coy and narrowed her eyes as she spoke. “I dunno. You tell me.”
He snorted at her wise reply, but it only made him desire her even more. He grabbed her by the waist and kissed her deeply. She was surprised at his promptness, but pleased. There were fireworks. Not little sparklers for the backyard, but big, loud, booming explosions that leave everyone in awe. Things were happening and happening fast. She backed up toward the closet; he was pleased to find that she was receptive to the idea and caught up to her. He put his lips on hers again and squeezed her as close as she could get. His hands occasionally roamed a bit south of the small of her back. All of it was terribly exciting for her. This night was full of firsts: first time she felt like she truly belonged to Partihaus; first time she ever impressed Marcus; first time she ever toyed with a man’s affections; first time she ever woo hooed with a stranger; first closet woo hoo. Suddenly, somehow, she began to think about Matthias. Perhaps her current adventure was the cause for her hesitation. She didn’t know she would be doing this kind of thing, but perhaps in the back of her mind she knew she would be open to it. Whatever the case was, those were thoughts for a different day. At the moment, Dominic had her pinned up against the closet door, and they needed to get inside quickly.
She had seen it done so many times, and people made it seem like it was easy. The door looked so light when they would slide it open with one hand while being preoccupied with their lovers with the other, but she was having a bit of trouble. Between the passionate kissing, roaming hands, and a body flushed against hers, she couldn’t think straight. She kept banging her hand on the door hoping it would pop open like a secret cave or something. She didn’t mean to cause a scene, but some heads were turned. Great…now people are watching! She didn’t want to be the one who couldn’t get the door open. This was the initiation; she had to get it right. She tried applying pressure to the door while trying to slide it open. It worked! They stumbled into the closet just in the nick of time.
Eva was one of the people whose attention was grabbed by India’s mishap with the door. Molly?? No way! She had to get closer and find out what was going on in there. She halfway expected to find that they were just making out; making out in closets was for kids. She put her ear to the door and heard the rhythmic moans of two very happy adults.
“Ok, new girl! Ok! I didn’t know she had it in her!”
Eva dashed away to go find Jade and give her the news. When the fireworks ceased, India and Dominic stumbled out of the closet like two drunken fools. India, who should have felt ashamed for betraying her love, felt oddly free. That was the most exhilarating experience of her life. She felt like a fool for having just discovered what she was capable of in the second half of her life. She was unhappily married for a long time. Could she have done this back then? Probably not. She was different then. The person she had become was daring and more fun. She liked her, and she wasn’t going anywhere.