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Thanks for reading this story, which is the very first one I ever publish. Comments about any mistakes or any other criticism are very much appreciated. (Please keep in mind that English is not my native language though.)
There is quite a long build-up in this one, so please be patient. I do plan to continue this story with further chapters. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing this.
“Go to a bar, have a drink, and someone will come and talk to you before you know it.”
Something along those lines had been his words when we had last spoken, and I had told him about my frustrating dating experiences in the more recent past. I didn’t really believe that it would be that simple – I just wasn’t the type of woman men approached in a bar – but we had made a deal to both pick up someone that weekend, and I was willing to at least give it a try.
I had chosen a bar that I hoped would not have too many young or drunks guys as customers, because I wasn’t eager to start grope-fest 2019 with my outfit. I was wearing high heeled sandals, skin-tight black jeans and a black, glittery crop top. It was a bold look for me; that much was for sure. But it was a night for boldness, so it had been a very appropriate choice.
The dim light and subdued jazz music in the bar immediately made me feel comfortable. After a quick scan of the room, I made my way to the bar and ordered a cosmopolitan, my favourite drink. There were no empty barstools available, but I was happy to be standing anyways – sitting was not the most flattering position for someone in a crop top.
My friend had told me to make the first move and just approach a guy I liked. But as I gazed around the bar, the only guys I felt physically attracted to were in female company. I looked at the man across the bar. Tall, slender, wonderful brown curls I could see myself burying my hands in. The woman by his side was equally stunning, with dark hair and dark skin.
I tried to deduce from their body language if they were a couple or just friends. Just when I had convinced myself that they were only friends – there had been no casual touches whatsoever, just serene faces and talking – the guy paid and led the woman out of the bar, one hand resting possessively on the small of her back.
I rolled my eyes at myself and took another sip of my cosmo. It tasted way too good. If I kept drinking in this pace, I would be drunk before I had even spotted one single candidate to approach.
The barkeeper noticed that I didn’t have company, and since he wasn’t too busy, he engaged me in a conversation that I only participated in half-heartedly. Not only was I not the slightest bit interested in different beer types, but also he was not my type at all. He was a prime example of the typical German male: slightly paunch-bellied, rather bull-necked, dirty blonde hair neatly trimmed and gelled into spikes, wearing a white T-shirt under his navy Polo shirt. I couldn’t see his feet, but he probably also wore socks in sandals.
It was nice of him to talk to me, but if I had the choice, I rather wanted to enjoy my drink in silence than talk to him. I felt bad for being so arrogant, surely he was a nice enough guy. But I felt like his attention was reducing my chance to meet someone I was actually attracted to.
I couldn’t really flee because I had no friends to talk to, so I resorted to making as little eye-contact as possible and checking my phone for messages, which was incredibly rude, but efficient. He eventually got the hint and moved to the other end of the bar to polish glasses. I let a small sigh of relief escape.
“They just don’t have a radar for these kind of things, huh?” a voice behind me said.
I turned around and saw the stunning woman I had observed earlier. I hadn’t realized she’d come back. She was even more beautiful up close. Long braids the colour of dark chocolate that went almost down to her hip, dark brown eyes and a soft brown complexion flecked with freckles.
She was wearing a tight, cream-colored dress that reminded me of that fancy business attire in series like Suits. She also wore heels, but I guessed that even without them she would be taller than me by a head.
I had just been staring at her, but fortunately she didn’t wait for me to reply.
“Do you mind if I join you?”
I moved over so she could stand next to me. I hadn’t even noticed that the bar had begun to fill up; I had been too busy ignoring the barkeeper.
“What are you drinking?” she asked.
I liked the sound of her voice, warm and calm. I immediately felt like I could trust her, like she was the type of person that I could be best friends with.
“Cosmopolitan,” I answered, lifting my almost empty Martini glass to illustrate.
She nodded and waved to the barkeeper. “Two cosmos, please,” she said, and handed him a banknote.
My eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Thanks for the drink.”
She smiled at me. “You’re welcome. I felt like you needed canlı bahis to be saved over here.”
I laughed. “That’s right. I never seem to be able to get out of conversations I didn’t want to be in in the first place. I’m way too polite.”
“Well,” she said, shooting an amused glance at me, “I hope you’re not being polite right now.”
I vehemently shook my head. “No, not at all. I’m relieved that you saved me. No politeness whatsoever.”
“Good. I’m glad.”
The barkeeper placed our drinks on the counter. We clinked glasses and both took a sip. I could already feel the alcohol going to my head. I really needed to pace myself.
“So… how come you’re here alone on a Saturday night?” the woman interrupted my train of thoughts.
“It’s kind of embarrassing,” I answered, “I have been single for so long that I made a pact with a friend that we would both go to a bar to pick someone up tonight.” I cleared my throat. “I would ask you the same, but I saw you with your partner earlier.”
She laughed again. “David? He’s my roommate. He wanted my opinion on his most recent fight with his girlfriend and now he’s probably already in the middle of some hot and steamy make-up-sex.”
I didn’t know what to say. Somehow I was weirdly proud my observation about the two of them not being an item had been right, but it definitely was a bummer to hear that handsome guy was in a relationship.
Lacking an appropriate answer, I took another sip of my cocktail. That was when I realized she had bought me a drink and I didn’t even know her name. I put down my glass and held out my hand to her.
“I’m Jules, by the way.”
“Layla.” She took my hand, but didn’t let go of it immediately. “Have I met you before? Somehow I feel like I know you from somewhere.”
I slowly shook my head. “I don’t think so. I think I would remember meeting someone like you.”
The last sentence had come out without me meaning to say it out loud. I didn’t even know why I said that. I just felt like I would have remembered coming across such a beautiful woman. Layla didn’t exactly have the kind of face one could overlook or forget.
Layla didn’t say anything in return. She just raised an eyebrow and smirked.
I was searching frantically for a new conversation topic. I didn’t know why it mattered to me, but I didn’t want her to think that I was shy or uncool. She just seemed so cool to me.
“I like your dress,” I blurted out, immediately regretting choosing such bland topic.
“Thanks. I had a presentation with a customer today. You know what they say: dress to impress.” Her eyes went down my body, lingering on my exposed midriff for a few seconds before she looked up at me with a warm smile. She had dimples when she smiled. “I like your outfit, too.”
Suddenly, I felt way more naked than I had before. Something about the way her eyes had wandered down my body made me feel like she wasn’t just looking at my clothes. Could it be that she was checking me out?
No, I was being overly analytical. I usually tended to read too much into someone just being friendly. That was always my problem. However, if she actually was flirting with me, that wouldn’t exactly help me find a guy to bring back home, either. Every guy would approach her first, and it would be totally understandable. But then again, there were no interesting guys in the bar anyways, so I decided to just have a good time meeting a potential new friend.
I put my glass back on the counter, fingers playing with the stem.
“You said you had a customer presentation today,” I probed, “so what exactly is it you’re doing?”
Layla set down her glass as well, hand resting on its base, elbow leaning casually on the top of the bar.
“I work in HR. Placement of professionals. My clients, employers, companies and such, contact me when they look for specialists, and I find and place skilled personnel with them.”
“Wow. That sounds… impressive,” I said truthfully. It sounded very grown up.
“It does?” She didn’t sound convinced. “What do you do?”
I grimaced. “Nothing major. I’m still working on my PhD thesis in architecture. I haven’t done any real work yet.”
“You call a PhD ‘nothing major’?” Layla repeated incredulously. “Excuse me, but that is fucking impressive.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Believe me, you wouldn’t consider it that impressive if you had been working on it for three years and were nowhere near finished.”
Layla joined my laugh and brushed back her long braids that had fallen into her face.
“Well, let’s just agree to disagree. Other people’s jobs always sound so much more interesting.” She pointed towards my glass, which was almost empty. “What do you say, do you want another one or are you ready to go somewhere else?”
I knew I should take a break with the alcohol if I didn’t want to end up completely drunk, so I asked, “What did you have in mind?”
“There’s this club down the street, they have Black music and R’n’B tonight. Are you in the mood for dancing?”
Much bahis siteleri to my surprise, I heard myself say, “Sure.”
We finished our drinks and left the bar. It was a warm summer night, and the city was buzzing with people in cafés, bars and restaurants. Layla linked arms with me and we strolled down the street, talking about her presentation earlier that day (the client ate from the palm of her hand), the topic of my PhD thesis (“Urban Memory in the formerly divided city of Berlin”), and annoying roommates (or, in my case, since I was living on my own: the lack thereof).
This part of town was extremely popular among students and hipsters. In its numerous bars, cafés, tiny food places for craft beer and avocado toast, and cool clubs in unexpected places like beneath the train station, it offered everything a partygoer’s heart could possibly desire: crazy People, alcohol, greasy food, sex, drugs and every genre of music imaginable.
I liked the dirty, gritty atmosphere of the area, the graffiti-smeared walls, the mixture of smells in the air (tonight it was fries, patchouli and pee), and the boisterous laughter of people sitting on the sidewalks, music blasting from their Bluetooth speakers.
Time seemed to move slower here. People stopped to talk to someone they met in the middle of the street. They sat down for brunch and didn’t get back up until three in the afternoon. They went to a café to have a cup of coffee, all by themselves. Especially in comparison to those parts of town dominated by malls, supermarkets and office buildings, it felt like a different planet, one that was more laid back. For me, it symbolised what Italians called “la dolce vita”.
After we had walked for about ten minutes, Layla finally led me through a dark passage into a spacious backyard. There was a small line of people waiting in front of what seemed to be the entrance to the club Layla had talked about. All I could see were two bouncers in front of a staircase that led down, but I could hear the deep base of a hip hop song blasting inside, so we had to be in the right place.
Most people seemed to be dressed way more casually than Layla was, and to say that she attracted the attention of all the guys there would have been quite the understatement. Usually, I felt small, almost insignificant next to my prettier friends, but with her I had the strange feeling that her confidence was rubbing off on me. I could physically feel people looking at us as we entered the club. It felt incredible.
“Do you want a drink?” Layla half-shouted over the booming music.
When I nodded, she took my hand and led the way towards the bar. While she leaned over the counter to order drinks from a blonde with enormous boobs presented in a very low-cut black body that surely brought her lots of tips, I scanned the room. It was more of a habit than me actually looking for someone. There were a few good-looking fellas there, even though no one in particular caught my eye.
“There you go,” Layla said and put a shot glass in my one hand, and a huge glass of what I hoped to be water in the other. “Tequila,” she explained, nodding to the shot glass. “And water. If you drink enough water you won’t get a hangover.”
“Next round is on me,” I replied with a grin, as I raised the shot to clink glasses with her before I downed the golden liquid with one swallow.
It tasted far too good. I trailed my tongue over my lips to catch the last drops, and enjoyed the warm sensation of the alcohol burning its way down to my gut.
Sometimes it was nice to be tipsy, to let loose and turn of your brain for a night.
We downed our drinks, I ordered a second round of shots and water, and after chugging that as well, I pulled Layla to the dance floor. I was in high spirits, just drunk enough to be a little more confident, I felt sexy as hell, I loved that Black Eyed Peas song that had just started, and I wanted to dance the night away.
Dancing to me had always been something rather personal. You could tell a lot about a person by the way they moved on the dance floor. Did they feel comfortable in their own skin? Were they self-conscious? Or carefree? Were they trying to blend in, or not interested at all if they stuck out?
I, for instance, was completely unfazed when it came to my appearance on the dance floor. I had given up trying to look cool years ago and did now firmly believe in feeling the music and not giving a single fuck about what other people were thinking. I moved in whatever way felt right, and even though it might have seemed a little strange to bystanders, I took pride in the fact that I contributed to people’s amusement. Because that was what dancing was all about in the first place, right?
So I was doing my thing on the dance floor, and Layla was doing hers, and judging by the way people, or rather men, were looking (and not just looking, but also leering and coming up to us and trying to join us) we must’ve looked hella sexy.
I usually would have enjoyed all that male attention, would have bathed in bahis şirketleri it. But tonight I found it rather annoying. Was this how pretty girls felt all the time with getting that much superficial attention? All I wanted was some space on the dance floor. And so I kept ignoring the guys, and after a while they stopped approaching me. As far as I could see, Layla was doing the same.
We danced together, holding each other by the hands and twirling like little girls in kindergarten, bumping our hips together, doing stupid moves like the lawn-mower, the star-catcher or the row-boat, and laughing the whole time because it was so silly and exhilarating. When the upbeat song artfully transitioned into a slower, sexier R’n’B number with a baseline so deep that it went right into your bones and made your core shake, Layla stood behind me and placed her hands on my hips, just below my exposed skin, swaying with me to the slow rhythm.
I wasn’t exactly surprised at how comfortable I felt being physically close to her. It wasn’t a sexual thing for me. I had done this back when I was in college, dancing together with my girls, grinding on the dancefloor like I never would with a guy – simply because guys usually didn’t have a good sense of rhythm, and moved against me instead of with me. So dancing with Layla just felt like a throwback to those college dance parties, and I enjoyed the moment.
I was so lost in the music that I was a little caught off guard when I suddenly felt a pair of lips grazing my neck in a soft kiss. I hesitated. Had this just happened, or had I imagined it? But as Layla brushed my hair aside with one hand and gave me another kiss on my shoulder, I finally understood what I should have realized way earlier when I was first thinking about this: She was hitting on me! The drinks, the club, the whole getting-me-drunk-and-dancing-with-me scheme… It had been a plan all along.
I felt stupid and naive for not having seen this before, it was so clear to me now. And I had been playing along… Not because I had intended to lead her on, just because I had been too blind to actually read her friendliness as flirting. I had thought I had made a really cool new friend, whereas she had been trying to provoke a reaction. I definitely had to tell her that I wasn’t gay.
I tried to gently take her hands off my hips to turn around and tell her that I was sorry for leading her on unintentionally, but she didn’t let go. Her grip tightened, she leaned forward and said, quietly, but still loud enough for me to hear her over the music, “Not here.”
I nodded, slightly stunned. She finally let go, grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the exit. Once back outside in the backyard, I took a deep breath of fresh air. The night had cooled down considerably, but the light breeze felt refreshing after dancing in the hot, damp cellar for a few hours.
Layla still pulled me along, into the passageway that we had come through on our way to the club, out of the sight of the bouncers and smokers in front of the club’s entrance. There she finally stopped and let go of my hand, taking a step back and casting me a strange glance that I couldn’t quite decipher. Was it curiosity? Determination? The look of someone bracing herself for disappointment? I couldn’t say.
Leaning against the cold stone of the passageway, I took another deep breath, this time to calm myself. I felt as anxious as if I was about to break up with a partner, which was blowing the whole thing entirely out of proportion. I did get dramatic like that sometimes.
“Look,” I started, “I had a great time tonight.”
She smiled, but her expression was weary. “But…?”
I sighed. “But I feel like an idiot for not seeing the signs you were sending me. I didn’t realize you were flirting with me. I’m sorry, but… I’m not gay.”
Much to my surprise, she rolled her eyes. “How do you know that?” she asked.
“I have only ever felt attracted to men,” I answered with a shrug, unsure what she was getting at.
“You’re thinking in your own restricted terms of what defines you,” she replied, seeming half-amused, half-annoyed with my response, but obviously not taking it seriously either way. “So far in your life you have only felt attracted to men, therefore you consider yourself hetero. But what about right now? Why should you stand in the way of a new experience that could be just as pleasant, merely because you have put yourself in that category? It seems incredibly narrow-minded to me.”
She took a few slow steps towards me, effectively trapping me between the rough concrete wall behind me and her body in front of me. She raised an eyebrow and cocked her head to the side as she continued, “Unless you want to tell me that it’s me as an individual that makes you say this, and not the fact that I’m not a man?”
I took a moment to ponder this. She was right, I had not felt uncomfortable once the entire night. Quite the contrary, I had felt as relaxed as I would have with a friend, even though she was basically a stranger. I did find her attractive, I just never had thought about a woman that way. And her kiss on my neck had not been repulsive, quite the opposite. I had just been surprised because I hadn’t seen it coming, because I hadn’t thought of her like that.
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