It was three-forty something the last Ty looked, and they were all finally straggling out of the club. He’d spent the night watching Anzu and Tessa dance up a storm, and sitting at the bar talking to the occasional woman who sat next to him and seemed willing. He drank some, but not a lot, because he was actually fascinated with the dynamic playing out in front of him.
Tessa attracted a lot of male attention, which she mostly fended off without even looking the guys in the eyes most of the time. But occasionally, she did look at a guy who approached her, looking him over from head to toe and then smiling. Those guys she danced with and let buy her drinks, and then Anzu would show up and turn all territorial, looping an arm about Tessa’s waist or something. One time she outright kissed Tessa directly on the mouth while the guy watched with wide open eyes and rapt fascination before retreating once he’d figured out the score.
Ty grinned and shook his head. Apparently this was a game Tessa and her friend played. Oh, it was funny enough in a city like this one, but Ty could think of a few places where it would be downright dangerous. Women who looked like Tessa could make a certain kind of man angry once he realized she was gay. And she was definitely not in a position to fight men like that off, tiny as she was.
“Where you headed?” Ty asked now.
He’d been planning to go back to Lisa’s. His sister was going to be pissed he hadn’t come home, but he had no real fear that she’d be worried. By now, she was used to this kind of thing from him.
“To get some waffles and eggs. You hungry?”
Standing outside in the middle of the street, Anzu and Tessa had their arms wrapped about each other, and both were a little damp around the edges, the perspiration from all the dancing having made their hair wet, and their faces a little dewy.
“Sure,” Ty said.
“Just you and me though,” Tessa said. “Anzu has a curfew.”
Anzu laughed. “Shut up,” she said.
It was only the second thing Ty had heard her say. The other was the sullen ‘hello’ when Tessa had introduced them back at the bar where he’d spotted them.
“We’ll need to put her in a cab so she can get back home to her mommy,” Tessa said, looking at Anzu and winking.
Then the two women kissed while Ty discreetly looked away.
Out on the main road, a few cabs idled, so he put his fingers between his lips and whistled. One of them started up and made an illegal turn, coming toward them. Dozens of other clubbers were on the sidewalk, wilted and spent, idling nearby as though trying to decide what to do next. A drunk girl retched against a wall while her friends tried to support her weight.
When the cab came to a stop in front of them, Anzu climbed in and leaning out the window blew Tessa a kiss as it pulled off. She hadn’t even thanked Ty for calling it, following her evening’s pattern which had consisted of mostly pretending he wasn’t there. Once she was out of sight, Tessa turned to Ty again and smiled, extending an arm so he realized she expected him to loop his through it. Ty did.
“You didn’t dance at all,” she observed as she led him down the middle of the street and then onto the sidewalk at the intersection.
“Not a good dancer,” Ty said. “Lousy at it actually.”
“So it’s true?” Tessa asked, her voice teasing. “White guys can’t dance?”
“That’s a vicious lie,” Ty said, playing along. “How do you account for … Justin Timberlake?”
“Oh, I don’t account for him,” Tessa said cryptically.
They walked without talking for a while until Ty saw, just ahead, the glowing neon sign for a place called Waffle Shack up about a block and a half ahead.
“So,” he said. “Anzu and you …?”
“Anzu and me what?” Tessa asked.
“Is that … your girlfriend, or ..?”
“Nah. Anzu’s girlfriend is a forty-eight year old judge who for obvious reason doesn’t come to nightclubs to hang out and drink past midnight. So once in a blue moon, I take her out and we have a good time.”
“And her girlfriend approves of all that…”
“All that what?” Tessa looked at him.
“You two spent a lot of the night making out,” Ty said. “She definitely didn’t act like someone who has a girlfriend.”
“Anzu is twenty-seven, her girlfriend is twenty-one years older. I think they worked that out. Some kind of don’t-ask-don’t-tell kind of deal.”
“It’s desperate,” Tessa said baldly. “The things some people will put up with just not to be alone are sickening if you ask me.”
“Spoken like someone who’s never had to be alone,” Ty said as they shoved open the door to Waffle Shack and entered.