She got up and walked away from the table. She didn't think she could handle a heart to heart with Jameson. He already owned a large piece of real estate on hers, she couldn't afford to give him anymore. One more piece, and that pool in her memories would swallow her whole.
She went downstairs, moved straight onto the dance floor, shoved her way right into the thick of everyone. Wanted to get lost in the people. In the music. She moved her body, working her hips back and forth. It had been a really long time, but Tate still knew how to dance. Her skills had been legendary, back when she had been a bartender. She had spent many a night raking in the cash for shaking her ass. Ang had once tried to convince her to become a stripper, but she couldn't get into the idea.
It wasn't long before a guy moved up next to her. He wrapped his arm loosely around her waist and leaned in close, saying something to her in Spanish. She leaned away and tried her best to communicate via sign language, explaining that she didn't speak Spanish.
“No hablas español?” he yelled over the music. She nodded.
“No. I mean, yes. Si, no hablo español,” Tate finally got it right. He laughed.
“Ah. You are American, yes?” he asked. His Spanish accent wrapped itself around the English vowels. Tate felt a shiver creep across her skin, and she wondered what Jameson was doing, wondered if he could see her.
“Yes, very much so,” she laughed again. The guy nodded.
“I like America, American girls. I was saying, do you want to dance?” he asked again. She flicked her eyes around the room, then nodded.
His name was Alvaro, and he was from Barcelona. He was in Marbella on vacation. He was only twenty-one, but he could dance really well, so she overlooked his age. They chatted while they danced, and when he grew bolder, he wrapped an arm around her waist, taking one of her hands in his free hand. He showed her some basic steps to a rumba. Dipped her once. Let his hand wander lower on her waist.
Tate pulled away after that, keeping it strictly PG-13. She caught sight of Jameson once, at the edge of the dance floor. A flash of angry eyes and a sharp smile, then he was gone. She figured she had pushed her luck far enough. If she went too far, he would drag her off the dance floor, and then she would pull back. Then they would fight again.
And not in the fun way.
Between songs, she made her excuses to Alvaro and left the dance floor. She wandered through the crowd, wondering where Satan had gone. She didn't see him anywhere, and after three circuits of the downstairs, she began to think he had left her. Not a complete shock.
Then she finally spotted him near a small hallway. He was talking to someone, another man in expensive clothing, with a watch even bigger than Jameson's. Through her bartending job, Tate had learned that she could tell a lot about a person by their watch. They could be wearing shit for clothing, but if a man was wearing an Audemars, he was the business.
She started heading towards them, pushing her way through people. But then, at the same time, someone broke away from the crowd and stepped up next to Jameson. A dark shape, a shadow. A nightmare.
I'm so stupid. How can I be Lillith? Lillith was first, and I certainly wasn't that.
Tate thought she was going to faint. Before Jameson, she had never been that kind of girl. Now, he was right. She was all damaged and weepy. She hated that feeling, but she couldn't stop it. The edge of her vision started going black as she watched Petrushka slime against his back, her harpy claw gliding over his shoulder.
He did it again. All of this, all a lie, all a game, he did it again, I knew he'd do it -,
Tate was shocked out of her reverie, however, when Jameson turned to look at who was touching him. He snatched Pet's hand off his shoulder, as if her touch burned him. He yanked her around till she was standing in front of him, and he did not look happy. In fact, he seemed to be yelling about something, as he held fast to her wrist. She tried to take a step towards him, but he held her at bay.
What the fuck is going on?
There seemed to be a lot of yelling. Pet was yelling at him, Jameson was yelling at her, the man in the suit was yelling at both of them. Tate wasn't near enough to hear anything that was being said, not with the music so loud. Jameson pointed a finger in Pet's face, before letting go of her wrist, forcing her backwards. Then he pointed his finger at the man, who just nodded and pulled out a cell phone. Jameson whirled around and stomped off in the opposite direction. The man was on his phone, glaring at Pet. She melted back in to the crowd, and the guy yelled after her. Pointed in her direction as two large men in suits walked up.
Tate turned around and hurried across the dance floor, elbowing people out of her way. She wasn't sure what had just happened, but she could have sworn that it looked like Jameson had been telling Petrushka to fuck off. But what was Petrushka even doing there, if Jameson hadn't invited her? How could she be at the same restaurant as them? Didn't Pet live in Berlin? Didn't she have the whole world as her goddamn playground? Why couldn't Tate get away from this chick!?
Tate broke free of the dance floor and spied some leather couches tucked in a recessed corner, next to a tiny, narrow hall that lead to the bathrooms. She made a beeline for the sofas, just wanting to sit down and breathe. Collect her thoughts, figure out what was going on. But as she stepped down into the sitting area, a large man jumped out of nowhere, holding his arms open in front of her.
“No, go back the way you came,” he grumbled at her with a thick Middle Eastern accent.
“Excuse me?” she bristled, trying to step around him. He matched her move for move.