I used to love writing. Used to get lost in it. This is something from back then.
My favorite shirt was stained red with blood and tears that night. I remember the ambulance getting there an hour later; an hour too late. Do you know what it’s like seeing eyes go cold watching you?
I wish I didn’t.
Jake drove us to Hierarchy 2 hours late, but it was worth it.
I was wearing my favorite shirt; a peacock proudly showing off the sparkling white gems in its tail anticipated the darkness and imitated the flashing lights on my chest.
“Jake Williams.” He smiled at the lady behind the front desk. I’d seen too many girls flutter their eyelashes at Jake’s smile to be bothered anymore. This one hid tired eyes behind purple eye shadow with black glitter. I knew the brand.
She knew who he was, and found his name on the piece of paper in front of her. Then she turned to me. “How old are you?”
“22.” I said. “Kate Hart.”
The woman apologized for not having recognized me. “Of course Ms. Hart.” She stamped my arm with the familiar three peaked crown; the club’s insignia. Jake laughed and led me into the smoke and lights.
Hierarchy was crowded with the well dressed elite of the night, and as I stepped into the rhythm of the club, I was one of them; blending into the crowd of closed eyes atop the beating floor. The music sent the bass straight through me and into my steps, and I knew innately that when I turned 21, I would never have as much fun in my world as I was having then. I was going to enjoy it while it lasted.
A group of people stood out at one of the reserved tables. They were there every week, almost every night. They were at the top of the night life. They had ordered a bottle of Johnny Black for me.
Life was good.
Jake gave me a kiss on the cheek as we made our way towards them; simple and sweet; something he got used to doing when we were both still kids. He was a sap, I admit it. It got annoying sometimes, but I could have lived with it. His laugh and his smile made up for it.
No matter how loud the music was, when I saw him laugh, I could hear him laugh. It wasn’t a snort of a laugh, or an exhale; it was always an actual laugh, with eyes brighter than the stars that time hadn’t had a chance to dull. No matter what the lights in the club looked like, I could always find the light in his eyes, and they were always shining at me.
I never thought brown was a pretty color until I saw his eyes.
Jake had left to get me another shot of Johnny on the rocks when a man holding a beer bottle appeared next to me. I saw his friends watching us; the kind of guys I didn’t find impressive. They wore tattoos and piercings. What will they look like when they get older and the skin on their faces drag down unevenly from all the excess metal?
The man grabbed my arm as I moved away. I stepped on his foot and turned to leave in time to see Jake blur past me and shove him two feet back. His friends retaliated. So did ours. I covered Jake’s head with my hands just before a beer bottle smashed into them, sending green shards of pain into my skin, and long rivets of red flowing out. We fought within flashing lights, giving me glimpses of the scene in pictures as it happened.
I only saw Jake’s face in a few frames as he was looking over my hand with his concerned, shining brown eyes. Most of the time Jake was to my back, leaning against me and pushing me away from the fight; he did it on purpose.
I pushed back to get into the fight with him. I pushed to stand beside him, almost to stand in front of him, if I could.
I’ve always hated piercings. The fight they started was a good excuse to rip some out. The rest of the time I was throwing punches with my stinging hands, adorned with large rings.
Funny how a night of fun and class could turn into a barnyard when pride was on the line. I’m sure it was nothing personal.
In the moments of light between darkness, I saw the bouncers break up the fight, felt someone hold me back. It should have been over then.
They threw the other guys out for hurting my hand, despite the fact that I held one guys earring between my fingers, and blacklisted them for life.
We decided to leave after that; it’d be hard to have fun anymore, even with a buzz.
Jake went out to get the car, and I was making my rounds saying goodbye when I heard it.
A gunshot and a scream. Tires screeching. People shouting. Heavy breathing. My heart beating.
I heard my heart stop.
I heard Jake die.
Someone had been waiting for him outside. I think it was the guy with the beer, or it might have been the man missing an earring. It didn’t really matter. I’d never see them again. They had better make sure of it.
I never really realized I loved Jake until then, until he was in my arms, bleeding to death, smiling at me and holding my hand as I cried.
The Hierarchy bouncers couldn’t look me in the eye after that-not that I ever went back. That night no one could look me in the eye because I wasn’t seeing them anymore.