I had a change of plans today. . . so here you go!
For Part I, go here. . . For Part II, go here
. . . . . .
Three Hours Earlier. . .
Michael's watch beeped twice, signaling that it was eight o'clock. He was in the middle of a line of people that wrapped around all of the stores that surrounded the oddly-located (it was an outdoor Outlet Mall for God's sake!) eighteen-and-over club called Remy's. The club still offered alcohol to patrons of the legal age, which was the only reason that Michael was even present. Standing next to him was his long-time friend Suzanne, fidgeting and biting her fingernails. They were planning on meeting some people there, including his new college buddy Jack (who had just turned twenty-one the day before), and one of Suzanne's co-workers named Allison.
The night was young and innocent, much like the dolled-up Suzanne, who had taken over an hour to prepare to go out this night. Sure, the nineteen-year-old ("Nineteen and two-thirds" she claims) had her fair share of experiences; it was just the comparison with her comrades that made her innocent. Despite what many said, Suzanne could be very pretty. However, even in her made-up state, she was lacking the most important accessory: self-confidence. Just an hour before, she had annoyed the hell out of Michael with countless questions about her appearance.
"I have tried on every shirt I own, goddammit! Which one looked the best?"
"Suzie, you looked fine in all of them. . . except for that pink one. It's just not you, pal."
"Ohh. . . . That was the one I was leaning towards." She began to sob, but just slightly. "Mike, I don't know. . ."
"Alright, well, I'm gonna head downstairs - come down when you're ready. But trust me on this one - don't wear the pink one."
Now the line was moving. They had a good chance of making it into the club that night. As they got closer, they could hear the sound of music blaring. Michael looked down at his friend and prepared to make some joke about it being fine if he went deaf, seeing as he wasn't married. In that split-second, he noticed a hint of pink under Suzanne's jacket. Now normally he wouldn't make a big deal about a little thing like a shirt, but tonight was his friend's chance of ending her loneliness streak. She was in the midst of a substantial sexual dry spell. It was Michael's idea to bring her and a co-worker out on this Friday night to get her some much-needed action. He figured that the combination of a club-setting, a friendly face in Allison, and a nice outfit might make Suzanne more likely to engage in some sort of intimate behavior. He was merely looking out for his recently-depressed friend, (so he told himself) as he began to criticize her wardrobe decision.
"What's with the pink? Do you pay attention to me at all?"
"I knew you were thinking about that - just drop it. We're in public, now."
"Yes we are. And that's why I'm worried. You can't possibly believe that you look that good in a pink tank top and blue jeans. . . this is a club, Suzie! What is wrong with you? How are you going to attract anything that breathes in that outfit?"
"Where do you get o-"
They entered Remy's and Suzanne's rebuke would have to wait. Swarming with young people (and the occasional forty-five year-old man wearing a Members Only jacket), the place was hopping as usual. In the distance, they saw some tables with assorted objects holding places on them. As they walked through the dancing crowds, Michael thought about the worth of some of those placeholders - Coach purses, most notably - and why girls required such expensive wallets. Regardless of their monetary status, the two of them began to migrate towards an empty table about ten feet from the main dance floor.
Coincidentally, as they began to drop their stuff on the table, Jack and Allison both approached. Jack was almost the same height as Michael but wore his hair short at all times (only Michael could pull off the long hair). He had been raised by a single mother who was attentive to a fault. She even went as far as picking out his clothes for him and laying them out on his bed. Beyond that, anything that he wanted, well, he usually got it. This included women. Jack was a "ladies man" just long enough to get what he desired and then he magically turned into a douchebag. He was that stereotypical twenty-something college student - there are actually more of them than one could guess.
And unbeknownst to Michael, Jack had his eye on Suzanne. . .