Chapter 9: Clubbing
"You're coming tonight right?" Veronica asked as Erik and I walked by. No hello, no hi; she's not one for small talk when she's after something.
We stopped walking. "Coming where exactly V?" I asked trying to figure out what she was talking about.
"The Fire Pit of course! Grand re-re-reopening and all." V said, looking exasperated with me.
"How many times have they opened?" Erik asked looking more confused then me.
I laughed. "They close every year just after school goes back, period of mourning some say" I said with a smirk. "Then they reopen a few weeks later. Truthfully I figure they are fumigating or something." I said.
"Great, now that he has the backstory - you're coming tonight right?" V persisted.
I looked at Erik and he just shrugged. "Sure I guess." I said, noticing Todd and Mei-Ling behind Veronica. V had gone out of her way NOT to be mean to Mei-Ling but she hadn't gone over to being "nice" just yet. I inclined my head and quietly hinted she she invite them as well.
Veronica looked momentarily annoyed but covered it well enough and walked over casually. Todd still wasn't really talking to her since the rumors so she addressed herself to Mei-Ling, who was a forgiving person in her nature, instead.
"Mei-Ling, I was wondering if you guys wanted to come to the Fire Pit with us tonight? Should be fun?" Veronica said awkwardly. She gave the briefest of glances at Todd but focused on Mei-Ling. After she got assurances from them that they'd come she turned back to me and looked irked but I smiled at her.
In Computer Science with Timothy that day, I asked if he was gonna come tonight. He hadn't planned on it agreed to after some gentle persuasion (and mentioning that Veronica was going.)
"Why do you like her?" I whispered across to him.
He didn't respond as we were still in class but a few minutes later I got an IM "She's still the old V - somewhere" it said simply. I smiled, somewhere in Veronica was the old V we knew from elementary school. Or at least we both hoped she was there.
We agreed to meet at my house and all leave together. Veronica came early to help me get ready - in fact she just wanted to voice her opinion on my choice of clothes. "You're not wearing THAT?" she said as she walked into my room wearing a long beige coat.
I looked her over. "You're wearing a coat....to the Fire Pit?" I asked.
"Hardly, my outfit is under the coat." she said. "Now back to you," she turned and started rummaging through my closet. Most of the ensembles were simply not happening and I rejected them before she had a chance to take them off the hangers. I finally picked my own outfit and ignored her protests.
The others arrived just as we were stepping out of my room so we hurried down to meet them in the driveway. Veronica pulled off her coat along the way and I almost tripped when I saw her outfit.
We got into the club quickly and the grand reopening was already in full swing. Before even grabbing drinks, Todd pulled Mei-Ling out onto the floor and Erik did the same to me. Timothy found his groove and after lingering for a bit, Veronica found a "cool enough" group to dance with as well.
After we'd been there about an hour, I noticed Veronica hanging out with one of the Malone triplets. They were juniors and from what I heard, at least one of them was trouble in teen form.
They seemed to be having a good time so I hoped she'd found the less troublesome one. Truth be told, I couldn't tell Jacob and Jon apart in daylight, let alone in the darkness of the club.
The night was drawing to a close and people started leaving to make it home before their various curfews. Erik and I were still dancing when the Malone boy, Jacob as it turns out, tried to kiss Veronica. She resisted and tried to laugh it off to discourage him.
He was not one to be discouraged though and he tried again, leaning further in order to trap her against the bar. "No Jacob." she said pushing him off. "I'm not THAT interested."
"Sure you are" Jacob said leaning in close to her.
Timothy had overheard the exchange and stopped dancing to aid Veronica. "She said no, leave her alone." he said as he approached the pair.
"Oh yeah, and what are you gonna do about it nerd?" Jacob challenged, turning his attention from Veronica to deal with Timothy.
By then Erik and Todd had both noticed the exchanged and the four of us had walked up behind Timothy. Erik and Todd both looked like they were about to intercede as well but Mei-Ling and I held them back unless they were really needed. Timothy wasn't cowering from Jacob.
"I'd rather not fight you but I will if you don't leave her alone." Timothy said bravely. Jacob was bigger and meaner than Timothy but it didn't seem to phase him.
Jacob looked from Veronica, who now had her arms across her chest looking angry, to Timothy who was standing his ground. He couldn't fail to notice Todd and Erik, both watching him, ready to jump in. Clearly outnumbered he backed off and left the club in a hurry.
Veronica let out a breath she didn't even know she was holding and collected herself. Then she walked up to Timothy and actually smiled at him. "Thanks Timothy, for defending me." she said blushing just a little.
Timothy blushed as well. It was the first time Veronica had acknowledged his presence in a friendly manner since fifth grade. Then she went one step further and gave him a hug.