It was unplanned, but a great coincidence. The restaurant that I was meeting some high school friends at for dinner was exactly four blocks away from the club where Marcus wanted me to meet him.
Earlier this week, Marcus had asked me both if I would join him for dinner on Sunday, or meet him for dancing on Saturday night. I hesitated to respond, as per my earlier feelings on spending more time with Marcus, and told him that I’d let him know if I could do either after I figured out my weekend study plans.
After realizing that he had written the song lyrics to the music that was going to be played at a club four blocks from where I was having dinner, I texted him on Saturday.
I’ll be at [intersection] for dinner. Probably be done by 9:30. Could meet you after…?
I knew that I would probably be fairly unproductive after dinner and Sunday was looking too full with the necessary evils of studying, laundry, and group study at night.
So, at dinner, I gave my friends a brief rundown of the Marcus situation. They asked the usual questions about him, and I mentioned that the reason that we were going to this particular club was because Marcus spends his days (before opening the restaurant at night) writing song lyrics, among other things.
They asked what kind of music the club played, and I said that I thought that it was house music. Except, does house music have lyrics? I have no idea. Aside from my summer in the DR, I don’t frequent clubs nearly often enough to know anything worthwhile about them. As it turns out, house music does have lyrics--lyrics that Marcus wrote and wanted to hear played by his DJ friend, in a club where he could see the crowd’s reaction. And mine, of course.
I should have had him meet me at the restaurant, but honestly, I'm not ready to start introducing him to my friends. Also, these are friends from way back when, not random medical school people who I'm superficially acquainted with. Instead, I told him that I would meet him at the club.
This presented a slight problem.
Knowing the kind of venue where this music display was happening, I had put on a form-fitting cocktail dress. Since dinner was casual and with friends, I wore a large sweater over it, with flat sandals. After a quick post-dinner shoe swap in my car, though, I had to find a way to walk the four blocks without feeling like a streetwalker. A streetwalker carrying a huge bag with keys, a cell phone, ID, and cash.
When we sat down at the bar, I pulled off my sweater, folded it, and put it into my purse.
“Sorry I have so much stuff,” I apologized, anticipating this to be a problem when we would start dancing later.
Clearly, I don’t hit the club scene with the right people, because the usual barriers that exist—showing ID, paying a cover, checking your coat—don’t apply when you’re with a bar owner who has been frequenting the place since you met him six years ago. He knew the bouncer by name and without showing ID or having my bag searched, the bouncer lifted the velvet rope and ushered us in. I was a little stunned, lagging behind and mumbling, “So, no ID needed, then?” Apparently not. Also, before hitting the dance floor, we bypassed a second velvet rope—this one delineating the DJ area and sunken VIP tables. Introducing me to the DJs, he handed them his cell phone and my purse, which were tucked away someplace out of sight in the DJ booth.
(Side note: When you think about it, a velvet rope is such a tiny, insignificant demarcation. Yet, in a club, it's such a big deal--separating the VIPs from the regular Joe Shmoes. Also, I forgot how many sluttily dressed girls there are in clubs, trying to get VIP attention. So silly.)
Then, it was down to the dancefloor, where colored lights blazed, and some sort of carbon dioxide pump filled the room with a fog/mist combination that I always hated in this club.
“One day they’re going to find out that that stuff kills you,” Marcus joked when he saw my expression, as the fog filled the room.
I chose not to comment on the fact that I was sure that my brain cells were dying at that very moment.
Instead, following his lead, we started dancing just beneath the DJ booth.
“You look like you’re having fun for someone who didn’t want to dance,” he teased me.
Earlier in the evening, as we sat at the bar waiting for the club to open, I mentioned that I wasn’t really in a dancing mood. The evening had been mellow up until that point, and I was enjoying nursing my mojito and just talking to Marcus. There were the expected conversation starters about what we do for fun and reminiscing about the last time we hung out six years ago. Then, there were more interesting revelations--like, who Marcus' last relationship was with, and for how long, and why it ended. Oh yes, I did, internet. You know I don't hold back.
Let’s be real, though. It takes a lot for me to not want to dance. And, Marcus was practically wiggling out of his bar stool when his DJ started spinning. I had to dance for at least a little while, but I also couldn’t relax completely, knowing that my day needed to start early on Sunday.
Around midnight, I told Marcus that, in true Cinderella style, it was time for this princess to head home. He said that he would walk me to his car and screaming above the music, I said,
“Promise me that you’ll take me dancing when exams are over.”
“You got it,” he said, grinning.
Walking to my car, Marcus took my hand in his. It was a little uncomfortable, just because I don’t know how I want this situation to end. I hate leading men on, and I didn’t want a four block hand-holding session to end with a goodnight kiss in front of my car.
I, probably ungracefully, pulled my hand out of his.
“Sorry,” I said. “I just don't want to start anything [physical],” I told him. “I never do anything that I don’t mean and right now…”
Before I could continue, he interrupted.
“No, I’m sorry!,” he said. “I just have trouble not saying and showing what’s on my mind. And, I’m affectionate.”
So, walking side by side, without holding hands, he led me to my car. I gave him a ride back to the club, as I drove out of the city (while avoiding the most drunk drivers I have ever seen. Good job being irresponsible, DC!) and received a text message from him at 3:30 a.m. when he left the club.
As it turns out, I never did hear his music played because I left too soon. Marcus assures me that there will be plenty of time for that, however, since he's added himself to the October 3 lineup--right behind The Lawyer.