The walls shake from the music thumping out its beat as Matty drags me towards the queue. We stand behind an eclectic array of guys and girls, excitement and apprehension evident on their faces. What’s the big deal? It’s just another club, our third for the evening. Matty keeps a steady flow of conversation, which I politely respond to. My alcohol buzz took the edge off my stoned mind and his enthusiasm begins to rub off on me.
Each time the door opens I make out the dance song as it resonates through, to be muffled again as it closes over. The people leaving don’t look like they’re walking, it’s almost as though they are floating along, like their feet are made of feathers. Silly grins splash their faces as they disappear into the night.
A few steps past the double doors, a couple stops and begin an exploration of tongues and hands. Their intensity and uninhabited passion, lust, locks my eyes to them and I can’t, don’t want to look away.
An instant heat shoots straight between my legs
“They turning you on, Juicy?” Matty’s use of the nickname I hate earns him a scowl for his trouble. “Sorry, Lucy.”
“What is with everyone coming out of this joint?” I return my eyes to the amorous couple looking like they might do it standing against the wall.
“You’ll see.” He grins. “I’ve been coming here for a while and have made some … friends.”
“Why haven’t I been here before then?”
Anticipation swells inside me as I watch the couple doing exactly what I thought they might do. Every person in front of us, now only a handful, stares with the same voyeuristic gape that probably graces my face. The only thing preventing them from putting on a show for anyone walking past is that the entrance is in an alleyway and, if you didn’t know the club was here, it will be missed by passers-by.
“I wasn’t sure how you’d feel about the … stuff … that goes on here. It’s nuts but awesome. I’ve seen some crazy shit.”
“Like two people doing it against the wall, outside, in the street, in front of half a dozen strangers?”
“Not just outside.”
My eyes flick to his momentarily and he offers me a knowing grin. We’ve been best friends for as long as I can remember. He is the brother I always wanted. Although we’ve done exactly what the couple in front of us are doing since we were sixteen, we don’t possess any romantic feelings for each other. ‘Friends with benefits’ is the best way to define what we have.
“Don’t get any ideas about us creating our own public scene.”
He shrugs, and I frown at him again. There is no way I will publicly fornicate. I am many things, but an exhibitionist isn’t one of them.
The couple finish with loud grunting before straightening themselves and gliding down the street. A bouncer indicates we can go in.
Matty grabs my hand and tows me towards the entrance. The thick wooden double doors contain large ornate handles and swirling iron designs. They look almost antique, like something you see on a castle in a horror movie. I glance up as he opens the door, to discover the club has no bright neon sign spouting its name.
“No name?” I yell over the music booming through the open door.
“The Afterworld.” He beams again.
Inside, the music, though loud, seems to be duller and conversation won’t be a problem. As I try to wrap my head around how it was louder outside, I observe my surroundings. Everything, furnishings, walls and carpet are in various shades of purple. The lighting is dim but somehow doesn’t deter vision.
Matty wasn’t wrong about the activity witnessed outside happening inside. Couples are strewn across couches or leaning against walls, involved in different stages of sex. Some are half-dressed, which is a relief. A bunch of fully naked people should make me uncomfortable. What surprises me is that I’m not offended by them engaging in these activities for all the world to see.
A DJ stands on a stage to the rear, surrounded by two long bars, which take up half of the side walls. The sunken dance floor is packed and contains more of the same passionate embraces found on the couches edging it. Girls with girls, boys with boys, as well as mixed couples, and sometimes three or more fondle and grope each other. The term bumping and grinding comes to mind as I watch the dancing. A grin pulls at my mouth.
“Cool, huh?” Matty asks me.
“Is this a sex club or something?”
“Or something.” He winks. “Let’s get a drink.”
He hauls me towards the bar and orders our drinks. We lean against the counter and I watch the spectacle before me in awe. I turn to Matty and notice the lights above dance off his sandy hair, giving it a golden glow. His green eyes brighten as he scans the crowd. In this muted light he looks hot, hotter than usual, and I start to relax into this strange place. I trust Matty with my life, my everything.
I take hold of his hand again and his eyes meet mine, his smile crooked and alluring. He leans forward and kisses me, his tongue gentle and teasing. His hands weave up and down my back, sending shivers to my toes.
“I knew you’d like it,” he says after pulling back, leaving me breathless, wanting more. I don’t remember him kissing me like that before. “There’s someone I want you to meet.”
Matty scans the room again and then gestures towards someone on the dance floor. One of his hands rests on my lower back and I find it reassuring and arousing all at once. I want him to kiss me again. Tearing my eyes from his chiselled jaw - was it always that way? - I follow his gaze.
A blond head barely visible above the throng weaves its way through. I know by the stature it could only be a girl. As she breaks from the crowd, her face lights up into a dazzling smile, her dark eyes moving from Matty to me, and my breath catches.
She is beautiful.
Her shoulder length hair is a darker blond than I at first thought, and reflects the light, sending a halo around her head. Her large brown eyes light up as they go first to Matty and then back to me again. Up close, she is breathtaking. I have never encountered this feeling or reaction to another girl before. I always appreciate a pretty face, but never have I wanted to … I don’t know what I want.
“Ally, this is Lucy.”
“Hi, welcome to The Afterworld, the land of never-ending happiness.”