The girl was across the dance floor and she knew she was the hottest thing in the club. She danced with a confidence that showed she knew it.
“Are you going to eye fuck her all night or are you actually going to go over there?”
“I’m getting there.” Ross said.
They were all of a type, he and his friends. Ross had been in Marine Force Recon, Grant the Navy Seals, McIntyre the Rangers and Harris the Special Forces. They were a walking amalgamation of the Spec Ops community. The biggest difference between them all, other than their individual branches of service was their respective ages. Ross was the youngest at thirty-one, Grant was fifty-six, McIntyre and Harris were both in their forties.
Ross liked going out with them. It was one of the few times he felt safe in crowds. He may not have ever fought with these men, but they were brothers nevertheless. They thought the same, the talked the same, they moved the same. It was comfortable and it was expected. They went out just once or twice a month together, but each time they did, Ross enjoyed it more than any other evenings.
“If you don’t hurry up, Devil Dog, I’m going to go over there and take my chances.” Grant said.
“You’ll ruin every chance you mean,” Ross responded.
He knew that Grant would go over there and talk to her if he didn’t hurry up and get his shit together. Grant loved hitting on girls, even girls that were half his age. Maybe especially girls half his age. When he was drunk he was even more lecherous and at that moment, Grant was easily onto his sixth beer an moving toward his seventh. Two more and he would be slurring his words and wanting to get into a fight. Five more and they’d be leading him home.
They knew one another from there fitness gig. They all four of them woke up early and ran a military style boot camp for people who wanted a different type of fitness experience. Sometimes businesses wanted a team building experience, other times they ran regular boot camps, and every now and then there would be a scared straight class, people who needed their kids to experience a real world fitness wake up, and often there were kids wanting to join the military and needing to get a taste of the workouts they would experience. Grant, Harris, McIntyre and Ross would run them all through the ringer from five in the morning till seven every morning.
Some days all four of them would show up, but most of the time it was just one or two of them. It was these evenings when they hooked up at a bar; Grant’s choice, or a new Italian restaurant; McIntyre, or a dance club; Harris, that they really got together and were able to let their collective guards down. Out there, in the mornings, with the clients, they always had to keep their character’s up. They had to workout like animals, be gruff and tough, always look the part. Out here, it was like coming back from outside the wire back to areas where security was taken care of for them, outside the combat zone. They were smart; Harris, funny; McIntyre and a bit of a jackass; Grant. Ross knew how others would see his type, since he was the youngest, he was the new guy, the rookie.
Ross felt a hand pushing him from behind. He glanced back and saw that it was McIntyre giving him a shove toward the dance floor. Typical for McIntyre. His unit was always the hammer or the anvil. The Rangers were the group that was sent when the mission was on the brink of going from covert to overt; very little subterfuge, lots of force and action and explosions. Harris would have been surgical, Grant would be optimistic and jump in with no plan and count on his skills and his charm to get him through, McIntyre would get bored and tell him just to dive in. That’s what this push from behind meant.
He walked toward the dance floor. Once he looked behind at the guys who he knew would be watching him and critiquing him. He was sorry he did immediately. Grant gave him the middle finger. McIntyre gave the Army’s hand and arm signal for attack or advance quickly. Harris saluted him with his beer pint glass, and all three of them laughed heartily as he waded into the dancers.
He heard Harris yell at him, “Dance you fucking Jarhead Jackass!” Ross smiled despite himself. It was exactly what he would have done had the roles been reversed.
Ross felt like an imbecile when he danced. There was nothing for it but just to get it over with so he snapped his fingers and tried to shuffle his feet. Silently he cursed McIntyre for choosing a fucking disco for the night out. Immediately he rolled his eyes and found perspective again. If not for McIntyre’s choice he wouldn’t be moving toward this girl.
The blonde was dancing with a bunch of other girls. She had long blonde hair that she had styled into a bun. Not a pony tail, not a braid, a bun. He liked that. He decided he liked the utilitarianism of it. He liked the way the hair on the back of her neck curled into small ringlets.
Her friends were all wearing clothes that screamed they had gotten ready for the night out. Boots, blouses, slim fitting pants and belts that accentuated the ensembles they had picked. The blonde was wearing nothing more than a t-shirt, blue jeans, and completely out of character for the crowd, flip flops. Like the bun, Ross immediately liked this about her. Again, it was utilitarian as fuck. She dressed what made her comfortable and fuck all the world, she screamed with her choices.
It was her hands that had first grabbed his attention though. They were tough and scarred and fucking beautiful. He had first seen her at the bar, her arms on the bar as she ordered drinks. She had picked up the drinks, six of them in all, one for her and each of her friends, Ross supposed with her hands around them expertly. He had been fixated on her and her hands as she walked back to her group and his eyes hadn’t left her all night. As he approached her.He wanted her hands now as he approached her on the dance floor and again felt an inability to look away.
They were dancing in a circle, all of them, all six of them. Every now and then a man would come up and try to dance with one of them, and in almost every case giggles, smiles and a slight rebuff had resulted. One thing that Ross had noticed was that no guys made a play for the blonde with the bun. He watched now as another guy came up to the circle and tried to pull one girl away, the brunette with the braid, from the group and dance with her solo. She gave him a few moves, let herself be pulled off, then she spun back and the whole group laughed at him. Ross realized that he was in serious danger of being their next victim unless he tried something different.
Instead of dancing up to the group of women, Ross slipped around behind the blonde with the bun and came up behind her. She wasn’t a good dancer either, but from her smile he could tell that she was enjoying being in her group. Instead of dancing over to her and trying to dance her away as he had seen all the other guys try and do, Ross went up and tapped her on the shoulder.
She turned and for a moment Ross realized how badly he didn’t want to fuck this up. Her eyes were bright and lively. Her smile, which disappeared when she turned and saw him, had been bright and lovely and intoxicating.
Ross leaned in and whispered in her ear.
“I know if I try to dance with you, you’ll just dance me away then laugh with your friends. I’d rather go over to the bar with you, buy you and all your friends a drink and get to know you for a few seconds.”
The smile returned but briefly. She leaned in and whispered back to Ross.
“What if I said I would rather dance?”
“I’d dance. I’m a horrible dancer but I’d dance if you asked me to. I’d rather talk and buy you drinks, but if it means getting to see you smile, then I’d dance.”
She stood back to look at him. Ross tried to smile but inside he was a bundle of nerves and worry. He didn’t want to be just another guy who got laughed at and mocked by the pack of girls. He wanted to know this girl, not just hook up with her.
He felt for a moment that he might have failed, that she would turn and go back to dancing, but then she moved past him, walked in front of him and her hand shot out to grab his and pull him along. Ross let himself be lead back to the bar and felt the stares of his buddies even though he couldn’t see them. As she walked Ross took in her bun, her neck, her walk, her way and fell more and more for her with each step. She looked back a couple of time, each time he smiled back at her and gripped her hand in his more tightly.