Over Her Shoulder ( pt. 7 The Alley excerpt)

The group of four good looking men approached the group.  Karen’s only focus was on Grayson.  “Do we have a decision ladies?” he asked.

Leslie looked at the two women. “We do indeed, let’s dance!”

The group was animatedly excited as they started to head towards downstairs. However, Sherri quickly changed her course.

“You know what, I think I’m going to go back upstairs actually, I want to meet up with some friends up there ” The men were disappointed  with this change of plans, all insisting on she come. Karen was actually happy she wasn’t coming with them, she was a downer to be around tonight, and most nights.  

Leslie started in on Sherri “Please don’t tell me you’re going up there to chase that asshole Bender”

“I’m not, it’s just more fun upstairs, it’s plain dirty and gross down in the alley.” she said dismissively.

At that point, everyone’s desire to have Sherri join changed immediately. The alley was notorious for being one of the hottest spots in the city. To say it was dirty was revealing of her pompous character and also simply untrue. Again, Karen didn’t have the desire to argue with her.  One of the men yelled out “Forgive her, she knows not what she says, and she knows not what she does!”  Sherri shook her head and split off into a sea of people as the group laughed and filed downstairs.

The man who had made the comment and another one of the men immediately ran towards the stage that a small live band was playing from. 2 guitars, a female singer, a keyboardist and an energetic drummer.  By the sweat dripping from his flowing black hair it looked like he had been passionately playing for hours.  Karen, Leslie, and the remaining two men made a B line for the bar. As Grayson signaled for a bartender his friend immediately put his arm around Leslie and said what are we drinking babe? In a playful tone  

“Oh, I’m your babe already? Leslie said laughing. “You should know, as a disclaimer, you should know I am married so don’t get any ideas” “Awesome, and I’m thirsty. Question remains, what are we drinking?”  The man said as he took his hand off of her and sidestepped her towards Grayson who had already started ordering. An athletic bartender leaned in towards Grayson to hear him as her tits practically fell out of her low cut black tank top. Karen respected the women’s hustle, if you got it, flaunt it.

“4 Tequila shots, thank you miss” Grayson said as he pushed away the 20 dollar bill his friend tried to hand him and slid the bartender his card. “There’s your answer, we’re drinking tequila “Leslie remarked as the four of them watched the shots being poured in front of them. The men tried their hardest not to stare at the smoke that was pouring them. Karen caught a glimpse of the check as Grayson signed the bill. She liked the way his signature looked, it looked official.

 

After putting his card back into his wallet, Grayson grabbed the shot glass and began “cheers to a great night with-”

“Oh my bad I already took mine” Grayson’s friend confessed as he turned his shot glass upside down to show there was nothing left.

“ Sammmmm, c’mon man!” Grayson said in a fake aggravated tone.

Everyone joined in

“Ya Sam what were you thinking?!” Leslie said as she punched his shoulder.

“Not cool, Sam, really not cool” Karen said as Sam immediately hollered for a bartender.

“Give me a break guys I didn’t know we were going to get all sentimental with toasts. I’ll get another one”

The 3 women bartenders were on the other side of the bar now and looked very busy. Sam finally convinced the bar-back to pour him a shot despite the young man insisting “I’m not supposed to serve anyone man”.

 

      Sam tipped the young man handsomely and raised his shot glass. The others followed as Grayson started another toast “ Okay well, here’s to new faces, new places, and new memories tonight” Sam intentionally waited for the 3 to down the shot and then asked “is it okay for me to drink it now, are you guys sure?” .  “Go ahead, I think I sobered up having to wait that long to take the shot, thanks Sam!” Leslie replied. “Yeah yeah yeah, alright folks let’s dance. Or are you not allowed to dance because you’re married?” Sam said jokingly but with a slight serious undertone. The two continued to playfully flirt and poke fun of each other until they finally walked over to the dance floor together.

“Your friends quite the charmer” Karen stumbled over her words a bit as she looked into Grayson’s blue eyes. She was at the point where she knew she should stop drinking, but she wanted to keep going, she was feeling great.

Grayson laughed “He’s a good guy”. “Wait why did you say new places before” Karen asked as she rocked back and forth to the music.

“I’m sorry?” Grayson said confused as to what she was referencing.

“Before, during the toast, why did you say new places, have you not been here before?” “Oh, I have, I just blanked and it rhymed with faces so I went with it “Grayson said .Karen missed what he said , she was too busy looking at the  dance floor with starry eyes . After admiring the lively atmosphere on the dance floor she asked the typical cocktail party question. “So Grayson, what do you for a living? What’s your line of work?”

He couldn’t hear what she was saying, as the band started in on a spirited rendition of Elton John’s Crocodile Rock. After the third failed attempt of understanding her Grayson finally grabbed her by the hand and took her into the packed mob of dancers. She loved the downstairs because they always had a live band going, and tonight they were playing the classics.

Feet just can’t keep still~

She smiled ear to ear as the lead singer sang the lyrics “I never knew me a better time, and I guess I never will”. The crowd was a mix of folks from all walks of life, all currently losing their minds together to lively throwback songs. Grayson twirled her around a few times as she bumped into the woman next to her. Everyone was bumping into everyone, drinks were being spilt, and no one cared. Those were the best kinds of crowds, the kinds that didn’t bitch about inevitable things like having their drink spilt in a crowded, action packed atmosphere. Karen spun into Grayson’s arms as he tilted her backwards. She almost tripped, partially from her being hammered, and partially because Grayson’s hand slipped momentarily. Grayson caught her with about a foot to the ground to spare. “What are we doing trust falls now?!” Karen said jokingly.  “I got you, don’t worry” Grayson said in a cool tone. Karen thought his blue eyes seemed genuine as he looked her. She didn’t know anything about this guy, at all, but she found a lot could be said through someone’s eyes.

        The two continued dancing and singing along as each song seemed to get better and better. Karen was impressed with how Grayson seemed to know every word to every song. She found herself belting out the choruses to most songs loud and proud. Generally she found herself nervous to sing in fear of embarrassment, but tonight she didn’t care, not at all. She was finally enjoying being free. Free of judgment, free of worry, and free to do what she wanted. Karen stopped dancing briefly and took a black hair elastic off of her wrist. As she began putting up her hair she tried to think back to the last time she had been out dancing. It had been a long time, far too long. She missed it, she missed having nights like this.

       Karen and Grayson’s dancing was interrupted as Sam popped up behind Grayson and put him into a headlock. “This girls a spit fire!” Sam said as Leslie followed closely behind him. She was rolling her eyes and shaking her head, but smiling. The group of four danced together for a few songs. Grayson and Leslie doing the Carlton dance from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air multiple times. She could see in both of faces, that they were having such a blast. Karen loved it, she couldn’t stop smiling. Grayson  outstretched his arms to Karen, grabbed her hands and brought her in for a massive bear hug. As the band announced they were taking a “beer break” Grayson offered the same. “Beer break sounds like a good idea, you want anything?” he asked Karen.  “Sure, let’s go” Karen said with a smile. She didn’t want a beer, or any more to drink for that matter, but she definitely wanted Grayson.

      “I’ll just have a water actually, it’s getting so hot down here” Karen said as Grayson shuffled towards the bar through a mass of people. After getting their drinks, the two walked to less crowded section where they could talk. “I love that watch, looks good on you.” Grayson commented as Karen downed a large sip of the ice water.  “Oh why thank you” she looked down at her Tory Burch watch, it was black with thin gold hands. She was impressed that he had noticed. For the next 15-20 minutes the two continued to chat and ceaselessly laugh. Grayson finished his beer and brought the empty bottle back to the bar, as the band simultaneously walked back on stage. An eruption of cheers came from the crowd as folks made their way back onto the dance floor.  

      Karen sang along as the guitar player and female vocalist exchanged lines. “Don’t go breakin my heart- I couldn’t if I tried”. She turned to Grayson as she sang and danced along “I’m so bad at singing I’m sorry!” “Not at all, I love it” he said reassuringly as he hugged her. She smiled, she forgot how good it felt to be treated well. They stood back from the chaotic scene for a while until Grayson saw his two buddies’ front and center chugging a beer at the same time as the band did its best rendition of The Cars- Just What I Needed. “We gotta get up there” Grayson said excitedly to Karen. Pushing somewhat recklessly through the crowd they were up to the front relatively quickly. Over the course of the next few songs the band members took a liking to the boys and Karen who were a lively bunch to say the least. The lead guitar yelled “I love these guys” into the mic as he then held out the microphone to the group to sing along to the chorus. Karen looked over at Grayson as he jumped up and down with his buddies. She wanted so badly to grab and kiss him but knew now wasn’t the time. Every time he looked over at her he had this charming smile and smirk. She felt hot. Even better than that, she felt happy.

      The night continued on with more craziness ensuing throughout. Noteworthy events consisted of but were not limited to: Grayson’s two buddies ending up on stage singing and Karen nearly breaking her wrist. Karen hardly noticed the sore wrist, or her sore thighs from so much dancing. She was in too good of a mood to let anything break her stride. “I haven’t felt this alive in a decade” Karen thought to herself. The spontaneous evening had provided a rare and powerful feeling that just for these few hours, everything was okay. In fact, okay was a vast understatement. Everything was beautiful. All of the burdensome thoughts she had been perseverating over were merely a faint blip on her radar.

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