The world pulsed around her with every step, pressing in and out as rapidly as Clarke’s chest heaved. She had to get out, get away, couldn’t stand the suffocating silence of her parents’ home, the suffocating symphony of sorry’s, the suffocating scent of her absent father, the suffocating summer heat pressing against the black of her clothes and trapping this day inside. The sun lingered on her skin long after it set, and Clarke couldn’t breathe.
Wandering aimlessly, Clarke slipped into the traffic of the city nightlife, the downtown area flooded with weekend foot traffic–people hopping from bar to bar, club to club. Clarke could disappear in the spaces between the clicking heels and unbridled laughter of strangers. She could be invisible.
It was well past nine when her feet began to ache and she slipped into the nearest bar, a smaller one but with a fairly large and lively crowd pressed between its walls. Clarke was only a few steps into the place when she realized why–the shrill sounds of three out-of-tune girls squeaking along together through a rather unique rendition of “Like A Virgin.” Karaoke night, of course.
Clarke plopped down onto a surprisingly empty bar stool and raised her hand to get the bartender’s attention. When he made his way over, she ordered five shots of tequila. The bartender’s eyes widened, just slightly, before he nodded and set five shot glasses on the bar in front of her. He filled them quickly and took the cash Clarke pressed against the sticky bar.
“Thanks,” she muttered, already reaching for the first of the five shots. She kicked it back like it water, expressionless and uncaring, and reached for the second.
“Starting off strong.”
Clarke swallowed her second shot and turned toward the voice, finding a bushy-haired brunette leaning against the bar a few feet from her. Her eyes were sharp in the ever-changing colored lights overhead and fixed on Clarke.
“Yeah,” Clarke said, letting out a heavy breath and reaching for her third shot. “Long day.”