Happy To Hold On: A Thousand Word
Written by Tom Colohue.Part 4 of 4
The welcome tingle on her lips was a good start to any evening. While the rising swell of music roared eagerly in her ears and the smell of spilled alcohol and stale cigarette smoke assailed her nostrils, all of her attention had been turned to her lips. One thing had become abundantly clear: this girl's tongue tasted like cinnamon. Lesbianism was the highlight of any night; all parties should start with it.
Mercy Ensworth was a girl on a mission tonight and, though random tongue action was admittedly one of the major perks of the job, that wasn't it. Sadly, it did mean stopping. Reluctantly, she pulled away from the girl in her arms who had started to tenderly stroke her hair. In a single kiss, she had become an object to caress and protect. Mercy's withdrawal had caused a confused expression, so she lifted the active camera around her next and took a picture of it before retreating without saying a word.
She might have asked for the girl's name, but her kissing just didn't deserve it.
Today, Mercy's complete attention was required. This was her first major photography job away from the comfort zone of the Fire Brand building. It was a fairly standard task: take pictures of the headliners from the front and the back of the stage. She had even been briefed that the performers were notoriously unreliable, so her trip to the big city might have been a complete waste of time. Thankfully, she was in an extremely prestigious nightclub surrounded by hot girls and photo opportunities. There was no waste of time to be found here.
The band on stage, currently performing under the simple names of The Headliners', even though there was another performance due after them, had offered plenty of good quality images for her to peruse, even though she wasn't interested in them in the slightest. The bassist had asked for her number and, for the sake of her job, she had smiled and batted her eyelids while reading out the digits for the pet shop at the end of her road. Mercy had asked them when Darik, the main showboat of the night, would arrive with his band, or backing musicians, whatever they might have been. As it was, they had no idea.
The word had been put out that, since an incident with wiring had resulted in one musician being hit by enough of an electrical voltage to southern fry chicken, Darik had been pretty much hiding out of sight. It had been a busy week for this city. A well-known to the point of famous musician, whom Mercy had never met and had no interest in, had been exposed as a cheating man-whore, which was about the only thing that could have caught her attention. The wiring incident had also made the news, but Darik's own story of success by attrition had been the one to get her the job. He was the one that she needed to take pictures of for the Fire Brand website. Their news report facilities were far beneath specification, which was the whole purpose of her hiring.
Unfortunately, the prey that Mercy was hunting still seemed to be hiding in the back somewhere.
She approached the doorway into the back rooms of the club, where two particularly gruesome looking security guards were blocking her access. Excuse me, she shouted at the first and less scarred of the two men, though he seemed to miss most of this. She leant a little farther forwards before continuing: I'm here with Fire Brand to take a few shots of somebody called Darik. He's supposed to be performing tonight.
Mr Tantrum? the bouncer inquired. This was not the surname of the man that Mercy was here to see. This security guard was obviously being difficult.
Not here, he interrupted, leaning away from her while he did so. There was some drama between his manager and him so a couple of their gigs are being swapped around. We've got another guy on called Stein. Hes not s--t.
Mercy had stopped kissing somebody for nothing it seemed. Annoyed at potentially failing in her allotted task, she turned quickly and walked away from the doormen without any indication of a good bye.
Slipping out of the main entrance and through the cloud of smoke that generally lingered outside of such an establishment, Mercy had her phone in her hand before she had even realised that it was her intention. The beauty of a little phone bag that tied around her wrist was the accessibility of it.
Matthew Cooper never answered his phone. The only way to contact him was to entice him to call you, so that is exactly what Mercy set about doing. Pulling up a quick photograph of one of her cats, she sent that to him with the simple caption: it looks like this is the most famous face we'll get on camera today'.
The response was near instantaneous; her phone started to ring.
What's the drama? Cooper asked her. He sounded tired with the day, but this could just have been him being dragged out of a meeting by the short hairs.
Mercy made neither welcome nor apology. Your TV star hasn't bothered to turn up to his own event. Supposedly he's had some fight with his manager and lost a couple of gigs.
Well, that was stupid, responded Cooper in the same dry tone. The man's about to be made a star because of a cock move that worked, so he decides to do another one? Musicians can be babies sometimes.
Yes, I know that, but what about me?
There was a slight pause while Cooper considered his options. You're not a baby. You're nineteen.
Even though he couldn't see her, Mercy frowned down the phone at him anyway. It was at this point that she became aware of somebody watching her from across the road. He was standing outside of one of the other clubs in a phone conversation of his own. The brief snippets of his conversation that she could hear seemed to be something to do with shoes, though it was odd to hear any man so complimentary about them. He seemed a little downtrodden in his dress sense and, though he was alone outside of a nightclub, he did seem to have a face that she recognised. Unfortunately, when she caught him looking, he made absolutely no attempt to hide the direction of his eyes, and this quickly became extremely annoying.
I suppose it's pointless you being there, Cooper added finally. Having now locked eyes with the creature that was seemingly try to stare her down, Mercy had all but forgotten about him. I can't say I'm all too happy about it though. There have been three tasty little events that have happened in that bloody city in the last week, and we've missed them all. We're trying to compete with some big news websites here, and it's not getting any easier when we miss the saucy stuff. Besides, the magazine that got one of the stories is a haughty bitch ex-girlfriend of a magazine anyway. You going to stay out?
Typically, Mercy did. Tonight, she was feeling stalked. The man across the road from her had finally had the decency to avert his eyes, but that didn't leave Mercy feeling all that happy about it. I think I'm just going back to my hotel, she told him. There was no fear in her voice, but there was a little anger at having her night of bliss interrupted by a rock star wannabe and somebody who obviously was a little too desperate to get her underwear on his bedroom floor.
Not a thing.
Cooper paused again, but didn't hang up. Lie to me again and you'll lose part of your pay check. Is something wrong?
Again, regardless of Cooper's distant location, Mercy still reacted facially. This time, it was with more of a snarl. As soon as she did it, she felt sure that she would regret it, seeing as she was caught doing it. There's just a guy creeping me out some, Mercy whispered down the earpiece. He's probably just drunk and thinking about trying to chat me up once I hang up. It's no big deal.
And what happened to the security I assigned you?
I didn't tell her which club I was going to, admitted Mercy with no hint of remorse. The idea of losing pay was not an attractive way, so honesty was obviously the best policy. She's probably a bit, you know, pissed.
She's trained in four martial arts and she's paid to be there looking after you, explained Cooper, sounding like a chastising parent. I would suggest that you call her and have her pick you up.
Yes, Dad, Mercy groaned. Should I call you when I get home too so you know I got in safe away from all the bad men?
Yes, you should. Do that. I'll talk to you then.
When Cooper hung up on her, Mercy knew that she had walked into it far too easily. Thankfully, he wasn't here to make sure that she called anybody. The man who had been watching her was making his approach now that she was off of the phone, a pleasant and fake smile plastered on his face, even if his eyes hadn't quite locked with hers yet.
Looking for a way out, Mercy turned around to look back at the building and say the girl whose lips she had tasted earlier in the night wandering out with a friend to light up a cigarette. There was an opportunity most luscious, but only if it was taken quickly. As she approached her target, Mercy scanned her brain as fast as she could for the name of the girl, but nothing came readily to mind. The blonde hair, slim thighs and carefully applied lipstick had drawn her in, not the name. Thankfully, a reprieve was offered when the girl looked at Mercy and smiled. With a come hither motion and a little pout, Mercy drew her closer and away from her friends so that they might lock lips once again. Keeping one eye open, it was easy to watch the man who had been practically following her display a look of disappointment before moving into the club in search of different targets.
Safe again, Mercy ended the kiss prematurely to a sound of dismay from her partner. A wicked smile on her face, Mercy took another picture of this girl who's name simply did not matter before she had turned to move across the road and get into a taxi back to her hotel. Today had been an utter waste of time as it turned out. The club had idiots in it who shouldn't have been there, as well as complete wastes of space who should have been there but weren't, and even on the second try the only girl she had managed to snare all night still couldn't kiss properly. This city sucked; she was glad to see the back of it.