-1 She sat in the trendy restaurant with her boyfriend, but her mind wasn't on her sushi or him. She kept stealing glances at a small table across the room, occupied by two people. It's disgusting, she was thinking, the way they share a booth, the way they act. This is a public place, for God's sake, and she's kissing his neck. At least he looks uncomfortable, and he should, she looks like a hooker he picked up on Jefferson Avenue.

"Lu? Hello, are you there?" Orlando said, waving tattooed fingers in front of her face. Luella Rae looked at him; she had almost forgotten he was there. But that's what happens when you see your ex-boyfriend who you still have feelings for across the room.

"Sorry, Orly. Spaced out," Luella said quickly, laughing a fake laugh. She knew he wouldn't question anything, he wasn't the sharpest tool in the box. In fact, she was really only dating Orlando because she always had a boyfriend, or at least someone to fool around with. She went through guys like Britney Spears went through bags of cheetos. It was easy for her. She wasn't just decent-looking, she was hot. With light brown hair, large green eyes, and a body to die for, the girl was attractive. Then Adam came along. He had just moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where Luella lived, and they met in a bar on a Saturday night. He was from a small town somewhere in North Carolina, and had southern charm, gentlemanly qualities, and just a hint of an accent.

He had moved up north to get away from the small town lifestyle and couldn't afford to live in the city; so he settled on Brooklyn. The relationship that followed was both much better and much worse than any other that Luella had ever been in. Unlike most of Luella's boyfriends, she was actually attracted to Adam, and not just physically. She loved his intelligence, his modesty, his calm disposition, his humor. This newfound kind of attraction, however, was the downfall of the relationship. Luella didn't know how to deal with someone so-amazing-and so she pushed him away, picked fights for no reason. She hated herself for it, knowing that she made the greatest guy she had ever met break up with her. He actually broke her heart-that's a new one, she thought.

"Okay," Orlando said. The bill came, and he whipped out his wallet, trying to impress her with his wealth. Luella found she didn't care anymore.

"I'll wait for you outside," she said quickly as she saw Adam getting up.

"Sure," Orlando said, flashing her an overly Zoom-whitened smile. Ugh. Nothing about him attracted her anymore; not that there was much in the first place. Fighting the urge to show her disgust, she headed for the door.

Outside, she was both pleased and horrified to see Adam, saying goodbye to his hooker. Luella made a move to quickly hide behind a column, but Adam turned when the gross-looking girl walked away. His face showed a look of mingled surprise and embarrassment. A red flush rose in his cheeks; Luella tried not to smile.

"Oh, hi Luella," Adam said awkwardly. "Um, fancy seeing you here."

"Yeah, uh, I'm just here with…" she gestured lamely towards the door. Adam looked expectant for a second, then dropped his gaze to his feet.

"Of course. So," he said, talking to a flower pot to Luella's left. "How are you?"

"Oh, you know, pretty good," she lied. "And you?"

Before Adam could answer, Orlando came out of the restaurant, saying, "Ready, babe?"

Luella was mortified. Giving Adam a sympathetic look and mumbling "Bye," to him, she walked quickly away, Orlando's hand on her ass. She wanted to slap it away. Adam stood there watching, looking dumbfounded, then slowly walked away. Luella wasn't sure what made her do it then, perhaps the whole run-in with Adam had pushed her over the edge. She broke up with Orlando in the car, and didn't bother being nice about it. He kept asking, "Why?"

To this Luella said, "We simply weren't meant to be."

The next day her friends organized a girls' night out to help Luella get over Orlando, though she wasn't sad at all. She reminded them that she broke up with him, but they seemed to want an excuse to go out, not count calories, and get wasted. She searched all the bars inconspicuously for Adam, but had no luck. She came home drunk, expecting a hangover when she woke up. At least, she thought,I'll see Adam soon. They only lived a few blocks away from each other, and she was determined to set things right with him. He couldn't avoid her forever.

And it turned out that Luella was right. Not four days later, she spotted Adam in the grocery store, and again getting his hair cut in a small barber shop. Each time, either he truly didn't see her or was ignoring her. Luella didn't blame him if he was, she was horrified about their last encounter. Every day, Luella struggled to figure out a way that could somehow make him forgive her and take her back. Unfortunately, she had never, ever chased after a guy before and had no idea what to do. And so, time went on. Luella was single for the longest stretch ever; it was surprising, but more surprising was the fact that she didn't care. Though she rarely saw him, and didn't speak to him even if she did, she still harbored hope that things would all be okay. Luella found herself walking past Adam's house much more frequently than usual, and always looking for him everywhere she went. Months passed by like this, and winter settled over Brooklyn like a shroud. Luella worked in Manhattan at a large architecture firm, making a more-than-decent 75-grand a year. She knew Adam was working his way up in a renowned law firm, aspiring to be the best lawyer in the city. Their lives went on separately for awhile, until one night in mid-February.

A mutual friend of Adam and Luella's was opening a bar in Williamsburg and, unbeknownst to either of them, had invited both to the opening night party. Luella looked fabulous-she was wearing a long, bright purple coat over a short, revealing pink party dress, a black waist belt, and gray tights. She brought her friend Tara, whom she had known for many years. They grew up together in Bay Ridge and could not be separated. Tara wasn't a big partier, but Luella dragged her along nevertheless. They arrived at the bar, called Scorpio, around ten. It was a small place and, like most buildings in Williamsburg, was once part of a factory. It had a one-word name, just like all of the popular clubs. The inside was decorated so meticulously, even Luella was impressed. The primary color was a scarlet red; it was splashed across the walls, in the lighting, and the velvet curtains that were hung at regular intervals, looking like dripping blood.

The Scorpio sign was everywhere- on table tops, on hanging neon signs dangling from the ceiling. Then there was certain areas where the colors changed drastically- and all the booths and couches in these areas had a different horoscope sign stamped on them. The ceiling was a maze of exposed pipes, all painted red. An alcove off to the side housed a bar complete with three bartenders. There were stairs to Luella's left which led to a VIP room, to which Luella and Tara were directed by a bouncer. The upstairs room had beds, plush couches and chaise lounges. The floor was made of glass and you could see most of the club below. There was also another, smaller bar.

"Wow," Tara said. "Peter went all out on this place, it's pretty nice."

"Yeah," Luella said. Spotting their friend Peter, the owner, she and Tara made their way through the crowd to him.

"Hey!" Luella said, kissing him on the cheek. "What's going on?"

"Not much, just hanging out, you know. Thank God I can relax now, we've been working non-stop at this place," Peter said.

"Well, hard work pays off, it looks amazing!" Luella said. Peter raised his eyebrows.

"Coming from you, I know it's the truth. Thanks a lot. I was nervous, you know, didn't know how opening night would be, but I think it's pretty good, no?"

Tara and Luella looked down through the glass at the hundreds of people already crowding the dance floor.

"Definitely," Tara said. After a few more words, Luella and Tara headed for the bar.

"I want something different tonight. I'm so sick of Grey Goose and tequila," Luella was saying to the bartender. He gave her a red cocktail filled with fruit juices and different types of alcohol, calling it a "Scorpio Special." Luella laughed at the name but it tasted surprisingly good. Tara ordered the same and together they scoped out the room. They spotted a few friends from the area, but no Adam. Luella sighed and ordered another Special. Two more cocktails later, Luella found herself on the dance floor, grinding with Peter. Tara was to her right, dancing with some guy with an unnatural-looking tan and a stud earring. Once the song was over, Luella thought for some reason that another cocktail would be a good idea and her and Peter stumbled their way to the bar, Tara and Fake Tan Man close behind. Luella and Peter clinked glasses, toasting to a wonderful evening and a great club opening.

As Luella was taking a sip she saw him. It was him! He was here! She slopped some of the drink down herself and gasped, wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Adam had just entered the room, alone. From his position, he could only see Peter at the bar and he began making his way towards him. Luella thought she might have a heart attack, and downed the rest of the drink in one gulp. Deciding to try to pretend like she hadn't seen anything, she simply turned to the bartender to order another drink. Tara had noticed Adam also, and Tan Man was now flexing his biceps to get her attention, but she was staring resolutely ahead with an astonished look on her face.

"Peter!" Adam yelled above the music, wringing his hand. "Awesome place, dude. Congratulations."

"Thanks, man, I'm glad you came. I was starting to think you weren't going to show," Peter replied.

"I know, I'm sorry, but I was working late, I just got promoted so my workload has increased, like, tenfold. Then the trains were so slow, it was ridiculous," Adam explained.

"Oh, well, congratulations to you, then, Mr. Big Lawyer Man!" Peter slurred. And then, Luella couldn't help it, she looked at him. She had tried to avoid eye contact but she couldn't resist. She looked and nearly melted. He was still in his work clothes, with gray suit pants, a white button-down shirt with a striped tie that was loosened in a way that made Luella weak. As the heavy techno blaring from the speakers changed suddenly to 311's "Amber," Adam's dark blue eyes bored into Luella. She watched as they widened in surprise, then narrowed. "Whoa, amber is the color of your energy, whoa, shades of gold splayed naturally, you ought to know what brings me here," came from the speakers. Luella could see the hurt and disgust in his eyes, hating herself for being the cause of it. What was it about him that made her actually feel regretful? Luella didn't regret. She tried to convey to him with her own eyes that she was sorry-for everything. That if she just had one more chance, just one, she would change everything. Then it was like a light bulb had gone on; Luella knew what she had to do. Perhaps a little emboldened by the liquor, she pushed people out of her way and grabbed Adam by the arm, simply saying, "Come."