Music blasted from the nearby speakers as a group of friends secured a table at the city's local bar. It was a week night; hence, the place was almost empty save for a few drinkers who decided to go solo for the night. The four friends had just attended a compulsory activity by their university when Danny, the most vocal member of the group, suggested that they end the day with a round of drinks.
"First man down pays half of the bill, 'kay?" Danny declared as he looked through the bar's menu. The girls, Elle and Cassidy, exchanged knowing looks at their friend's bold statement.
Pierre, on the other hand, hooted in response. "Are you sure about that, Danny? We all know how this night's going to end." He gives the girls a playful wink.
Danny ignored them as he was too busy picking the orders. He decided to go for a combo that included a round of drinks and some snacks that would go well with it. When the waiter left, his attention then shifted to the scrawny vocalist of the band upfront. "Don't you think he's hot?"
Elle nodded approvingly while Cassidy shrugged. Pierre gave an exasperated sigh. "Please don't embarrass us with your flirting, Dan." He pleaded.
"I know, I know! Let's request a song and have him dedicate it to me! Pass me a pen, Cass!" Danny excitedly said as he randomly grabbed a napkin from the center of the table. "What song should I pick?"
As Elle and Danny went through a few song choices in between fits of giggles, Cassidy looked at Pierre from the corner of her eye. As usual, he looked as if he was somewhere far from this bar. He had a bored expression on his face. The lone stud earring he had on his left ear glinted as the lights from the stage caught in it. She was startled at the sound of bottles being set on their table. The waiter was back. She immediately turned away.
By then, Danny and Elle had already sent off their requests towards the stage. They giggled uncontrollably when the vocalist greeted Danny a happy birthday.
"Since when was today your birthday?" Cassidy asked the smiling Danny.
"Hush, Cass! Don't ruin it for me. Instead, why don't you drink up?" Danny suggested as he started pouring drinks for everyone. "Cheers for the birthday boy!" Danny exclaimed as he held out his glass. Everyone clunk their glasses together before taking their first gulp of beer for the night.
The complimentary plate of peanuts immediately disappeared after a couple of rounds. Elle was as red as a beet already. She had a face that easily betrayed her emotions. Sometimes, she'd even blush uncontrollably without a reason. Pierre, who was the most seasoned drinker of the bunch, laughed at Elle's flushed face. He poked at her cheeks for fun. Danny, on the other hand, was swaying with the music. He seemed really into it. Cassidy had to pull him down every couple of minutes because he would attempt to climb the table and do that drunken dance of his that has made them all cringe in embarrassment during their previous night outs.
Sometimes, Cassidy would steal glances at Pierre. She even wondered why he bothered hanging out with juniors like them. She wanted to ask him, but she stammered a lot whenever she tried to converse with him while they were with their friends. This puzzled her a lot since the two of them had lengthy conversations in the past, albeit, without anyone else around.
To her, Pierre was as interesting as the novels that she cherished in her personal bookshelf. She couldn't really pinpoint the exact reason. At first glance, most people would think that Pierre was just this tough looking guy who always wore a serious expression on his face. Everyone who knew him though, including their professors at school, would agree that he was the deep kind. If he had to answer a question, he'd give a response that would leave even the professors dumbfounded. He was smart even if he looked like the typical rebel without a clue.
He once confided in her as to why he shaved his hair off, save for that braided rattail his fusses on so much. Aside from the fact that he claims to mess around with his hair in order to express himself, it was also somehow a form of rebellion against his father. His old man was a company executive who held on to conservative and strict beliefs. All his life, Pierre was forced to conform to his father's wishes, but he didn't want to be caged anymore. He decided to find a university outside of his hometown just to get away from his father.
"Earth to Cassie!"
Cassidy was startled at the sight of Pierre grinning at her.
"Are you going to drink that or what?" Pierre asked as he pointed at her neglected glass.
"O-of course!" Cassidy exclaimed as she chugged everything down in one go. She wasn't a heavy drinker, but she sure wasn't as sensitive to alcohol as Danny was. She started to feel the effects though, so she regretted her impulsive response.
The band had finished its first set for the night. The members were making their way down the stage when Danny decided to make his move. Cassidy was too lost in thought to notice that her friend was about to make a fool out of himself. Elle and Pierre, ever the supportive friends, decided to egg him on.
Danny was too busy buying drinks for his newfound vocalist friend when the three friends who were left at the table decided to have another round of drinks. They made a toast for Danny as a joke.
"To Danny and his uncanny ability to get the attention of straight men!" Pierre said.
Elle almost spilled her drink when she heard this. "It's a good thing you're immune to his charms, huh, Pierre?" She giggled.
Pierre only chuckled in response before he emptied his glass. Unlike the others, Cassidy only took a careful sip from her glass. She was beginning to feel a bit sick. After all, it's been a while since she allowed herself to indulge in a round of drinks. The rest went out regularly, sometimes, even without her.
"I don't think I can have another glass." Cassidy said, almost to herself.
Pierre heard her loud and clear though, but he pretended he didn't. He eyed her glass.
Danny joined them once again when the band was ready to start another set of songs. He triumphantly showed everyone a newly acquired number from his cellphone as if it was some trophy he fought hard to win. Elle congratulated him and told him she was happy for him. Cassidy attempted a smile for Danny, but she was also stopping herself from falling off her seat. Alcohol always made her extra sleepy.
She turned her attention to her glass, but was surprised to see that it wasn't in front of her anymore. Oddly, it seemed to have found its way beside Pierre's, only, both glasses in front of him were empty. Did he just..?
She was too focused on the glasses that she failed to notice that Pierre was looking at her through the corner of his eye. A smile crept on his lips as he found amusement over the bewildered expression on Cassidy's face.