"Can someone please tell me why I left our perfectly comfortable couch to freeze my ass off here?" Eden McBride glared at her three friends waiting patiently in the queue with her.
It's been over an hour, but the long line snaking its way around the block had barely moved.
Out of all the hangouts in Rock Castle, they had to choose Crush, one of the most challenging clubs to get into, especially on the one weekend when the hottest DJ in town makes an appearance.
"To help you get over the man whose name we won't mention!" Sienna, her best friend since primary school, said in a hushed tone. The clear plastic beads dangling on the ends of her long ombre braids chinked as she turned her head to match her death glare.
On her 'bad' days, Sienna was cute. But on a good day, like tonight, she was smoking hot. The guys milling about, desperate to get inside like they were, clearly thought so too. They could barely peel their eyes from her.
"Yeah, Eden, we've given you enough time to mope," Lydia chimed in as she snapped a quick selfie and posted it on her Instagram. Within seconds her phone pinged incessantly with notifications from millions of adoring fans. Lydia is a mega-successful YouTuber whose makeup videos have catapulted her to a goddess-like status on the internet.
"The sooner you get back on the bike, the better," Cassandra added, flicking her long blond hair over her shoulder as she pulled up the collar of her signature leather jacket. In the five or six years Eden's known her, she's never seen her in a dress. Not even once. For a self-proclaimed tomboy, Cassandra was effortlessly chic, and with her tall slim physique and delicate features, she could pull off any look.
In their crew, Eden was the plainest, and she was okay with that. Her skin was so pale she could never get a tan no matter how long she stayed in the sun. She tried colouring her long mousey brown hair a few times, but the constant retouching got old real quick. Her most striking feature was her slanted, brown eyes. Pity, she had to hide them behind thick-lensed glasses because she was almost as blind as a bat without them.
"He's moved on. You should do the same!" Lydia chimed in brutally. Subtlety was not her strong suit.
Eden sighed and rolled her eyes. Her friends meant well. But, she was okay with spending her days and nights in front of the TV binging on carbs and terrible reality shows. She was cool with not brushing her hair or changing her clothes for days on end. She was happy to cry herself to sleep and wake up with a puffy face and swollen eyes. But she didn't want to be rushed through her grief.
How could six weeks be enough to get over a lifetime of memories, of four years of happy moments and hopeful dreams, dashed in an instant?
"If this stupid line doesn't move in the next two minutes, I'm leaving," she hissed and pulled her trench tighter, glad she had the foresight to wear it even when her friends wanted her to ditch it because it was 'ruining her whole aesthetic'.
A Lamborghini screeched in front of the entrance, followed by a Ferrari and a Porsche. A group of men, as tall as the surrounding office towers and good looking enough to have walked straight out of a fashion magazine, jumped out of the three cars, threw their car keys at the valets, and made their way to the door.
Perhaps it was the long line that seemed to be going nowhere fast or the stress of the past few weeks, but when Eden saw the six towers trying to bypass the queue, she lost all her patience. Without thinking, she left her place and stormed to the entrance, her friends trailing behind her.
She tapped the very tall ginger, trying to smooth talk his way into the club, on the shoulder. He turned to look at her, his thick eyebrows fusing in a questioning frown.
Eden paused, her lungs struggling to keep up with her thoughts and take in simple breaths. With hair so bright like flames, she expected his eyes to be green. Not this denim blue. She could feel herself struggle against their pull.
"Eden, don't cause a scene," Sienna gritted her teeth and tugged at her arm.
But, Eden saw no reason to be polite. Not when she was almost frozen solid she could barely feel her ass.
She stretched to her full height as she tried to match the man's towering size. But even in her Jimmy Choo stilettos, she still had to look up at him.
"Can I help you?" He asked in a voice meant to melt the panties off of any woman within a kilometre radius.
As if he wasn't already deadly enough, he had a cleft too. The fact that it wasn't so prominent and only seemed to show itself when he spoke or smiled, which was all he did in the last fifty seconds, made it all the more devastating.
"I don't need your help," Eden said icily, hating him a little. He had no right to be so attractive.
"Okay, then!" He shrugged, showing off two rows of perfectly straight teeth as he smiled. They were so white she thought they might be veneers. They had to be. There was no way anyone would have such great teeth unless they had an excellent dentist.
"If you are done gawking at me–"
Eden held up her hand, irritated with herself for noticing all these things about him and hating him a little more for his presumptuous arrogance.
"Do you see all these people?" She glared at him and pointed at the endless line. "They've been waiting for over an hour. You can't just come here and skip the queue."
"Are you going to stop me, Princess?" His rust-coloured eyebrows shot up, his eyes sparkling with amusement and his Calvin Klein underwear model friends sniggered. Eden wanted so much to wipe the smirk off his face with her puny little fists. But she was an educated person. She didn't have to use her hands to prove her point. Words were just as powerful.
"If you have any decency, you'll do the right thing and wait in line like everyone else." She hissed, blinking furiously behind her black-framed glasses.
A hush fell over the small crowd gathered around them. Eden's friends kept tugging and pulling at her. But she was so over everything, including this night, and she refused to be intimidated by Red as he leaned down to stare at her at eye level condescendingly.
"I guess I'm not a decent person now, am I?" He blew a cold minty breath on her face and shrugged, returning his attention to the bouncer.
He flashed a few notes at the burly man, gathered up his crew, and waved at her group. "They are with us!"
Before Eden could even process his announcement, they were already inside the club, wading through a swarm of sweaty heaving bodies swaying to the music.
It took her eyes a few seconds to adjust to the dim lighting. Up ahead, she saw the man she just tussled with head to a VIP booth.
Was she supposed to thank him for getting them in? No way, she shook her head. Now that she was inside, she was glad her toes and ass were not so numb anymore, but she had no issue waiting her turn like everyone else.
"Oh, St. Eden, we are forever in your debt. Drinks are on us tonight!" Cassandra bowed and brought her hands up in a prayer-like gesture.
Lydia giggled and gushed. "Yeah, you took one for the team! I mean, I would never have dared to approach Liam."
"That's his name?" Eden asked, barely paying attention to her friends' chatter. 'Red' suited him better in her opinion.
She craned her neck, scanning the room for free seats. But other than a few empty stools at the bar, there was no sitting room anywhere, and she desperately wanted to sit down. As cute as her shoes were, especially when paired with her black midi dress, her feet were seriously killing her.
"Liam's like royalty around here. You must have heard about him," Sienna rattled away. "He's a motorsport driver, throws the craziest parties, and he has a three-month rule. He never dates anyone longer than three months."
"What a charming guy!" Eden nodded absently, but she's never heard of him. Not surprising since she never paid attention to Rock Union's social scene.
Her eyes lit up when she saw some empty stools at the bar. It wasn't prime real estate, especially since all the already inebriated idiots seemed to gravitate there, but she had to rest her feet.
"Let's go," she grabbed Sienna's hand, and they pushed their way through the crowd, Cassandra and Lydia close behind them.
"First round's on me!" Lydia yelled over the music as she tried to catch the bartender's attention.