In this scene, Syl and her squad are at a club where Euphoria’s playing. Syl’s never seen Euphoria, and she’s excited, but Fiann’s acting weird, treating Syl poorly and trying to bully her into double-dating the Dickinson twins, Brody and Bryce. Syl ducks into the bathroom to catch her breath.
* * * *
I take a deep breath and pat the nail where it rests secretly against my skin. Okay, Syl. It’s go-time. I shove the door open. Head held high, I step out into the flashing lights of the club, and bam! run right into someone.
“Steady on.” Strong hands keep me from falling on my butt, and during our awkward two-step, I catch a glimpse of raven-dark hair and sapphire-blue eyes ringed in gold. Her deep chuckle is like rolling thunder.
“I-I’m sorry.” I look up, brushing my red curls out of my face.
Whoa. My poor heart. She’s gorgeous. Her eyes are all intense and glowy as she searches my face. The ache in my chest gets worse—but also, somehow better.
What is happening? I reach out and touch her hand. Where I want to feel skin, I feel the leather of a glove.
Still, a jolt passes between us.
She lingers, her pretty face a bit dazed. She looks from our touching hands back up. “You…”
She feels it too. Whatever it is.
And dear heaven and all the angels, she’s… Wow. She’s something else. High cheekbones, full lips curved into a smile that’s part mischief, part mayhem. Her bronze skin holds an inner glow even in the dim light of the club, and those eyes… When she looks at me, the club, the flashing lights, all the people—everything falls away and there is only the two of us.
“Who are you?” she whispers, and I hear it because she’s leaned in close, so close I can feel her warm breath on my cheek.
“I…” Introduce yourself already! But I’m all tongue-tied, frozen like the world’s biggest dork. My fingers find the strip of skin between her glove and her sleeve. Ohhhh…so warm and silky, and… What the heck are you doing, Syl?
She chuckles again, more rumbly, rolling thunder. “Are you all right?”
Yes. No. Urgggg… I step back, my cheeks on fire. She smells like all the good things in autumn—crisp leaves and harvest moons and sultry bourbon vanilla. Whoa. I’m getting a little swoony. “I-I’m fine. Really. Are you?”
“Yes, but I’d like to…” She swallows hard, seeming almost shy beneath her super-cool exterior. She licks her bottom lip, and I nearly pass out right there. “Will you meet me after the show?”
Did mine ears deceive me? Girl works fast! Plus, I can tell she’s at least a year older than me. “I…” Say something, silly!
“I’m sorry.” She pulls her hand from mine and steps away.
The loss of her touch leaves me cold. Moments from losing her to the crowd, I pluck up my courage. “What’s your name?”
That smile curves her lips like a kept secret. “I’m Euphoria.”
Euphoria. Whaaaaaaaaatttt? Seriously, Syl, only you could carry on an entire freakin conversation with your goth idol and not even recognize her.
But no…there’s something else, some other reason I didn’t recognize her right off the bat. I just can’t put my finger on it. Plus, I’m still swoony.
“I have to go.” She leans in, whispers in my ear, “After?”
I feel like only my heart can answer that question, but before I can even blink, she’s gone. Like gone-gone. One moment she’s in front of me; the next she’s vanished. Poof!
Euphoria. And she wants to see me “after.”
Crazy. This is crazy.
I shade my eyes from the blue-and-red houselights and look to the stage. After about ten minutes, the house music fades away, and the stage goes dark.
A lone silhouette appears there, backlit. It’s her.
Heat races through my body, my hand tingling from her touch. My stomach does a lazy barrel-roll, and those butterflies everyone’s always told me about? Yeah, apparently mine are Olympic gymnasts, because my whole stomach feels like it’s going for the Gold.
Oooookay. Chill out. I touch the iron nail beneath my dress. Gotta thank Glamma for the lucky pendant.
I step out of the bathroom and beeline toward the stage. I feel feverish, mad as hatter and a March hare all rolled into one.
I only know this: I have to see her again.
I’ve always hated crowds, but without another thought, I push my way to the stage. Toward Euphoria, and toward the “after” that will bring me back to her.