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"Iris". . . A Novel By Tina Adkins

Chapter 2

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I reached the station and found Emily sitting on the curb, drinking a soda.

"Hey chick!" She stood up and joined me. "Ready for some jammin’?"

"Ha! Yeah," I laughed.

"Thirsty?" she asked.

"Nah, not right now."

We made our way to Pearl Street, to the Continental. The place was hopping with people. It was 10:30 by the time we got there.

Entering the club, the blaring music swelled in the tiny room. It seemed to be holding the complete capacity of people and more were still coming in. There was a boy on the stage playing a guitar riff.

"Wow," Emily said. "Look at that babe."

I had to agree. The guy was easy on the eyes. "Who is it?"

"I don’t know. Let’s go find the set list for tonight."

We made our way over to the bar.

"Some ID?" the bartender said, walking over to us.

"No, we don’t drink," Emily replied. "We’re just looking for the set list."

"Right here," the man said, handing us a piece of paper.

We glanced over the paper, Emily saying the names out loud, "Lucid, Organized Confusion, Toad, the Love Dolls, Big Bad Nasties. Toad’s on right now."

My vision began to blur. "I have to get some air," I croaked. "This heat is way too much."

"Ok," Emily smiled. "You go ahead. I’m gonna try and sneak up to the front. I’ll meet you back here after this set."

"Ok."

I squeezed through all of the freaks, emo’s, punks, and every other clique imaginable. Reaching the door, I pushed it open and was literally shoved out of the way by someone.

"Punk ass!" I yelled as I went over to the left of the entrance. A slight breeze blew across my sweat-beaded face. I let out a sigh of relief. I squatted down against the brick wall. Upon scanning the sidewalks for anyone that I knew, my eyes fell over a young man to my right. His looks simply took my breath away. He had shoulder length, brown, shaggy hair and a huge loop earring in his left ear. He was wearing ripped up blues jeans and a black cut off muscle shirt with the Ramones "Rocket to Russia" logo on the front. My eyes wandered for a moment, then returned to his face. His eyes were a stunning shade of pale blue. My heart melted.

He happened to glance at me, and his gaze entered mine. I gasped and fell flat on my butt from the intense shock of his eyes over me. "Oh God, I’m such an idiot!" I thought. "Why now?"

To my surprise, he laughed a little, took one last draw of his cigarette and threw it down, and began walking over. "Oh no!" I panicked.

"Need help?" he asked in a soft voice, reaching down for my hand.

"Um, no. I just...lost my balance, that’s all," I replied, looking up at him.

"Come on," he said, still offering a hand.

"No! Really! I’m fine, thanks." I could be so incredibly stubborn at times.

"Well, ok then. Do you mind if I hang around for a while?"

"Sure," I squeaked. I cleared my throat. "I guess that’s fine." I hesitated, still unsure if this was all just a joke or if he was really interested. He sat down beside me. He smelled cross between smoke and a musky cologne.

"So, uh, what’s such a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this?" he asked with his head down, picking at a cracked cuticle on his middle finger.

All I could do was say, "Uh...uh..." and stare at the sidewalk in front of me. I felt my face burning with embarrassment.

"Well, anyway," he said, lifting his head and turning to face me."My name’s John. You?"

"John? Me? I’m...Iris."

"Hi Iris," he smiled, took my hand, and gently kissed the top of it. The way he said my name sent chills through me. "You know what? You look really familiar. I never forget a face."

"Really?" I said in disbelief. He was silent as he searched my face.

"Oh! I remember now. Didn’t you go to McKinley?"

"Yeah." I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

"Yeah. You were a freshman and I was a senior."

"Wait a minute," I stopped him in mid sentence. "You went to McKinley and I never seen you. Now, how is that possible?"

"Well, I’m pretty sure that I was in your science class. I sat in the back of the room and I never talked to anyone, because I was the typical senior, you know? Freshman suck, blah blah blah..."

"Yeah," I replied. We both sat in silence for a few minutes. I searched the back of my mind, trying to remember my freshman science class. I could hardly remember anything from my freshman year. "I still don’t remember anyone remotely like you, I don’t see how I could have missed you," I continued.

"But you did," he smiled.

"I guess." I paused for a moment, thinking of something else to say. "I graduated this afternoon."

"Really? Wow. It’s been a long time."

Another awkward silence rose between us. I was afraid to say anything else, afraid I’d say the wrong thing. I still couldn’t believe someone so...sexy was actually talking to me, like we were "old pals", when I’d never seen him before in life.

From inside, I could hear the music stop and the crowd buzzing.

"Well uh, I...Toad’s done playing. I have to go," John said, pushing himself up off of the ground.

"Were you here just to hear them?" I asked.

"No. I came to play. My band’s next."

"Oh," I said laughed. "Woah," I thought. "John’s in a band."

"So," he reached down and took my hand, helping me to my feet. "Can we talk more afterwards? I’d like to get to know you. You know, now that I have a chance," he smiled.

"Yeah, why not?" I replied with a smile.

"Ok. Great! I’ll meet you here?"

"Yeah."

Before leaving, he leaned in and kissed my forehead. He must have seen the astonishment in my eyes.

"Sorry," he mumbled, then went inside the club.

Following, I entered the club and found Emily at the bar. Walking over, she stopped me before I could sit down.

"What’s that look for?" she laughed.

"What look?"

"You know. That look."

I smiled. "Come here." I took her by the wrist and led her outside.

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