Chapter 3

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Chapter 2 – Just Chillin’

Bethany blew into the room like a Middle-Tennessee Tornado, and simply cringed while asking, "Are you really going to wear that?" She looked at my outfit with a disapproving frown.

I looked down at my outfit and didn't see anything wrong with it. I had on my white tights, red mini-skirt and well-fitting red and white mid-drift shirt that stopped just above my belly button showing off my smooth caramel skin, and my pretty belly ring. My natural hair had been tamed into, a bun. My make-up was on point.  School colors on display, “So what is your issue?” I challenged.

Bethany tilted her head in disbelief and in the tone of my second grade teacher stated, "My issue with you, Brat, is that those sneakers on your feet will not be accompanying you to CHIC.

I squinted my eyes at her and gave her a once-over from the tight pink skirt belted, with a white leather strap kept her white shirt tucked neatly, across it was written 'shit girls do', her smooth legs were on display in silk stockings that ended with outrageous neon pink, high heels at least four inches. I shuddered on instinct.

Glaring back at me, Bethany simply waited for me to return to my closet and change, but instead I showed her the back of my shoes. Once the recognition set in and she could see that they were wedged sneakers her eyes lit up in approval.  Cheering she screamed, "I'm glad you're seeing things the way of Hernandez women.” 

I rolled my eyes at that, while reaching for my coat, "Yeah, right.  The first month on campus you stole all my flats and sneakers so I’d only have heels to wear."

She and I headed outside toward the car and Bethany sighed as she took a seat in my small buggy, yet continuing her lecture on clothing requirements, “Why you and Candy insist on fighting my fashion taste is something that is just crazy.  Besides you will not win against me.”  Her laugh which surprised me, sounded like a maniac taking over the world.

Making no comment to her scolding, I reached for my IPod, and pressed play. The car filled with music and we shifted into party mode, bouncing and bobbing our heads to a mix I'd created during class.  The latest hits from Beyoncé and Rihanna put together for a music mash.

We passed through light traffic as we headed to the downtown that features City Hall, Center for the Arts, and the Theatre District.

Clarksville, Tennessee, it had changed quite a bit from town of my youth. The country roads, small shopping centers, and mini malls were gone. The town had made a great effort to renovate and let the beauty of the ‘old town’ feeling come through.  Old structures received a facelift of matching buildings and red brick sidewalks that pretty much could be found throughout the entire downtown area, reminders of the cobblestone works in the town square.

Downtown had become the mecca, for young artists, the college crowd, and eager young adults wanting to meet and mingle. The musical theater and movie theatre were each located near The Riverwalk. This often made it a hot dating spot, with beautiful walkways, and romantic views of the water.  Quiet restaurants were tucked between alleys and footpaths wound under old-style lampposts next to long benches in hidden spots.

Of course, later came the clubs and bars, all tucked in and built to match the taste of the surrounding area. Clarksville has always been a nice town struggling to embrace the future, but it is home and I grew to enjoy it.  It has an appeal for me and the attraction grew as more outside businesses increased the size of our industrial park and brought more-well paying job opportunities. The area saw growth practically triple in ten short years.  Also, the attraction to foreign investors increased which added broader life-experience to everyone--even the hardcore locals who took a while to warm up to the idea that investing did not equal an invasion.  Clarksville “Gateway to the New South”.  The slogan may not be a favorite depending upon one’s point of view, but almost everyone makes a comment about it one way or another.

"Bethany, wait up…!" I yelled.  But she jumped out of the car like a dear from the hedges, leaving me to touch up my lipstick alone. Once I finished, I did a quick step to quickly catch up with her at the entrance to CHIC.  CHIC, was the spot for a break from intense studies.   Most importantly, CHIC is a club in the downtown area. If you are calling yourself Gay, Freak or a Lover, then you should be here.  Finally, the most dominating crowd, are those of us considered Arties.  Our claim is that we make art and music or pass judgment on those who think they do.  We know what is new and cool, what is worthy of notice.   And we are ruthless to cut out of our lives anything that does not measure up.  Our standards change constantly.   Arties come here to have a good time. The music makes you want to move.  There is no need to come here unless you have the full intention of dancing the night away.  If the ‘Dance for Your Life’ contest kicks off, then you could win a free drink from the bar if you danced for the screaming crowd.

We stood in line for about ten minutes, before finally getting in. The music flooded my senses, and I soaked it all in through my skin.  I loved music, how it made me want to move and heightened all the nerves under my skin.  Bethany grabbed my arms and shouted, "Vic and Texas are in the back, just got their text. By the way, they caught up with Candy."

We maneuvered our way past dancing queens, and drunken customers seeking the back wall of the place.  We pushed through the somewhat hidden doorway to be immediately assaulted by an excited Candy. Her face was bright and animated with excitement, which didn't clash at all with her flaming hair, a product of her new red dye job.

She was so flustered I could barely make out her words.  "I cannot believe Vic and Tex have seriously challenged the Babes to a pool match--a hundred down.”  She finally took a breath.

 I shook my head in amusement. This was typical from our fellas, especially Vic.  He'd been a pool shark during his mis-spent youth, but I'm sure he was goaded into it by Tex always teasing him about not being able to play ball, football being the only ball game.  Vic and Tex would have no problem joining forces to humiliate the Babes.  Oddly, they did not have a personal issue against these pretentious students, more likely they felt they should provide an illustration of the underdog fighting back against the oligarchy.

The room had the traditional lights that hung low over the tables. As girls our job was to create distraction.  I slowly walked over to Tex and did not shift away from the hand he settled on my hip. Vic smirked at the three Babes’ dudes across from us. I knew he was purposely taunting them.  Vic had pulled the same stunt on the young soldiers who had come here a week ago.  Although he won his extra spending cash, it would have cost him a beat down had he not quickly offered to pay for drinks with big slaps on the backs of his new military buddies.

Vic tried to seem sincere asking, "Are you sure you can take on such a game? We don't really like to play around with unknown players." His eyes flashed in earnest for a match.

Texas let me lean against him, my head resting on his warm shoulder.  I made eye contact with the guy Vic talked to and gave him a seductive look. He could not help but stare.

Texas, pretending to care pulled me closer, and glared at the guy as if to send a threat.

 The Dark Haired Prince narrowed his eyes, kept a slight smirk and replied, "Thanks for the concern but, don't worry about us just worry about the match, Scholar."

Here we go.  Everyone had to live with a nick-name and here it appeared an attempt to shame the less-elite members of the student body.  The term Scholars was not usually used in public places and especially in this club among this crowd.  From a scene out of every romance movie, I gave the appropriate football slap on the backside to Texas, showing my support, before I strutted with Candy and Bethany away from the match. We hadn't come here to play with the boys, but to have a good time doing some man-watching, our favorite past-time

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