Chapter Six

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Thanks to Kyra Lennon, Scout Dawson, and Christine Rains for the feedback. Hope you all continue to enjoy the story. 

Thanks, as always, to hubby for the edit. 

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I had to give it to Rich, or more likely, Maria; Riley's looked amazing. While the club was one of the better ones in the city, and the toilets didn't reek of piss like some places, they'd gone the extra mile decorating an area of it for Rich's birthday. A section by the bar had been cornered off with a red, velvet 'VIP' rope, and a number of plush leather sofas were arranged around a table. A huge banner hung across the wall, proclaiming "Happy 25th Birthday, Rich!" On the table were party hats, balloons, glow sticks, custom shot glasses, and other party things laid out.

Rich and Maria were already standing beside the table, both drinking Champagne, when me, Kelly and Carl, and Chloe and Jon entered with Mike and his latest squeeze Nicole.

"Happy birthday," I said, embracing Rich and handing him a card, which I'd stuffed twenty quid inside.

"Thank you." He kissed my cheek, and then I stepped over to talk to Maria.

"You look great," I said, nodding approvingly at her outfit; a black lace dress with a plunging neckline and skyscraper heels that made her almost as tall as Chloe.

"Thanks, so do you. I love your hair." She picked up a lock and ran it through her fingers.

A few days previously, I'd asked Charlotte to dye my roots. My ombre was fading and growing out, and I wanted her to freshen it up. The end result, I now had a gradient of dark teal starting just where my ears were, and gradually changing to bright turquoise at the tips.

After saying hello to everyone, Rich went to the bar and bought the first round of drinks, as it was his birthday. We all stood around chatting, as the club filled up and more people arrived.

I tried my hardest not to watch the door, but I'd somehow ended up facing it directly, and each time it opened, my heartrate sped up a little, only for it to drop a moment later when the person arriving wasn't him.

Picking up on my feelings, Chloe grabbed my hand, and with Maria and Kelly in toe, we made our way to the dance floor. That's all I needed. With the bass thrumming through my body, and alcohol coursing through my veins, I lost myself in the music.

Others soon joined us, and before long my girls were grinding against their respective guys. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed some random leering at me, and sidestepped out of his view, only to collide with Keith.

His eyes were wide, and he looked like a fish out of water, but he regarded me with a smile. "Jade ... hey."

"Hey," I yelled over the music. "Good to see you."

"Yeah. Yeah. It's nice to bump into someone I recognize since I lost Seth."

My heart pounded. "He's here?"

Keith moved awkwardly from foot to foot doing what I assumed was his version of dancing. Feeling sorry for him, I took his hands, and moved to the music, leading him in the rhythm.

"Yeah, we got here together. He said he was getting us some drinks and we got separated. I was looking for him, and wound up here." He looked out onto the dance floor, staring around at the bodies heaving together, his eyes lingering on a girl just behind Chloe. "Would you believe it's my first time in a club?"

That explained so much.

"Freaking you out a bit?" Still holding his hands, I led him off the dance floor and towards the bar where it was a bit quieter.

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