Talons

There is no accounting for fashion. Tyler watched the brunette pick up the glass with long sharp fingernails. Her friends, each with their own fastidiously painted talons, twittered around her and picked up their own. The group clinked the shot glasses together and downed the ruby liquid, making faces and laughing.

Next to him John elbowed him and grinned towards the group of women. Tyler was supposed to be getting back out there. But intruding into their pack looked at best exhausting, at worst potentially dangerous with his ego where it was. He didn’t want to talk to them. He wanted to go home and play xbox in his underwear. That seemed safer and probably just as fruitful. Girls like that would probably just take the drinks he bought them and leave.

Not that he didn’t appreciate the way their sausage casing dresses squeezed their waists, emphasizing the roundness of their other body parts. He blinked and stopped staring, realizing who’d captured their attention. His friend was already standing under their raptorial gaze and pointing back at Tyler.

Tyler grabbed his beer and walked over. He didn’t have the insouciant manner one needed to stand out from every other guy here desperate for something to take home. He didn’t … well he did want someone to go home with. But the effort he would have to put into getting her there turned his stomach. Three years he’d been spared from this undignified pursuit.

John introduced him with a smile. One of the women extended a hand, her nails grazed his hand almost painfully as they shook. He wondered if they would leave scars across his back, it’d been a while. The brunette introduced herself. “Raidne.” It was odd enough he might be able to remember it.

Raidne leaned back and ordered another drink before Tyler could offer. He’d expected the high nasal tone or the guttural vocal fry that annoyed him so much in the women at his office.  But her voice was soft, wrapping around the words. Tyler leaned in, more at ease.

This close they weren’t so intimidating. The blonde near Raidne’s shoulder kept biting her red lips, almost like she was nervous. The willowy woman close to John had leaned in and was laughing a little loud, cheeks flushed. They were like them, just people hoping for a good time.

Tyler took a breath and turned his smile to Raidne. So what if he was out of practice, she was looking at him from under her lashes. What’s the worst that could happen? He’d lose a few drinks to a pretty girl.

An hour later they left. John with the blonde under an arm. She looked up at him, white teeth still biting her lip. Tyler stepped out a moment later, holding the door open for Raidne. She smirked at him and took his wrist, pulling him out onto the sidewalk with the others. It been dulcet whispers and hushed confidences all night, she liked him, she’d said. That felt good. So did the small of her back under his palm.

One of the other women hailed a cab. John stumbled and ducked into it, helped by the blonde’s guidance. Tyler and Raidne were the last ones in. Raidne wrapped her fingers through his, the tips of her nails digging sharp and painful  into the back of his hand. Tyler didn’t care and let himself be pulled into the seat.

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