Omega wasn’t the busiest club in Manhattan but it was certainly big enough for the students Las had collected for his birthday party. There had to be about twenty different people there, many of which Ethan failed to recognize, however the football team was mostly present, and of course, Charlie remained absent. Ethan approached the crowd with hesitation, trying to avoid eye contact while searching for Las.
“Ethan!” One girl shouted, flinging her hand into the air. That caught the attention of a few others who heard his name, and before he knew it, the present football team he used to be part of was flocking to him.
“Got some nerve showin’ your face, man!” One boy said with a laugh, throwing his arm around Ethan’s neck and rustling up his hair. The girl that shouted for him came up and gave a quick punch to his chest.
“You and Las comin’ back or what?”
Ethan chuckled a little and looked over the few he could make eye contact with, but his head was pounding from the train ride and he really just wanted to escape.
“I don’t think - “
“Ethan!” Ah, the voice he was looking for. Las approached him in high spirits, dressed exactly as Ethan had expected. An obnoxious golden glow was programmed into his clothing and it swirled and swam in ribbons throughout the dark fabric. He wasn’t sure if he was happy to see him anymore if he was going to look like that. The glow felt like it was extending past his outfit and into his hair, the setting too intense for the dark evening.
“Finally. Let me guess: You just got here.”
“I totally just got here,” Las admitted without hesitation. “I think we got everyone but the others can find us. Let’s go in, guys!” Las swung his arm around to corral the group and it made Ethan think back to the detective beckoning everyone away from the jumper. He swallowed back the memory and followed the group inside. As everyone entered, they swiped their hands against the scanners beside the door to indicate their arrival and pay their entrance fees. Everyone was chatting with one another or with Las, who somehow was keeping up with every conversation coming his way. Ethan let out a sigh and scanned in, keeping his pace to linger behind everyone else.
Omega was your standard club: dark, illuminated by ever-changing colors outlining the walls so you wouldn’t collide with every corner, and people were everywhere. Ethan couldn’t figure out where Las had planned to put everyone he invited, but instinctively they scattered and found tables and booths away from the main dance floor, even if it meant not sticking together.
The music was loud enough to compete with his pulsing temples, and the muggy air inside was amplifying an already intense headache. Maybe coming out was a bad idea, but disappointing Las was an even worse idea; he’d never hear the end of it if he bailed.
Las’s glow had diminished among the crowd and Ethan remained by himself. This seemed about par for the course. They’re all excited to see you, but never stick around. Considering he’s the one that left, he can’t really complain and he knows it. Resigned, he wanders over to the bar and sits by himself at the counter. The bartender approaches, her eyes a milky white and smile a little stiff. Ethan recognized she might be an android, so he smiled back. He often preferred them since they didn’t make small talk most of the time. He ordered a mudslide and relaxed his head into his arms as he waited for his drink.