The wind pushed my hair back as I struggled not to grind my jaw. I was not sure if it was from the chills of the unforgivingly cold night or the chills from knowing Tan was sitting by the bar, the space between us filled by a few drunk couples grinding to the loud hip-hop music.
"It's okay if you don't want to do this today," I felt Alex's hand grab my arm.
She was absolutely right but I had already postponed this once. I could have confronted him yesterday after calling Joon but I had cowered away like a little scared rat. The thought of seeing had been outrightly overwhelming then, freezing my insides with no mercy whatsoever. Today it had taken me every ounce of willpower to show up here and I was not about to let myself chicken out again.
"I'm fine. Besides we are just going to talk and hopefully I'll never have to speak to him or feel on edge when he is around," I smiled just to keep her off the fact that I was beyond being nervous. Every fiber in my body was screaming to me that this was a bad idea.
"Okay, I'll be at the far of the bar trying to catch some single guy's attention, “She let go of my arm.
She walked away, leaving me to find my way to Tan. I smoothed down my dress, wondering if the touch of red lipstick on my lips was over the line. But this was a club and I needed to look the part. I managed to make my way through the crowd, shrugging off two guys who asked me to dance.
Suddenly seeing Tan made me question myself if I was really ready to talk him yet. I was about to turn back when a brunette in a skirt shorter than the one I wore in third grade and an overly the top cleavage flanked him. He didn't push her away. Instead he grabbed her butt, squeezing it while the girl giggled excitedly. She snaked her slender fingers on his face to his square jaw, stopping at his inviting lips. Her head tilted down and I realized she was going to kiss him. An unfamiliar feeling tightened its way down my gut, freezing my insides with only what I could term as jealous. Pathetic, I know. After he hurt me like that, the undeniable truth was that I still felt something for him. I had been the hardest truth to accept but I couldn’t deny it any longer. However, that didn’t mean I wanted to be with him. No, I wanted my peace and he seemed like enough trouble. My life was finally at a place I wanted it to be.
Feeling overwhelmed, I covered the last few paces towards him. My hand gripped the brunette's fingers on his lips, pushing them away gently.
"He is with me, "I deadpanned, locking an unflattering gaze with Tan.
"Who is this Tan?" The brunette sneered sizing me up. My dress could be a little prim for the bar but at least I was not almost naked, not that I was judging her or anything.
I snapped my head towards Tan expecting him to deny me but he seemed like he was in a daze. The pathetic side of me wanted to believe that maybe I affected him in some way but the sane part of me knew better.
"Tan?" The brunette persisted
"Why don't you leave sweetie? “I proposed noticing Tan was mortified.
"She is right. Leave Sandra," he ordered in a rather sharp tone.
"It's Brenda and you are fucking asshole, "She huffed but strutted off anyway.
I slid into the long brown bar stool next to Tan. Signaling the bartender, I tried ignoring the fact that Tan's gaze was digging deep into my face. I placed my order and as soon as it arrived, I drained it in one long gulp then signaled for another.
"I really needed that, “I muttered under my breath, pivoting to face him.
"What do you want Holly? “His face was now unsmiling but his tone almost vulnerable. Maybe it was the tequila talking but his eyes seemed naked right now. I could tell there was some danger or darkness lurking in them but that was none of my concern.
"You said we needed to talk and you are right," I paused watching his face," I can't keep living here knowing there is so much tension between us,"
"Talk about what?"
"Are you being serious right now Tan? “Sudden rage flowed through my system.
"You want to dance?" A flirtatious smile eased it's way on his face. It was the kind of look that would have you stripping within seconds and by the time you come back to your senses, you naked and spent.
"What? “Maybe I had heard him wrong.
"Well I was going to ask Laura to dance with me but you pushed her away,"
"Her? You cannot even get her name right. But that is not my concern. I'm here to talk and not dance with you. So just stop," my nerves were getting overworked by the second.
"And I want to dance. Here, “he stretched his arm.
I shook my head, pushed myself to a standing position then slapped him twice on his right cheek.
"Don't you dare Tan," I spat walking out.
I heard the bartender asking for me to pay up but I was too damn angry at Tan to spend one more minute near him. Alex never followed me out but I didn't mind at all. I just wanted to be as far away from Tan as possible because apparently the truth hurt. Even after these years I still felt what I felt for him back then. It was way more intensified now but he was not even sorry about leaving. He actually had the nerve to treat me like one of those girls he probably picked in clubs every night for a few hours of ecstasy.