1.8

“I’ve never seen a black man with red hair before.” Ashley spoke first.

Aerik glanced up and to the side. Oh, how many times someone had commented on his looks. “Yes, people are often perplexed by the hair thing,” sighed Aerik.

Again, she addressed the tall man standing alone. “I’m sorry…it’s just, your hair is almost the same shade of red is mine. You mean you didn’t dye it that way?” There was no need to shout as the last rock band had just finished their set.

“Nope.”

Ashley took another swig of beer. This guy is truly weird she thought to herself. She could see his green eyes fixed on hers in her peripheral vision.

She didn’t think she was nearly drunk enough to believe this man was born this way, but she had seen worse deformities. Something about him made her lips smile around the top of her beer bottle, and she drew it back to her high-top table along the wall at the darkly light night club.

“I’m Aerik, by the way.”

“Ashley.”

Again the two of them waited, staring silently at one another. In any other situation the silence and eye contact between herself and this man would have made a very attention deficient Ashley quite uncomfortable. But at this particular moment it was like she couldn’t get enough. Finally after what she thought was more than a few seconds when in reality it was more than a few minutes to any passersby who might have thought they were having a staring contest, she spoke, “Hey I’m going outside to have a cigarette. Do you wanna come?”

“I don’t smoke.” Aerik held her gaze with an expression of ease.

“Would you mind joining me anyway?” On any other night, Ashley would have asked one of the many other people she knew as regulars at the club to come with her. Or would have met and chatted with someone outside. Not only did she have trouble being by herself, she needed to keep this man in her immediate vicinity for as long as possible. He was gorgeous. He must be gay, or married, or laced with STDs. She tried to psych herself out. It had been so long since…

Aerik flashed a grin. “It would be my pleasure.”  

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