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Lara and her family have been Americanized Protestants living in Suburbia back to before her birth, but her mama's grandparents aren't. And Grandma Nevaeh didn't approve of her girl growing up ignorant, even if Grandma was just there for holidays and Lara's birthday. Even if Lara favors her father with bright blue eyes and pale skin, and just has her mother's hair. Even then.

It's near 3AM in the club, the bass moving slower as the DJ and the club slow, and Lara, all sweet nineteen with a fake ID, is restless and bored now that she's done dancing. She's hoping she washed the blood all out from under her ivory-varnished nails. Billy has been all over her, so she doesn't think he's noticed - but he reeks of stale alcohol anyway, so maybe it doesn't matter.

"Have you been drinking?" she demands, putting just the right amount of shrill in her voice to make him flinch and back off a bit. "You STINK!"

"Aw, baby, it's just a few Jager Bombs!" he slurs, trying to drape himself all over her. Gross. Gross. "You should come home with me tonight," he mumbles in her ear. It would be sexy if it weren't for his breath and his hands mauling her. Ugh.

"No honey, I think you'd better catch a cab." she tries, squirming away across the rail a bit. He's pouting and drunk, and it's really not as hot a combination as football player and pretty red hair was a few hours ago. "I've got class in the morning, remember?" She doesn't, she's got roots to dice up and leave for the spirits, but no use telling this whitebread boy about Grandma Nevaeh's little secrets.

"Don't be such a bitch, Lara, come on." He's whining and pouting both now. “Maybe you should have a few,“ he sneers, getting right up in her personal space again. “Loosen you up.” She's wishing she'd brought her mace now, but that's okay, it's really okay.

She sways in front of him a bit, like she's dancing to the thrumming beat through the concrete floor. She's swaying like she can feel the ocean thrumming right down in her veins, like a snake, and balling her ivory-painted nails into her fist, she can feel the blood of the black rooster and the bags of blessings in the bottom of her tiny purse, can feel the lines of Oshun's veve inked into the small of her smooth, pale back and the storms brewing over the mountains far away.

Billy's distracted now, something catching his eye across the room, his jaw going slack. He's stumbling and tumbling now, and with the storm and the bass thumping deep in her veins, Lara feels more awake now, feels the beauty of the gritty floor, of the flashing blue and purple gels on the lights, of the DJ. It's like a heart, like the ocean, like the storm, all the way down to her toes.

“Teach you,“ she whispers as Billy stumbles and goes down the steps from the balcony, and the bass drowns out the startled screams and the cries and the crunching of bones. Billy will never play football again. Lara doesn't care. Lara's hips move as she moves with the dancefloor, moves with the music. No more football players, she thinks, smoothing her ivory-painted nails, her hands down her sides. There's a pretty boy with dark eyes and dreadlocks and paint-stained fingers in her art class anyhow.

Waves crash against the shore far away, and somewhere, her Grandma is smiling.

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