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He stares at her from across the crowded dance floor. She wants to go home but her boyfriend won’t take her home. She pouts and grows more impatient.

“I’ll take you home” he whispers across the room.

Her boyfriend starts talking to his buddies. Neck-less goons taking a break between date rapes to spike the punch and otherwise give society cause for thinning the gene pool.

She fidgets and looks uncomfortable with them. She doesn’t like his friends, but she tolerates them for him. She really doesn’t like him when he’s with them, but she feels as though she has no choice.

“I’ll take you home” our hero whispers across the room once again. She isn’t even looking in his direction.

A few of the girls in the clique appear, and she acts relieved. They’re no better than the men. These vapid bottle blondes couldn’t form a cogent thought if it were offered to them. She knows they tear her down when she’s not around, so she constantly struggles between her desire to defend her honor and her complete disdain for them. She is relatively certain one or all of them are sleeping with her boyfriend.

“It’s no problem, I only live a few houses down from you. I can take you home.” She isn’t listening, not that she could hear his pathetic attempt at getting her attention or even communicating in a rational way.

The group has gelled. Outsiders will not be permitted. Unfortunately, she’s an outsider. Nobody that beautiful and intelligent can belong to a gang of malevolent frauds such as these. She will spend the rest of this night on the edge, watching her “friends” grind against her boyfriend.

Our guy is beginning to see this problem and has identified an opportunity. “I bet I can walk right up to her and they’ll never notice. I doubt they know she’s there anymore. This is it. I can make this happen.”

His legs won’t move. He struggles and curses himself but he can’t stick one foot in front of the other and walk toward her. Every force of nature is working against him.

“WALK! She won’t wait forever, you fool!”

“But she’s so much better than me.”

“Of course she is! She’ll always be better than you if you can’t even march your grown ass across the floor to say four words to her. MOVE!”

“Are you sure?”

“I’ll never let you live it down if you ruin this for us. We deserve her, and she deserves us. Go.”

He lifts his foot and holds it off the ground, not sure what to do next. Suddenly he’s being pulled to her, floating on his own hopes and dreams.

She notices him approaching out of the dark and crowded dance floor. She thinks he’s looking right through her. She looks at him with mild curiosity. He stops a few feet away. Too far for a reasonable exchange of words even in a quiet setting.

“I’ll take you home” he whispers again, but she can’t hear him over the music and the various conversations. His bottom lip is shaking and his eyes are fixed upon her.

She isn’t sure what he said, but she feels strangely at ease. She trusts him. She even feels that little tug in your stomach that usually indicates you like someone, but she doesn’t know him. How can she want to be near someone she only sees in passing? She cocks her head to one side and gives him a strange little look.

Panic. She’s not reacting right. He had this planned out, and she isn’t doing what she’s supposed to be doing. He doesn’t know what to do next. He was certain he would be rejected, but he didn’t develop an exit strategy.

“You idiot! You blew it! Get us the hell out of here!”

His mouth shakes out a feeble “I’m sorry” that wouldn’t have been audible if the room were dead silent. He looks right and then left, as if he just took a knock-out blow to the head, and stumbles back the way he came. His gaze falls to the floor and his hands slide into his pockets. He mopes slowly towards the door and out into the chilly May night. A left at the street and he wanders home, occasionally crossing under street lamps that only seem to accentuate his melancholy and the pieces of his heart that fall away as he walks.

She watches him leave. She understands what he said now, and she certainly understood the words of the apology, but she can’t figure out what he’s apologizing for. Just as her own internal dialogue convinces her to move forward, to go after him, the boyfriend grabs her arm. He’s ready to leave now. The beer’s in the car and the group hasn’t even begun to get stupid yet. She’ll only think about him for the rest of the night, what she’ll say when she sees him again, devising a way to orchestrate a run-in. She has to know now.

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