Andrew found that if he focused his attention only on the football on The Barn’s giant-screen TV, and occasionally on Rob, he could almost not notice Drusilla. She had never come to The Barn before sort-of hooking up with him. It wasn’t a place she went. In fact she’d probably have sniffed about how lame it was. But! All that aside, here she was. It was irritating enough that she was here, but now she was hanging out with Tino, the guy who had saved them from aggravated assault in a parking lot, and who had seemed cool until Drusilla threw herself in his lap. And said formerly-cool guy was, in turn, hanging at the bar with Rob, Dennis, and Tania. Dennis at least seemed to have some idea that having this guy around with Drusilla hanging all over him might be upsetting to Andrew, but Tania apparently knew her from somewhere else and Rob was clueless. As usual, Andrew had to admit. Rob was just not the freshest bottle in the six-pack.
Of course, Dru could have done something about it, too. But she didn’t. Andrew ignored her. Leaving would have been easier, but he felt like seeing Liz tonight, and she’d promised to swing by after her aikido class.
The really frustrating thing was that Dru didn’t even seem to be doing it on purpose. As far as he could tell, she’d given him the brush-off and that was all she felt she owed him. And maybe it was; they’d gone out for all of a week, a total of four dates. It wasn’t exactly a deep-rooted commitment. He didn’t know why it was bothering him so much. He just wished she wouldn’t cuddle so close to Tino.
Oh, fuck this, Andrew thought. I’m going to dance. He put his drink (a Greyhound, fifth in a series of nine, with any luck; Rob already had his keys) on the bar next to Rob’s elbow, tapped his friend on the shoulder and pointed to the drink. Rob nodded, understanding the request to keep an eye on it, and Andrew went onto the empty dance floor. The DJ (whose initials were actually D.J.; his nickname was a foregone conclusion) recognized him and killed the Stone Temple Pilots mid-song. The club was almost empty anyway, and DJ preferred the industrial music that Andrew and Liz and company liked anyhow. The management wouldn’t let him play it unless someone was obviously enjoying it, though. Andrew recognized the new song as Noise Unit, and was very pleased. He was pissed off enough to not care what he looked like; Liz made him shy, because she danced so much better than he did, but at the same time it was easier to go out on the floor with her around. Andrew just closed his eyes (the floor was empty anyway) and pretended she was there, instead. It was enough to take him back to the days when Mikey and Nikki had been around, and the four of them were the four corners of a big empty square on the dance floor. The air was shot through with their energy; it was a great and powerful feeling, uplifting. Nothing could touch them if the music was right.
And this music was right. Andrew concentrated on putting one foot down behind the other with each drumbeat, the result being a sort of backwards march. Sure, he looked like he was trying to vogue and strangle an invisible Canadian goose at the same time, but the motion felt good. Felt wonderful in fact. A tsunami of noise rushed past him; Electric Hellfire Club, Noise Box, Laibach, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult…shit that nobody else in the place (except his friends, of course, the other true believers) could recognize, probably, and that was just as empowering.
When he got tired, he kept dancing until he was really tired. Too tired to punch Drusilla’s new boyfriend in the face, at least. That was good enough. Rob was waiting for him when he got back, as were Dennis and Tino. The women were absent. DJ returned the music to its usual forgettable bubblegum level when Andrew retired, so as not to scare off too many of the college kids.
“Feel better?” Rob asked.
Andrew felt himself blush a little; he had asked Liz the same question after many, many dance/vent sessions. “Where are the girls?” he asked Dennis, whose fiancee had apparently adjourned with Dru.
“Where else? Bathroom,” was the response. “She’s depressed about something that happened at work, I think.”
“Sometimes they refuse to stay cheerful,” Andrew replied. “We used to have this same problem with Nikki, remember?” He rolled his eyes in mock exasperation. “Girls! They never want to be happy. If they are they get depressed because nothing’s depressing them. I don’t know what a guy’s supposed to do–because you know he’s supposed to do something–except spew insults. At least that distracts them. You should try that.” Andrew managed a smile that seemed to convince Dennis that he wasn’t feeling too bitter.