Nancy turned just as Bex took to her feet, yanking her blouse over her shoulders. Her ample bosom almost spilled from the cups of her capacious bra. They glowed pastry-white in the half-light. ‘Hey, Vince, Vince! Check out the real thing!’
She gave her boobs a jiggle.
Jonas had obviously heard her; several onlookers tittered. But Jonas did not flinch; he did not even pretend to take an interest in what a wine-supping colleague was saying. His eyes remained on the two sequined catwomen cavorting in tandem to a Lady Gaga mix. Jonas’ hooded eyes did not blink as he lifted his glass and took a nip.
This seemed to fluster Bex who was still standing. ‘C’mon, Vincent! I’ll let you do me both ends!’
Jonas afforded his friend a small shrug as he replaced his glass on the table. His eyes never left the stage.
‘Hey, Vince! Vince!’
Nancy knew her work colleagues would savour this moment. Bex’s attention-seeking monster of an inner child doesn’t get her fix. But Nancy found the scene embarrassing to watch. And where was Bling?
‘Last chance, Vince! I ain’t puttin’ out for you much longer!’
She was replied only by muffled applause as the two catwomen concluded their routine. Bex collapsed into her seat, perplex and defeated. ‘Stupid gay.’
At that moment, Nancy caught sight of Mr. Bling making his way to the alcove. His bulk drifted with smooth grace as though a ship to harbour. He fingered his cuffs as he took a bow to Jonas and imparted words with minimal lip motion. And Jonas did something that surprised her: he moved. He leaned over and listened. Per syllable, Mr. Bling seemed to inspire more reaction from Jonas than the catwomen, Bex or his wine-supping colleagues. Nancy would have taken little notice of this exchange had she not seen Bling monitoring her table moments ago. Why was she still here? Why hasn’t Mr. Bling and his colleagues shoved the three of them out through the Nexus backdoor?
Bex’s tone had thickened with the booze and incense. But she wasn’t talking to Cora; her eyes sought out Nancy’s. Drunk people always seemed to sniff out the sober on which to dump their unpenned emotions. Bex, earnest and bug-eyed declared, ‘What the hell was I thinkin’ coming here for my birthday, anyway? The Nexus is a pretentious dive. Jonas is a wanker who shouldn’t snub the likes of us paying customers who have made him rich! I have thousands of friends on Facebook and I’m going to say some stuff about it; I’m going to rubbish this hole to the ground!’
Nancy almost begged Mr. Bling would come over. How much was he willing to take from someone who had driven out Jonas’ business? Nancy didn’t like things that didn’t happen as expected.
Cora wobbled to her feet. ‘C’mon, Bexie, Liquid Envy’s just down the road. We can head off there.’
‘Yeah.’ Bex’s eyes were still on Nancy’s. ‘Get your coats, girls. There’s still time for a crack. The night’s young.’
Contempt surged inside at Bex’s assumption everyone agreed with her. Nancy fortunately was well-practiced at the subtle fob-off without the other realizing. She would dish it out at the most inconvenient moment.
Bex straightened up with surprising agility for an imbiber of several vodka doubles. ‘Shift it, Cora, I wanna get out of here! This place is a dump!’
The two women made a spectacle of themselves as they donned their coats and gathered their bags. And they were alone within an arena of empty chairs – that was, except for Nancy. As always.
Nancy grabbed her things. A multitude of eyes watched from the gloom. Nancy sensed the advent of a collective sigh of relief from the now-thinned crowd.
Nancy waited until they had entered the foyer before speaking. ‘Did you notice we were being watched? We were inches from being barred.’
Bex merely sneered. ‘Why do you always have to sit there and…and make observations? You’re a bloody watcher, you are. I must’ve been mad to invite you to my birthday bash.’
Defensiveness reared a spiky head. Nancy quickly swallowed it down. ‘You drove people out yet nobody did anything. You could have held an Anne Summers party right there on stage and I think security would have let you do it.’
Bex grinned at this thought. ‘Hmm. Well, maybe Mr. Jonas had a soft spot for me after all.’
Nancy’s smile felt brittle on her face. ‘Yeah, maybe he did.’
Cora was loafing near the doors calling a taxi. Nancy would mete out her not so subtle fob-off once the taxi had pulled up.