That night Lamb took them out to a club in downtown Vancouver.  It was called “The Hot Spot,” and it was “all the rage with the kids your age” according to Lamb.  Dan and Alex laughed to themselves about his lame turn of phrase, but they in particular were looking forward to the night out; they hoped to meet some pretty girls and let loose a little.  Their day with the record producers had made them excited with the possibilities of a very lucrative future, and they were young, so it all culminated in a lot of enthusiasm.

            Genevieve had none, however.  The strain of their days on the mountain and the attention from the press was getting to her, and Jason’s visions added a whole new, complex dimension to their situation.  She didn’t know how to go about understanding any of it.  She sat at their table drinking a glass of ginger ale, and tried to block out the noise.  It was threatening to give her a headache, and all she really wanted was to go home.

            Most of the others were having fun dancing.  Alex, who was bound and determined to get his shy stepbrother out of his shell, had dragged Jay into the crowd.  Only Ethan wasn’t dancing, he was sitting in a chair against the wall.  He was in the darkest corner of the place, as there was a light just above him casting light on their table, but not on his seat.  He seemed as lost in thought as she was.  Genevieve knew that sooner or later she had to have a talk with him, but a noisy, busy club didn’t seem like the appropriate place.

            “You look like you could use a friend.”  Neal said, taking her hand.  He pulled her to her feet, and led Genevieve out on the dance floor.  A slow song had started, the first she could recall hearing all night, and some of the noise went away.

            “Neal, I don’t feel like dancing tonight…”  She tried to beg off.

            “I know, but I figured it was the only way to get your attention.  What’s wrong?”  He held her close so that he could speak into her ear above the music.  It sent shivers up her spine, his breath on her neck and his hands on her body…  She had dreamed of moments like this in high school, and had never believed that they could ever be possible.

            “I’m…  Just tired,” she said. 

            “No, there’s more than that.”  He said.  “Will you tell me?”

            “Yes,” she agreed, “but not here.  Later, okay?”


            They continued to dance, and Genevieve felt warm and safe for the first time since the plane crash.  She leaned into him, almost snuggling.  It felt so good to finally have Neal’s attention all to herself, and to know that it had nothing to do with Ethan or the others.  For a moment, it was just the two of them.

            That blissful moment was destroyed as someone grabbed her by the arm and spun her away from Neal.  The slow song was over and a fast, loud song began pumping over the club’s speakers.  Some stranger had stolen her away from Neal, and he was trying to get her to dance.

            “C’mon, baby, lesss danssssse.”  He slurred.  His hands were on her, and it made her skin feel dirty.

            “Get off me!”  She said, but he wouldn’t let go.

            “Jusss tryin’ to haff a little fun, baby!”  He said.  Then he was spitting teeth and blood as a fist came crashing into his mouth.

            “Was that fun?”  Ethan asked, his teeth bared like an angry jungle cat.  Apparently, he had seen the man’s approach and decided to be over-protective.  He swung again, and this time broke the man’s nose and spilled him to the floor.  The crowd stopped dancing and the music cut off.  The people around them looked at the enraged Ethan and his prostrate victim with shock and revulsion.

            “Sonofabisssh!”  The man swore, his words blurred by alcohol and blood. “Tha’ hurt!!”  He got back to his feet and pushed Ethan backwards, sending him sprawling into Genevieve.  She shrieked as Ethan accidentally knocked her backwards, and she crashed into and through a nearby table at the edge of the dance floor.  A glass on top broke, and she cut herself on the shards.

            Ethan was already in action, leaping atop the man and raining blow after blow on his head.  The others rushed to Genevieve’s side to check on her, and then Alex and Dan moved to pull Ethan off the drunken reveller.  They found it quite the chore, despite both of them being taller and heavier than their irate friend.  He fought, a rabid wildcat striking everything in reach, still trying to attack his victim.  The man was already unconscious, lying in a pool of blood, broken glass and booze.

            “Ethan, buddy, calm down!”  They dragged him outside, where the others were already leading Genevieve.  Lamb was in the lead, trying to facilitate their escape before the authorities arrived.  This kind of publicity could be very bad.

            “Are you alright, Eve?”  Neal asked Genevieve as she sat down in Lamb’s limousine, napkins wrapped around her hand.  Lamb was telling his driver to get to the hospital.

            “Let me see it,” Jason said, taking her hand in his.  She locked eyes with him and gasped.

            Jason unwrapped her hand from its impromptu bandages.  It was fine.

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