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BONUS STORY 2 PAGE ONE                   Take me home, delicious heart.


 Vitus and Jack in... NIGHTCLUBBING

        Ryder was feeling depressed and nervous, even though he apparently had a date that night with a pretty hot guy. "Jack Whitechapel" had mentioned some club called Rafflesia the night they met and seemed rather insistent that Ryder go. Then he heard nothing for what seemed like forever, and then tonight, a sudden phone call. He didn't even recognize the voice that spoke to him familiarly, recalled his name and even where he'd been dropped off the time they'd met. (Though it was thrilling in a way, the insistence was both disturbing and attractive.)
        So the plan was made, but just hours later it seemed like a barely remembered dream. As he got dressed, rode the shuttle, and waited around at the meeting spot, he kept thinking that it wasn't really going to happen. This doesn't happen to normal people, right? Some handsome stranger taking an almost concerning interest in an awkward dork. It was beginning to feel like a joke or a scam. What other explanation was there? He thought of morbid TV movie scenarios but laughed them off. It started to feel like it was getting late, but maybe it was just the panic stretching time out.
        The pale man had caught him by surprise with a silent entrance.  
        "Hey, uh, Jack!" Ryder made an extremely dorky gesture, a surprised hop and a feeble wave. He felt powerfully regretful. Luckily Jack seemed to be in a hurry and not noting dorky behavior. He turned, pointing a finger to signal that he was leading the way ahead.
        "How are you tonight?" Jack's voice was soft but quite deep. Despite his rather flamboyant fashion sense, with his smooth manner and complete confidence he came off as rather 'grown-up.' Ryder had to fight back a perverted little smile about that. It wasn't like he was a kid, he was in college now and everything, but he hadn't ever gone out with an older guy. That guy totally kissed me, huh huh.
        "Oh... good enough, I guess." he had to walk briskly to keep up with Jack's long stride, hoping he didn't sound out of shape. "Uh-- how are um, you?" he tried to say without puffing.
        "Mm, 'good enough'. I'm excited to be with you again." Ryder couldn't see his expression but his voice steady and of course, not even slightly out of breath. "Wasn't your hair different before?" Jack continued.
        "Yeah, it um, it washed out." Ryder sighed in relief to see they'd have to stop at a traffic light for a moment, so he could recover. He'd have to start working out if he was going to hang out with this guy again.
        The tall man turned to make startlingly direct eye contact, and smiled. "You look really cute." The light changed.
        "Hey uh! Do you think--" Ryder called out pathetically as he was left behind almost instantly with a flap of that ancient looking fur coat. Jack turned, mouthing a silent 'Oh." He waited for Ryder to catch up.
        "Sorry, I'm used to hanging out with my friend, we're both lanky so we can really zip around I guess."
        "Mmhmm." Ryder grimaced subtly, fucking tall people.
        "Speaking of that," Jack said, "besides usual club things, there's another thing to do."


Ryder was surprised as Jack passed Rafflesia's
bustling entrance all aglow with purple light.
They rounded a corner and approached an
ill-used entrance on the side of the blocky building,
its true nature revealed a few steps from the
flashy facade. Jack moved confidently, but glanced
around as though looking for someone watching.
A handful of wispy patrons puffed away on
exotic cigarettes and paid no attention to the two
men as they slipped inside. Jack waved a peace symbol
at a weary bouncer who shrugged and rolled his eyes.

        "Why didn't we go in the front?" Ryder asked as they slipped into the crowd.
        "So you wouldn't get carded?" Jack said as though it were obvious.
        Ryder sighed, "...How old do you think I am?"
        "...Uh.... Old enough I guess. Sorry." Jack looked a little sheepish before putting his hand on Ryder's back and leading him through the club.
         Rafflesia was in fact, pretty fancy. In a lot of ways it was really cheesy, the most stereotypical of the stereotypical. A lounge area had red velvet chairs with high camel backs and black lacquered wood, in front of them were coffins for coffee tables. Perhaps even real coffins, they seemed pretty high quality for a prop. The patrons of the club were similarly stereotypical, in different flavors.
        It had a lot of things going for it though, especially compared to that nightmare he'd been to the other week. The music was actually quite soft and inoffensive at the moment, for a nightclub at least. It was possible to actually have conversations without tearing your throat up. It was also rather tidy and the patrons were aloof but mannerly. A step up for sure, maybe as good as the nightclub experience could be for someone who didn't really like anything about nightclubs.
        Jack checked their coats with a sullen green haired girl, then seemed to almost sniff the air as he searched for something. He led Ryder with a chilly hand, politely navigating through vinyl corsets and velour coats until he found his target.



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