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I was a little embarrassed when I finally made my way back to the red booths where Jonah still sat, typing something frantically into his phone. His brow was creased in concentration. I slowly sat down at the booth across from him, semi-scared my stomach would start acting up again. Fortunately, I didn't think it would. In spite of the bright, color-changing lights, horrid karaoke, and smell of alcohol, I really did feel utterly fine.
Just like every other time after a vision. They usually came when I was in a private space, though, as if my mind were trying to make life easier for me. They were always preceded by the same feelings - headaches, nausea - but never to the extent that I'd just felt them. I was just glad that I wasn't vomiting in the bathroom anymore.
"Hey...," Jonah said, looking up from his screen when he realized I'd returned. "Are you all right?"
I just let out a sigh and gave him a quick nod. I couldn't exactly tell him about what had happened. That would require telling him something I was 99 percent positive he wouldn't believe.
He still looked a bit skeptical. "Are you...wasted?"
I rolled my eyes. "I'm glad you think so highly of me."
He grinned. "Hey! I don't know what you do before those galas. They can wear you down a lot. I can't say I haven't downed a few before walking into one."
I went to pick up the blue cocktail that was still waiting patiently on the table, and Jonah swiped it away before you could drink it.
"I just told you I'm not wasted!" I complained, trying to reach across the table and steal it back from him. He just held it farther away.
"Wasted or not, you do not look like you should be having a drink right now."
Unfortunately, he was kind of right. I only wanted to drown out my confusion by what had just happened in my own head.
"Fine. But next time you owe me one."
A new singer went up on the stage as Jonah tapped a waiter on the shoulder and asked for water.
I nearly jumped out of my seat when I heard the shout. Well, it wasn't exactly a shout. It was supposed to be a greeting, but it'd been so loud and abrupt that I still felt the shock of it ringing in my bones.
I turned towards the source of the noise and found myself staring at a boy about our age. I recognized him immediately. I'd seen his face countless times on billboards posted along the side of highways. I tried to remember what exactly they'd been for...but couldn't. I just knew that he was definitely more beautiful in real life than on poster boards.
Defined jawline, high cheekbones, warm brown eyes and dark hair that was just messy enough to look cute. "I'm glad you could make it!" the boy said, loudly dragging a chair over from the nearby table to join our mini booth. The few guys he'd walked in with dispersed directly towards the bar, probably ready to get even more drunk than they already seemed.
The boy seemed to realize I was there and he shamelessly looked me up and down. "Huh. She knew here or something?"
Jonah raised his eyebrows at the boy. "Really? Did you already forget why I invited you here?"
Now, I was raising my eyebrows at Jonah.
"I brought you to meet Eliza! See, I've known both of you guys for so long, and it felt wrong that you two didn't know each other. So there. Introduce yourselves. Become BFF's. All that," Jonah blabbered and I let out a groan. Jonah knew I wasn't exactly the best at making new friends.
I gave a semi-forced smile. "I'm Eliza. It's nice to meet you."
The boy squinted at me as if he were suddenly realizing something. Then, the moment passed. "Right. Harry." He held out a hand to me and I shook it stiffly. "I don't know you from somewhere, do I?"
I shook my head a little too frantically. I liked to keep my identity generally hidden, even among others who were similar to me. It made things so much easier. If I had to guess, Harry was remembering one of the galas we probably mutually went to. I never recalled seeing him, but I wouldn't be surprised if he'd seen me.
Jonah patted my shoulder proudly. "No, you wouldn't know her. She's new to the scene and all that."
I wanted to punch him for making me sound like an amateur. Even so, I was glad he was trying to protect my identity, one of the few things I really cared about.
"Well...I'm glad you made it! It's always fun getting new people here." He smirked, looking like he was trying to read me. Then, he abruptly placed his hand down on the table and stood. "All right. Looks like my guys might need a little help. But I'll catch up with you later."He was right - the few people he'd come in with looked like they were drinking a bit too much. He did a little finger-guns thing at Jonah and then patted my head uncomfortably. "Nice meeting you, Eliza."
I just nodded, still a little confused by the head-pat.
Once he was out of earshot, I turned to Jonah. "Want to explain why, how, and who the hell that was?"
Jonah just grinned like the entire thing had been very entertaining for him. "I just wanted to help you get to know more people. Being your only friend is very tiring."
I picked up the water glass which had been dropped off at our table at some point in the conversation. "Really? Wanna say that again?"
He chuckled and put his hands up in surrender. "Woah, woah, woah...no need to get aggressive..."