And maybe he never would. I’d just have to learn to live with that, too.
Scoring a touchdown during Monday Night Football seemed an easier thing to do.
A few hours, one delicious bowl of chili and two pieces of cornbread later, I kissed my dad on the forehead while he sat on the couch, properly beached before Tiger King.
"Where are you heading tonight?" he asked, the same curious and concerned tone he used when I was sixteen and had first gotten my license.
I smiled at him ruefully. "I'm heading home to get changed," I said. "London has been offered a position with the Carolina Reapers. We're going out to celebrate."
My father's eyebrows climbed up his head, his lips pursed as he nodded. "An NHL team, huh?" He shrugged. "It's no NFL team, but it's nothing to turn your nose up at,” he teased, and I snort-laughed.
"One of the best NHL teams in the country. Definitely not something to turn your nose up at. Hence celebrating tonight." I reached for the door, waving at him.
"Be careful, baby girl. Love you!" Dad called as I swung the door open.
"Always! Love you too!" I shut the door behind me and did my best not to sprint to my car.
Anticipation flew through my veins like a livewire. I got ready in a hurry and broke speed limits to get to the club.
London and Paul were already waiting for me outside one of Raleigh's hottest and most exclusive nightclubs. The downtown building, which used to be an old telephone company, was nearly fifty-years-old. Until about two years ago when the new owner renovated the entire building, yet somehow managed to keep its original architecture to preserve the history.
Tricks had people lined up around the block, and the air was sticky and warm as I headed over to my friends.
"Damn, girl," Paul said, looking me up and down as he appraised my attire—my over-the-knee-boots, paired with a short black silk skirt, and vivid purple blouse. "Are we fishing tonight? Because you sure as hell look like some bait."
I smiled, doing a little twirl so they could get a better look as I reached them. London wrapped me in a quick hug, and Paul kissed my cheek. They had clearly been waiting in line for a while because we are almost near the door. I knew I could go up to the bouncer and tell them who I was, and have that velvet rope part for us, but I didn't like pulling that card. Besides, it was a perfectly warm, beautiful evening. The night sky was crystal clear and the twinkle lights strung atop the roof flickered golden sparkles across the pavement.
"You never know," I finally answered Paul. I couldn't keep the giddiness from my voice, the hopefulness. And I internally reminded myself to shut that shit down.
London smiled up at me knowingly, but I ignored her as we made our way to the bouncer who ushered us in when it was our turn.
Tricks’ interior was dark with colorful lights pulsing on and off over a dance floor crowded with bodies. All weaving and rocking to the thumping music that seemed to come from everywhere. A gorgeous black marble bar took up the entirety of the left wall. Its structure was illuminated by soft white lights glowing from just beneath it. Glass shelves held every manner of liquor available, and we hurried to make our way over to get our first celebratory drink for the night.
We quickly ordered our drinks, me a soda water and lime since I was elected to be the DD of the night for my celebrating friend, who was doing her best not to smirk at me.
"Oh, nothing," London said, sitting down her pink drink. "I just think this was an interesting suggestion," she said.
"I'm glad you did," Paul said. "Gary's been dying to come here."
"Oh yeah, where is he?" I asked, trying desperately to change the subject from my bloodhound of a friend.
"Just finishing up some work. He should be in here within the hour."
"What made you suggest this club again?" London asked, totally digging into me.
I glared at her.
"What is it?" She feigned innocence. "Oh, that's right," she said, snapping her fingers. “Didn't Hendrix tell you about this place? Doesn't he come here a lot?"
I blew out of breath, unable to deny her or the hopeful anticipation thrumming in my veins. "A ton of the Raptors come here," I said by way of answer. I hid behind my soda water, squeezing the lime from the rim into the sparkling drink.
"But we've never come before…" London left the sentence hanging there, that sweet smile of hers going a little bit on the too-sweet side.
I smirked at her and shook my head. "Finish your drink, pretty girl," I said, nodding to her half-empty drink. "I want to go to the roof and properly celebrate your badass accomplishments."