Gated 1d

This is harder than I thought! Missing deadlines already. This may go into once a week, or Tuesday/Saturday. We'll have to see.

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Shelby offered back a lopsided smile, twisting her lip upwards. “You’re one of Rae’s aren’t you?” she asked. Before he could respond she turned away, back towards Mar. “Rae likes them dark and beefy. She blinked her doe eyes and he comes down to sniff around.”

Shelby turned back towards Daoud. “Deep black eyes, wavy hair like a middle-eastern sheik, nice features. Egyptian, I’m guessing.”

“Palestinian,” he answered. That usually took the wind out of people’s sails.

Mar wrinkled up her face. “Ooh, I’m sorry. Did you have family there?”

Daoud turned his complete and absolute attention entirely away from Shelby, towards blonde Mar. “A lot of cousins, uncles and aunts. My father tried running a rescue convoy, but...”

The truth was that his great-grandparents had come to California so long ago they barely remembered any of their relatives. His father had spent his teenage years surfing, rather than trying to rescue his doomed countrymen. And when the real war started in the Pacific his father was just a bit too old to volunteer.

But the story had opened up female possibilities in the past. He softly moistened his lips with his tongue as if he was about to say something. Mar reflexively matched his lip-wetting.

“Hey there, everyone! Can we make a bit of a circle?”

Rae’s voice broke a soulful stare that was starting.

Daoud turned towards Rae and standing, flipped the chair again so he was sitting next to Mar. “Do you mind?” he asked, softly.

“Please,” she whispered.

Shelby glared one last dagger at him before she turned her chair too.

“For nearly a generation we’ve been wasting our lives in a stupid, un-winnable war,” Rae began, turning to catch everyone’s eyes individually. She momentarily locked onto Daoud’s, and once again he felt a little thrill go through him. Her eyes shifted to Mar’s then Shelby’s, and on around.

“The tundra is thawing, the world is drowning, the deserts and growing--and we waste our money building weapons. Nations are starving, malaria kills millions, our brothers and sisters are dying on the front lines--and the only reason we keep killing each other is to avenge those who died when this war started.”

She tapped her fingers together and a holographic display lit up the center of the space. A graph formed. “Here’s what we’ve been spending on the war for the past thirty years, against how much of our GDP is spent on looking after Americans.”

There were murmurs of disgust throughout the group.

Daoud loved the sound of Rae’s voice, but was how distracted by how good her ass looked her tight pants. His eyes made a voyage around the circle, checking to see who was paired up, which girls had the best breasts hidden under their shirts, and who he would do given the chance.

By his estimation Mar was probably the third hottest girl there, Rae number two, and a Latina chick with glasses was totally on fire.

He also noticed a black guy with a tower of hair and tight cotton shirt keeping one eye on Rae, and another on the group surrounding her. He met Daoud’s eye for a moment, assessed him, and moved on. Daoud knew he looked good, but this guy was the alpha-male. And the way he kept glancing at Rae--they were somehow linked. Boyfriend, body guard, political officer--whatever he was they were attached somehow. He would assume boyfriend for now.

Rae was talking about the Chinese Democratic Ruling Coalition, talking about who amongst them might also be looking for a way out. But the guy was ignoring her words, and weighing everyone there. Daoud watched the boyfriend weighing everyone. the boyfriend spent time watching Shelby’s body language, then settled on a thin man, about post-graduate age.

The postgrad was tapping his dipIn card with his index finger, giving the impression of being absorbed with the speech, but he kept glancing back over everyone’s head to the entrance.

Daoud leaned towards Mar who tilted herself towards him. He cupped her ear.

“I just remembered something very important, and so should you,” he whispered. “Let’s get out of here.”

She looked at him quizzically.

He gathered his legs under himself. Now he mouthed, and stood. He mumbled a half-apology to the circle and made his way towards the stairs.

Mar swung up behind him. Daoud looked back and saw her touch Shelby’s arm, indicating she was leaving. She tried making a grab for her friend, but Shelby shook her off, looking disgusted.

“What are you doing?” Mar asked as they stepped quickly along the sidewalks away from the club.

He tried to lead her towards the thickest tule rushes growing in front of the neighborhood houses. “Something’s wrong. I know usually it’s not a big deal talking politics, but--there’s something weird in the vibe.”

Black airboats splashed from three directions along the canals towards the club. Their massive fans blew up spray, and they ducked behind the reeds to keep from getting wet. Their sides wore the logo of the Greater Campus security patrol.

“Oh crap! Shelby!” Mar screeched. She ran her finger up her wrist trying to find her friend’s number on her phone watch.

Daoud grabbed her hand and walked her away. “If we stay, the most we’ll see is them getting arrested. Walk with me. Hold my hand.” The neighborhood away from the bay quickly turned residential, and they made their way quickly through it.

© Tony Jonick 2013