It was Friday night, two A.M., and the bar was still packed. It was a typical off-campus bar, the likes of which dotted the U- district, all characterized by minimal lighting and rough-hewn wooden benches and tables covered with beer stains and cigarette burns from years gone by when smoking was still chic. The clientele was a contradictory combination of would-be freaks, long-haired and ratty, and potential yuppies, clean-cut and preppy, a cross-section of youth in the seaport city. The dearth of punks marked it as a somewhat provincial metropolis, despite its growing size and reputation. The yuppies were eyeballing the freaks, who were the next best thing to exotics that Seattle could come up with most of the time, and the freaks were ignoring the yuppies, proving they were the exotics. Judged by the legal drinking age, there were also several young people who looked like they shouldn't have been there, testifying to the prevalence of fake I.D..
"Should we?" Pat, a big, boyish-looking redhead, asked, gazing at the other four at the table as directly as he could. His unfocused gaze focused randomly on Brad.
"How many pitchers have we had already?" Brad asked.
"I don't know how many we've had, but I must have had at least five glasses," Daphne exaggerated shamelessly. "My nose is numb."
"Is it?" Bob asked, running his finger down the ski-jump caressingly.
Daphne accepted his attentions like a queen, albeit a rather woozy one. She hadn't decided which of her companions she wanted yet, and she was in no hurry to do so. She avoided going out with just one of them--safety in numbers, and she didn't have to commit herself that way. There was something to be said for having four men to spend Friday night with, four men at your command. The strokes to that old ego were invaluable. She could have any of the four she wanted, all of them if she wanted. Why should she choose and put an end to the flirtation? Besides, none of them were aerospace engineers.
"Well, have another beer and maybe you won't notice it anymore," Brad suggested.
"Beer I do not need more of," Daphne asserted, playing absently with the clunky beads at her neck.
"What then?" Pat asked.
"Don't tell me that you're drunk?" Bob said in a shocked tone of voice.
"Well, my God, five beers, what do you expect?"
"Daphne, you can drink more than any girl I know," Dan said admiringly. Slighter and less forceful than Bob or Pat, Dan's role was generally that of the admiring follower.
"There's not another girl like her," Bob said, putting his arm through hers and resting his bearded head on her shoulder. Daphne swept her bleached-blond mane back with one hand to keep it from getting in Bob's face.
"Getting pretty particular in your attentions there, aren't you, Bob?" Pat said.
"You're just jealous," Bob mumbled.
"I think we need another pitcher." Pat got up and heading for the bar.
"Well, I certainly don't," Daphne said. "And stop being silly, Bob. Our friends are going to be wondering about you." She shook him slightly.
"But it's so comfortable here," Bob said, not moving his head away from her shoulder. His eyes were closed and he had a content smile on his face.
"I can imagine," Dan said.
"Now really, Daphne, are you going to tolerate such behavior from Bob here?" Brad asked.
"And if it was you, Brad?" Dan asked.
"Well, that's another matter entirely." Daphne was glad it wasn't Brad. He was her most unfavorite of the four, definitely attractive, but also definitely sleazy.
"I thought so."
"You can lean on my shoulder next time, Brad," Daphne said sarcastically. "And for just as long as Bob." She took Bob by the shoulders and leaned him against the wall.
"Oh, Daphne, you're cruel," Bob said, hardly able to open his eyes.
"I know it. It's a jungle out there. Eat or be eaten. Survival of the fittest."
"A real tease," Bob continued.
"Hey, come off it, Bob," Daphne protested shortly. That was going too far. Flirtation was fine and good, but no girl liked to be called a tease. She pulled nervously on the hem of her black mini-skirt.
"One more pitcher." Pat was back.
Bob took hold of Daphne's hand under the table, squeezed it and murmured, "Later, Daphne."
Bob put his arms around her and kissed her. She kissed him back but did her best to keep the kiss short. "Hey, what is this, Bob?" Pat asked, watching them closely. "Daphne is our mutual sweetheart. My turn next, Daphne?"
"Bob is drunk," Daphne said with a smile. "It's forgivable."
"I'm drunk too," Pat insisted.
Daphne laughed. "One a night is enough, I think."
"Methinks you favor the bearded one," Dan said.
"Tonight maybe," Daphne teased, shrugging. "But who knows what tomorrow may bring?"
"A headache, probably," Brad said.
"A headache most certainly," Pat said. "So give me your glass Daphne, and drink another one with us."
"The room is spinning already, though," Daphne protested.
"Just one," Pat said. "It can't hurt much more now."
"Oh hell. I'm already going to regret this tomorrow, and another one won't make much of a difference."
"That's a girl, Daphne," Brad said. "Knew you could do it."
"Well, I'm not so sure myself."
"You have to get in practice for Pat's birthday bash next week," Dan said.
"Just think," Pat said. "Then I can finally drink legally."
Daphne put one hand to her forehead. "Yeah, right, practice."
"Do I get a birthday kiss then, Daphne?"
"Oh, Pat, you look much too boyish to leer so. The freckles ruin the effect entirely. It just comes off as a silly grin."
Pat laughed good-naturedly. "Well, do I?"
"I can't go around kissing everyone all the time. It might not look good."
"What do you care for that?" Bob asked, surprising them all. He hadn't said anything since Daphne propped him against the wall, and they had all assumed he was falling asleep.
"More than I pretend," Daphne replied.
"Sharing all your personal secrets, Daphne?" Dan asked.
"I'm drunk. Don't pay any attention to what I say."
"By tomorrow we will have forgotten all," Bob promised. He was making an obvious effort now to keep his eyes half open.
"You certainly will have," Brad told him.
"Actually, I have a pretty good memory when I'm drunk," Bob claimed.
"With those slit eyes, you look like you're already beyond memory and halfway to the land of dreams," Dan said poetically.
"Probably with Daphne," Brad added.
"What do you think he might be doing with her there?" Pat asked, eyebrows raised. Bob grinned and put his arm around Daphne's waist. She laughed and pulled nervously on the hem of her skirt again.
"So when will you finally come with me there?" Bob asked, slurring the words and snuggling her neck.
"You're drunk, Bob," Daphne said. She laughed and tried to push him off, but Bob tightened his hold and began slobbering in the direction of her ear. "Hey, Bob, cut it out," Daphne said, her voice beginning to rise.
"You heard what the lady said," Dan threw in shortly.
Bob beat a reluctant retreat. "This is no lady."
"I think it's about time for us to call it a night," Dan pronounced. "I've got a lot of studying to do this weekend."
"You mean you study?" Brad asked sarcastically.
"I know it's not kosher, but yes, I do."
"Then drink up," Pat said. "My car's just around the corner."
"You're not driving in this condition, are you?" Dan asked in disbelief as the company rose, Bob swaying slightly and Daphne convinced that the room was taking half-turns around her.
"Why not?" Pat replied. "I've done it before."
Daphne pulled on her jeans jacket with drunken concentration. She felt worse standing up than she had sitting down. They went weaving out of the bar and emerged into a misty March rain. "Well, count me out," Dan said. "Should I walk you home, Daphne?"
"I don't think so, Dan. It's pretty far. Besides, it's raining, and I don't have an umbrella."
"Are you sure you want to drive with this guy in his condition?"
"Bob's the one who's reeling, not Pat," Daphne said. "Don't worry. I've driven with Pat before when he's had this much to drink."
"Well, it's your decision," Dan said, shaking his head. The other four tumbled into the old sedan, Bob moving faster than might have been expected to get the spot in the back seat next to Daphne. Before Pat even pulled out of the parking spot, Bob's hand was creeping up her thigh.
"Come on, Bob, stop it," Daphne said, laughing and putting his hand in his own lap.
"Aw, Daphne, you're not fair," Bob mumbled. He insinuated an arm around her waist, pulled her to him and tried to kiss her.
"This isn't the time or the place," Daphne protested, pushing. "Besides, you smell vile."
"You're as drunk as I am." He lowered his head to slobber on her neck.
"I doubt it," Daphne said, pushing his hand away from her thigh again. She was feeling less inebriated every minute as she tried to get this lout to come to his senses. "Look, we're not the only ones in the car."
"I do." The two in the front seat, however, were ignoring what was going on in the back, while Bob ignored her protests. It almost seemed like a conspiracy. With one hand, Bob tugged at her shirt, as the other found her knee again.
"Lay off, Bob!"
"Come on, Daphne," Bob said, trying to kiss her again. She turned her face to the side and pushed his hands away. It was starting to get embarrassing. Daphne had no desire whatsoever to fumble around in the back of a car with a guy so plastered he couldn't walk straight while two others stared into the rear view mirror and peeked over the seat at irregular intervals. Luckily it wouldn't take them too long to get to her place.
"Dammit, Bob," she hissed. "This is the last time I go out with you if you don't stop right now!"
"Don't tell me you don't like it," Bob whispered wetly into her ear, his hand climbing up to her underwear despite the pressure she was exerting in the opposite direction.
"You two want me to drive somewhere?" Pat asked from the front seat.
"Yes!" said Bob.
"No!" said Daphne.
"Don't listen to her," Bob said. "She's just playing coy."
"Pat, take me home!" Daphne pleaded.
"Aw, Daphne, just a little drive," Pat replied. "You'll see, it'll be fun."
"Pat!" Daphne cried before Bob stopped her mouth with his and pressed her down into the seat. She finally began to struggle in earnest, but with his weight on her it was hopeless. She no longer noticed where they were going, but she did notice when they stopped. There were no lights anywhere. Bob fumbled under her skirt and wrenched her underwear down to her knees while his free hand started working one braless breast. Her head was pushed against the door just below the window, the handle digging into her shoulders.
Brad and Pat got out of the car, and Bob took his lips off hers for a moment. "Please, Bob," Daphne pleaded, but with little hope.
"Right away, sweetheart," Bob replied, and started working at his fly.
"No," Daphne protested weakly, but Bob forced her legs apart with his knee. She was crumpled up in the corner, her legs splayed, and he was half on, half off her, struggling with his jeans.
"Damn," he muttered beneath his breath. Daphne repressed an insane desire to laugh; the limp tool which emerged from his fly wasn't going to force its way in anywhere. She would still get out of this with nothing more than a bad scare if she kept her mouth shut. She could count herself lucky Bob was so drunk.
But if Bob didn't have a hard-on, he still had his male pride, no matter how drunk he was, and he had two spectators. Since he couldn't make it, he had to fake it. The other two had gotten out of the car, but they probably weren't far away. Bob proceeded to do a few pushups above her, the proud symbol of his manhood flopping between her legs, and grunted shortly, his imitation of an orgasm, she presumed.
"What a wildcat," Bob said to hide his lack of success as he got out of the car. Daphne heaved a sigh of relief, sat up and began groping for the underwear hanging around one ankle. The door was almost shut, swinging slightly on its hinges. Suddenly it swung open again. Pat was unzipping his fly and getting into the back seat.
"Pat, no," Daphne pleaded. He was obviously ready, springing out at her from the cloth and metal opening.
"Now don't be a poor sport, Daphne," Pat said, pushing his pants down around his hips.
"I'll scream," she warned.
"Not fair. You didn't scream with Bob." To make sure she wouldn't, he stopped her mouth with his hand while he pushed her back down farther into the seat with his weight. "After all, you are our mutual sweetheart." So saying, he shoved himself into the unprepared opening. Daphne jerked back in pain, screaming beneath his hand, and bit him.
"You're right!" Pat called out to the other two. "She's a wildcat!" He pulled his hand away and covered her mouth with something superficially resembling a kiss, at the same time forcing himself farther into her. The metal from the zipper of his fly scraped the inside of her thigh as he pumped, her head kept hitting the door handle, and she felt like her neck was going to break. She only hoped it would end soon. With every dry thrust, a convulsion of pain went through her. She turned her head away, biting her hand to endure it, blood and bile mixing in her throat. With each stab, she moaned softly. "Good, huh?" Pat said into her ear. Her eyes were closed tightly and she didn't look at him.
When Brad climbed in for his turn, she was no longer surprised and no longer resisting. Pat had fucked all the resistance out of her. Brad needed ages, though; she thought it would never be over. Finally he pushed off her and got out of the back seat. The other two got back in the car.
"That wasn't a bad detour now, was it?" Pat asked as he started up the engine.
Daphne didn't say anything. She remained slumped in one corner, crying silently.
Pat looked at her in the rear view mirror. "Women," he pronounced with disgust. "One minute they're moaning and the next they pretend like they didn't like it."