“How the hell are we gonna find her in this crowd?” Ronnie desperately said.
Simon could barely distinguish his brother’s words as they stepped into Danfords and were assaulted with obnoxiously loud music, music so loud it made the building throb, the walls vibrate and the floors shake. Then there was flashing lights to blind you and gyrating bodies crammed together so tightly you could barely move once you got passed the huge, unfriendly security guys at the door.
Simon couldn’t believe the transformation Danfords had gone through. Last time he had been there—granted this was several years back when he was still in high school—it had been little more than a hay barn where a few hick kids hung out to forget they were hick kids stuck in the middle of nowhere, USA with nothing to do and little hope of finding anything to make their boring lives more exciting—except trying to sneak a beer every once in a while.
Well, they didn’t have that problem anymore. Danfords was a wondrous place now, designed to entertain and make even a high school kid feel like there was more to life than a tiny town like Catalpa Valley could offer. They might still not be allowed that beer--Tuesdays at Danfords were strictly an non-alcohol night even if you were of age--, but Danfords was now a fun place to hang. The place was now sleek and polished and apparently a huge money-maker. Danfords surprisingly would not be out of place in mid-town Manhattan. Simon was not easily impressed, but he certainly was now.
Putting all that aside, however, Simon assessed the situation and, like Ronnie, he didn’t think finding one skinny girl in this massive crowd was going to be very easy. They needed a plan and perhaps some help.
“Ron, do you know who owns this place?” Simon yelled into Ronnie’s ear, as there was no other way to be heard.
“Who the hell cares?” he shouted back. “We’re here to find Sophie!”
“I know that, numb-nuts, but we could use some help,” Simon explained. “Listen, we should find the manager and tell them some story.”
“Story?” Ronnie said, perplexed. “What for?”
“Something to catch their interest so they’ll help us find Sophie and this prick she’s with,” Simon said. “Something damaging to their fine establishment.”
“Huh?” Ronnie said, even more confused.
“Listen, we can tell them…oh, that we suspect Antoine is selling date-rape drugs or planning to use them on unsuspecting under-aged girls. You know the owners of this place won’t like that going on here. They could be shut down.”
Ronnie gaped. “So, you’ve heard the rumors.”
“About Antoine, they say he slipped something to a few girls and then…you know,” Ronnie said, shrugging. “They couldn’t prove it, cuz the girl's couldn’t remember what happened so…if he did it and I’m pretty sure he did, he got away with it.”
Simon’s jaw dropped. “Are you seriously telling me Sophie’s out with a guy who drugs girls then rapes them? When the hell were you going to tell me this? After this dirt-bag drugged her and violated her ten different ways?
The color drained from Ronnie’s face. “Why the hell do ya think I’m freaking out?”
“Geeze-us, Ron! I thought we were just humoring Violet. This is serious now!” Simon shouted. “We gotta find her!”
“No shit, Sherlock!”
“Okay, okay…think…” Simon muttered to himself a moment. “Okay, you look for anybody who might know her. I’m sure there are some Catalpa Valley kids here...”
“Already saw some, was planning on talking to them first,” Ronnie said, pointing toward the stage. “Plus…she likes music so…only makes sense she’d be near it.”
“Good thinking,” Simon said. “I’ll go to the bar and see if I can get a manager or if I’m lucky, the owner of the place. If you find her, text me. We’ll meet back here in an hour if we haven’t found her by then, okay? We might have to call the cops or something.”
Ronnie plowed through the crowded dance floor searching for anyone from Catalpa Valley high school, especially those he knew who also knew Sophie. It didn’t take long.
Before he knew what was what, a pretty girl threw her arms around him and started squealing in his ear.
“Ronnie, you’re back home!”
“Hey, yeah, uh…how ya doing…uh…” He racked his brain for her name. Leslie from Chem class? Yolanda from English lit? Debbie from European studies? No, it was Tammy from Biology and she was a friend of Sophie’s!
“Hey, Tammy, nice to see ya,” he said.
“Oh, it’s awesome seeing you again. You should come hang with us. There’s a whole group of us from high school,” Tammy said, with a flirtatious smile. “Or we can dance?”
“I’d like to, Tammy, but I’m looking for Sophie Bennett. Her mom is worried about her. Have you seen her?”
“Oh, sure. I’m surprised you didn’t. She was just on stage singing with Palmer.”
“You’re kidding me. I can’t believe I missed that!” he said.
“Yeah, she was awesome! Have you seen her youtube video? She's practically a star!”
“I suppose everybody has. Know where she is now?”
“Oh, she’s probably somewhere near the stage or something,” Tammy said.
“Thanks, Tammy, you’re the best!” he said leaving her behind.
“What about the dance?” she shouted after him.
Before getting to the stage he bumped into another friend--literally—and nearly knocked him to the floor.
“Geeze, Romanoff, some way to say hello,” Vance grumbled.
“Hey, sorry, Vance, didn’t see you,” Ronnie apologized.
“Story of my life,” he said, shaking his head. “Too small to be noticed by you behemoths.”
Ronnie laughed. “Said I was sorry. Hey, how ya been?”
“Way cool! We’re playing in a few minutes.”
“You’re still together, then? Vance and the Valley Boys?”
“Nah, got a new name…Vision Mission…same guys though. Wish you were still with us. We could use a good singer.”
Ronnie wasn’t listening. He kept looking around, over Vance’s head. “Great, have you seen Sophie Bennett?”
“Dang, are you still hot for that chick?” Vance started laughing. “Okay, she’s a nice piece of ass, but with all the fine chicks creaming for you, why you all hung up for one skinny …”
“Hey, don’t talk about her like that! She’s gonna be my sister soon…if I have anything to say about it,” Ronnie said.
“Dude, you serious?”
“My dad’s gonna marry her mom, so yeah, she’s almost my step-sister and her mom thinks she’s in trouble and wants her home so I gotta find her.”
“Step-sister, huh?” Vance said, smirking. “Now you’ll be able to …nice!”
Ronnie rolled his eyes. He knew perfectly well what a dirty mind that guy had. Ordinarily he was fine with it, but not at the moment. He was simply not in the mood.
“Have you seen her or not?”
“Everybody has. She was just on stage with Palmer. They were awesome. How he got her to sing with him... wish I knew. We’re the ones who need a new sing…hey!" Vance's eyes lit up. " Ronnie, why don’t you jam with us tonight? Just like we used to, you can sing lead. Oh, man, you gotta do that song… Crash into me . Oh, man, the girls love it! We’ll all get laid again for sure. Don’t know what it is about that one song but…come on, Ronnie!”
“You’re kidding me, right? I just said I’m looking for my sister who could be in trouble and all you’re thinking of is getting laid?”
Vance gaped at him. “Dude, that’s all I ever think about. Why do you think I have this band?” he said, and after spotting the murderous expression on Ronnie’s face he quickly added. “It’s the fastest way to find Sophie!”
“Being on stage, performing. Not only is it a great spot to see everybody…especially the hottest babes…but Sophie comes right up close every time a new band is up. She’s real cool too…doesn’t heckle or boo or anything, even when they suck!”
“She does, huh?” Ronnie said, looking at the mass of kids which seemed to get bigger and more crowded by the minute, and knowing it’ll be near impossible to find Sophie in it. Of course, from what Vance just told him, he didn’t have to join the band on stage to find her. He could just wait by the stage and she would just show up, but he was itching to play and sing again—to someone other than Georgiana, that is.
“One song then,” he said.
“Awesome! Come on, we’re on next.”
As Ronnie followed Vance who was humming to himself, he wondered if Simon would kill him for doing this even if he found Sophie.
♪ ♫…Crash into me….in a boy’s dream …♩ ♬
©2014 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved