This post is part of a blog series entitled, Memoirs of a Ghost. For more information, click our About page, and check the bottom of this post for previous entries.
Lights were flashing. I had been less successful at getting rid of the visual pollution as I had been with the marketing campaign. I had merged Bruce’s* fascination with Dante’s Inferno into something slightly more sensual, making the signs for and becoming one of the hosts for the club. My real life work schedule did not always allow for much in the way of a regular commitment, but his main hostess (and best friend) was a frequent no-show, and so I played the role of club flirt and greeter, keeping the crowd engaged and out of each other’s IM boxes.
“Cómo estás esta noche?”
I looked around and saw a slender man dancing nearby. His hair was black as night, his complexion slightly darker.
“No habla,” I replied, with a smile. I blushed a little; he was staring right at me. I had been working with Bruce for two months then; and was living with him as well. The work always came first, but I was happy for the company and the exposure. The attention, when I did receive it, was always a little unnerving.
Some people always took it the wrong way.
“LOL,” he replied. “You had said ‘Hola!’ when I walked in. I presumed you were bilingual.”
I smiled. “I should be, but sadly no.”
He introduced himself as Asher*. “I’ve seen you around … with him.”
“The club owner/DJ guy … your profile says he’s your boyfriend.”
I nodded. “It’s been quite a ride … two months.”
“I’m sure it has been … with you doing most of the work.”
The presumed intimacy was annoying. “Excuse me?”
“I can read prims just like you can. The things in here that make a difference … the notice postings. It’s you. Heck, the crowds are slightly bigger when you’re here.”
I turned around and tried to ignore him. “I’m sure you’re wrong.”
“He’s using you … and you know it.”
I typed quickly. “We have different talents!” I collapsed the IM immediately. I didn’t want to hear another word of it.
What was true that most of the time Bruce and I spent together was centered around the club. His dream. I had privately worried that I was more his business partner than his lover. He had made such an offer already – he wanted me to buy in to half of the sim. While it was intriguing, I wasn’t sure I wanted that kind of responsibility … after all, I had only known the man for all of two months.
“You know what I’m telling you is true.”
Why was he doing this? Even if he was calling out my worst fear, who did he think he was? “Are you stalking me? I can have you …”
“No no no … lol,” he said. “I’m sorry … I’m a little assertive. I call them as I see them, and I don’t like seeing people used.”
“I’m here because I want to be; of that, I can assure you.”
“No you’re not,” came back at me quickly. “I can read you like a book … the effort you put in here, the way you defend him. You want something more, and he’s not giving it to you.”
I could feel my face flush with embarrassment. “I-it’s none of your business!”
He didn’t respond, and he moved away from me for a moment. I deleted his IM and focused on my work. Who is this pretentious asshole anyway?
“You’re right. I’m sorry.”
I didn’t respond. We were coming up on the second hour, so I made all of my usual and customary announcements in the club groups, the DJ group, and a few that we had posting privileges on. I reminded the patrons to tip everyone working that night. By then, I would have usually started a side conversation with Bruce … nothing too heady as to not distract him from his DJ duties.
But that night, I didn’t.
I didn’t know Asher from a hole in the wall. He was probably just trying to get laid for all I knew, and the stories of people trying to start mess with in the club business in SL are and were then legendary. I knew we had targets on our back, but what he had said had struck a nerve. Sure, he was probably making it up based on a few hunches … but for me, he had verbalized fears I had harbored for more than a couple of weeks.
I wanted Bruce.
I didn’t want his goddamn club.
(*not his real avatar name)