The second time she used the fake ID, the doorman let her in without a second glance. Lucy giggled quietly to herself and looked around the dark pub. The front room had a pool table on which sat a line of twenty-cent coins. There was not a lot of room around the pub, and the punks who were playing had to jostle the crowd around to take their shots.
Lucy felt self-conscious. She had only recently discovered the Goth lifestyle and she was not yet comfortable with all of the gear that went with it. The black velvet skirt felt heavy, especially with the dyed black petticoat riding up beneath it. Lucy wasn’t sure how to stop this from happening. She was sure it was the black fishnets she had underneath, but she didn’t want to take them off. She wished there was a Goth Dolly Doctor she could write to, then giggled again at the thought. The giggle was a little louder, and a tall, skinny man in front of her turned and looked her up and down with a look of disdain. Lucy gave an apologetic look, and dropped her head. She stared at the low cut lace top that Mary had loaned her, and she felt very, very vulnerable. She pulled the top up a little, and then tried to rearrange the necklace to cover more of her cleavage.
“Stop that! Here, drink this!” Mary passed her a beer. “And stop hiding your assets!”
Lucy took the beer and had a sip. She’d never had beer before. She’d had some wine at her uncle’s wedding, and she and Mary had finished off the end of one of Mary’s mother’s bottles of vodka with orange juice after Lucy’s ID was rejected last weekend. Lucy hadn’t liked the wine much, but the vodka and orange was ok. She sipped the beer. It was more bitter than she’d expected, but lighter and more bubbly. She smiled at Mary.
“So, any good talent?” Mary scanned the room. Lucy looked at Mary to see if anyone grabbed her interest. Lucy was not that excited by boys. Not that she was not interested, but at fourteen, she was inexperienced and not in a rush to change that. What she was interested in was Mary, and how Mary interacted with the boys, well, the men around her. Mary was Lucy’s new neighbour. She was seventeen and had discovered Lucy sitting in her favourite tree on the nature strip drawing. Mary liked Lucy’s drawings. She didn’t think they were too dark or morbid. She didn’t try to analyse them, to find out if there was anything wrong with Lucy. Yes, her parents had split up when she was twelve, and yes, her mother had drunk too much and crashed the car into a tree, and yes, when her father confronted her, she had punched him and broken his nose, and yes, she was now living in Perth with an ex-fireman who had post-traumatic shock and couldn’t sleep with the light off, and no, she hadn’t visited and didn’t want to, but none of that made her weird or crazy or unusual.
Lucy’s dad liked Mary. He thought she was a good influence on Lucy. She was a few year’s older than her at the same school, and played flute in the school band. Her parents were friendly and had invited Lucy and her father to their housewarming where he had met a very nice woman who now occupied much of his time.
Mary grabbed Lucy’s arm and dragged her out to the beer garden. She put them in a position where they could overhear a conversation amongst a group of really hard-core Goths – full and elaborate make-up, almost like a Geisha, layers and layers of velvet and lace, and one couple were even chained together. As soon as Mary could, she pushed Lucy back so Lucy knocked into them, spilling beer. Mary was a little overenthusiastic with her push, and Lucy ended up on the ground in the middle of the group. Mary came into the circle, apologising for Lucy’s clumsiness and batting her eyelids at one of the men. He helped Mary to help Lucy up, and they started chatting. Lucy stood awkwardly for a moment then a man joined the group, carrying two jugs of beer.
“Ah, I see your glass is empty! Here!” His Irish lilt and bright smile cut through the depressive Gothic façade.
Two hours later, Lucy was sitting on his knee, drunkenly kissing him. He struggled to hold on to her, as she was so drunk she could barely sit up, but persevered. With no noticed, her shoulder was grabbed by a strong arm. “Lucy? Lucy! Shit. What the hell are you doing here?”
Lucy slowly focussed her eyes on the man standing above her. He was not a Goth or a Punk. He wore a black t-shirt, jeans and boots. After several blinks, she recognised him and started to panic.
“Jesus, what the hell are you doing here? What do you think you’re playing at, mate?”
The Irishman stared at Dave.
“Look, we’re just having a bit of fun, mate. Can’t you let us be?”
“Do you know how old she is?”
The Irishman seemed to pale beneath his white make-up. “Eighteen?”
“A long way off it.”
The Irishman pushed Lucy up into Dave’s arms. “For fuck’s sake!”
He pushed his way through the crowd. Dave pulled Lucy all the way to her feet. “Who did you come here with?”
“Where is she?”
Lucy shrugged. She’d seen Mary leaving the beer garden with that guy a while back, but she didn’t know where they’d gone.
“Right, I’m taking you home. Your dad is going to be so unimpressed with this behaviour.”
Dave dragged Lucy out of the pub and put her in the front seat of his car. They drove off into the night; Lucy wondered where Mary had gone.