Only three of them, but who cares? the five of us think, stepping gracefully into their long black car, bending so they can see whatever they want. I will be one of the three, each of us thinks. I will be one of the three they choose, pulling ahead of the other girls like a horse at the wire.
We offer our hands, and they take them, but only to pull us to them, to kiss us on both cheeks. They keep their lips to our faces longer than they should.
The boys mix us Kir Royales, and we giggle at the bubbles the cubes of sugar make. They introduce us to the chauffeur, a young black man to whom we give our small, kind smiles. CJ thinks he's hot. The boys ask where such a beautiful pack of women could be going on such a beautiful night, and we don't reveal how thrilled we are at being called women. We pull the postcard invitations from our sequined evening bags. They read and frown and say, "S'il vous plait" and rip our postcards into pieces, and we laugh and open the windows for them and watch the pieces fly away.
We're not on Park Avenue anymore, and we ask them to close the window. And Gilles takes Sydney's hand and kisses her palm, and the rest of us are jealous. "Welcome," these boys say. "Welcome."
They take us to the new club. They're on the list. They know the bouncer. So do we, of course, from another club, another time. They hold their hands to the smalls of our backs, ushering us past the people who have to wait. The club is called Area; it has a long entrance tunnel lined with the equivalent of shop windows. Tonight is red night, and all the window tableaux have something to do with red. Real people stand in the windows. Beautiful women with bored, superior faces. Alina says she recognizes one of them from a Seventeen shoot she did a few months ago. Antoine pulls her dark hair back to get a better look and says he thought he'd recognized her. The rest of us silently swear to give up another two meals a week, to eat raw fruit and vegetables for a month, to get back to 100 or, at the very most, 105.
But we don't like the windows. There is something about them. We walk quickly to get past them into the club, where it is dark and hot and too loud to think.
We dance to Billy Idol and Modern English, "Mony Mony" and "I Melt With You" and "I Love Rock 'N Roll" and extended dance versions of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" and Blondie's "Rapture" and anything by The Cars.
We like the dance floor. We dance in groups, letting the boys in, closing them out. Dancing is not about the boys. It's a performance of us, the group of us. Our energy, our happiness. The good things that happen when we come together. We hold our arms above our heads. We swivel our hips. We flip our hair as if we are out of control. We point to one another and smile. Look at you, we are saying. Look at you. We are happy to be together, part of something and not alone, and we celebrate that out loud.