Unraveling (Second Chances) - By Micalea Smeltzer


THE CLUB PULSED AROUND ME, the music soaking into my bones and vibrating my muscles. I closed my eyes and shimmied my body to the beat of the music. It felt so good to just… let go and be free for one night.

Sweat dampened my skin, but I didn’t mind. It reminded me that I was alive. It had been a long time since I just let loose. Sometimes, I forgot to be a normal nineteen year old.

Large hands slid around my waist and squeezed. I leaned back, expecting to encounter a slightly pudgy body, but instead I felt like I was resting against a brick wall.

My heart rate spiked and my eyes darted open as the guy grinded behind me.

What the hell?

I jerked myself away and turned around.

The guy behind me was definitely not my best friend, Rollo.

He smirked at me, not at all ashamed of his actions. He was average height but wide with big hulking muscles. Basically, he was built like a tank.

“What’s wrong, baby girl?” he waggled his eyebrows. “I was just dancin’ witu.” His voice slurred from alcohol and his eyes were clouded.

“Don’t touch me,” I said, with as much conviction as I could muster, but my voice still wavered.

My eyes darted around the packed club looking for Rollo. I felt cornered. My therapist said it was very important to remove myself from situations where I felt that way.

The guy reached out and grabbed my arm. “I just wanna dance.”

“Let me go,” I tried to pull away but he was too strong.

Too strong.

It was too much like that night two years ago.

“Just one dance, purdy gurl,” he slurred and pulled me to him.

My heart thundered in my chest. Rollo. Where was Rollo?

“Let her go,” commanded a new voice. One that I knew was not Rollo.

“Back off buddy, she’s mine,” said the guy that was gripping me. He was squeezing my arm, hard enough to bruise. I could feel a full-blown panic attack coming on, and it wouldn’t be pretty when it hit.

I turned as far as his grip would allow, and saw my savior.

He was tall, six foot two maybe, with short dark hair. With the pulsating lights of the club I couldn’t decide if it was black or brown. And his body? Oh, it was sinful, especially with the slight sheen of sweat covering him. His shirt clung to his muscled chest and his jaw twitched with tension. I couldn’t make out his eye color but I was sure it was just as beautiful as the rest of him. His perfectly sculpted lips were turned down in a frown, but I was sure they could perform all kinds of deliciously wicked things. His fists clenched and unclenched at his sides.

I wanted to slap myself. Deliciously wicked things? Had I completely forgotten what had happened to me? Had my common sense taken a hike?

“She doesn’t want to dance with you. Let. Her. Go.”

“Or what?” the guy holding me sneered.

Before I knew what was happening my savior struck out, his tanned arm flying right past me, to strike the guy’s nose. Blood spurted on me and the floor. Finally, the guy released me.

“You broke my nose!” he cried in a thick voice. “What the fuck’s your problem?”

“My problem is sicko’s like you,” the guy that rescued me sneered venomously, as he pointed an elegant finger at the bleeding man. He turned to me. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I breathed and rubbed my arm where the guy had gripped me. Yep, definitely going to bruise.

“Do you need a ride home?” he asked. His voice was deep and seductive, its cadence vibrating through my body.

Snap out of it, Katy!

“My friend is supposed to be around here somewhere?” I said, but it came out as a question instead.

“I’ll help you find her,” he took my hand gently so we didn’t get separated in the crowd. His hand was large and warm, but covered in callouses.

I resisted the urge to pull away. All I had ever done since ‘that night’ was pull away, but my hand still twitched in his, a jerky motion of escape. He squeezed it in a reassuring manner; he probably thought that it was shock making me so jumpy.

“Him,” I finally said.

“Boyfriend?” he asked.

“No, no, just my friend. He’s gay,” I added like I needed an explanation. I scanned the writhing bodies for his curly blonde Afro. If anyone thought white kids couldn’t have Afros they were wrong. Striving for anything to say I asked, “Is your hand