The Petrov Brothers - J.L. Beck



The music pounds loudly in my ears. It's so loud I can’t hear myself think, let alone hear whatever it is my best friend is trying to say to me. I don’t know why I was so excited about coming here for my birthday. It seemed like such a good idea when my friends suggested it.

However, now that I’m here, everything seems so much less appealing. My ears hurt from the loud music, and my throat is scratchy from the smoke that clings to the air. The skin-tight dress and black high heels I’m wearing are getting more uncomfortable with each passing minute. All in all, coming here was a shit idea.

Sweat beads against my forehead as I survey the crowd. Everyone here seems to be way older than me. I’m only eighteen, but this club allows people under twenty-one to come in as long as you let them stamp both of your hands.

Some older guy offered to buy me a drink a couple minutes ago, and I’m starting to wonder if maybe I should have let him. I really don’t want to get drunk in here and lose my wits, but it's so hot, and I can’t help but wonder if I’d loosen up with a little alcohol in my system.

I grip my cell phone tightly, deciding there won't be any drinking for me tonight. I’ll just call my sister Ella and have her pick me up. She’s going to be pissed at me for not telling her what I was doing, but she’ll get over it; she always does. I unlock my phone and start scrolling through my messages when a man appears at my side.

“Here.” He shoves a glass at me. It has some red liquid in it, and I know better than to take some drink from a random stranger. I shake my head and hold up my hand to motion to him that I am not interested but he just shoves the glass closer to my face.

Annoyance boils deep inside me. I take the glass, hoping it will make the asshole leave. I don’t take a sip, nor do I plan to.

“Want to dance?” The guy leans into me and slurs right next to my ear. He smells of smoke and sweat. I almost gag at the mixture of scents.

“No, thank you,” I decline politely.

“But I just bought you a drink, the least you can do is dance with me.” He gives me a creepy smile, and I shudder, attempting to take a step backward. The entire place is packed, bodies rubbing against each other, making it hard to escape this asshole.

I need to find another way to get away from him. My eyes glance over a neon restroom sign off in the distance.

“You’re right. I’m just going to the bathroom really quick and then I’ll dance with you.” I give him a wide smile and set the drink on the table a few feet away from us.

“All right, I’ll be waiting right here for you, baby,” he slurs, as I start to walk away.

Walking in the direction of the bathroom, I weave between people, pushing and shoving just to get a step ahead. Once I reach the restrooms, I turn and start walking back toward the entrance of the club. Music vibrates through me, and I find it harder and harder to breathe with all the bodies around me. I’ll just go outside and call Ella; that way, maybe I can tell her I wanted to go to the club but changed my mind. Her shift at the diner will be over in a few minutes, so she’ll be able to swing by here on her way back to the apartment.

Then we can forget tonight never happened.

I make it through the crowd and walk into the hallway leading outside. There are only a few people lingering near the exit. Nobody seems to be paying me an ounce of attention, except one man. He is leaning against the far wall, his entire body encased in the shadows, but I can see his eyes scanning me up and down. He’s staring at my body in a way that makes me feel exposed and I don’t like it, not one bit. I make my feet walk faster as I hurry past him, his gaze remaining on me the whole time. The hair on the back of my neck stands up, and a bad feeling fills my gut. This guy is pure evil… it oozes out of him, like