The nightclub energy at the Clevelander rooftop terrace camouflaged its danger. Loud music coursed through the concrete beneath the clicks of high heels and the taps of men’s dress shoes. A constant stench of stale dried up beer permeated the bar tops. The heavy smell of hot oil fused with the hot breeze as endless appetizers were fried back in the kitchen.
At the center of the nightclub tableau, irresistibly gorgeous, scantily dressed club goers engaged in aggressive grinding, a mating ritual more akin to sex than dancing.
Jules may have found it liberating, and even primal were she not there on business, or if she didn’t know the truth of what happened behind the scenes. Miami club nights were infamous. They were not just a must-do activity on a traveler’s brochure. For locals, the nightclub was a way of life. It was when hundreds of singles, and not-so-singles, packed themselves into tight spaces to drink, mingle, and grind, unaware of the risks. There to parade and flaunt their wares under the neon lights or in the dark corners of South Beach’s most coveted party spots.
At the bar, Jules slammed her second Kamikaze, determined to take in the scene a bit longer. Jules dragged the empty rocks glass back and forth across the wood grain of the bar top. Jules tilted the glass back, optimistic about harvesting one last sip of alcohol. Her heightened need for booze was a familiar sign her nerves had kicked in. She ran the glass across the sticky bar top again. When the sexy bartender leaned her bouncy breasts over the counter to asked Jules if she was ready for another, Jules struggled through the loud thumping of house music and responded with shaky, maybe in a little bit.
Jules looked up at the gray storm clouds on the horizon. There was a category three hurricane coming right for them, but Miami never bothered with anything under a category four anymore. Jules decided, despite its unbearable heat and impending danger, the night was a beautiful one. After all, things could be beautiful and dangerous like a storm.
Jules looked down from the sixth-floor terrace to find every bush and palm tree, every hotel façade and sidewalk restaurant, bathed in electrifying purples, pinks and neon blues cast against the backdrop of another night on Ocean Drive. A tourist or outsider passing through would register nothing in its humid air suggesting foul play.As Jules fought the urge for another drink, she resisted another of her weakness, the desire to dive into the bartender’s deep, soft cleavage.