Par Jo Lee
After the moving speech, another performer took the stage while the twins disappeared backstage with Ayara. This singer was well-known and more upbeat, prancing around the stage with two back-up dancers grinding ferociously against him. The speech had set the mood for the celebratory soiree, a little tease for her upcoming tour and everyone seem in a great mood to party. Except for Jennifer. The guests were dispersed throughout the vast dining room, and started moving towards the spacious dance floor in the middle of the reception hall. Jennifer was about to see how the rich truly partied so she waited around for half an hour, failing to productively socialize with important people in the room. From a distance, her idols were awe-worthy but up-close and personal, they were deceivingly shallow and lacked conversational skills. She’d been approached by a mega-rich, ultra-famous music producer who was kind enough to bring her a glass of champagne but after 15 mins of hearing him babble about his accomplishments and his impressive list of industry contacts, Jennifer resorted to smiling and nodding every few seconds to give the impression she comprehended the things he was rambling about. She was absolutely clueless and uninterested. She looked around the lavish reception hall, at people who had more possessions than real friends and felt grateful. Grateful for the knowledge that she really did have people who loved her and cared for her, even if she wasn’t stupidly rich. They weren’t present but they were there. A phone call or a plane away. Speaking off which…where was her boyfriend?
It was going on 45 mins since they’d left the stage with Ayara and neither of them had come back out. They were inside a huge, antique hotel and perhaps they were having some sort of meeting behind the scenes, or better yet a performance. Jen perked up at the idea of seeing Lau perform professionally. She’d seen him dancing around the house countless times and when the three of them, including Larry used to be on better terms and initially started hanging out, they’d often break out of nowhere and starting dancing in sync. They had perfected moves so well that the other just telepathically knew what his twin would do and when they started dancing randomly, it was hard to not be amazed at how well they flowed together. She’d even asked Lau to dance for her once in private but he was a perfectionist and refused to do so because he’d just come from practice and wanted to rest. I’d rather dance in bed with you, he’d responded. A shy yet naughty smile etched on her face reminiscing the memory. She’d gone ahead and watched their videos on Youtube and was absolutely floored. Their moves were magnetic, like a couple who completed each other’s sentences, they seemed at ease on the stage or dance floor like fish in water, mirroring the other’s move while maintaining their individualities. She’d made a snarky remark to herself that Larry had very neat, precise movements for someone’s whose personal life always seemed to be a mess. On the other hand, Laurent was wild on the dance floor, like a kid eating cake messily, ravaging everything in its’ path yet in person, he was very organized. They have such deceiving stage personalities.
Luckily to distract her banal thoughts, another big shot walked over to Jen and soon enough, the two men were speaking to each other. Or more accurately, comparing their wealth and possessions. Jennifer seized the occasion to make an unnoticed exit and head the search for Laurent. She was walked around the spacious stage to the door that led to backstage but was stopped at the door by a big, burly man.
“Sorry Ma’am. Only authorized folks can get behind this door.” He stated sternly, as if shooing away a nuisance.
“My boyfriend’s in there.” She replied matter-of-factly.
“Who’s your boyfriend?” The security guard asked. He was obvious shipping in with Ayara’s crew because he visibly overdosed on steroids and his English was very arrogant. Only in America.
“Laurent Bourgeois. He’s a dancer for Ayara. He was just on stage with her.”
“You’re going to have to wait here,” He peaked his head inside and made a sign at someone in the room. “He’s not in there.”
“Well, he went off the stage and as you can see, he’s not in here.” As Jennifer was about to lose her patience and get real American on the guard when Larry came out.
“Let her in.” He commanded the bodyguard who hesitated before ceding way for Jennifer to pass.
He grabbed her hand and led her into the spacious room. It was just as big as the reception room where all the guests were mingling and some were full-on dancing their expensive asses off. Larry didn’t say anything although he knew the answer to the question burning in Jen’s head.
“Where’s Lau?” She asked when he didn’t offer to inform her, removing her hand from Larry’s.
“He’s busy.” Larry stopped in his tracks and looked at her. Perhaps she was being paranoid but she saw a look of pity in his eyes.
“Busy doing what? You guys were together an hour ago on the stage.”
“I don’t know what he does. I just know that he’s busy.” Larry said very suspiciously. Jennifer eyed the room one more time and found a stairway that led to a number of rooms on a higher floor. Realizing she was in the central lobby to the actual hotel, her mind began darting out suspicions.
“Larry…I haven’t done anything at all to you. I don’t know why you hate me but this has nothing to do with you. So I will ask one more time. Where is Laurent?” “Jenn–” “Just tell me where he is!” She closed her eyes and felt her heartbeat quicken in a nano-second. Her heart was in her throat and she tried to secure a normal breathing pace. Larry remained silent but looked up to a room at the end of the flight of stairs, to the right. He looked back at her and she knew what he was implying without so much as a word.