CHAPTER ONE: HYDE
Her name was Angelica, and the most important thing for you to remember when you hear it is that the devil herself was once an angel too. Angelica, full of light and rapture: powerful, beautiful, effervescent, misleading, fallen. All the clouds and seas and any other thing that CAN part DID on the day I met her. It was in a bar, a DIVE BAR for Christ’s sake, because sometimes I like to head to a hole in the wall where no one will recognize me, where my net worth hasn’t been recently googled by half the people around me, where I can wear a baseball cap low and most won’t even have half a thought that they might know me.
Dark. Places like these are dark.
But it was no matter. This girl was bright enough for the bottom of the ocean, with a wolf-like presence that you could FEEL before you saw her. Never before had I met someone who made me feel hot and cold at once, full and simultaneously so empty: starving. The instant I glimpsed her, it was like every fling, every so-called romantic or sexual encounter of any kind before her was all a WASTE. It’s only import was leading up to this moment when I crossed paths with her, when the trumpets sounded and the chorus sang “Hallelujah” as her hollow-gold hair caught the little light there was in there and magnified it.
You’ll have to excuse all these clichés I’m using to describe her. I’m not really a writer. I’m a billionaire. I talk. I sell. I trade. I buy. I have an army of people who do the writing for me.
Anyway, with a halo above her head, I heard her melodious voice say “fuck” or “fucking” at least 10 times within a span of 5 minutes, ranting or cooing to some slobbering guy beside her who maybe more closely matched her age but didn’t come anywhere close to deserving her time and attention, however fleeting it was.
And then she turned and our eyes caught each other’s and stayed there for what was an eternity within maybe just 3 seconds, staring at me with her enormous, enigmatic and piercing green eyes filled with love, sensuality, light, mystery, an almost-alien-like purity and…torture. She blinked at me and then she LAUGHED. My GOD! Her laugh! She laughed so often. And anyone who heard it was mesmerized and delighted. It sounded like bubbles, infinite bubbles arranged into some sort of symphony.
Was she laughing AT you? Or WITH you? Who cares??! Just enjoy it.
And then she smiled slyly, realizing those 3 seconds were more than enough to rope me in forever, her prey, her prisoner. Pale skin and long natural hair, no matter where she had come from or who and what she’d been through, everything about her was PURE. And then she turned back to the bar.
“Fuck!” I thought, echoing her “fucks”. “I want her BAD…”
Then maybe a minute of hungry, explicit reverie passed before I chastised myself: “NICE, Hyde. Nice. She’s not even HALF your age. And…she hasn’t even danced yet and you’re panting like a dog in heat! What are you gonna do when she gets on stage, just climb up there and take her?”
Oh. Did I say “bar”? I meant “club.” Dive club. Dive strip club, to be more precise, the kind of place that knows itself too well to insult you by saying it’s a “gentlemen’s” club. Anyway, I was sure I had given up dating girls half my age when I turned 40, twenty years ago.