“So,” Elebra, arms around the shoulders of her two friends, asked, “Whose testosterone do you think you’ll liberate tonight?”
The three young women surveyed the crowd at their favourite place of alcoholic refreshment. It was the end of the working week and this neighbourhood was close enough to both workplaces and homes that almost everyone had gone home and changed before coming out again. The women were neat, prosperous looking and confident - Elebra, for instance, wore a tailored silk suit. The men were trying to impress, dressed in their ‘glad rags’ of shiny fabrics bestrewed with sequins and crystals, every one immaculately coiffed and manicured and all with the violet ‘unattached’ light shining on their testosterone restraint collars.
“One with an actual personality,” Noriga, the girl on Elebra’s left sighed, “lately all the ones I like the look of seem to have had theirs amputated.”
“You sound,” Huswayla, the third of the group, sounded almost accusing, “as if you’re looking for a keeper.”
“Well, I am,” admitted Noriga easily. “I want to have babies - cute little boys and smart little girls. I could do it on my own, but having someone at home would uncomplicate things.”
Elebra nodded her head in agreement. “True. I thought your mother was trying to get you to date the son of friend of hers.” She turned her head to her right. “Over this way girls, blond in violet and his redhead friend.”
“Dibs the redhead.” Huswayla’s contribution was short and sweet.
“Layton looks like a bulldog,” Noriga complained, “which is not bad in itself, but he simpers.”
“Ouch.” There was not much else Elebra could say but, “Let’s see if these two have a friend.”
They didn’t. After an hour or so of playing wing to their leads, Noriga excused herself to go to the ladies’. She half expected that the others would be gone by the time she got back.
When she emerged, their table did have other people at it and her friends were nowhere in sight.
Noriga made one last turn of the room, a fresh drink in hand, but everyone had paired off except there a man she didn’t know sitting in an alcove at the back under a blown light. His violet light glowed but he was wearing a black sweater, not an eye catching shirt. His hair was too short to be coiffed. When she stopped to look he said bluntly, “Look, you look nice enough but my mother made me come here, I’m not really interested.”
“I’m after babies,” Noriga admitted, “and my name’s Noriga. If you have a brain and a personality, I might be interested in you.”
“I’m Brail,” he stood up quietly and towered over her from the other side of the table, “and with my collar off, I’m dangerous.”
Noriga could believe it, the six or more feet of man in front of her was solid muscle, and he looked old enough that she wasn’t going to be the more mature of the two of them.
“Would you like to go somewhere we can talk and hear each other speak without shouting?” Noriga had worked on that line for days, then made a completely unplanned quip, “At least you could tell your mother that you left the bar with a woman.”
He smiled at her. It was a nice smile.