A man and a woman arrived at the bar just as Red turned back around. Claire spoke to Red before she did the couple, as she knew Red had been waiting, albeit with her back to the bar.
“Oi! We were here first!” The woman shouted at Claire. Then it was Red’s turn to raise her eyebrow in surprise. “You fucking served her before us last time!” She continued her tirade.
Again, Red shrugged, combined with a gesture that said to serve them first – just for the sake of peace, but Claire didn’t suffer fools gladly. The man barked his drinks order at Claire “Bottle of Bud, Vodka ‘n’ Coke, two Aftershocks!”
“Please.” Claire helped him with his manners. In answer he sneered at her.
Claire arrived back with a bottle for Red before getting their drinks, but Red was still watching the dancing, only half-aware of the fuss at the side of her. Claire tapped Red’s shoulder with the bottle and turned to get Mr & Ms No-manners their order. Red had her hand in her front pocket getting the money out for when Claire got back when the woman at the side of her said to her boyfriend “That arrogant bitch needs pulling down a peg or two!”
Red glanced in their direction as he nodded his agreement. Claire handed them their drinks and took a tenner from him. She collected Red’s money at the same time. Claire watched astonished as the woman tipped her drink down Red’s arm.
The first Red realised of this was that her arm was cold and wet. Red was incredulous as she looked at her dripping arm, then at the woman. She could see by the look on her face that it was no accident.
“What the fuck are you looking at?” The woman said, jerking her head forward with blunt aggression.
Red turned her whole body to face her, she was cool and calm as she switched the bottle from her right to her left hand. She looked again at her wet arm then brushed the liquid from it with her right hand. She brought it up again as if to repeat the motion but instead she snapped her hand back to catch the woman a back-hander across her mouth. The woman staggered a couple of steps towards the dance floor and her boyfriend didn’t miss a beat and punched Red in the face. He caught her below the eye, just on the top of her cheekbone.
Red dropped the bottle and grabbed hold of his throat with her left hand. Her right hand was pulled back, claws already replacing fingernails; instinct was too close to the surface because of the alcohol and caution was abandoned. The music didn’t stop but the dancing did, or at least it moved away from where the trouble was starting. The toes of the man’s shoes were now barely touching the floor. Both hands were scrabbling on Red’s hand, trying to break her grip. His eyeballs were starting to protrude. The doormen had responded to Claire hitting the panic button and were running in. Red registered all of this yet she was taking no notice of it. She was just ready to strike with her right hand when…