The inside was decorated largely in black, but with bright red and purple patterns on the wall. The flames, stripes, and swirls contrasted with the dark aesthetic and made the venue feel modern and stylish despite the initial impressions given by the wailing grungy guitars. In addition, the bar walls and ceiling were covered in rock memorabilia and what looked like pieces of abstract social commentary in the form of art hanging down. In particular, a battered disco ball covered in razor blades caught Tony's attention as he queued at the bar.
After a few minutes Tony reached the bar, only to catch sight of Sarah turning around from using the cash register. She grinned and pointed her finger towards him as she walked over to him. The music made it incredibly difficult to hear clearly, but he just about made out what she said. “Tony! I looked for you after the show, but I couldn't see you.”
“Sorry, I had to leave in case Charlie came back to stab me.” He replied, truthfully.
“What on earth are you doing here?!” Sarah enquired. “I didn't think you'd actually visit a place like this.”
“My friend Patrick recommended it.” Tony answered. “He likes all sorts.”
“You mean that guy there?” Sarah pointed to Patrick, who was stood a few metres behind Tony, talking to Abbie.
“Tony turned around to see who she was pointing at. “Yes. You know him?”
“I met him after your show. He said he liked my t-shirt, we got chatting and we went for a drink.”
“Isn't it just! What are you having?”
Tony tried to remember the order he had taken a few moments earlier. “Three large rum and cokes, and, er, and a vodka and orange please.”
“Of course.” Sarah smiled and went to pour the drinks. She came back over shortly afterwards with them, as Tony went to hand her the money she waved him away. “These are on me.”
“Thank you Sarah.” They both smiled, and Tony walked over to Patrick and Abbie. “I didn't know you knew the girl who was on my show yesterday Patrick?”
“Nigel told me you'd met her before, and she loved Zombie Grave Diggers. It took him a lot of work to find her.” Patrick explained.
“Oh wow. I didn't realise.”
“I thought I'd go meet her and see if I could find a way for you two to meet up again.” Patrick thought about what he was saying, looked over at Abbie, and back to Tony. “Er, you know, celebrate the new more exciting Tony James Show!”
“Sounds like a lot of effort, but thanks!” Tony laughed and looked over at Abbie, who was happy smiling and bobbing along to the music.
As he looked around at the people dancing, Tony smiled. Once he had got over the volume and noise of the place, Tony was starting to feel quite at home in The Pit. It was full of people who didn't care about fashion, celebrity or trying to fit in, people who were expressing themselves and getting deeply involved in music they were passionate about. Tony couldn't bring himself to try head-banging just yet, but over the course of the first hour he gradually nodded his head more and more.
The four of them walked over to a space nearer the dance floor, when all of a sudden the music stopped. Patrick looked up and to the left where the DJ was playing from the raised booth. As he did, the DJ picked up his microphone and started to talk.
“Ladies and gentlemen. We have a special guest with us here tonight.”
Tony, Nigel, Abbie and Patrick looked around to see who had arrived.
“I don't know if any of you have been watching the Tony James Show, but if you haven't you have been missing out.” The Dj said as he pointed to Tony, who froze as two hundred intense and slightly sweaty rockers on the dance floor looked towards him simultaniously.
“This guy put Zombie Grave Diggers on LTV. Then yesterday he tore that dickhead from Chillgame apart.”
A huge cheer rose up from the dance floor.
“Tony James, you fucking legend. This is for you.”
The DJ put down the mic and hit the button to start playing Entrails of a Virgin Queen.
Tony laughed and lost his nervousness as the two hundred black clad rockers started to dance as if their lives depended on it. Except for a few who were stood looking at Tony, trying to beckon him to join them.
Patrick nudged him. “Just nod your head in time with the music, look intense but happy, and move around with them a bit.” He then shoved Tony towards the dance floor. Tony stumbled a few steps before stopping, stood right in the middle of the dance floor. Tony shrugged and started nodding his head vigorously, which caused about fifty people to roar in delight and do the same thing.
Several hours, many drinks and much dancing later, Tony, tired from dancing and a little worse for wear, took a break and wandered into the smaller quieter room adjacent to the main dance floor. He sat on a soft black square stool. A few moments later Abbie came over too, sitting on the stool just next to him. Although still decorated largely in black, the little room had tiny star like lights all over the walls. It gave the space a slightly romantic feel. “Worn out?!” she asked.
Tony nodded, catching his breath.
“You've made a good attempt at joining in, nine out of ten I'd say.”
“I'm proud of you, you know?”
Tony cocked his head in surprise. “Why?”
“For standing up for intelligence, and for defending your reputation whatever the cost. For not pandering to the lowest common denominator.”
“Thank you. That means a lot coming from you Bea.”
Abbie smiled. “No matter what happens, you can hold your head up high.”
Tony glanced into Abbie's eyes and smiled. She did so in return. For a few moments they stayed in silent comfort, happy to absorb the moment.
Abbie moved forward slightly to kiss Tony, who pulled back sharply and nervously.
“What's the matter Tony?” Abbie replied, surprised at his reaction.
“Sorry, that was just unexpected.”
“What were you expecting?”
“I was hoping, but I never... jeez.” Tony couldn't quite let the words he was thinking escape, and had to make do with a few dishevelled syllables.
“I didn't realise it could get so complicated kissing someone.”
“I just, I didn't think you would actually want...”
“Why on earth not?”
“You're beautiful. You're so pretty.” Although he hadn't made his point particularly well, Abbie couldn't help but reveal a little bit of a smile as Tony said this.
“Tony. I would be rather worried about you if I thought you looked pretty.”
Tony's half inebriated brain giggled. “Why would someone as pretty as you kiss someone like me?”
“I'm not sure I actually need a reason Tony.”
Abbie interrupted. “Do you think if you weren't worth kissing I would have done it?”
“So what's the problem Tony?”
“You are so...” Perhaps Tony's brain was more than half inebriated. He looked at Abbie as he started the sentence, and as he couldn't find the words he looked down in slight shame.
Abbie's eyes flickered with empathy for the usually confident and articulate man beside her. “You silly thing Tony.” She put her hand on his cheek and he looked up. She stared gently at his eyes, he went to speak, but she put her finger over his lips for a second, before moving it away and kissing him softly on the lips.
As she pulled slowly away a few seconds later she saw a flurry of intense emotions run through Tony's face. As if he was experiencing huge pain, pleasure, happiness, sadness and confusion at the same time. She put her arm round him, he reciprocated, and as they embraced they gently rested their foreheads against each other. “It's ok.” She whispered.
From across the dance floor, Nigel saw the two of them together. He tapped Patrick, who was dancing near him. Patrick looked at Nigel, then over at Tony and Abbie, then back to Nigel, before exclaiming quietly. “Awwww!”