{PROMPT: You’ve just realized that you’ve lost something valuable in a nightclub (a necklace, a wallet, a phone). What happens next?}

“No.” I pat my pockets furiously, and then rifle through my tiny purse. “No, no, no, no.”

“What’s wrong?” Chelsea asks me.

“You know how sometimes I panic because I can’t find my phone?”

“Happens all the time.”

“Well, this time, I really can’t find my phone.” My hands are still in motion, as though searching long and hard enough will make my phone magically reappear. “How am I ever gonna find it here?” The flash of the lights and the pulse of the music are making me feel dizzy, and I can’t imagine wading through all the moving bodies in search of my phone.

This is why I hate nightclubs.

Because I always lose my phone.

Nah. That’s not true.

I just hate night clubs. Somehow too bright and too dark at the same time.  I actually hardly ever go to one, but Chelsea had begged me to come with her tonight, since it was her birthday and all.

It’s hard to say no to your best friend on her birthday.

“Next year can we just go to McDonalds to celebrate your birthday?” I yell over the music. “I’ll even splurge and buy you one of those apple pies for dessert!”

She motions at her ears, indicating that she didn’t hear what I said. I’m not sure if she really didn’t hear or if she’s just pretending.

I sigh, but the sound of it is lost even to my own ears.

I point to the bar. “I’m gonna see if they have a lost and found.”

Chelsea sends me off with a big thumbs up, and I begin working my way through the crowd.

Someone brushes my shoulder, and I duck away. Do I like being touched by strangers? No, I do not.

I feel the hand on my shoulder a second time.

Sheesh. People should really be more aware of where their hands are. I plow on through the crowd.

The third time, the touch is more of a persistent poke, and it dawns on me that maybe this is intentional.

I put my serious face on and turn around.

Oh.

Well.

Maybe I don’t hate nightclubs, after all.

There is a very attractive man standing there. He says something to me, but I can’t hear it.

“What?” I yell, and step closer.

“Halloween! What did you dress up as last Halloween?”

I am so confused, and my face must show it because he laughs.

He holds up a phone, and the screen lights up when he lifts it.

It’s my phone.

Suddenly, I understand the question and it’s my turn to laugh. My lock screen is a photo of Chelsea and I dressed up as our favourite Lord of the Rings characters from last Halloween.  Chelsea is dressed up as Aragorn, and I am Arwen.

“My phone! Thank you so much!”

He smiles and hands it me. He motions at the door, and I follow him outside.

The quiet of the fresh air throbs with a beat of its own as we step through the door.

“Thanks again,” I say, holding up my phone.

“Not a problem.”

“How did you find me in that crazy crowd?”

“Trial and error. You would not believe how many women think that ‘What did you dress up as last Halloween?’ is some kind of pick-up line. You would also not believe how many women dressed up as Minnie Mouse for Halloween last year.”

I laugh. “I’m a bit of a Lord of the Rings nerd.”

“It works for you. Not the nerd part! The Elven part. Suits you.”

“Thanks. Is that a pick-up line?”

Before he can answer, Chelsea bursts through the door.

“There you are!” She says. “Hey, you found your phone.”

I motion at the man. “… I don’t know your name,” I say.

“Sam.”

“Sam found it.”

“Hi, Sam,” Chelsea says.

“Nice to meet you. You must be Aragorn.”

“Some call me that,” she says.

“And others of us call her Chelsea,” I say. “I’m Ellie, by the way.”

We shake hands and smile.

“Did I hear you offer to treat me to McDonald’s tonight?” Chelsea nudges me. “Something about apple pie?”

“Aha! I knew you heard me.”

She smiles slyly. “Let’s go. Sam, you’re coming with us. It’s my birthday.”

Sam looks at me, and I shrug. “Can’t say no to Chelsea on her birthday. I mean, one time I did, but then I had bad luck for a whole year.”

“Wow. Yeah, better not risk it. I do love McDonald’s apple pie.”

We fall into step behind Chelsea together.

Not a bad night after all.

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