The young inventor glanced around and sure enough, there were half a dozen boys forming a circle around her.
“How do I pick one to dance with?” she asked, but Penelope was already moving away through the crowd. A tall, dark-haired boy took her place as another song thrummed into existence. Without a word, he started dancing. Astrid followed along.
She couldn’t have said how long she had been dancing, but after seven or eight dance partners, Astrid was exhausted and dripping with perspiration. She waved off a disappointed-looking and rather short boy with blond hair and started through the crowd toward the bar. The counter was two or three patrons thick all along its extent. Apparently a lot of others had the same idea that she did. Reaching forward, she waved for one of the servers.
“Here, have a drink,” said a voice right beside her.
Astrid turned and found herself nose to nose with one of the boys she had danced with. He was handsome and about sixteen years old, with brown hair and green eyes. He pushed a tall glass with a red straw toward her.
“They don’t serve alcohol here,” he said. “All the drinks are just soda.”
“I don’t know you though,” said Astrid. “I don’t take drinks from anyone I don’t know.”
“Sorry,” she called to him, as he turned with a frown and melted into the crowd.
“Isn’t this fantastic?” shouted Denise, suddenly hanging onto Astrid’s arm. “We should do this all the time. Why don’t they have any clubs like this in Maxxim City?”
“Did you dance?” asked Astrid.
“I danced with three really cute boys, two sort of cute boys, and one drop-dead gorgeous boy.”
“What can I get you?” called the server, finally ready to take their drink order.
“Two sodas,” said Astrid.
“Four,” corrected Denise. “Valerie has a table over there for us.”
Making their way through the crowd, their hands filled with drinks, Astrid and Denise found Valerie and Valerie looking very shyly across the table at two boys who seemed fixated on them.
“You see,” Valerie told the boys. “Here are our friends now.”
The two reluctantly relinquished their seats to the two girls and then were lost among the swaying masses.
“I don’t think they have enough chairs in this club,” said Robot Valerie. “Those boys insisted on sitting here until you got back.”
“They just wanted to sit near two pretty girls,” said Denise.
“Valerie is the one they’re all watching,” said Regular Valerie. “Everybody is fascinated by her.”
“That’s to be expected, I guess,” said Astrid.
“Why?” wondered Robot Valerie.
“Because you’re a robot.”