The Reptilian Lounge Nightclub in Dallas, Texas was in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of the city, a somewhat rundown though still vibrant district separated from the high-rises of downtown by the elevated lanes of the North Central Expressway. It was a humid, sticky Friday night in late summer and at thirty minutes to midnight the three-story club was packed to well beyond legal capacity, mostly with twenty-one to twenty-five year old men and women, most of whom were provocatively dressed, most of whom were enjoying some degree of intoxication.
On the ground floor of the club, the largest of the three levels, the circular dance floor was the dominating feature. Multi-colored lights flashed back and forth and lasers pulsed above, bathing the two to three hundred men and women moving their bodies to the beat of modern techno music around its polished surface in an eerie glow. To one side of the dance floor was a bar that ran the length of the room. Here, eight bartenders were on duty, every one of them scrambling endlessly to keep up with the demands of the thirsty patrons who were lined up five and six deep. Directly across the dance floor from the bar was the entryway, where a steady stream of new customers made their way into the loud, dimly lit meat market after clearing the identification checkpoints and the metal detectors. North and south of the dance floor were dozens of cocktail tables, most capable of seating four to eight but a few—usually off in the corners—tiny and only designed for two. In the spaces between these tables, cocktail waiters and waitresses circulated with trays full of drinks and patrons walked back and forth, heading to and from the bar, to and from other tables, to and from other levels, and to and from the dance floor entrances. Many of these patrons simply stood in the open areas, unable to find seats, or perhaps preferring to stand and mingle more intimately with the press of humanity. Sometimes they gathered in clusters that had to be broken up by the bouncers in order to keep the traffic moving along. Amidst this mass of drunken, partying youngsters were a male and a female who seemed to fit in quite well in this environment but who were not, by any stretch of the imagination, what they seemed to be.
The male was named Ken, although his mother and grandparents called him Kenneth. He was dressed in a tight black button-up shirt, un-tucked as was the current fashion, and a loose-fitting pair of jeans that sagged just enough to show the top of his boxers. His hair was brown and thick, his arms well-muscled, his abdomen without the slightest trace of a beer belly. The female was named Meghan. She was a stunningly cute brunette with green eyes a man (or even a woman) could drown in. She wore a tasteful yet sexy one piece dress. Black in color, it was sleeveless up top and designed to accent her breasts, which were of the sort men would sell their souls to touch. Down low, the hem fell to about mid-thigh, accenting her bare legs, which were of the sort men dreamed of feeling wrapped around their backs.
Ken and Meghan were married to each other though neither wore a wedding ring or any other kind of jewelry and both had been freely dancing, flirting, and even occasionally kissing or groping other patrons of the club all night. They were both physically attractive specimens of their sex whose outward appearance would lead anyone, even the most careful observer, to believe they could be no older than mid-twenties. In fact, however, in terms of chronological time on Earth, both were about twenty-five years older than they looked. And, no matter how many years passed, they would continue to look this way until they decided to reproduce or until they died. Ken and Meghan were members of a special breed of human, a breed that virtually all modern humans thought nothing more than a myth, a breed that had lived alongside human society for more than five thousand years and went to great lengths to conceal its existence. They called themselves the Cognate, though in human myth there were other, less kind words for them.
They sat in the northeast corner of the room, at the most isolated of the tables for two. They had encountered no difficulty whatsoever in securing this table for their use. They had simply asked the young couple sitting there before them—a couple who had met each other an hour before out on the dance floor and had become convinced (thanks to six Captain and Cokes apiece) they were each other's soul mate—to please leave. The couple left without argument, both thinking it was an entirely reasonable request, both promptly forgetting the encounter a few minutes later.
"Did you decide which one to take?" Ken asked his wife. He spoke softly, almost in a whisper, so low that one of the human patrons would not have heard his words even if he or she had been standing right next to him.
Meghan had no trouble understanding him, however. Like any cognate, her hearing was both powerful and selective. With a conscious thought, her brain could filter out the pounding of the music and the babble of hundreds of other conversations and focus only on what it was she wanted to hear. "I think so," she whispered back, her words just as inaudible to normal human ears, her mouth forming a naughty smile. "I'm kind of taken with Reg over there. The one I was dancing with last round."
Ken let his brown eyes track across the room to one of the eight person tables next to the railing that divided the dance floor from the table area. There, three young women and five young men were drinking bottles of light beer and laughing together. Three members of this party were wearing purple and white T-shirts with a caricature of a horned frog on them. These were the colors and mascot of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. The young man of whom Meghan spoke was one of the T-shirt wearers. He was maybe twenty-two years old, aristocratically handsome in the face, but a bit on the thin side—certainly not a TCU student attending on an athletic scholarship. This was slightly odd. Meghan had a bit of a thing for men—and women for that matter—with athletic bodies and attitudes. "Hmm," Ken said, raising his eyebrows a bit. "Not your typical conquest."
"True," she agreed cordially enough. "There's something about him though. He seems ... oh ... innocent."
"Innocent?" Ken scoffed with a little laugh. "In this place?"
She gave him a very wifely look. "Don't you go mocking me," she said. "I know what I felt when I was dancing with him."
Ken took a sip of his drink. It was a seven and seven, heavy on the first seven thanks to an in-the-closet male bartender who had reacted very strongly to Ken's presence. He had consumed five of them in the past ninety minutes but was not the least bit intoxicated thanks to his cognate physiology. "I don't know what you felt," he told his wife with a smirk, "but I know what he felt. Once he got his hand on your left tit you had to damn near pry it off with a crowbar."
Meghan giggled, knowing that her husband held no jealousy in his heart over the incident. It was, after all, what they were here for. "He almost came in his pants while he was feeling me up," she said. "That's what's cute about him. I don't think he's ever ... you know ... gone all the way before."
Ken found this very hard to believe. "A virgin?" he asked. "Here?"
"I think so," she said, the naughty smile back on her face.
Ken shook his head sternly. "No way in hell," he said. "It's not possible for a man to spend two years in an accredited university without getting laid. Even if it is TCU."
"Wanna bet?" she asked sweetly.
"You're on," he said. "What are the stakes?"
She reached out and touched his face, sliding her soft fingertip from his ear to his lips, sending a chill through his body. "Winner gets the prize," she suggested. "Loser ... well ... loser doesn't."
He grasped her by the wrist and brought her fingertip back to his lips. He kissed it gently, looking in her eyes as he did so. "You're on," he said, confident that he would win.
A minute later, Meghan was up and working her way through the crowd to the table where Reg sat with his friends. As she went on her path, nearly every man she passed within five feet of stopped whatever he was doing and turned to look at her. They did this even if their backs had been to her as she approached. They did this even if they were in the middle of conversing with someone of the opposite sex. Three of the men she passed ended up not getting laid that night because the girl they were talking to became offended by this motion. But they could not help it. Not only was Meghan attractive on the surface, she was cognate. And cognate demanded attention even when they didn't necessarily want it.
For her part, Meghan ignored the ruckus she caused. She approached the table and the conversation around it stopped as all of the men (and one of the women) turned their heads to look at her. Reg, who had been not-so-surreptitiously glancing at her ever since they'd shared a dance twenty minutes before, swallowed audibly.
"Hi, guys," Meghan greeted cheerfully, her eyes meeting each pair looking up at her before settling on Reg.
The five guys and one girl who were taken with her all chirped enthusiastic greetings in return. The two girls who were not taken with her grunted semi-hostile verbalizations that technically qualified as polite greetings.
.... There is more of this story ...