#37 Part 1
“Yeah, I know, I probably shouldn’t have come alone, but… Yeah, it’s the same guy we saw last night… Hey, you even said you thought he was hot… Eh, I don’t think he looks that creepy… I know, I don’t have the best taste in men, but still, I think I might really like him… Okay, I’ll call you later, I promise… No, I won’t go anywhere with him alone. Yeesh, you’re worse than my mom!” She looked up from her phone and smiled as I approached. She looked genuinely happy to see me. “Oh, I think that’s him. I gotta go… Yeah, okay! Talk to you later… Bye!”
I took my time with my last few steps toward her table and made sure she saw the pleased look in my eyes as I looked her up and down. “Did I interrupt something important?” I kept my voice low enough that she had to lean in to hear me over the loud music.
“No, that was just my friend. You remember the one from last night? She worries about me too much.” Her face flushed a little; it was barely visible in the dive bar’s lighting. I made a good choice with this one.
“Uh huh,” of course I remembered the missing red head, “What does she have to worry about?” As far as she knew I was just a guy picking her up for some fun.
She smiled again and flipped a stray piece of blond hair out of her eyes, “She’s got this idea that you may not be the best choice for me.” I could tell from the expression on her face she didn’t feel the same way.
“Really? Like how?” That same piece of hair slipped back over her left eye, and I reached up and slid it behind her ear. Her hair was soft, really soft. Good, I didn’t like it when girls used too much goop in their hair. Once it got wet, it was impossible to keep it from looking crunchy.
“Well, to be honest, you kinda creeped her out last night. She’s really into clean cut guys, anyway.” She didn’t pull back from my touch, but leaned in a little closer. This was going to be fun, I could tell already.
“Huh,” I leaned forward and inhaled deeply, “and what are you into?” She smelled delicious, like summer, clean and fresh with a little hint of floral.
“I, um, don’t like being bored.” She reached out and traced the muscles on my forearm with her finger, starting at my wrist and following it all the way up to the bottom of my t-shirt’s sleeve.
I tried not to show how thrilled I was with the direction this meeting was taking, “You think I’m boring?”
She slowly slid her finger back down to my hand, “I haven’t seen anything boring yet.” The corners of her perfectly formed lips curled upward.
“I could say the same thing about you.” I twisted my fingers through hers and lifted her hand above her head while using my other hand to guide her in a slow spin. Yes, she looked very nice, that black dress hugged her curves in just the right places.
She blushed a little with another sly smile, “What, this old dress? I’ve had it forever.”
“You wear it well.” I slid my raised hand down her arm and ribcage until it rested on her hip. She didn’t seem to mind as I pulled her closer to me.
“Thanks.” She reached behind me and hooked her thumb in my back pocket. “Those jeans don’t look terrible on you either.” With a sly grin, she leaned back to check out my backside.
“You want a drink?” I knew I could use something strong, but I wondered how well she could hold her liquor.
She was staring straight into my eyes and without blinking when she answered, “Sure, whatever you’re having is fine.”
“Are you sure you can handle it?” One corner of my mouth automatically pulled up; I guess I was going to find out.
“I’m a big girl, bring it on.” She curled her free hand toward her giving me the ‘come here’ sign.
“Okay, be right back.” I freed her hand from my pocket and walked toward the bar. The bartender looked up impressed that I had managed to not get slapped so far. Apparently I didn’t look like her type.
“Can I get two Jacks on the rocks?” I laid some cash on the bar. Cash is always best when you would rather not have anyone know where you’ve been. He nodded and slid two drinks my way.
When I turned around, she was back on that damned cell phone, “Oh for Pete’s sake, he hasn’t even gotten back with my drink yet…” I kept back far enough to eavesdrop on her conversation without her being aware that I was listening, “Yes, I’m watching him to make sure he’s not putting anything in it… You know, if you were this worried, you could have come too… I’m fine, really. I gotta go, he’s coming back… Yes, I’ll call you! Bye!” She snapped her phone shut and rolled her eyes at me.
I set her drink down in front of her, “Your drink. Was that your friend again?” I tried to pretend like I hadn’t heard her side of the conversation. I couldn’t tell if she noticed, but it didn’t look like she cared much either way.
“Thanks,” she took a wary sip of her drink, “and yes.” I raised my glass and she took a longer swig with me this time. I was impressed; most girls that looked like her couldn’t drink Jack Daniel’s straight without a visible reaction.
“She must really not like me.” I was staring at her lips while the tip of her tongue slid across her bottom lip to lick away a stray drop of liquid. This was going to be too easy; I didn’t know how much longer I could wait.
“Whatever, I don’t really care that much what she thinks.” The look in her eyes told me that she liked me enough to ignore what her friend said.
“That much? But you do care a little.” I wasn’t sure exactly what she had promised her friend, but I knew I didn’t want her friend to come looking for her anytime soon. Of course, if she wanted to join in the fun that could be arranged.
“Enough that I wish she’d stop calling every few minutes.” Her face twisted in annoyance, which pleased me.
“You don’t like talking to your friends?” I ran my fingers over her cell phone, which was still sitting on the table.
Smiling again, she slid the phone out of my reach and into her purse, “Right now, I can think of better things to be doing.” I wasn’t fast enough to pull it off this time, but I would have to get that phone away from her before long.
“Like what?” I leaned toward her neck and took another deep breath. She smelled so good, that I involuntarily let out a little moan.
She gently pushed my shoulder back so she could look in my eyes. Oops, I went too far. “I would love to hear all about you and what you like to do.”
“There’s really not that much to tell.” I slid my hand around her waist and pulled her closer to me. “I paint when I want to, sleep when I want to, and eat when I’m hungry.” And right now I wanted more liquor in her. I raised my glass to drain it and motioned for her to do the same.
She finished her drink and made a little coughing noise. “You paint, like pictures? What do you paint pictures of?” She tilted her head to the side slightly; it reminded me of a little puppy trying to figure out something new.
“Yeah, pictures. You want another one?” Without giving her enough time to respond, I raised my empty glass to the waitress, who brought us another round. I took another swig, “Mostly still lifes, abstract stuff.” Giving into the urge, I reached up and touched her hair again. I couldn’t help but imagine what it would look like when she posed for me. I hoped that the hunger I felt wasn’t showing in my eyes.
“So that’s how you make your money, selling paintings?” She gave me an odd look; maybe I came on too strong, or maybe the Jack Daniel’s was kicking in.
“I do have other ways to supplement my income,” I pulled back slightly. I didn’t want to scare her off. All my plans for tonight included her.
She slipped her thumb into my back pocket again and smiled slightly with one of her eyebrows raised. “Like what?”
So I wasn’t coming on too strong, good. “Nah, let’s talk about you.” It was slightly unsettling how easy talking to her was. I didn’t want to share too much, keeping my guard up was important.
“What would you like to know? There’s really not that much to tell.” She smiled again, this time with her eyes half closed. She was definitely feeling her liquor now.
I rattled off a list of questions in my head, but quickly eliminated all but one, “What do you do?”
“Write mostly, I’m freelance, so anything’s up for grabs.” She winked. Did she just grab my butt? I think she did; this could get interesting.
“Does this mean I’m being interviewed right now?” I should probably be more careful.
“Not unless you want to be.” She leaned forward to whisper in my ear, “Or we could keep it off the record.”
“I’d like that. Off the record.” This was getting hard to handle; I had to get her out of here soon.
“Okay. What do you have to tell me off the record?” I could feel her warm breath on my neck. There was no way I could wait any longer.
“Not yet, first you finish your drink.” I lifted my glass and drained it. “Then we find someplace a little more private.” I watched her face carefully for any sign of reluctance.
She didn’t show any reluctance, “Now see, that is exactly what my friend thinks is a bad idea.” Instead she picked up her glass and emptied it too.
“And do you think it’s a bad idea?” I grabbed her elbow and turned her body toward the door.
There was no resistance when she replied, “I can think of worse things to do.”
How ironic, I thought, so can I. “It’s still early.” I started leading her out the door.