I sat with Roman in my cozy corner of the bar. It was his night off and instead of staying away from the place he worked ten plus hours a day, he was drinking the night away with vodka martinis and tequila shots.
“Are you ready for your story?” he asked.
“Damn skippy,” I answered, slapping my hand onto the bar. “I love Roman story time.”
“First you have to promise this is never to be repeated to another human via mouth or paper.”
Sitting up in my bar stool, I crossed my heart. This was the first time he had ever prefaced a story with an ultimatum. “Promise.”
“Pinky swear?” he asked, holding out his pinky finger.
“Pinky swear,” I said, wrapping my pinky finger around his.
He nodded and took a deep breath. “The lucky lady last night was a guy.”
I felt my brain cease to think. Did I just hear Roman right? His walk of shame from this morning had been from a guy’s house not a girl’s. “What?” I asked. “Did I hear you correctly?”
He nodded. “Why do you think I wanted to tell you tonight in a packed bar instead of at a quiet table for two?”
I slumped forward in my chair, rested my elbow on the bar, and my chin in my hand. “Was this your first?”
I watched his face try to fight off a grin but failing miserably at it. “Details please. Also, what does this mean and did you meet him here?”
“I did. He was just sitting at the end of the bar by himself. You know slow nights here. It was dead. We were just chatting it up.”
“Hey would you like to have sex chatting it up?”
“No. You know me. I’ll flirt with a pencil if I thought I could get big tip out of it.”
“You got a big tip all right. Well, I mean it might have been big. You haven’t told me that part of the story yet.” Another smile crawled across his face. “This story is going to be totally worth the wait.”
“Will you let me finish?”
I motioned him with my hand to continue. There wasn’t enough vodka in my martini to express how excited to hear this story.
“The bar’s closing and he’s drunk. I try to call him a cab and he’s just not having it at all, but he said, he’d make me a deal. He’d give me three hundred bucks to drive him home.”
“I didn’t go in thinking there’d be sex. I was thinking easy breezy three hundred bucks.”
“Wait, you said you didn’t have enough cash when you called.”
“Not the point since you ran into hottie.”
I sighed. “Okay, continue please. The anticipation is killing me.”
“Obviously, I agreed to drive him home. He lives in one of those fancy-smancy hi rise condos near Red Square. I drove up like sixteen levels in the garage. There’s one other car on his garage level and it’s his Rolls Royce. The entire level is his privately owned garage for his freaking Beamer and his Rolls.”
I felt my mouth drop open. “Seriously?”
“Seriously,” he said, taking out the olives in his martini and dropping them into mine. “We’re sitting in his car talking and he hands me the three hundred bucks and thanks me for driving him.”
“Cut to the how sexy time happened.”
“We are walking to the elevators and he just shoves me against the wall and starts making out with me.”
“And this was okay?” I asked. For any other straight guy I knew, this would be the start of one ugly fight.
“I was freaked out. I pushed him off of me. I could have gotten angry but I knew how much he had to drink so I didn’t. Besides, I had fed him all the booze and you know I try very hard not to judge my drinkers by their drinks.”
“You kind of enjoyed it didn’t you?”
“I didn’t have time to register my feelings. It happened and I pushed him off.”
“Can I retract my I’m not going to write this on paper?”
“Damn,” I replied with a sigh. I fished the toothpick of olives out of my martini and popped one into my mouth. “This is such a good story.”
“And it’d be better if you’d let me finish.”
I held up my hands in surrender. “Continue.”
“He apologized immediately and says he thought I was interested in him from me being so flirtatious at the bar. I explained things to him and we stood there and talked a few more minutes to smooth the air out.”
“So how did you end up in this guy’s bed?”
“He asked me if I’d ever have sex with a guy before and I said no.”
“And that was it?”
Roman shook his head. “We went back to his place and I got stoned out of my fucking mind. He did too.”
“And one thing led to another?”
“Something like that.”
“Something like that?” I asked. “What the hell does that mean?”
“This is for you?” Gwen, Roman’s replacement for the night, said as she placed a drink in front of me.
“I didn’t order that.”
“No, but a guy at the end of the bar did.”
“Which guy?” I asked, not wanting to peer around Gwen.
“Beautiful guy,” Roman said, glancing up and then back to me.
I slid down in my seat a little. “You’re lying,” I said to him.
Roman looked me in the eye. “I wouldn’t lie to you.”
“The suit with the scruffy face at the end of the bar bought you this drink. Be a lady and go say thank you.”
Sighing, I sat up and peered around Gwen. Could the gods be playing a cruel joke on me? At the end of the bar sat the most beautiful human on the planet just like the day before. “So you’re not lying,” I said to Roman.
“Told you so.”
“Go.” Gwen said, leaving as my cover to go do her job.
I raised my drink towards beautiful and he smiled and raised his in returned. Inside, I was jumping up and down like a five year old who just got a pony for Christmas. Outside, I hoped my sheer lack of confidence in myself wasn’t written on my forehead. “By the way, this interruption, doesn’t trump your story ending in something like that.”
“Well it does for now. So go find out beautiful’s name so I can stop calling him that. It’s getting annoying.”
Standing, I grabbed my drink and fought my way through the crowd towards beautiful. Of course, by the time I reached him, I had drunk my entire martini. I needed liquid courage if I wasn’t going to make a complete and utter fool out of myself. “Thanks for the drink,” I said, putting the empty glass on bar.
He eyed the drink and the looked at me. “You finished it that quick?”
I shook my head. “Some of it. Most of it is on the people I had to walk through to get to you.” I lied and was not ashamed of it at all.
“I’ll have to buy you another one then.”
“Not without telling me your name first.”
His name was even beautiful. Did the Gods chisel him out of stone and then make him come to life? “It’s nice to meet you Stellan. I’m Anna Montgomery.” As his hand touched mine, I hoped he couldn’t feel my pulse quicken. Just like from my memory from the previous day, his tie was loose and his jacket undone and I let my mind etch this into my memory as well. There’s nothing sexier than a man in a well-fitted suit.
“I see you’re with someone so I won’t keep you, but I figured I owed you a drink since I knocked you down today.”
My mind raced with a thousand screams. Damn Roman. Damn. Damn. Damn. “You didn’t have to, but thank you. Are you here by yourself?”
“With some friends. They’re playing darts.”
I nodded. My mind was blank. Not one thought crossed it. I felt my heart quicken but not in a good way, but in a panic it’s time to pull the rip cord way. “You don’t play darts?”
“I do,” he answered, “I lost a game so it’s my turn to buy a round.”
I glanced at the four beers and four shots in front of him. “You guys don’t play around do you?”
He smiled and shook his head. “Not on a Friday night after a long day of work.”
“Do you need another Anna?” Gwen asked.
She was a godsend. My mind wasn’t working and I was afraid I was failing fast.
“She’ll have another. On my tab please.”
Gwen nodded and left as quickly as she appeared.
“Are you sure?”
Stellan nodded. “You didn’t get to enjoy your last one.”
“Thank you. I owe you one now.”
“Are you sure your boyfriend won’t mind you buying a stranger a drink?”
“Not my boyfriend. Roman’s just a good friend.”
“He looks familiar.”
“He works here,” I answered. My mind scrambled for something that would not make me look like a stalker. “Maybe you’ve seen him here before?”
“That’s probably it. I’ve been here a few times before.”
I wanted to ask why I had never noticed him before but kept that question to myself.
“Stellan, you getting those drinks or not?”
I peered over my shoulder and saw a guy about the same age and height as Stellan three people away. He had dark blonde hair compared to Stellan’s brown hair. “You better go. The natives seem to be getting restless.”
Standing, he smiled down at me.
God he was tall, but I barely reached five foot four so everyone over five foot five was a giant to me. “If you want to take me up on that drink offer, I’ll be in the corner of the bar.”
“I’ll come find you,” he said with a smile.
Nodding with a smile that mirrored his, I watched as he passed the beers to his friend and as he grabbed the shots. Once I was sure he was nowhere near me, I let out a breath that I didn’t know I had been holding. I looked at Roman and smiled.
“Where’d he go?” Gwen asked as she put my drink on the bar.
“To play darts with his friends.”
She eyed me. “You’re suppose to woo him with your charm. Not send him back to the boys.”
“He had their beer and shots. What’s a girl to do?”
She contemplated what I said and nodded. “Okay. Acceptable. Want me to walk your drink back down to Roman?”
“Yes please.” I wanted to do a happy dance or start shouting happy, happy, joy, joy like from the cartoons but I took a deep breath and told myself that it was just a drink and nothing more. I had to be honest with myself. My track record for men was like my track record for books. Actually that was a very bad analogy since I had books that were best sellers. I should have said that my track record for men was like my current writing dry spell. Relationships eluded me. Men eluded me. I was good at creating them in my head and putting them on paper but in reality they were just something out of my reach.
“So?” Roman asked as I sat down on the bar stool next to him. “What’s his name? Still beautiful?”
“His name is Stellan and he’s still beautiful.”
“Perfect enough to be your perfect muse?”
“Looks great in a suit.”
“You’re avoiding the question.”
“Something like that,” I said with a smile.
This page copyright © 2009 Shelia Taylor
All rights reserved | This is an excerpt of the rough draft and not the final version