I walk into the bar, paying special attention to the clickclickclick of my heels on the slick marble floor, because while these heels and this dress make me look and feel amazing, they will not have the same affect if they are sprawled out on the floor where I’ve slipped and fallen.
I stop and look around, nervously fluffing my hair before I approach the bar and slide on a stool next to a handsome brother in a gray suit hunched over what looks like an old fashioned. He’s absentmindedly making amber circles with the stirrer.
“Are they any good?” I ask him and he jumps a little.
“Old fashioned, right? Are they any good?”
“Oh, yeah. Um…pretty good. Yeah.”
“That wasn’t convincing at all.”
“No, seriously. It’s good,” he says, his eyes sliding up my thighs until they meet my raised eyebrows. “I’ll buy you one. That way if you hate it, you can blame it on me.” He mentions to the bartender with his glass. “For the beautiful girl.”
Once it’s placed in front of me, I take a tentative sip.
“It’s good. Not better than my favorite. But it’s good.”
“What’s so special about your favorite?”
We go silent, each of us thinking and sipping. He breaks the silence first.
“This is one of the saddest games I’ve ever seen,” he says motioning to the TV.
“It’ll be a low scoring game. A boring, low scoring game.”
“You here by yourself?”
“I’m alone,” I say, and a look I can’t name passes over his face so quickly I think maybe I’ve imagined it.
“Me too. Wanna keep me company til it’s over?”
“I can do that.”
I don’t even noticed I’ve finished my drink until he subtly orders another round.
By third quarter we’ve loosened up, the whiskey lubricating the conversation. We’re laughing and lamenting our fantasy football failures. Every once in awhile, as he’s sliding his phone across the bar so I can see his roster, the banner at the top scrolls across showing he has a text. Once. Twice. Once more.
“Someone is trying very hard to get a hold of you,” I say, sliding his phone back across the bar to him. Without a glance, he slides the phone into his jacket pocket.
“I’m good,” he tells me, and orders us another round.
By the end of the fourth, we’ve turned into each other, the game mostly forgotten, his hand on my crossed, bare knee. He stares at me, trying mightily to focus.
“You’re so damn pretty.”
“Yes. But not so drunk I’m blind.”
“You must get that a lot though, don’t you?”
“Well, yes,” I admit with a laugh. “But it doesn’t make me any less grateful.”
“You should let me take you to dinner.”
“I’m only in town a few days.”
“For business or pleasure?”
“Pleasure,” I tell him with a smirk, at this point abandoning all pretense of being coy.
He makes a sound as he looks me up and down that makes my back involuntarily arch.
“I’m staying here. And you should buy me breakfast in the morning,” I say as I slide my room key across the bar. “703. If you’re interested.”
I slide off my stool, steadying myself, and walking across the slippery floor as alluringly as I can manage. I probably look like a drunk baby reindeer. I’m praying he’s not watching but I can feel his eyes on my ass.
I make it up to my room where I open the blinds so the moonlight falls over the gigantic bed. I put my spinning head against the cold glass. Before I can turn around, I hear the key in the lock.
He wraps his arms around my waist and I lean back into him, my head falling forward to accommodate him nuzzling the back of my neck.
“Hi,” he sighs into my hair, lifting it atop my head and kissing the back of my neck.
“Wait,” I say, turning in his arms to face him without ever breaking the embrace. I reach into his jacket and pull out his phone. I power it off and toss it onto the chair across the room.
“Mine,” I demand, loosening his tie.
“I missed you, La.”
I kiss him. Everything I need to say can be found there.