I bet he thinks he could fuck me in half, this guy drooling over me from fourteen inches away. He doesn’t get that I could put him on the ground in 40 seconds.
Underestimated. Forever, fucking underestimated.
But he stands there over the bar, smiling at me like I’m a Christmas present. In a goddamn cardigan, of all things.
“What’s with all the bruises, sweetie? You ok?”
“Yeah. I’m fine.”
I roll my eyes, but then my shoulders and look back up at him with a smile.
“Can I get you something?”
“You sure you’re ok? You have… You’re really pretty.”
I can’t help but wince. He smells really good. At least he’s not smooth. I’d thought he’d be one of those pick up artists.
“Yeah, lots of girls are pretty. How about a drink?”
His forehead creases and he rests his fingers on my hand against the bar. I should be used to this shit.
“Hey. I might be able to help–”
“Listen, I really appreciate your concern, but I’m not in trouble. Seriously. I would really like to get your drink order though.”
I watch him narrow his eyes as he pulls his hand away.
“Jack and Coke.”
It never ceases to amaze me how people will surprise me with their drink orders. I would have pegged him for a microbrew. Deb can guess them every time. More proof that this is not my destiny.
He stares at me as I mix his drink, but he doesn’t give me the same mopey look I’m used to.
“So, what are they from?”
I glance up at him, but look away quickly. I feel my cheeks heat up and tuck my hair behind my ear as I set the glass in front of him.
“Never assume anything.”
I exhale a long breath, closing my eyes, before I step forward and tell him what he owes.
“You’re not going to tell me? I’m actually really curious.”
His smile reveals a broken tooth and I can’t help but chuckle at the irony. A prepster, in a hip bar, with a broken tooth. I narrow my eyes at him and step further forward again, only inches away, so I won’t be heard.
“The first rule…”
“Ah-ha. And the second.”
He catches himself and lowers his voice.
“And the third!”
Staring at him, I can’t imagine him there. But I look down and notice the scrapes on his knuckles and places where tape had pulled off the hair on the backs of his hands. When I look up, his smile is different.
“Willshire and Fifth… We let women in too.”
I laugh out loud, throwing my hand over my mouth, and cursing under my breath as I look around the bar. When I glance back at him, he’s sat in the stool drinking through the tiny straw from the side of his mouth. Making me smile again.
He chuckles and nods, setting the glass down too hard, and wiping his forehead.
I purse my lips and lean forward on my forearms.
“It’s the hardest rule in the fucking world, isn’t it?”
“Denton and Spring. Wednesdays at 11.”
“Breaking the rules doesn’t seem to bother you.”
“Some of them.”
I nod towards his empty glass and he hands it to me grinning. As I turn to fill it, I think I hear him say something but I look back and he’s staring at his hands.
“It’s only obvious to us.”
I put his glass back in front of him and switch out the cocktail straw for a soda straw, which makes him smile at me again with that crooked, fucking broken grin.
“So, Mr Rogers, what do you do?”
“I’m an orthopedic surgeon.”
“Holy shit, really?? That’s either perfect or perfectly stupid.”
“Well, it doesn’t take extreme precision to reset broken hips… so I always have something to lean back on.”
I feel myself smiling at him. More than I’ve smiled in a long time.
And leaning forward on that bar, facing him and knowing, I just couldn’t help myself.
“Willshire and Fifth when?”
“Tonight. 1am. You going to come?”
I purse my lips again and slide my fingers over his knuckles.
“But I’ll see you around, doctor.”
Just a little flash fiction, and possibly the beginning of something bigger.