When I was in university my friends and I enjoyed going to country bars often. If you ask many woman they will tell you how country singers, male or female, have a kind of talent you can’t fake. They have genuinely wonderful voices as most of them can sing with nothing but a guitar. Moreover, a country song is the best song to dance too whether it’s an upbeat tune or a tear-jerker ballad to slowly dance along with. I was and am also a big fan of line dancing, it’s a lot easier to catch onto than two stepping for me.
I have always had trouble two-stepping because I find it difficult to keep in time — despite playing piano for ten years. Several times I remover thinking I finally understood the rhythm of two-stepping and than the next time my friends and I went out, I’d find I could no longer do the correct steps. Maybe I had to be drunk too do it? I’m not sure but usually I faked it as best as I could. I can do some basic two stepping moves — some simple steps, turns, and twists but I always ended up messing up the rhythm and stepping on my partners feet. My biggest fear was being pulled onto the dance floor alone with a guy, forced to two step in front of a crowd as some of my girl friends had had happen quite a few times. Not surprisingly, however, the best two-steppers can make a terrible dancer appear as a decent one.
On one occasion I was out at a country bar with a bunch of girl friends and the night was winding down. The last energetic set of songs were being played by the DJ and a hot bartender who had been giving me eye all night , pulled me onto the dance floor twisting and turning me, even picking me up and making me squeal. I was embarrassed because I knew I sucked at two stepping. Had it been a slow song at least I could have gotten by with a simple waltz and faked two-stepping.
Instead, I was at the center of attention in the bar being thrown into the air, swished off the dance floor, spun, and turned by this bartender who was an amazing dancer and always kept us moving to the right rhythm. We remained dancing for about three songs and even though I kept messing up, the bartender only laughed and kept moving me in such a way that my mistakes were not obvious. It was exhilarating and dizzying as we moved speedily from one end of the dance floor to another, back and forth, than again.
Finally I had enough as the upbeat songs became slow dance songs and the bar was emptying out as last call had passed much earlier. Everyone around the dance floor clapped as the bartender escorted me to the place he was tending bar. He winked at me and poured me a drink before we clinked glasses. A minute later the bartender was called away and I slipped out cabbing home with my friends who teased me knowing I hate being the centre of attention when I’m clueless. It might have been nice to talk more with the bartender, but we had all drunk a lot and were falling asleep in the early morning hours.
Having to do something like that in front of a crowd, something I was terrible at, was a first for me. But a sexy bartender and his amazing two stepping skills saved my inept dancing in front of a lot of people. As it was, I’m pretty sure most of the crowd was too drunk to note my missed steps and my high heels on the bartenders poor feet.
“We Were Us” – Keith Urban featuring Miranda Lambert
Sophia hid in her closet, it was her only safe place. Hanging on a ceiling was a mobile with a handcrafted dragon. She remembered thinking the dragon was frightening, but whenever the darkness in her room swallowed her, the dragon’s eyes flashed; the shadows were obliterated.
She also remembered when her mom first hit her. She scrubbed Sophia’s cut and it was excruciating as was the burning stringent liquid her mom poured on it.
Suddenly, Sophia heard yelling and stomping. The closest door flew open — her mother was drunk again.
Instantly, the dragon’s eyes above her caught fire. He grew into a monster with golden scales and the scent of fire and ash, spreading and filling Sophia’s entire bedroom. He blew a blaze of fire at her mom but only the bottle of Kirkland Tequila (1.75 Litres/$20.00) in her mom’s hand disintegrated.
In words veiled in smoke the dragon hissed at Sophia’s mom who nodded; she understood the dragon’s warning. He breathed out his last plume of smoke and except for the acrid smell, it was if Sophie’s dragon had never awoken.
She crawled out of her hiding place and petted the handcrafted dragon hearing him purr.
Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for Friday’s music prompt, “I Don’t Want To Talk About It” by Rod Stewart. The song is loosely used in part three. Warning Part Three contains Adult Content.
“I Don’t Want To Talk About It” – Rod Stewart
Tallia drove back to Fairy Dust as fast as her Vespa would take her without losing the giant fish off the Vespa’s back compartment. She was feeling afraid because she knew Teegan would be nearly awake, but felt certain he would be in enough of a fog she would have time to make the potion he required. She prayed the tonic took his darkness away, the shadow that stalked him. But at the same time Tallia knew, the shadow was Teegan.
The presence of darkness lurked as Tallia quietly opened the back door, slipping inside her shop. She set the goldfish in his bag, down on a countertop and stood for a moment blinking tiredly. It was the middle of the afternoon and a wave of fatigue overwhelmed her. She had been up late thinking about Teegan, what he could have possibly done hundreds of years ago to be cursed so wickedly. She was thinking about him in other ways too, Tallia realized blushing.
She wasn’t sure what she’d do if Teegan knew she’d drugged him, what he’d say or do. She didn’t know how much in control Teegan was of his darkness right now. The wisest thing Tallia could do was make him his potion whenever he needed it, whatever kind of potion it was. She thought about the wisdom Teegan hopefully acquired in his centuries alive. Would it make him extra understanding?
Then again, she could be wrong. Some people never learned their lessons despite experience. Yet Tallia was sure, in Teegan’s startling green eyes had been knowledge of dark deeds and lessons learned with difficulty. The blackness in his gaze almost had the affect of repelling Tallia at first.
At the same time, his emerald eyes were seductive and drew her too Teegan. No matter his real age, he appeared to be in his thirties. He was ridiculously good looking in the truest sense. She could smell his particular pleasing scent from where she leaned against the counter in the back of her store. Where she put together potions and caste spells for magical items customer’s required.
Perhaps, it was her heightened sense of smell which brought to life Teegan’s addictive scent, or maybe her memories were more vivid due to her attraction to him.
Tallia jumped when a voice whispered in her ear.
“Where’d you go? How come my potion’s not made? I need it now Tallia,” he whispered.
“Yep, I’m awake, thanks for the nap by the way. Did you find out what you needed too? I see you got the giant gold fish. You’re worried about me and the shadow around me which makes you sick. You went and talked to Jude. He’s been around over a century. Old for most humans, but not as old as me, Tallia.”
“I didn’t talk to Jude, he’s in the hospital because he had a stroke and isn’t doing well,” Tallia sad with sadness.” I talked to his great-grandson Aspen. He run’s the store now I guess. He said you were cursed, that you did something terrible. That’s why you’ve so much darkness. How do you make it go away Teegan? What happens if you don’t take this potion?”
Tallia felt warm and comfortable and realized Teegan had moved to hold her from behind, his arms crossed against her stomach. Teegan’s head suddenly lay against hers and she could feel him sigh as if he could finally relax. Tallia had never been so near to Teegan, she felt dizzy in good way. It felt wonderful to be held so gently, though she wondered if Teegan realized he had moved to comfort her.
Moments later, Tallia felt Teegan’s lips firmly on the side of her neck, traveling up under her ear and sucking gently on her earlobe. His lips moved back down her neck to the v-neck of her sweater. He kissed her over her heart and Tallia shivered when his lips traced her neck, went over her chin, and landed on her lips. Her heart was racing, she felt hot and cold all over.
Teegan bit her lip gently, seeking access to her mouth. His tongue met hears with need. Tallia couldn’t think, could only feel. Her connection with Teegan was something new to her. This sense of knowing him and recognizing him, beyond the physical sense. In her mind, she could feel him encouraging her to relax.
“I’ll take care of you,” he whispered.
Teegan kissed Tallia until she was breathless, his hands massaging her stomach, sides, and hips. His hand moved up to squeezing her breast over her sweater and short coat. She moaned when he broke off his the kiss leaving Tallia wanting. He breathed in the crook of her neck, his hand not moving, but not leaving either. It seemed as if hours had passed but it had only been minutes.
Teegan collected himself and moved a distance from Tallia as he spoke: “Tallia, I can’t. I want to, but I shouldn’t have done that; it confused you. I need you to make my potion nowplease. You’re the only one who can do it. It has to be one of your bloodline. And if you don’t I’ll turn evil. I’ll be a curse myself, a terrible man. I’ve done such evil because I’m cursed, or was before your gifted ancestor came up with this potion. It’s the only way to keep me from turning, Tallia. You and I, we’re tied together because of your ancestor. You remind me of her,” Teegan remarked.
“You need to tell me the entire story. This isn’t fair Teegan. Of course, I’ll make the potion. But my Aunt never told me any of this. The cancer took her a way in so little time. I need more answers from you,” Tallia pleaded.
“I don’t want to talk about it Tallia. Make the potion. You’re breaking my heart here,” Teegan said rolling his eyes.
“What if I don’t?”
“I’ll be evil, as I’ve said and as I’m sure Aspen told you. I’ll hurt you, probably kill you, and I don’t want to do that. If I kill you, I’ll be evil forever — until someone kills me. You’re the last in your line. Make the potion, Tallia, we could be happy.”
“Tallia, make it now! You know I’m not trying to deceive you. You can feel it.”
“Yes, you’re right. I do feel you’re being genuine. I’ll make it as fast I can.”
Tallia gathered all the ingredients she had laid out earlier and brought them to an extremely large mixing bowl. She measured all the ingredients into the bowl quickly and accurately, barely thinking. She followed the directions in Aunt Willow’s tome and chanted the right words when she needed to say them. Pouring out the water of the giant gold fish’s bag in a sink, she slid the giant flopping gold fish into her bowl. With wide eyes she watched the potion simmer and turn scarlet.
Aspen had been right, the goldfish was a sacrifice of life. Although a mouse or anything small would’ve done the job, but her ancestor’s writing said the giant goldfish was preferred. Tallia strained the chunks of ingredients from the mixture; the goldfish had disintegrated.
Tallia pulled a beer stein out of her cupboard to Teegan’s surprise. She poured half of the scarlet liquid into the earthen beer stein. Teegan had been watching Tallia create the potion the entire time. He hadn’t said anything, only watched her, familiar with her actions. He’d probably watched her Aunt Willow and her Great-Aunt do the same. And many of Tallia’s ancestors, if she could believe his story.
She turned around from the giant bowl and found Teegan beside her, leaning against the counter studying her. His hand moved, pushing her light purple-grey hair behind her ear. He was so much taller than her, Tallia thought.
Teegan smiled when she offered him the beer stein.”Where’s yours?”he asked her.
“Where’s my what?”
“Yourhalf of the potion? You have to drink it with me,” Teegan told her.
Tallia was about to protest but he was gazing at her in a particular way. She noticed the pain usually hidden in his eyes present. She felt it through herbeing and it softened her heart; her protests crumbled.
” I wish I wasn’t so intuitive, Teegan. You do really need me to drink your tonic with you? Do you promise I’ll be okay?”
“I promise. Your Aunt, she was always fine. You’ll find it invigorating actually,” he said.
Tallia nodded reading what Teegan had told her in the tome beside her on the counter. How did she miss that direction? Peeringup she noticed him pouring her a beer stein of the remaining liquid. She took the potion from him, grimacing because she knew the ingredients in it. She tasted a bit of the potion, testing the flavour. It tasted like cinnamon and a woodsy red wine. How could that be?
“Bottoms up?” Teegan said holding up his stein.
Talia clinked her stein with his, “Slainte,” she said.
Teegan’s potion was easy going down. Tallia could feel a lightness, as if her cares were floating free. She felt energy, Teegan was right. His potion did feel invigorating. Her mind felt intensely perceptive as well. Swallowing the remenants of the liquid she saw Teegan had already finished his.
“Better, huh?” he asked.
“Yeah, it’s amazing stuff,” she said peering everywhere, everything around her was completelycrystal clear. Her early fatigue was gone. Tallia noticed Teegan’s dark circles had faded. He appeared younger, his few wrinkles smoothed out. He was gazing at her again in certain way, and she knew from the flicker in his green-eyes what he wanted. Tallia felt almost drunk, except the potion made everything feel real.
She laughed aloud and Teegan frowned,”What?”
“No you’re not getting that from me,” she said.
“It wasn’t difficult to get a kiss and more from you before. You like me. I can tell, I like you too,” Teegan said, eyes darkening and meeting her own.
“No,” Tallia said laughing again. “You have to earn it. Take me out. Tell me about yourself and my ancestors. Did you sleep with one of my great- great – female relatives?”
“Don’t you feel like you’re burning up inside? I don’t know what I’ll do if I can’t . . .” he said approaching Tallia, following her as if she were prey. “I slept with the first of your ancestors I knew, she was my . . . my woman, for a while. But she died and we never had a child.”
Tallia backed away from Teegan smiling, wary but turnedon at the same time. He was irresistible and Tallia found herself trapped against a wall. She laughed more as Teegan stripped off his shirt and unbuckled his belt. Her mouth ran dry seeing his finely sculpted body. He grinned and grabbed both her hands, holding her hands above her head. Tallia whimpered and Teegan chuckled.
“I’m not, I’m not a one night type of girl and you’re . . . you smell so good. But you’ve lived so much longer than me, what could you possibly see in me,” she murmured.
“You’re not one night Tallia. I was thinking many many and I see you’re beautiful and gifted; you’re also intelligent.You didn’t immediately trust me.”
“Okay . . .” Tallia began but Teegan’s lips roughly met hers and she gasped as his tongue invaded sliding against hers. His hands were everywhere beneath her shirt and bralette. Then her shirt and bralette were gone and his mouth was there and she couldn’t contain her cries. “Oh no . . .”
He removed his mouth breathing hard, “Stop?”
“Oh please no!” Tallia said.
He chuckled and continued loving her with his mouth. “Teegan . . .” she whispered, feeling her body melt into his.
He pulled off the rest of her clothes, kissing her slightly round stomach and turning her around to kiss Tallia all over back and to her surprise, over her hips and bottom. His fingers found her center and rubbed below, circling her sweet spot, his thumb pressing against her.
“Please please. . .”
Teegan kissed her bottom again and turned her around so his head was level with Tallia’s belly button. He kissed her stomach before thrusting two fingers into her core, she shook and nearly screamed. It hurt but it was okay because the pleasure of his fingers going in and out of her was intense. She wailed when his fingers took her over the edge.
He kissed her, his lips and tongue centered on her core. The sensations Tallia felt were indescribable. Teegan was teasing her, he knew she need to come again but wasn’t letting her; he was making her wait for him. Teegan removed the rest of his clothes and gently lifted Tallia’s body onto the counter. He pushed both his fingers inside her again, adding a third.
“I’ve never . . .” she whispered suddenly shy.
“At your age? I’m flattered, no one values that these days,” Teegan whispered.
Tallia flushed, “Well it’s complicated. It’s gone but, I never had sex.”
“What do you mean?” Teegan asked stopping. His voice sounded grim.
“Don’t stop, don’t,” Tallia begged.
“Okay, but I will kill whoever did it to you,” he promised.
Tallia believed Teegan, he appeared dead serious even though they were having sex.”It’s fine,” she mumbled. “It was a university party. I was too drunk and fell asleep and he was there sometime. When I woke up he was gone and I hurt,” Tallia admitted anxious for Teegan to continue loving her.
“Are you okay, are . . .”
“Please don’t, don’t stop. Please I need you.”
Teegan nodded, understanding. “You’ve got me,” he replied.He guided himself to her entrance and gently pushed inside.
“Good, more.” Tallia said gripping his sides until Teegan was completely inside her. It stung and hurt but it was also the best feeling she could imagine when he began to move. She wrapped her legs around his waist and he whispered dirty things in her ear, all the things he wanted to do to her.
She felt his rhythm increase and her own body released again, more powerfully this time. She felt the final pushes of him in her body as he came. Teegan breathed heavily, holding Tallia and kissing her forehead.
Then, Tallia was crying, amazed tears were falling down her face. But Teegan gently hushed her and kissed her tears. It was hard for her to believe Teegan could ever be an evil monster. Tallia needed to know more about his past, when he was ready to tell her; she hoped it was soon.
The lights assault my eyes, as they blur past me. Vegas is a beautiful city at night. I had had a table with my friends at the club with bottle service. Slowly, I remember us drinking the vodka shot by shot until the girls had enough.
“Were done, I’m already too drunk. I want to be able to shop tomorrow afternoon,” Megan said and her friend Kelly nodded in agreement.
The other guys and I laughed and jeered, egging the girls on to do one more shot. They refused and went off to dance. After an hour or so passed, I saw them leave the club, removing their heels on the way.
I noticed my good friend Ryan had passed-out on the cushioned bench around the table, parallel to me. I continued drinking, sipping my vodka shots, determined to finish the little vodka left in the bottom of the bottle. It was expensive after all to get bottle service.
A concerned bouncer who had been watching me with deep dark eyes, set two glasses of water down in front of me. “Sir, you need to drink both these glasses,” he said.
“Umm, no. I want more vodka. I’ll pay for another bottle,” I slurred.
The bouncer shook his head, “You need to drink these glasses now sir. I don’t want you to get alcohol poisoning and die in my club.”
I sighed grabbing both glasses, I downed them one at a time.”Gees, I was thirsty,” I told the bouncer.
“I’m calling you and your friend a cab at the back door entrance,” he said nodding at Ryan. ” I don’t have to, I could just throw you out. But, I get this feeling you’re running from something, trying to drink it away. So tonight, I’ll be nice,” the bouncer said. “I get it man, but you’re a grown-up and even in Vegas, you have to have limits.”
Another bouncer came to aid the first bouncer, guide us out to the cab. I leaned on the first bouncer’s shoulder and the other guy half-carried Ryan out the door.
The cab driver looked nervous, “I don’t want anyone throwing-up in here,” he announced. But the bouncers ignored him.
“Where is your hotel?” The first bouncer asked me.
I had to think a moment, everything was such a blur and it was difficult to think. I was so tired and mad at her. Why’d she cheat on me after ten-years marriage? Why’d she leave me for him?
“Um, we’re at Caesars,” I stammered, then reached into my pocket, pulling out a wad of bills; I tried my best to count out $100.00 exactly. I gave it the cab driver. He nodded, “okay where too?” The bouncers shut the cab doors and the driver took off down the Las Vegas strip.
The lights of Las Vegas were beautiful, brilliant, and blurred. But they also made me nauseous. I closed my heavy lids, and opened them as I tried not to sleep. But I couldn’t stop myself and I fell asleep quickly.
Ryan was shaking me. “Come on Blaine, wake up. You’re 6’4″ and two-hundred-some pounds, I can’t lift you alone. You need to help me.”
I blinked in the bright lights at the entrance to Caesars guest reception. It would take us forever to find our rooms because the hotel was so huge and neither of us were well enough to remember where our room was specifically.
Ryan’s hands shook and his face was pale white. He ran and threw-up in a garbage can. He apologized five-minutes later to a man near by helping guests at the front entrance and gave him a twenty, and thinking this man would have to clean the garbage can up.
I was slowly, stepping out of the car, but my legs nearly collapsed and I groaned in frustration. I reached into my wallet and pulled out eighty-dollars. I could count money now at least, though my head felt like someone was hammering my temples.
“Here,” I said to a couple of men upfront working for Caesars. I gave them my cash and asked,”Help us back to my room, please.”
Two silent men grabbed the cash splitting it and they smiled at me now. “Of course sir, do you have your keycard?” I nodded, pulling it out of my pocket. I gave it to the men and they called for two other men, one whom I leaned heavily against as we made an endless journey to my room. Sometime in there, I fell asleep.
It was 3:00 pm when I awoke in my hotel room. Immediately, I went and threw-up in the bathroom several times before I felt better. I took a shower and washed away the smoke and putrid smell of vodka and vomit. I called room service to put some food in my stomach and help me recover. I ordered some French toast, coffee, and orange juice –two orders –one for Ryan as well, when he awoke.
I saw him lying on the bed and I tried to shake him awake. I thought he only needed more sleep. He wasn’t a big guy, so perhaps the vodka hit him harder than me.
A day later, Ryan still wasn’t up and I asked my friends what we should do.
“Well, sometimes you really need to sleep it off. We’re not so young anymore, hangovers can last two-days. He’s breathing so he must be fine,” Kyle reasoned and my other friend Maison seemed to agree. We went down to the casino to play poker.
On the third day we asked reception to call a doctor for us. It was expensive but my friends and I were worried about Ryan. He was cold and his chest barely moved, his breathing was so shallow.
The Doctor was tense upon inspecting Ryan three-hours later. “I’m sorry gentlemen, your friend died earlier this morning, about the time I was called to your room. If only you’d called sooner and emphasized how badly he was doing,” the Doctor chided.
“Ryan had alcohol poisoning so badly he went into a coma. He has no heart beat and isn’t breathing as you indicated earlier. It’s tragic but I guess you’ll understand me now when I say, watch your alcoholic intake; in Vegas especially.”
I started to cry in front of the Doctor and my friends. I didn’t know how I could tell Ryan’s family he’d passed on. He’d been the one who said we needed a boys trip to help me get out the funk of my wife cheating and divorcing me.
I remember him saying, “Blaine you need to get out and have some fun. Come to Las Vegas with me and the guys. Forget about your problems for a while. I’ll forget about mine too,” he said. He never told me what his problems were and I never asked, I thought regretfully.
Now my good friend Ryan was gone. I closed my eyes imagining lights blurring past me. It wasn’t only how I felt when I was drunk. It was how I felt all the time these days. As if I had no control as all the pretty lights rushed by.
When I did have time, I made the wrong choices. The lights were my escape, but I needed to pay attention now, to move on in my life as Ryan would have wanted. I couldn’t drink the pain away.
Today’s prompt for Writing 101 is to write a series of anecdotes or vignettes which are defined as ” short, episodic scenes or moments that together read as variations on the same subject/story.” Therefore, each vignettes needs to have a similarity between them which ties each vignettes to the others.
Tessa feels afraid. Life has become unmanageable for her to take a risk in love because she can’t calculate the damage another man could do to her. One guy Ryan, she talked to for a year and he wanted be with Tessa but she was in a relationship at the time. Tessa told Ryan, she loved her boyfriend. She only wanted to be friends with Ryan. He wasn’t interested in being friends. The thought of not talking to and seeing him anymore, made Tessa bitterly sad.
Tessa was single and free. It felt wonderful to not have to go out and spend her weekends at her boyfriend Ted’s place, not doing much of anything. When she was out, Tessa wanted to be doing something, not laying around all day. A nap was one thing, but sitting and watching the same news channel hours on end as Ted did, Tessa couldn’t handle it. She wanted to visit their couple friends and go to fun events on the evenings and a week night once in a while. Her now ex-boyfriend Ted always sat on the couch, eyes on the news or searching the Internet. Tessa left Ted, never looking back.
Freedom flowed through her veins. Tessa was happy and her life was fulfilling. She was working hard each day. Doing the best she could, developing a career. But there were always men who wanted something from Tessa. She didn’t want to be mean and say: “I don’t want anything from you. You’d only mess up my life and I like my life how it is right now.”
To say that would be too honest and being too honest can sound brash and thoughtless and get a woman labelled. Tessa didn’t want to damage her career, but often it meant putting up with men, their sexual inuendo and advances.
Greyson is messaging Tessa again. No real conversation occurs between them. He doesn’t talk about his days or ask much about hers when they go on dates. Greyson gazes at her and says, “I like you. I like talking to you. Don’t you like me?” Tessa is tired of his games.
She tells Greyson, “We’ve been through this. You don’t want a relationship and I do.”
He remarks, “Let’s sleep together and see how it goes.”
Tessa is angry, her attraction to Greyson wanes and she ceases talking to him.
She is dating Phillip now. A new guy who keeps calling her at all times. Phillip won’t stop. He’s a stranger who somehow had her number in his contacts. Tessa recalls she hasn’t had her new cell number for long.
Phillip tells Tessa he is into having a relationship with her but with him too, it comes down to sex. After they have sex he tells her, “We’ll see how things go.” He is suddenly non-committal and distant towards Tess, except when he wants to sleep with her.
Tessa is exasperated. Isn’t she valuable outside the context of sex? Isn’t there a guy who will like her for her personality too and want to get to know her!?
Now, whenever Phillip texts or calls Tessa deletes any trace of him from her cell phone.
Some man starts talking to Tessa outside her hair salon, grabbing her arm. She doesn’t like it when people she doesn’t know man handle her. But Tessa attempts to be polite.
The stranger tells her she’s beautiful and keeps complimenting her. She’s not attracted to him in the least and he won’t let her leave. He keeps stepping in front of her as she tries to take the stairs down to the train.
Tessa had worked in the morning and taken the afternoon off to have her hair done and now this weird man won’t let her go home. It’s only 4:00 pm but Tessa smells the liquor on the stranger’s breath.
“Let go. Leave me alone. My boyfriend wouldn’t like you bothering me like this. I need to go home.” She tells the man.
The stranger acts offended and she shivers in disgust at his repulsive corporate ego. She hates having to lie to protect herself. To ensure her own security.
Tessa meanders in a popular shopping district, alone on a Saturday afternoon. She’s in a boutique and is enthused the clothes are stylish but not overally expensive. Tessa models a blue halter dress and she hears a deep voice remark: “I’d take you out in that dress. You’re gorgeous.”
Tessa turns, regarding the man who complimented her. He’s a bit older, but it doesn’t bother her. The handsome man’s blue eyes are breath-taking, bright against dark hair and attractive full lips. He wears dark jeans and a blue t-shirt matching his eyes.
Suddenly, Tessa realizes she’s been staring at the attractive man and hasn’t responded to his compliment. She blushes and her skin goes red.”I’m happy you like me in the dress. I wasn’t sure about it, but you’ve made my mind up for me.”
The attractive man chuckles and comes up to Tessa, running a hand gently down her arm. She’s surprised his familer touch doesn’t bother her. He gazes into her eyes and smiles.
“What’s a pretty girl like you doing all by herself shopping? You need a guy to hold your bags and make sure douch men don’t bother you.”
Tessa laughs. “Are you offering to do the job? Because I would definitely have to take you up on that offer. I’m Tessa by the way.” She holds out her hand which is shaking a bit and his strong hand engulfs hers and shakes it firmly. A firm handshake, Tessa is impressed.
She smiles as the attractive man runs a hand through wisps of her loose hair. “What’s your name?” She asks him.
He grins at her question. “I’m Blake and I’m a university professor in economics. What do you do Tessa?”
” I work in HR for a company. I like talking with different people and helping them.” Blake stares at his hands in his jean pockets, smiling at Tessa before touching her cheek with the back of his hand.
Again, his touch doesn’t bother Tessa. She craves it. Blake smells wonderful, like the ocean with a note of sandlewood. Blake and her are standing close and Tessa’s breathing is picking-up speed with Blake’s breath.
“There you are.” An elegant woman in a red dress sweeps in. She’s thin and willowy and seems like she’s a model, on trend and waifish.”Who’s this?” The model asks, regarding Tessa as if she were a peculiar creature for Blake to be flirting with.
The model’s eyes rove over Tessa and back to Blake. Blake sighs and he doesn’t appear glad to see the model, in fact; he seems annoyed. He gazes at Tessa appearing apologetic. Tessa has pity on Blake.
“Oh this must be your girlfriend you were telling me about.” Tessa remarks to Blake. “She is stunning and you’re lucky to have her. I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch. I’ve been busy and I know you have been busy too. I’ll let you get back to your girl.” The model gives Tessa an odd look and then giggles.
Tessa can’t help but feel she’s missing something and that the model is making fun of her.”Lovely to meet you, ” the model says.”I’m Cherise.”
“I’m Tessa and Blake really loves you.” She says. Cherish chuckles and so does Blake.
Cherise smiles at Tessa and Blake. Tessa doesn’t know what to say. She feels miserable. because she has met a nice guy and he isn’t actually a nice guy. He has a girlfriend named Cherise who’s laughing at her.
Tessa was hugely attracted to Blake and wanted to know him better. He pressed the back of his hand to her cheek as Cherise walked away to look at a dress.
“I’m going to try this on,” she tells Blake who nods at her. But his blue gaze is focused on Tessa.
“Why did you do that?” Blake says, laughter in his voice. ” Cherise is my younger step-sister. She’s not my girlfriend. It’s gross thinking about her that way. We have the same Dad and I grew up with her.”
Tessa’s face turns bright red. Redder than it was before. “Oh, I didn’t realize. I was trying to give you an out because I thought Cherise was your girlfriend. But I’m glad she’s only your sister. You had me worried for a bit.”
Blake chuckles again.”Are you going to let me take you out tonight in that dress you’re buying? I have to drive Cherise to her boyfriends but I can meet you down the street at the Manterra Hotel dining room at 7:00 pm?”
Tessa smiles genuinely. “I’d love to have dinner with you, Blake.” She leans up towards Blake and kisses his inviting lips gently for a few moments, keeping her lips against Blakes a meaningful second before walking towards the cash register.
Blake repeats behind her: “7:00 pm at the Manterra Hotel.”
Thank you to K.L. Caley of new2writing for hosting #Maydays prompts. Today’s theme is a transforming friendship, someone you or a character didn’t like, but now do.
Ever since Cale started staring at me with his aqua-blue eyes and short blond hair, my pulse speeds up and I think I’m going to faint.
“Hi, ” Cale says to me as I pass him in the cafeteria.
“Hi, how are you?” I say trembling
“Yeah and you’re Cale. How’d you know my name?”
“Oh, I asked a couple of girls who I’m friends with from one of your classes, Marissa and Jackie.” I nodded.
Marissa and Jackie both hated me. They talked behind my back and gave me dirty looks. I knew exactly who they were. But I was interested in knowing Cale better, despite his choice of friends.
“How did you know my name?” Cale asked me smiling,
“I go and watch the hockey games. You guys are doing awesome this year. You’re a left winger right? I remember you score a lot of goals.” There’s a silly grin on my face.
“Sit down with me Jane,” Cale says. “Can I get you anything to eat or drink, it doesn’t look like you’ve had lunch yet?”
“No, really.” Cale says.
“Ok, I’ll have a bottle of water and a yogurt, granola, and fruit parfait.” I say.
Cale chuckles. “Such a healthy eater. I’m buying us some French fries to share too and you better eat some.”
Cale comes back with more food than we can both eat. It makes me smile and feel warm inside.
“Tell me about yourself?” Cale says staring at me with his aqua-blue eyes.
I blush. I’m so shy. I don’t know why he likes me.”I, uh um, I’m an English and Film Studies major. I’m taking five classes, I’m in my second year of university, and I like to swim. I go out with my friends on the weekend to dance and that’s pretty much it.” I say stumbling over my words.
Cale chuckles. “Busy life Jane. Do you work too?”
“Yeah, I waitress at Moxie’s on the northside. What about you?” I’m beginning to feel less nervous.
“Well I can only manage three classes at once. I’m taking business, majoring in finance. I play hockey as you know and practice takes up a lot of time. I work a great deal at an accounting company in the West end. They help pay for my education and I want to get my CMA eventually. I have fun on the weekends with my friends like you. Maybe your friends and mine could meet up on Friday night? The Lucky Fox sound good to you?”
I’m chewing a French fry and almost choke. I drink some water and as well as I can manage, I say: “That sounds like fun. Let me talk to my friends and I’ll get back to you.”
Cale is grinning at me and brushes a stray lock of pink hued blond hair behind my ear. Pulling out his cellphone he asks for my number then texts me so I have his cell number as well. We continue to talk and when my next class starts, we talk through it too.
Eventually, Cale has to go to work. He kisses me on my cheek before he leaves.
“Where is this guy anyways, Jane?” My friend Rebecca asks. “He said to meet him at the Lucky Fox at 11:30 pm and it’s 1:30 am?”
” Yeah, I don’t think he’s a good guy Jane,” Samantha says agreeing with Rebecca. A couple other girls who came along with Rebecca, Samantha, and I, chime in with their unflatterring views of Cale, trying to be supportive of me.
“Stuff happens when you’re out at a bar,” I say. “Maybe something happened with his friends and he couldn’t make it out.”
I text Cale: Where are you, Cale? You said you’d meet here two-hours ago?
I don’t expect a reply. I’ve texted Cale four or five times with no response.
Who’s this? His text message says. I jump.
It’s Jane from school remember? We had lunch together and talked all afternoon? We made plans for our friends to all meet tonight at the Lucky Fox?
He texts: Sorry too much to drink. . .
What? I text back.
I don’t get a response and I’m fuming.
Monday at school I pass Cale on the way to my second class.
Cale touches my shoulder and I spin around to glare at him.
“I can explain about Friday,” he says hands up in apology. “I’m so sorry those girls who told me your name . . .” Cale stops, eyes wide at the anger in my expression.
“Marissa and Jackie?” I say with bitterness.
” Yeah, they got us real drunk. We were playing a card game and pretty much passed-out by midnight. I’m sorry. We did mean to meet you at the Lucky Fox and I was excited to see you and meet your friends.”
I scoffed. “Whatever, you made your choice. You chose to play games and get drunk with your friends, Marissa, and Jackie.”
“Please Jane, I like you a lot. I’ll do better next time.” I ignore Cale stepping around him and I don’t talk to him again, this semester or the next.
He always smiles and waves when I pass by him, but I ignore him. The hurt look on his face every time I pretend not to see him, causes an ache I didn’t know existed inside me.
It’s the beginning of my third year and I know the courses are more advanced and will be harder this year. I’m done class for the first day when I bump into Cale, not watching where I’m going.
Cale puts his hands on my shoulders to stabilize me. “Jane? How are you? I haven’t seen you in forever. How was your summer?”
“It was good Cale. I waitressed and I make great tips in the patio season. I also went away with my best friends Rebecca and Samantha and we went to San Francisco for a week. How about you?”
“Ah, a lot of work at the company.” Cale says shaking his head sadly. “I went to Cancun, Mexico though in Spring with my buddies. It was awesome.”
I’m amazed I’m desperately curious about Cale’s life still. I’m not mad at him for that one night where he didn’t show up to bar. I think I was over reacting and I’m happy to see Cale because I’ve thought of him often, wishing for a do-over. Here’s my chance.
Cale’s hands are still on my shoulders his thumbs gently brushing the bare skin beside my scooped necked blue t-shirt.
“Listen,” I admit, “I’m sorry I was so mad at you before. Things happen when alcohol is involved I know, but I was hurt. I wanted to spend the night with you and you spent it with those other girls Marissa and Jackie. Those girls hate me. They talk behind my back about me.”
Cale frowns, “I’ll talk to Marissa and Jackie. They won’t be doing that to you anymore if they want to stay friends with me.” I feel hopeful about what Cale has said.
“You had a right to be mad about that night.” He adds, “I was being stupid. But you didn’t have to ignore me for a year. I had given up hope you’d ever talk to me again until well, right now.”
“I’m sorry Cale. I was being mean. I shouldn’t have ignored you for so long. Just because you didn’t show up one night doesn’t give me the right to treat you like you don’t exist. I hated ignoring you, I felt guilty every time I did it.” I said peering up at Cale’s aqua-blue eyes.
” Jane are you seeing anyone right now?”
I blush and smile at Cale. “No, not for months. Are you?”
“No same as you. I’d like to take you out and only us this time. We can meet each other’s friends another time. I’ve missed you and I want to get to know you better. Can I pick you up for dinner some night this week?”
“Yes, you may,” I say. Cale grins, looking relieved.
“Tuesday is a good night for me, how about you?” I ask him.
“Tuesday at 7:00 pm it is.”
Cale is noticeably exstatic and I think he’s about the hottest guy I’ve ever seen in his happiness. I absently run my hand through his short blond hair which is so soft, as I gaze up at him.
I barely realize his mouth is on mine until it is and his kiss and searching lips make me forget all the bad things that happened between us. I feel a warm hum of energy trickling from Cale’s lips into me.
Cale pulls away from me, breathing hard. “I’ve been wanting to do that for over a year, Jane.”
I take his hand shyly. “I’m glad you finally did.”