How two characters meet
I scan the bar. There’s one stool, way at the very end, right next to a couple who are all over each other. It’s perfect. I slide in next to them unnoticed. I don’t want to talk to anyone tonight.
My friends wanted me to get dressed up and go out with them. They’re worried about me. They think I’ve been grieving way too long and quite frankly, I’m sick of it too. I don’t know why I can’t get over him. I can’t even speak the fucker’s name.
My gaze slides up and I catch the bartender’s eye. Matthew, now that’s a real man. Why can’t I find someone like him? He flashes someone the 'one sec' finger and rushes my way opening a beer bottle. He sets it in front of me.
“Hey, doll,” he says, winking at me.
I can’t help but smile back.
Just as quickly he’s back in the middle of the action, leaning in to hear orders, popping tops, mixing drinks. I’m so at ease and not awkward around Matthew. Why can’t I be like that around other guys? I know why. Matthew is hopelessly in love with his girlfriend. You should see the way drunk girls throw themselves at him. But Matthew never takes the offers. He's the kind of guy who can let a girl down and still have her walking away smiling.
Matthew is looking extra fine today. Not that he doesn’t look hot in one of his old band t-shirts. He’s wearing a dark blue, or is it a black button down? It’s hard to tell in this light. His sleeves are rolled up exposing his strong forearms. His nicely worn jeans make his ass look edible. I take a sip of my beer. I really should stop. Matthew is my friend and the nicest person I know. But maybe a little fantasy about a nice guy is what I need to get over my ex. I take a long slow drink and drag my gaze from Matthew’s ass.
I try to take a peek around the couple next to me to check out who’s sitting at the bar but they block my view. They’re all hands, hair, arms. It’s hard to tell where one stops and the other one starts. I hear the woman let out a whimper. It’s way too erotic to come from just a little drunk kissing. Is it possible he’s got his hand up her skirt? She’s definitely having a good time. I hear her gasp and I can’t help myself, I look her way again. Her dazed eyes flutter shut and I realize what’s going on.
Did that really just happen? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the 'bedroom only' kind of girl. In fact, I think I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to sex outside of the bedroom, but I draw the line at barstool sex.
The guy is nuzzling the woman’s neck and whispering something in her ear. She nods her head. He stands and helps her off her stool, smoothing down her skirt. Now they’re getting a room?
I’m glad they’re gone. I’m embarrassed that I’m slightly turned on by what just happened. I start peeling the label off of my beer bottle. It’s a nervous habit. My ex didn’t like me doing it. Well, screw him.
I’m happy the couple is gone, but now I have a problem. There are two available stools. There’s no way they’ll stay open for long; the place is packed, as usual. Maybe I should move over, leaving one empty stool on either side of me, but after just witnessing what I saw, I’d need some Clorox wipes before I sat on either one. Plus, if I did, that would double my chances of a talker sitting next to me. I’ll just hope that another couple sits down and ignores me.
I have a pile of shredded label and an empty beer bottle in front of me. I look up and Matthew is leaning in close with another beer in his hand. Could he be more perfect?
“How’s it going?” he shouts, flashing me that adorable crooked smile.
“Okay, I guess,” I said, shrugging my shoulder.
“You were too good for him, babe.”
Matthew’s staring into my eyes, shaking his head. He wants me to acknowledge that I heard him. I give him a weak smile. Satisfied, he sweeps the trash into his hand and grabs my empty beer bottle before going back to his spot.
Maybe Matthew is right. Maybe I was too good for him. Someone should have told me that a year and a half ago and saved me the trouble. I take a long swallow of the ice-cold beer.
I feel someone sit down on the stool next to me. I don’t look. If I look I’ll invite conversation. I stare at my beer instead.
“How’s it going?” the guy next to me asks.
I act like I don’t know he’s talking to me. I keep my gaze locked on my beer. Matthew’s voice startles me.
“I wondered when you’d get here.”
For a moment I’m confused until I realize Matthew is talking to the guy next to me. I sneak a quick peek. A strong angular jaw and dark stubble are the only things that registers. Panic hits me. If I sit here, Matthew is going to introduce us then I’ll have to talk.
I slip from my stool and head to the bathroom. I stay in there for what seems like a reasonable amount of time and walk casually back to the bar. I’m relieved to see that the guy’s back is turned and that he’s talking to some girl. I’m back in my little cocoon of isolation.
I try not to eavesdrop but the girl’s high-pitched giggling is hard to ignore. You’d think he was a standup comic or something. I do like a guy that can make me laugh, though. I should have known the asshole wasn’t the one for me. He hardly ever made me laugh.
I can’t make out what he’s saying, but I can tell he has a nice deep voice. It’s like his voice is penetrating the air; I can almost feel it vibrate in my chest. I swing my legs below me. Another nervous habit of mine. I kinda wish that girl would leave.
Just when I’m thinking that very thing, another dude walks up, slaps the guy on the back and shakes his hand. Now I’m straining to hear what they’re saying. I can barely tell but it sounds like they’re inviting him to their table.
I bite my fingernail and stare at his back. Wow, he has nice broad shoulders. He’s shaking his head but stands. He gives the girl a hug and shakes the dude’s hand before turning to sit back down.
I smile to myself. Matthew is setting another beer in front of me.
The guy waits until Matthew leaves. “So, you’re just gonna sit there and not talk to me?” he says, leaning my way.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see his forearm resting dangerously close to mine. For some reason, it sends a shiver up my spine.
“You must be one of those smart guys,” I say, then giggle at myself. The beer is doing its job.
“You didn’t even give me a chance.”
“Last time I met a guy at a bar he ruined my life. From now on, I only date people my friends introduce me to and never anyone I meet in a bar.” That should run him off.
“Wow, okay.” The guy takes a drink of his beer.
I want to get one good look at him before he walks away. I turn and am met by the greenest eyes I have ever seen on a drop-dead handsome face that looks vaguely familiar. We lock eyes. I’m pretty sure I stop breathing.
The corner of his mouth pulls up and the hint of a dimple creases his stubbled cheek.
I need to say something quick to hide my interest. “There are plenty of sparkly girls here tonight looking for a man. Why don’t you go bother one of them?”
“Sparkly, huh?” He turns around on his stool and scans the crowd, then turns back toward me. “I think I’m doing alright,” he says, looking at me expectantly.
I feel my face heat. I grab my beer and take a sip. Then I take another. Then I keep sipping because he’s got my heart racing. I drain my beer as he watches. He looks impressed. I notice he’s still on his first one.
The increase in blood alcohol level is making me brave. “Your problem is you’re looking for a girl who’s name ends in a ‘y’ or ‘ie’.” I reach over and touch his forearm. Not only does the alcohol make me sassy, it also makes me flirty.
His gaze drops to my hand and I pull it away instinctively. A hint of a smile pulls at the corner of his mouth.
“Maybe I’ve found one. What’s your name?”
“None of your damned business.”
“Really? I had an Aunt named None of your damned business.” His delivery is so smooth I can’t stop the laugh that bursts from my chest. He cocks his head smirking as he takes a long swallow from his beer.
Okay, I’ll give him that one.
I just finished my third beer and I’m feeling pretty good. I call Matthew over with a nod of my head. Matthew furrows his brow but strides over with another beer. The guy grabs the beer from Matthew’s hand. “Get her a glass of water, Matt.”
“Give me my beer,” I demand. Even I’m aware I’m slurring words. I probably should’ve eaten something other than a bag of chips for lunch.
The guy tips my beer back and takes a long swallow.
I reach feebly for it but he easily holds it out of my reach. “Nope, you’ve had enough.”
“You’re not my father,” I say, petulantly.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am about that,” he says, smirking.
I can’t keep up with him.
“Drink your water.”
I look down and a glass of ice water has appeared in front of me. When did that get here? It does look kinda good. I take a drink.
He leans across the bar and hollers at Matthew. “I’m taking her home.” He drops a couple of bills on the bar.
“You wish.” I jerk my elbow from his grasp.
Matthew is rounding the bar. Thank goodness he’s coming to save me.
“Babe, let him take you home.”
“What?!” What’s going on?
“It’s okay,” Matthew assures me.
I look up at the guy hovering protectively over me. “I’m not going home with you, I don’t care what Matthew says.”
“He’s just going to drive you home,” Matthew coaxes as if speaking to a child. “If he tries anything, he’ll have to answer to me.”
I still don’t understand why Matthew is trying to help this guy out. I push past them and storm out into the night air. It’s just cool enough outside to feel good, but I did drink myself a beer jacket so it's probably colder than I think.
I don’t know why I’m pissed. Maybe because despite all my attempts, he didn’t leave me alone. And maybe, as much as I hate to admit it, I wasn’t all that sorry. But, no matter how much it sucks right now, I can't keep repeating the same mistakes.
Matthew joins us on the sidewalk and stands next to me.
“You and Matt friends?” the guy asks me.
I glare at Matthew. “We used to be.”
Matthew puts his arm affectionately around my neck and I smile up at him.
“We’re not in a bar,” the guy says, matter-of-factly.
I shrug my shoulders. I know I’m rather tipsy but I do realize I’m outside.
“So?” I say.
“So, we’re not in a bar and Matthew is your friend, right?”
I nod my head, getting tired of this game.
“Matt, can you introduce us?”
Matthew furrows his brow, “Jessie, this is my brother, Marc.”
“Jessie? With an ‘ie’?” he asks, cocking his eyebrow.
I feel my face flush. “He’s the only one I let call me Jessie. You can call me Jessica.”
Marc takes a step closer to me and looks down into my eyes. I feel him reach for my hand.
“It’s nice to meet you, Jessica.”
I bite my lip trying to hold in my big stupid grin.
Matthew looks confused. “You okay now, Jessie? You gonna let him drive you home?” he asks me.
“Yeah,” I tell him.
Matthew heads back into the bar looking relieved.
Marc slips his jacket around my shoulders and steers me toward his truck.
“You’re good,” I say.
“I am,” he agrees. “But you’ll have to go out with me a few times before you know how right you are.”
Author's Note - This scene was inspired by me imagining how two characters might meet. I don't have plans for Jessie and Marc right now but who knows? If you'd like me to write more about them, let me know by commenting or liking and we might see what happens next...