There is a steady stream of customers coming in. I could have driven around listening to the radio, but I might as well just sit here and listen to live music, even if it is bad. An added bonus: I can drink. The other upside is that there is a semi-clean restroom.
I’m sitting here because I cannot stand the thought of going home. I feel lonely and miss him, but I’ll be damned if I get all mixed up with that man again. Too good to be true, my Nana would say. Maybe. Probably not, though.
As I wait for my third Old Fashioned, I try to figure out why the guitar player is playing a Fender Strat instead of a Tele, as if that matters at all. I finally ask him and he started going on about pick-ups and pedals; I lost interest about three sentences in. Musicians bore me.
“Mind if I sit here?” I hear a twangy deep voice next to me. I don’t look up immediately. Finally, I narrow my eyes at him and then give him a straight-on challenging look.
“That depends. Are you going to buy me a drink?” I respond without emotion. I divert my eyes. He smells good. He looks good. He can’t know I think either of these.
“I can if that allows me a seat at this table.” He waits.
I motion at the waitress and I point to my empty glass. She nods. I give him a sideways glance and point to the seat across from me. I’m not one to wax eloquently.
He smiles slightly and pulls out the chair to have a seat. He casually looks around, most likely counting the number of people in the room and determining which exit is most convenient in case of trouble.
The waitress comes back, sets down the drink in front of me.
“On your tab?” She says to me without so much as a glimpse in my direction. I nod. “And, whatcha drinkin’, Suga?” She looks at him as though she might devour him. He, indeed, is the best prospect in the room.
“He’s not staying,” I say emphatically, then add “Suga”.
“Bud Light and bring her a bottle of water. And, while you’re at it, Miss…why don’t you just go ahead and clear out her tab. She’s done for the day.” He doesn’t look at me when he says this, just assumes the position of control. I hate this about him and I give him a ‘fuck off’ look to display my disdain.
“I’ll clear my own tab when I’m damn good and ready,” I say to the waitress, but also to him. She turns on her heel, rolling her eyes in the process. I hate it when people roll their eyes at me. I conclude she – Stacie the Waitress – will not be getting a tip from me.
“Oh, you’re ready now, darlin’.” He pauses, then adds, most likely to lighten the mood. “I have a bottle of Blanton’s at home.”
I sigh, loudly. I’m growing tired of his presence. “How did you find me?”
“I followed the cloud of arrogance and the whiff of despair.”
I squint at him. “That right? And this…” I wave my hands at him. “…is how you pick up women?”
“This is how I pick up you.” He sighs, resigned. “Woman, just finish that drink so we can go back home and discuss the real reason you slammed my door so hard this mornin’.”
“I didn’t like the way you were snoring.” I look back at the musician who is fumbling his guitar strings like a sixteen-year-old with a naked girl on a backroad somewhere near the county line.
“Well, I only snore when I’m exhausted.” He cocks his head to the left and gives me a little wink. “So, shall we?” He takes my hand in his and raises his eyebrows. Finally, he stands. “Keys please.”
I glare at him once again, slam my drink, and reach for my keys. I have long since known I can’t stay away from him, but I’ll keep trying.