Thursday, January 17, 2019

First Meeting from Posed for Love by Dellani Oakes

Ianna works as a bartender while she goes to college, as an art major. She hasn't got a very high opinion of herself, but meeting as special guy, helps her gain the confidence she needs.

The music played a syncopated, staccato rhythm, a little loud, but it was a song I liked. It was Sunday night, so the bar was slow, just a dribble of regulars. Maybe Mitch would close up early and I could go home. I was dead tired and my feet hurt. Not that I minded tending bar on Mindy's night off, but my tips were better waiting tables than they were at the bar.
"Last call, folks!" Mitch read my mind and was closing up.
There were groans and complaints, but it was getting on towards midnight, everyone was ready to leave anyway. The door opened and a man walked quickly in. It was pouring outside, he was drenched, his long, dark hair sticking to him in damp tendrils.
"Sorry, buddy, I'm about to close." Mitch said politely.
The young man straightened up and looked surprised. "My car broke down. I just need a phone, maybe a cup of coffee?"
Mitch nodded at me and I got the bar phone, setting it on the counter.
"How do you take your coffee?" I asked him, pot and mug in hand.
He looked startled, then hesitated before responding. "I take it light, extra sweet."
His grin lit his face, but his eyes held something I couldn't read. I saw myself reflected there and thought I looked like the wrath of God. How must I appear to him? Short, plump, frizzy, light brown hair and blue eyes. I have freckles scattered over my nose, and my skin is a little too pale since I spend so much time inside.
I fixed the coffee and set it in front of him while he made his call. He put his hand over the receiver. "Thank you," he said quietly. "I hate voice mail. What's your name?"
I chuckled and pointed to my name tag. He squinted at my chest and laughed. "For real?" I nodded. "Wow, I thought maybe you just made it up to dissuade assholes like me."
"I get that sort of thing a lot," I replied. "Having a name like mine...." I began shyly.
But he was talking on the phone. It must have been a friend, not Triple A because he used too familiar a tone. He hung up and handed me the phone, a disgusted look on his face.
"Got a number for a cab?"
"Yes, we used Barbosa's most of the time if someone is too drunk to drive home." I dialed the number for him.
He talked to the dispatcher and hung up again, handing me a five dollar bill. I went to give him change, coffee's only seventy-five cents, but he waved it away.
"Thanks, I really appreciate it."
He glanced around taking in the rest of the room. The bar isn't very big, full of the typical neon beer signs and motorcycle memorabilia, photos of famous people who have stopped in, that sort of thing. The basic motif is supposed to be like an old English pub, but the place has changed owners so many times that it's taken on this sort of lost child look. Everything from fishing nets and fake crabs on one wall, facing a lighthouse mural on the opposite wall.
Behind the bar is a large mirror and lots of fancy wooden scroll work. The wall across from it, which I have to look at the entire time I'm back there, is a larger than life nude painting of a woman with unnaturally large boobs. It's really disgusting subject matter, although I can appreciate the skill with which it was done. My college major is art with an emphasis in drawing and photography. This bar job was my main source of income since my dad got divorced for the third time and can't afford to pay for my school anymore.
I got busy cleaning up behind the bar and the regulars were starting to say their goodbyes, drifting out the door in pairs, chatting happily. Soon it was only me, Mitch and the young man. He looked at his watch.
"If I'm keeping you from closing, I'll wait outside for my cab. The guy said it would be ten minutes."
"The weather has slowed 'em down," Mitch said. "You stay inside this weather ain't fit to be out in. Me and Anna don't mind. It's not like it's that late."
I noticed Mitch did not leave me alone with the guy and he didn't take out the till to start his nightly count either. In fact, he was eyeing him rather dubiously. I had never seen him look at anyone like that before.
"So, you got a name?" he asked the young man.
"Yeah, I do." He cracked a sarcastic grin at Mitch.
The comment was wasted on my boss, he's too literal minded and hasn't got much of a sense of humor if the punch line to a joke isn't sexual or sports oriented.
"Reed," he said when it became apparent Mitch wanted an answer. "Reed Owens."
"You from around here?" Mitch never was like this with a customer, I was beginning to worry a little bit.
"Used to be awhile back."
"You look kinda familiar."
Reed glanced away, gazing out the window. He was starting to look uncomfortable, a little line of red rising from his collar.
"I have that kind of a face."
Which wasn't true. He was really attractive, ruggedly handsome, skin tanned to a rich red bronze. His dark hair was drier now and came to his shoulders, sleek and straight, pushed back from his forehead. He had a very pronounced widow's peak and his dark eyes and sharp features gave him almost a hawk like aspect to his face. He was easily the best looking man I've ever seen.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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