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The Bar Logic

Photo from Pixabay She walked into the bar, briefly scanning the room. Through the flashing lights and half intoxicated patrons, she c...


The Bar Logic

Photo from Pixabay

She walked into the bar, briefly scanning the room. Through the flashing lights and half intoxicated patrons, she could tell the person she was meeting wasn't there yet. She swayed over to the bar, and ordered a Cosmopolitan. At home, she drank whiskey on the rocks. When she went out, she liked to switch it up. Try something with more flavor. Something she didn't have the ingredients to make herself. She paid for the drink, and turned around, leaning against the bar. She ran over the day in her head, wondering what she was even doing out. All she wanted to be doing was laying in bed, watching a movie and eating ice cream from the container. She really hated men. More so, her lack of luck with them. After the passing of who knows how many minutes, she decided to sit down. Her eyes kept scanning the room. But her friend was still no where in sight. She checked her phone for any messages, but there were none. She dialed the number, but the line just kept ringing. She hung up and put her phone down on the bar. She ordered another drink as she finished her first one. She took a deep breath, and looked around the room again. She noticed one guy one the dance floor. He was dressed in a polo shirt and torn jeans. His hair was gelled up, and he was wearing sunglasses on the top of his head. She shook her head, lightly laughing. There was a time she went to the bar every night. In her defense, she was never there with a reason. She liked watching people, and she sort of liked living vicariously through what she thought other people might be doing with their evenings. She partially thought that was the only reason she agreed to go out after the day she had. She checked her phone again, this time, looking only for the time. She had been sitting in the bar for almost an hour, and her second drink was already finished. She had been so lost in thought, she didn't even realize she had been stood up. She turned off her phone, and shoved it back in her purse. She debated just going home, but, she was already out. She ordered a Jack and coke from the bartender. She wasn't entirely surprised she had been stood up. In fact, she would have been more surprised if her friend had shown up. She hated friends. More so, her lack of luck with them. When the bartender brought her the drink, she ordered another, quickly finishing the one just handed to her.
“Is everything alright, Miss?” He asked, sounding concerned. He slightly leaned on the bar, putting his ear in better hearing. It was hard to think over the music, let alone make conversation. She knew he was being sympathetic because bartenders were the new barber, and he wanted to make a good tip. The only tip she could muster was along the lines of 'when someone pounds their drink, they're not looking to talk about their problems, they're looking to forget them'. But she decided saying that might come across as rude. So, she just shrugged instead.
“Just an increasingly bad day.” She dismissed, faking a smile. The bartender nodded, and walked away. She sipped at her drink, briefly looking back at Mr. Sunglasses. She wondered if that was her most interesting prospect for the night. Did she become one of those girls? She shook her head again, and looked down at the bar. She was startled a moment later by a familiar grip on her shoulder. Not one of the person she had intended to meet up with. But that of someone else entirely. Someone she couldn't have imagined meeting up with. She slowly turned to face him.
“Hello.” She greeted dismissively. He nodded, dropping down in the seat beside her. He spun the chair around completely. He looked at her drink, then at her.
“Bad day?” He asked, leaning against the bar. She shook her head, observing his position. Right now, he reminded her of Mr. Sunglasses, surveying the room for prospects.
“What are you doing here?” She asked, avoiding the question.
“I was, in the neighborhood. And you?” He offered, turning to face her. She shook her head yet again, looking back to the bar. She knew his hope for prospects didn't include her hard-luck story, and she wasn't dying to indulge in the self pity quite yet.
“Well, if you're at the bar alone, you're either meeting someone, or hoping to meet someone. Usually the latter.” He commented. She shrugged.
“Did you consider there may be more than two reasons to be in a bar alone?” She asked, briefly looking over. He continued scanning the room, tapping her shoulder. He motioned towards Mr. Sunglasses.
“I've noticed.” She dismissed. He laughed, shaking his head.
“Well, it doesn't matter what reason people think they're going to the bar. It really is only one of two reasons. So, which is it for you?” He asked again. She didn't answer. This apparently made him laugh.
“What are you laughing about?” She asked, looking over again. He shrugged.
“You're upset. Suggesting you're not meeting someone or the someone you're meeting didn't show. But you're dismissive, not answering questions, and looking at the bar, suggesting you don't have the interest in meeting anyone either.” He observed. She looked over at him, went to say something, but changed her mind. He wasn't exactly wrong in his evaluation. She shrugged again.
“Maybe I'm just here to see the sights.” She joked, motioning towards Mr. Sunglasses. He laughed.
“Oh, Houston, we have signs of life!” He declared, clapping his hands loudly. A few people in the bar turned to look at them. She shook her head, sinking slightly into her seat. She finished what was left of her drink, and motioned the bartender over to them. She ordered another.
“And for you?” The bartender asked in his direction.
“Jack on the rocks.” He ordered. The bartender nodded and walked away. He looked back at her.
“So, you're looking to meet someone then?” He accused. She half-laughed.
“Do I look like one of them to you?” She asked, motioning to a group of girls dancing together. He looked each of them up and down. She could tell he found his prospects. She sighed to herself and shook her head. He tapped her on the shoulder again, motioning back to the girls.
“Blondie's here to find a sugar daddy.” He joked. She looked over, looking Blondie up and down. She was wearing a short black dress, with diamonds clinging to the fabric. She on black heels, but they were low to the ground. Her hair was up in a sophisticated looking bun, with curls hanging out askew. She had a pink drink in one hand, and a diamond covered clutch in the other.
“How do you figure? She's got her own money.” She observed. He laughed.
“It's been a while since you went out, hasn't it?” He asked. She half-laughed.
“How long has it been since we last went out together?” She questioned. He nodded as the bartender came back with their drinks. He swirled his through the ice, and drank it down.
“It's been a while.” He confirmed, putting the ice filled glass down. She nodded.
“Anyways, no. She wants people to think she has her own money. She's carrying herself like she's sophisticated. But a sophisticated woman doesn't need to try so hard to catch a man's attention.” He observed. She raised her eyebrow, looking back at Blondie. She was scanning the room as she danced, and laughed with her friends. She looked back over at him.
“Wow.” She muttered. He laughed again.
“Human beings are very simple creatures to understand.” He added. She shook her head.
“Right.” She dismissed. He continued starting at the small group.
“That brunette was just dumped.” He observed. She raised her eyebrow looking over.
“What makes you think that?” She questioned. He was quiet for a minute.
“You can tell by the way she's dressed, she's here to get attention. At the same time, she's not willing to compromise herself. Her shoulders are straight, so normally she has confidence. She takes cares of herself, but she's letting loose. She's not looking for someone to make her feel special, she's looking for someone to help her forget the man who made her feel otherwise. She's trying to punish her ex by having a good time without him.” He explained. She watched the brunette dancing. Unlike Blondie, she wasn't looking around the room. She was just having a good time. She didn't seem to know the other girls, but she was determined to have fun. He was right.
“I envy and pity the guy who goes home with her.” He added. She shook her head. Right now, she wanted to be the brunette. But she knew she was closer to Blondie. She hated one night stands. Or at least her lack of luck with them.
“Right.” She muttered, more to herself and her evaluations. He laughed.
“I'd take the red head home.” He continued. She laughed.
“Of all of them, why would you pick her? She's probably the least interested. She's obviously the classiest. Her dress is the longest, and the only skin showing is when she turns too quickly and the slit up the leg pulls apart. She's not even here to meet someone. She's just here to keep Blondie from doing something stupid.” She rambled. He looked over at her.
“I wasn't talking about that red head.” He corrected, smirking at her. She sighed.
“Right. You're not my type, sweet heart.” She dismissed, pushing his shoulder lightly. He laughed.
“Yeah right. You've been thinking of me since I sat down.” He insisted. She raised her eyebrow.
“Oh I didn't miss this cocky attitude of yours.” She groaned. He kept laughing.
“But, I can tell you did. Or at least, you missed the cock part. It's been a while since you've had someone as good as me, I'm guessing.” He continued. She shook her head.
“Right.” She dismissed, looking back at the bar.
“Well, you can't have me either way. I like my women to be better conversationalists. Imagine. What would we have to talk about before, during, or after? You'd just lay there, like a working girl. Or if I remember you at all, more like a corpse. You're just as cold.” He rambled. She raised her eyebrow.
“Are you trying to piss me off?” She asked, putting her hand on her hip. He shrugged.
“That just depends on how you plan on working out that anger of yours.” He hinted. She went to say something, but as she did, the bartender came back over.
“Can I get you another?” The bartender asked him. She finished her drink and nodded. He smiled.
“Well, I'd like a Wild Redhead, but she's being difficult, so, yes, I'll have another Jack.” He ordered. The bartender shook his head and walked away. She slapped his shoulder.
“Fuck off.” She snapped. He laughed.
“So, let's try this again. What are you doing here on this lovely evening?” He asked. She scanned the bar again, looking from Blondie to Mr. Sunglasses, then back at him.
“Depends what you're doing here.” She challenged. He nodded, also looking around.
“I needed a change of scenery for the night. I came to live vicariously through the bar goes and intoxicated mistake makers.” He replied.
“So there are more than two reasons to go to the bar.” She corrected. He shrugged.
“I can't deny I wouldn't mind meeting someone.” He added. She shook her head.
“Of course.” She muttered. He laughed.
“There's that apparent jealous again.” He observed. She raised her eyebrow.
“Wait, aren't you married?” She asked. He shook his head.
“She left three months ago.” He answered, looking around again. She moved away slightly.
“I'm sorry to hear that.” She offered. He looked her up and down. Before he could say anything the bartender came back with their drinks. He nodded, tipping the glass, then pounding it back. He looked over at her, playing with the straw in her drink.
“You're nervous all of a sudden.” He observed moving closer to her. She raised her eyebrow, looking at him. She went to argue, but found herself tongue tied. He smiled, putting one of his hands on her thigh. She jumped in her seat. He moved his other hand to the back of her head and violently pulled her lips to his. She was hesitant at first, but it didn't last.
“Yeah, you still want me.” He asserted, moving back to his seat. She half smiled.
“You wish.” She muttered, downing half her drink. He laughed.
“Maybe.” He hinted. She abruptly looked over at him.
“What?” She stuttered. He pulled her lips to his again, but didn't kiss her. His lips just brushed hers, now trembling slightly. He softly kissed her, went to move back, then kissed her again. She moaned.
“Maybe.” She repeated, half dazed. He smiled, running his hand up her side, then down her arm.
“You never said why you're here.” He reminded. She shrugged.
“I was the former, now, I guess the latter.” She replied. He smirked, nodding slowly.
“Too bad there are no good prospects here tonight.” He joked, again motioning to Mr. Sunglasses. She laughed, shaking her head at him.
“Yeah. Too bad.” She agreed. He started laughing.
“I know a few good services you could call.” He joked. She shook her head, also laughing.
“You're the one who wanted the working girl, remember? Not me. But if you want to shell out cash, Blondie looks pretty easy.” She teased. He shook his head.
“I have a no pay for play policy.” He corrected. She smiled.
“Well I have a no pay no play policy.” She answered. He smirked, looking her up and down again.
“For this kind of merchandise, I'd be willing to make an exception. What do you charge?” He offered, running his hand up her side. He slid his arm around her waist, and practically pulled her out of her seat. He kissed her passionately as his other hand ran up her thigh.
“You apparently.” She tried joking. He pulled her completely out of her chair and stood up, pressing his body to hers. Her body tensed up against his. She wanted to pull back, but felt frozen. He slowly kissed her again. As he went to move back, she pulled his lips back to hers.
“Come home with me.” He propositioned. She bit her lip.
“I don't know... I...” She stalled. He forcefully kissed her again.
“Alright, I'll do this your way. What are the odds we'd meet tonight?” He asked. She shook her head.
“Astronomical.” She muttered. He nodded.
“Astronomical.” He repeated. She shook her head again.
“I still don't know.” She continued. He kissed her again.
“You still want me.” He smirked. She nodded.
“I never stopped. I can't even deny that.” She confessed. He wrapped her in his arms tightly.
“Then, come home with me.” He demanded. She laughed nervously.
“By your bar logic, am I the punishment to your ex?” She asked. He laughed, kissing her again.

“No, you're just the good time, without the bullshit.”

There's Something About You

Photo from Pixabay

I waited outside the nightclub, impatiently tapping my foot. My friend Ben had begged me to come out with him and his girlfriend. I was reluctant to go out at all, having just left my boyfriend, Jason. All I wanted to do was lie in bed eating ice cream. Houston was the one who managed to convince me. I never got to see her because she was always working. I wanted to catch up.
Julie?” I heard Houston's voice call from behind me. I turned around to see her and Ben getting out of a taxi. Houston was dressed up, and she looked good. Ben was dressed in his regular attire. He looked good too though, admittedly. Houston came running over and threw her arms around me.
Long time no see!” I greeted, returning the hug. Houston nodded, stepping back.
I know! We have so much catching up to do, I'm sure!” She declared, grabbing my hand. I laughed as Houston dragged me towards the entrance of the nightclub. Ben also laughed, following behind us. We were greeted at the door by one of the employees.
We're full tonight.” He announced in a disappointed tone of voice. Ben stepped in front of us.
I'm on the list.” He assured. The employee pulled out a log book, and started scrolling down the page. I raised my eyebrow. I was sure the decision to go out had been spontaneous.
We've got you in the V.I.P. Lounge, is that correct?” The employee asked after a minute.
Yes.” Ben replied, motioning over to us. The employee started towards the lounge. Ben followed close behind him. Houston continued dragging me across the bar. I tripped as we got to the staircase when my sneaker caught on a step. Houston laughed, grabbing my arm.
Why didn't you dress up?” She asked, just seeming to notice my outfit of a t-shirt, and ripped jeans.
I didn't feel like coming out, remember?” I dismissed. Houston laughed, shaking her head.
Come on, Julie. Try and have a good time.” Ben insisted. I rolled my eyes. He knew what me and Jason had gone through. He knew I needed time to heal.
Here you are.” The employee announced, motioning to a secluded booth at the far side of the lounge.
There was a bottle of champagne sitting on the table, beside a vase of roses. I realized Ben had planned the night with Houston, likely as a celebration. I had just been invited last minute. It was sweet of him none the less. The seats in the booth circled the table in a semi-circle. I raised my eyebrow, noticing the reserved sign on the table. It had my name on it as well as theirs.
I'm confused.” I stated, motioning towards the sign. Ben laughed, sliding into the middle seat. Houston sat on his left, sliding up beside him. I sat down, but near the edge. I dropped my hands on the table. A waiter appeared in seconds, bringing three champagne glasses. Ben opened the champagne, and filled the three glasses. He smiled, handing one to me.
You were always too good for him, Julie.” He teased. I half-laughed, shaking my head. Ben was celebrating, but, it had nothing to do with Houston.
Amen.” Houston added, holding up her glass. Ben held his up, and they both looked at me. I was hesitant. I wasn't happy about dumping Jason, I just knew it had to be done. Ben put his other hand on mine. I quickly pulled it away, grabbing the champagne glass. I held it up, tapping each of their glasses. Ben just took a sip, but Houston and me both downed ours. He laughed.
We should be doing shots then.” He joked, shaking his head. Houston nodded, clapping.
I'm doing it!” She announced, jumping up. She bolted towards the stairs. Ben slid over to the edge where I was sitting. He put his arm on the booth behind me. I looked over at him, smiling nervously. It was no secret there was still chemistry.
What are you doing?” I managed to stumble. He brushed my hair out of my face. His lips brushed my cheek. I slid away from him, falling onto the floor. Ben laughed, holding out his hand.
What are you doing down there?” Houston asked, coming back to the table. I laughed.
I fell.” I dismissed. Houston laughed as well.
Why did you do that?” She asked. I shook my head, standing up.
It wasn't intentional.” I muttered. Ben moved back to his seat, and I sat back down where I had been sitting. Houston put a tray on the table with six shots on it, dropping back into her seat.
Let's get drunk!” She suggested. I raised my eyebrow.
I'll second that.” Ben agreed.
You guys are cray.” I mumbled. Houston handed me one of the shot glasses.
Ten bucks says I can out drink you.” Houston challenged. Ben nodded.
I'll take you up on that.” He commented, grabbing one of the shots. Houston looked at me, holding up her shot glass. I shook my head, laughing.
Count me out of the drinking challenge.” I dismissed, leaving my shot on the table.
Are you going to be any fun tonight?” Houston whined, rolling her eyes. I shrugged.
I didn't plan on it.” I admitted. Houston laughed, standing up to fix her dress. She leaned up, looking over the balcony. She put her hand over her mouth, half-laughing.
Oh, that boy has no shame.” She muttered. Ben stood up, leaning to see what she was looking at. He shook his head, sitting back down. I dropped my head against the back of the seat.
I don't even want to know, do I?” I asked. Ben shook his head. Houston sat back down.
Nope. How about that shot now?” She offered cheerfully. I shook my head.
He's here, isn't he? And with that, tramp?” I asked, knowing the answer. Houston nodded. I took the shot from the table, and pounded it back. Ben put his hand on my leg, which made me jump.
He doesn't deserve another minute of your time.” He encouraged. I blushed, and Houston laughed.
You're adorable.” She commented, sticking out her tongue.
Shut up.” I muttered, pushing Ben's hand off my leg.
Okay, so, no drinking contest. It's pretty clear Julie would win.” Houston decided. Ben laughed. I shook my head, taking another shot. Ben lightly tapped Houston's shoulder.
Hey, she's getting ahead of us!” He pointed out. Houston nodded.
I'd better get another round then.” She offered. Ben nodded as she headed back to the bar. I was staring angrily at the floor. I couldn't believe Jason was so, indifferent, about what had happened. I knew he didn't care as much as I did, but, I expected him to at least care. Apparently, that was too much to ask of someone who claimed to love me. Ben slid into the seat beside me again. This time, he put his arm around my shoulders. He pulled me into him, which startled me to look up. The feeling of his breath on my skin made me shiver. I immediately looked down at the floor.
What's wrong?” He whispered, lightly brushing his lips against mine. I swallowed nervously.
Nothing.” I muttered, voice shaking. He slowly kissed my cheek.
It's adorable how nervous you are around me.” He commented softly.
I'm not nervous.” I attempted to argue. The continued shakiness in my voice countered my words.
Why are you so afraid of being close to me?” He asked.
You know why.” I replied, looking up at him. He smiled.
Don't fight your feelings.” He coaxed. I looked over, catching his eyes with mine. I could feel my heart racing. I was sure it was going to beat right out of my chest. His lips slowly brushed mine. I wanted to kiss him, so badly. I resisted the urge to reciprocate as he kissed me. He sighed.
You're going to fight me no matter what, aren't you?” He asked softly. I nodded as he moved.
Just tell me why.” I took a deep breath. I was relieved now that he wasn't so close.
It's not right, Ben.” I muttered. He shook his head, laughing. He rarely took anything seriously.
You can't blame a guy for trying.” He defended. I rolled my eyes.
You have a girlfriend.” I reminded him. He nodded, laughing.
She encourages me.” He whined. I laughed. Houston had joked that when I dumped Jason, we could share Ben. She knew we still had feelings for each other, and she didn't take anything seriously either.
Fair enough. But what about my comfort?” I asked. He shrugged.
Do I really make you uncomfortable?” He asked. I didn't answer.
Do you feel like dancing at all?” He changed the subject. I raised my eyebrow.
Absolutely not.” I dismissed. He knew I hated being the center of attention, and, I had no rhythm.
Come on, dance with me.” He insisted. I rolled my eyes, standing up.
Fine.” I agreed. He clapped jumping out of his seat. He grabbed my hand, and we headed down to the dance floor. We moved through the half-intoxicated club goers. I couldn't help but look over to where Jason and Nicole were. The two of them were lip-locked like there was no tomorrow. I sighed, shaking my head. Ben pulled me against him, turning me away from Jason.
Forget him.” He practically demanded. I laughed. The dance floor was crowded, so I didn't feel quite as uncomfortable with my lack of rhythm. I moved my feet unenthusiastically.
Put more life into it.” He whined. I shook my head.
I didn't agree to that.” I argued. He took my hands, and put them on his back. He put his hands on my hips, and moved me to sway with him. The song stopped almost abruptly.
Guess we're done.” I insisted, heading off the dance floor. Ben laughed, grabbing my hand.
Not a chance.” He assured me, looking towards the DJ booth.
This next track goes out to my very good friend, Benjamin, and his lovely companion.” The DJ called. I shook my head. I hadn't noticed until that second, the DJ was his friend Dan.
No kidding. You did this on purpose.” I moaned. He nodded.
Guilty.” He agreed, pulling my body against his.
Ben, this is so embarrassing.” I whined. He put his hand under my chin, and lifted my head up.
Give into me.” He whispered. I shook my head as we started dancing. I was even more afraid of looking bad, now that the attention had been drawn to us. I was actually surprised when I was able to keep up with him. By the end of the song, I was starting to wish it wasn't ending. Ben held my hand as we walked off the dance floor. I noticed Nicole was glaring at us from across the bar. I waved, blew her a kiss, and kept walking. Ben started laughing as we walked back up the stairs.
Nice touch.” He commented. I shrugged, half-smiling. Houston was waiting for us when we got back to the booth. She had another tray of shots on the table, even though two were still left.
What took you so long?” Ben asked, sliding into the seat beside her.
Bartender was chatting me up. I got us real drinks.” She commented in my direction.
What in the hell is it?” I asked, dropping down in my seat. Houston shrugged.
I told him to make something strong. That's what he handed me. Ben, I didn't get you anything, since you seem so keen on that, stuff, you call alcohol.” She teased, pointing towards the neglected bottle of champagne. Ben laughed, shaking his head.
That was quite the performance.” Houston commented in my direction.
Your boyfriend made me.” I dismissed. Houston laughed.
I meant for Nicole.” She corrected. I shook my head, taking a sip of the drink in front of me.
I'm going to regret that.” I whined. Houston put her hand on my shoulder.
I, think it was funny.” She emphasized.
I agree.” Ben added, as he stood up. He walked over to the balcony, motioning us both over. I walked up, peering over the edge. Nicole was now sitting at the edge of their booth, blocking Jason's view of the bar. She had her hand on his shoulder, almost claiming him. His hand was loosely on her lower back, but it was obvious he wasn't paying any attention to her. His attention was in the conversation he was having with his friend Travis. Nicole briefly looked up, noticing we were staring. I laughed as Houston waved frantically, trying to get Jason's attention. It failed.
Why would you want that?” Ben asked. I shrugged.
I don't want, that. I just want him.” I trailed. Houston pulled me away from the balcony.
Okay, no more Jason for you.” She insisted. She grabbed two shots off the table, handing one to me. She held her shot glass up, so I did as well, and we pounded them back.
We should dance.” Houston insisted, grabbing my hand. I shook my head.
I'm not drunk enough for that.” I moaned. Houston handed me another shot.
Do it!” She demanded. I drank it, slamming the glass on the table.
Okay.” I slurred. Houston clapped, pulling me towards the staircase.
Later, Ben!” She hollered as we headed down the staircase. I laughed as we got to the dance floor, and Houston started dancing. She had just as bad, if not worse, rhythm. Suddenly, I didn't feel quite as bad at dancing. The song transitioned to a fast-paced dance song. I looked at Houston and laughed. She looked ridiculous. Houston also laughed, grabbing my hips.
What are you doing?” I asked. Houston nodded.
I said dance with me. Not beside me.” She answered, grinding against me. I laughed, shaking my head. I was hesitant, but decided to return the motion. I laughed so hard I almost fell over as the song ended. I grabbed Houston, who was stumbling to walk straight. Ben was clapping when we got back. I dropped Houston down. She was laughing too hard to walk.
That was interesting.” He claimed. I nodded, sitting down.
Yeah.” I dismissed, still laughing. Houston nodded, jumping back up.
I'm getting another drink, want another?” She asked, in my direction. I shrugged.
I'm good.” I answered. Houston nodded, looking over at Ben.
Jack for you?” She asked. He laughed, nodding.
Sure darlin'.” With that, she darted off. Ben walked over to the other side of the booth, and sat down beside me. He pushed me over with his body.
I've got to admit, it was pretty hot to see the woman I love grinding another woman.” He confessed.
Aw, that's cute. You're already saying you love each other?” I asked, giggling. He put his hand on my cheek, slowly running it over my skin.
I meant you.” He whispered.
Ben...” I trailed, slightly pulling away. He slowly pressed his lips to mine. I went to pull away again, but, found I couldn't. I wrapped my arms around his neck and he kissed me again. I lightly moaned, as he moved his lips from mine. I let my hand drop, slowly.
I thought you were fighting me.” He questioned, raising an eyebrow. I nodded, running my hand over the back of his neck. I pulled his hat off, holding it in one of my hands. I slowly ran the other hand through his hair. I slowly leaned forward, kissing him again. He smiled, putting his hand on my lower back. Houston coughed from behind us. She was tapping her foot impatiently, then started laughing. She slid Ben's drink across the table. He moved back to his seat, and Houston sat down beside me.
Oh, I see, I leave the table for a second, and you try and steal my boyfriend?” She joked. I laughed, shaking my head. I was definitely starting to feel that last shot.
Do you blame me? I mean, he's just so irresistible.” I joked. Houston laughed loudly as Ben went red.
Come on, Ben, don't fight your feelings.” I teased. He shook his head.
Using my words against me, really?” He asked, sounding offended.
Of course.” I replied. Houston pounded her drink back in less than a minute.
So, Ben, did you ask?” She pried, looking over at him. He shook his head.
I knew you were going to chicken out.” She declared. He shrugged. They both looked over at me.
So, we kinda have a question. Or, proposition.” Houston started. I raised my eyebrow.
What kind of proposition?” I asked. Houston leaned over and whispered something in my ear. My eyes went wide. I looked from Ben to Houston and half-laughed.
You can't be serious.” I dismissed. Ben shrugged.
As serious as a heart attack.” Houston assured. I shook my head again. I was torn. Part of me wanted to give Jason a piece of my mind, but, this offer was too good to refuse. I was quiet, and took another shot from the table. I held it in Houston's direction. She smirked, also taking one of the shots. Ben followed the motion. We held their glasses up together, pounding the round.
So, you're in?” Houston asked. I half-smiled, and nodded.

Oh, I'm in.”

Let It Go

Photo from Pixabay

“Jason, it's been four months!” Vicky yelled, covering her face. Jason sat down in front of her.
“I know.” He mumbled.
“Do you love her more than me? Is that what this is actually about?” She asked, starting to cry. Jason pulled her hands down, holding them in his.
“No, no. I love you baby, more than anyone or anything.” He assured her. She shook her head.
“If you mean that, truly mean that, you'll leave Nicole.” She insisted. Jason stood back up, pacing.
“I can't.” He argued.
“I'm tired of feeling second best to her, Jason.”
“How can you feel second best? I don't even love her.” He mumbled. She sighed.
“Obviously you do, or we wouldn't be having this conversation. If you didn't love her, she wouldn't still be in the picture.” Vicky continued. Jason knelt back down.
“I know this is hard Vicky, and I know it keeps getting harder, but, I need you to believe me. If I could leave Nicole, I would.” He defended. She shook her head.
“Why can't you?” She asked. He was quiet.
“I just need you to trust me.” He repeated. She nodded, then shook her head.
“I can't. I'm sorry Jason. As long as she's still around, I can't.” She insisted. Jason sighed.
“I can't do what you're asking of me.” He argued under his breath. She nodded.
“Neither can I.” She mumbled, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. His eyes went wide.
“Are you leaving me?” He questioned. His voice cracked, and she could see he was starting to tear up. She looked up at the ceiling, shaking her head.
“I can't do this Jason. I won't.” She repeated.
“Please think about this.” He begged, taking her hands in his. She nodded, swallowing hard.
“I have. But, I think I deserve to feel like more than your runner up.” She continued. He sighed.
“You've never been my runner up.” He muttered. She shook her head.
“I am, Jason. I'm living in the shadows of your life, like a fucking mistress. I'm sick of feeling this way.” She explained, standing up. He nodded, slowly.
“I guess I can't change your mind.” He questioned. She shook her head.
“It's too late. I'm done.” She answered. He nodded.
“I love you. I always will.” He mumbled. She nodded.
“I'll always love you too Jason.”

Vicky sat surfing through the channels on the TV. She was getting bored of everything. She shook her head, turning it off. She threw the remote on the coffee table, and stretched out. The front door opened a minute later. She sat up to check who was coming in. It was just her room mate Alison.
“Hey.” She glumly greeted. Alison laughed.
“You're never going to believe who I ran into today.” She announced. She put the bag from her hand into the fridge. She walked over and sat down on the couch. Vicky raised her eyebrow.
“Who?” She questioned. Alison smiled.
“Nicole.” She answered. Vicky rolled her eyes.
“And why are you telling me this?” She asked. Alison shrugged.
“I thought you might find this interesting.” She answered, handing Vicky a piece of cardboard. It was an invitation to a baby shower Nicole was having.
“Baby shower?” She questioned, double checking the invitation.
“Yup.” Alison answered.
“Nicole is pregnant?” Vicky asked for double clarification.
“Apparently.” Alison answered, taking back the invitation. Vicky was quiet.
“It's only been 3 weeks.” She trailed. Alison laughed.
“She's like two or three months pregnant.” She clarified. Vicky shook her head.
“He promised me he hadn't touched her.” She mumbled. Alison raised her eyebrow.
“Jason. He promised that he hadn't touched her since we started dating.” Vicky clarified. She shrugged.
“I don't know what to say.” She added, turning on the TV. Vicky stood up, grabbing the invitation. She headed towards the door, put on her shoes, and grabbed her purse.
“Where are you going?” Alison asked. Vicky waved.
“To find out what's going on.”

Vicky knocked frantically at the door. She heard someone running down the stairs. She kept knocking. After another minute, the door opened.
“Hello?” Joey questioned. She pushed right past him into his hallway. He laughed.
“Well, come in.” He pointlessly invited. She handed him the invitation.
“Make it make sense.” She demanded. Joey shut the door, reading over the card.
“I guess Nicole is pregnant.” He mumbled. She shook her head.
“Jason didn't tell you?” She asked. Joey shook his head.
“No, I'm sorry.” He apologized. She paced back and fourth.
“Damn him.” She mumbled.
“What's wrong?” Joey asked. She threw her hands in the air.
“That slimy little worm lied to me.” She answered. He shook his head.
“About what?” He questioned. She raised her eyebrow.
“You guys were all there when he made the promise. Geez. Why do I have to keep explaining this?” She questioned. He laughed, shaking his head.
“Calm down.” He suggested. She shook her head.
“Jason, he promised me he didn't touch her. But he clearly lied.” She ranted. Joey grabbed her shoulders, and stopped her from pacing. She shook her head.
“You're just getting yourself worked up.” He reminded her. She nodded.
“I need a drink.”

“That slimy worm.” Vicky repeated for the sixteenth time. Joey shook his head.
“I can't take this anymore.” He mumbled. Vicky raised her eyebrow, grabbing the almost empty bottle of whiskey. She took a drink right from the bottle. She handed it back to Joey.
“Jason didn't lie to you.” He assured her. Vicky shook her head.
“Obviously, he did.” She argued. Joey took another drink. They bottle only had another shot in it.
“No. He was loyal to you. I know for a fact.” He assured her. She raised her eyebrow.
“Then how is Nicole 3 months pregnant?” She questioned. Joey was quiet for a minute.
“Good question.” He added.
“Is it, not Jason's?” She asked. Joey shrugged.
“That, I don't know. I mean, how do you get pregnant if you're not having sex?” He questioned.
“But he believes it's his.” Joey added. She sighed.
“How? Why?” She stumbled. He shook his head again.
“She said it was. That was all he needed to hear. He's so desperate for a family.” He trailed off.
“Is that why he wouldn't leave her?” She asked, mostly to herself. Joey laughed.
“No. He left Nicole anyways.”

“Hey, are you okay?” Joey asked softly. Vicky sat up, holding her head.
“What happened?” She asked.
“You passed out, literally.” He answered, pulling her to her feet.
“You're not going to be able to make it home. You can just crash in my room. I'll sleep on the couch.” He offered, starting her down the hall. He poured her into his bed.
“What do you mean Jason had left her?” She asked. Joey laughed.
“Jason left Nicole.” He answered. She shook her head.
“No he didn't.” She argued. Joey nodded.
“Of course he did. He was done with her a long time ago. He stayed with her because he didn't want to be alone.” He started to explain. She shook her head.
“He wouldn't be alone. He had me.” She insisted. Joey nodded.
“Right. So, he dumped her.”
“When?” She asked. Joey shrugged.
“About a month and a half ago. She told him she was pregnant. He said he'd still be there for the baby, and her, but as a friend. He said he was done with her in the romantic sense.” Joey explained.
“Jason never told me that.” She mumbled. Joey nodded, sitting on the edge of the bed.
“He never got the chance. Her dad got to him.” He added. Vicky raised her eyebrow.
“What do you mean? Got to him how?” She asked.
“He said if Jason left Nicole for you, he'd made sure that Jason never saw the baby.” He explained.
“So, Jason was blackmailed into staying with her?” She asked. Joey nodded.

Vicky woke up and rolled over. Her head was pounding so loud she felt like she had a train station inside of it. She sat up and looked around the room. Slowly, the night before came back to her. She yawned, and headed out of the room. She wandered down the hall, holding herself up with the wall. Joey was sitting in the kitchen, reading the paper. He put it down as she approached.
“Good morning.” He greeted. She nodded.
“Thanks for letting me crash here.” She thanked, sitting across from him. He nodded.
“You're more than welcome. I couldn't very well send you home like that.” He joked, making her a coffee. She smiled to thank him.
“Do you remember our conversation?” He asked. She nodded, sipping at the coffee.
“The one about Jason being blackmailed, yeah.” She mumbled. Joey laughed.
“Well, I just wanted to add something to that conversation.” He started. She raised her eyebrow.
“I don't want to stop you from doing whatever you're going to do.” He continued. She laughed.
“I'm not going to do anything, Joey.” She assured him. He nodded.
“But if you do decide to, you didn't hear it from me.” He insisted. She laughed.
“Alright Joey. But, again, I'm not going to do anything.”

Vicky yawned as she unlocked the door to her apartment. Alison was sitting on the couch watching the music channel. She stood up abruptly. Vicky headed into the kitchen.
“Where the hell did you go last night?” She questioned.
“I went to Joey's to get an answer.” She dismissed. Alison tapped her foot.
“And?” She asked, realizing she wasn't going to. Vicky shrugged.
“I got an answer.” She mumbled pulling out a Starbucks energy shot. Alison nodded.
“Okay?” She continued questioning.
“I don't know. I might have been better off without knowing.” Vicky mumbled, drinking the shot. Alison walked into the kitchen, leaning on the counter.
“What do you mean?” She asked.
“I'm not supposed to say anything.” Vicky dismissed. Alison laughed.
“Come on.” She continued. Vicky shook her head.
“You have to promise you won't say anything if I tell you.” She insisted. Alison nodded.
“I promise I won't say anything.” She assured. Vicky nodded.
“No, I need more than a promise.” She insisted. Alison shook her head putting her hands in the air. “What did you find out?” She barked. Vicky sighed.
“Nicole and Jason apparently broke up.” She answered, faking a smile. Alison raised her eyebrow.
“I never heard that.” She argued. Vicky nodded.
“No one did. Before he could tell anyone, her dad started blackmailing him about the baby.” She answered. Alison walked back into the living room and dropped down on the couch.
“Wow.” She muttered. Vicky sat beside her.
“It gets better.” She added. Alison laughed, looking over.
“How could it possibly get better?” She asked. Vicky laughed.
“There's a good chance the baby isn't his.”

“So, what are you going to do?” Alison asked, poking the chicken on her plate.
“Eat my dinner?” Vicky questioned laughing. Alison shook her head.
“No. I meant about Jason.” She clarified. Vicky raised her eyebrow.
“Let him live his floor model life.” She dismissed.
“No. We have to help him.” Alison insisted. Vicky laughed.
“Is that what you've been thinking about all day?” She asked. Alison nodded.
“You love Jason, don't you?” She asked. Vicky shook her head.
“It's not as simple as that, and you know it.” She dismissed. Alison shook her head.
“You love Jason, don't you?” She repeated. Vicky sighed, nodding.
“Of course I love Jason.” She mumbled. Alison nodded.
“Then, we have to do something.” She insisted.
“What exactly do you have in mind?” Vicky asked. Alison was quiet.
“We have to expose Nicole.”

Vicky sat kicking her feet off the edge of the bed.
“I know what we can do!” Alison announced, bursting through the door. Vicky shook her head.
“I'm not exposing Nicole.” She dismissed. Alison shook her head.
“No, hear me out.” She asked. Vicky shrugged.
“Okay.” She agreed. Alison sat on the chair beside the foot of Vicky's bed.
“I know you're not into revenge. I know you don't like to meddle with other people's lives. I know that this is going to make you feel like a crazy ex. But, at the same time, can you really stand by and watch Jason build his entire future on a lie?” Alison explained. Vicky raised her eyebrow.
“I hadn't thought of that.” She confessed. Alison nodded.
“My friend Denise is second cousin to Nicole. Fortunately, Denise hates her, well, and unfortunately, she hates Jason. But we can use that too.” Alison started. Vicky laughed.
“How is this helpful?” She asked.
“Denise has invited Nicole out for dinner. She's going to try and get Nicole to confess that the baby isn't Jason's.” Alison detailed. Vicky nodded slowly.
“Then we're going to convince Jason using hear-say?” She questioned. Alison shook her head.
“Of course not. Denise has an app on her cellphone.” She answered. Vicky laughed.
“She's going to record it?” She clarified. Alison nodded.
“And we're going to make Jason listen to it.”

“This is stupid.” Vicky whined, dropping her head down. Alison pulled her head phones down.
“Can you take this seriously? I mean, he's your boyfriend.” She barked.
“He's not my boyfriend. I dumped him. Besides, this is such an invasion of privacy, and basic human rights.” Vicky reminded her. Alison smacked her shoulder as someone knocked at the door.
“Go get that. It's Joey.” She demanded. Vicky rolled her eyes, and opened the door. Joey looked over.
“She wasn't kidding.” He observed. Vicky shook her head, walking into the kitchen. Joey headed to the living room and sat down on the couch. Vicky sat beside him, handing him a beer.
“This seems wrong.” He argued. Vicky nodded, laughing.
“That's because it is wrong.” She agreed.
“Why are you doing it then?” Joey asked, looking over at Vicky. She shrugged.
“I don't know. To be honest, when you told me, my first thought was to try and expose her. But, I don't know. I'm not feeling it. I mean, Jason wants a family. I don't want to be the one who takes that away from him. He'll hate me.” She whined. Joey laughed.
“Then, why are you doing this?” He asked again. She looked over at Alison.
“Because I can't sit back and watch his entire life being built on a lie. What if he finds out later on in life? What if he finds out I knew the whole time? He'll be mad now, but, I think with time he'll understand we were doing it to look out for him.” She ranted. Joey nodded.
“You don't believe that for even a second, do you?” He asked. Vicky laughed.
“Not at all.” She mumbled, dropping her head against the couch. Alison came walking into the room.
“I've got it.” She announced. Vicky sat up.
“What do you mean?” She asked. Alison smiled, crossing her arms.
“Nicole confessed Jason wasn't the father, and I put the confession on this flash drive.”

“What are we doing?” Joey asked, leaning against the staircase. Alison motioned for him to be quiet. Vicky shook her head, grabbing the coffee from his hand.
“She's trying to get more concrete evidence. Apparently, a confession isn't enough.” She explained, taking a sip. She handed the cup back to him, nodding.
“Why?” He asked.
“She's persistent. That's why.” Vicky answered. Alison had a notepad, and she was writing down every where Nicole had gone. They had been following her all day.
“This is so stupid.” She mumbled. Alison stood up.
“Do you want to let her get away with this?” She asked. Vicky shrugged taking Joey's coffee again.
“Alison, we're no better for exposing her than she was for lying.” She defended. She smacked herself in the forehead, handing Joey his coffee. She grabbed the purse Alison was holding, and pulled out a USB stick. She dropped the purse, and headed towards where Nicole just came out.
“Where are you going?” Alison yelled trying to hush her voice. Vicky waved with the USB in hand.
“To do the right thing.”

“What are you doing here?” Nicole questioned as Vicky approached. She shook her head.
“Look, I'm not here to start a fight with you. I want to talk, just a minute of your time.” She started. Nicole took a step backwards, and nodded.
“So, talk.” She instructed.
“I know what you're doing, Nicole.” She continued. Nicole raised her eyebrow.
“I have no idea what you're talking about.” She lied. Vicky nodded.
“I know the baby isn't Jason's. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out, but, I heard your confession. I even have it recorded.” She argued. Nicole struggled for a response.
“I want you to know, I have no intention of telling Jason. For your sake, I really hope he never finds out. I never want him to feel that devastation. But I want you to listen to me carefully. What you're doing is wrong. It's not fair to anyone. It's selfish, at best.” She rambled. Nicole shook her head.
“I...” She went to argue. Vicky raised her finger.
“I don't want to hear your side. I want you to hear mine.” She dismissed. Nicole nodded.
“I could have made Jason happy. I don't know if you will, in fact, I highly doubt you're capable. What I do know, is that baby, whether or not it's even his, is going to bring him more happiness than I could have ever hoped to bring him. That being said, I'm not going to stand in the way of that.” She finished, handing Nicole the USB. Her jaw dropped as Vicky put it in her hand.
“You're not going to blackmail me? Or fight? Or...” She trailed. Vicky shook her head.
“That's not who I am. It never was. I can see that this isn't about you and me, and who's going to win Jason's affection. This is about what he wants, and who is going to make him happier. So, if I have to lose the man I love to do the right thing, I will. Because more than anything, I want Jason to be happy.” She replied. Nicole looked down at the ground.
“I don't know what to say.” She mumbled. Vicky shrugged.
“There's nothing you can say. There's something you can do.” She answered. Nicole looked up.
“Take care of that man for me. He deserves to be happy, and honestly, it's the least you can do.” She answered, starting to walk away. She turned back around.
“Oh, and by the way, congratulations.”

“I can't believe you did that.” Alison whined grabbing another beer.
“You did the right thing.” Joey dismissed.
“How can you say that? He's your best friend. And you, you claim to love him, yet you're so willing to just walk away.” Alison barked. Vicky half-laughed.
“That's exactly why I walked away.” She mumbled.
“I don't understand you sometimes.” Alison rambled. Vicky shook her head.
“To tell Jason the truth would have taken a piece of his soul. I honestly hope he never finds out.”
“What if he does?” Alison asked. Vicky shrugged heading into the kitchen.
“He'd be pissed if I told him, he'll be pissed if he finds out I didn't. At the end of the day, I think he'll be fine.” She answered, handing Joey another beer.
“What about you? Will you be fine?” Alison asked. Vicky smiled.
“Yeah. I will.” She answered confidently.
“Really?” Alison questioned, crossing her arms.
“I love him, more than anyone, or anything. But, at the same time, the best thing I can do for him is walk away. This is his chance to have the family he's always wanted. He'll never love Nicole, but, that baby... If you love something, set it free.” She explained. Joey put his arm around Vicky, and smiled.
“He'll never stop loving you. You know that, right?” He asked. Vicky nodded.

“I do. Besides, I have a feeling this isn't the end.”

Appetite For Love

Photo from Pixabay

“Where are we going?” Jessica asked, following her friend up the street. They had just gotten off the plane in Toronto. She was getting tired of carrying her luggage. Alison was looking at the GPS on her phone. She stopped abruptly.
I'm trying to figure out where this restaurant is.” She answered. Jessica sighed.
Can't we just go to the nearest one?” She complained. Alison laughed.
It's our first time in Toronto. Can you enjoy yourself?” She asked. Jessica shook her head.
I'm just hungry, and tired. And I'm really sick of this luggage.” She insisted. Alison nodded.
I know. Me too. I'm just trying to find the place Dave recommended.” She explained.
He should be our personal tour guide. He grew up here.” Jessica joked. Alison nodded.
I'll definitely agree with that.” They kept walking straight. Jessica tapped her shoulder.
It's across the street. Your GPS was off.” Jessica pointed out. Alison shook her head.
No. That's a different place.” She argued. Jessica laughed.
Really? Because Dave is outside that one.” She observed. Alison looked across the street. She hit herself in the forehead and headed across the street. Jessica followed.
We were so lost.” Jessica greeted. Dave laughed, passing his smoke to Alison.
Why couldn't you just meet us at the airport?” She barked, smacking him. He laughed.
I'm performing tonight. Otherwise I would have been happy to pick you both up. I'm sorry.” He replied. Jessica shook her head.
Performing with who?” Alison asked.
My band, you know this.” Dave reminded her. She shook her head.
Did we miss your set?” Jessica asked.
Well, you missed the first half. But, you'll get to see the second.” He assured the pair.
I'm excited now.” Alison announced clapping her hands together. Dave laughed, motioning to Jessica. She was staring at the sidewalk, shuffling her feet.
What's up with her?” He asked. Alison looked over and shook her head.
She's still obsessing over you know who.” Alison answered. Dave laughed, nodding.
Understandable.” He agreed. Alison shook her head.
No it's not. It's insane, and random, and insane.” She argued. Jessica laughed.
Yes, yes it is.” She agreed, smiling to herself. Alison rolled her eyes.
She's having a quarter life crisis.” She insisted, looking back at Dave. He laughed.
Isn't that Martin's thing?” He questioned. Alison shrugged.
I think it works for her. I mean, what else would cause this?” She asked. Jessica laughed.
Falling in love?” She offered. Alison shook her head.
You haven't seen the guy in more than 4 years. How would you fall in love with him? It's not possible. At all. It's just insane.” She argued.
I actually think it's cute, in a way.” Dave announced. Alison and Jessica both raised their eyebrows. Alison put one of her hands on her hip.
What?” They asked in unison. He shrugged.
Or not.” He added. Alison laughed, putting out the smoke Dave had given her.
I've got to get back on stage.” He announced. Alison nodded.
I need to feed this one anyway.” She agreed, motioning to Jessica. She clapped.
Yes please!” She agreed, sounding like she was dying. Dave laughed opening the door.
Hey, Dave, do you want me to order for you?” Alison asked as he started towards the stage. He turned around with a contemplative look on his face.
Yeah. You pick though.” He hollered, walking off. Alison threw her arms in the air.
How does he think I'm going to know what he wants?” She asked out loud to herself. Jessica laughed as one of the servers greeted them. He looked about 19. He was tall, and skinny. He was dressed in black dress pants and a white dress shirt. There were random tattoos showing through the fabric. His name tag said 'Chris'. Jessica nodded in response to his greeting. Alison turned.
Hello Chris.” She greeted cheerfully. It almost sounded like a sarcastic cheerful though.
Table for 2?” He asked. Alison shook her head.
No, the moron from the stage will be joining us.” She corrected. Chris laughed.
So, table for 4 then.” He said, grabbing three menus. Alison nodded.
Follow me ladies.” He instructed, leading them towards the back.
Why 4? There's only 3 of us.” Jessica questioned. Alison shook her head.
There's no such thing as a table for 3.” She insisted. Chris laughed.
We do have tables for 3 people. But, if you want my opinion, they're a little small. It looks like you two could use the extra space.” He corrected, referencing their bags. Alison motioned to him, nodding.
See, that's why we're getting a table for 4.” She agreed, laughing. Chris lead them to a booth at the back. It was raised about 2 feet off the ground, with steps up. There were 4 booths like it, each in the corners of the restaurant. Each booth was rounded, facing out. Theirs gave a nice view of the stage.
After you, ladies.” Chris insisted, motioning to the booth. Alison walked up the stairs first, sitting on the right. The booth had a foot wide ledge against the wall. Alison threw her bags up on the ledge. Jessica sat down on the left, across from Alison. She did the same with her bags. Chris handed Alison the menus, but stayed at the bottom on the steps.
Can I get you ladies something to drink while you're waiting?” He asked.
Do you have Heineken?” Jessica asked. Chris nodded.
I'll have one of those.” She answered. Chris looked back at Alison.
Just a Caesar.” She ordered, sounding disappointed. He nodded.
I'll be back in a minute with your drinks.” He announced, heading towards the bar.
This place is really neat.” Jessica observed. Alison nodded. She seemed distracted.
Hey!” Jessica barked, causing Alison to jump.
Where the hell are you?” She questioned. Alison shook her head.
I don't fucking know. I just dazed off.” She replied, laughing. Jessica raised her eyebrow.
I thought I was the distracted one.” She trailed. Alison looked over at her.
At least I'm not obsessing over my ex from like a million years ago.” Alison added. Jessica shrugged.
I can't tell my heart what to do.” She defended. Alison shook her head.
No, but you can make a conscious effort to stop thinking about him.” She insisted, crossing her arms over her chest. Jessica shrugged again.
Who said I wanted to?” She asked, half smiling. Alison shook her head.
"Well, at least stop burdening me with the thoughts." She muttered. Chris came back a second later with their drinks. Alison took Jessica's beer from Chris.
I don't know if you should have this. Are you going to start whining about that kid if you drink this?” She asked. Jessica laughed.
Probably, but, I'm going to whine either way.” She reminded. Alison rolled her eyes, reluctantly handing her the bottle. Jessica smiled, taking a sip.
I love this taste.” She moaned, leaning back. Alison shook her head, but Chris laughed.
Are you waiting to order?” He asked. Alison smacked herself in the forehead.
No, but we are going to need a couple minutes. I didn't even look at the menu. I'm sorry. This one distracted me.” She defended, motioning to Jessica. She laughed.
I didn't do or say anything.” She argued. Alison shrugged.
Your thoughts are distracting me.” She insisted. Jessica rolled her eyes.
Stay out of my head then.” Chris laughed, shaking his head.
I'll check back in a few minutes.” He offered, heading off. Alison looked over the menu.
I want a bacon cheeseburger.” She announced after a minute. Jessica shook her head.
So, you're not just eating a cow, you're eating a pig too. Really? Do you not remember those videos we watched last month.” She reminded. Alison laughed.
Of course I do.” She assured. Jessica shook her head.
Well, even though they didn't affect you apparently, they still affected me.” She whined, pretending to pout. Alison laughed, shaking her head.
And?” She asked bitterly. Jessica laughed.
I would think you would be sensitive to that.” She clarified. Alison rolled her eyes.
Fine. I'll get nachos. I'm still getting bacon bits on them.” She insisted. Jessica shrugged.
It's better than a massive slice of dead cow." She defended. Alison laughed.
Are you trying to ruin meat for me?” She asked. Jessica nodded.
Uh, yes.” She assured. Alison shook her head.
You're going to have to try harder than that lawn gnome.” She teased. Jessica rolled her eyes. It was a nickname Alison had given her when they were preteens.
Shut up.” Jessica muttered.
So, what are you getting?” Alison asked, changing the subject. Jessica sighed.
I don't know. I'm not as hungry as I thought I was. I was thinking of appetizers. But, I don't just want one kind.” She answered, biting the side of her lip. Alison nodded dismissively. She was quiet for a minute, then clapped her hands together.
You know what, that's a great idea!” Alison announced. Jessica raised her eyebrow.
I don't follow.”
We'll just order a bunch of appetizers. Then, Dave can pick off what he wants. It's perfect.” Alison elaborated. Jessica nodded, finishing what was left of her beer.
Sounds good.” She agreed, closing her menu. She put her menu on the edge of the table. Alison repeated the motion. Then Jessica put her bottle beside the menus.
You drank that fast.” Alison observed. Jessica shrugged again.
I haven't had a Heineken in a long time.” She defended. Alison laughed.
Fair enough. It is a rare lager for restaurants to carry.” She agreed. They both looked to the stage as Dave and his band mate were starting the second part of their set. Dave made an announcement about his friends being in town, and it being their first time. He dedicated the show to them. Jessica laughed.
He's such a freak.” Alison teased, looking back across the table at Jessica. She nodded.
It was sweet, I guess.” She trailed, slightly tilting her head. Alison raised her eyebrow.
What are you looking at?” She asked briefly turning around.
I must have finally lost my mind.” Jessica answered. Alison looked back over at her.
Why do you say that?” She asked, still trying to see what Jessica was looking at.
That can't be him.” Jessica continued. Finally, Alison saw what she was looking at.
Oh, wow. No, that's him.” She assured, looking back. Jessica was sinking into her seat.
No.” She muttered, covering her face with her hands. Alison laughed, standing up. She waved at the pair who were standing at the door way. Jessica grabbed her dress.
What are you doing?” She barked, pulling Alison down. She laughed.
Come on, you've been obsessing over the guy for weeks. Now you're going to tell me you don't want to see him?” She questioned. The pair started walking towards the table. Jessica covered her face.
I can't breathe.” She mumbled. Alison kept laughing.
You're fine.” She dismissed.
No. I'm gonna die.” Jessica ranted. Alison stood up to greet the pair.
Hi Andrew!” She enthusiastically greeted, throwing her arms around him.
Alison! Long time no see!” He replied just as enthusiastically. Alison motioned to the booth. The second guy moved past Alison, sliding into the booth across from Jessica.
Hi Jessica.” He greeted nervously. She faked a smile.
Hello Jason.” She answered with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm. Andrew sat down where Alison had been sitting, so she sat beside Jessica, pushing her over.
Are you two sticking around?” Alison asked, grabbing her drink. Andrew shook his head.
We're meeting Dave. Well, he's meeting Dave. He invited us out. But my girlfriend's in town, so, I'm taking off when she gets here.” He dismissed. Alison nodded, looking over at Jason. He seemed as nervous as Jessica was. Alison kicked him from under the table. He jumped, which made her laugh.
Jason, are you taking off too?” She asked. He shrugged.
Speaking of that, where is Dave?” Jason questioned, looking around the restaurant.
Stage left.” Jessica mumbled, motioning to the front of the restaurant.
He's performing?” Jason questioned. Alison nodded.
Yeah. I was just as confused when he told us.” She agreed. Jason nodded.
So, what are you two doing in Toronto?” Andrew asked.
Mostly, just for the change of scenery. Dave invited us to stay in his guest bedroom for a couple weeks. We just got off the plane.” Alison explained. Jason smiled.
You're in town for a couple weeks?” He asked. Alison nodded.
Yeah. By the way, what are you doing in Toronto? Don't you live out west somewhere?” Alison questioned. Jason nodded, playing with the nightly specials insert.
I guess you could say I'm also looking for a change of scenery.” He mumbled.
Why? What happened?” Alison asked. Jason shook his head as Chris came over.
Can I get you gentlemen anything?” He asked.
Nothing for me. I'm meeting someone.” Andrew answered. Chris looked over at Jason.
Anything for yourself?” He asked.
I'll take whatever you have on tap.” He answered. Chris nodded, looking to Jessica.
Would you like another?” He asked, grabbing the empty bottle. She nodded.
You drink Heineken?” Jason asked. She briefly looked over at him and nodded.
Actually, I'll have one of those as well.” Jason decided. Chris laughed, nodding.
Have you had the chance to look over the menu?” He asked, looking at Alison. She nodded, listing off the appetizers they had decided on.
And cheese sticks.” Jason added. Alison shook her head.
And cheese sticks.” She repeated. Chris scribbled down the list, and nodded.
Alright. I'll be right back.” He announced, heading off.
Dave has a nice voice.” Jessica randomly stated. Jason nodded.
He does. He never uses it though.” He added. Alison laughed, looking at the stage.
He's using it right now, dumb ass.” She argued.
I'll reword. He doesn't usually use it.” He corrected. Alison nodded.
That, I'll agree with.” She agreed. Jason leaned across the table, putting his hand on Jessica's. She jumped, pulling her hand away.
Am I making you nervous? You've barely said a thing since I got here.” He asked softly, sounding concerned. Jessica moved her hands to her lap. She swallowed hard.
It's hard to think of someone when they're sitting in front of you, isn't it?” Alison teased, laughing. Andrew also laughed. Jessica kicked her from under the table.
I'm not nervous.” She choked out.
Uncomfortable then?” He asked. She shook her head, looking up at him. He looked up at the same time and she caught his eyes with hers. She looked away.
Are you blushing?” Alison asked, lightly pushing Jessica's shoulder.
Shut up.” She mumbled. Andrew laughed again.
Jason is too. It's a little harder to see with that dark skin of his.” He observed.
Thanks.” Jason commented sarcastically. Jessica smiled, still looking down.
Oh you two sicken me.” Alison commented, shaking her head. Andrew laughed. Chris came back to the table, sliding the two opened bottles towards the other side.
Hey, since I'm still here, can I grab a glass of water?” Andrew asked. Chris nodded.
Sure thing.”
Where is your girlfriend?” Alison questioned. Andrew checked his phone.
Apparently stuck in traffic. She said there was an accident. No one was badly hurt, but the road is a mess, and there's no way around it.” He detailed, putting his phone on the table. He looked over his shoulder at the stage. Dave was off the stage. He had been replaced by the next performer.
Is that, Martin?” He questioned. Alison stood up.
It is.” She replied, sitting back down. Jason looked over at the stage.
What is Martin doing here?” He questioned.
He's doing a small venue tour.” Jessica answered. The three looked over at her.
How do you know that?” Alison questioned. Jessica shrugged.
I've been keeping tabs.” She answered. Jason raised his eyebrow.
Why such an interest in Martin?” He questioned. She shook her head.
It's not just him.” She confessed. Jason smiled, looking down.
How close?” He asked after a minute. Jessica shrugged.
I know why you're here. I mean, in town.” She answered. He raised his eyebrow.
How? No one knows about that yet.” He insisted. She shrugged again.
I never said how I kept tabs.” She reminded him.
What does that mean?” Jason questioned. Jessica looked up at the ceiling.
So, wait, all four of you are in the same place at the same time. Are you going to do a reunion show?” Alison asked, sounding excited. Andrew shook his head.
Naw, it's entirely coincidental.” He assured. Alison half-smiled.
As coincidental as us running into you two?” She asked. Andrew shook his head.
No. There's no coincidence there. Dave had this planned.” He assured her.
Well, if he knew we were all going to be in town, why wouldn't he invite us all to his show?” Jessica offered. Andrew looked over at her and shook his head.
That's not why.” He corrected. Alison raised her eyebrow.
Why?” She asked excitedly. He laughed as Chris came back to the table with his water.
Thanks.” He said tipping the glass towards Chris.
Anything else I can get for you folks?” He asked. Alison looked at her still full drink.
I think we're good, thank you.” She answered. Chris nodded and took off.
Samantha.” Jason stated, seemingly randomly. Jessica laughed, nodding.
And Alex.” She added. He shook his head.
Why are you still talking to my siblings?” He asked. Andrew laughed.
If that isn't obvious yet...” He trailed as Jessica glared at him. He nodded.
Never mind.” He dismissed. Jason looked from Jessica to Andrew.
I'm so confused.” He whined.
That's not hard.” Dave teased walking up to the table.
Hey, the man of the hour.” Andrew greeted, standing up. Dave motioned to Alison.
I need a smoke.” He announced. Alison stood up, grabbing her purse.
Are you two going to be alright if we leave you?” She joked. Jessica rolled her eyes.
Just go.” She demanded. Alison laughed.
We'll be back then.” She assured, following Dave and Andrew outside. Jason quickly moved to where Alison had been sitting. Jessica jumped, looking up abruptly.
Are you alright?” He asked softly. She shook her head.
I was fine until right now.” She half-laughed.
You're nervous.” He observed. She nodded.
Insanely.” She muttered, moving away from him. He nodded, sliding over.
So, what did Sam tell you?” He asked, leaning back. Jessica shook her head.
She said you were staying with her and the hubby to clear your head for a while.” She answered softly. He nodded, looking over at her.
"Did she say why?" He asked. Jessica slowly shook her head.
"I know why." She mumbled. She looked over at him and smiled. He nodded again.
"Yeah." He agreed. She nodded. He moved closer to her, slowly leaning forward. When she didn't pull back, he put his hand on the back of her head. She put one of her hands on his chest and leaned forward, pressing her lips to his.
"I thought you hated me." He whispered into her smile. She lightly shook her head.
"I wanted to. I thought, after everything, I should. But I was only convincing myself to live a lie. I guess I've just realized that it's better to live the truth. Even if it's painful." She rambled. He smiled.
"What changed?" He asked. She slowly moved back.
The damnedest thing.” She answered, half laughing. He waited for her to continue.
I was dating this guy for a couple years. A waste of space, but, I thought I was happy. When it fell apart, I was so angry, and frustrated. Mostly about not getting to say anything I wanted to during the break up. So, I went to see a therapist." She paused. He smiled.
"I've been there." He commented. She nodded.
"She gave me the typical response, that, it was time to let go. And she gave me the advice to start writing as a means of working through all the things I never got to say." She continued. He leaned forward, and brushed a strand of her hair out of her face.
"But all my writing was about you." She finished. He smiled.
"Good, or, bad?" He asked, almost shyly. She laughed, moving forward. She put both of her hands on his chest, and slowly leaned up.
"I could never hate you, Jason. And not a day goes by that I don't think about what we could have had." She whispered. He leaned down and kissed her.
"You were better off without me." He mumbled. She smiled, shaking her head.
"I never wanted to be without you." She corrected. He pressed his nose against hers.
"Then why did you leave?" He asked under his breath. She sighed.
"You never gave me a reason to stay." She answered. He shook his head.
"I will this time." He whispered. She smiled, slowly kissing him again. Someone coughed from behind them. Jessica looked past Jason to see Chris was standing there with the plates. Jason laughed, and moved back slightly. Chris also laughed.
I'm sorry to disrupt this beautiful moment.” He apologized. Jessica shook her head.
It's alright.” She assured. Jason stood up to help Chris with the many plates.
I'll leave you two get back to your business.” Chris said walking off. Jessica and Jason looked at each other, laughing. She shook her head, covering her face in her hands.
I'm embarrassed.” She whined. He laughed, moving her hands. He kissed her again.
Better?” He asked. She laughed, shaking her head.
Not at all.” She dismissed. He leaned over the table, grabbing his beer. She took the opportunity to grab hers as well. He put his arm around her as he leaned back, pulling her closer to him.
Okay, what did I miss?” Dave asked approaching the table. Andrew and Alison were trailing behind him. Jessica looked down, hiding her face in Jason's chest.
Don't try and follow them. They haven't said 4 words to each other, now they're all over each other." Alison complained. Andrew laughed.
"At least your plan worked.” He added, shaking his head.
What plan?” Jason asked, looking at Dave as he sat down across from them.
Oh, nothing.” He dismissed.
Jason, what are you doing in my spot?” Alison barked. Jason briefly looked over at her.
Stealing it?” He questioned. She shook her head, sitting down beside Dave.
My girlfriend just said she's waiting outside.” Andrew announced, laughing. Alison nodded.
We'll have to get together for lunch or something while we're both in town.” She insisted.
Definitely.” Andrew agreed, heading back outside.
Seriously, what the hell?” Dave asked. Alison laughed.
Wasn't the plan to get them back together?” She asked. He nodded, shaking his head.
I didn't expect it to be so... Wait, are you guys actually back together?” Dave asked. Jason and Jessica exchanged a look. Jason laughed.
Yeah.” He answered. Dave shook his head.
Really?” Alison asked, raising her eyebrow. Jessica nodded.
"Yeah." She repeated. Alison shook her head.
How are you guys going to work out the long distance thing? You live thousands of miles apart.” She reminded the pair. Jason half-laughed.
I have an idea.” He mumbled, looking down at Jessica. She raised her eyebrow.
I was thinking, if you wanted, and don't feel pressured, or expected to answer right away...” He started, trailing off. Jessica laughed kissing him.
"I would love to." She cut him off. He smiled.
Really? You're not hesitant at all?” He asked. She shook her head.
Of course she isn't. She's been obsessing over you forever. I mean, not crushing, obsessing. Are you sure you want her around? She redefines psycho.” Alison added, shaking her head. Dave laughed.
You haven't seen his most recent girlfriend, I'm guessing.” He started. Alison shook her head. Dave pulled out his wallet, paging through the pictures. He took one out and handed it to her. Alison looked from the picture to Jason.
Oh wow. Over compensating much, Jason?” She teased, laughing. Dave nodded.
The obsession goes both ways.” He assured.
I've never been in denial about my feelings.” Jason defended.
You're adorable.” Alison teased. Chris walked over to the table with a bottle of champagne and four glasses. He opened the bottle, placing it on the table.
Champagne?” Alison questioned. Chris nodded.
By request.” He assured, looking at Dave.
Thanks Chris.” He replied. Chris nodded, and headed back to the bar.
What's the occasion?” Alison asked. Dave motioned to Jason and Jessica.
I was going to give a nicely written speech about rekindling romance, but, it's too late to try and play cupid.” He joked, shaking his head. Jason laughed.
You can't play cupid to people who only needed opportunity.” Jason assured, looking down at Jessica. She smiled, looking at the table. Dave nodded.
True.” He agreed, pouring the four glasses. He passed them out.
To opportunity.” He toasted. Everyone raised their glasses.

To opportunity.” They repeated.