Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Taking a Shot

This originally appeared on my old blog… reposting here

Sitting at the bar, nursing a Guinness and a shot of Bailey’s & Jaimeson… This place sucks ass. I only came here because it’s on the way home from work, but that justification is quickly losing merit. I look down into my drink, my third drink… normally about my limit. I lean forward and reach down to grab my wallet, but as I turn my head to the left to facilitate said movement, I catch a glimpse of green highlighted hair. As she walks directly behind me, I twist to my left even farther to try to catch a better look at the body connected to the hair and end up doing a very awkward spin on my barstool. Which, I might add, says anything but “cool”. One hand in my pocket, my head twisted over my shoulder, spinning the squeaking bar stool 360ยบ counter clockwise… I assume I look handicapped at the minimum. Half hoping I missed her as she kept walking on by, I reach the full arc of my rotation and find her sitting on the stool next to me, staring at me like I just grew a second head out of my shoulder.

Our eyes meet and I can tell she’s trying her hardest to refrain from smiling, which, on her soft face, is as adorable as it sounds. I pause, mid motion, realizing at that moment I probably look like I have cerebral palsy. She looks away, the smile growing as she turns toward the bartender. I sit motionless for 10 seconds, the proverbial deer in headlights, trying to figure out how to right this catastrophic sequence of events.

I leave my wallet in my pocket, straighten back up to the best of my ability and try to look as normal as possible. I finish my Guinness, chase it with the shot, then call Dave, the bartender (and a close friend) over. As he gets closer, I say “Dave, my good man, can I get a bottle of water and another Guinness with a chaser? Then please get the woman to my right, whatever she likes, on me, so she’ll stop looking at me like I lost the genetic lottery.” I turn her way as I finish the statement, hoping she heard.

“She must know you Nick, genetically imbalanced just about sums you up. What can I get you?” Dave directs the latter in her direction. She looks up and says, “Jack & Coke. Thanks.” Then she turns my way, “Thank you as well. Not escaped from the asylum then?”

The only way to describe the reappearance of her smile is heavenly. Just enough teeth to let me know it’s sincere, a curl of her lip twisting it into a slight smirk. I’m drawn in to her lips, until the movement of her eyes behind the frames of her glasses begs my attention upward. She rolls her eyes as her smile widens a little more. Her eyebrows raise and her beautiful eyes (what color are they? impossible to tell in this light) widen in a gesture of “what?”. I’m staring. One step forward, two steps backward.

“I’m sorry.” I find myself recovering from dumbfounded slack jawed awe for the second time in 2 minutes. Not looking promising for me at this point is it? “No. Not escaped, they let me go on a weekend pass… I don’t even know. Never mind.” Then I turn back to my drink… I’ve fucked this up royally.

“I hate that.” She says, turning back to the Jack & Coke now waiting for her at the bar.

“What?… Hate what?” courage kicking back in.

“When someone starts to say something, but doesn’t finish. Just fucking spit it out already. Drives me wicked nuts.” She brings the drink to her mouth and I find myself staring once again as she takes the first sip. The whiskey meets her lips, but my eyes are fixed on the green nail polish playing in the neon bar light. “You’re doing it again.” she says, never even looking in my direction.

“Staring… yeah I know.” I look back to my own drink, trying to figure out how to fix this before it spirals out of control completely. I take a deep breath, then turn to face her. “Here’s the deal.”

She turns to meet me, drink back to her lips, eyes curious. Our knees brush, but I force my brain through the touch. “I was going to say that I was a little awe struck when you walked by but I thought better of it, because it sounded like a total line…” Breathe. “I’d rather tell you the truth and it sound like a line than you be aggravated that I didn’t finish what I was going to say. So, there, I caught a glimpse of you, the green in your hair, you took my breath away, I didn’t know what to say, I froze. Total awe, at it’s finest. Beautiful green locks, the sweetest smile in the whole bar and I’m a total sucker for a woman in glasses. Sue me.” I turn back to the bar, completely pleased with my performance.

She instantly blushes, lowers her head and lets the smile engulf her face. She brings her hand up to her mouth and slowly raises her head. She turns slightly to her left, gives me a little smirk, and a look like she caught me with my hand in the cookie jar… then follows with “That IS the worst line ever.”

“Not a line. Total truth. I never lie. It’s usually easier and more effective to just speak the truth and say what’s on your mind.” Feeling this isn’t going anywhere, I turn back to the bar, drop the shot into my Guinness and take the whole thing as an Irish Car Bomb. I stand up, grab the bottle of water and leave $40 on the bar for Dave. “Her next drink’s on me too, Dave.” I turn in her direction. “It was very nice stammering and kicking myself in the face in your lovely presence. We’ll have to never do this again.” Maybe it was the last car bomb taking over, who knows… I grab her hand and bring it to my mouth, a soft kiss and a smile before laying her hand back on the bar and I’m readying my stride for a smooth exit.

“Elphie. My name’s Elphie.” Her smile more than let’s me know that I may have turned this around. She stands up and looks down at me. It’s at this moment I realize she’s about 2” taller than me. Score. Nothing sexier than looking up at a gorgeous woman.

My eyes never leave hers, but my head leans slightly as I call to my left, “Dave, keep the change and see ya tomorrow.” She takes me by the hand and pulls me in the direction of the exit. I trail through the wake of her perfume as we slink through the crowd toward the night.

I follow her through the door to the street beyond. As soon as the cold air hits us, I turn the corner and stand up against the wall, out of the wind. “Nick. My name’s Nick. Very nice to meet you Elphie.”

My right hand still holding her left, she stands in front of me and raises her right hand slightly. My left hand meets hers so that we’re now completely connected. “Well Nick, what now?”

“Coffee?” I suggest as I straighten my arms and will them to my sides, drawing a few inches out of the gap between us as I bring her hands with mine.

“I’d rather have more Jack & Coke.” She steps a little closer to relax the tight muscles between us. Now only 3” separate our faces.

“I have a new fifth of Jack at my place.” I bring the 3” to 2”.

“Anything to go with it?” The 2” becomes 1”.

“We’ll get something on the way.” 1” becomes a graze of flesh.

“Sounds,” our lips touch briefly, “…good” she lets out slowly.

My hands draw hers closer and a little behind me, the brief touch of lips turns to a kiss. The kiss grows deeper and I feel her head twist as our lips part momentarily. The playful way our fingers intertwine and our palms meet in a gesture of long lost lovers, allows us to draw out the first kiss to an unheard depth. My left hand breaks its grip and I wrap my hand around her back, pulling her closer yet. The kiss lasts longer than anticipated until a sharp cold gust robs us of our will to breathe. “This way,” I say as I pull her closer and direct the scene in the direction of my car.

The connection between us was instant and explosive.

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