Friday, December 21, 2012

Closer to Adele

Damian tried not to stare as the gorgeous woman sauntered toward him. Something in her gait reminded him of a big cat on the hunt.

Been watching the discovery channel too much, Damian mused. His stomach did a flip as their eyes met briefly.

Close your mouth, Inigo advised.

Damain’s jaw snapped closed, and he looked away, cheeks burning. He missed the tiny smile that his obvious discomfort elicited. By the time he’d worked up the courage to turn his head back, she was standing in front of him.

“Okay, on a scale of Taylor Swift to Adele, how bad was it?”

It was the voice of heaven. The barkeep put on a sympathetic smile and Damian’s world faded to a tunnel. Her teeth were the brightest thing in the room. It was as if a spotlight operator was painting her from above.

What the hell had she just said? Damian’s mind stumbled all over itself.

She continued to smile, but one dark eyebrow arched and a booted foot began to tap. Even her impatience was sexy. Damian felt jealous of the grimy floor.

She spoke again. “Only two types of folk in here tonight, the desperate and the lonely, and I know that look.” Her eyes locked onto Damian’s and held him there, a prisoner in their speckled, emerald depths. “So… how bad?”

Her voice had a light lilt, just enough to keep Damian aware of her tongue. He tried his best to prevent his own from wagging.

Ha, Inigo laughed. It worked, did it not?

What worked? Damian wanted to know.

My summons! Hurry, you must respond before she is ensnared by the others.

A group of men to the right looked as if they might seize the opening and start up their own conversation. Panic gripped Damian as he realized his chance might be slipping by. Thinking quickly, he formulated a proper reply.

“Uh,” Damian said.

He regretted it immediately.

Eloquent, Inigo agreed dryly.

The woman’s renewed smile was salve to the burn on Damian's face. “That bad, eh?” It was the third time she'd spoken to him, and she still seemed to be expecting some sort of reply. Something more than “uh.”

Quickly, Inigo whispered, repeat after me: I apologize, but your beauty hath momentarily disarmed me. What would my lady suggest?

Damian parroted, his mind still mostly blank. To his surprise, the boot froze mid-tap. The bartender giggled; Damian's heart bubbled right along with the laugh.

Amused eyes kept him pinned down. “Well, that gets points for originality, anyway.” She gestured vaguely behind her. “How about a beer?”

Damian nodded.

His eyes followed as the woman bounced away. With casual familiarity, she flipped a glass up, caught it, and then slid it under the tap. Beer frothed forth, golden and inviting. She tipped the foam from the top and danced back. When the beer was beneath his nose, Damian was surprised to find her sizing him up.

“Was that a Spanish accent I detected?” she asked.

Crap. “That depends,” he said.

Inigo, of course, was nowhere to be heard, now.

She raised an eyebrow. “On?”

“Have you ever been to Spain?”

She shook her head, setting her curls aflutter. “No, but I think I'd like to.”

“Me too,” Damian admitted.

It is not all that and a plate of patatas fritas, Inigo grumbled.

She giggled again, genuinely pleased. The corners of Damian's mouth soared. He took a sip of beer to hide his idiot grin. When he set the beer back on the counter, he was wearing what he hoped was simply a friendly and inviting smile. Smooth would probably be too much to ask.

“I'm Damian,” he said, extending a tentative hand.

She took it. Her skin was silk. Damian held it expectantly.

She cocked her head over a shoulder. “Genny."

Her name was displayed on a hanging placard above a half-filled tip jar. It had been handwritten; both the leading and trailing letters were embellished with swirls. Damian felt his stomaching mimicking them.

With a quick squeeze, she broke contact, heading to the other end of the bar. Her departure was like ripping off a bandage. Suddenly, the pain that had brought him to the bar came crashing back. Damian took a long pull of the beer. He watched surreptitiously as Genny served the group of boisterous men. He couldn't help but notice that she wasn't shaking any of their hands.

His satisfied smirk warred with the recently ripped hole inside of him. Was he here to bury an old love or chase fruitlessly after a new one? Seemed like there were some decisions to be made, despite his intentions.

You can guess at my vote, no? Inigo chimed in.


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