Authors: Felicia Starr
“Here, take money.” John put his hand in his pocket.
“I got it.” Lilly pulled her clutch out from under her arm and waved it. “Water?”
John shook his head. Lilly didn’t feel right taking another drink from him. It would be wrong to have him pay for her at this point. Lilly approached the bar and heard that the band on
stage was finishing up. They thanked the crowd for a great night and plugged their website and where their music could be downloaded.
“Thank you Karmasylum, you guys rocked out tonight. We can’t wait to see you back on this stage in three weeks for our Grunge Fest. It will be an all day event with nineties cover bands.
“West Front will be on stage at about ten o’clock, that means we have time for a quick performance. These kids are just starting out, but they have got something unique that will have you wanting more. Check out this garage band called Bling Blang performing their soon to be first hit single Shine.
“Make sure you stick around for West Front Street. I have a special dedication to a very special girl. You won’t want to miss it.” He tapped on the microphone.
Lilly turned around at the abrasive noise and saw Leon standing on the stage. Her eyes went wide. Her reaction was the opposite of her response to John’s last statement. She wanted to hide the smile that was creeping across her face.
“I hope you hear what I’m saying. I have a little something special planned for you.” Leon pointed out in the crowed. His finger was like a direct arrow to Lilly. He then bent into it and pointed across the crowd. “You’re gonna love it.”
Holy crap was he just pointing at me? Lilly couldn’t get the thought out of her head. Her heart must have been beating a million miles per hour.
Marylou was standing in front of her when she turned back to order her drink. She went to speak
, but nothing came out.
“You’re going to stay right?” Marylou leaned across the bar and spoke in as close to a whisper as she could, “you do know he was pointing at you, don’t you?”
“Me? Why me?” Lilly still stunned played dumb to the whole thing.
“I don’t know, toots. He told me y
ou put a spell on him last week,” Marylou said. “Do you want another beer?”
“Huh? Yeah, hey, is that a sixty minute? I am so not looking to get drunk tonight.”
“Yes, we don’t serve the strong stuff here. What about the guy you’re babysitting, he want another drink?” She grabbed a plastic cup and started to pour the beer.
Lilly watched her and wondered why he would tell her that. For that matter why would she tell Lilly?
“He’s my brother, well one of them. This one is on the house. Is that guy your date or somethin’?” Marylou’s boyish charm must have come from growing up with a house full of boys.
“Pretty much.” Lilly’s face scrunched up like she smelled rotten garbage.
“You like him? You guys don’t look like you mesh well.”
“I don’t seem to mesh well wit
h any of the guys I go out with,” Lilly said and laughed, but it was the truth.
“You could always switch sides and play for your home team.”
She wasn’t sure if Marylou was probing her for her brother or if she was hitting on her.
“I need to get back to work. We can talk more later.” Marylou put up a bottle of water on the bar. “For your date.”
“Thanks,” Lilly yelled down the bar to her and turned back to walk over to John.
“That bartender is super cool. She gave this to me for you.” Lilly handed him the bottle of water.
John took the bottle and slid his rum and coke onto the bar. “Thanks. I’m not really into the rum. To be honest I didn’t even realize how beat I was. I think I have slept for a total of six or seven hours the past two nights, I usually go to bed at nine and get almost eight hours of sleep.”
“I’m sorry, I have been keeping you up crazy late. I’m surprised I’m not tired at all. Maybe it was the smoothie I had for breakfast this morning.” Could he really be looking to go home? She had no problem with that.
“If you don’t feel well enough to stay out, I don’t want to keep you out and you get sick from being run down.”
“I’m fine. Just tired. Besides I asked you ou
t, I’m not going to bail on you,” John said and rubbed her shoulder.
Lilly felt the hairs on her arm stand up from his touch. It wasn’t the good kind of tingle. It was more like a really sharp tag in your shirt that you forgot to cut out.
“This guy on stage has me kind of interested in his special message for some lucky lady.”
Lilly felt her cheeks blush realizing that it was her he was talking about. She got nervous that
she might say or do something that would offend John. Lilly knew she was going to tell him she wasn’t interested, but now was not that time.
“I have to go to the little girl’s room.”
“Do you want me to walk you?” John asked her.
“No, but can you hold my drink for me? You should stay here and save our spot. It’s close to the bar and has a good view of the stage. If we both go people will fill in.” Lilly handed him her drink.
Lilly navigated through the crowd to the bathroom, of course there was a line, but she had stood in much worse in clubs.
After Lilly washed her hands she made sure her dress was straight and her boobs were pushed up nice. She messed with putting her hair over one shoulder, then two, and then back down the middle. She shook her head at herself and applied some fresh lip-gloss.
She was in such a rush to get back to her spot before Leon’s band came on that she nearly tripped over someone’s foot as she turned out of the bathroom.
“What are you-” Lilly looked up about to yell at the foot’s owner and it was Leon. He was standing with his back against the wall with one foot stretched out in front and the other bent behind him holding up the wall.
“What am I what?” h
e asked her.
“You could hurt someone standing like that. It’s a good thing I don’t have a drink in my hand.” Lilly laughed.
“About that, I told you I owed you a shirt. I wanted to give you some money so you could replace it or pick you up and take you out to buy a new shirt.”
“You want to take me shopping?” Lilly switched feet and put her free hand on her hip.
“I could do that. But do you think your boyfriend would mind?” Leon’s lips pushed together as he nodded his head in the direction of the bar. They were standing behind a wall that separated the bathroom entryways from the rest of the bar. She couldn’t see John, but she knew he was signaling toward him.
“Oh he isn’t my boyfriend, we are a…”
“Just friends?” He finished her sentence lifting his prominent brow.
“Well, we are technically on a date?” Lilly grabbed her clutch from under her one arm so she had something to do with her shaking hands. She wanted to dive into his eyes, but looking at him dead on made her scared shitless.
“How’s that working out for you?” He tilted his head to connect eyes.
“Depends on how you look at it. Had he not asked me on a date with tickets to this show, your show is it?”
“I wouldn’t have been here tonight. I mig
ht not ever have come back here,” Lilly stated as if she never had any intention on returning.
“What do you see exactly?” Lilly was not usually so forward.
“Right now I am looking at the very thing that has consumed my t
houghts since I bumped into you,” Leon told her.
She thought she was going to pass out.
“About that. Where is your girlfriend tonight?” Lilly wondered what exactly his deal was with the screaming maniac troll.
“She is not and never has been my girlfriend. I grabbed coffee with her once. I don’t know what I did or said that led her on to believe we were more than that. I honestly think she has some mental health issues.”
Lilly sucked in her cheek and lifted the same brow in an inquisitive manner. She wasn’t sure she was buying his story. “That girl was really pissed off. I’m not sure I have ever seen anyone flip their shit like that.”
“You’re telling me. I had to get a new phone number and she is officially on the banned list here. It is really hard to get permanently banned from this place.”
“The guy working the door seems to have a pretty good memory. I don’t think he will need a list.” Lilly was starting to feel bad that she needed to get back to John. Of course she wanted to talk to this guy until he would at least officially ask her out or for her phone number.
“Who, Jay, the big black guy?”
“That guy is the best. We go boarding together sometimes.”
“I better get back,” Lilly said. “I’m Lilly by the way.”
“Pretty, your name I mean. Yeah I gotta go get ready to go on stage, they are probably wondering where I am.”
“See you then.” Lilly started to walk away from him and he caught her by her waist and pulled her back against him. Her back was pressed against his chest.
“Meet me after the show,” h
e whispered against her neck. His words tickled their way all the way down to her toes. He had her captivated with his rich voice.
Lilly pulled away slowly from him. She turned around to him before she walked out from behind the wall dividing them from the bar crowd and her date. “I don’t know, maybe.”
“I will be at the Red Flag Diner at midnight. I hope you will be too.”
She practically had to drag herself away from him. Holy crap he just asked her to have a rendezvous with him.
She walked back to the bar. John stood there waiting for her. She realized looking around at everyone that he stood out. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was, maybe just that he was one of the only people not watching the stage. He looked like he couldn’t wait to get out of there.
“I was starting to worry you fell in,” John said.
“Oh there was a crazy line. I don’t know what always takes girls so long to pee.”
“I was afraid maybe something happened. I was going to come check on you.”
“Is that why you look so gloomy?” Lilly asked him.
“I don’t know, I am just so tired. I really wanted to selfishly spend another night with you, but I maybe should have been resting.”
“It’s no biggie. W
e can get together another time,” Lilly said, even though she really didn’t have any interest in spending any more time with him. Bethany was going to kill her.
John pulled Lilly in close and went to kiss her. She felt his move coming before he might have set it in motion, she grabbed her drink from his hand and took a sip of her beer to subtly block the kiss.
“It would be cool if you could stay for the rest of the show, but I totally understand if you want to head out.”
“I don’t want you to travel h
ome alone at this time of night,” John said.
The music playing in the background was again the DJ or cd they had popped in while West Front started to set up.
“You do not have to worry about me. I have been getting myself home alone for quite some time now. Besides, I just downloaded that new app on my phone where I can order a car service.”
“Well, I don’t want you to think of you
rself as alone. You have me now,” John said and leaned in again to both kiss and hug her.
She felt like someone was wringing her he
art out like a wet bathing suit. She looked over John’s shoulder and saw Leon watching her. She put one arm around John and gave him a little half hug. Her eyes never breaking from Leon’s.
She wondered what he thought about the fact that she was standing there hugging another man in front of him. She had never been asked out on a date by someone other than the person she was on the date with. This was one for the books.
It was too bad that Ali couldn’t save her from this one. She still had not even told her about John, let alone the fact that she was actually interested in the jerk that spilled her drink all over her.
John pulled back from the hug. “Here, take some money for your ride. At least I won’t have to worry about you taking the train or standing out there waiting for a bus. Do the buses run at this time?” John handed her a hundred dollar bill.
“I can’t take this,” Lilly said looking down at the money in her hand.
“If you don’t then I am going to stay here and insist on driving you home.”
Truth be told it was probably what he really wanted to do. Lilly could see the dark circles under his eyes, she wasn’t sure if they had gotten darker or she had not noticed them earlier.
If taking his money was going to get him to go home how could she refuse? She opened her clutch and slid it in the little flap next to her license.
“Please call or use your app to call for a ride before you are ready to leave. It is safer if the car is waiting for you when you go out. Text me when you get home. I will probably be sleeping, but at least I won’t be worried.”
“You got it.” Lilly leaned in and gave him a kiss on the cheek. She hoped that if she kissed him first he wouldn’t attempt to make out with her before he left. He didn’t seem like the PDA kind of person, but just in case.
“I’ll be dreaming about you. I’ll call you tomorrow.” John finally turned and walked toward the exit.