Only For TonightbySoraRabbit©
The most memorable night of my life happened because I let the loneliness get to me. For a long time I'd done my best at staving it off, distracting myself, but that Friday night I couldn't hold it off anymore. It felt like my solitude was being rubbed in my face. I learned an old friend of mine had gotten engaged. My brother called me up to talk about his new girlfriend. My friend Denise had been planning to come over and watch a movie with me that night, but instead called to cancel because she met a new guy and had made a date.
Of course I was happy for everyone, but deeper down I was bitter and felt alone. Where was my special someone? I'd been alone for three years, ever since my wife, Gloria, had left me. It was right after we'd had our daughter. Shortly after her birth, Gloria had decided she wasn't ready to be a mother and disappeared. Eventually my lawyer tracked her down and had her served with divorce papers. It was uncontested. She just signed them and mailed them back. Which was fine by me . . . anyone who could leave her newborn with no attempt at contact wasn't worth crying over.
Since then, I'd raised our daughter Gina by myself. With occasional babysitting help from my mother, that is. I wouldn't change it for anything. My little girl, Gina, was the light of my life, and I had only to look into her eyes to see all the struggles were worth it. She was a precious, sweet little girl and I'd walk through fire for her if necessary.
On the other hand, there was a part of me not being fulfilled. In the three years since Gloria's departure, I hadn't gone on a single date. My life revolved around Gina and work. I had a couple of female friends, but no one I was interested in taking to the next level. For awhile that was by choice. I didn't see the point in getting attached when she would just get bored with me or overwhelmed by life and take off. The more time that passed, though, the more I started thinking that I may be able to give dating a try. Unfortunately, I had no prospects. Work and home—those were my only two environments. I was in a rut.
On the Friday I'd gotten all the news about blossoming relationships, work went very slowly. Everything was frustrating me. I was tightly wound and about to explode. Once I finally got to the end of the business day, I picked Gina up from her day care and on a whim, I called my mother. She agreed to pick up her granddaughter and watch her overnight. I wasn't sure what I was going to do, but I knew I had to do something.
I returned to my to grab Gina's overnight bag and not long after was waving to her as my mother pulled out of my driveway. I proceeded to shower, dress, and make myself presentable. I dabbed on some cologne from the dusty bottle in my bathroom, and looked myself over in the mirror. My hair had gotten shaggy, since I'd neglected to get it cut in several months. I was clean shaven for a change—usually I didn't bother shaving except once or twice a week. I was wearing a nice, button down shirt, but also jeans. It was a novelty to wear jeans since I was required to wear slacks at work. I actually only owned one pair of jeans without holes in them. Other than that, there was nothing interesting or different about my reflection. I've never been spectacular in the looks department, but I had to admit I wasn't bad. I'm about 6'2" and slim. Chasing after a rambunctious three year old kept me from getting flabby, but I wasn't very active otherwise, besides a self-crafted workout routine. I have a firm jaw, and my eyes are light brown—almost the same shade as my hair.
I left the house quickly, not wanting to get nervous and back down. I'd never been on an actual date, believe it or not, despite being 25. I'd met my wife not too long out of high school, where I hadn't been popular. (Besides a brief fling with a girl who ended up moving away a couple months later.) We mostly just hung out, no real structured dates. Because of this, I wasn't used to being out and about. I knew there was a bar pretty close to where I worked. I'd never been there, but I'd heard several of my coworkers talking about it. So that was where I decided to go. I figured it was early, so if this turned out to be a bust, I could always leave and try another place.
It was just starting to get dark as I left and drove the short distance there. (I lived about a ten minute drive from work.) I had no expectations for the night. If I did, it was just that I'd be lonely in a new place and after a few over-priced drinks I'd get so bored that I'd wander back home, heat up a frozen pizza and watch TV. Even though my brother and my guy friends claimed it was easy to pick up girls at bars, I had no clue how to even go about this.
As soon as I stepped into the bar I was struck by how dark and loud it was. Music was blaring and there was the rumble of voices all around. It didn't take too long to get used to the dark, but the noise took longer. I surveyed the room and saw no one familiar. There were slick-looking guys everywhere, either clustered together, or alone and clearly hitting on girls. The girls themselves were a sight. All sizes, shapes and ages, many of them dressed in tight, revealing clothing. I could instantly see the appeal of places like this! None of these lovely ladies were remotely in my league, though. After tiring of looking around, I inched my way through the crowd to get to the bar. I ordered a beer and wandered off with it, making my way to the other end of the room where I could go back to surveying the inhabitants of this strange place.
I was surprised by how alone I felt surrounded by so many people. None of them knew me, and I wasn't outgoing enough to strike up a conversation with anyone. So I stood alone, nursing my beer, watching the people milling about me. Everyone either had connections already, or were busy connecting with new people. I was baffled by how easy it looked. I tried in vain to work up the courage to approach someone, anyone, but chickened out each time.
I went and ordered another beer, and as I weaved my way through the drunken people, I caught a glimpse of someone I knew. At least I thought I did. I had to look at her twice to be sure. She looked so completely different that I was taken by surprise. I inched my way closer and took in the welcome sight of a familiar face.
Her name was Jenny and I'd worked with her for five years. I hadn't even looked at her twice for the first few years. She was just part of the office; a quirky, nice lady who worked in the next room. After Gloria left, I'd taken more notice. At the Christmas party a couple of months before, she'd worn a form-fitting green dress with a short hem line. I think every straight guy in the office noticed her that night. Before she'd always been a dress shirt and slacks type, but after that she wore more revealing things. Still professional, but much nicer to look at.
After that night I'd started finding excuses to drop by her desk, or wander by the break room when I knew she was at lunch. I flirted a bit, as much as I could without being overly obvious about it, and I was pretty sure she had flirted back on a couple of occasions. We hadn't become friends, but I'd wanted to. I was very awkward when it came to making friends. All I really knew about her was that she was a single mom, around my age, with a daughter a year older than mine, she was single, and she really enjoyed jogging.
Tonight she was decked out in a very sexy ensemble that made it so I couldn't look away from her. She was wearing a tight black dress that showcased her curves. The hem was short, revealing her long, lean, bare legs. Her shoes were spike heels. There was a silver bracelet around her left ankle and a matching one on her slender right wrist. The dress itself was low-cut, showing off cleavage I hadn't realized she had. Her short, straight brown hair perfectly framed her pretty face. Her makeup was expertly applied, highlighting her big, dark brown eyes, her long lashes and her wide, inviting mouth. She wasn't my normal type—she was as tall as me in the heels, really tan, and slim almost to the point of being skinny. Usually I went for shorter women with more curves, but I had to admit there was something overwhelmingly sexy and elegant about her.
Her personality clashed with the impression of elegance, but not in a bad way. She had always been a cheerful, joking woman. Quick to laugh, always with irreverent and unexpected comments. Tonight, she seemed to be striking up random, drunken conversations with whoever she bumped into. Literally, in many cases. She was clearly drunk and boisterous, having a good time. A couple of guys were trailing after her, but she didn't seem to be taking notice of them. I watched her for a bit, enjoying the sight of her cutting loose. At work she usually seemed tightly-wound, always racing around and jittery. At the bar she was flailing around and grinning. Just watching her made me forget my loneliness and I couldn't help but smile.
She was getting closer to me and I tried to work out what I would say if she noticed me. Before she got to me, though, she was stopped by one of the guys that had been following her. If looks could tell me anything, I could tell immediately that this guy was a complete ass. He put one hand on her shoulder and the other on her arm, leaned in and whispered something into her ear. Right away her face crumpled, her smile vanishing. She tried to pull back and shook her head. He pulled her in closer, refusing to let her go.
Not even stopping to think, I set my drink down on somebody's table and crossed swiftly to them. I plucked his hand from her arm and said loudly and calmly, "The lady said no, buddy."
He turned and glared at me, but I barely noticed. I had wanted to deck him for making her smile disappear, but at the same time, Jenny turned to me, her face lighting up in recognition. "Dennis!" she shouted, throwing her arms around my neck and pressing her cheek to mine. She turned back to the guy who'd been bothering her, still clinging to me, and told him, "I'm with this guy. I TOLD you I have a boyfriend!"
The guy sneered at us and stomped away. The other hanger-on slinked off on his own, not wanting any trouble. Jenny turned to me, giggling and kissed me firmly on the cheek, making an exaggerated smacking sound. "My hero!" she said, almost dragging me to the floor with a clumsy hug.
I steadied us and smirked at her. "Boyfriend?"
She grinned radiantly at me. "Only for tonight."
I nodded, matching her smile. "You got it. Someone's got to watch over you. There's too many creeps here. Need a drink?"
"Oh. My. God. I would LOVE a drink," she said emphatically; she looked so grave and serious about it that I just had to laugh. She laughed along with me. Linking my arm in hers, I led her to the bar. She shouted her order to the bartender. I don't recall what it was, but it was colorful and looked very toxic. She seemed to enjoy it, though. I picked up the tab and we took our fresh drinks to an empty table. One of those high, two-person tables where you have to sit on stools.
As she sipped her drink, I took the chance to watch her. I don't know if it was the loneliness, the unfamiliar circumstances, or the alcohol, but everything about her was striking me as unbearably adorable. The way her cheeks sucked in as she drank from her straw. The way her long legs splayed out from the stool she was perched on. Even her freckles were cute.
"What is it?" she asked, and I shook myself, realizing I'd been caught examining her. She looked wary, like I was about to give her bad news.
"Oh, nothing," I said, hastily. "You just . . . well, you look very pretty tonight. "
Her eyes widened a bit and then she smiled, straightening herself up. "Why, thank you! I know you're just being nice, though."
"Not at all," I reassured her. "You really do look great." We almost had to shout at each other to be heard, so I scooted my stool closer to her.
She reacted by putting her hands on my thigh and leaning in to my ear. "So you won't be embarrassed that I'm your girlfriend for the night?" she asked.
I smiled and shook my head, putting my hands over hers. We were so close, our noses were almost touching. "Not at all," I told her sincerely. "What all does the job involve?"
She put her index finger to her lip and cocked her head, making a show out of pondering my question. "Welllll . . . you have to keep the jerks away from me. Give me lots of compliments. Make sure my glass is never empty. And," she said, nodding at her half-empty glass, "if I have too many more of those, you might have to give me a ride home."
"I think I can handle all that," I replied, taking another drink from my bottle.
She giggled, saying, "In that case, you're better than most of the guys I meet."
"So, since I'm your boyfriend for the night, I take it you don't have one otherwise?" I asked, the contact of her hand on my leg making me bolder. I knew the answer, but it seemed a good place to start.
She shook her head. "Nope. Between work and Annie, I don't really meet many people."
This led us into a comfortable conversation about our kids and a decision to set up a play date with them someday soon. After this, I noticed her glass was empty and set about remedying that. She trailed along behind me, clutching my arm as though she were about to blow away. After we ordered our drinks, I led her back to the table, my arm around her shoulder, as I'd noticed she was a bit wobbly from the alcohol. Her bare shoulder felt nice under my hand—soft and warm. It had been a long time since I'd been this close to an adult. It made my heart race. I realized suddenly that my loneliness was gone.
"I've never seen you drinking here before," she said once we were back in our seats. The noise in the bar had increased along with the patrons, so she had to get her mouth up close to my ear in order to make herself heard.
I went to her ear to answer. "This is the first time. I was bored and lonely, so I figured I'd give it a chance." As I pulled away, I had a crazy urge to nibble on her ear lobe. Of course, I squashed this urge down.
"Same here!" she said, excitedly. "I come by every few months, and usually with friends. No one was able to come with me tonight, but I didn't want to sit at home. I'm soooo glad I ran into you!" She took a long sip of her toxic-looking drink and grinned at me. "You need to drink more. I'm WAY more drunk than you."
I chuckled and said, "Are you trying to get me drunk so you can take advantage of me?"
She spluttered, choking on her drink. She looked startled for a moment, and then recovered, grinning. "Mayyybe. Would you hate me if I was?"
"No way!" I said. "It would save me the trouble of taking advantage of you." I waggled my eyebrows, hoping she would pick up on the fact that I was joking. Mostly.
Instead, she just smiled at me strangely and leaned in to my ear, whispering, "Drink more."
I turned to her, but she'd already returned to her drink, finishing it off. Wanting to oblige her (even though I still wasn't sure just what was going on) I drained mine too. As I set the empty bottle down on the table, she said something that I couldn't hear because she was turned away from me.
"What?" I asked.
Louder, she said, "You wanna hear a secret?"
"I like secrets."
She opened her mouth to continue, then closed it again. Instead, she slapped the table and said with a pout, "Poo. Our drinks are empty." She jumped up and grabbed my arm, practically dragging me to the bar. This time she ordered the drinks and led me back to our table. I was just along for the ride.
We sat in silence for a couple of minutes just drinking our drinks before I decided to remind her of what we were talking about. "You were going to tell me a secret?"
"Oh yeah! Secret," she said, loudly. Leaning in really close to me, she put her finger up to her lips, saying, "Shhhhh!" I didn't say anything, not wanting her to lose her train of thought again. I just sat and smiled mildly back at her, waiting. She leaned in close to my ear, steadying herself with her hands on my arm. Her lips actually brushed my ear as she said, "I have a crush on you." She pulled back and sipped her drink through her straw, looking off into space. She appeared to be blushing (although in the dim lighting it was hard to tell) and she had a dopey smile on her face.
"Just for tonight you do?" I asked, my heart racing. By this point I'd begun to suspect that this night was about to turn out far better than I could have hoped.
"Oh no! Always," she insisted, making wild hand gestures. "HUGE crush. Huge." She punctuated the last word by poking her finger on the tabletop. She put her finger to her lips again and added, "Shhh!"
"I guess I have a secret, too," I said, deciding to go for it. What did I have to lose? I leaned in, getting a whiff of her faint perfume. I whispered, "I have a crush on you, too." She shuddered a bit, either from what I had said or from the sensation of my breath on her ear.
She looked at me, disbelief clear in her eyes. "Nuh uh!" she said, shaking her head. She was so cute it was overwhelming.
"It's true!" I insisted. "Why do you think I keep coming over to your desk every day at work?"
"Because I'm really really helpful?" she offered.
"Well, yeah. But most of the time I make up excuses to come and see you."
"You DO?" she asked. "You should have said something."
I shrugged. "I'm shy."
"So am I. Usually. Not tonight, though." She grabbed my hand suddenly in both of hers and said, "I have an idea."
She didn't say anything else for several seconds, just kept looking down at my hand clasped in hers. Finally I prompted her, "What's your idea, Jenny?"
She looked up at me, eyes huge. "You're not gonna hate me?"
"Not a chance," I said, as gently as I could while still being audible over the noise.
In a rush, she said, "We should hook up. You and me should." I wasn't sure I'd heard her right, so I stared blankly back at her. My lack of immediate response seemed to make her nervous, so she started babbling. "I mean, 'cause that's what people do in a bar? And we're both alone and you're already my pretend boyfriend and you're super hot and we both—"
I cut her off with, "Are you sure that's a good idea?"
She looked confused and flustered by this question. "Um, what? Yeah, it's a great idea. The best I ever had. Why?"
This made me chuckle. "I just mean because you're drunk and I'm getting there. I don't want you to be upset with me tomorrow."
She made a little dismissive noise and waved her hand. "Pshaw. There's no such thing as tomorrow. Not until there is."
Maybe I was more drunk than I thought, because that made an awful lot of sense to me. "Are you sure this is what you want?" I asked, seriously.
"More than anything," she replied, tone and face solemn. Her fingers were laced together on her lap. As I was weighing the pros and cons, she added, in the same solemn tone, "You're super hot."
That broke my serious mood, and I couldn't help but laugh. After a moment, she laughed too, hers sounding a bit more manic than mine—probably due to nerves. When we had control of ourselves again, I whispered in her ear, "Let's go somewhere quiet and see what happens." She nodded back, grinning.
We made our slow way out of the bar, me choosing our path, and her clutching my arm tight. After what seemed like twenty minutes, we finally emerged into the cool and relatively quiet night. It was a relief after the hot, loud bar. I led her to my car, taking some extra time to make sure I was still alright to drive. I decided that I was. We stopped by the passenger door and as I moved to unlock it, she said, a little too loudly, "It's quiet out here!" She clapped her hands to her mouth, startled by how loudly she'd said that.