tagMaturePete's Pub

Pete's Pub

byPapaRomantic©

This story is LONG – I know that already. I thought about splitting it up into two sections, but it really wasn't written that way, and I couldn't find a very good place for the split. So I submitted it as one story. If you don't like long stories, please don't read it.

This story has some sex, but not very much. Rather, it is heavy in romance, even though I submitted in the "Mature" section. If you're looking for a lot of sex, this probably isn't your story.

One more important disclaimer – I am NOT a lawyer, and the law info in the story comes solely from my imagination. Please be kind if you are a lawyer, and don't make fun of the things I don't know!

As always, my stories are complete works of fiction, and all persons are of legal age. Your votes and comments are important to me, so after you read it, please share with me!

*****

She glanced at the clock on her desk that read 7:02 p.m. "Shit," she said to herself, "I'm never going to catch the 7:15 if I don't hurry." She quickly shut down her computer, stashed the two case files that were open on her desk, and checked to make sure everything else was in place before she locked the desk for the night.

Sarah hurried to the coat rack in the corner of the room and grabbed her overcoat as she headed out the door, pulling it shut and making sure it was locked. Truthfully, she wouldn't have needed the coat this evening, since the late April weather was playing its usual tricks – too cold to be without a coat in the mornings, and too warm to wear it in the late afternoons and evenings, when most people finished work for the day.

Her heels clacked loudly on the tile floors of the law office as she made her way down the hallway to the bank of elevators. Being here this late, she wouldn't have to wait long for one of the elevator cars to get to the 15th floor where the law firm she was located. It was one of the few perks of staying late, trying to keep up with a tough day's load that had been dumped on her earlier this morning.

It was Sarah's third year working for the law firm of Banks, Howell and Howell. She had been hired straight out of law school, graduating second in her class. While most people would be elated at that ranking, Sarah was crushed. All her life she had driven herself to be the best, so when the final rankings came out, disappointment was the least of her emotions. She felt as if she had let down all of the people who had helped her overcome adversity to become the first person in her family to graduate from college, let alone a prestigious law school as Williams.

Once her position with BH&H was secure, Sarah promised herself that she would make up for that #2 ranking by never being placed in a position where someone might work harder than she did. She was going to prove to the partners that they made the best choice when they hired her. While Sarah may have been disappointed in her final class ranking, the partners were pleased – they believed she had the proper credentials to fill one of their vacancies, and they were happy when she signed to join them.

The elevator car finally arrived, and Sarah stepped inside and pushed the button for the ground floor. She dug in her purse and pulled out her cell phone – 7:08 now. Normally it was a 10-minute walk from the front of the building to the train station. Even without the 3-inch heels, she didn't see how she could make it on time. But there was always the possibility that the train was running late. If she didn't catch the 7:15, she'd either have to wait an hour for the next one, or take a cab home. Neither of those two options was ideal, so as she exited the elevator on the ground floor, she prayed that tonight was a late train night.

It was cooler than she expected once she got outside, and she wished she had put her coat on before she left her office. As time was not on her side now, she pressed on, the rhythmic clack of the heels mimicking the ticking of an alarm clock, teasing her about the race against the train. She turned the corner, and two blocks ahead, she saw the train sitting in the station. She didn't know how long it had been there, but she knew that it usually only stopped for about five minutes before leaving.

She willed herself to pick up the pace. The alarm-clock-ticking of her heels gained speed. She had covered the first of the two blocks quickly, giving herself a chance to beat the odds and make the train. Unfortunately, just as she began block two, she heard the twin tell-tale blasts of the train's horn, the signal that it was pulling out of the station. She slowed her pace as she watched it cross the street in front of her, high on the elevated tracks that allowed the train to operate in the downtown corridor.

"Damn it, now what am I going to do?" Sarah cursed out loud, though no one was around to hear her. She looked around to get her bearings on exactly where she was at. Even though she had taken the train for the past three years, she wasn't familiar with the surroundings on the walk between the train station and her office building. She always had her head down, trying to solve some problem that work had presented her. For the first time, she was going to have an opportunity to survey the scene to find a way to kill an hour before the next train arrived.

She looked up ahead to the station, and noticed a neon beer sign lit up on a building just prior to the station itself. The sign said, "Pete's Pub." Not really being much of a pub person, she realized she had two choices – wait in the coolness of the outdoor train station for an hour, or wait inside Pete's Pub and hope to not be bothered for an hour. The warmth of the pub won out, and since she had to walk by it to get to the station anyway, it wasn't going to be out of her way.

The closer she got to the pub, the more interesting it became. Sarah could tell that it was a newer building, but it had been constructed to look like an old time pub from the turn of the century. It wasn't glamorous or showy. Instead, it had a quietly comfortable look, as if persons with any problem could come in, and for the time they were inside, they could forget about their real life situation and have a good time.

She opened the door and stepped inside. The pub was nearly empty – in fact there were only five other people present. There was a professional-looking couple sitting at a round table for two near the front door; a single gentleman slumped over a table on the other side, and an older man sitting about midway at a 12-stool bar. Other than those people, it was just Sarah and the bartender, a medium sized man with thinning gray hair and a little bit of a paunch above his belt. He was wearing an apron, and seemed to be happily washing and drying glass beer mugs.

There were large flat screen TV's playing on opposite side walls of the pub. Both were playing sports talk shows of some kind. Being a Wednesday in the spring, there were no games to watch other than NBA games, and the March Madness tournament was already over. The TV's were being watched by no one, but in a pub, apparently it was an unwritten rule that TV's had to be showing sports, so she knew they would be left on while she waited for her train.

Sarah moved to the stool at the right end of the bar. She lifted her purse up on the bar top, where it promptly fell over and spilled some of its contents. She started picking the mess up as the bartender came walking her way, still drying a beer mug. He approached with a smile, and there was something about him that put Sarah at ease.

"Good evening, and welcome to Pete's Pub. I don't believe I've seen you in here before. What can I get you this fine evening?"

She really wasn't much of a social drinker, and certainly never during the week. She couldn't take a chance of an accidental hangover affecting her ability to function at work the next morning. "Would you happen to have any iced tea?"

"Why, I happen to have the finest brewed tea in the entire downtown area!" he replied. "Of course, I haven't really tried all of the other iced tea in all of the other places, but I know they'd have a hard time beating mine. Would you like sweetened, or un-sweetened?"

"Un-sweetened, please," she answered. The bartender nodded as he headed to the other end of the bar. While she waited, Sarah looked around the pub once more. She noticed the man of the couple at the front was talking to the woman very earnestly now, and had reached his hands across the table to hold hers. The man slumped over the other table hadn't moved at all, and the man down the bar was also in pretty much the same position as before.

The bartender brought the tea to Sarah. He put it on the bar and with a smile and said, "There you go, ma'am. Try it; if you don't think it's the best, I'll bring you another one just like it for free!" With that, he smiled and winked at her.

Sarah surprised herself by smiling back. "Thank you – I'll try it immediately,..."

"Pete – Pete Cole, at your service." And with that, he stepped back and dipped into a bow – complete with hand gestures - as if Sarah was royalty. She laughed at his gesture – again, surprising herself.

Pete looked at her and said, "Now, let me show you a little bartender magic." He put his hands over his eyes and said, "I can tell by looking at you that your first name is Sarah."

She knew there was some kind of trick, but she couldn't figure it out, so she humored him and said, "Okay, how did you do that?"

"A bartender doesn't question the bar magic, he only knows to pay heed to its magical knowledge. Let's see...Sarah Sullivan...and you are a junior associate at Banks, Howell and Howell."

For the first time since stepping inside, Sarah was suddenly worried. How did this man know so much about her? What was he going to tell about her next – her phone number - her bra size - her salary?

Pete could see the look of concern on her face, so he laughed and said, "Would you like to know the secret of the magic of the bar?"

She replied, "Yes, please!"

Pete reached down on the bar next to her tea, and picked up a business card with her information on it. It had obviously spilled out when her purse had fallen over. He winked again as he handed it to her.

She breathed a sigh of relief, and then felt a little silly as she took the card from his hand. "Well, Pete, you had me going for sure! Now I'm going to have to ignore all of the stalker alarms that were going off in my head!"

He put his hand on hers, and with a smile, said, "Kind of a mean trick, wasn't it? Because I was such a naughty boy, the tea is on the house!" With that, he smiled, and then turned and walked to the other end of the bar, where he resumed his mug-drying duty.

Sarah watched him as he worked. She couldn't help but notice that he seemed to smile all the time, even now as he was drying the beer mugs. She wasn't good at guessing people's ages, but she figured him to be somewhere between 45 and 50. He was tall – probably over six feet in his shoes – maybe a couple of inches more. He obviously had a good sense of humor, as he displayed with the mind reading trick.

But what she particularly noticed about Pete was that after talking with him for five minutes or less, her mind was completely at ease, having forgotten the headaches of the day's work at the law firm, and having been upset that she had missed the 7:15 and had to wait another hour for the next train to arrive. Staring at Pete, none of that seemed to matter right now. He seemed truly happy, and its effect was rubbing off on her.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the opening of the front door. A smartly dressed lady came in, surveyed the inside of the pub for a few seconds, and then walked over to the table with the slumbering man. Pete saw her come in and immediately left his position behind the bar to walk over and greet her.

"Hello, Ann," he said. "Here he is, waiting for his caretaker to come and get him home. I didn't realize he had so much to drink, so I apologize that you had to come down and pick him up."

The woman looked at Pete and replied, "That's okay, Pete – it's not your fault. I'm just glad you look after him and call me to come and get him. Can you help me get him to the car?"

The woman named Ann walked over to what was apparently her husband, and started shaking him to try and get him to wake up. "Donald, it's time to go home – wake up!"

Donald began to open his eyes and stare as if he didn't remember where he was. By this time, the other man sitting at the bar had come over to offer assistance, and with Pete on one side of Donald and the bar man on the other side, they managed to get him out the door and into Ann's waiting car. They helped Donald get in and fastened his seat belt for him. With a wave and another "thank you," Ann pulled away, taking Donald home to apparently sleep this one off.

The bar customer went back to his seat, and Pete went behind the bar and headed in Sarah's direction. "Are you doing okay with your tea?" he asked.

Sarah nodded. "What's the story with Donald? Does he do that often?"

Pete laughed and replied, "No, Donald doesn't usually fall asleep here. It only happens once or twice a year, at most. You see, he works at the building across the street from where you work. He and some of his buddies usually come in after work at about 5:15, and they spend an hour together, sipping on a beer and talking about their days. For some reason, Donald came in by himself tonight, and without his buddies monitoring how much he had been drinking, he got a little too much. He's a very nice drunk – a sleeper, as you saw. His wife Ann and I have worked it out that if he doesn't make it on the 7:15, I can call her and she'll come to get him."

Since Pete was up for talking, Sarah decided to find out more about the other customers. "What's the story of the guy sitting at the bar?"

Pete looked over at him and said, "His name is Brian, and he's an extremely good friend of mine. We've known each other for years, and it makes him comfortable to be here. To tell you the truth, if it wasn't for him, you wouldn't be in here tonight, and neither would I."

"Why is that?"

Pete looked at Brian again. "Without going into the entire story, Brian was the investor that allowed me to build this bar. So far he's never asked for any of that money back, even though we worked out a payment plan and everything. He tells me that just being able to come and sit here is payment enough for him. He's a great guy, and I owe him a lot. One day I'll make sure he gets the money I owe him, but for now, we're both happy with the status quo."

Sarah loved that story. It made her realize that just as Pete had helped her forget the trials of her day, he must have that effect on others as well.

"So what about the couple at the table behind us?"

As she asked that question, the couple stood up to leave. The man tried to put his arm around the woman's shoulders, but his advances were met with a raised arm, signifying her resistance.

As they walked out the door, Pete shrugged and said, "I don't know who they are. They have never been in here before tonight. But observing them as I have been doing the last 45 minutes or so, if I had to guess, I'd say that he's been caught in an affair, and was trying to get his wife to forgive him."

To hear Pete say that shocked Sarah. "How can you tell that, just from watching them?"

"Well, my new friend Sarah, it's what we bartenders do. We get a chance to see lots of people, and sometimes not at their finest. And if it is indeed an affair that is affecting them, I know something about that from my own personal experience, except instead of the husband cheating on the wife, in my case it was the other way around."

"Oh, Pete – I'm so sorry to hear that." Sarah felt pain for Pete, who at least on the surface seemed like such a nice and genuine man. "Nobody should ever be treated like that."

Pete smiled – of course – as he looked at Sarah and said, "Well, it's a long story, but in the end, I was able to build this pub. Someday if you'd like to hear it, come back in and I'll share with you. But enough about me – what caused you to come in off the street this lovely evening?"

She shook her head as she said, "Same thing as Donald – I missed the 7:15, so I came in here to stay warm until the next train comes along."

Pete looked at her and replied, "Well then you'd better hurry up and finish your tea. It's already 8:05, and you don't want to miss this one!"

Sarah couldn't believe the time had flown by so quickly! She drank the last swallow of tea, and then put her coat on and gathered up her purse, making sure it didn't fall over this time. She turned to Pete and said, "I've had a really great time in your pub, Pete. I am sure you will see me again! Thanks for the tea!"

As she started to turn towards the door, Pete grabbed her right hand, and in a quick gesture, brought it up to his face and kissed it. He smiled as he returned it, causing Sarah to blush.

"The pleasure has been all mine, Sarah Sullivan. I hope to see you soon!"

Sarah headed toward the door. She knew the train ride was going to be interesting, as she sorted through the emotions that were now racing through her brain. As she climbed the steps to the platform, she was still amazed at how carefree she felt after her trying day. She was struggling to remember the piles of work that faced her when her day started, knowing that it was going to take her well into the evening before she got it all done. She remembered the frustration as she saw the train pulling out of the station without her being on it.

And then she remembered stepping into to the pub, and it's warm, relaxed ambiance. She also remembered Pete, who seemed to smile all the time, and who made it seem like she had known him all her life. He was funny, and kind...and that wink, she realized for the first time, seemed to be the bow on the complete package. She was also amazed at how fast the 45 minutes she was in there had flown by. To her, that was a sure sign of the wonderful time, just sipping on her iced tea and watching Pete and the other things that had entertained her.

What was it that had caused her to forget her worries and experience a thoroughly enjoyable 45 minutes? Was it the pub itself? It was a unique building – modern construction, yet built to resemble the old bars and pubs of a different era. Was it watching Donald sleep, and the other couple seemingly struggle with something in their relationship?

She realized what it was, but she was afraid to admit it. After all, he was at least 20 years older than she, maybe even more. And yet she was sure that it was Pete that had put her at ease, with his smile, his wink, and the fact that he just exuded kindness without even trying. He didn't once look at her as a potential conquest like other men usually did. Instead, he treated her like she was his best friend from the moment she sat down on that end bar stool. It was refreshing, and it was just what Sarah had needed after a long day at work.

******

Life had not been easy for Sarah Sullivan. It seemed that everywhere she looked, there were obstacles to overcome. However, others may have wilted at the challenges they faced, but not Sarah. She had viewed each as an opportunity for success. If she didn't let difficult problems knock her off of her stride, she knew she would eventually be able to overcome anything that stood in the way of her dreams.

And what were those dreams? Since her abusive alcoholic father had finally left her and her mom by themselves when Sarah was seven, it had been about the will to survive and succeed. Her mom really had no marketable skills since she had given up her own dreams of having a professional career to support her husband while he went through college. So she scratched to find enough jobs in order to provide for herself and her young daughter.

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byPapaRomantic© 15 comments/ 22945 views/ 17 favorites

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