a tale of how a belt buckle lured a man into paradise
I spotted Alan across the bar. Even Tuesday's were crowded at McCormick and Schmicks, and the stools at the bar were likely ours for the evening. Halfway into his first cigar and Guinness, his shrug said what I already knew about the crowded bar. My online flirt distracted me once again, and I was running late tonight. He and I knew each other for years and been through each others' divorce and remarriage. A first rate gentleman, he would neither note nor notice. This was for the best since my excuse, my flirt, seemed the perfect woman: beautiful redhead with an angel's body and silver-tongued keyboard. Then again, who knows what you might find on the internet. I could be lusting away after a teenager living in his mother's basement sending pictures from an internet porn site. He might be a gentleman, and he would also ride me mercilessly for being so stupid.
Our monthly cigar fest and save-the-wold discussion lured me out, and I determined not to let her distract me. He and I immediately dropped into a comfortable banter of the food, beer, and cigar selections. This was comfortable. Previously, I moved from place to place avoiding attention, keeping a low profile. After a year of monthly visits here, this felt like home. Against all odds our waitress found us a table, and we leapt at the chance to get some talking space.
As he grabbed our beers and I our plates, she stood barely in view through the back door. At this distance, it could be someone else but long, spun-copper hair is rare enough to seem more than coincidence. Even if I abandoned my cigar buddy and ran for the door, the crowd pressed close and prevented chase. Before I could elbow my first drunk patron to the ground to close the distance, our third grabbed my arm and spun me round.
"I haven't seen you in ages! I can't believe you are here with that scoundrel." Poor timing on his part and my loss. My fantasy girl was out the back door.
A cigar for our new old friend, and we were back ten years. My mind and eyes flicked to the back door as we swapped stories half-forgotten, half-lies, and all told before as we moved down the years we'd known one another. Working my beer rather than the next tale I would tell tonight, I couldn't take my mind off her and that was probably why I nearly missed her.
A brush at the shoulder and some clumsy drunk dropped her lighter. While they jostled each other to grab it, staring down her cleavage, I saw her eyes. Sometimes being obvious is the best way not to get noticed. They manage to stare right at her and not see my evening star. A quick "thank-you", and she pushed off to a back table. While they shared a few comments on her amazing chest, the moment passed for the other two and they were back to their stories.
I couldn't take my eyes off her, and she refused to look directly at me. She toyed with me, crossing and uncrossing her ankles, revealing just enough thigh to be exciting and in too-quick flashes that I had to work for it. I might have abandoned my cigar night if Alan had not been down this road with me before. He would be the voice of reason nagging in my ear from now until I came to my senses. The last thing I wanted was reality. Furthermore, if I was hallucinating, I wanted it a little longer.When I could tear my focus from her lovely face, with graceful elven lines, I replayed the brush in my mind. Sometimes being a bit slow, it keeps me from making a bunch of mistakes all at once. First, she left a note in my pocket when we were fumbling over her lighter. While the touch had been light, I eventually was able to replay it, and the note was proof that my senses still worked even if a bit sluggish. And that is what made second recollection more interesting. There was a considered puff of air as if wings had beat once then twice quickly when she had leaned in close to me.
As that oddity seeped into consciousness, she finally fixed me with her green eyes and demur smile for the space of half a heartbeat. One more slow uncross, porcelain flesh high on her thigh, and she was standing, moving slowly to the restaurant with its curtained tables and more private venue.
A little quicker than before, I feigned a phone call, sighed, and made shusing noises to my tablemates. A flick of my head to the quieter end of the bar, and I was walking lost in the crowd. By the time I got to the other section, a curtain rustled and perfect ankle beckoned me to the table. I slid in beside her and was awash in her scent. My god! She was intoxicating. I have no idea how long she let me sit and stare at her. My fingertips brushed her hand and she slowly lifted her eyes to meet mine. I wanted her; needed her. All the questions that burned in my mind were lost and the only thing left bouncing in side my skull was "kiss her."
She tasted the color of honey and ocean foam. I was home.