The next two days at the bar were pretty normal. Colum hadn't returned, and I was beginning to miss the mysterious man. I was afraid I would miss him since I had the next two days off.
It was Saturday night and two hours to closing, and the bar was still going strong with one of new local bands playing. I swayed my hips to the music as I mixed up two Whiskey Sours for the couple at the bar counter in front of me. My nostrils were burning so much with all the mixed scents and expectations coming from the packed building. The couple only had eyes for each other as I placed their drinks in front of them. I closed my eyes and tried to take deep, calming breaths to clear out my sinuses and my mind.
And then I caught that small tendril of cedar aroma that came from the entrance, and everything melted away. I could breathe normal again.
I opened my eyes, and he stood in the doorway, almost morphing it.
“Teegan,” Mina yelled. “Teegan, where are you going?”
I didn't hear her, but continued around the bar to walk toward him. He had moved from the doorway toward the corner table where he'd sat the previous times before. I felt cleansed walking toward him. No expectations, no scents of the people around me. It felt great, but oddly disconcerting because of the unknown. I didn't know what to expect from him.
The men at the table quickly got up after taking one look at Colum, their half-full Bud Light bottles forgotten. Now that I was actually in front him, I felt shy. I found that I'd completely misjudged his height and the breadth of his shoulders. He was considerably larger than I remembered.
“Wha-What can I get you?” I said barely above a whisper, but he seemed to hear me.
He looked at me. I'd forgotten the depth of his two-color eyes. They were unblinking and immobile, taking in everything and giving nothing in return. For a time, I breathed in his scent, letting down my guard and relaxing.
“What are you?” He asked only loud enough for me to hear. The shadows created by the votive candle on the table danced around his features, weaving around them.
“I'm Teegan,” I said quickly, the peace of the moment shattered. “What can I get you? Would you like to try something else tonight besides the Scotch and ice?” I said slightly stronger.
“No,” Colum ordered.
I spun on my heel, moving quickly through the crowd and back toward the bar. My heart was beating fast almost like I'd run a 10K marathon. I grabbed a glass from underneath the bar and filled it with ice trying to keep my hands busy.
“What was that about?” Mina said as she came up beside me. “That guy walks into the bar and you go all spacey like it's God walking through the door.”
I looked at her as I grabbed the bottle of Laphroaig from the shelf behind me to mix with the ice, “What do you mean? He's been here before. I just asked what he wanted to drink.”
Mina did not look convinced, “We only serve from the bar, and you walked all the way across the floor to get to him.”
“Whatever,” I said, trying to dismiss the conversation. My sinuses and head were really beginning to hurt after being bombarded by the mix of scents. I put a straw in the glass and a napkin underneath and was back on my way to his table.
My headache got less and less the closer I got to his table. I thought I could feel him looking at me, but the little candle only cast enough light to show the bottom portion of his face. His eyes were hidden in darkness. I looked closer and thought I could see a slight glow from his amber eye, but as quickly as it was there, it was gone.
I placed the drink in front of him, “There ya go, sir. Hope you enjoy it.” I tried to turn around, but I felt his hand grab my forearm. He had a firm touch, and the heat radiating from him caused goosebumps to go up my arm. I looked back over my shoulder.
“Meet me after work,” he said, but I didn't see his lips move. He let my arm go, and that connection was lost.
“What'd you say?” I asked, my brow creasing as I tried to make sense of what just happened.
Colum lifted his drink, and took a sip almost like a dismissal. He looked at me and then looked back at the band that was playing their final set of the night.