The bar had creaky wood floors and a cheap sound system so every song had a little bit of a hiss in the background, the speakers too weak to keep up. She scanned the bottles for the penis shaped tequila, didn’t see it, and ordered a Jack and coke.
“Pretty quiet for a Friday,” the gap-toothed bartender said, sliding her drink down the bar after throwing down a paper coaster. She was grateful. Not in the mood for a bunch of drunks staring at her tits. Not that there was anything spectacular about her chest, but it happened anyway, a natural wandering of the eyes for most guys, especially after they’d had a few drinks.
She swung her feet slowly to the beat of the music, an old Fleetwood Mac song, then “I’m Amazed” by My Morning Jacket. Nice variety, she thought, as Elvis started to sing about a little less conversation, a little more action, please.
“Could I have a lime?” she asked the bartender, who was busying himself emptying racks of clean glasses onto shelves behind the bar.
“Sure, hon,” he said, and she cringed a little at that word, thinking she’d never call him hon. She hated to be called ma’am – that made her feel old. Miss was silly. How about just, “sure, no problem”? He handed her a lime wedge and she squeezed the juice into her glass, stirred it with her finger and took a sip. He stood watching her and leaned his arms on the bar.
“You waiting for someone?” he said.
“Just wondering,” and he didn’t move, kept a steady gaze aimed right at her.
“Not really,” she said, looking down into her glass, watching the ice cubes swirl as she moved her wrist, then took another sip. “I’m waiting for something, but it’s not a person.”
The room was packed with people trying to get close to the food table, where shrimp were laid out alongside tiny ceramic bowls of cocktail sauce, a platter of fresh fruit and walnuts, crab dip, baskets of crackers and a board covered with cheeses and thinly sliced ham.
“How about your religious beliefs?” a tall, dark–haired man was asking the blonde woman standing across from him, and she jerked her head up at the words, her hand clutching a plate loaded with food balanced atop a wine glass.
“Excuse me,” another man said before she had a chance to answer, squeezing his way toward the drinks lined up along a bar on the far side of the room.
She took the opportunity to step away from the tall man, glancing back at him with a glare as if he’d asked her to give him a blow job right then, under the table.
“Wow, tough crowd,” he said under his breath, taking a sip of red wine and scanning the food, then the room. He noticed many of the women wore business suits, but some had on dresses and tall boots, a look he favored. Maybe that was a sign they were a little more relaxed. Most of the men wore suits and ties. A few had shucked their jackets and left them lying on the backs of couches or tossed over chairs. Not one interesting tie in the bunch.
Music began playing softly from speakers tucked into the corners of the room, and that seemed to lighten the mood. The song had a calypso beat, but he couldn’t make out the words.
He started thinking about the beach, and the way the sound of the waves immediately relaxed him, no matter what was on his mind. It was about time for a beach trip, wasn’t it?
It was so windy outside the trees threatened to lean right into the house, and she put on an extra sweatshirt to fight the chill.
“Mean wind,” he said to her, stooping down to light a fire in the living room fireplace. She could hear the wind howling through the flue and wondered if it was powerful enough to blow out the flames.
“What would happen if a tree crashed into the house?” She asked him, looking out the window at the branches waving wildly, the big trunks swaying back and forth, back and forth.
“Oh, honey, that’s not going to happen,” he stood and walked up behind her where she was looking out at the fierce weather. The sky was almost black and once the rain started, she figured it would blow sideways.
He wrapped his arms around her from behind, kissed her neck, buried his face in her hair and breathed deeply.
“How do you know?” she asked, feeling herself relax in his arms.
“I don’t really. But it’s unlikely. If it does, we’ll handle it.”
His honesty was one of the things she especially loved about him. He was almost always kind, but she could count on him to tell it straight when she needed it, which was often.
They stood and watched the rain start, first huge, slow drops on the window, then a torrent of water blowing sideways across the sky. The house creaked and she wondered if water would be seeping into the basement, tried to remember if anything valuable was stored down there.
His hand wandered down her body and as she turned to kiss him she felt him becoming aroused.
“I always want you,” he said, “but there’s something about a storm...” He kissed her neck, collarbones, each eyelid, then slid his tongue in her mouth and pulled her to him. She stopped worrying about the wind.