When I first sat down next to her, I didn’t even noticed her. Work had been hell, and I was focused on getting a Guinness into my system as fast as possible.
As I felt the cool, thick liquid slide down my throat, I must have sighed out loud, because she turned my way and said, “Bad day at work?”
That’s when I realized the blonde sitting to my right at the bar. I scanned her quickly, what I could see of her from the waist up at least. Nice smile, with small features. Not a knockout, but definitely cute.
I realized I hadn’t answered her question. “Yeah, you know how work is some days.”
“I’m Brittney,” she said, extending a tiny hand in my direction. “This is Lila,” she said leaning back so I could see the brunette seated next to her, who was busy flirting with the bartender.
“Mike,” I said, shaking her outstretched hand. It felt small and childlike inside my own. I was afraid I’d break it if I squeezed too hard.
“You live here?” she asked, quietly sipping whatever yellow fruity-looking concoction she was drinking.
I didn’t answer right away because I was pounding the Guinness, hoping to chase away the day and enjoy some friendly conversation with the cute blonde. I think she said her name was Brittney. I hope that’s what she said. My head is pounding so hard, I’m having trouble concentrating.I slide the empty glass towards the bartender and signal for another. “Just moved here actually,” I say, turning back to face her. “What about you?”
“Nope, I’m just visiting. I live up in Atlanta, but I try to come down to Savannah every few months. I love it here. Don’t you just love it?” she gushed, obviously taken with the city.
I’ve only been here a week, but I can see how easy it could be to want to stay here. I haven’t moved my car since I parked it at my building last Wednesday, since I can walk to work and all the restaurants and bars downtown. I definitely got lucky finding an apartment right on River Street.
“Yeah, I like it so far,” I said. More Guinness has appeared in front of me, which I intend to drink quickly.
As I gulp down more of the cool, dark liquid, I feel the headache begin to ease around the edges of my temples. Like my dad always said, there’s nothing a good beer and a pretty woman can’t fix.
She orders another red bull and vodka, and I wonder if may she isn’t as innocent as she looks. In my experience, girls who drink red bull and vodka will make out with you in a dimly lit bar late at night, then follow you home for more.
I’m having trouble picturing her pale pink sundress waded up on my floor in the morning like the shiny red number that had been there this morning, but maybe I’d misjudged her.
“So where did you move from?” she asks, seeming genuinely interested.
Her whole face lights up like a Christmas tree in the dark, smoky bar. “Are you a Red Sox fan?” she asks, half pleading with me to say yes.
I smile, making her wait while I take another swig. She can name a baseball team and properly identify its city. That’s more than I can say for most girls. Especially cute ones in little pink sundresses.
“Fifth generation, born and bred,” I say, clearly exciting her because she squeals out loud.
“Me too! I mean, I’m a Braves fan too, since I was born in Atlanta and all, but I love the Sox!” She’s practically jumping up and down on her stool.
I smile and shake my head at her because she’s so darn cute, blonde curls bouncing and a smile that takes over her entire face.
She keeps asking me questions about growing up in Boston and then living in D.C., and I’m thankful to only have to answer. I want to keep talking to her, but I just can’t seem to find the energy to say anything original.
I’m rethinking the decision to take home the busty brunette in the red dress last night. She turned out just to be drunk and sloppy, and I was late for work trying to usher her out the door this morning. I would have showed her the way out last night if she hadn’t passed out clinging to the toilet seat when she went to throw up after her lackluster performance.
I found her with her head on the seat, an armed draped across in front of her face. I felt a little bad for using her to numb my pain, so I carried her into the living room, covered her naked body with a blanket, and prayed she didn’t throw up on my tan couch. When I found her still there this morning, I cursed at myself for getting into this situation. Then I gently woke her and politely told her she would have to leave. Luckily, she left without incident. And without asking if she could see me again. The only victory of the day.
Brittney is staring at me, obviously waiting for an answer to a question I never heard. When in doubt, go with flattery. That’s another thing my dad always said.
“You have such a pretty smile,” I say, flashing her one of my own.
I silently pat myself on the back when her pale white cheeks blush with embarrassment. “Stop trying to change the subject, Buster,” she says, playfully punching my arm.
She’s like the girl next door, the one you push down in the backyard your whole life and then wake up one day to find has turned into a beautiful young woman. She’s fun and playful and cute as hell.
“I’m sorry,” I say, faking a frown and giving her my best puppy dog eyes. “What was the question? I forgot, I was too busy looking at that smile.”
She blushes again before composing herself and continuing, “I said, ‘Tell me why your day was so bad.'”
I’ve motioned for another beer, which I’m going to need if this conversation is going to continue. Where do I start?
“Just one of those days, I guess. It’s my first week on the new job. You know how that goes.”
“What do you do?”
“I work for Homeland Security.” The look on her face tells me that sounds impressive. I guess it does.
“Wow, what do you do? Are you even allowed to tell me?” I have to concentrate on keeping a straight face. She’s looking at me like I’m a secret agent.
“Sure, my secret’s safe with you, right?” I ask, playfully.
She looks slightly horrified, then I see when the light bulb comes on in her head. She’s punching my arm again, saying, “Hey now, it was a fair question.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry.” I give her the puppy dog eyes again. “I came down to manage a unit here. The old manager retired, so I’m stepping in.”
She nods her head in understanding. “So, are the guys in the unit adjusting well to a new manager?”
“Not exactly. I’m actually younger than all but one of them. They don’t seem very excited about that.”
I hadn’t meant to tell her that. Now she’ll think I’m not in control of my own men. So much for being impressed with my job.
I sneak a glance at her over my beer though, and she’s intently listening, as if I’m telling her the secret code to a secret lair.
“Eww, that’s tough,” she says, wrinkling her tiny little nose.
I feel the tension in my shoulders ease. It feels kind of nice to have someone to talk to; someone who doesn’t know anything about me or how I got here.