Finally, I had gotten around to buying a nice suit for myself and I didn’t need to borrow anything from James. It was a Tuesday evening after class and tomorrow Camilla was going back to France to finish the rest of her year abroad there. We were having dinner together tonight like she had wanted to and I was glad that I was going out with her.. I needed something to take my mind off of the whole situation with Jody. Ever since James and I had that talk at the park, I haven’t really been able to focus on a lot of things, but then again, I haven’t really been able to focus on anything ever since I met her..
“Stop, Oliver.. Just stop thinking about it..” I told myself as I looked at my reflection in the bathroom. I adjusted my tie, buttoning up the few buttons that needed to be done and although I couldn’t see my whole body and how I looked overall, I assumed I looked okay enough.. “Just have fun tonight.. Nothing to worry about, you’re not going to run into her, and you’re not going to think about her anymore,” I told myself as I looked at my own eyes in the reflection. “She doesn’t deserve to be on your mind. Don’t give her the satisfaction of even thinking about her..” I continued, though most of what I was saying were things that James had told me earlier today when he came with and helped me pick out a suit after class.
I left the bathroom and went to Camilla’s door next to mine, knocking on it and I heard her say I could come in and I did so. I opened her door and looked at her, seeing her doing her hair and I smiled at what she was wearing, “Wow, you look really nice,” I said genuinely and she smiled.
“Thank you, Oliver,” she took a moment to look at me, too, “I can’t even remember the last time I saw you in a suit like that. You look great,” she complimented in return and I smiled.
“The last time I wore a suit was for Grandpa’s funeral. I figured I would buy a new one for a ‘Party Suit’ instead of wearing the one that makes me think of death,” I joked and Camilla laughed.
“Good call,” she replied and I chuckled.
“Did you decide where you wanted to go?” I asked, watching as she continued to try a few things with her hair, but in the end, she just went with the style she usually goes with.
“Hmm, well.. I’ve been to everything here already, none of the restaurants are that great, anyways, and I didn’t really want to go out of town.. I guess I can’t decide,” she replied, looking to me again from the mirror, “Can you think of anywhere?” She asked.
I stood there and thought for a moment, leaning my back against the door and all that I could really think of was Isaiah’s bar since she had never been there before, but did I want to go there and face him? I’m sure he’s been expecting my call, so would it be weird if I showed up there when I haven’t done that yet..? It wasn’t as if I was avoiding it, and I supposed that it would be okay since I didn’t have all of his number anymore and couldn’t call him even if I wanted to, so maybe showing up there wouldn’t be all that bad..? I had to show up there eventually to tell him why I haven’t called him, so doing it now couldn’t hurt, right? But, why was I worrying about it, anyways? I barely knew the guy, and it wouldn’t be terrible or weird if I never saw him again, would it..? I guess I should be asking myself do I even want to see him again? ..But, I had to admit that I did.. There was something about him that I liked, how nice and welcoming he was, and how never once did I notice him seem bored when talking with me.
“Oliver?” Camilla pulled me out of my own head and I looked up to her.
She laughed softly, “I asked if you could think of anywhere to go and you spaced out for, like, four straight minutes,” she said with another laugh and I let out a nervous chuckle.
“Oh, uhm.. Sorry..” I replied, “Well, there’s one place I know you haven’t been to.. It’s new, only a few weeks old. It’s the place I went to on Thanksgiving to get a drink.. It’s a really nice place, there’s a dress code and such.. I met the owner, he was really nice and he didn’t even make me pay for the drinks I got.. He gave me his number, too, since he’s new in town.. He wanted me to show him around, but I uh.. I lost it..” I lied with a soft sigh, not wanting to explain the whole situation to her.
“And what a coincidence that you bought a nice, new suit to go there in, too, since there’s a dress code,” she hinted a little, “What’s his name?” She wondered and I was a little thrown off by her implication, but I ignored it anyways.
“No last name?”
“I didn’t get it,” I replied.
“Well, I guess we’re going there, then. Gotta put a full name to the face that treated you so nice, right?” She questioned and I shrugged.
“Yeah, I guess so..”
“Okay, well, I think I’m ready.. Let’s go,” she said with a smile and I smirked in return, though my heart stared to beat a little faster in nervousness when I knew where we were headed.
I helped Camilla with her coat and we left the house around six, taking a cab there like we did everywhere and when we arrived, I noticed it was a lot more lively than it was on Thanksgiving, but that didn’t really surprise me. I could already hear music playing from the inside and I looked to Camilla who had a large smile on her face, “I’m excited already. It sounds like live music.. Is it?” She asked and I remembered seeing a small stage with a piano and a few other instruments when I was last here.
“Yeah, I think it’s live.. I was the only one here on Thanksgiving so I didn’t see anyone play, but I’m guessing so,” I answered.
“We should dance then, too! This is going to be so much fun!” She said cheerfully and I hated the idea of dancing, but I liked seeing her so happy.. It had been too long since I had hung out with her, and I’ll do whatever she wants just to see her smile. I missed it. Camilla then put her hand to my back and pushed me forward, eagerly walking towards the bar and I grew even more nervous as we walked through the front door.
We stopped at the coat-check and I waited for Camilla to hand in her coat and get a ticket, looking to my right and the music was louder and I confirmed to myself that there was actually live music playing. The place wasn’t packed, but it had a decent amount of people here. When she was ready, I walked in with her and the first thing I did was look to the bar instinctively, looking to see if Isaiah was bar-tending and I smirked just slightly when I saw him. He was tending to a couple at the bar and I wondered if he’d recognize me, “Is that him?” Camilla wondered and I looked to her, nodding ‘yes’ and I watched her smile, “He’s handsome, I can see why you like him,” she hinted and I scoffed.
“It’s not even like that..”
“Then why are you blushing?” She asked and I hadn’t even noticed how warm my cheeks were.
“I-I’m not.. He probably doesn’t even remember me..” I replied and she laughed, watching as her eyes went to the bar.
“He definitely remembers you,” she pointed out and I raised my brow, looking over towards the bar and Isaiah was already looking at me with a grin on his lips. “Go talk to him, I’ll get us a table,” she insisted and she pushed at my back a little to help encourage me to walk over. I let out a gentle breath and watched as Camilla walked off to get us a table and I looked back to the bar, seeing Isaiah walk to the end where no one was sitting and I slowly walked up to the chair I remembered sitting in last time.
“Well, hey, stranger,” he began and I smirked.
“Hey..” I replied quietly, taking the seat I had walked up to and I sat down.
“You look sharp, you clean up a lot better than I thought you would,” he said with a chuckle and I returned one as well.
“Thanks,” I replied with the same smirk I held.
“I didn’t expect to see your face tonight, can’t say that I’m mad about it, though,” he said with a pleased tone.
“I-I, uhm.. I wanted to say sorry for not calling, I lost your number, so..”
“Lost it, or threw it out?” He teased and I made a remorseful expression, “Relax, I’m just messing with you. It was kind of stupid of me to give it to you on something that could be easily lost, anyways,” he corrected himself and I let out a relieved sigh.
“It’s, uh.. A long story, actually..”
“And I’d love to hear it, but it seems that you’ve already got prior engagements,” he hinted, watching his eyes look somewhere else and I looked to where he did, seeing Camilla sitting at a table watching the band playing.
“Oh, no, she’s not.. Uhm.. She’s my little sister, so..”
“Ahh, I see.. Now that I look at her more, she does look like you.. I thought you were on a date,” he replied with a chuckle and I shook my head.
“No, quite the opposite, actually.. She’s a first year student here at the college, but she’s an exchange student who studies in France. She’s just here for a visit, she’s leaving tomorrow, so we’re spending some time together before she goes back,” I replied and he nodded in understanding.
“Well, don’t let me keep you. Go enjoy your time with her, we’ll talk more later,” he encouraged and I smiled.
“Alright.. I’ll see you later then,” I replied and he nodded, watching him walk away to tend to his other customers and I rose from the chair, going to where Camilla had chosen to sit and I joined her.
“Soooo..” She teased and I sighed.
“Was he mad that you lost his number or anything?” She wondered.
“No.. Why would he be?”
“I don’t know.. Just wondering,” she replied, though I wasn’t sure quite what she was getting at, but I chose to ignore it.
“Do you know what you want to eat?” I asked and Camilla laughed softly.
“I haven’t even gotten a menu yet.”
“Oh.. Right.. Sorry,” I replied with a nervous chuckle, seeing her give me a particular smile that I didn’t know how to interpret, but if I were to guess, it’d be joyfully suspicious.
A waiter came over to us eventually and before he even offered to get us anything to drink, he brought over a glass of whiskey on the rocks, “One whiskey on the rocks for the gentleman,” he said humbly.
“Oh, uhm.. I didn’t order this..” I said with a nervous chuckle and the waiter smiled at me.
“I know. Compliments of the owner,” he said warmly.
“Aww, that’s so nice!” Camilla said with a cheery tone and I smiled softly when I looked to the drink I had ordered the last time I was here. I liked that he remembered. I glanced over towards the bar and Isaiah already had a smirk on his lips when he made eye contact with me. I felt my cheeks grow warm again and I smiled, watching him then go back to what he was doing and I turned back towards Camilla. The waiter then gave us menus and said he’d be back in a little bit and I looked it over to try and make a decision.
“I think someone likes you,” Camilla said with a devious smile and I looked to her in slight confusion.
“Oh, come on, Ollie.. You’re really smart, but don’t tell me you’re this stupid to not have noticed,” she continued.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about..” I brushed off.
“Ooohhh-kayyy,” she exaggerated and I rolled my eyes, then going back to the menu and trying to decide what to order.
I tried to pay attention to the menu, looking over the seafood section as well as the pasta and steak specials, but honestly, I was a little distracted. I wasn’t even looking to drink tonight, but as I looked to the glass on the table holding three fingers of whiskey and a few ice cubes, I started thinking about Isaiah again and I felt my lips smirk a little on their own. I picked up the glass and stirred it a little by circling the ice around, remembering back when I was last here and I noticed that he still looked at me the same as he did today as he did then, but how would I describe it? I thought about Camilla’s words more and I didn’t think the same as her, but what if she was right?
I took a sip of my drink and set it down, my mouth burning just a little from the taste and I remember the flavor being a lot worse when I had it last time. I looked towards the stairs and around the room a little, taking in more of the scenery since the place was more brightly lit than on Thanksgiving. My eyes then couldn’t help but glance towards the bar and I looked to Isaiah, conversing with someone and after what I assumed was a joke, I could even hear his laugh over the crowd and the music.
I turned my attention back to the table and I noticed Camilla already looking at me with a raised brow and a smile, “You done staring at your boyfriend?” She teased and I felt my face get hot.
“W-What? Shut up..” I brushed off, turning my attention back to the menu and I heard her laugh.
“Speaking of couples.. I met your girlfriend on Thanksgiving.. Why’d you lie?” She wondered and I looking back up to her in confusion.
“I didn’t lie to you. She’s not my girlfriend.. We went on one date and I never talked to her again because I didn’t like her, I don’t know why she was there that night or even why Kat invited her.. Well, I do know, it was to distract me from Uncle Gareth, but a lot of fucking good that did. Besides, I left before she got there and if I actually liked her and knew she was there, don’t you think I would’ve came back? She’s not- My girlfriend..” I stressed and Camilla gave me a rather shocked expression.
“Wow, uhm.. Alright. I wasn’t expecting you to go on a rant like that, but..” She answered and I was a little embarrassed.. I guess I had kind of snapped at Camilla when she asked me that question..
“Sorry.. I didn’t lie, though.. She’s not my girlfriend,” I repeated.
“Alright, I get it.. Forget I even said anything, okay?” She said sweetly and I nodded, calming down a little more and I smirked slightly towards her. “So, since you’re single, are you and Romeo over there going to go on a date?” She asked with a soft giggle and I felt my face get warm again.
“Stop saying stuff like that.. It’s not what you think,” I said with slight irritation.
“Then what do I call it?”
“Call it nothing, because that’s what it is..”
“Then why does he keep looking at you like he wishes he was sitting here, too?”
“..He’s been looking over here?” I asked and Camilla smiled.
“No, but that got your attention, didn’t it?” She pointed out and I frowned, looking down to the menu and I ignored her.
“..I think I want steak.. What about you?” I asked, changing the subject and I looked up to see her smiling, but she shook her head at me in disappointment.
“Unbelievable..” She said with a laugh, then turning her attention to the menu, as well.
Thankfully, Camilla didn’t mention Isaiah any more during dinner and I wasn’t as distracted as I was when we had first gotten here. We sat at our table, eating our meals and talking for about two hours all together and it was nice to have finally caught up with her since the last time we were together. “I’m way too full to dance anymore.. Why did I think that would be a good idea earlier?” She asked and I laughed.
“Well, you know how I suck at dancing, I’m glad you don’t want to do it now,” I replied and she laughed in return.
“This was a great dinner, Ollie, I’m really glad we caught up. I’ve really missed you,” she said with a sincere smile and I returned one as well.
“I know.. I’m glad we went out, too, before you went back.. But, at least you’ll be here for a few months when summer comes,” I replied and she smiled.
“Yeah, it’ll be nice to be home for a while.”
We received the check and I paid it, Camilla looking as if she was ready to leave, “Well, I think I’m going to head out.. I had fun, Ollie, thanks,” she said with a sweet smile and she rose from her chair.
I rose from mine as well and she came to me for a hug and I obliged, hugging her in return and she pulled away with a smile, “Wait, I can get a cab home with you,” I suggested, but she shook her head.
“No, no, it’s fine.. I’m a big girl,” she said with a giggle, “Besides, it doesn’t seem like your admirer wants you to leave yet,” she hinted as she looked over my shoulder towards the bar.
“W-What?” I asked and she smiled.
“I lied before about him staring at you, but now that we’ve stood up, he knows you’re leaving and I can tell he doesn’t want you to,” she continued and my cheeks grew warm for what felt like the millionth time tonight. “It’s fine, go talk to him. I’ll get my own cab, okay?” She said reassuringly.
“Are you sure? I can go with you if you want, just say the word,” I insisted but she shook her head.
“No, just go. I’ll see you at home,” she insisted in return and I nodded.
“Alright.. Get home safe,” I encouraged and she smiled, walking off then to collect her coat and I watched as she waved to Isaiah and he waved back.
I noticed Isaiah then look towards me with the same smile he’s held whenever I look at him and I thought that Camilla could be right.. He seemed happy that I had stayed behind.. I walked over towards the bar and took the seat I had sat in last time and he walked over to stand in front of me behind the counter. “She seems like a really nice girl,” he began, assuming he was referring to Camilla and I nodded with a smile.
“She really is, it was nice to catch up with her..” I agreed and he seemed pleased.
“How was dinner?” He asked next.
“Great, I really liked it. You have a good cook,” I replied and he chuckled.
“Well, thank you. I take pride in finding the best for my establishment,” he answered with a grin, “Why’d you stay?” He wondered and I froze for a moment.
“Oh, uhm.. You said you wanted to talk more later, and it’s later, so..” I implied and he let out a soft laugh.
“Touche,” he replied with a grin, “So, you came back here to tell me you lost my number, does that mean you want it again?” He asked and my face went hot, looking down at the counter momentarily with a smirk.
“Maybe.. It was also to see if you even wanted to give it to me again, too,” I replied, looking back up to him and he continued his grin.
“I suppose I could.. Just as long as you promise to take care of it so this doesn’t happen again,” he joked and I chuckled softly.
“Then take your phone out, you can’t lose it if it’s already in there,” he implied and I nodded, taking out my phone like he had instructed and he recited it for me, typing it into my contacts and I was glad that I didn’t have to worry about this anymore.. It seemed to have really worked out coming here in the end.
“Hey.. I close at nine on the weekdays, you willing to hang out here for a half hour until then?” He wondered and I nodded.
“Great. You want a beer or anything while you wait? Whiskey?” He teased with a grin and I smiled.
“No, I’m fine..” I replied with warm cheeks and an accompanied smirk, seeing him nod and he walked off to finish up the rest of the time he had left.
I didn’t mind waiting for him, I actually kind of liked watching him work and interact with his customers, you could tell he really enjoyed what he did. He talked and joked around with his customers, he also did a few tricks for people that tipped well, like throwing bottles from behind his back and catching them in front of him. With his twelve years of experience, I assumed he had picked up a few tricks, it was just kind of neat to see them in action since I’ve never witnessed something like that before.
As time passed and the place cleared out more and more, the last of the stragglers left and it was just Isaiah and I once again, just like last time. I watched as he cleaned up the bar, clearing it of all the empty bottles and glasses and he put them all in the sink to soak a little. “Thanks for sticking around,” he announced from across the bar and I could hear him perfectly now that all the chatter and music was gone.
“No problem.. I figured I owed you. I didn’t want you to think that I was ignoring you or anything by not calling, and I guess it’s a good chance to talk a little,” I replied and I watched him smile.
“Oh, it’s alright.. I admit, I didn’t think you’d call and I didn’t think I’d see you again, but I’m glad I was wrong,” he answered and I was warmed by his response.
“So, you’ve been a bartender for twelve years, and I’m guessing you started when you were twenty one.. So you’re thirty three?” I asked and he chuckled.
“Does my age bother you?” He wondered.
“Oh, no, no.. Just.. Making conversation, I guess..”
“Interesting start,” he teased and I felt bad for saying it now.
“I’m sorry.. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable or anything,” I replied and he brushed it off.
“I was just surprised by the conversation starter being about how good you are at math,” he teased again and I grew embarrassed.
“S-Sorry, just.. Forget I said anything..” I replied, looking down at the counter top and I heard him walking over towards me.
Isaiah leaned onto the counter in front of me and I looked up at him, seeing him smirking just slightly and I knew I didn’t offend him, though I still felt bad.. I’m terrible at small talk.. “You’re like a puppy that’s just been scolded. These big blue eyes and your pouty lips.. It’s actually kind of cute,” he complimented and my entire face grew hot. I turned my attention away and I heard him laugh warmly, “I’m sorry, I didn’t make you uncomfortable, did I? ..Now we’re even,” he continued and I looked up to him with a shy smirk.
“Can I.. Can I ask you something..?” I asked, watching as he grabbed a sponge and be begun wiping down the counters.
“Of course,” he replied.
“Were you, uhm..” I stopped, wanting to know if ever some of the things he’s said to me have been advances, but I didn’t even know how to begin asking that.. “N-Nah.. Never mind,” I corrected myself and I could see that he grew even more curious to my question when he stopped wiping the counters.
“Come on, that’s rule number one for questions.. Once you start to ask it, you have to, you can’t take it back,” he warned with a smile and I regretted even saying anything now.
“W-Well.. Did you ever, uh.. I don’t know.. Why did you really give me your number?” I asked, watching him keep his smile and he looked down to the sponge he was using.
“Am I that easy to see through?” He wondered, looking back up to me, “I guess you could say I was interested in you..” He continued and I raised my brow as I grew a little disappointed from his choice of words.
“Was..?” I asked softly.
“..Am..” He corrected himself and I couldn’t help but smile as I looked away from him, “Is that the answer you were looking for?” He inquired curiously and I didn’t know what to say. It was odd.. I had never felt like this before, but I liked how different it was. It wasn’t like anything with my first girlfriend, nor was it even close to being anything like with Jody, and I was thankful for that..
“..Well.. Maybe.. I don’t know,” I admitted, my eyes looking over to Isaiah and I could tell he liked my answer.
“Come with me, I want to show you the upstairs,” he said with a smile, walking out from behind the counter and I watched him with surprise, standing from the chair I sat in and I slowly followed behind him, watching him go up the stairs and I looked up to see a door that led to a different part of the bar entirely. Hesitantly, I walked up the stairs and met him at the top, my expression blank and he furrowed his brows when he looked to me.
“Stop looking like such a puppy again.. What are you afraid of? It’s just the VIP section. This is where all the old guys come to smoke their cigars and such, a good way to keep all the smoke away from everyone downstairs,, too,” he assured me and I smirked briefly, seeing him pull out a card from his pocket and he slid it over a spot on the wall that blended in perfectly, as if it wasn’t even there and the door clicked unlocked. “Gotta need one of these to get in.. Maybe I’ll give you one eventually,” he hinted, but even though I didn’t know quite what he meant by it, I watched him walk in and I slowly followed behind him.
I was greeted by the strong scent of what I could assume would be Cuban cigars and it wasn’t as unpleasant as I thought it’d be.. The scent was actually oddly inviting and high-class. I looked around the room and it was a lot nicer than the downstairs, something that I was surprised of. I thought the downstairs was nice and I didn’t think his bar could look nicer, but I could see why the lounge was a much better place to be and how it was only meant for certain people.. This is probably where he makes most of his tips.
“People come up here to get away from all the noise downstairs,” Isaiah began, “Granted, there aren’t that many people with a card yet to come up here, they have to request one, but once I’m here a little longer and word gets around more, I counting on this room to retire with,” he continued, surprised by his words.
“You plan on retiring soon?”
“Well, not soon.. But a hell of a lot sooner than sixty-five,” he said with a chuckle and I smiled.
“You seem really well off. Is this where you thought you’d be? Like.. When you were younger?” I asked, seeing him look to me and he lost his smile for the first time tonight.
“Sorry.. I didn’t mean to-”
“No, no.. I uh.. I’ve just never been asked that before.. Well, at least not from someone who weren’t my condescending parents,” he replied, watching him look around the room, “I, uh.. I originally wanted to be a lot of things.. You know how we all go through phases and such, wanting to be an astronaut when you were seven, or a firefighter when you were twelve.. Let’s just say I never imagined I’d turn out to be a bartender, but I came to love it.. I guess it doesn’t really matter what I originally wanted in my youth.. This is doing me just fine, and despite what my parents think, I couldn’t be happier with my career,” he replied, looking back to me and I saw him smile again, which made me relieved that he wasn’t troubled by the question I had asked.. I liked that I could assume I was the only one outside of his family that he’s shared that with.
“How long do you plan on staying? We could have a few drinks together if you want..?” He suggested, “I can understand if you want to go home, though, if you have class or something tomorrow,” he continued, sounding as if he wished his second remark wasn’t the one I would choose and I smiled.
“I can stay for a while, if you’d like me to,” I answered and I watched as he looked away from me with a smirk.
“I’ll get us a few beers then,” he answered and I watched as he went behind the bar. “Please.. Relax a little, make yourself at home,” he insisted and I nodded.
I walked around the lounge a little, removing my jacket and throwing it over one of the chairs casually and I stepped over towards the windows. I looked out to the calm snowfall, wondering if it was ever going to stop.. It seemed that ever since the first snowfall this year, it hasn’t let up even once. It was nice to look at, it was relaxing and it helped me keep my cool about being alone with Isaiah now that I knew were we stood.. I wondered if this was a date..? Was this our first? I didn’t mind being here for it, though I wished we could be somewhere else.. I could imagine that he might not like being at work all the time, and the fact that we were still here, I felt as if he was still ‘on the job’.. I felt bad that he was still serving drinks, even though he was officially closed for the night..
“What are you thinking about?” Isaiah wondered, being startled a little by his voice being right behind me and I looked over my shoulder, seeing him handing me a bottle and I turned around so I could take it.
“T-Thank you..” I answered quietly, looking down at the bottle and I took a quick sip of it, “And I’m not really thinking of anything..”
“Oh, come on.. Now I know that’s not true,” he challenged with a smirk.
I chuckled nervously, “I just, uhm.. I was thinking how I felt a little bad that we’re not drinking somewhere else.. We’ve only ever drank together here, and it’s.. Where you work, so.. I guess I feel bad that when you said that one night that all you’ve been doing is working since you moved here, don’t you get a little tired of being here, off the clock at least..?”
“Well, it’s not a weird question.. You could say that this place is still pretty new to me, so I’m not exactly tired of being here yet. Plus, it’s my job. What would be the point of opening a bar if I don’t love what I do and didn’t love being here? ..It’s nice to have a place where I can spend time with someone that I like alone, too,” he hinted with a smirk and I felt my ears get warmer, averting my eyes from his momentarily and I heard him laugh, “You always make this certain expression when you’re flattered, I like it,” he continued and I couldn’t hold back a smile as well as a nervous laugh.
“S-Stop..” I replied, taking another sip from the bottle and I set it down on a table near me, reaching up and rubbing the back of my neck.
“Why?” He challenged.
“Because.. I’m already nervous as it is.. You’re making it worse,” I answered shyly, turning my back to him to hopefully hide my warm cheeks.
“Oooh, what’s this?” He wondered and I then felt his fingertips gently touching the back of my neck, pulling the back of my shirt down just slightly and all of my hairs stood on end.
I quickly turned around and he pulled his hand back abruptly, “Sorry.. I didn’t mean to startle you,” he apologized and I shied my eyes away once more.
“N-No.. I’ve just been, uhm.. A little jumpy lately, I guess..”
“Oh..? Why’s that?” He asked and I didn’t feel like talking about anything negative at a time like this.. I wanted to enjoy tonight, and if that meant ignoring my troubles for a while, I was going to try my best to avoid talking about them.
“J-Just, uh.. We almost, uhm.. Got into a car accident on the way here tonight, I guess I’m just still a little rattled,” I lied, brushing off my jumpy behavior with a smirk.
“Oh, wow.. Yeah, I noticed the cab driver’s here are a little reckless.. Are you alright?” He wondered with concern and nodded with the same smirk I’ve held. “Good.. Next time I’ll make sure you’re facing me before I touch you.. I don’t want to startle you anymore,” he hinted and I felt my face ignite all over again. I turned back towards the windows and continued to rub the back f my neck again, unsure what to do with my hands and I heard him chuckle softly behind me.. I wanted to know so badly what he was thinking.. Even though he was flirting with me like crazy, I hated not being able to read him and prep myself for his advances. I constantly tried to keep my distance, but the more he complimented me, the harder I found it to avoid. But, I didn’t want to avoid it.. So why was I?
I knew he was lying, it was obvious, but I didn’t pry any more because I knew it was something he didn’t want to talk about. I loved how hard he tried to hide things, it only made him more mysterious and I loved how he tried so hard to keep me from seeing his blushing face. But, I also loved looking at him and him constantly trying to hide himself wasn’t something I’d be able to stand for much longer. I wanted to look at his blue eyes and his cute freckles more, I wanted to make him blush more, too, but I found it hard to enjoy fully when he’s been turning away or covering himself with his long hair. I felt a little bad that I may have overstepped my boundaries when I touched his neck in an attempt to see his tattoo, but of course it only made me want to know more on why he had lied about why it startled him.. He seemed interested in me from what we had talked about earlier at the other bar, the questions he’s asked downstairs and up here so far made me believe he wanted to get to know me as much as I wanted to know him and I liked how that felt, but trying to get him to open up and stop being so shy was proving to be a difficult task.
Was I coming on too strong? If there was a deeper reason as to why he was a little skittish, I didn’t want to pry, but.. With him now facing away from me, I didn’t want to touch him because I was nervous about making him jump again, but I wanted him to face me.. What should I say to get him to look at me again..? I looked down to the beer he had barely touched upon the table by the windows, assuming he didn’t want to drink it, but.. I sighed heavily, unsure of what I should even do. I felt as if I was always supposed to be on my toes around him, and as far as how I’ve been quickly and fluently responding to his questions with subtle flirtation or even blatant obviousness, he reacted just the same.. Shy.. Introverted.. “Cute..” I said softly with a smirk I couldn’t hold back.
I watched as Oliver turned over his shoulder a little and looked to me with the same blushing face that I loved seeing, “W-What?” He asked.. Did I say what I was thinking out loud?
“Nothing..” I tried to recover, “Do you like watching the snow fall?” I wondered, noticing him looking outside a lot since he’s been upstairs with me and I watched as he shrugged.
“I guess.. It’s a little relaxing, isn’t it? Watching it fall..?” He wondered and I smiled as I looked to the side of his face as his view went out the window.
“Yeah..” I replied, watching him still face away from me, but I noticed the smirk on his plump lips, “Very relaxing..” I continued, still looking at him and I watched as he glanced over towards me again, feeling my heart weaken a little each and every time he made eye contact with me.
I couldn’t describe why I liked him.. When he had first came into my bar, he seemed as if he was a lost kitten coming out from the rain looking for a home, and I gave him a temporary one while he sulked about his Thanksgiving night.. I housed him for fifteen minutes, but even in that short amount of time, I really liked him..
The moment he looked at me when he had came in, both last time and also earlier tonight, I loved the look in his eyes. I loved his initial desperation.. The first time I met him, he looked hopeless, like he wanted company other than the company he had only minutes before he had arrived and I loved providing it to him.. Tonight, he came in with that same look.. Like he needed something, and he seemed happy to see me.. He told me he lost my number, but I didn’t believe that lie, either.. I’d ask about it later since obviously now was not the time, but I thought that despite how much he’s lied to me tonight, it oddly made me more curious about him. For how shy and quiet he seemed, it also seemed as if he had a lot of baggage.. But, if I wanted to be honest with myself, the threat of his baggage didn’t bother me. I wanted to know what it was. I wanted to know more about him..
I didn’t know what to say to him next.. This was the first time tonight that all I wanted to do next was fill the silence with the feeling of his lips against mine, but based on his jumpy reaction, I worried that a kiss wouldn’t happen any time soon.. All that I could think of to ask was if he wanted another beer, which I knew he didn’t since he had barely touched the one he had now, or if I could touch him again, which I already knew, too, would be too much.. So, what do I do?
“You know..” He began first, to my surprise, “I.. I mentioned coming here to my sister because she was bored of the other restaurants.. I mentioned this place was new, and nice, and.. I, uhm..” He stopped, watching as the side of his face was no longer visible to me since he had turned away again, and with what I could assume he was going to say, I wish he was facing me.. “I wanted to come here to tell you why I hadn’t called.. So, I brought it up to her..” He admitted and I smiled softly.
“Is that the only reason..? I told you why I really gave you my number, so why did you mention my bar to her?” I asked, seeing the side of his face once more as he wanted to look at me, but still couldn’t.
“B-Because, uhm..” Again with his studdering.. I loved it.. “I.. I wanted to see you again..” He confessed quietly and I was glad that he had admitted it finally.
I stepped towards the windows a little more, setting my beer down next to his upon the table and I faced him, standing in front of him to block the view he had out the window. I could tell I made him more nervous now, almost forcing him to look at me when I knew he wasn’t ready to himself, but after his confession that I had been waiting to hear, I couldn’t let him keep up this wall of his anymore that stood between us. “Can I touch you?” I wondered innocently, watching as his demeanor went even more nervous than I thought was possible, “Please?” I continued, and eventually, after a long few seconds, I watched him nod and I smiled with excitement. He was finally getting more comfortable with me and I was relieved at the fact, even growing the tiniest bit nervous myself.
I reached up slowly and put my right hand to his jawline, feeling the stubble under my fingertips and I drew my hand back a little more, letting my hand stop just under his earlobe and my thumb grazed over it a little. I loved the feel of his hair on my fingertips, seeing his eyes go less shocked and more relaxed and I felt as if he could maybe hear how hard my heart was beating.. I continued to watch his eyes, seeing them go to my lips and then down to my tie, trying to avoid eye contact with me like he usually did and I smiled.
I couldn’t help myself.. I slid my hand passed his ear more to the nape of his neck, feeling his hair between my fingers and pulling him towards me, shutting my eyes when I had met his lips with my own. They were just as supple as I had hoped they’d be and I felt a cold rush of air on my upper lip from him inhaling so hard, no doubt in surprise from what I had done. I had been waiting to do this since I had first met him and I had to admit that I fell in love with his face instantly.. His shy behavior the whole time only made me want to kiss him more, he was too cute for words and I couldn’t stand holding myself back any longer, but somehow I knew that kissing him so abruptly would soon come back to bite me in the ass.
After letting him get somewhat used to what was happening, I deepened the kiss a little, massaging my lips against his a little harder and I knew he liked it.. I knew already that if he didn’t, be would’ve pulled away, but I was relived that he hadn’t yet. I wasn’t done.. I could tell this was the first time he had done something like this, with another man, at least.. His trembling was completely obvious and I thought it was even more adorable that I knew he didn’t know how obvious it actually was.. The moment I attempted to push my tongue in his mouth, I felt his lips separate and it was an open invitation to invade passed his lips a lot more like I wanted. He seemed inexperienced, at least in physical relationships based on how stiff his entire body was, but I wondered how he felt about doing this with a guy. I had been with other men before, but I could proudly admit that none of them made me feel like I did about Oliver. I loved how fragile he was, how closed off and shy he was, even though it might seem odd.. I loved it.
I slipped my hand around his waist and he flinched, tensing up more than I was comfortable with.. I pulled away and so did he quickly, remorse consuming me and I was disappointed in myself. I was being way too quick with him and I knew he wasn’t ready, but I stupidly forced myself on him anyways. I hated seeing the confused and even slightly scared expression on his face.. Absolutely hated it, and I was the one that caused it.. “I’m sorry, Oliver.. I-”
“I-I, uhm..” He began, watching as he then began stepping backwards away from me. Shit.. I knew this was going to happen.. I was being too selfish and eager.. “Sorry, I-I gotta go..” He continued in a slight panic and I watched as he quickly grabbed his suit jacket he had laid over the back of one of the chairs and he headed for the door.
“Oliver, wait! I’m sorry..” I tried to stop him but I watched then as he threw his jacket on quickly and left the lounge faster than I could say ‘I’m sorry’ again.
I sighed heavily to myself as I sat down on the closest armrest, my anger building dramatically at my own actions and I knew that I was getting ahead of myself when it came to how I acted around him, but why couldn’t I stop? He was obviously uncomfortable by me touching his neck earlier, yet I still pressured him to eventually let me touch him again and now look where it got me. “I’m such a fucking idiot,” I said softly to myself, shutting my eyes and shaking my head in disgust by how I had acted tonight. I wasn’t sure whether to label tonight our first date or not, but even if it was, I did a great job ruining it, as well as maybe ruining another chance to see him again..
I eventually took out my phone and I went to text him or even call him to apologize even more, but my eyes then widened in panic when I realized I had given him my number earlier, but I didn’t get his. “Fuck!” I let out angrily, shoving my phone back within my pocket and I rushed to the door, flinging it open quickly and I ran down the stairs, “Oliver!” I called out, hoping he hadn’t left yet as I then raced through the bar and I whipped open the front door.
I ran out into the calm snowfall of the night, seeing his fresh footsteps in the snow, but when I looked to the sidewalk and towards the street as I ran, the footsteps didn’t lead to him and I slowed my pace as I approached the road.
A sense of depression fell over me as I finally came to a stop and I looked left, then right, seeing the taillights of a cab pulling away and I assumed he was in it, but it was too far now to do anything about it. I stared at the cab’s red lights until I couldn’t see them anymore, putting my hands into my pockets to keep them warm and I couldn’t get passed how heavy and constricted my chest felt, my own guilt and remorse weighing hard down on me and I hated that there was nothing else I could do.. I didn’t know where he lived, I didn’t know what days or what times he went to class, and I didn’t get his number like I should’ve.. I really screwed up tonight.. Big time.
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