Two adults meet in a bar, and don't restrain themselves to the truths of their lives.
| Nicki twirled a finger into her curls and flashed the bartender a smile - without showing her teeth - before tasting her fresh pina colada.
"Hey, Cheryn." She winked and blew a kiss to the bartender. "You free after work, babe?"
The bartender, a large-busted tattooed brunette with a thick frame in her early thirties, rolled her eyes. "Are you still on about that?" The woman shook her head and laughed. "You flatter me, Nick," she said over her shoulder as she passed a cold bottle of beer to a young man a few seats from Nicki.
"You'll come around someday, hun. I'll show you a good time." Nicki clicked her tongue, but the employee just shook her head again before disappearing into a back room.
Many patrons of the establishment spent the evening on the dance floor, leaving the bar mostly empty. An inebriated middle-aged man sat at the end far from Nicki, with a blonde twenty-something in a pink dress on his lap while he fondled her. Nicki grimaced and tried to ignore them. She turned her attention to the man her bartender had just served.
The young man, slender, wore a leather coat and expensive-looking designer jeans. His short brown hair was slicked back. His face was expressionless, and young. He wasn't clean-shaven, but the style looked intentional, rather than unkempt. His foot tapped incessantly against the rung of his stool, but the motion didn't at all coincide with the beat of the dance music blaring on the speakers. Every couple of minutes he glanced at the people around and behind him, only holding a gaze for a few seconds, then taking a sip from his bottle, which he appeared to be nursing.
Nicki, wearing a smirk, picked up her jacket and drink and shifted to a seat closer to him. He watched her from the corner of his eye without fully turning his face toward her while she settled in.
"Hey babyface, I haven't seen you around here before. Come by often?" She twisted her body and propped her head up with an elbow on the bar so she could better see his face. He observed her for a few seconds, his blue eyes silently drinking her in.
Nicki was in her late twenties, dark hair - though not the kind of brown one would classify as a typical brunette, such as the bartender's locks - and dark bushy, rather pronounced, eyebrows. She smiled with closed lips, and blinked her eyes slowly. Her waist was thick but not disproportionate. She coated her face with little makeup, only noticeable around the eyes and lips.
"No," the young man finally answered. He had returned to facing straight ahead, no longer looking at Nicki.
"Well," she spoke with a touch of laughter in her voice, "what d'you think? I think it's a nice place. Love the people." The man nodded once but didn't speak. "You got a name, kid? I'm Nicki, short for Nicole. New in town, but I come here a lot."
"Darren," the young man barked in a low voice.
"You old enough to be in here?" she joked. "You know, you could pass for a highschooler." Darren, again, took his time in answering. A couple dancing behind him had backed up too far and bumped his stool, and Darren took his time examining them. Once they blended into the crowd again, he finally spoke to Nicki again.
"I'm over twenty-one," he assured, but offered nothing more.
"What d'you do for your money?"
"Huh?" Darren's eyes snapped to her, studying .
"What's your occupation? What do you do for work?"
"...Oh." Darren scrunched up his face and scrutinized the girl. "Why do you want to know?"
"Just making small talk, hun. What's wrong with that?" Nicki took a drink. Darren shifted his eyes to another person in the crowd, then took a drink. Turning to Nicki he shook his head.
"I... work in marketing."
Nicki laughed. "So does that mean you're in an office, or do you sell drugs on the street?"
Darren flinched. He set his eyes on Nicki. "I do not sell drugs."
"Hmm," she hummed with amusement. "Well, aren't you going to ask me what I do?"
Darren returned to watching the people around him. "What do you do for a living?" He asked without looking at her, sounding bored.
Nicki flipped the hair off her shoulder and broke into a diva pose. "I model. I'm working a gig for an ad agency tomorrow. I hear it's supposed to be rough. The manager has a stick up his ass." She laughed at her own statement. A new bartender came into view and Nicki flagged him down for a refreshed drink, leaving a generous tip.
Darren's eyebrow twitched up. "Good for you. How's the pay?" he asked.
"Oh, you know," she waved and slipped her wallet under her jacket in her lap. "It pays rent."
"And your tab," the bartender chirped. "Girl keeps this place afloat, some days." Nicki sneered.
"Ha ha. Hey, babe!" she called to the Cheryn behind him. "Make sure no one roofies my drink? I need the little room." The woman nodded.
"You're covered, Nick. Go ahead."
The bartender went about cleaning up and serving customers while stealing occasional glances toward Nicki's coat and drink until she returned, popping a tube of some kind of makeup back into a tiny purse slung over her shoulder.
"What'd I miss?" she asked the worker behind the bar. She nodded to the corner.
"The fat slob passed out and his little floozy stormed out." Nicki snickered.
"Think his wife's gonna find out?"
"They always do."
"So, Darren, how's the family?" She spoke familiarly, as though she knew the people personally.
Darren's jaw stiffened. He stared at the obscene couple nearly dry-humping at the other end of he bar, lifting his bottle to his lips without taking a swig.
"My family is fine."
"Brothers? Sisters? A little dog?"
"...One sibling. No pets." He took his drink.
"What's wrong, Dare? Don't like daddy? Is your mom a bitch?" Darren raised an eyebrow.
"My sister calls me that."
Nicki slapped the bar and leaned in to him, laughing. "A bitch?" Darren's cold expression cracked into a grin for the first time, and chuckled.
"Dare. She calls me Dare."
"Hah, cute. Do you like the nickname, hun?"
"She gives everyone a nickname," Darren shrugged, not directly answering.
Nicki flipped open her wallet again and bought him another beer.
"Just take it. Nothing unmanly about a girl buying a guy a beer."
"But I can't stay," Darren protested and rose from his stool. "I still have work tonight."
"Oh, sure you can. Sit down. So what about mom and pops?"
"...I like my parents," he said quietly. Nicki cupped her ear and leaned in.
"Sorry, Dare, didn't hear you. Did you say 'like'? Or... 'liked'?"
"Watch my beer." Darren suddenly brushed past Nicki, as a group of dancers had made their way to the bar. Trying to avoid them, he bumped her as he headed off in the direction of the restroom, knocking the contents off her lap.
"Sorry," he offered, picking the items up for her.
When he returned Nicki had finished her drink and switched to soda, on the house.
"Tell me about your girlfriend. I'm sure you've got one. Don't you?"
Contrary to his argument, Darren took a long drink of the new bottle, then set it down and nodded.
"I knew it. Pretty thing?"
Darren clasped his hands and stared at the bottles on the wall ahead. "She looks like a piece of art."
Nicki smiled. "My boyfriend said something like that about one of my photos once."
"Hold on," Darren interrupted before she could elaborate. "You have a boyfriend?"
Nicki recoiled and place one hand dramatically on her chest. "Darren, I'm offended! Do you think a pretty face like mine isn't capable of finding a good man?" She twirled a finger through her hair again.
"That's not what I meant. I just..." Darren's eyes darted to the female bartender brushing off the bar with a rag, then back at Nicki and sighed. "Never mind."
"Oh, whatever." Nicki waved him off. "Hey, give me an order of mozzarella sticks," she called to one of the workers.
"Six bucks, Nick." The woman snapped her gum and held out her hand. Nicki dug under her coat for her wallet to produce the bills, but found nothing beneath the garment.
"Hey, Cheryn, have you seen my wallet?" She lifted the coat and shook it to make certain it wasn't caught up in the folds. "What the hell? You see anyone mess with my stuff"
"Cher and I both watched," the man behind the counter explained. "No one bothered your things. You probably dropped it in the bathroom, knowing you." Nicki gathered her things in a huff, checking the floor all around her seat. She stomped off to the bathroom carrying her coat and tiny purse.
Several minutes later found Nicki back at the bar, head hanging low, hair shielding part of her face.
"I didn't find a damn thing."
"We'll keep our eyes open, hun, but if we don't find it you should report it lost or stolen." Nicki nodded.
"You didn't see it, did you, Darren? Did you see anyone take it?"
"I didn't see anything," Darren replied. "I don't know where it would be. You just had it." Darren took a swig of his beer, his foot again twitching against the chair.
"I know!" Nicki cried in exasperation.
Darren slapped a ten on the counter, tilting his head toward the girl. Cheryn nodded and returned a few minutes later with a basket of hot breaded cheese sticks. She set them in front of Nicki.
"...You didn't need to do that," she said to Darren, but pulled a stick from the basket anyway. "What would your piece-of-art girlfriend say about that?"
"I've got to get home." He rose and zipped his leather coat. "Do you have enough money to get home without your wallet?"
"I've got friends. I thought you had to work," Nicki said through a mouthful of cheese sticks. Darren simply tipped his head toward her.
"It was nice to meet you, Nicki."