Date night turns interesting
Nolan waited at the bar, The Stix, for his wife. It was date night and she promised to be on time tonight, though he knew fashionably late seemed to be her theme as things picked up with her new clothing line. She’d already sent a slew of text messages complaining about her partner, Lisa, and their clashing opinions. He chuckled, picturing her agitation as she sent those mad texts in rapid succession to him.
“That wife of yours standing you up tonight, Sugar?” Sue Jones asked.
Nolan sighed. It didn’t matter how many years went by, his ex loved to stir up trouble and insinuate herself into his life every chance she got. He honestly believed she got off on causing him grief.
“Doubtful,” he said.
She leaned forward on the bar, purposely pushing her breasts together—a reminder of what he used to have. The woman was never subtle in her advances. She cocked her head to the side and smiled, “What can I get, cha?”
Sue turned and sauntered off, instead of grabbing the glass he knew was under the bar. He hoped she wouldn’t leave him hanging for long, but wouldn’t put it past her. Small towns made it difficult to avoid people you didn’t really want to see, especially exes.
He looked around the bar, the usual crowd there on a Friday night, though the place wasn’t too busy. Music played from the jukebox, and few couples slow danced on the dancefloor. He smiled. Thoughts of dancing with Anna made his heart race. Oh, he could remember well that first dance they shared when she returned to Endurance. It felt like a lifetime ago when they had that love-hate relationship.
As if on cue, his phone chimed with another incoming text. It was almost like she knew he was thinking about her at that very moment.
“On my way,” Anna said.
“Finally,” he muttered. Temptation entered his mind as he pondered his reply. He could make it short and to the point with an I’ll be waiting, yet what he really wanted to say was Hurry, I may be in need of rescuing, though he knew that would set her off. That thought alone produced a deep laugh. Anna was fiery. And he loved that about her.
Instead, he decided not to respond.
Sue returned with two shot glasses and a bottle. Nolan cringed at the thought of having a drink with her as she took jibes at him and Anna. Strained was a mild way to sum up their relationship now.
“So,” Sue began, setting the glasses between them and filling them to the rim. “How’s the Fashionista treating you?”
Nolan picked up the glass and tossed the throat burning liquid into his mouth, choosing to ignore the fashionista bit. He swallowed hard and set the glass on the bar smiling. “No complaints.” Yes, his feisty woman kept him happy and satisfied.
Sue’s eyebrow rose in question. He stared at her, at the gaudy way she wore her makeup, trying her best to cover up every imperfection, almost as if it were a barrier keeping her protected from prying eyes. He remembered the taste of her hair and all that damn hairspray she used. Sometimes he wished he could have a do-over, and not make the mistake they made so long ago when they became friends with benefits.
“Sure,” Sue said, picked up her glass and downed the dark liquid. She filled the glasses again and slid his forward.
Nolan laughed. “If you remember anything at all about me, you know that I never lie.”
“Yeah, yeah. Spare me the raunchy details.” Sue rolled her eyes, grabbed the glass and downed that one too.
Nolan couldn’t help but laugh at her. As he grasped the glass, Sue reached forward and rested her hand on his.
“I miss you,” she whispered, leaning closer, her blue eyes focused on his.
Damn. He seriously didn’t want to do this with her, though a civil conversation between them was long overdue.
Nolan tried to pull his hand away, but she grabbed his wrist, refusing to let go.
“We used to be good friends.”
Nolan nodded, that much was true. “Once upon a time.”
Sue leaned closer. “We could be again, sugar.” She rolled the last syllable of the word, like dragging out the end sounded sexy, but it didn’t.
The tempo from the slow song playing faded as a rowdy beat took over. He could pretend he didn’t hear what she just said. That was a wise course of action in his opinion, and maybe that would get him right out of this sticky situation.
“Am I interrupting?” Anna asked.
Nolan swallowed hard and closed his eyes for a brief second. Too late. Now I’ll have to hear about this for a good week. “Not at all,” he said grabbing his bearings as their eyes met and locked. Anna’s piercing green eyes glued to his, searching, questioning.
Sue reluctantly released the grip on his wrist as Anna slid into the stool beside him.
“What cha want to drink?” Sue asked.
Anna tore her eyes from Nolan and turned her attention to Sue. “I’ll have what you’re having.”
He expected her jump across the bar at Sue, her voice to sound vicious, or filled with accusations, but she surprised him by being cordial—totally out of character.
Sue grabbed another glass from under the bar and set it front of Anna, pouring for the two women. Nolan’s heart picked up its pace and he held his breath as he waited for the fireworks between the rivals to commence.
To his utter amazement, the two women made small talk over two shots. All he could do was watch, completely dumbfounded.
When Sue finally left to go wait on other customers, Anna turned to him and smiled. Not the happy smile he’d grown accustomed to, but that fake smile that told him she was up to something. And whatever it was, it wouldn’t be good.
“I’m tired,” Anna said.
“Let’s go home.”
“I’ll meet you there.” Anna planted a soft kiss on his cheek, before whispering in his ear. “Don’t forget to leave a nice tip. I’m afraid it’s sofa city for you, sweetheart.” With that she got up and headed for the door.
Nolan scowled, dug into his pocket for money, tossed it on the bar and moved to the door as quickly as his feet would carry him. No way in hell he’d be sleeping on the couch. All he had to do was beat her home. He did so love a good a challenge, especially one that involved Anna.