A week has passed since I was pulled from Alexander’s grip. I am working the bar tonight. The guy in front of me, with a hipster beard and man bun with a skinny black tie over his red plaid flannel shirt is ordering some never heard of bottled beer from me and I am half listening to him. I’ve been like this all week. Alexander threw me off my game.
Usually, if a guy like this walks up to the bar to order a drink I flirt a little and get a bigger tip in return. If the patron is drunk I don’t bother flirting but the sober ones need a little extra to loosen their wallets. I admit I am a tip whore, but without the sex.
Yet, this whole week I haven’t been able to concentrate. I have screwed up orders and actually wore a turtleneck on Wednesday! A....turtleneck! I didn’t even know I owned one, but I saw it and thought it be a nice change as it was rather cold that night. What was I thinking? You know how much I made in tips that night? Eight dollars and thirty five cents. Two of those dollars was from Leon, the waiter here at The Michigan Lounge. He felt sorry for me. I can’t believe it has come to pity tips.
“I think you are done for the night hon.” Sally, the manager hits me on my shoulder breaking me from my vacant stare at the door.
“Where is my beer?” Man-bun asks while leaning across the bar as if he can find it himself.
Sally reaches down into the refrigerator and grabs a cheap bottle of beer and hands it over.
“Here sir, sorry for the wait, it’s on the house.”
He sneers at it but takes it, because it’s free, and walks away.
“I still have four more hours left on my shift.” I turn to face her.
Sally is a big woman. She should have been a linebacker for the Bears, but she has a vagina, so that didn’t happen. Her short brown bob and high cheek bones give her a sleek mysterious look compared to her manly body. Sally told me once she used to do those body building competitions and win but she quite after a few years because of all the drama and backstabbing.
“Look, it’s a slow night for a Friday because of the rain and you haven’t been yourself lately. Maybe take the rest of the night off and get some rest. You always have tomorrow night to make up for tips.”
She is right. Perhaps if I go home and paint I might be able to clear my head. As much as I have been off at work, my painting has never been better. It’s like I can’t paint fast enough. Alexander clouds my brain and I grab a paint brush to let it morph into blue and red and yellow oils on the canvas.
I grab my purse and coat and wave bye to Sally and the waitress Tracey before I push open the door to the inky soaked night. Keeping my head down and my arms tight to keep warm against the cold rain, I make it the few blocks to the El. Racing up the steps and past the turnstile to the platform I notice there are only two other people standing in the middle so I go and sit on the open bench by the wall.
I break out my cell phone and notice no missed calls or texts. Figuring Morgana has been stuck on the computer with her online guy she doesn’t think I know about, I break out my ear buds and start to play some tunes instead of calling her. About a minute into Karma Police by Radiohead I feel someone sit on the bench unusually close to me. Scooting further away from the stranger I get back into the song.
Feeling the rumble of the wooden platform I look left to see the train lights. Once the train comes to a stop I walk inside and take a seat sitting forward, unfortunately my bench mate grabs the seat next to me. Looking around I notice the car is half empty. Great, I got some creeper following me. Once we are at the next stop I get up and move to a middle seat next to a middle aged woman having a rather loud conversation on her phone that I can hear even with the ear bud in my ears. Every other sentence she yells is, “I’d hit that!”
After a few stops I am getting fed up with loud mouth and glance back at my original seat to see a tall man staring back at me in the reflected glass. His features clouded by the dark reflection but I can tell his gaze is on me. A shiver runs through me and I worry if he will try to follow me home. The train comes to a stop, my stop. I stand and as the doors open I wait to the last second to exit knowing that Chicago El train doors wait for no man, hoping that might throw him off if he is following me.
I look around to see if he exited too, but there are several people around me in the outside platform and I can’t tell if he is near. I decide to tag along with a group of slightly drunk office workers who obviously are heading home from happy hour. Thankful that the inebriated co-workers are walking in my direction once we are on the street I make it a few blocks with them until they end up turning into a building courtyard.
I am only a block away so I quicken my pace and as I turn the corner to my building I run into something large and hard and wet.
“Excuse me.” I mumble as I try to pull away but his hands grip my arms to prevent my departure.
I begin to thrash around trying to twist myself free.
“Hey! Get the fuck off me!” I scream as I twist but he just stands there unmoving as if waiting for me to grow tired.
His head dips to my neck as he breathes into my ear, “Aria.”
I still, recognizing instantly the voice. It’s the deep throaty cadence of the man who has become my muse, my every thought and many of my wet dreams. Lifting my gaze I see those hypnotic light blue eyes staring back at me.
Our eyes lock and I can’t even tell if it’s raining anymore. He breaks our gaze as his stare dips to my lips.
“You’re wet.” I finally notice and feel the need to comment on his state.
Alexander smirks as his eyes travel my body before finally settling back on my face.
“It seems we are both drenched.”
“What are we going to do about it?” I ask unable to move.
His grin widens as he closes his eyes for just a moment to take in a long breathe before he opens them as they focus on my lips.
“There are many things in this world that I love Aria. I love Art but you probably know that. I’m a sucker for popcorn, especially the Chicago blend. I love the countryside, anything outdoors with fresh air and lots of wildlife. But, I don’t love the rain and I especially don’t love being cold and wet in the rain, but I will stand here all night if it means being next to you.”
I guess I better invite him inside.
Find out what happens next in THE Discovery
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Payne Posts Menu
63. THE Insane
62. THE Bechmann
61. THE Morning After
60. THE Attack
59. THE Decision
58. THE Emergency
57. THE Welcome Home
56. THE First Day Back
55. THE Strange
54. THE Question
53. THE Crazy B
52. THE Teacher
51. THE Discussion
50. THE Mommy
49. THE Bar Fly
48. THE Watchful Eye
47. THE Big Guns
46. THE Never
45. THE Feast
44. THE Bathroom Threesome
43. THE Pee Pee
42. THE Fine
41. THE Shirt Attack
40. THE Police Song
39. THE Discovery
38. THE Pull
37. THE Aria Show
36. THE Switch Up
35. THE Delivery
34. THE Scheme
33. THE Drink
32. THE Uncomfortable Silence
31. THE Online Experience
30. THE Same Old Shi
29. THE Talk
28. THE Drunk Dial
27. THE Birthday
26. THE Meeting
25. THE New Job
24. THE Disagreement
23. THE Big Movie
22. THE Sleepover
21. THE Club
20. THE Leave
19. THE Beggar
18. THE Confrontation
17. THE Jackoff
16. THE Bathroom
15. THE Joint
14. THE Let Down
13. THE Truce
12. THE Phone Call
11. THE Assistant
10. THE New Year
9. THE Payneful Reminder
8. THE Holiday Party
7. THE Zipper Incident
6. THE Cake
5. THE Incident
4. THE Paperwork
3. THE Letter
2. THE After Effects
1. THE Interview