“That chick at the bar’s been watching you all night!” Hunter’s breath reeked of beer as he leaned into me and voiced his observation over the thundering downbeat of the dance music. “You should go buy her a drink!”
I barely had enough money to buy my own drinks. The only reason I was at the club in the first place was because Hunter wanted a wingman to help him celebrate his new independence; he’d just been dumped by his third girlfriend in a year. “You should buy her a drink,” I told him. “I think she likes you, not me.” I knew she’d been staring at me, but Hunter needed the confidence boost, and I really wasn’t interested in her. The whole bar scene, with the loud music, the booze, and the meaningless hook-ups, had become tiresome for me.
“No, man, she’s into you. Go over there.” Hunter leaned into my shoulder, and the length of his lean body rubbed against the back of mine. If he only knew what he did to me. If he knew, he wouldn’t try to throw me at strange girls in clubs, and he wouldn’t hang on me like a wet towel.
I shook my head.
“What the hell’s the matter with you? She’s hot!”
She was hot. I couldn’t deny that. Tall. Long blond hair. Dressed like a high dollar whore, just like a hundred other college chicks in that place. I’d dated dozens of girls just like her, and dozens of times, I’d come out feeling more empty than before. I knew why. It wasn’t the girls. It wasn’t the clubs, it wasn’t the booze, and it wasn’t the music. I knew it was me, I’d always known, I just hadn’t come to terms with it yet. “Just not my type.”
“Well, fuck! Then buy me a goddamn drink!” Hunter slid around me and started through the crowd. He wobbled a little, the alcohol clearly having had its affect.
I followed him. He approached the bar, and he looked over his shoulder at me with a mischievous smile, and then he walked all the way to the other end and wedged himself next to the blond.
“Hi!” he said to her. “I’m Hunter. This my buddy, Sam.”
She smiled at us both. I gave a polite nod, then squeezed myself in behind Hunter, putting him between her and me, and I leaned over the bar and waited for the bartender to look my way so I could order another beer. I could hear Hunter trying to feed the blond some stupid line about his being a med student–a lie, I might add; he’d switched from engineering to finance two semesters ago. But she sounded duly impressed, and I rolled my eyes.
“What’ll you have?”
I turned my head to order my beer and found myself looking into a pair of the most intense, mesmerizing eyes that I’d seen in a long time. I couldn’t tell their color in that shadowy place, and so I stared at them, trying to figure it out. He was…. Damn.
The bartender half-smiled and patted my hand with his. “I don’t have all day, gorgeous. What’ll it be?”
My mouth went dry.
“I’ll get back with you.” He pointed to the guy next to me, asked him what he wanted, then started slinging bottles left and right, pouring booze and whatever else over ice in a glass.
I couldn’t wrench my eyes from him. Short, dark hair. Dusting of beard across his jaw. Sideburns. He had that cool James Dean look, except instead of a t-shirt and jeans, he wore a white button-down and dark slacks. His shirt was damp with sweat and clung to his well-formed chest, and he’d rolled up his sleeves to reveal muscular forearms, and what the hell did he call me?
Did he call me gorgeous? Not dude. Not man. Gorgeous. But there hadn’t been anything effeminate about his voice or mannerisms, nothing that screamed queer. Nothing except the fact that he’d called me gorgeous, and why would he do that, when he didn’t know me from Adam, and this wasn’t a gay bar….
He looked back at me again and smiled, a white, straight, smile, a confident smile, Jesus fucking Christ, what was I going to do? And then he frowned, and he looked past me, and he yelled, “Hey, you assholes take that shit outside!” And I looked over my shoulder in time to see some big-ass motherfucker punch the shit out of Hunter.