She whips and whirls back and forth, seamlessly pouring drinks and carrying on a conversation like clockwork. The green racer-back exposes the little black music notes crawling across the back of her shoulder, her tan accentuated under the bar light. She smiles every time she looks in my direction, almost wincing anytime anyone else orders a drink. She’s got all eyes on her, older guys hoping for her attention by offering big tips, younger girls annoyed that their boyfriends seem to stare. And me of course, tracing the rim of a pub glass as I wait for her return. It doesn’t take long.
“Alright, so I thought about it.” She grins, before looking around, and when prying eyes have disappeared, she takes a sip from my glass. “I’m pretty sure I’d be good at it. I think I could rob at least twenty banks.”
The barfly sitting two seats down looks up from her phone and raises an eyebrow, completely unamused by the direction our conversation has taken, letting her eyes roll far enough that I genuinely think they might get stuck. We both stifle laughter, trying to stay deadly serious.
“Twenty? Twenty’s a big number. I’d be pretty impressed honestly.” She grabs at my now empty glass as the words slip from my mouth, smirking as she walks over to the tap, returning like a squall with a fresh glass and a retort.
“Is this an audition?”
“Might be.” I smile back. She doesn’t get the chance to answer, instead reluctantly being tasked with making a Cosmo, a drink that seems more than a little out of place in a bar like this. She turns a steel tumbler and a pub glass into a makeshift cocktail mixer and I can’t help but be impressed. She even manages to smile as she serves the drink, even as she returns, laughing that anyone could drink something so pink.
The conversation carries off and on in between orders for hours, but it seems to pass by in a manner of minutes. It almost shocks me when the lights come up and I realize I’m the only one left not on the payroll. She looks almost hurt to tell me that I’ll have to go outside while they count up the till, but asks me to wait for her.
Within ten minutes she meets me out on the patio, collapsing into me with an unexpected hug that manages to cut through the early December chill. She lingers, and the I’m not sure how to feel, holding someone else in the cold.
“I’d escape to somewhere warm. Definitely an island.” She says into my neck, bringing the conversation full circle, “Fuck. You smell amazing.” I wouldn’t have thought myself capable of blushing out in the cold, but I can feel my cheeks begin to flush. She pulls back finally, smiling up at me in the most disarming way.
“So Tuesday, right?” I ask, shrugging the compliment off, like always, as I fish the keys out of my pocket. She nods, the smile turning into a smirk that I realize I’m starting to find familiar. I smile back, turning on my boot heel and walking toward the opposite end of the parking lot to begin the journey home.
“It’s a date." She yells across the distance as my fingers fumble with the handle of the car door.