“I really think we’re a little too old for this.” I sighed as Amelia dragged me into the bar.
“Oh, will you lighten up already? You finally got rid of that asshat of a boyfriend of yours. It’s time to have some fun.” She insisted as my eyes fought to adjust to the darkness. “Besides, school starts on Monday. This is the last time we’re going to really be able to have any real fun until Thanksgiving weekend.”
Wasn’t that the truth? I sighed again, my hand linked with Amelia’s as she tugged me through the Friday night crowd. I’d driven by the bar on a daily basis during the last school year but I never went in. First of all, I wasn’t a drinker. Second of all, I had a boyfriend and didn’t want to spend the night convincing drunk men I wasn’t interested. Third, I was afraid I’d run into my students. How bad would that be? Well, it would be worse for them since they would be in the bar on a fake ID, but I didn’t like the idea of being drunk in public. It just didn’t send a good message to my students, even if I was legally allowed to imbibe as frequently as I’d like.
“Christ on a cracker!” Amelia stopped short, her hand squeezing mine painfully.
“Ow!” I would have yanked my hand away if she didn’t have it in a vice grip. “What the hell, Ame?”
“There.” She jutted her chin toward the bar.
Her head whipped toward mine, her jaw hanging open. “Uh, hello? Tall, blond, looks like he just stepped off a magazine cover for Viking Monthly?”
I craned my neck to see what she was looking at. Unlike Amelia, I wasn’t wearing four inch heels that could cause me to fall and break my neck. Call me boring, but I’ll take comfort over fashion any day of the week. I was wearing my little ballerina slippers and I was quite comfortable in them. Turns out the man in question was behing the bar, shaking what might have been a martini. I watched the easy flex of the muscles in his arms before my eyes slid up his very well-toned body to his neck and then even further up to his face.
Amelia wasn’t kidding. Panting. Yes, I was definitely panting. “Sweet Jesus.” I muttered and Amelia grinned beside me. “Dibs!” I called out and she laughed.
“Did you forget I’m with Tray?” Now it was my head that was whipping around.
“I’m surprised you didn’t.” I teased her. Amelia wasn’t exactly the monogomous type. She liked to keep her options open.
“He’s special.” She actually blushed. Amelia Kathleen Broadway actually blushed. Holy shit.
“Oooh, I’m telling!” I nudged her playfully.
“Shut up!” Amelia was uncomfortable with her feelings for Tray.
She wasn’t used to wanting only one person at a time. This was pretty much uncharted territory for her. If she had her way about it, she’d be having sex with multiple people through me while I nursed my ‘broken heart’. Thing was, I wasn’t really all that upset (anymore) about losing Quinn. It was just time to let that relationship go.
Quinn owned his own business and had all sorts of plans. They were great plans and I was proud of how much his business had expanded in the three years we were together. Thing was, he had this crazy ten year plan in his head that he wouldn’t deviate from. When I mentioned I wanted us to move on to the next level, his calls started coming to see me less and less frequently. When an entire month passed without contact from him, I decided enough was enough. If we weren’t going to get serious about our future together then I needed to let him go. I wanted to get married and have kids and I wanted to do that before I was thirty if I could. I’d thought Quinn might be the one. Then it occurred to me that ‘the one’ would call me more than once a month.
He was sweet and charming and I knew that he loved me. He was good to his mother and his sister (whom I’d had in my World History class when she was a freshman), which was a pretty big thing for me. I didn’t have a whole lot of family and I wanted to be sure that the man I ended up with was a family man. Quinn most certainly was. We was a bit more aggressive than I’d like sometimes, though not with me, but we all have flaws. I could overlook that. No, better, I could accept that because I loved the rest of him so much. I did accept it. It was Quinn.
But then things started to go south and it seemed the more I tried to talk to him about things the less he wanted to work on it. I started to wonder what the hell I’d done wrong. It wasn’t like we’d only been together a few weeks. We’d been together for years. I didn’t see the harm in talking about where we were headed. Apparently, Quinn didn’t feel the same. That was a deal breaker for me. So on his last visit I told him it was over. I was tired of waiting for him to make up his mind.
It stung when he didn’t seem upset or surprised. I think he was actually hoping that I’d be the one to pull the plug on us because he didn’t want to hurt me. Well, he hurt me anyway but I don’t think he saw it that way. I think he thought by me being the one to do the breaking it would give me some sort of power, which it did, but that didn’t make it hurt any less. I mean, I’d been ready to take the man’s name and have his babies for Christ’s sake!
“Go get him!” Amelia shoved me toward the bar and away from my revery all at once.
“What? No!” I scuttled back to her.
“Sookie,” she gave me that warning tone of hers that said either I get my ass over there and talk to him or she’d do it for me.
“Ame, please-” I whined.
“Fine.” She shrugged and started toward the bar.
“Okay! Fine! You win!” I yanked her hand back.
“Get me a Scooby Snack!” Amelia called out from behind me.
Oh, Amelia, I sighed as I headed toward the bar. The Nordic hottie behind the bar was leaning over, talking to a pale blond woman who looked like she had raided Jackie O’s closet. She couldn’t have been more than ten years my senior but she was dressed in a classic Chanel suit, complete with a matching pink headband. Do women really dress like that anymore? Only it looked good on her. She definitely stood out in a crowd full of women wearing tight jeans and low-cut tops. She looked classy and sure of herself. I envied her not for her wardrobe but because she seemed to be carrying such an effortless conversation with the sex on a stick manning the bar. How did she do that? Was she his girlfriend? Why did I care?
I shook all those thoughts from my head while I decided what I was going to drink. I glanced over my shoulder once to see Amelia make a shooing motion at me. Bitch. I’d never been that good at meeting people in spite of my chosen profession. As a teacher, I met new people all the time. It was part of the job. But in a classroom, I was sure of myself. I had my textbooks to back me up. In a bar, well, that was different. I had nothing. Nothing except the blush that was deepening as I got closer and closer to the bar and the hottie working behind it.
I leaned against the bar and clasped my hands on it. Viking made a motion for Chanel Suit to hold her thought while he sauntered over to me in a pair of jeans that were slung low on his hips, his black t-shirt clinging to what was clearly a very chiseled torso. Wipe. The. Drool.
“What can I get for you?” There was an accent. It was slight, but it was there. It was heaven.
I said the first thing that came to mind. “A Screaming Orgasm.” Did I really just say that? Yes, yes, I did. I wanted to melt into the floor right there.
Viking looked me up and down. “I think that can be arranged.” I reminded myself that flirting with the customers upped his tips.
“In that case, make it a double.” I said it. I really said it. Why wasn’t the floor opening up to swallow me whole?
He smiled at me. Oh, God, he smiled at me. I felt like one of the students I’d be teaching on Monday when my Freshmen history class began. I could feel myself sweating as my throat went dry. I watched him mix up the shot and then plop it in front of me. I stared at it like it was going to pour itself down my throat. I tried to tell my brain to move my hand but it wouldn’t go anywhere.
“Anything else?” His eyes were intensely blue. His lip curled with slight amusement.
“Uh… uh…” I stammered. Thank God I wasn’t an English teacher. “A Scooby Snack?”
He laughed at this request. “A Scooby Snack?”
“It’s for my friend.” I glanced over my shoulder and Amelia waved with the biggest grin on her face that I’d ever seen. I wanted to kill her for making me do this.
Viking held up his hand in acknowledgment. His hand was massive but I would expect nothing less considering the fact that he appeared to be almost a foot taller than me. I gulped as he turned his back to retrieve the things he needed. When he bent to get the half and half out of the fridge I just about fainted. God bless the maker of those jeans. The ass on him was… I don’t even know if there’s a word in creation to describe it. Glorious might be a good start.
“Anything else?” He asked once the second shot was ready.
I shook my head, the ability to speak suddenly gone out the window. Kill. Me. Now. Then the Viking smirked at me. I wanted to do a quick check and see if my panties were still there. What the hell was up with me? This wasn’t me. I wasn’t the type that lusted over hot bartenders, and yet, there I was. Lusting. Big time lusting. I had to remind myself to breathe. My eyes locked with the Viking’s at some point and we just stared at one another for a minute. It was like we had magnets in our eyes that wouldn’t let us look anywhere else. I’d never felt anything like that before.
Without taking his eyes from mine he reached under the bar. In my peripheral vision I saw him pour two shots from a bottle full of clear liquid with a square bottom. He slid one of the glasses toward me with a faint smile on his face.
“What’s this?” I allowed my smile to match his.
“Patron.” He said slyly.
“As in tequila?” I didn’t know a lot about liquor, but I knew tequila. We’d done an agonizing dance one morning shortly before finals my freshman year of college. Viking nodded at me without his eyes leaving mine. “I’m going to need a lime and salt for this.” I exhaled slowly.
He crooked a finger at me to follow him to the end of the bar. I don’t know how I got my legs to work but I somehow managed to make my way over to him. In a move that would have gotten any other man slapped silly, he picked up my wrist and licked it before sprinkling salt on it. I felt my pulse quicken and my temperature shoot up about ten degrees. It was suddenly very warm in the bar, no doubt about it. If we were going to do body shots… my knees went weak at the prospect. What was he doing to me that I was contemplating body shots in the middle of a busy bar on a Friday night? And I didn’t even know his name!
“You know how this works?” He leaned in and whispered to me, sending shivers down my spine.
In an instant the shy school girl was replaced with a shameless sex kitten. I grabbed the neckline of his t-shirt to hold him close to me and I whispered, “Lick it, slam it, suck it.” in his ear. I swear he growled at me.
“And when you’re done, you get to have a Screaming Orgasm.” He winked at me. Goodbye knees. Make sure my panties are okay.
Then he put a lime wedge fruit side out between his teeth. I gave myself a little pep talk. I was single and a grown ass woman. I could do this. I could hang tough with this guy. It might be old hat for him but I could fake it with the best of ’em. I cheated a glance in Amelia’s direction. She looked positively stunned at what I was about to do. Frankly, I couldn’t believe it myself.
Before I could talk myself out of it, I licked my wrist, slammed back the shot and then dove for the lime. My lips briefly connected with his. Not quite the first kiss I would have wanted, but it was delicious all the same. The tequila- liquid evil that it was- didn’t even burn as it went down my throat. Patron was smooth that way. I closed my eyes to savor the tastes that were mingling on my tongue. When I opened my eyes I’m sure I looked like I was high, which would have been a fair assessment because that was exactly how I felt. Viking looked to be floating a little bit himself.
“My turn.” His voice was low and husky. Did he really do this every night?
Again, before I could think about it I grabbed his wrist and licked it to return the favor he’d paid me. Looking down, however, turned out to be somewhat of a mistake because it was obvious he was enjoying my company every bit as much as I was enjoying his. I never would have thought Vikings liked camping. I tried not to giggle, thinking that might ruin the whole thing. I sprinkled salt on his wrist for him. But rather than putting the lime in my mouth as he’d done, I took his shot and stuck it in my cleavage.
My eyes caught his and he looked surprised. Maybe he didn’t do this every night. What the hell was I doing? My mind was racing, in spite of the Patron fueled warmth that was spreading through me like wildfire. I bit my lower lip nervously to see what Viking would do. He smirked. Again. Seriously, knees, take good care of my panties.
He licked his wrist and then dove forward toward my chest to retrieve his drink- hands free. My breath caught when I heard him inhale my scent. He groaned against when his face grazed my neck and the tops of my breasts. He took his time plucking the shot glass from its nice little nest before his head popped up with the shot in his mouth. He swallowed back the liquid and then sucked on a lime wedge.
Our eyes locked and there was only thing I could think of to say, “I’ll have that Screaming Orgasm now.”
I woke up the next morning with a dull ache in my head and an arm wrapped around my waist. The room was dark with just tiny cracks of light getting in. The clock next to me said it was almost noon. It took a moment for my eyes to focus and I realized I was in a room I’d never seen before. I moved in a slight panic, trying to remember where I was and how I’d gotten there. A face snuggled against my shoulder and I froze.
Then I remembered! Patron! I groaned as quietly as I could. When the arm that encircled me pulled me closer to the rest of its owner I freaked out a little. I was naked! Shit! What the hell did I do last night? My mind was still a bit fuzzy but slowly, bits and pieces came back into focus. Amelia. A bar. Viking. Body shots. Patron. Patron. Flirting. Patron. More flirting. Patron. Dancing. Patron. I groaned again.
“Morning, Sookie.” A faintly familiar voice whispered behind me.
Viking? “Morning.” I whispered, feeling terrible that I couldn’t remember his name. I had never done something like this before.
I was afraid to move. My memory was slowly coming back to me. From all I could gather, Eric- Yes! I had a name!- and I had done several more Patron shots over the course of the evening. We’d talked quite a bit in spite of the fact that it was a busy Friday night at the bar. We’d even danced a time or two. Amelia had encouraged me like no other to give Eric a chance, not that I really needed her to. By the time the bar was closing up for the night whatever it was between Eric and I had hit a fever pitch and there was no way I wanted to go home alone. So I ended up back at his place. I’d told myself we would just just makeout for a little while. I wasn’t the slutty sort who slept with a guy she just met and knew next to nothing about.
What did I know about Eric? I searched my mind for the details he’d given up. After much thought I remembered he was thiry-one. He wasn’t the regular bartender but he was co-owner of the bar. Mostly, he’d invested in his friend’s business. But since he’d done some bartending back in college he would step in from time to time when the regular bartender, Felicia, needed a night off. The woman I’d been calling Chanel Suit was his business partner, Pam. He was unmarried. He didn’t have kids. He had a Boxer named Jeter. He’d gone to Duke. His favorite color was red. He was also an amazing kisser.
And at the moment, he seemed to be incredibly turned on by the fact that I hadn’t bolted right out of bed. Or maybe that was just his natural morning state? I didn’t really know. What I did know is that I suddenly felt very uncomfortable being naked while I was that close to him. I tried to lift his arm from around my waist when the need to pee overwhelmed me.
“Where are you going?” He murmured.
“I have to pee.” I whispered nervously.
He released me but I had no idea where to go. “Where’s the bathroom?” I asked sheepishly.
He lifted one of his very long arms and pointed to a door right in front of me. I nodded, not sure if he could see it or not. I sat up slowly and looked for something to wear. Walking around naked wasn’t something I could do. I ended up grabbing the t-shirt he’d been wearing the night before since my own clothes seemed to be elsewhere. I slipped the shirt over my head and the smell on it brought me rushing back to the night before.
I almost whimpered as I got out of bed to make my way to the bathroom. I was sore, but deliciously so. I closed the door and flipped on the light. I had serious sex hair, but then, I’d had serious sex. Eric was no joke. Not. At. All. I remembered stumbling back into his small house at somewhere around four in the morning after making out like a couple of teenagers on his front porch. His dog had done a little happy dance at the door when we’d arrived. Jeter had sniffed me out before barking what Eric determined to be approval. When the dog licked on me too much Eric had told him to go find his own girl. It was cute.
We’d made grilled cheese sandwiches and talked for a while before ultimately ending up on his couch. It had been innocent enough, at first, but then when he went to kiss me goodnight I was surprised to remember that I had been the one to turn it into something more. We’d fooled around on the couch before he’d picked me up and carried me back to his bedroom. The next thing I knew clothes were flying and we were both naked as jaybirds. I remembered seeing a set of abs that would make Marky Mark jealous. Good vibrations indeed.
I remembered him using his very talented fingers in partnership with his likewise talented mouth to bring me my first screaming orgasm. Remembering that I’d asked for a double, he’d rolled on a condom and gave me my second. Then my third and I think there might have been a fourth before I was too exhausted to go anymore. I would have cringed at it all if it weren’t for the fact that I remembered him asking me if I was sure it was what I wanted. I was drunk, no doubt about it. He seemed to be as well- but I wasn’t so drunk that I would think he’d taken advantage of me in the morning.
And I didn’t. I knew what I was doing. I’d just let the Patron take the wheel. I did my business in the bathroom, even using my finger as a toothbrush since the taste of Patron the morning after was anything but appealing to me. I tried to tame my sex hair but it was a lost cause. I needed a shower. Stat. I took a deep breath and then opened the bathroom door.
Eric was exactly where I’d left him, only he was on his back instead of his side. His head turned toward me when the door opened and he smiled at me. His bed was enormous, which made sense considering how tall he was. I sheepishly walked toward it and almost had to jump to get back on it. When I did, I sat at the edge.
“Come here.” He reached a hand out to me. I wanted to take it, I did, but I just couldn’t. “What’s wrong, Sookie?”
I took a deep breath, not sure of how to say what I wanted to say. I felt tears gathering in my eyes. I didn’t want him to think I blamed him or that I was angry with him because I wasn’t. I was angry at myself. What the hell was I thinking?
“I think I should go. I’m sure you have things to do.” My voice, traitor that it was, completely betrayed me.
“What?” He pushed himself up on his elbows. “Stay. I’ll make us breakfast.”
My heart skipped a beat. I wanted to. I wanted to stay. I don’t know why. But rather than say anything else, I started crying like a total basketcase. When Eric reached for me again I scrambled off his bed. I searched the room for my clothes and found them strewn about on the floor. I was making good time to the bathroom to change when Eric caught up with me. He’d somehow had enough time to get his boxers back on before grabbing me, for which, I was grateful.
“Sookie, what are you doing?” He whispered soothingly into my ear.
“Look, I had a good time last night-”
“So did I.” He kissed my hair. He wasn’t going to make this easy.
“The thing is, I don’t know if staying is a good idea. I like you. I do. If I didn’t, I couldn’t have done what we did last night. I know I had a lot to drink but it wasn’t the tequila telling me I liked you. I liked you before I knew anything about you at all. It’s just…” I trailed off, unable to think of a good reason to go other than it was what my body suddenly needed me to do.
“Just what?” Eric prompted, his arms wrapped around my shoulders so my chin was resting on his forearms.
“I have to go, Eric.” I said in a voice barely louder than a whisper.
He sighed heavily but let me go. I went to the bathroom and put my clothes back on. I folded his t-shirt and brought it out of the bathroom with me. I laid it on his bed and ran my hand over the smooth dark gray sheets. His bed was nothing if not comfortable and there was a part of me that was very sorry to leave it. I wiped a stray tear from my cheek before turning around and walking out of his bedroom.
I found him on the couch with Jeter curled up beside him. The dog lifted his head and then came running to me. He plopped down at my feet and rolled onto his back. I looked at Eric who was smiling sadly at me.
“He likes you.” Eric looked wistful. I hated myself right then.
I knelt down and scratched the dog’s belly. Jeter made a contented noise and rolled side to side, begging for more. Before I could get too attached to Eric’s uber friendly dog, or to Eric himself, I stood up straight and looked for my purse. It was on the coffee table. I stepped closer to Eric and picked up my bag. It was a Coach purse Amelia had bought me for my last birthday. It was extravagant, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t fallen in love with it immediately. Jeter had hopped up and was nuzzling my thigh with the side of his face. It was adorable. If I didn’t know any better, I might think Eric had trained the dog into guilt tripping anyone he brought home. Come to think of it, maybe he did.
“Jeter, leave her be.” Eric said in a stern tone. Jeter whimpered and then hopped up on the couch next to Eric.
I looked at the dog who looked about as sad as his owner. I felt like such a bitch. I didn’t even really know why I was leaving. I liked Eric. I really liked Eric. In spite of how irresponsible the night before might have been, it felt right. I had just opened my mouth to say something when a woman’s voice called out from the entryway.
“Eric, are you here?”
My heart stopped. If he was married and didn’t tell me I would kill him. I glared hard at him and he just smiled. He smiled! I wasn’t a homewrecker. Or at least I wasn’t until that moment. I hung my head in shame and fury and waited for this woman to come in and strangle me for sleeping with her amazing husband. Well, not so amazing now that I knew he had a wife. Bastard lied to me.
“Oh, Sookie, you’re still here. I’m glad I brought extra.” My head snapped up to see Chanel Suit, er, I mean, Pam, standing there holding out a cup of coffee.
He wasn’t married! “You’re my hero.” The words came flying out of my mouth before I could stop them and Eric laughed.
“There’s an extra shot in there.” Pam advised and my eyes glazed over with adoration.
“Marry me?” I asked jokingly, earning Pam a serious death glare from Eric.
“Looks to me like your friend here might not like that.” Pam was looking straight at Eric with a quirked eyebrow.
“You could have called, Pamela.” Oh, that can’t be good. It was like when my mother used to call me by my first and middle name. That was never a good sign. If I got my full name I might as well kiss my freedom goodbye for an extended period of time. Not that I gave her many reasons to do that, mind you, but still.
“Seems to me I was right on time since it appears as though Sookie’s on her way out.” Pam was nothing if not observant.
“Pam why don’t you go into the kitchen and we’ll be right behind you?” Eric suggested with a pointed stare that told her it wasn’t up for debate.
Pam chuckled but headed for the kitchen. Eric pressed his hand into the small of my back and led me to the back of the condo. He closed his bedroom door most of the way and spoke quietly.
“You were about to say something before she barged in. Please continue.”
I sighed and looked at the cup of coffee in my hands. It smelled wonderful, as did whatever else Pam had toted in with her. Jeter stood anxiously at the door, his eyes stuck on me. Damn dog. Was it really right to stay because Eric’s dog liked me? No, that wouldn’t be why I stayed.
“Sookie?” He prompted gently.
“Maybe I could stay for breakfast?” I suggested with a hint of a smile.
Eric released a breath and pressed a kiss to my forehead. “I’d like that.”
I took a sip of my coffee and then walked out of his room with him while Jeter followed behind us, his tail wagging happily.