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Scotch on the Rocks
There she is again…
Her caramel hair falls into waves around her shoulders, slightly covering her profile from my view. I watch as her lips tilt into a smile, her eyes crinkling around the corners like they always do. She replies to a question the bartender asks her and then laughs, her soft lilt echoing through the mostly empty bar.
She’s been coming here for the past week, same time, same seat, every night. She’s always alone, though she’s always dressed as if she has a date. Every night, she orders a scotch on the rocks followed by a Long Island Tea. She never finishes the Long Island.
I’m not a stalker by any means. I’m just a guy who enjoys people watching. And I get that by going to bars at night. Obviously, it’s not as busy as it should be if I’m noticing this one girl every night, but I can’t seem to get up and go somewhere else.
“Dude, go talk to her.”
I’m startled back into reality by the bartender. He refills my scotch glass and nods in her direction.
“She’s pretty cool once you get to know her,” he continues. I shrug and take a drink.
“I don’t know…,” I start. The bartender, Jeff, rolls his eyes.
“Bro, she’s been coming in here for the past four nights straight and it’s not cause I make a stellar Long Island. You’ve been watching her every night. Go talk to her.” He nods again in her direction where she’s silently nursing her scotch.
“I’ve never seen a girl take her scotch like that,” I admit and shrug again. “It’s kinda hot.”
“Exactly! Now, get up and go over there before I do,” he teases. I shoot him a look and down the rest of my drink.
“Dude, you’re gay.”
“Doesn’t mean I don’t have game,” he laughs and shoots me a wink. I roll my eyes before shifting my gaze back over to her. Surprisingly enough, she is staring in my direction, her bright eyes locking with mine. She’s the first to break the contact and lowers her gaze to her drink. That curtain of caramel falling once again over her shoulder, obscuring my view of her face. I clear my throat and stand from my seat. Before I can talk myself out of it, I find myself walking towards her, a nervous smile gracing my lips. At the sound of my approaching footsteps, she glances up at me, a look of confusion on her perfect face.
“Do you come here often?” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I closed my eyes in anguish. That was the stupidest thing I have ever uttered in my entire life.
“Not often enough.” Her voice, soft and alluring, mixes with a short laugh and I press my lips tightly together. She sweeps her gaze over my Arctic Monkeys tee, torn jeans and slightly scuffed Vans. For those long ten seconds, I am actually embarrassed by my daily attire. I’m not usually the one to worry about first impressions, but damn, do I want to make a good one with her.
“I’m sorry. I’m not usually that lame,” I offer and take the seat next to her at the bar. She shrugs as if it’s no big deal.
“Sure you aren’t,” she teases, a slight smile playing at the edges of her cherry red lips. I find myself wanting to kiss that lipstick off of her and I have to pinch myself to keep from doing so.
“You meeting someone?” I ask, trying to make my tone as nonchalant as possible. Her brow furrows and she looks away from me.
“What makes you think that?”
“The way you’re dressed.” I gesture towards her little black dress and red heels. “Usually, girls don’t dress like that unless they're going clubbing with friends or they’re meeting someone for a date or drinks.”
“Well, you’re wrong; on both occasions,” she murmurs and downs the rest of her scotch in one gulp. I raise my brows in admiration.
“Am I?” I challenge. She frowns and shoots me an exasperated look.
“Quite so.” She pauses, trying to decide if she wants to continue with her story. “I’m not an alcoholic by any means—just in case you were wondering. These are the only drinks I have in the day. I’m not even able to keep any alcohol at my place. I come here because I need to get away. I just need an escape my problems.”
“Is it too forward of me to ask what problems a sexy woman like you would have?” My jaw tightens at the thought of anything or anyone causing this gorgeous human in front of me any trouble. I work to calm my nerves, digging my nails into my palm.
“Uh, we just met.” She sighs and shakes her head in defeat. I reach out and place a hand over hers. She swings her head up and watches me curiously. “Maybe next time.”
“You mean there’s going to be a next time?” I smile widely at the thought. She gives me a half smile and shrugs.
“It depends,” she responds and stands up from her seat. She hasn’t even had her Long Island yet. The corners of my lips tilt down and I furrow my brow.
“Depends on what?” I watch her carefully as she pulls a pen from her purse. She takes my hand and begins scribbling on it. When she finishes, I see that she has written a phone number on the back of my hand.
“On if you call me or not,” she says and turns, walking towards the exit. I scramble to my feet.
“I never even got your name!” I call after her. Her melodious laugh travels back to me.
“I didn’t get your’s either!” With that, she is gone, allowing the warm, humid air of the night to blow into the bar. I slowly ease back down onto the stool and run a hand over my face. Normally, I wouldn’t get involved with someone with baggage like hers, but for some odd reason, I am drawn to her mysterious self.
The bartender places another glass of scotch in front of me and I nod my thanks. As the smoky flavor washes down my throat, I pull my phone from my pocket. I begin dialing.
The warm evening air is a nice change to the never relenting goosebumps on my skin. I wrap my arms around my body, cursing myself for not bringing a sweater with me. I duck my head, hoping to get home before the uninvited attention comes my way. Luckily, I only live about a block from the bar…the bar with the handsome stranger.
I finally reach my apartment complex and walk inside, nodding a greeting at the doorman. I climb the stairs, one at a time, dreading the moment when I will enter the place I call hell. Sadly, the climb to the third floor isn’t long enough and I find myself standing in front of hell’s door. I place my key in the lock and close my eyes, praying…hoping that I can make it through the night unscathed.
“Where the hell have you been?” Apparently, I’m not so lucky. The words fly at me as soon as the front door opens. I sigh in defeat and close the door.
“After work, I went out for a drink at a bar down the street,” I call back while slipping out of my heels. I throw my keys and wallet on the table in the foyer and begin walking towards the voice.
“Why didn’t you tell me when you left work?” He’s getting angrier and I don’t know how to calm him. I suck in a breath and round the corner into the kitchen. I notice an almost empty bottle of whiskey on the island and I bite down on my bottom lip. This is why I’m not able to keep alcohol in the apartment.
“I was only gone for an hour. It’s not even eight o’clock yet,” I point out. He growls and slams his glass back down on the counter and turns to me. Those bright green eyes I once found so sexy are clouded over in anger and hate. His usually neat hair is in a dark, disarray on top of his head. I once used to comment on his ever present smile, but have quickly noticed its absence in the past weeks. He’s replaced it with a malevolent scowl, making his features darker and less attractive.
“That doesn’t matter,” he says, making his way to where I’m frozen in place. I swallow hard and look up at his towering six and a half feet.
“I’m home, okay? Just calm down,” I reply and take a small step back. “You’re overreacting. You’ve had too much to drink as usual and you need to go lay down. You—”
My head snaps to the side from the blow. I reach up and tentatively touch the swollen skin of my cheek. I can already feel the blood rushing towards the surface. Once again, I am frozen in place. This is a first.
“You need to shut your mouth you stupid slut!” he shouts, grabbing my wrist. I struggle to get away from his vice-like grip. The movements only allow him to tighten his hold on me.
“Please. Let me go. Please,” I beg, allowing those tears to finally roll down my cheeks. “I’ll listen to you. I’ll do whatever you say. Just, please, let me go.”
My face snaps to the side yet again. There’s ringing in my ear. He releases his grip and I fall to my knees, unable to muster the strength to stand back up. I look up through blurry eyes to see him glaring down at me, a sadistic smile covering his frown.
“Oh, I know you’ll listen to me. There are consequences if you don’t. And I feel like you need to be punished for your indiscretions tonight. What do you think?” he muses. I shake my head and let a sob escape my throat.
“No. Please. I’ve learned my lesson,” I cry out, the tears coming faster and faster. I blink through them and find that he is beginning to unbutton his shirt. Realization hits me like a freight train. I try to find the strength to run, but for some reason, my legs won’t move. His hands move down. His belt comes off. His jeans are unbuttoned. “Please. God, please don’t do this.”
“Girls like you need to be taught a lesson.” He grabs the back of my hair and throws me against the wall. I cry out in pain. He roughly grabs onto my chin and turns my head so that I’m looking straight at him. “Girls like you need to be punished.”
There’s no use screaming. Nobody would hear me anyways. The tears continue to flow as purple and blue blotches bloom across my skin. I bite down on my bottom lip until thick metallic liquid fills my mouth. The pain comes, blow by blow until the tears stop and I have no emotion left in me.
In the distance, I hear my cell phone ringing.