I recently received a review of the other story I'm working on about how I seem to update a lot. After not being on this site for a couple of years, I have a lot to update! I am always afraid that I will once again slip into my own writing coma where I have nothing more to add to a story. Luckily, I seem to be back on track after my long break. I wrote this chapter last night and I was debating whether or not to sit on it to make sure it was truly what I had in mind. The ending of this caught me by surprise. I always knew the story would head this way, but not just yet. Still, in my mind, the ending fits. Let me know what you guys think of it. Is it too soon? Does it make sense?
Seated inside a worn booth, hidden in the back corner of the bar, I immediately began to relax. I leaned back against the old cushions, sighing softly in comfort. I turned my attention to Greg and Diana as they stood huddled close together, choosing songs from the jukebox. Whatever important thing she had to speak to me about was no longer in her thoughts. Diana was very special and was certainly good enough for my cousin.
"What are you grinning about?" asked Lucas as he slid into the booth. He placed a beer bottle in front of me. If he had been surprised at my request for a Yuengling Lager, he hadn't shown it. Then again, I knew he wouldn't. I wasn't the only one with a good poker face.
"I was just thinking how cute the two of them look together. Di would be good for him and he certainly would be better for her than most people we meet." I took a deep sip, raising an eyebrow as I saw Lucas' puzzled gaze still upon me. "What?"
He shook his head, turning away as he stretched out his long legs. "The more time I spend with you, the more you surprise me. You really aren't what you seem, are you?"
I wasn't sure how I should take this statement. I decided to think about it later. Right now I was content to be at my local dive bar. "What do you think of my bar?"
Lucas laughed his deep husky laugh. Again, I felt an awareness and an attraction despite myself. He wasn't my type at all. I liked my men to be golden gods, not bad boy rebels. "You're right. This place certainly is different. How did you find it?"
I arched an eyebrow. "I can't give away all my secrets just yet." Lucas turned his attention back to me, his blue eyes capturing mine. The slow grin that appeared startled me. He was much more handsome when he wasn't frowning. "Even a girl like me needs a place to get away from it all. I passed it one day and knew this would be the last place anyone would find me, and voila, it became my new hideaway."
Lucas's grin slowly faded. "What does a girl like you need to hide from?"
I lifted my beer, finishing the remainder of it. "Trust me, I never really hide," I said flippantly. I ushered him out of the booth. "My turn for beer."
"Avoiding my question?" he ashed lightly. I didn't reply as I sasheyed away from him and to the bar.
"Nici! You brought friends tonight I see." Taylor, the old man bartending tonight, grinned widely. He was the owner of the bar and had been bartending it for years. He refused to retire and hire someone new to take over his duties despite the pressures from his children. He motioned to my booth. "You must like this latest fellah quite a lot to be bringing him here."
I shook my head and laughed. "He's not my fellow. He's my, well he's my, I guess he's my Lucas. I mean, he's just Lucas."
Taylor laughed loudly. "Sure. Here is a beer for you and the your boyfriend. I worry about you coming in here alone all the time."
I rolled my eyes, pulling out the money to pay for the beers. My hand was grabbed, stopping me from paying. "Put it on my tab." I turned to face Lucas. "It's on me," he said simply. I opened my mouth to protest, but he wouldn't let me. "It's not as if I can't afford it."
I decided not to argue. He was right after all. He could afford it. I looked away, smiling as I spotted Diana attempting to pull Greg out onto the dance floor. I grabbed Lucas's hand, my other hand grabbing my beer. "Come on!"
The music of the Talking Heads was loud and just perfect for the night. I released Lucas's hand twirling into Diana and Greg. "You are being difficult, aren't you dear Gregory?"
Diana giggled. "He is! He says he doesn't know how to dance."
I arched an eyebrow. "I believe that is a lie. I distinctly remember you dancing with me at all those tideous family parties. Or did I imagine that?"
Greg groaned. "I was terrible!"
I shrugged. "So? So am I!" I laughed, twirling away as I tossed my arms in the air to the beat of the music. I spilled some of my beer on my gold dress, but it didn't seem to matter. "Come on, Di!" I grabbed her hand and the two of us
headed into the center of the small dance floor. I once again finished my beer in a flash, handing it to Greg who obligingly took it from me. He desperately wanted to keep me from pulling him onto the dance floor. At first I was content with just dancing with Diana, but her eyes continued to dart to Greg and back again. I pulled away from her, giving her a hard push in Greg's direction. It had the desired effect of having her land straight into his arms. It also had the unfortunate effect of having me trip on my high heels and fall backward to the ground.
I grunted in a very unladylike manner. My mother would be most displeased with me if she saw the way I was acting. But this place was my safe haven. I could just be without the microscope for once. I took Lucas's offered hand, his blue eyes staring at my curiously. "Heels are not good for dancing," I simply informed him. I leaned against him, pulling at the offensive shoes. "I should have worn flats."
He laughed. "You should drink more often."
I smirked. "This isn't drinking." I ran to the bar, ordered a round of Tequilla shots for my group. I took them to my group on a small tray, smirking at Diana as she leaned against Greg.
"I can't drink this," she said in vain. "My car is here."
I waved away her worries. "That is what cabs are for. Your car will be fine here. Trust me."
"I don't know, Nic."
I pouted, my signature pout. I had manipulated many men with it. "Please, Di? Just the one?"
She sighed, glancing at Greg. His unwavering attention to her made up her mind. "Just this one."
The one soon became another and then another. After the third shot, I had managed to coerce Greg into dancing with Diana and I. I tried to get Lucas to join us as well, but my attempts were in vain. He sat leaning against the jukebox and just watched. His deep blue eyes staring so intently unnerved me. But I didn't let it show. I was good at not letting things show.
As the fifth shot slid down my throat, I began to really let loose. My hair was not the constructed perfection as usual. It fell around my face as wild as I felt. My gold shoes had been taken off and tossed carelessly to the side of the jukebox. The right sleeve to my dress had somehow gotten ripped and kept falling down my arm. I was pretty sure I not only had a dirt mark along my left arm, from what I'm not sure, but also the back of my dress from my earlier fall. I didn't care about any of it. Nothing mattered.
"Can I dance with you?" In my drunken haze, my first thought was Lucas was asking me to dance. Then I realized he would never ask to dance with me. He just would. For some reason, I liked the idea of that. I paused, slightly off balance as I stared at the man in front of me. He was ten years older than me and had certainly seen the inside of many bars in his lifetime. But I didn't think about him. I had wanted to dance with Lucas. It was because of the all the alcohol but something was wrong if I wanted to dance with Lucas of all people.
"Of course, you can dance. You can dance if you want to!" I laughed merrily, deflecting the question. I began twirling faster as I spun out of the stranger's reach. He reached again for my arm but I swayed to the other side. He frowned, finally grabbing my wrist as he yanked me close. I snickered. "This isn't a slow song buddy."
I pushed away from him, registering the annoyance in his gaze but I was past caring. I sashayed away, wiggling my hips as I turned my back on the man. I looked toward Lucas who was once again at the bar. I headed towards him as the man grabbed my wrist again. "Where are you going? I thought we were going to dance?"
I pulled away hard. "I'm getting another drink."
Lucas magically appeared at my side. "Your drink, my lady." He stared at the man before me. "Nic's next dance is with me."
The man nodded, holding up his hands. "I had to try. Didn't know she was with you buddy, the way she has been flashing herself around."
My mouth dropped open in anoyance. "Flashing myself around?" I said in indignation. The man was already walking away as Lucas ushered me back to our dance area.
"Let it go. I'm not getting beat up for a drunken flirt like you."
The words hurt. They cut through my drunken stupor. No wonder Helene had liken him and then quickly given up. He didn't think much of someone like me. It was what I wanted. I didn't want anyone thinking much of me, but still, it did sting. I pulled away from him. "Maybe this drunken flirt wants to dance with the man. Did you ever think of that?"
Lucas just glared at me, his expression dark. He did his shot and then quickly did mine before I could protest. "You're not dancing with him. He'd be all over you."
"Like you said, I am the easy girl all the boys talk about." The comment was said lightly, as if the idea didn't hurt and bother me. I turned away but Lucas grabbed my wrist. "What?"
"You owe me a dance." There it was again, that husky deep silky voice that made me want to do things I certainly wouldn't do with him. The Clash's 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go?' filled the air, echoing my own thoughts. I was getting in too deep. I couldn't handle someone like Lucas.
I slowly smiled, though, nodding as I continued to stare back at him. I began to dance, not breaking my gaze away from his smoldering stare as I moved my hips to the beat. He grasped my hips, pulling me closer to him. I wrapped my arms around his neck. I was definitely going to get burned by him. I didn't care.
His hand on the small back applied more pressure, bringing my body tight against his. He leaned closer. "I like how you dance."
I took a deep breath, unable to think of anything to say. I had been in this situation many times before but for once I was speechless. It was probably because I drank so much, but I didn't want to reply as I usally did. I didn't want to just flirt. My hands moved lower, grasping his strong arms. "I like how you dance too," I replied truthfully. His arms tightened around me. I licked my lips nervously. "I like how you watch me even more," I replied huskily, looking down at my feet.
At his sharp intake of breath, I looked back up at him. The smoldering stare made my mouth go dry. His hands moved and lower down my back. "We're leaving. Now."
He grabbed my hand, quickly heading toward Diana and Greg. The two were dancing even closer than the two of us had been. "Time to go, party people," Lucas said. He grabbed my belongings that had been scattered to the side of the jukebox. He handed me my shoes first. "You should put these on."
I wrinkled my nose, shaking my head. "Nope." He didn't insist, instead he helped me into my trenchcoat, standing much too close.
If Diana and Greg thought the two of us were acting strangely, they did not say anything. They were too wrapped up in their own budding love.
The four of us headed outside to hail a cab, I tried to act normal and as if I wasn't just as desperate to be alone with Lucas as he seemed to want to be alone with me. A cab appeared and the four of us were soon on our way.
"Where do you live, Greg?" asked Lucas from the front seat of the cab.
Greg gave his address, murming softly to Diana. When we arrived, she hesitated for a moment. Then she took his hand and exited with him. Lucas quickly moved to the backseat with me. He gave the cab driver his address as he squeezed my bare thigh.
"You're coming to my place," he murmured softly into my hair.
I turned my head to look at him. It wasn't a question. It was such an assured statement. For a second, I wondered if he was going to be just like the rest of them. Then I saw the question in his eyes. I smiled, feeling slightly shy as I looked away. "I'm going to your place."