Oh god. Could things get any worse? I've been a college graduate for almost two years now, and what's my job? I'm a waitress at the diner across town – the bad part of town. Not that it matters. Money is money. My parents have unofficially disowned me, I have no close relatives, and I'm living with my best friend's older brother. And no, we are not "together." He's a partner at one of the most prestigious law firms in the state, and he needed a roommate. Why? Because he thought it would be a waste to live in that huge apartment of his and not be able to enjoy it. Actually, I'm not sure how that adds up, but Ellie – my best friend – set the whole things up, and here I am. Well, I'll be back home after I catch the bus.

Although Sam, Ellie's brother, my roommate, is a respectable lawyer, he's got a scandalous reputation among the women. I should know. I've probably seen them all, minus the ones that he doesn't bring home for a wonderful overnight stay. He's gorgeous, smart, and let's just say the cash is rolling in.

No, I don't fall for Sam's flirtations – not that any are directed towards me in the first place. He treats me like a little sister, which technically, I am, since that's the context he's known me in ever since Ellie and I became friends in elementary school.

Sighing, I pulled my scarf around my neck tighter, as the wind had blown it loose, and held my bag tighter. The three block stretch that I have to walk from the diner to the bus stop always gives me the creeps. Over the past year, there have been two murders, four rapes, and seven muggings just on these three blocks. Ha, blocks. They're more like allies. But any other path to the bus stop would take an extra twenty minutes – trust me, I've tried. Plus, it's not like the other streets are much safer.

I risk my life five days a week, twice a day, for $7.50 an hour.

Just as I was passing a dark dumpster, my cell phone vibrated, nearly scaring the shit out of me. Cautiously, I rummaged through my bag and brought the phone to my ear.

"Hello?" I answered, looking all around me, all the while never slowing my pace.

"Hey Vi, it's Sam. I just called to remind you not to come back until late, lest you want to see something you don't really want to see," he replied in his usual light manner.

Oh. Right.

"Yeah, I remembered. Well, have fun," I responded, glancing warily at a couple of guys standing under the light post at the corner.

"I'm sure I will," he said. "See you later."

"Right. Bye," I muttered to the dial tone. "Uh, okay. So, tonight it is? Oh wait! I called Ellie today, and she said that she's coming over tomorrow for dinner. You know how she likes to eat…Uh huh. Are you sure you can't get off?"

I continued my one-sided conversation until I got to the bus stop, which thankfully, was situated on a busy street. People wouldn't dare try to kill, rape, or steal from you if you're talking to someone on the phone, right? Actually, I'm not sure. But there's no harm in pretending to talk to someone who's not really on the phone. I do it every day.

I sound paranoid, huh? Well, that's only because my co-worker got mugged walking down those same streets a month ago. And in my opinion, the only reason she didn't get raped was because she resembles a human toad – in all ways possible. Don't get me wrong though, she's a great person. I just can't help it if she really does look like a toad.

While waiting for the bus to arrive, I contemplated the possible venues I could go to until I felt it was safe to return to the apartment. Movies, food, bar, mall. Already seen a movie this week, not particularly interested in food after my eight hour shift at the diner, bar sounds all right, and the mall will be closed soon. Bar it is then. I looked down at my clothes of the day, and decided that I looked presentable. Jeans, tennis shoes, and a black somewhat girly shirt. Not bad. No one really looks at shoes anyways in bars.

Okay, great.

Ten minutes later, I was seated next to a smelly man with stringy long brown hair under a beanie. Trying to control my gag reflexes – which to be honest, work voluntarily overtime, I began to hold my breath. No matter how many times I try, I always start feeling lightheaded after I count up to 20 seconds. You would've thought my lung capacity should have expanded somewhat.

As a last resort, I grabbed a fistful of my hair and brought it to my nose. The scent of beef lasagna mixed with coffee and baked clams overwhelmed my senses, but hey, anything's better than body odor from someone who obviously hasn't showered in months.

Oh, have I mentioned Sam's new flavor of the week? Of three weeks, to be exact. Her name's Sophie, and she's a model for Calvin Klein…amazingly tall, legs that stretch on forever, voluminous long blonde hair, deep blue eyes, flat stomach, generous breasts – implants, obviously, since no girl that skinny has breasts like hers – and not an ounce of fat on that body.

I don't like her.

Of course, every time I've been in the same room with her, she's been all over Sam, so it's not like I had enough time to form any opinions.

Well, that said, I don't think I'd like her. Models, hah. Anyone could be a model. Hell, even I could be one – if I was four inches taller, twenty pounds lighter, prettier, etc. Hm, if I was four inches taller, I could weigh what I weigh and get away with it. I'm not overweight, no, not at all. Working at a restaurant sure diminishes my appetite. All I'm saying is that models look anorexic. And they probably are. Oh wait, sorry. They could be bulimic instead. Or both.

The man next to me shifted in his seat, and turned to look at me. Uhh…

"Hey babe," he slurred, half-assing a wink.

Gag me.

I continued to breathe in my shampooed hair, ignoring him. That's the best thing you can do – ignore.

"You've got some pretty hair there," he continued, his tone indicating that he was about to reach out to touch my hair.

I scooted as far away from him as I could, and hoped to no one in particular that he'd get off at the next stop.

He did. Not before winking at me again, however. Doesn't matter – he's off the bus, and that's all I care about.

The 1812 Overture started to play somewhere in my bag, startling me for a second. After listening to a few stanzas of the Tchaikovsky's music, I finally found my cell phone at the very bottom of the packed-to-the-hilt bag.


"Vi! What are you doing tonight?"

"Hey Ellie. Your brother kicked me out for the night," I responded, straightening out the contents of my purse.

"Who's it this time?" Ellie sighed. "Wait, let me guess. Rachelle? What kind of name is that anyways?"

"No, it's Sophie."

"Not the one from the CK ads!"

"That's the one."

"Oh dear. I've heard stories about her."

"And I'm sure you've heard stories about Sam too," I said, pulling the string to signal to the bus driver to stop and the next stop.

She sighed again. "Come over! Chris and I were just going to –"

"Ellie, I'm not going to be a third wheel. I had plans, anyways," I interrupted her.

"With who? To do what?"

"Does it matter?"

"Vienna!" Ellie exclaimed exasperatedly.

"I'm going to Pub Rocks," I relented. "Now I know what you're going to say, so save it. There's no where else to go. No where fun, I meant. Wearing what I'm wearing, I won't be allowed in any clubs around here."

"Hold on a sec."

After a few seconds of muffled conversation, Ellie nicely informed me that she and Chris would accompany me to the pub slash somewhat low-class club downtown.


"I'll meet you guys in there," I said, ending the call.

I always like to be alone in places like this, for some reason. Maybe it's because if I do something stupid, no one I know will be around to witness the debacle.

Pub Rocks isn't just a plain old boring bar. Well, most bars I've been to just have one long bar, alcohol, bad music, and tables for people who want to sit and drink. Pub Rocks, however, has bars lining almost the entire length of the four walls, save room for the bathrooms and exits, obviously. There are no tables – the only places to sit are at the bars, but the entire middle is reserved for dancing. At least, there is a dance floor. Can't say much about what really happens there. It's not like a club either, because well, I don't know. The feel is different.

Stepping off the bus, I clutched my bag tighter against my body once again. Hey, this is downtown at night. Who knows what could happen. As it was autumn, it was a bit chilly, thus I was glad to step into the pub.

As usual, it was packed. What can anyone expect, though? No cover charge, free drinks for women after a certain time, men outnumbering women daily…it's great.

I weaved my way towards the closest bar opening, and asked for a Kamikaze to start off my evening. Of course, I don't enjoy the taste or feeling of the alcohol going down my throat, but I do like that buzzed feeling afterwards. The feeling that you have no care in the world, that you can do anything and everything you do will be just fine.

Just as I had finished my second Long Island Iced Tea, Ellie and her boyfriend showed up in my face. Literally.

"God, Vi, how much have you drank?" Ellie eyed my empty cup.

"Hello to you too Elliee," I replied, trying to focus on her face. Long Island Iced Teas are damn strong.

"You're not drunk yet, are you?" Chris asked, tipping his head towards the bartender.

I shook my head. Oh, bad idea.

"I'm gonna go there," I said, moving towards the dance floor where couples were grinding like it was their last.

Without waiting for a reply, I slid away from them and forced myself into the large group of fun-seekers. As soon as I started moving to the music – I might have just been swaying due to the alcohol in my system – a distinctly male body sidled up behind me. I felt two strong hands on my hips, our bodies moving to the song.

I turned my face to look at him for a second, and grinned to myself. Excellent. Tall, dark, and hot. The first of many tonight, I hope.

He caught my gaze, and smirked, letting his hands travel lower.

I didn't mind.

To be honest, sometimes I like letting myself go. Once in a while, I enjoy this kind of attention. I never said I was a saint, okay?

I pressed myself back towards him, and his grip tightened, moving freely across my body.

I'm a very shy dancer when surrounded by people I'm acquainted with, but with strangers, let's just say I'm uninhibited. So when he guided my hand between us, I didn't really protest. In fact, I took that as an opportunity to turn around, and his free hand roamed across my lower back. Ahem, uh, lower than that, I suppose.

We continued to move with the fast beat, working up a sweat as we did so.

"You smell good," he whispered into my ear. Actually, he yelled it. But, if he had the choice to whisper or yell it, I'm sure he would have chosen the first.

Even in my intoxicated state of mind, I scoffed. What could I possibly smell of? Vodka and lasagna? What a great mix.

"You too," I yelled up to his ear. I'm short, he's tall, that's why.

"What's your name?"

"Vienna," I shouted over the loud hip hop track, holding my hands behind his neck. It was a little awkward, with him being so much taller, but whoever said it would be comfortable?



He nodded, and began grinding his hips into mine, his arms pulling me towards his own body.

I'm sure it would have been a sight, had every other dancer out there not been doing the exact same thing.

Then out of nowhere, I felt a pair of lips on my neck. God, it felt good. While covering my neck with those sinfully delightful kisses of his, he wedged his right leg between my legs, the grinding never stopping.

I tilted my head up to look at him, and instead of seeing that smoldering smirking face of his, his lips met mine. And let me tell you, it was no soft kiss. It had been a long time since I wanted someone so badly. His soft lips attacked my own with fervor, and yeah, his tongue is talented.

I don't know how long we were doing that, but after what seemed like forever – forever not being long enough, he pulled away. The smirk was gone, and his eyes had almost an animalistic glint to them. I'm sure my lips were red and swollen. His looked slightly redder.

"Do you want to get something to drink?" he yelled hoarsely.

I nodded, and he grabbed my hand and guided me past the tightly packed throng of people.

He found two empty stools next to each other, and sat.

"What do you want?"

"Whatever you're having," I answered, always up for a challenge.

He glanced at me up and down, and raised an eyebrow. "Two Grateful Deads," he called to the bartender, who nodded an acknowledgment.

"I don't believe I caught your name," I said, looking him up and down just as he did me a few seconds earlier.

"The name's Ryan," he responded. "Do you come here often? I don't think I've ever seen you in this place."

"Once in a while. What about you? Don't tell me you have no life and instead spend your nights here."

When I'm intoxicated, I'm bold.

The bartender placed our two drinks in front of us with a clang, some of the alcohol swishing out.

Ryan laughed. It was a lovely manly laugh, I must point out. "I don't come here every day. It's just something my buddies and I do after work to unwind sometimes."

"That stressful, huh? Where do you work?"

"Covington, Cromwell, and Leland," he replied.

"The law firm?"

"You've heard of it?" he inquired, one eyebrow raised. Damn, that's sexy.

"Of course I have! That's the best law firm around," I exclaimed, leaving out the part of my roommate being a partner. Don't want to scare him off now, do we?

"I'm sorry, enough about business. Drink up, shall we?" I said, holding the glass.

We clunked our glasses together and drank.

"Wow, I'm impressed," he grinned, glancing at my now almost empty cup. His own was drained empty.

"Me too," I replied, eyeing his glass.

I can't believe I'm sitting here with this extremely hot, extremely smart man. Have I died and gone to heaven? Wow.

"More?" I asked him while beckoning the bartender.

"Sure. Get me what you're getting," he winked, managing to look sexy doing so, and not goofy at all.

"Two shots of tequila please."

"You're a tequila kind of girl, aren't you?"

"I'm an everything kind of girl," I shot back.

He laughed, and his thigh touched mine. What a hard, muscled thigh it was.

As soon as the shots arrived, I downed mine instantly, choking back a cough as the hard liquid traveled down my throat.

"C'mon, let's dance," I said, grabbing his arm.

Instead of reaching the dance floor, I found myself pressed against one of those large cement poles that dotted the pub with Ryan's lips on mine, once again. Not that I mind, oh no, not at all.

He reached for my hands, all the while attacking my mouth, and put them behind his back. I didn't need to be told twice, and held him to me like I would never let go – and at the moment, I never ever wanted to let go. His right hand snaked down and lingered at the top of my jeans, while his left hand kneaded into my back. I wouldn't say it was the most romantic kiss imaginable, but it definitely was up there in the passionate category.

The alcohol hit me all of a sudden, and I felt my knees give out just a little. Ryan tightened his grip, and the tongue already in my mouth was doing things no other person had attempted before.


Is he shouting my name already?!

No, he couldn't be. His mouth is presently occupied.

Suddenly, his mouth was ripped from mine, but he remained pressed up against me.

"What're you doing to her?!" Ellie yelled, smacking Ryan on the arm with her bag. Chris attempted to hold her back, but it was to no avail.

"Ellie! Stop it!" I mustered up, but it came out more like a wimpy statement. Damn the tequila. I was fine before that.

"Come on missy, you're going home," she said, taking a hold of my arm.

Ryan looked amused. Ruggedly amused.

"You suck, Ellie."

As she dragged me away, I yelled out to my god of the night, "I live across the street!"

I'm not sure if he caught that. And I don't know what made me say it. Did I just proposition him? What if he thinks I'm some slut who needs a nanny? Oh well. Who cares. Hopefully he'll ask around and find me, because he is a goddamn good kisser.

"You did NOT just tell him where you live."

"Juss across the street."

"Vienna, you've got no street smarts."

I do too have street smarts. Just not when I'm drunk and slurring.

"He was hot," I complained, glaring at Chris. "How come you can bring a guy home but I can't?"

"You don't even know that guy!"

"Yes I do," I replied, shivering as we stepped out onto the street. "His name's Ryan and he works with Sam."

Ellie sighed. "Look, Vi, I know what you've gone through, and while I agree that you need to go out and enjoy life, this isn't the way to go."

"What way? Having sex with every guy I meet?" I articulated.

"I don't understand how you can speak so well when you're obviously piss drunk. We'll talk about this Ryan when you're sober."

"You're such a damn mother."

"Well, someone has to be," she responded sharply.

Hm, come to think of it, I do feel a bit woozy.

"Do you think it's safe?" I asked once Ellie was turning her copy of our key in the apartment door. "Your brother might be –"

"Please don't," Ellie groaned. "I don't like imagining my brother doing anything of that nature."

A withered candle was flickering in middle of the living room table, illuminating a small circumference. That one candle seemed like such a romantic gesture that I almost felt like crying. Why? Because I'm 24 years old, and no one's ever loved or even liked me enough to tell me. Sure, I've had short flings, but nothing I could call a relationship. That's another reason I like going to bars and clubs: I want to feel wanted. And only at those places, I can. Everyone's always assumed that I've had boyfriends, but no. Nothing more than what Ryan was tonight.

"Fucking hell!" I hissed, stubbing my toe against the doorframe of my room. Ellie and Chris had left after they saw me in.

A minute later, I was sprawled out on my bed, my day clothes still on, teeth unbrushed, contacts still in, face unwashed, too intoxicated to move.

I really don't like how the alcohol I consume during the span of the night just hits me at one moment. Like right now.

My last conscious thought was that I hoped Ryan had heard me when I told him where I lived.