He really needed to get a life. A life besides coming to this club every Tuesday night between eight and nine. After three months, even the waitresses were starting to look at him pityingly. But each time Tuesday rolled around, even though he'd tell himself he wasn't going to do it again, he always would. He'd get in the car and drive over, and sit at the bar nursing a Coke while he watched the door. Sometimes girls would come over and try to talk to him without looking like they were hitting on him, but his lack of interest usually sent them off pretty quick. He couldn't take the chance that She would come in and there he'd be talking to someone else.
He'd first seen her at his birthday bash, the second Tuesday in March. He'd been sitting with his friends at one of the round tables by the windows, and she and her girlfriends were one table to the left. He'd only done what every single guy in the place had done, looked them over. A table full of cute girls laughing and kidding around. She'd been the one in the black Beatles t-shirt, and once he saw her he couldn't stop glancing her way. And it didn't take long before his buddy Mark noticed. "Which one?" he whispered, leaning over into his ear. He'd tried to play dumb, but Mark's smile let him know he wasn't fooling anybody.
Even the arrival of the huge birthday pizza with a candle in the middle hadn't kept him from stealing glances her way. Most of the crowd had joined his friends in singing Happy Birthday to him, while he laughed and turned red and let Missy stick a dumb hat on his head. And she had raised her glass to him with everyone else, and it seemed that for a split second their eyes met. Then Sara had given him a flirty birthday kiss and when he looked back to the left, she was getting up to dance with some guy.
He'd tried not to let it mess up his celebration – after all, his friends had insisted on taking him out. But from that moment on, all that he could think of was asking her to dance so that he could talk to her. He'd finally confessed to Mark, and he pushed him to ask her, but he shook his head. "I don't believe it," Mark had snickered. "You're scared." He protested of course, to save his pride, but his nervous face had given it away, and he'd finally ended up promising that he'd ask her at exactly nine o'clock, giving him five minutes to build up his courage.
So of course at eight fifty-seven he glanced over just as she and her friends were leaving the table, heading for the door. He stood up quickly, as if he was going to go after her but his feet didn't move. His friends were looking at him strangely, and he sat back down and looked at Mark. Mark shrugged. "You snooze, you lose."
And the rest of the evening had been okay. He'd accepted the fact that he'd missed his chance, but it's not like she was the only woman in the world. So why couldn't he stop thinking about her? Three months and he was still seeing her in his head. And still waiting for her to show up here again, on another Tuesday between eight and nine.
He walked to his car in the dark, alone, and he knew he couldn't do this any more. He was making himself crazy. He got into the car and shut the door, then pulled out his cell phone and dialed Mark's number. "Hey, man, let's make a plan for next Tuesday," he said. "Anything."
"Why? You done waiting?"
"Yeah, I'm done."
"Smart. Okay, we'll do something. Shoot some hoops after work, or head up to the lake with the gang maybe."
"Great." He looked up as someone walked past his window, then he froze. "Oh god."
"What?" Mark's voice barely registered in his brain.
He leaned forward as she stepped in front of his car, turning around and waiting for someone who was following her, then another girl joined her and they headed for the club. "I've gotta go," he said dazedly and flipped the phone closed before Mark could say anything more. He sat watching until they were inside, then he rubbed his sweaty palms on his jeans and swallowed hard and opened the car door. A minute later he was back inside, standing in the doorway and looking around, not seeing her. Where did she go? A light touch on his arm and a soft "Excuse me, can I get through?" made him turn, and it was her. Their eyes met and she studied him, then smiled. "Hey, birthday boy."
All at once his heart was in his throat. She remembered him? He smiled shakily back at her. "Hey."
Her eyes sparkled up at him. "I know you don't remember, but - "
"I remember," he said quickly. "Beatles shirt."
Her brows lifted in surprise. "I'm impressed."
"If you only knew," he told her, and she frowned curiously.
"Never mind." He felt someone jostle him, and he sidestepped to stay close to her. "You still want through?" he asked, steeling himself for the disappointment of her walking away.
"Naah," she shrugged. "Wanna dance?"
A fleeting thought teased his brain, wondering if it was too soon to propose, but instead he smiled. "You better believe it."