A/N: so this picks up right where the previous chapter left off...
Chapter Seven Part 2:
A week later, Amie was back at the bar. Thanks to Collins making friends with the manager there while planning her birthday, she was able to find out that the band that played there on her birthday, would be back again that night. It had taken her hours to sober up and when she had and fully realized she hadn't invented Tall, Dark, and Handsome, she remembered him saying he was going back on stage. He must have been in the band.
She could finally return it.
All week it laid there in her room; her eyes drawn to it no matter what else she may have been doing. Looking at it made her remember her moment with Tall, Dark, and Handsome in the deserted hallway. She remembered the feel of his hands, soft in some places and rough in others, how his body had felt pressed up tight against hers. Then there were his lips. Looking at the watch, Amie's lips would instantly tingle as if feeling his again. She couldn't ignore the watch – it's ticking echoing loudly in her ears no matter how loudly she played her music and then following her as she slept, making her dream about him.
She had to give it back.
Amie didn't delude herself into think she was up to seeing him again. She couldn't be that girl again, flushing at the memory of his complimenting the revealing dress she wore. Then she cringed as she remembered moments when she hadn't been rambling and instead been flirting with him.
Nope. She would just drop it off during the day, long before the bar would be open and not have to worry about humiliating herself anymore than she already had. Now if only she could find the courage to actually walk into the bar, instead of wandering around the blocks near it.
"Just go in, leave the watch, and get out," she mumbled to herself as she made her way closer.
Using Collins' name, she got through the bouncer and other workers smoking outside and went in. She got the strangest sense of déjà vu as she cautiously took a few steps inside. It was still a bit dark inside, but now because they were using the natural light the few windows let in. It was also very quiet and empty. Only one television was on, turned ironically enough to a day time soap and the only person she could see in the whole place was behind the bar drying glasses. She recognized him as the same bartender that had been there on her birthday.
The silence seemed to make her light footsteps echo loudly through the space. Too engrossed in his soap and drying, the bartender didn't acknowledge her until she was right in front of him. Glancing up with only his eyes, he seemed to make a quick appraisal of her before going back to his drying.
"Help you with something?"
"Um, yeah. Hopefully. I need to leave this," she explained, placing the watch on the bar, "for someone in the band tonight."
"Who?" he was still paying more attention to the rag and glass in his hand.
"I didn't really catch his name," she said not realizing how it all now looked until he finally lifted his eyes back up to her.
"Great now he thinks I'm some band slut," she thought to herself. "He's tall, dark, ha-" she stopped herself before saying handsome, "hair that's kind of messy."
"That could be either guitarist…"
"Of course he's a guitarist," she mumbled to herself. "I'm sure they'll know their own watch so if you could just pass it along, that would be great."
"No need. You can give it to him yourself. They'll be out in a second."
"They just finished sound check and went in the back to store their stuff. They should be out any second," he explained.
Amie gave a little squeak. How had simply dropping off the watch gone so wrong?! She caught her reflection in the mirror behind the bar and gave another squeak. In an effort to not get all worked up about this, she'd simply stopped by the bar as she ran errands. Thus, her outfit consisted of a simple pair of old jeans and a band tee from the last concert she attended. A black zip up hoodie and beat up sneakers completed the look. With her hair pulled back in a boring pony tail and her face bare of all but the basics of makeup, she couldn't have looked less ordinary and less like the birthday girl he'd remember. If he remembered her at all. Great. This was going to be great.
She honestly contemplated leaving the bar all together. Just walking out. She would have done it too if four rowdy guys hadn't walked out a set of swinging doors.
Her back was mostly turned toward them but she could perfectly make him out in the mirror. And of course he looked as good as he had the last time she'd seen him, probably better. He was tall, at least 6 foot with that lean body that was all sinew and muscle. His hair was a rich brown, the type that can look almost black some days and today, just like she remembered, it was in complete disarray atop his head and across his forehead. No amount of alcohol it seemed could have deadened her sense of him. Amie resisted the urge to turn and get a better look at him, instead squeezing her eyes shut in hopes that she'd just disappear.
"Well hello there Birthday Girl," said a familiar voice behind her.
Turning slowly, Amie tried to fight back thrill of satisfaction she felt that he not only remembered her, but recognized her minus the makeover.
"I believe the correct term is Tall, Dark, and Handsome stranger."
She could only give him a breathy laugh in response.
"So what brings you to this bar in the middle of the day? Rather embracing 21 a little too much now aren't you?"
"No," she said, once again laughing. "Actually I came to return this," and she slid his watch across the bar to where he had taken a seat next to her.
"Ah and here I thought I wasn't going to see this again…or you."
"I can see why, I mean you didn't even tell me your name. How was I supposed to find you again?"
"Again, it was all part of the fun. Maybe not the smartest part, but still…" he quickly deflected the question. "Did you end up having a happy birthday?"
"Actually, yeah. Best I've had in years if I'm being honest."
"You're welcome," he said, not even bothering to hide the arrogance in his voice."
She couldn't help but laugh at his smug smile. "Yes, it was all thanks to you."
There was a lull. The logical part of her brain was telling her to remember step 3 of the plan – get out – especially before she made a fool of herself, but for some reason she couldn't seem to pick herself up off the stool.
"They're great you know," he remarked, pointing her toward her chest.
That ended the lull alright.
He laughed at her, "Get your mind out of the gutter. I meant the band on your shirt. Though your br…"
"No no stop!" she cut him off feeling the heat of what was sure to be the reddest blush of her life.
"Aw I made you blush."
Squeezing her eyes shut she begged him to move on.
Taking pity on her he tried again, "The band," he said with slow emphasis, "is great. One of my current 'can't seem to turn them off when they come on' kind of favorites. I'll take the shirt as a sign you're of the same opinion."
Letting out a deep breath she hoped got rid of the red on her face, she nodded. "Yeah, they're basically my favorite band. Period. This is from their most recent concert here. It was amazing. One of the best shows I've been to."
"You went to the outdoor one?"
"Of course. Squeezed my way right to the front of the barricade. Mind blown."
"Mine too. They're never bad live, but that outdoor one was the best show here. The energy was so high and the crowd was more into it than any other."
"You say that like you saw them more than once."
Again his answer was accompanied with that smug smile. "Saw all their shows in New York."
"What! How?" Suffice it to say she had forgotten all about that earlier blushing.
He laughed at her outrage. "I know people at a few venues thanks to my own musical activities."
"You know people. That's it?"
He shrugged just one shoulder, "It's not hard to get in when you know the right people."
"I think it goes without saying that I hate you just a little bit right now."
Though he laughed, he knew she was not entirely joking.
There was a silence again after that. She wasn't sure what to say anymore and he was just enjoying her presence. Beginning to feel awkward, she went back to plan A.
"Well I should really get going I guess."
"Somewhere you have to be? Another bar perhaps?"
"No," she said, playing back to his joke. "I've finished all my errands and did my good deed for the day by returning your watch, so I'm giving myself a little belated birthday gift and going record shopping."
"The one right near here on Thompson?" His interest was piqued and he wasn't done with her presence just yet.
"What store on Thompson?"
"You don't know about Thom's," he sounded aghast and off his shocked appearance, she shook her head no.
"That's it." He stood, pulling her up with him. "As a musician, a fellow music worshiper, and more importantly – as your friend – I cannot let you continue living in this ignorance."
They were standing rather close when he said this, pressed together between their respective bar stools. Being so close to him made it hard for her to think straight; turned her mind right to mush."
"So, uh, we're…we're friends now?" she shakily got out.
He leaned in closer to her at her question, bringing his head down to her level. His dark eyes turned serious and she then couldn't seem to tear her own away. His face was suddenly so close; she could feel his warm breath on her cheek.
"For now," he whispered, his voice rough. He pulled away, his eyes no longer meeting hers instead lingering on her lips. After a moment he winked, and the spell was sadly broken.
Tugging her towards the door, he explained they were only a few blocks over from Thompson St.
"Wait wait wait," she dug in her heels and pulled her hand away from his as they broke out of the dark bar and into the sunny street.
"Kind of. I mean, usually I know a person's name before I become friends with them, before I go places alone with them."
"Oh. So you're not going to just keep calling me 'Tall, Dark, and Handsome?'"
"No. I have a feeling you have a big enough ego as is."
He stuck out his hand as if to shake hers. "Darcy Keller."
She laughed at him, "No your real name. Not whatever you made up to use on stage."
"That is my real name," and off her still disbelieving face, "Honest. Check my ID."
He sighed, slightly exaggerated, "Yes, I know. I've heard it all."
"Wow. So I really wasn't that far off base with the whole Tall, Dark, and Handsome thing, I guess."
"Nope," he let the p pop, back to looking smug. Pulling her hand forward again he made it shake his. "Darcy Keller."
"Nice to meet you. Now can we go?"
"Lead the way Mr…" he shot her an exasperated look, "Keller."
A/N: Ah so the plot thickens! T,D,&H is actually Darcy from the bar run in! Only one more flashback chapter before we get back to the present and on with the story. The next chapter (which has been written for a while and needs just some final tweaking) will also bring our story up to an M rating so you've been warned. Really i am just trying to tease you into keep reading and REVIEWING!!!!!!
Seriously. I'd like to know what you are thinking. tell me what you like, what you hate, if you like or know the music, guess where it is going, etc.
Thanks to all those who added "Slow Show" to their alerts and favorites!
til next time...