A.N: When I was young both my parents worked until after school hours so I had to go home with one of my cousins. She bullied me all the time, so much so that I dreaded going there. One afternoon my parents picked me up and asked whether I wanted to go back the next day, my response? 'I'd rather be eaten alive by a pack of wild foxes.' Even at the tender age of 9 I had a way with words! Needless to say, they didn't make me go back and that experience has inspired me to make some good out of the bad, so enjoy this little one-shot! Eeliahs
All the things I'd rather do.
It started off innocently enough, I mean, you can't really blame me. There I was in a new town, starting a new job, trying to make new friends and he would not leave me alone. Mind you, the local pub on a Friday night is the liveliest place in a small country town and all single males and females are expected to be on the prowl; all except me.
He was okay, I guess- John, that is- he was clothed in the usual garb of jeans, boots and a casual shirt. His cologne was mixed with the heady scent of rum and he quite obviously wanted to hook up. Apparently my get-up of jeans, button down shirt, crooked ponytail and reading glasses exuded my unbridled sexuality as well, and caused him to take a seat across from me and utter 'hey'. Now, it wasn't just that he interrupted the conversation that was taking place, it was the fact that he stared at me for a full thirty seconds after allowing that one word- nay, syllable- to exit his mouth as if that was all it took for me to grab my coat and ask 'his place or mine'.
I was nice; I introduced myself, allowed a smile at his terrible joke and let him down gently with a myriad of polite excuses (I'm new in town and want to establish myself/ I don't know you well enough/ I'm a teacher and probably educate one of your cousins/When I say cousin I mean sibling, 'cause you look a little inbred). It was when he started popping my personal bubble- and my acquaintances were unaware that I was uncomfortable- that I decided to become a little more aggressive. Being new in any situation especially when it's a whole new town, you try not to let people see your angry side, in the hopes they won't run away in fear at the sight of you in the one main street of town. But I couldn't help it, he wasn't getting a clue.
"Come on, Kasey, you know you want to have drink with me." John slurred and breathed his intoxicating mixture of rum, beer and bar nuts into my face.
I whipped my head around and shot him the most withering look I could muster. "Look John, obviously no one has taught you that no means no- which is quite a bit concerning- so I'm going to put this in a way so that you have no chance of misunderstanding; even in your current mental state."
I took a breath and didn't notice that my entire table and Chase- the bartender collecting glasses- had stopped and were now watching the exchange intently.
"I find you neither intellectually or physically appealing, the very idea of engaging in sexual activity with you makes me want to throw up. I'd rather have my tongue stapled to the ceiling then be anywhere near your naked or clothed body." I nodded on my final statement and leant back in preparation for his rebuttal, it was then that I noticed that the whole bar had grown silent; looks of shock and amusement gracing the faces of the patrons.
John blinked once then smiled, "Fair enough." He relented and stood up, walking over to the bar, ordering another drink and quickly being swooped on by a more suitable 'daisy-duke' clad brunette. The silence was permeated by Chase letting out a deep chuckle and collecting my glass. "That was great Kasey, fucking priceless."
His reaction encouraged the rest of the pub to join in and it seemed that my imaginative let down had earnt me some significant brownie points amongst the townspeople. I allowed an uneasy smile to grace my lips as my cheeks burnt in embarrassment, Chase's brown eyes crinkled in amusement and he winked at me as he returned to the bar and clapped John on the back.
Needless to say, after that embarrassing interlude, my Friday nights were spent at the pub verbally bashing the eligible bachelors who dared to cross over to my table. The first few times were still annoying but as I realised this was an opportunity to become engrained in the social goings on of the community, I secretly began to enjoy it.
For the first six months of my stay in town it followed the same routine; bachelor would approach my table, I would engage in friendly banter and polite refusal until it got to the point where I allowed the linguistic thrashing to escape my mouth. Bachelor would relent, the pub would hoot in laughter then Chase would come over, set a vodka, lime and soda in front of me and congratulate me on a well constructed put down. Some highlights in that time included:
Jack: "I'd rather be eaten alive by a pack of wild foxes."
Lionel: "I'd rather be mauled by a Valium imbibing sloth."
Todd: "I'd rather be drenched in honey and inserted into a fire ants nest."
I then started to get a bit more creative...
Max: "I'd rather have my ear drums shattered by a hoard of One Direction fans."
Braden: "I'd rather be disintegrated in a vat of coke then poured into a chilled glass and sipped casually by Louis on a Sunday afternoon." (Louis was one of my work friends who came along on a Friday night to enjoy in the festivities.)
Among the multitude of horny bachelors, Chase was something altogether different; not in looks per se, he had typical messy brown hair, dark brown eyes and tanned skin that were a dime a dozen in these parts. He was graced with the strong lean body that country boys didn't seem to need to go to the gym to obtain and when he smiled it graced his entire face as if the simple act of being humoured brought him great joy. When the bachelors approached me he would lean on the bar and watch with a small smile gracing his lips before turning to the blackboard that had my name gracing it and drawing a stroke to match the other dashes that represented the fallen suitors.
What made him different was that in those six months, he hadn't approached me the way the other guys had, we actually got to know each other during our quick five minute exchanges as I bought drinks. I respected and silently thanked him for that, which was probably why I had developed a kind of infatuation for the bartender. It was also the reason I harboured a secret hope that the reason he hadn't approached me was because he shared said infatuation and wouldn't lower himself to the level of the other bachelors.
So when I walked into the pub on a normal Friday night I wasn't expecting the events that started to unfold.
"What do you feel like, Kasey?" Cara asked me, throwing her bag into our booth and calling first shout. I slid in next to Louis and Annabel, my eyes locked on my phone screen as I furiously typed a last minute e-mail.
"Um, Corona with lime, thanks Cara." I smiled briefly and tapped send, finally relaxing into the leather of the booth.
"So who shall be receiving the verbal bitch slap of Kasey tonight, folks?" Annabel joked, sending her gaze around the room and taking in the usual Friday night crowd. I rolled my eyes tiredly, but cast a quick gaze around the room just in case, my eyes locked onto Chase and I hurriedly hid the smile that was threatening to grace my mouth.
Louis propped his chin on his fist and followed her gaze. "Hmm, Sam?" He motioned to the stocky blond who was propped against the jukebox chatting to some equally stocky friends.
"Nope, two months ago; 'rather be stuck in the eye with a ballpoint pen.'" I corrected, and gratefully took my drink from Cara, savouring the fizzy tang of Mexican beer and citrus.
"Gareth?" Annabel offered, pointing to the laughing red head who was nursing a beer in one hand and a pool cue in the other.
I shook my head. "'Rather be slapped on the ass by a cactus'. 3 weeks ago."
I looked around the room and couldn't find a single face that I hadn't already rejected. Could there really be no more bachelors? Could this finally be the end of my embarrassing Friday night dinner theatre? Maybe now I could be welcomed into the community and respected for my contribution as an educator of young minds rather than a destroyer of male sexuality; actually I heard that nearly all the men who I rejected had hooked up that night as a result of pity sex, so...you're welcome.
"It couldn't seriously be the end, could it?" Cara furrowed her eyebrows and sipped her lemon, lime, bitters and vodka steadily through her straw.
I took another more careful glance around the room to see if I had missed anyone, nope!
I stared at the blackboard that was filled with dashes and strokes, it looked as though it couldn't hold anymore lines of chalk and I began to feel a pleasant relief fill my body.
"Yes! Finally it's over." I smiled and tipped my bottle in salute to the table. "No more drunk cowboys for me, friends. It's smooth sailing from here." I took a cheerful swig from my bottle and turned my gaze back to the bar, where Chase was surveying our table with a careful eye. I felt my cheeks heat up and blamed it on the alcohol until he shot me a smile while pouring a shot for John; the original bachelor. Said bachelor turned his inebriated gaze across the room until it rested on me, after a few moments of bland staring he eventually recognised who I was, grinned and turned back to the bar. Being on the other side of the room had its disadvantages, especially when I knew I was the topic of conversation, but it began almost subtly; Chase's eye widened slightly and he smiled, shaking his head as he cleaned a glass. John turned to his friend and elbowed him violently pointing to Chase and then back to me.
Oh shit. Chase was the only who hadn't been rejected by me, since he had always been serving the masses. Once again Chase shook his head, although it was more emphatic now and his smile seemed a bit tighter. Okay, escape was necessary, I know! The toilet; women could stay in there for an hour and it was considered acceptable.
At this point a resounding chant of 'Chase! Chase! Chase!' had been started up by those closest to the bar and I could see his resolve slipping as he shook his head amusedly and poured himself a shot. A cheer broke out as he downed it with a reluctant smile and jumped over the bar effortlessly.
I went to slide out of the booth but was halted by Louis getting a hold of my upper arm and pulling me back with a friendly smirk.
"Not so fast."
"I don't want to, haven't we gone through this enough." I argued as I tried to pull my arm free. My pounding heart resounded in my ears as I watched Chase's expedition to my table as if it was in slow motion; his hand brushed through his hand and he still shook his head in mirth as his eyes rose to meet mine, almost in apology it seemed.
"How the fuck did we forget about Chase?" Annabel announced, throwing her arms up in the air as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
I crossed my arms and shook my head. "I'm not doing it. I'm not." I repeated and felt my hands start to shake. I didn't want to reject him, but I sure as hell wasn't going to let half the town know about my little crush. Silence, I figured, was the best option.
Chase eventually reached our table and sat down directly in front of me.
He let out a sigh. "Hey, Kasey." His eyes rose from the table to meet mine and I couldn't help but notice how the light made it look like there were flecks of amber in the iris. Stop it Kasey! This is not some romance novel, just keep quiet, stay still and he'll go away... like a bear or a goose.
"So what are you doing later?" he murmured and pushed his chair closer to the table and tilted his head to the side, the mixture of amusement and sympathy almost endearing, but not enough to make me forget the hushed silence of our onlookers. I took an unimpressed breath and shot him a look that clearly said, 'I'm not biting.' I picked up my bottle and sipped the rest of the contents, placing it down a bit more forcefully then was necessary.
"I was thinking-" I raised my eyebrows in the universal sign for 'Really? That's surprising.' and pursed my lips together tightly. "If you weren't busy you'd want to have a drink with me?" He finished and it felt like somebody had kicked me in the gut, because that was all I really wanted; just not like this.
I let out an exasperated sigh and averted my eyes to the other side of the bar. I could feel everyone's eyes on me and it made a lump rise in my throat. It was fine when I was rejecting the other guys, it had become a game; I wasn't interested in them, the majority weren't interested in me, it was just some light entertainment for an otherwise normal night. But I didn't want to do it and potentially sever the ties with Chase.
"Come on, Kasey, give them a show and it'll be over before you know it." He said lowly so that I was the only one privy to the information. My eyes shot back to his and I saw the exasperation in his own features and the long silence that was making the air in the room thick with tension. That was all they wanted- all that he wanted- a show, something to talk about. Well, I wasn't the conversation starter.
"No." I stated simply, and slid quickly out of the booth.
The cries of disappointment followed me as I strode over to the stairs and hopped up each one in an effort to lock myself in the bathroom until everyone was too drunk and too busy singing "She thinks my tractor's sexy." to care.
I had just turned the corner at the top of the stairs when a hand encircled my elbow and tugged me around to face a strong chest covered by a black shirt with a white emblem advertising the pub.
"Kasey, you alright?" Chase asked softly and either declined or forgot to let go of my arm.
"I'm fine." I placated and went to remove my arm to no avail.
"No you're not. Tell me what's wrong." He continued and moved us out of the way of two older ladies on their way to the toilet. Chase looked around the almost vacant hallways and towed me down the hall that followed the banisters of the stairs where a bay window looked out onto the main street; a dead end where my only hope of escape was to jump through the window. Shit a brick.
"Nothing is wrong." I enforced and finally managed to take my arm out of his grip and lean against the wall, trying to get as much space between us as possible. Because even though he worked in a bar, Chase smelt really good; like soap and a good aftershave, no alcohol in sight...or smell?
"Don't bullshit me. You never have a problem with the other guys hitting on you, why does it bother you when I do it?" He crossed his arms and swayed back on his heels.
"I REALLY NEED TO PEE." I closed my eyes and announced to the empty hall.
"No you don't. Answer the question." He seemed completely unaffected y my request and merely changed his stance so one arm was propped up against the wall I was leaning on.
"I don't want to do it anymore." I whined, which I will admit is extremely unattractive.
"After six months?"
"I never wanted to do it!"
"But I'm the last one, you've said no to every other guy. All they want is one final rejection to close it all off, and they'll be happy." He reasoned.
"I don't want to do it. I'm not their entertainment for tonight." I waved my hand over to the stairs and noticed that the sounds of merriment were drifting up steadily; the world hadn't ended due to my refusal to participate in the stupid routine.
"What if I say I want you to do it?" he asked, walking closer and coming very close to popping my personal bubble.
"The answer is still no." I shook my head and locked my gaze with his; steely blue meeting soft brown and all I could see was annoyance and uncertainty staring back.
He smiled humourlessly. "You're making me feel left out, Kasey." He reasoned.
I shrugged in reply.
His gaze burned through me as he took a moment to think and before I knew it he had moved directly into my space and placed his other palm against the wall near my face.
"What about now?" he murmured, his breath mingling with mine in the minimal space between us.
There were some extremely strange things going on in my body; my lips and hands and stomach were tingling pleasantly at the nearness of his body to mine, yet my head and heart were pounding angrily at the reason behind said nearness.
I bit my tongue and shook my head stoically as he let out a sigh of annoyance.
"Why can you say it to the rest of those guys, but not me?" his mouth pursed and he looked down at the ground between us for a moment. I jumped when his head shot up suddenly and his gaze locked with mine. "Is it...Is it because you actually... like me?" his head tilted in comprehension and it seemed as though the light behind his eyes changed slightly with his new understanding.
My breath hitched in my throat and I decided to turn my bitch voice on. "Maybe it's because I can think of so many more things I'd rather do then be speaking to you right now, that I can't choose just one."
"Try... Come on, Kasey. Reject me." He taunted and moved his body closer to mine so that I had no chance of escaping.
"You really want to know what I'd rather be doing then arguing with you."
"Kasey." He almost growled in warning
I let out a breath and averted my eyes to the intricate decoration in the corner of the ceiling. We were alone in the hallway, the ladies who had gone into the bathroom were yet to come out and it seemed that they would be in there for a long time for a gossip session. Chase and my position in the corner pretty much hid us from view from anyone coming up the stairs, the dim lighting assisting in our concealment.
"I'd rather be doing a hundred other things then arguing with you."I began truthfully, pausing as I attempted not to stumble across my final words that would either make or break our current situation. "But the one thing I'd rather be doing then standing here and yelling at you is to be standing here and kissing you."
I shot my eyes back to meet his and saw that his hands had moved from the wall and he had taken a miniscule step back from our initial position. Well that was kind of what I was expecting but it didn't stop the feeling as if my heart had decided to commit suicide and leap from the safety of my ribcage into the abyss of my stomach. I ducked around him with a sigh and went to go into the ladies toilets.
"Woah, woah, woah." I heard Chase call out behind me and was abruptly pulled back against his chest by his index fingers curling around the loops of my jeans. I slapped his fingers away as they started to feel like they were burning into my skin.
"I need to go to the bathroom." It seemed to be my go to line, even though it had not gotten me out of a situation yet.
"You don't just tell a guy you want to kiss him then leg it to the ladies." Chase chuckled. Well I'm glad that he could get such enjoyment out of this.
"What do you do then?" I rolled my eyes and turned around to face him.
He grinned and gripped onto the bottom of my shirt, pulling me into contact with him. "You kiss him." He nodded and attached his lips to mine. I couldn't stop myself from responding in turn and allowed him to manoeuvre us back into the corner of the hallway, my back pressing into the banister as my arms lifted to wrap around his neck and his hands gripped onto the polished wood. We had just started to get into an incredibly satisfying rhythm when John's voice resounded up the stairs, calling Chase's name in a way reminiscent of Marlon Brando in 'A Street Car named Desire'.
Chase pressed a final lingering kiss to my swollen lips before leaning over me and yelling back.
"What did she say, mate?"
Chase leant back and stared at me for a moment before a sly smile graced his lips and he bent over the banister again.
"She said she'd rather go out with you." He bellowed down and was met with a resounding chorus of cheers, laughter and clapping. He straightened up and smiled at me and I allowed a small chuckle in response. It seemed as though that final rejection brought the whole joke full circle and I wouldn't have to deal with anymore country bachelors.
Although, as Chase moved closer to me and wrapped his arms around my waist, his lips straying back onto mine, I may relent that the whole episode wasn't that bad; especially when the myriad of drunken bachelors every embarrassing Friday night lead to me being pushed up against a stairwell with Chase's tongue moving pretty sensuously against mine.
So, if all of that is what it took to end up with the bartender I really wanted, well...
I don't think I'd rather have it any other way.
Just a short little one-shot to tide you over as I work on some more chapters. :D Review my cherubs, it makes me a happy camper!