I was nursing my fifth beer when I felt his presence beside me.

"So now what is a pretty little girl like you doing drinking by herself?" I heard him say. His face appeared out of the corner of my eye and I took a quick glance at the disrupter of my drunk, yet tranquil, stupor.

He was tall and irrefutably good-looking; he had that smooth, leather-jacket-wearing look going for him that I'm sure had worked on countless girls before me. There was a smirk etched on his face and I knew immediately that he wasn't going to leave me alone.

"Trying to get a little peace and quiet," I replied curtly, avoiding eye contact.

"Come on baby, let me buy you a drink. It looks like you need another one anyway." He waved the bartender over with an experienced flick of his hand.

"I'm good, thanks."

He looked at me, unsuccessfully hiding the glimpse of surprise that ran across his face. "It's just one drink, what's the problem?"

I rolled my eyes at him, finally feeling the alcohol in my system. "Because if you buy me a drink then you'll expect something from me. And right now I'm sick of people's expectations." I took another swig of my beer, a wave of nostalgia running through my system.

He chuckled, probably feeling like he could now take back control of the situation. "Baby I don't expect anything from you-"

"I'm not interested, okay?" I cut him off. I finally turned my body to face him fully and let him feel the effect of my anger. "I just want to be left alone."

"It's one drink, you don't have to be such a bitch-"

"Dude I don't think she wants to talk to you."

I turned around to see AJ standing behind me. His stance was casual but I could tell in the set of his jaw that he was about to get protective. I had never been so happy to see someone before.

The guy next to me stared down at him, disbelief marring his face. "Listen dude, this is between me and her. Back off."

I glanced at AJ to see what he would do.

"I don't think so," AJ said simply. He gestured toward the door. "Get lost."

At this point the guy straightened to his full height. Full ego on display, he made a motion to the two friends that had clearly come to wingman for him, gathering them behind him so he could impose his threatening presence on the asshole that had messed with his game.

"Didn't you hear me?" the guy asked AJ. "I said back off. Because it's three of us and only one of you, and she's not worth the beating you're gonna get-"

"Actually," I interjected, "it's the two of us against the three of you, and trust me when I say you would still lose miserably." I was at the end of my patience and wanted these douchebags out of my face. "So why don't you learn to take no for an answer and get the fuck out of my face."

All three gaped at me in shock. I saw AJ smirk out of the corner of my eye but didn't acknowledge him until the guys had slunk off with their tails between their legs.

"Thanks," I told him. "I appreciate it."

"Are you kidding?" he laughed. "You didn't need me at all. I was just the dick that set him off."

I smiled at him warmly. "Either way, you were kind to do it. Can I buy you a thank you drink? Or are you just passing through?"

He glanced at his buddies at the other end of the bar and made a split second decision. Grabbing the stool beside me, he sat to my left and shined his thousand watt smile at me. Unexpectedly, but immediately, my heart lifted just a little bit.