“I take it you don’t like it?” he asks, sounding bemused. “Are you a protestor?”
“This isn’t the sort of place that people protest.” I offer him a half shrug. “It’s just not the sort of place that we need new development projects, that’s all.”
“So you don’t want to expand? You don’t want something new?” He doesn’t understand, I can just hear it in his voice. “I’m surprised to hear that from someone so young.”
“You live in the city, right?” I stare defiantly at him. In his bar seat he looks broad and muscular, but I can just tell from the length of his legs that he’s over six foot. He’ll tower above me when he stands upright. If I’m going to be strong I need to do it now while we’re on the level. “So I suppose you don’t understand what this town is like.”
He pauses for a second with a grim look on his face and I wonder if maybe I’ve overstepped my mark. I don’t like why he’s here, but he’s still the most exciting thing to happen to this place in recent history, I don’t want to completely alienate him.
But then he talks again, proving that I haven’t. “I suppose you’re right. I don’t know what it’s like to live in a place like this. I assume you should want development, but maybe not. Maybe I’m wrong. I’ll have to report that back to my father.”
My face breaks into a grin as I start to get a better picture of him. He might be a flash, rich, city boy, but he has complications of his own. He has a controlling father who he apparently works for, and who sends him to run difficult projects that people will resist again. I might have only just scratched the surface of him a tiny bit, but I actually like learning this little bit about him. It’s kind of cool, it’s interesting to get to know someone new.
“I see, so it’s your father who’s to blame, not you.” I take a seat next to him and watch him squirm a little bit. “He decided on this project and you just have to do as you’re told.”
I can see him struggle. He doesn’t want to admit that he isn’t in control but he also doesn’t want to take the blame for something that isn’t his fault. I like that I’ve disarmed him, it gives me a little bit of the power too. I lean onto my elbow on the bar and watch him.
“I… I guess not. I mean, I do tell other people what to do as well,” he stammers over his words. “But yeah, I think I do a lot of what I’m told. I didn’t notice that before.”
Doreen comes over to me with a glass of wine that I already know she won’t take any money from me, this is just another part of our weekly routine, and as she hands it to me she gives me a warning look. I can pretty much read her mind, she doesn’t think I should be talking to this sexy stranger, and she’s probably right, but I’m sick of doing what’s right. Just for once, just to try something new, I want to do what’s wrong.
Maybe I’m getting a little bit tired of my current life, not that I’m about to change it. Maybe I just want to push it to one side just for a night. There’s nothing wrong with that, is there? I’m twenty two years old, this is the time for experimentation and fun. I’m not doing anything that anyone else my age wouldn’t… the only difference is that I shouldn’t be living at home to have this fun. But still, what choice do I have?
“So, how long are you here for?” I flutter my eyelashes in a much more seductive way. It comes out of me as if from nowhere. “To finish your little project, I mean.”
“A few months. I’m not one hundred percent sure, it depends how long it takes to complete, I suppose. Could be a year, could be three months.”
“Ooh.” I take a big sip of my drink, steadying my nerves. “I see. How will you cope away from the big city for all that time? Will you have to go home on weekends?”
“It depends if I have anything keeping me here, I suppose.” He holds out his glass for me to clink against in a cheers gesture. “We’ll just have to see.” He slugs the rest of his drink back. “Doreen, we’ll have two more drinks here.” He pauses for just a moment and thinks about what he’s said. “Actually, we’ll have a bottle of wine. White.”
He’s taking control, ordering my drinks for me in a powerful way that entices me. The men around here, not that there are many anywhere close to my age, aren’t strong like this. Maybe that’s what makes me keep them at arms length, I just don’t want to know if I don’t think they can take command of me. It doesn’t even bother me that he probably acts this way all the time when it comes to women. Right now, it’s for me and me alone.
After all, this isn’t ever going to be a long term thing, is it? What do I have to worry about? “Oh right, thank you.” I let him pour me a drink. “That’s very kind of you.”
“You’re very welcome.” He stares into my eyes and I lose myself in the warm, hazelnut color looking back at me. He looks like he has layers and layers that need to be pulled back, and I can’t wait to at least do a little bit of that. “You deserve it after that singing.”
I can’t take any more compliments on my singing, it’s getting a bit overwhelming so I find a way to change the subject instead. Anything will do. “You know, I don’t actually know your name. I don’t usually accept drinks from strangers.”
“Oh right, well it’s Brandon Heath-Smith,” he tells me, as if I should know what that means. I’d look him up online to see what’s so special about him if he wasn’t sitting right in front of me. “The Heath-Smith name is famous in old money, it’s also a big one in business too. I mean, I don’t expect you to have heard of me, but yeah…”
I don’t know if that’s an arrogant comment or not so I chose to ignore it. Maybe he gets by on his name usually, but this isn’t the big city. He needs to get by on his own damn merits.
“Oh right I see, well the Boots name is important here… but then you probably already know that since you’ve been here for at least an hour.”
At first he widens his eyes in shock at my words, he can see I’m taking the piss, but soon he bursts into laughter as if I’m the funniest person alive. His chuckling is infectious and soon I’m joining in, giggling
alongside him like we’re a couple of school kids acting foolish.
“Oh I know… but I didn’t hear that.” I slurp my drink, feeling a little drunk now. “I heard she’s super sweet and everyone lives her. Isn’t that right, Doreen?”
“Oh we all love you alright,” she replies while giving Brandon a warning look. “That’s why we’re all here for you, looking after you.”
She zaps a bit of fun out of the game, I start to wish I didn’t bring her into it, but then Brandon gives me a playful wink as if we’re on the same side. Us against them. I like it. It makes me want to sidle closer to him, to wrap my arms around him, to kiss him…
“What do you have planned now?” he asks me thickly. “Do you have anything that you usually do once you finish singing a set?”