“You’re never here on a Monday,” Gwen said as she placed a napkin down on the bar in front of me.
“It’s good to see you too Gwen.”
“That came out wrong didn’t it?” she asked.
I nodded. “Just a bit.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Just needed a drink,” I answered.
“Nah, I want something different.” She looked at me with a raised brow. I hadn’t ordered something different in years. My usual was a dirty vodka martini with three olives in it. On the rare occasion I ordered specialty martini, but I was a guarantee for a dirty martini.
“Are we sticking in the martini family?”
I shook my head and I saw Gwen’s face register that something was definitely up. “Kettle with a splash of club soda and an orange slice please.”
“You sure nothing’s up?”
I nodded. I appreciated Gwen’s concern, but she couldn’t fix the thoughts in my head. I was wallowing in the blahs because I had realized that when I woke up in my own drool that Stellan had not returned my call. I had been on such a hot writing streak the night before that I had fallen asleep on the couch. I had also lost track of time, but when reality came crashing through as it often did, I was a bit depressed that there was no missed call or text message from him. I had closed my laptop and crawled into bed, but when I woke up in the morning the blues had set in.
“Have you heard from Roman?” she asked as she placed my drink in front of me.
I nodded. “Saw him yesterday?”
“Is he okay? He called in today.”
“I saw him yesterday and he was,” I answered. I didn’t know how much Roman had shared with his co-workers so I didn’t want to let something slip. “Why?”
Gwen shrugged her shoulders. “He said he got in a fight but wouldn’t tell any of us why or what happened.”
“Same here,” I said, relieved that I didn’t have to pretend that he didn’t get in a brawl. I was proud that Roman was at least letting his friends know that he was hurt.
“Is he beat up pretty bad?”
“How bad is bad?”
“His pride. His ego.”
I shook my head. “He’s got a nasty ass bruise to the eye though.”
“I hope he didn’t try to pick up some girl who had a towering inferno for a boyfriend.”
I laughed. “Have you ever known Roman to pick up a girl on this side of the bar?”
Gwen snickered. “You have a point.” She walked away to serve a beer to another customer and the returned to me. “You need someone to talk to?”
I shook my head. “No.”
“I know I’m not Roman, but I’m bartender, I listen.”
“I know. Just need a drink that’s all. I’ll be leaving after this anyway.”
“Now I know there’s something wrong.”
“Revisions. My agent’s going to kill me if I don’t get them to her, but I needed to get out of my apartment.”
Gwen nodded and let me be. I wasn’t about to confess to her, Roman, or any priest in a confessional box that I also went to the bookstore in hopes of glimpsing Stellan. That was a stalking confession I didn’t need on my records. I didn’t see him. I only succeed in depressing myself even more and buying an overpriced vanilla latte.
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