Barfly: Chapter Seven

“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.”
“What’s up?”
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?”
“Anything broken?”
“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.

This page copyright © 2009 Shelia Taylor
All rights reserved | This is an excerpt of the rough draft and not the final version