Barfly: Chapter Thirteen

I watched as Roman placed olives on a toothpick and then dropped them into a martini glass.  He smiled and placed the drink in front of me.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him I didn’t want the drink.
“I wanted a water,” I said.
“Are you giving up booze for Stellan too?”
I shook my head.  “I just don’t want a drink today.”  I also had promised Walsh I would not drink at the bar by myself for the next week.  I could have a drink in the presence of Stellan, Walsh, or Mika but not at the bar alone.
Roman crossed his arms across his chest and stared at me.  “You always want a drink.”
“Not today.  I don’t feel well,” I lied.
“Are you coming down with something?”
I shrugged my shoulders.  “I don’t know.  I just don’t fee like drinking today.  Is that bad?”
“Yes,” he answered, reaching for the drink and throwing it into the sink near him.  “It’s bad for business.”
“I know you haven’t seen me since in a few days, but that doesn’t mean you get to be mean to me.  I could just take my friendship and tips elsewhere.”
“I miss you.”
“Well, I’ve not gone anywhere.  Besides, you only call and text me when you need me and I’m not even your first choice.”
“Not always true.”
“But mostly true.”
“So how are things going with Stellan?” he asked, leaning onto the bar between us.
“You don’t want to know.  You’re just being nice so you won’t feel guilty later.”
“True, but you know that, so dish.”
“Very well,” I replied.  I updated Roman with everything that had happened but left out the steamy sex scenes.  That was for me only.
“Have you guys hooked up yet?”
“A lady never tells.”
He straightened himself and looked at me.  “Have you?”
I just shrugged my shoulders at him.  It was none of his business.
“You’re really not going to tell me are you?”
“This girl’s lips are sealed.”
He leaned closer to me.  “But I told you about my hook up with Robert.”
“Not the same.”
“Why isn’t it the same?” he asked as a customer walked into the bar.  He served the customer their shot and beer combo and then returned to me.  “Answer?”
“You changed orientation of sex partners.  Besides you didn’t have to tell me shit.”
“You would have aggravated me until I did.”
“You know that’s a lie.  You know I prefer not hearing about your sexual escapades unless I need a disaster for a novel I’m working on.”
“I hate you.”
“So be it then.”
“Well if you’re giving me nothing, then I will no longer give you anything.”
“You haven’t done anything else to share.”
“You don’t know that.  Your head’s been in the clouds since you saw Mr. Beautiful sitting at the bar.”
He was right about my head being in the clouds but I wasn’t going to admit that to him.  “Are we going to do this all afternoon?”
“Do what?”
“This incessant back and forth bickering because I like someone and you’re on the fence about who you like.”
“Yes,” he answered with a sigh.  “It makes me feel better.”
I smiled at him.  “Then can it be a one sided fight?  I just don’t have it in me to fight you back.”
“It’s no fun if you don’t fight back.”
“So we’re good?”
Roman nodded.  “We were never bad.  Well, so to speak, we were never bad.”
“Give me a water, and I’ll listen with an open ear.”
I nodded.
He fixed me a glass of water and smiled.  He proceeded to tell me that he his bruised and busted up face had gotten him a lot of attention on Friday and that the women from the bar were rushing to his side to nurse his wounds.  He had felt that maybe if the women were fawning over him that maybe men would to so he worked up his courage to go out on his own after his shift ended and found the response was just the same.
“You know, you just like attention,” I said.  “Doesn’t matter if it’s from a man, woman, or an animal.  Attention turns you on.”
“Whatever.  I’m going back to the bar tonight.  Do you want to go?”
I shook my head.  “I already have plans.”
“With Stellan of course.”
“No. Mika.”
“Sure.  Use your agent as an excuse.”
“Believe whatever you want to Roman.  I do have a life outside of this bar.  It might not be much of one, but I do.”

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