Assisting His Destiny
She entered the bar and stiffened as her eyes fell on him. What was he doing here? This was her spot before it was his, in fact, he would have never known about this place if it hadn’t been for her and yet, here he was front and center, the entertainment for Portman’s.
She watched as one of his buddies poured beer into his open mouth from a long neck. He stood laughing as they surrounded him like he was some kind of a hero. Pathetic. His eyes caught hers and he saluted her with his beer. Nice. What a jackass. She turned on her heel and left the bar.
She knew he followed her out. Like I would ever want him back. She swung her body and faced him, “I find nothing attractive about you, so leave me alone!”
“Wow, you sure know how to stroke a guy’s ego,” an unfamiliar voice answered from an unfamiliar face.
She froze for a split second before turning and walking away. She could still feel him behind her, but she didn’t think she owed him anything; after all, he was just some creep following her. “Leave me alone,” she said without slowing down.
“You mentioned that already,” he said walking beside her. “I just happened to witness the your “enter and leave” back there and since I have worn that look on more than one occasion, I wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“I appreciate your concern but all I want is to be left alone.”
“I know just the place,” he said.
Giving him a sideways glance, she said, “Obviously you don’t know the concept of being alone.”
“Oh, I know the concept,” he assured. “But you need company, not aloneness.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s not a word,” she said.
“If I can prove that it is, will you let me buy you a burger at the end of the street?”
She stopped abruptly. “And just how do you think you’re going to prove that to me?”
“See,” he teased. “It’s already a date, you’re trying to get to know me.”
She rolled her eyes as he laughed. Showing her the screen of his phone he pulled up an App and punched in the word. “See.”
“Why do you have a Dictionary App on your phone?”
“Ah,” he said putting his phone in his pocket. “Suddenly I’m intriguing.”
“Fine,” she said defeated, dramatically dropping her arms and head in front of her.
His boastful smile might have pissed her off but it brightened his face giving him a boyhood charm.
As they walked she asked, “Is this how you pick up women? Following them into submission?”
He laughed. “No. I honestly did notice when you walked into Portman’s and then I watched your face drop. I can only assume the guy who pointed his beer in your direction was the reason you left.”
“Portman’s is my favorite spot in the whole city and when he’s there, he’s always putting on a show making it hard to ignore him.”
“Yeah, I noticed.”
He put an arm around her and guided her in the other direction. “What are you doing?” she asked.
“If that’s your favorite place, we’re going back.” When she didn’t protest, he dropped his arm. “Well, I have been dreaming of their cheese fries all day,” she admitted, sneaking a peak from the corner of her eye. He wasn’t what most considered good looking but she found him attractive. He was solid and moved with authority. She liked his confidence.
“I’m Max Monroe, by the way,” he said holding the door, letting her slip under his arm. A slight touch to the small of her back led her to a table as far away from the bar as he could find. He pulled out a chair that didn’t have a view of the bar. She smiled her appreciation as he took a seat next to her. His smile made his eyes shine like a green apple martini and she wondered if he knew what it did to her insides.
He touched her arm and said, “Thank you for joining me tonight.”
His touch sent more than a warm feeling through her. Much more. His eyes beheld her, making her feel cherished. She didn’t know a total stranger could feel so familiar.
“You are beautiful.”
Her soft brown eyes shot to her lap as her face reddened before looking at him with a smirk. “You’re full of shit.”
“No I’m not.” His eyes danced and his smile widened when he added, “I promise.”
Changing the subject, she asked, “Okay, so what’s with the dictionary app?”
“It’s a Thesaurus, and sometimes I need it for work,” he simply said.
“What do you do?”
“USMC Sergeant E5,” Max answered.
“Wow, a Marine. I’m impressed.” His assertiveness faltered a second as his mouth quirked to the side and he shrugged his shoulders.
“Boy, you’re really gonna make me work for your name, aren’t you?”
She smiled and looking down, tucked a few stay strands of blonde hair behind her ear. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize…it’s Kate. Kate Smythe.
Conversation came natural and she had to keep reminding herself that he was a stranger. She liked the sensation of his touch and he evidently felt the same way because he found subtle ways to touch her all night.
Looking into her eyes, he smiled and took a drink. She loved his eyes even though they made her immobile and incoherent.
She broke eye contact. “Stop glamour-ing me, you vampire.”
He laughed. “I’ve been called a lot of things, but vampire was never one of them.”
He had a great laugh. It was rich and deep, like an enchanted sea of liquid gold.
Sometimes his eyes would drift to the bar, unconsciously letting her know that her ex was being obnoxious. Again. He finally said, “You know you’re better off without that pompous prick, right?”
“Yeah, I know.”
“It’s all I can do to keep from ripping his tongue out, chopping it up into little pieces, and feeding it to him.”
Kate smiled. “Yeah? Try dating him.”
“I think not.” His eyes turned dark as olives when he asked, “Did he hurt you?”
“No, not really. He was deceitful. He seemed like a nice guy, saying things that sounded sincere, but I found out later that he was playing with my emotions to get into my pants.”
“Shocker,” Max interrupted.
“After dating for about a month, we were out one night and he had left his phone on the table when he went to the bathroom. A text came from ‘Lorenzo’s Pizza Delivery’ asking if he wanted to hook up later.”
“Oh, Kate.” He placed his hand over hers.
She laughed but there was no humor in it. “It’s gets better, I typed in my number and it came up as ‘Dry Cleaner’. Who knows how many other women he was seeing? I’m just glad I didn’t…,” she trailed off as her face blushed.
His face hardened as looked towards the bar. Without a doubt Max was a hardcore bad-ass.
Turning his eyes to her, his comforting smile made her heart falter as he intertwined their fingers restoring the feeling that forged them together.
“Can I tell you something?” he asked, prompting a nod.
He scrubbed his hand over his face like he regretted his decision to tell. “Promise me you won’t hate me.” She squeezed his hand for reassurance. “The first time I saw you, you were sitting right over there.” Her eyes followed his finger pointing to a table across the room.
“I wanted to talk to you but it was the night before my deployment and I didn’t see the point. I’ve been back for two weeks now, and come here every night hoping to see you again.”
“That’s why you noticed me walk in,” she said in understanding.
“Oh come on! Every guy in this place noticed you walk in.”
She smirked. “You’re still full of shit.”
“And you’re still beautiful,” he said pulling her into his arms.
She barely noticed his embrace was a fortress of safety as his thumb caressed her cheek making her lose all her senses. His cologne screamed ‘sexy man in a bottle’ and she knew he was the sexiest man she had ever laid eyes on.
Every fiber within her burned as he pressed his lips to hers, kissing her thoroughly. He looked into her eyes and smiled before kissing her one more time.
“I have waited a long time to do that,” he said.
Like lava flowing through an unsuspecting town, his words melted her insides. How could he ask if she would hate him after hearing he had not forgotten her? She felt treasured in knowing that he made it his personal mission to find her again. Kate smiled at the last man she would ever kiss.
Story by: Melony Dixon
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