“Three kinds of men fail to understand women: young men, old men and the ones in between.”
I am not gifted at picking up women. I am not ashamed to say that. All my long term relationships have began with groups of people that paired off until one of the kind ladies clubbed me over the head.
... Chalk that up to a fluke.
Sorry if I am bursting any bubbles.
I could also say my relationship with Natalie was a fluke as well, except for our shared history. We met, had a rapport, and it developed. Nothing mysterious and heartbreaking about it, which may have been the issue. Maybe love needs a kick in the pants, a passion to drive the motor onward. Maybe I’m over thinking the issue. It has happened before.
My main problem with finding a partner is signals. Laugh at a joke I made? Ain’t I funny. Touch my arm in such a way? Why, yes, I use it for lifting things. Brush your hair back? I am sure we have something to tie back that mess with somewhere around here. Anything short of a lady taking my hand, placing it on her chest and saying, “Take me, big fella, for I am woman and you are man and we should get squishy,” will more than likely go sailing right over my head.
So what did happen the other night with the mysterious Cassidy? Well, that’s what I asked her when she walked in the Honky Tonk. Sort of.
“Alright, fellow Gondorians,” Garry Campbell said, “I have to go check on my orchids. I bid you good night and shit.”
“They were beautiful at the wedding, by the way. You okay to drive?” I asked him.
“Thank you for the floral complement and psshhh,” he sputtered and walked out the door.
“Don’t worry about Garry,” Barry Campbell said, “Only a mile or so away down a lonely, twisted country road he’s driven a thousand times before. Unless he takes the shortcut over Judge Oldman’s land again, he’ll be fine.”
I sipped at my third beer, knowing I was going to have to drive Barry home later. The thought of driving home brought something to mind.
“Barry? Ask you a question?”
“Shoot the moon, padre.”
“You know anybody that comes in here named ‘Cassidy’?”
Barry nodded, his head bobbing in rhythm to the music playing from the Honky Tonk’s juke box. He tilted his head and looked at me.
“Shaun Cassidy? The TV writer? What the hell’d he be doing in here?”
“What? No. A girl.”
“Huh, yeah. But no. Don’t know no girl named Cassidy. Hell of a writer, though. Weren’t for Katrina we’d all be in season seven of Invasion right now.”
It was my turn to tilt my head, “Katrina?”
“Hurricane. Big ass storm, hit a few years back?”
“I recall,” I said, “Look, do you remember me with a girl during the bachelor party? Anybody you didn’t know?”
“Hell, sir. Asking about that night, you might as well go ask a possum how to ride a bicycle. I think we got the whole bar drunk on fumes alone. I mean...”
Barry trailed off, looking beyond me to the door, “On second thought, I think I may have found your mystery woman.”
I looked behind me. A woman of medium height and bright red hair hanging in big ringlets walked in the bar. The dull blue of her dress highlighted the hair like a flame in the dark. Her heels click-clacked as she walked across the wood floor, sitting on a stool in front of Sam. She held up a finger and said something and Sam hurried to fix a drink.
“Well,” I said, “Now or never.”
“Go get’um, tiger,” Barry said.
I walked over to the bar, finishing my beer as I went. I put the empty down two stools away from the woman and gestured to Sam for another.
“Hello,” I said.
She looked at me with arched eyebrows.
“Hello,” she said, a small smile playing on her lips.
“Do... did... I was here last week and...”
This was awkward as hell. I fumbled and her smile grew. She patted the stool next to her. I moved over one, leaving one between us.
“Now, now, Mr. Banned. I don’t remember you being so shy,” she said. Her voice rose and fell as she spoke, taking her time with each word as if she were tasting them before letting them go.
“Evan,” I said, “And, um, Ma’am... I don’t know...”
“Cassidy. Cassidy Bell. I’ll never get used to you Southern boys. Ma’am this, ma’am that. I know it’s respect and all but... I’m sorry, I cut you off.”
“Well, um, Miss Bell... The other night... I was... Well, it was a bachelor party and...”
“Now you are insulting me, Evan,” she said with grin, “First, you make me feel old...”
She reached across the stool that separated us and touched my leg.
“And then, you don’t remember drunkenly taking me to your place and falling asleep on the kitchen floor trying to drink milk. I mean, I dragged you all the way to that bed, took off your clothes, which were soaked by the way, took no advantage of you and this is what I get...”
I felt my face grow red hot. This made her grin wider, exposing cheek bones and teeth. She radiated a giddy joy reserved for new puppies and babies at the way she was teasing me and it made her gorgeous.
“Well,” I said, letting out a breath, “I am sorry for ruining your evening, both then and now. Can I buy you a drink?”
“Thanks, but I’m only having the one. Places to be.”
“Understood. I’ll leave you alone, then.”
“And I’ll get a drink out of you some other time,” she said.
I laughed and walked back to the table, my head hanging low.
“So, that her? Please tell me that was her,” Barry said.
“Yep,” I said and told him what had happened at the bar.
“She’s true to her word,” he said, “One drink and she’s already gone.”
I looked back in time to see Cassidy Bell walking to the door. She saw me looking and waved her fingers my way.
“That’s the sexy wave,” Barry said, “Man, don’t let that one leave.”
I turned back and took a drink of my beer, watching the bubbles form on the side of the glass and glide upward to settle on the top. Part of me wanted to stand up, catch that beautiful woman in the parking lot and kiss her right there under the stars. The rest of me said to sit here, wait it out and everything would work out like it was supposed to. So I did.
And that’s how I found myself handcuffed and running across Judge Oldman’s field three hours later.
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