The Bar Girl
She strutted across the bar. While she knew she was not the most beautiful woman in the bar that night, she knew she was pretty enough. Pretty enough for the guy at the end of the bar; the guy she had spent the last hour talking to. The guy whose eyes she had stared into so long that she had briefly forgot where she was when she leaned into and kissed him. He was the reason she had come here.
She was not a bar girl in her early life but now she seemed to be in one on a biweekly basis. There was something about getting out of the house that drove her. After work she would sit staring at the walls of her condo inching to go out. If her daughter was not with her, she would. If she was with her then she would wish she could go. She felt bad about that but not too bad especially after she met Sebastian.
Sebastian was the man she had sort of always dreamed about. He wasn’t tall dark and handsome but he was good looking. He had a laugh that was infectious and was not afraid to use it. He loved talking about nearly everything. Nothing was off limits with him. Very soon into their relationship they had both found themselves revealing things about themselves that nobody else knew. And his eyes twinkled in vibrant shades of blue and green that seem to change with his mood.
“Hey beautiful, everything come out ok.” He said with a wry unassuming smile.
“Everything is just fine.” She said with a giggle. ‘God, I feel like a school girl’ she thought to herself.
“Well, that’s good. So where were we? Oh, yes, you talking about your last boyfriend, psycho. So go on.”
“Do I have to? We are having such a good time, I hate for him to ruin it.”
“How would he ruin it?”
“I know how much you hate him. I don’t want you getting all upset for nothing. Tonight is about us.”
The truth was she did not want to think about her last boyfriend tonight or any other night. Sebastian had nicknamed him ”Psycho” but that moniker could have easily described her as well. She had given up a man, her husband, who was kind and loving for him. She had thrown out her marriage of 4 years for the opportunity just to be Psycho’s girlfriend. She had thought he was the perfect man for her. He told her how much he loved her; how much he needed her; how much they were made for each other. He sent her sonnets in her email. He sang her songs of love when they video chatted. All seemed right just before it all went bad.
First she found out he had been married twice, not once like he had said. She then found out that the reason his first marriage had failed was that he had beaten his then father-in-law nearly to death and had been arrested. She found out that his second marriage did not end because his wife had cheated but because he had become addicted to cocaine and in a paranoid fit, followed her to her job and accused everyone there, including the women, of sleeping with her. He was arrested again. His girlfriend after that had put a restraining order out against him because after they broke up he would show up in the middle of the night beating on her door, begging her to take him back or she would be sorry.
Pyscho turned on her. He refused to let her see her friends, even her girlfriends. She could not go out without him in tow. He made her quit her job after she made an off handed comment about her new boss being weird. He would not let her take her daughter to play dates, he would always take her. He threw away her laptop and only begrudgingly let her have a phone after she promised to let him have access to it anytime he wanted; he checked her phone nightly. The phone ended up being what brought it all to a head.
She knew she had to get away from Psycho and was setting the whole thing up through her ex-husband. The man, her ex, had almost become a saint in her eyes. While he was not about to take her back relationship wise after what she had done to him, he was more than willing to take her back into his home so she could escape Psycho. They would talk during the day when Psycho was at work on just when they were going to make it happen. She would always clean her phone log as soon as she was done talking to him. The day she was going to leave, Psycho had come home for lunch. This was not out of the ordinary for him but she was in the bathroom when he arrived home. She had foolishly left the phone on the bathroom sink. Her ex sent her a text saying that he was on his way to get her. Psycho got the message.
He yanked her off the toilet before she was even done. He screamed at her that she was nothing but a trashy whore. He punched her in the stomach. The wind left lungs in a sudden rush from the blow. She had dropped to her knees trying to catch her breath. He screamed that he should have known better since she had cheated on her husband so easily with him. He punched her in the face. Before the pain came, the whole room began spinning. She could not figure out which way was up and which was down. The whole left side of her face throbbed with pain. He punched her again. Everything went black almost as soon as he hit her. By the time her ex had shown up, she was a bloody mess that Psycho was kicking at with as much force as he could muster; she was nearly dead.
Her ex had known something was wrong when he had seen a car in the driveway. He knew that Psycho did not let her have a car and she would not dare to let anyone come over so it had to be Psycho. Her ex was at a loss on what to do. He knew that he occasionally came home to check on her so if he just waited Psycho would leave to go back to work and they could continue with their plan. But he knew she would have alerted him, if she could, that Psycho was home. Her ex decided that something was wrong. Later he would say that he just had a feeling. He knocked on the door which stopped the beating. Psycho knew who it was before he opened the door. He was going to pummel her ex to death. Her ex was ready though. As soon as Psycho opened the door and tried to spring an attack on him, her ex hit him with a tire iron on the head not once, but three times before Psycho was unconscious. As soon as her ex saw her he dialed 911. She spent three weeks in the hospital. Psycho got 10 years in jail.
“I do hate him. But this is what we do. We talk. But ok, what about us?” That smile was back on Sebastian’s lips.
“Well, where do we go from here? I mean, like, what is our future?”
“You know how I feel. I would take you back to New York with me in a heartbeat. You know I love you. I would spend all day just kissing you. Your neck, your lips especially that lower one, your ears; I would kiss every inch of you for as long as you would let me.”
“Jesus that makes my heart leap. But you know I can’t. I can’t take Julie from her father and I can’t leave Julie. Can’t you just move down here?”
“That would solve everything wouldn’t it? But my work does not exist down here. I would have to start a whole new career for a lot less money. I just can’t do that.”
“Life always has to be complicated doesn’t it?”
“If you’re responsible it does.” He said with a sigh. “Sometimes I just want to say fuck it. Live care-free, do what my heart wants me to do. Enjoy my life. I mean in the end what else is there?”
“Yep you have to enjoy it.”
Out of the corner of her eye she noticed someone in the throng of bar patrons. At first she thought it was her ex-husband but then she realized it was someone else.
“Shit, SB I have to tell you something.” She said with anxiety and frustration.
“What?” He said looking around the bar because he had seen that something or someone had caught her attention.
“Yeah, the guy you were fucking a while back. He’s here?”
“Yeah and he is walking this way.”
“Over there near the bathrooms. I’ll wave at him.” She smiled and gave Mark a little wave. He waved back but did not smile. “Please don’t freak out on me SB.”
“Why would I freak out? He’s your problem not mine.” He said with a laughed that instantly put her at ease.
Within a few seconds Mark reached their table. There was still no smile on his face.
“Hey, Mark.” She said flatly.
“Hey, Cora. Who’s this?” Mark said pointing a thumb at Sebastian without looking at him.
“Sebastian, this is Mark. The guy I fucked a couple of times who now seems to be jealous for no apparent reason.”
“Hey, Mark” Sebastian said holding out his hand. Mark never looked at him.
“So you just decided to flaunt your new boyfriend in front of me?”
“What are you talking about? Why do you even care? We fucked a couple of times. That was it. You have a girlfriend Mark. Go be jealous of her.”
“I care because this is my place. You know I come here almost every week. You knew I would probably be here.”
“Really Mark? You expect me to remember that this popular place that I went to maybe once with you over three years ago is off limits because you might be here?” She stepped up out of her side of the booth so she could be standing when she talked to Mark. It just felt weird confronting someone while sitting for her. Sebastian pulled out his phone and smiled. “It is not like I haven’t been here a million times since and never seen you. I never even thought about you.”
“Jesus, Cora I really meant that little too you?”
Cora noticed that Sebastian was now texting someone. She thought that maybe this was his defense mechanism to this awkward situation.
“Yeah, kinda Mark. I mean you are a nice enough guy but we never had much and you know that.”
“I guess I didn’t but I guess I should have huh? You’re pretty cold Cora. I don’t remember you like this but I guess it had to be in there somewhere for you to cheat on your husband huh?”
“I could say the same about you and your girlfriend Mark.”
“Wow, um, ok, I guess later then. Good to know you are like this.”
“Whatever makes you feel better Mark.”
Mark turned and walked back to the other side of the bar. Cora turned and sat back down in the booth across from Sebastian. It took him a moment or two to realize the conversation was over and she had sat back down. He put his phone back into his pocket.
“So, he seemed a little pissed.”
“Yeah I guess. Did he really expect me to remember his going out schedule?”
“Nah, probably not. He just likes you and doesn’t like seeing with other guys. Maybe he thought you were rubbing his nose in it a bit.”
“Maybe. You are probably right. God things get complicated sometimes.”
“Sometimes. Usually we make them more complicated than what they are.”
“I guess. So what were you doing while we were talking?”
“Oh, Alexis texted me. Wanted to know what I was doing tonight. I told her I was out with someone. She’s a bit looney but then again isn’t everyone? I don’t know if that is really someone I want back in my life right now.”
“What are you talking about? I thought you broke up with her?”
“I did. But she is kinda wanting to make sure. You know?”
“You want to get back with her?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think so. She is super nice but I just didn’t love her.”
“What about us?”
“What about us and our relationship?”
“Oh, yes us” he said with a laugh “What does Alexis have to do with us?”
“So are you saying you might be seeing both of us?”
“Not right now but maybe. I mean we just said that it is going to be very hard for us to be together like we want. And Alexis is a good distraction for me up in New York. I need someone you know.”
“So I can see anyone I want too? You’re ok with that?”
“Yeah, sure, why not? You have needs and until we can work out what we are going to do I would say that you should.”
“Are you breaking up with me?”
“Then why are you telling me to see other people?”
“Because you’re going to anyway. Look Cora, once a cheater, always a cheater. You aren’t going to stay away from the boys just because you have feelings for me.”
“No you’re not. You didn’t do it for your ex.”
“But my feelings for you are different.”
“So you are going to be ok with having sex like once every two months or so? With guys begging to sleep with you every time you go out? Yeah right.”
“I guess you are right but I hate that. I hate being like that. Why can’t I just be happy with you?”
“Because that is the way you are. That is the way I am. Two peas in a pod my love.”
“I guess but I still don’t like it.”
“I do, I love you. I love you for exactly who you are.”
“You love me because I am a cheater?”
“No,” he laughed “I love that you are honest about who you are.”
“So you think I will always cheat?”
“Not if you are happy.”
“Do you think I would cheat on you if we were together?”
“Do you think I would?”
“Yes.” The sound of what she had just said pounded in her chest and head. She had come here tonight filled with love for this man now, even though she still loved him, she did not want to spend the rest of her life with him. She would never trust him.
“This isn’t gonna work is it Cora?”
“It is going to work for now but long run, I don’t think so.”
“Well I say we ride it for as long as it lasts and then stay the best of friends.”
“You can do that. You’ll be able to stay friends with me?”
“As long as we are always honest with each other, I know we will.”
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