Page 35 of The Dancer

But this girl who challenged me. This girl who had blasted her way into places I’d kept hidden and locked off from the world for so long without even trying.

I felt nervous, like I was standing on the precipice of something bigger than myself. My guts twisted in knots as the old fear reared its ugly head again. I battled it back and tried to hold on to that one glimmer of hope that said my brother was right.

I’m nothing like my old man. I can’t imagine hurting her. Just the thought of it felt foreign. I could never put tears in her eyes. Would never make her sad a day in her life.

Damn, is this what it’s like? Will my mind always be consumed with thoughts of her? Will this feeling ever subside or was it here to last?

I looked up and right into Tony’s smirking eyes at the other end of the bar. I’d almost forgotten he was there, or any of the others for that matter.

Though they’d all moved on back to what they were doing before our little display, I had no doubt their minds were working over time.

“What can you tell me about that asshole?” I asked after he walked over to my side.

“Nothing much yet, never seen him in here before though that much I know. I plan to run him tomorrow, but he shouldn’t be a problem I don’t think.”

“I don’t like that he touched her. Something seems off about the whole thing, almost like it was planned.” I kept seeing the video over and over in my mind.

The way he’d moved in on her didn’t seem like some drunken mistake. It was deliberate, calculated almost. But why?

He had to know that something like this was bound to happen. Or hadn’t he expected her to react quite so strongly to his actions? More importantly, who the fuck is he?

“You might be on to something. The manager said he asked for her section specifically, which I find strange. It doesn’t look like she knows him.”

“Of course she doesn’t know him. Why would she know a piece of shit like him?” He laughed and clapped me on the shoulder.

“Down boy, I’m just saying. I think maybe someone put him up to it, but who?” He took a swig from the water bottle that was ever present in his hands when he sat at the bar keeping an eye on things.

“As far as I can tell she hasn’t made any enemies here and I went back through the last week’s footage.” I’d just given myself away and given him more ammunition to rag my ass with later.

“Damn bro it’s like that? You might as well hang it up now.”

“Don’t be an ass. Get the car ready, I want you to take her home. I don’t want her walking the streets alone tonight.”

No doubt that asshole would be released tonight and I didn’t want him waiting for her somewhere to get back at her for something that I’d done.

I could’ve given in to her and not get the cops involved, but since I can’t kill him myself that was the next best thing.

It wasn’t just for her. I don’t want anyone thinking they could get away with treating women that way in my place. I probably wouldn’t have reacted so strongly had it been anyone else though.

But because it was her I’m going to go the extra mile and make sure he pays fully for what he’d done. If word doesn’t reach his employer through legal channels, I’m going to make sure they get wind of just what kind of scumbag they’d hired.

The thought of destroying him went a long way to abating some of my anger, but I was still fuming inside. It didn’t escape me that I would’ve been almost as pissed if he’d just touched her hand.

I waited at the bar to see if she was going to obey me this time or if I was going to have to go drag her off the floor and hustle her ass out the door.

No matter how tough she thinks she is, it had to be nerve rattling to go through something like that. I was only trying to take care of her by making her go home early. But she had to give me shit.

Chapter 12

She was back a half an hour later with her coat and purse. The look on her face said she was not pleased as she stormed towards the door without saying goodbye.

Did she have to make me feel guilty for doing this for her? And why the fuck does her displeasure make me feel like jumping through hoops to please her?

I met her at the door when it looked like she was really going to leave without uttering a word to me. Damn girl! I stood close enough to mess with her, but didn’t allow myself to touch.