“And I was the one who rescued her.”
“We both rescued her,” I growled. A sense of competitiveness was really starting to grip at my nerves. I liked Jeremy. He was a close friend, a brother at arms. We went way back. But if he didn’t step off this instant, maybe we really would have a problem.
Jeremy stared at me, tried to feel me out. I gave him a cheeky little smirk to throw him off his game.
“So, how do you propose we deal with his?” he asked carefully.
“Let her choose,” I said. “We’ll both ask, and she can choose. It’s only fair.”
“You’re on, Cato. I hope you brought tissues, because you’re going to cry.”
I chuckled. “Kiss my ass, Rodriguez.”
“Oh, sorry,” I heard Alice say nearer toward the bar. “I didn’t see you there.”
Jeremy and I both looked over, competition momentarily on hold. Alice was speaking to a man we didn’t recognize. I knew the type –some hot shot stockbroker-type in a fancy suit and a hundred dollar faded haircut. There was nothing of substance to his character, but the fancy golden watch around his wrist and the cash he was flashing around made him think he was king of the whole world. It looked like Alice had bumped into him, causing him to spill his drink a bit, staining his fine Italian suit. He smiled at her, but there was something gross about it. I didn’t know if it was because I didn’t like other men looking at Alice that way, or if it was because the guy was an obvious sleaze that stunk up the whole bar with his overbearing cologne.
“That’s alright,” he said coolly. He was significantly taller than Alice, so he had no issue cornering her against the bar’s edge with a single step. “What’s a pretty thing like you doing here all alone? Let me buy you a drink.”
“N-no, that’s… I’m sorry, but I have to get back to my table.”
“Come on, sweetheart. This suit wasn’t cheap. The least you could do is make it up to me.” The scumbag had the audacity to wrap his grimy hands around Alice’s petite waist, further pinning her in place.
“Let go of me,” she snapped.
“Kitten’s got a bit of fire. I like that. Relax, sweetheart. You could do a lot worse than a guy like me.”
In a flash, Jeremy and I made it a cross the room and were at the guy’s throat in a matter of seconds. While I held that asshole upright by the collar, Jeremy came in swinging. His knuckles cracked against the man’s nose and upper lip. Because I had such a tight grip on the guy, he couldn’t go flying with the momentum. Instead, his whole skull whipped back at a terrifying speed. The sleazebag’s body went limp almost immediately. I let him drop, too full of adrenaline to care what happened next.
The man curled up into a tight, pathetic ball on the floor, grasping at his nose like it had fallen off. “What the fuck?” he hissed, words muffled by his hand.
A couple of the douchebag’s friends, dressed in similarly uptight suits and expensive watches, rose from their tables. They were all fairly intoxicated, struggling to walk in a straight line, so I sincerely doubted Jeremy and I were going to have any difficulty taking them out. They came dashing toward us, throwing punches this way and that. None of them landed though. Even in our inebriated state, Jeremy and I could still run circles around these guys. We had our massive frames and high body mass indexes to thank for our tolerance levels.
One of the men tripped over a nearby chair that was sticking out a bit too far, so that took care of him. The remaining four split up, two guys fighting Jeremy and two for me. My guys were scrawny little things, obviously intimidated by my hulking size. They really didn’t stand a chance, but they also didn’t want to lose face in front of their pretty lady friends sitting back in their booth. I raised my fists in front of my face to protect my head, still expecting the worst. It was better to be prepared than underprepared. But before anybody could throw another punch, the bartender slapped his hand down on the counter.
“Enough! Get out of here now or I’ll call the cops!”
Jeremy grabbed both Alice and my wrist, screaming, “Yoink!”
He dragged us through the crowded bar and headed straight for the exit. In a manic hurry, we ran out of the bar and didn’t stop until we were a couple of blocks away, hiding in a nearby alley to make sure buddy and his friends weren’t following us. The air around us was tense for a moment, thick enough to slice through with a knife. The alley itself smelled a bit like stale rain water, cigarette smoke, spilled beer, and a little bit like urine.