I drifted off to sleep that night with a huge smile on my face and his face plastered on my brain.
I got dressed, careful to put on my best black suit and tie. I wanted to impress her the way that she had impressed me, and the best way that I knew how to do that was by showing off my impressive wardrobe.
I had accumulated pieces from my travels all over the world, so it was quite the collection that I had. As I put on the gold cufflinks that sported a letter E for my name, I smiled, knowing that that signature piece alone would probably be enough to impress her.
I pulled up at the address that she gave me, parked the car, and walked up to the door. I rang the doorbell. The door swung open and another woman opened the door. I recognized her as Candy’s friend, Amelia, and the girl Reid had been mooning over.
“She’s just finishing up getting dressed,” she said, standing in her doorway, the door halfway closed like she was ready to slam it on me.
She ran a hand through her hair absentmindedly. I wondered if something was going on with her and Reid, she looked frazzled and upset.
I decided not to upset her further. “Tell her I’ll wait for her out here,” I said, heading back to my car.
I turned on the radio and waited. After five minutes when she still hadn’t appeared, I wondered how much longer she would be. Should I go back up to the door? Would that make me seem too eager? Rude? I didn’t quite know what to do so I just sat.
She ended up coming out after about fifteen minutes looking radiant. She wore a little black dress that clung to her curves as tightly as I wanted to. I swallowed hard as I watched her walk to my car, ample hips swaying, her face smiling and eager. I hoped that I was the reason that she was looking so eager.
“Hi,” she said breathlessly, getting into the car and landing a peck on my cheek, “I’m so sorry I took so long.”
“Not a problem, you’re worth the wait,” I replied. She put on her seatbelt and looked around excitedly.
“So, where are we going?” she asked.
“First stop is one of my favorite places, Winkies,” I said, pulling away from the apartment.
Winkies was a bar that I had frequented a lot because they had great food, incredible drinks, and an atmosphere that was always really electric. Maybe not a place befitting my best suit, but I thought it might be better than someplace stuffy and boring.
Tonight was no different than usual. When we pulled into the parking lot, we could hear the music bumping through the walls. When we walked up to the front doors, I was greeted by Steve, a bouncer who I had come to know from my many nights at Winkies.
“Well, look at what the cat drug in,” he said, smiling at me mischievously.
“Yeah, and I come with friends,” I said, nodding toward Candy. “I wanted to show her some of my usual spots, even if I haven’t been to them in quite some time.”
Steve laughed a raucous laughter and then stepped out of the way, letting us inside.
“Well, welcome,” he said, shaking Candy’s hand lightly and clapping me on the back. “You’ll find that Winkie’s is a one-of-a-kind place. You’ll love it, though.”
Candy thanked him and walked inside, looking around curiously. Her wide eyes roamed the room, taking in the scene. There were some girls dancing on the bar and being loud. They were probably drunk already. I found us an empty table and ordered us some drinks. While we waited on the drinks, I tried talking to Candy. But, the music was so loud, we could barely hear each other, so we stopped trying to talk and just settled ourselves to staring back and forth at each other, smiling awkwardly. When the drinks came, we sipped them. I noticed that Candy looked bored or disappointed. I could tell that she wasn’t enjoying herself.
I knew that I had to get her out of there.
I drove across town to another one of my spots, The Palace. It was a little different from the bar crowd, but just as live. On any given night, it wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary to see fireworks outside. It was more of a place of decadence. The women there were always dressed to the nines, their hair, face, and nails always done flawlessly. Candy looked great to me, so I figured that she would fit right in.
I was wrong. She sat on the edge of her seat, her arms crossing her body self-consciously. She looked anxious and uncomfortable, like she was counting down the minutes until she could leave.