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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: August 7, 2020      Views: 92

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This work has reached the exceptional level
First Glimpse Infatuation
"Between Friends (Chapter 2 of 6)" by Ric Myworld

Previous chapter: Two old-friends since childhood haven’t seen each other in over a decade before crossing paths at the shopping center. They make plans for dinner at a local hotspot two-weeks from Wednesday of that week.

Brad and Aaron head off in separate directions after making plans for dinner. 

Aaron backs out of the parking space right in front of an oncoming SUV. The driver slams on his brakes, swerves to the right and slides to a stop.

Aaron smiles and waves. “If looks could kill,” the frustrated-fellow frowns and shakes his head, obviously disgusted. Then, Aaron revs his engine, pops the clutch, and sets his tires to squealing, leaving the offended stooge in a cloud of stinky, rubber-smelling smoke.

Without plans for the evening, Brad pulls around the corner to the Grapevine, a comfy, sit-around restaurant/bar on the other side of the shopping center. A place where performers entertain, honing skills and waiting for their big break. The honky-tonk packed full of more sweaty butts than a football locker room, each patron wedged tighter than chips in a tube of Pringle’s processed-potato flakes.

Brad can barely squeeze through and avoid the crowd playing rub-touch-and-tickle on his way to the bar. His nudge taken more seriously than intended, some snaggle-toothed paunchy prune looks up cheesing ear-to-ear. Time to make tracks, he turns, eyes-dead-ahead and gets lost in the crush. Hee-Haw honey nowhere in sight, he finally reaches the bar.

Never much of a drinker, except on rare occasions. He orders an orange juice. Mostly, a glass-in-the-hand ornamentation to keep him from looking like an out-of-place teetotaler.

The women-to-men ratio about sixty/forty, including a few real lookers who aren’t regulars. Within minutes, two ol’ boys sitting at the bar stand-up to leave and offer him their seats. The timing can’t be better. This gorgeous, blonde-haired co-ed molded into a skimpy sorority tee-shirt glances up to catch him staring. She appears to be scouting out a seat, or somebody. But, far as Brad is concerned, that somebody might as well be him.

He motions her over and points to the stool. She hesitates, eyes still roving the room, but doesn’t waste time nodding yes and makes tracks to accept his hospitality. Music too loud, as always. The booming-bass jars the floor and shakes the whole building. Teeth chattering to the beat, Brad cups his hands around his mouth and leans in close, about to offer his newest soon-to-be conquest a drink.

The closer he gets, the better she smells, and his whispering lips brush against her ear. She jumps and frantically rubs away the goosebumps on her neck and arms. Then, he apologizes, pretending to be embarrassed.

“Oh, it’s okay.” She says, with a smile. “Accidents happen.” So, from then on, Brad makes sure to gently touch his lips against her ear with every word.

Then, he orders her two drinks. So, she won’t have to wait, and her throat get parched. As if she would ever believe his reasoning. She steps back and throws her hands up.

“Oh, no, you don’t have to do that.” At first, she refuses his proposal. “I’m waiting for someone.”

“Oh, I’m sure you are.” Brad quite aware of the unlikelihood she’s ever alone or not surrounded by a slobbering-bunch of wannabees. Then, with a wink and a smile, he suggests. “So, you might as well have a drink while you wait.”

“Okay, but one at a time, please.” Her unencouraging sneer soon blossoms into a beaming smile “Thank you.”

“I like you better when you’re smiling,” he says. “It keeps me from thinking you might pick-up something and brain me with it.”

“Oh, don’t be silly.” A curious look on her face. “Why would I hurt you?”

“I don’t know . . . unless, maybe you can read my thoughts.” Brad squirms, ad-libbing himself into a corner with his ludicrous comments.

“So, what are you thinking that’s so bad?” Her smile fades.

“Oh, no, they aren’t bad thoughts. I’m just thinking how pretty you are.”

“Why, thank you. That sure doesn’t make me mad.” She still appears somewhat uncomfortable, result of Brad's seat-of-the-pants, say-whatever technique. 

“Then, would it make you mad if I said I’m going to need your address?” Now, at a real loss, he stutters, “so, I-I-I can a-a mail you a check . . . of course?”

“Mail me a check . . . for what?” Her smile flips to frown. Whatever headway he’s made early on, inches away.

“For whenever I figure-out how much I might owe you for the dream I’m hoping to have about you tonight.”

“Already planning to dream about me, huh?” She shakes her head. “And you don’t even know my name?”

“I mean, think about it.” Panic on his face. “What’s in a name? Names are idle fillers of little purpose. ‘Hey, you,’ serves the same function. Plus, time is short, and you’re waiting for someone else.”
He thinks, it’s going to take more than a rabbit-out-of-a-hat miracle to stabilize my mess.

“I’m not sure I like the check remark. Kind of sounds like a reference to a hooker or something.”

“Oh, not at all. I assure you my assertion is meant with the utmost-respect intended. Strictly a compliment.”

“Huh, well . . . I guess, I’ll just have to take your word for it.”

“My name is Brad. And, yours?” Brad tries to think quick and bury the check inuendo that flopped like a cow-patty.

“What if I don’t share my name with strangers?” she says.

“Then, I guess, we’ll have to start this relationship alluding to each other as “Hey, you.”

“Relationship?” She chuckles. “You're something else. Now, I’m really concerned about giving you my name.”

“Well, I’m not going to beg.” Brad pretends to look away but watches her every move from the corner of his eye. Getting no response, he turns face-to-face. Then, finally, whimpers like a whipped pup, “Please, please, please. And that’s all I’m going to beg . . . I mean it.”

Still no immediate reaction. Then, she giggles, smacks him on the arm, and says, “If you must know, I’m Leslie, you . . . crazy man.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you, I’m forever indebted to you for entrusting me with your name, Leslie.”

They both break-out laughing like schoolchildren and the good times continue well-past closing time. Until, security herds everyone out the doors.

“It’s been fun hanging-out with you, Leslie. May I walk you to your car? So, that . . . the boogieman doesn’t get you, of course?”

“How do I know you aren’t the boogieman?”

“I am the boogieman! Just not the mean, monster-type who hides in closets and hurts people. I’m the ‘get-your-boogie-on’ boogieman.” He flaunts his dance moves. Onlookers applaud. And Leslie cracks up laughing, holding her hands up as if she were pushing him away.

“You really are crazy, and that proves it.”

“Not totally, I promise . . . just ask me.” He snickers at his own stupidity. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to embarrass you . . . I might cry.
“Oh, you didn’t disturb me at all. You’re a great dancer.” She grabs his hand and about yanks him out of his shoes. “Come on goofy boy . . . walk me to my car. I have a busy day tomorrow.”

“Oh, darn it. So, does that mean you won’t have breakfast with me?”

“Keep pushing, Buster.” Leslie gives a deep-growl and shakes her fist, imitating a mad animal.

“Yes, Leslie, I think I will. Leave things alone, that is. How does breakfast tomorrow morning sound?”

“BRADLEY!” Leslie screams his name so loudly that people walking to cars stop in their tracks. Ashamed, she puts her face in her hands, and says, “Now see what you’ve made me do?”

“Yes, Leslie, dear, I think I’ve got the message. Any time you do something wrong, I'll be the one who causes it.” She glares.

Brad walks Leslie to her car, sharing pleasantries of their frolicking pastime. Then, he waits for her to get in and closes the door behind her.

“Leslie, it really is nice to have met you.” Sensing her slight reluctance to reciprocate, he makes a pouty-face, turns slowly, and begins to walk away.

“Oh, so, Mr. Persistence is just going to walk away and give up this easily?”

“Well, I’ve been as incessant as I can without being completely obnoxious. I just thought it better to leave things alone while still in your good graces.”

“You’ve been on the fringe of obnoxious all night, Bad-row Bubba. I mean, Brad. But you’ve been a cute obnoxious. So, I’ll let you slide this time.” She gives a cutesy, mischievous giggle and reaches out waving a piece of paper. Then, says, “Hurry up . . . here, it’s my phone number. Take it!” For the first time, she looks dreamier than he feels, and says, “I’ve had a wonderful time tonight.”

Seeing the paper, he realizes the reason for her slow response to his “nice to have met you.” She had been writing down her number.

“I’m glad. You’re good company.”
“So are you, Bradley.”

“Keep your phone handy, Leslie. I’ll be talking to you soon. And, drive safe.”

“I will . . . and you too.”

“Goodnight, Leslie.” Brad turns and walks away, never looking back. Leslie wonders if she will ever get his call.


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