She slides in to her spot at the end of the bar, knees bent, feet perched gingerly on the iron rungs of the stool. Some nights her purse, usually a bright, orange slim bag barely large enough to hold anything of value, dangles from a thin, golden strap across her shoulder. Later the purse rests on the bar as if to be whisked away any moment; other times it dangles beneath her feet, far too large to be dainty yet barely noticeable within high heeled sandals, pumps, or shoes.
The sobbing has subdued, as it does each night an hour or so after it begins. It’s never clear what sets it off. The weather, the traffic, the high price of gas seem mere distractions; she ignores those who try to engage her in conversation about such mundane topics as life.
Tears drip in to the glass, clinking like ice while watering down the already watery Raspberry Martini. It doesn’t matter though: the ice or the drink; she doesn’t drink alcohol. No one seems to notice.
“What’s got you so upset, pretty lady?” The voice, flat and surprisingly uncertain, huffs out of the body of a short, portly man.
The view in her peripheral is dismal. Cocky, crinkly and cheap: she sums him up without ever fully glancing at him. She prefers to appear as if looks don’t matter, randomly dismissing one after another of would-be-knights. As if everything didn’t matter; as if there was such a thing as random.
She slumps deeper in to her seat, stirs the soupy concoction with a slender finger, and waits for him to look better: it’s going to be a long night.
Ryan likes to make an entrance. With the lazy air of someone used to making people wait, he arrives at the bar thirty minutes late. His friends—one close one, the other barely an acquaintance—have been waiting for three rounds. Taking off his jacket, he scans the room, first in search of admiring glances and then in search of his group. He pretends not to notice the golden bronze skin; the dark lashes hiding what he imagines will be darker eyes; the mature curves of the beauty at the end of the bar.
He smiles, imagining what she’ll look like when he leaves her.
“Fate led me to you,” he purrs.
“ Have you ever considered that fate doesn’t like you?”