Conner looked around the bar and shuddered. These were the human remains of Valentine’s Day. The men and women sitting around him gave off pheromones of desperation mingled with denial. It was a bouquet that Conner currently found intoxicating. He was especially fond of a petite blonde woman sitting between two men that seemed they were each trying to see who could come up with the worst pick up lines. Conner figured the man on the right was winning since the blonde had tilted her body slightly in the direction of left man.
The waiter came by Conner’s table. “So should I get you the check?” the waiter asked putting on his professional pay and move on voice.
Conner waved at the blonde. “You can get her another drink,” he said. “She looks like she needs some liquid encouragement.” The waiter didn’t let his disappointment show through, but his eyes transmitted enough animosity that Conner knew he had to do something to keep the man on his side. Pulling out a twenty he passed it to the waiter between his pointer and middle finger. “Here, make that two, one for me, and keep the change.”
The waiter took the twenty and gave Conner the bill as a Hail Mary, but Conner just placed it on top of his used napkin. The waiter shook his head as he walked to the back bar. Conner enjoyed playing with the man. It was one of the reasons he kept coming to this dive. Well that and the pulled pork poutine, hence the dirty napkin. That dish was an amazing heart attack drowned in the most delicious gravy that combined porkiness and barbeque notes together into something that would have Nashville citizens contemplate excommunicating the blues because they would be too happy. Okay, maybe that was a slight exaggeration, but Conner would bet a fifty on it.
The blonde was happily surprised when the next batch of liquid numbing was placed in front of her. The waiter pointed in Conner’s direction and she flashed a smile of relief at him. Picking up her full glass, she fled the bar and settled in the seat facing Collin, turning her back on both her loser suitors. They looked like if Conner left without her on his arm that maybe they would like to break it off for him.
“Mind if I join you?” she asked. Without waiting for Conner to answer she continued. “My name is Lucy. Yours?” She held out her left hand since she didn’t put down her new drink yet.
Conner took her proffered hand in his right hand. This was starting off awkward. “Conner.” He quickly let her hand go, but he made sure his smile was turned up on high. “I thought you could use a bit of an escape from Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber.”
The waiter dropped the carbon copy of her drink in front of Conner as Lucy laughed. She gave off a small squeal as she realized Conner had ordered the same drink. “You like these?” she asked.
“Love them, especially on Valentine’s Day,” Conner said. He took a swig from the glass and shook his head at what he tasted.
“Not everyone loves a virgin sex on the beach,” Lucy said. She took another big drink. “It allows me all the fun of drinking, but none of the bad decisions that come with it.”
Collin hid his grimace behind his sickeningly sweet glass full of nothing fun. He began to wonder if he had already made a bad enough decision for both of them. “That’s a pretty smart thing there.” He held up his hand to the waiter, but the waiter was very busy talking to a customer that looked like they had their mouth full. Collin conceded defeat and placed the glass on the table. He swore he could hear the glass mocking him. Collin turned to Lucy and looked into her eyes. “I have to be honest. Today I am more in the mood for a non-virgin.”
“Oh,” Lucy said. “That’s a bit more personal than I expected from someone I just met.” Collin did a double take. “But you don’t have to worry about that about me.”
Collin did a quadruple check. “Oh no,” he said.
Lucy interrupted. “I mean, it’s been a while, but I have crossed that personal threshold,” she said.
Collin held up the virgin sex on the beach. “I meant the drink,” he said. “I am in the mood for a buzz.” Lucy took a drink, but Collin could see the blooming of embarrassment in her cheeks. It gave the illusion that half of that drink was vodka. “Hell, I am in the mood to get smashed now.”
Lucy pounded back the rest of her drink. “Maybe I should do the same,” she said.
Collin took out his credit card and held up the bill. That got the waiter’s attention and he hurried over to snatch both and fled to the computer to cash him out. Collin lifted his glass up in anticipation of a toast. “Look, I’m sorry we got off to such a bad start. Want to try this again on Saturday?” he asked.
“Thank you, but no offence, no,” Lucy said. She got up and headed back to the Loser Brothers.
Collin pounded back the rest of the juice and placed it back on the table gently. He watched the two guys immediately kick back up their game, but now Lucy smiled at the freedom she was now feeling. Collin wondered if he could ever come back to this again after blowing it that badly.
The waiter came back with his receipts and another drink. “Top copy is mine, and that one isn’t a virgin. I figured you would need it.” The waiter left him alone with his drink and his thoughts.
Collin shook off some of his blues. He sipped his strong sex on the beach and smiled. Maybe this was the only sex he was going to have tonight, but the waiter confirmed that Collin had found love this Valentine’s Day. Besides, how could he break up with that poutine? Collin made sure to tip the waiter thirty percent before heading out the door.