“Hello weekend!” I thought to myself as I punched out.
It had been a tough slog but I had finally made it through the day. I’d spent more time walking across campus to various project meetings than I had spent at my own desk working the projects I was responsible for getting funded and started in the production process.
The Grosland project was the first mega-project that I’d been assigned and it wasn’t going as well as I had hoped. The project engineer had his own ideas on how the project would be built out and integrated into the neighborhood.
I work for an architectural firm named “Lead Paintchips” for our outside the box designs and risk taking. After sitting in a meeting for two hours with him and the client, I realized that the engineer had eaten lead paint chips as a child and I was likely going to have to bring my manager into it to have engineer re-assigned or to hand over the project to another manager.
I grabbed the Grosland file and put it in my briefcase along with my laptop and headed out to my car. I headed home intending to spend a few hours working on The Project as we called it internally. I would get the plans pulled back into vision that the client has detailed in their request for quote. Sitting in traffic for the better part of two hours had soured my mood and when I drove by “Jeff’s Bistro”, I momentarily tapped the brakes and I looked at it again.
“Fuck it!” I said as I pulled across Hayes Boulevard and into the parking lot.
I thought about bringing in my briefcase but decided against it. I needed the break from work.
I took a seat at the bar. It was late enough that the after work crowd had already left but the night crowd hadn’t came in yet. I looked down the bar and saw a new bartender that I didn’t recognize. Jeff, the eponymous owner, was normally behind the bar on Friday and Saturday nights. The bartender looked up and nodded.
“Gin and Tonic with a lime.” I found myself saying automatically. Jeff would have already had it in front of me.
As the new guy made his way up the bar, I heard the clack clack of boots on a tile floor. I realized that it was the bartender and he was wearing cowboy boots and a pair of tight wranglers that looked like he’d been born into them and a pearl-buttoned shirt. He looked like he’d just rode in from Texas.
He poured the G&T into the tumbler and stood shaking it for what seemed to be a good minute. I was fascinated watching his hand keeping the tumbler and lid on with just two fingers while he kept a steady rhythm.
I was snapped out of my fantasy when I realized that my own slacks were getting tighter and the G&T was sitting in front of me.
“You having a rough day?” he asked with a wide smile.
“It’s been a rough week. Sometimes, you just have to be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”
“Yeah? Too much work or did ya get let go?” he asked with a hint of a drawl.
“Naw, just have a project engineer who won’t listen to the client or to me. If they don’t get their shit together and fast, we’re gonna lose a multi-million dollar deal.” I said glumly, still haven’t looked up from the bar.
“Keep your chin up pardner.” he said with that same drawl.
I looked up and saw that he wasn’t a tall guy, but he was well built. Short blond hair, blond stubble and bright blue eyes. Bulging biceps were straining at the fabric of his shirt as was the small tummy. I felt myself smile involuntarily then felt my cheeks burn red as I realized I was smiling at him.
He got a wry smile, or maybe it was a smirk, on his face, “I’m Bryan but you can call me Rowdy” as his smirk turned into a smile.
“Howdy Rowdy” I said and immediately realized how corny it sounded. My head sank down to look at the bar, “I’m Shawn but you can call me dip shit. I can’t believe I said Howdy Rowdy.”
There was a brief silence and I was startled back to reality when I felt a damp rough hand pick up my chin. I looked up into those blue eyes and vaguely heard Rowdy say, “How ‘bout Shawn the Stud or even Shawn the Silly. You’re too good looking to be so hard on yourself.”
I sat silent, stunned that this strapping farm boy would have called me a stud.
Before I knew it there was another G&T on the bar in front of me, on the house from Rowdy.
It wasn’t long as I was feeling really good…and I don’t remember much after that.
I woke up the next morning with a hangover…and a short stocky blond laying in bed next to me.
What the hell? I thought to myself as I quietly got out of bed. I ducked into the bathroom for some ibuprofen and a lot of water. I came back into the bedroom as Rowdy stirred.
Rowdy yawned, “Oh man, I didn’t mean to stay here last night. You got any money for the bus or something?” he said with that same smirk.
I felt rage start to rise up but it was quickly cut off as Rowdy jumped out of bed and planted a kiss on my lips. He leaned up on his tiptoes and whispered, “Just kidding!” in my ear, “You were amazing! Are you single?”
“Yeah, terminally so. Why?” I asked still not fully awake.
“You don’t work today do you Shawn?”
“No. Why?” I asked somewhat more awake as something was up.
“Clean up and get dressed. We’re going on a date.”
Other writers posting this week: