Rowdy hadn’t wanted to get up. He’d called out the day before to recover from the whirlwind date that he’d taken Shawn on but as far as he was concerned it hadn’t ended well.
He laid in his bed, tossing and turning while his mind was tossing and turning the details of the date and what he’d done wrong. He replayed it over and over trying to figure out if he’d made a good impression with him. It seemed like it went well, but Shawn had seemed so contained.
It’ll be a miracle if he shows back up at the bar. That’s not Mission Impossible, it’s Mission Ridiculous.
But Rowdy couldn’t keep his mind off of Shawn. He hadn’t impulsively asked a guy out and tried to seduce him in years, not since his days on the rodeo circuit. There was something about Shawn that drew him in like the sound of a snorting bull and the roar of the rodeo crowd.
As he got up and headed for the shower, he thought about just how similar he and Shawn were really. They were both quiet, withdrawn, and not open about their lives, keeping their hearts close to their chest.
Yeah, you played it so quiet and withdrawn with him didn’t you? whispered the doubting voice in his head. That voice was enough to get him to drop his head as he got in the shower.
Muttering out loud, Rowdy’s voice rasped in his throat. “You know little voice, I’ve listened to you far too often and it’s gotten me nowhere. I doubt that Shawn will be anything more than a glimmer of what could be but I’d like to enjoy that brief moment.”
Rowdy scrubbed up and got dressed, leaving his boots at home for once. He decided that since it was a Sunday he’d clean up and dress a bit more city. It would fit the crowd better and hopefully increase his tips. The thought of his tips gave him a laugh. He didn’t need to be bartending, he had enough money saved up from his various rodeo winnings that with some careful investments had given him a steady income that allowed him to live a modest life. That modest life suited him just fine aside from the loneliness…
He stopped for a moment and realized that there were tears running down his face. Tears of a life lived without love, without someone to share adventures with…a life that was just lived.
If I see Shawn again, I have to ask him out. Let him know that I found him captivating.
Pulling himself back together, he stepped back into bathroom for a moment to get a look at himself. He smiled at the rugged face that looked back at him. In spite of the years in the rodeo, his face had escaped any major injuries. The receding hair line on the other hand…
Rowdy took stock of himself, “For someone who is not even 30 years old yet, I really don’t have a lot to complain about. I’m healthy, financially stable, have a job and …” he stopped for a moment as he laughed, “I’m still good looking.”
At 5’8” and 175 pounds of lean ropy muscle, he wasn’t what most people would consider to be the model type, but his rugged looks combined with a boyish face drew looks from men and women alike. Most seemed to think he was the quintessential cowboy, content with a quiet life alone but nothing was further from the truth.
Before he left his old life behind, life had seemed idyllic. He worked his ass off on the ranch, rodeo on the weekends and when he wasn’t riding, he was drinking. After a few years, he’d made a name for himself on the rodeo circuit and was riding professionally. Everything was going well until that fateful weekend in Rawlins.
He had gotten drunk and hooked up with another one of the rodeo riders. It wasn’t planned and he wasn’t sure how it had happened, but it had happened and when the other rider’s wife found him naked and drunk in her husband’s trailer, the publicity spelled out the end of his circuit riding. He completed that year’s series and retired from the circuit.
He took winnings he’d saved up and moved east to some place more welcoming that still had a quieter, more relaxed way of life. A few months later, he had moved east to Des Moines. It was still farm country and people respected you for how you lived your life. He had settled into a small farmstead just south of the city itself that was still under an hour’s drive to downtown.
Rowdy, you’re lost in your damn mind again! he told himself as he grabbed his truck keys and headed into town.
The day had been dragging at work, the typical after-church crowd was in. Quiet, light drinkers, and poor tippers. Some days, he wondered why he worked Sundays but then he could clean up the bar and do his inventory while it was slow. He was most of the way through the inventory when a loud voice carried through the bar in one of the quiet moments.
“You went out with Bryan?!” the voice seemed to echo.
He turned around and saw Shawn sitting in one with the booths with another guy. The sight of the other guy caused his stomach to tie itself in knots. He had to find out…he had to know. Was the other guy a friend? A boyfriend. His mind was running in overdrive.
He finished up the inventory he was doing and marked the cabinet as done. He put down his clipboard and headed over to the table. He saw Shawn go red-faced and felt those butterflies in his stomach again. He summoned up the courage to walk up to the table and say something to Shawn.
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