There were lines on her face that she didn’t recognize. A frown where her smile had been, she remembered being young and happy—so full of life. But that day had passed. A marriage ended. A new friendship was stolen away and she found herself alone again.
Sure, she could call about five different numbers in her cell phone and any one of them would come and be with her. She didn’t have to be alone. But there’s a different kind of loneliness that chills your bones when you’re sitting next to someone who doesn’t understand you and wants only to shove their hand down your bra.
The room seemed to close in on her. It felt hot and suffocating. She paced the floor so sick of everything. Chat rooms and dating sites and horny people begging for sex made her ill. “I can teach you about anal if you can get past the fear,” he wrote. Some freak she would never meet and did not know, promising to dominate her. She turned off the computer ready to toss it over the balcony.
Dating in 2010 was nothing like it had been when she was in high school. Where were the people? Had they been replaced by robots and stuffed inside little machines? Were they reduced to text on a page? Where were the kisses? The hand holding? How was she meant to look into his eyes under a starless sky and fall in love?
“You don’t need love! It’s pathetic. Seriously. Are you gonna die if someone doesn’t love you?” She fought the tears and scoffed, holding the phone tighter. “Pathetic?” He laughed in her ear. “Yes, pathetic. Take me, I’m alone and I’m okay. You can do it. Think about your kids.” He was a good friend; she couldn’t scream at him, he was trying to help. It wasn’t his fault that he was an idiot.
She took a deep breath, her heart felt tight in her chest and hurt. “I think…some people are meant to be alone, cuz they’re afraid or selfish or just built that way. But others aren’t. I wasn’t meant to be alone. It isn’t pathetic or a weakness, it’s just the way I’m made. I want a companion. It’s that simple.” He went quiet for a moment. “I think that’s true. I think I’m happier alone.”
She laughed and wiped away the tears. “Of course you are.” She could almost see his expression change. “Why do you say that?” She twisted the hem of her shirt, nervously, “Because you’re dangerous. You’re the kind of guy a million girls could fall in love with, but you’re emotionally unavailable. You’re exactly my type. I seem to look for lone wolves that I can domesticate. It’s a hobby.” She laughed at her own stupidity. He laughed with her. “Well, girl, find a new hobby.” She looked at the floor. “Yeah…”
Joe’s marriage ended when he came home early after being on the road for two weeks and found her in bed with his best friend. She had smiled and said, “At least it’s someone you know and not a perv from the bar.” His friend had the decency to look ashamed. But she sat up and let the sheet fall. She arched her back so he could see the dark wetness of her nipples and know his friend had sucked them. She sneered, “Now if you’d come home last night…you’d have met a bar perv. Fuck he was hot!”
Joe had never hit a woman before.
His fist clenched. His friend stood up and put a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t hit her. She ain’t worth it. I didn’t know about the other guy. Sorry dude.” Joe’s friend patted his shoulder and grabbed his clothes on the way out of the room.
He stood there staring at the whore he’d married. He remembered their vows, remembered saving to buy the ring on her finger, remember her bitching. Nothing was ever good enough for her. He turned on his heel. She shouted after him, “Where are you going?! Come back here!” He was done doing her bidding. Joe passed his friend pulling on his boots. He looked at him as he opened the door. “You did me a favor, man. Buy you a beer?”
His friend stood up and slapped him on the back. “Hell yeah!”
The bar was full of lonely hearts. Some laughed and drank and danced, others took up space at the bar. She surveyed the room and almost walked out. This wasn’t her thing. Insecurity clawed at her. But the bartender smiled at her, he’d seen her type a million times. She walked toward him—a lifeline in a room of vultures.
“What are ya drinking, sweetheart?” She looked around and cleared her throat. “I don’t know…” He grinned, “You look like a margarita girl.” She grinned. “I am!” He turned to fix her drink.
“What kind of woman doesn’t know what she likes to drink?” The guy next to her turned and glared at her face. He was obviously pissed off about something. “I’m sorry?” She looked at him questioningly. He chuckled harshly, “Why? Did you do something wrong?”
She didn’t know what to say. Talking to him was like maneuvering landmines. So she turned back to the bartender and her drink. “He bothering you, sweetheart?” She smiled at him, “Nah. I think he’s just grumpy.”
The man laughed louder, mirthlessly. “Grumpy? Yeah, you could fucking say that.” She looked at him then, took in his disheveled blond hair and bloodshot blue eyes. He’d been crying. “What is your problem? I don’t know you.” He growled at her. “Women are my problem. Are you a bitch, too?”
She shook her head. “No. But I could be if you keep this up.” He hung his head. “I’m sorry…” He mumbled and she leaned in, “What?” He looked up at her completely heartbroken and repeated himself. “I said, I caught my wife cheating on me tonight. My marriage is over.” She was stunned, felt his pain. She put her hand to his cheek. “I’m so sorry.”
He kissed her hand and looked into her warm brown eyes. It was like looking at an angel. He bought her another drink even though she had barely touched the first. They talked till the bar closed. Then he walked her to her car. “I’m Joe, by the way.” She laughed and leaned against her car. “Ana.” She toed at the gravel. “It’s funny how you can have a whole conversation with someone and not even think to ask their name.”
He stepped closer and whispered in her ear, “The booze helps.” She laughed at him then and put her hands on his cheeks. It seemed so natural. Her laughter trailed off and she licked her lips. He put his hands on either side of her on the car. His mouth found hers, eyes closed, lips drinking. He tasted her margarita; she tasted his beer.
She moaned a little and he pressed into her, crushing her breasts to his chest, his hands moved to touch her body. He pulled her legs up and put her on the hood of the car, stepping into their v. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him more intensely.
He cupped her breasts and leaned to kiss their tips through her clothing. She bit her lip and her hands tightened in his hair. He came back to her lips and kissed her hard, bruising her mouth. Her hands traveled him, settling on the bulge in the front of his jeans. He drew in a sharp breath and stopped her hand from stroking. He looked at her with lust. Then he kissed her again, released her hand, and rubbed her sex through her panties. Her skirt pushed up to her waist, he stroked harder.
“God, you’re so wet.” She grinned and tugged on his lip with her teeth. He shifted her panties to the side and dipped a finger in. She loved it, pulled his hand to her mouth and sucked his finger. “Yeah…” She tossed her hair over her shoulder. “So. Your place or mine?”