I’m late. And it’s late. The last thing I want to do is go to Flanagan’s, but I promised Dominic.
The bar is dark, but there’s laughter and music and a woman with frizzy black hair is belting “Gloria” into a microphone. The smell of cheap beer hangs heavily.
I stand near the entrance, roll up onto my toes and try to find Dominic. He see me and waves.
“Everyone, this is Clare. Clare, everyone.”
I raise a hand and smile. His arm drapes around my shoulders and he kisses my cheek. He smells of hops and tequila. The table is crowded with mugs and empty shot glasses. The blonde woman he was sitting next to stands up. She towers over me. She’s wearing a black leather jacket and red sweater with a very deep v-neck that shows her black lacy bra.
“I’m Tansy,” she says. “Dominic’s partner.” She makes the word sound more than work-related. Her pale blue eyes stab me.
Trouble, I think. I take her hand, shake it hard, and grin. “So nice to meet you, Tansy. Dominic’s said nothing about you.”
A burly, balding man at the table guffaws. I grin at him. Tansy’s eyes grow sharper, if possible.
“That’s hard to believe,” Tansy says.
I shrug and try to look apologetic. “Sometimes we’re too busy to talk,” I say, realize how it sounds, and a blush soars over my skin.
Dominic kisses my brow. “Sit. I’ll be right back.”
There’s nowhere to sit except next to Tansy the Viking princess.
“You’re the hooker,” Tansy says.
“No, that was a mistake.”
The burly man guffaws again. “If she’s a hooker, my Aunt Eloise the mother superior runs a brothel.”
Tansy shoots him a look, but he’s not intimidated. “So, you and Dominic.”
I raise an eyebrow.
“You hardly look his type. All short and gingery and those big glasses. You look like a librarian.”
“Right the first time.”
Burly man’s guffaw is expected now.
“You’re kidding. A librarian? What do you and Dom have in common? Don’t answer. You won’t last. It’s not worth wasting my breath on you.”
I sputter. She throws back a tequila shot and shakes her head while lifting her hand and gesturing to the waitress for another round.
“I don’t suppose you drink either.”
“I drink. Sometimes.”
“Move. I’m going to sing.”
Tansy speaks to the woman leading the karaoke. She starts singing “Barracuda.” I glance around for Dominic and see him at the bar talking to another man.
Burly man shakes his head at me. “Don’t be intimidated by her. Dominic’s never shown this much interest in any woman. She’s jealous.”
I smile at him and he smiles back.
Tansy is very loud and slightly off-key. For what she lacks in voice, she makes up for in gyrations. Pelvic thrusts and her own variation of twerking, I guess.
She returns, her grin a dare. “You’re up. Sing something for Dominic.”
“I’ve never karaoked.”
She laughs. “First time for everything. Dominic loves girls who can sing.”
I wipe my hands on the front of my black pencil skirt and approach the woman at the stage who looks at me expectantly. “What song?”
What song? What do I know? “Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.”
“Oh, hun, maybe something easier.”
“No, that’s the one.”
She hands me the microphone and pats me on the arm. I step onto the platform that is the stage. The song begins and I sing. I’m concentrating on the words, trying to read and sing as fast as I need to. What was I thinking?
When I finish, happy that I’ve hit the notes and sung the song, I see Dominic staring at me, his mouth slightly open like he’s awestruck.
“You are fierce!”
I laugh. “Yeah. I am fierce.”
One point Clare.
end 8/31/2016 (2)