Sometimes something in you snaps. Now I’m not talking about people who completely lose it and then cause violence. No, I’m talking about a person who loses it and sings another karaoke song venomously.
When I finish “Don’t Let Me Down,” I glance at the goth-looking woman running the karaoke. “Can I do another song?”
She must see something in my eyes. She snaps her gum and says: “Sure. What?”
“Eric Clapton’s ‘Promises?’”
“I don’t think we have that.”
I laugh. “Fine. It’s fine. This mike is still on?”
“Umm…” She looks a bit frantic now.
“Folks, this is a little out of the ordinary. But my ex-boyfriend just came in and I really want to sing this song for him. But it’s going to be acapella. So bear with me.”
The M&Ms who seem to have gotten over their feud are trying to decide whether to sink in their chairs and pretend they don’t know me or look around the room to see this ex-boyfriend. They decide on the latter and it takes no time at all for them to hone in on him—missile to target. It’s immediately apparent that “The Artist” may have some competition.
Dominic stands near the entrance watching me as I sing. Maybe I’m a little too vehement on:
I don’t care what you do at night,
Oh, and I don’t care how you get your delights.
I’m gonna leave you alone, I’ll just let it be,
I don’t love you and you don’t love me.¹
He crosses his arms and smirks at me. Smirks? Suddenly I feel like a little kid about to throw a tantrum complete with foot stamping, somehow I manage to tamp that down.
When I finish the song some people clap wildly, but not the M&Ms. Dominic claps slowly, obviously, and smiles at me. Suddenly I have this vision of him at my first karaoke session telling me I was fierce. Damn memories. I hurry over to Damien who is standing and waiting.
“My brother is so used to getting everything he’s ever wanted that he doesn’t seem to be taking the hint here,” Damien says.
I pick up my glass of beer and take a long draught. It shakes in my hand from anger or upset or more likely a combination of both.
“Do you want to leave?” Damien asks.
“Clare, can I talk to you?” Dominic asks.
“I’m pretty sure that anything you have to say, you can say in front of your brother,” I say.
Dominic clears his throat and studies me. “Tansy lied to me.”
I raise an eyebrow. This is not exactly news.
“She isn’t pregnant. She actually stole the positive reading from another woman. She told me she lied to me about you being at the hospital.” He waits. Does he expect me to jump up and down, land in his arms? Kiss him?
“I hope it’s not too late for us,” he says. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I know that. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”
I just shake my head.
“I think I do want to go home,” I say to Damien.
We stand up. Damien throws some bills on the table, more than enough to cover plus tip, and then puts his arm around my shoulders, his fingers massage my neck.
Outside, the breeze is a little cool. Gravel crunches under our feet as we cross to Damien’s pickup truck. He opens the door, but before I climb in, he wraps his arms around me. He’s warm and smells spicy like cinnamon and cloves. His lips are gentle, but insistent on mine.
“I never have a lot of words that aren’t flippant. I don’t do touchy-feely kind of talk like my brother. But my not saying the words . . .”
“I get it. You do rather than say.”
“Just wasn’t sure you realized.”
I grin at him. “Just because I don’t say, doesn’t mean I don’t understand.”
He kisses me again. I get in his truck and look toward the door to the pub. Dominic is standing there, his hand in his jean’s pockets, frowning at me.
¹Promises, written by Richard Feldman and Roger Linn