After the introductions, Rose begged for pardon as she needed to circulate the room. She winked at Amy and assured her she was leaving her in “good hands” with Sky. At the mention of hands, Amy realized Sky was still holding her hands so she quickly pulled them away and unconsciously wiped them across the waistband of her jeans…trying to ease the electric shock factor birthed from their touch.
Amy looked at Rose with startled eyes that begged, “Don’t leave me,” but Rose looked back at her with assuring eyes that conveyed, “You’ll be okay.”
Rose winked at Sky, and without another word she left the two of them alone.
Helplessly, Amy watched as Rose walked away, and then she cautiously turned to face the smiling women in front of her. Sky’s blue eyes sparkled as she gazed at Amy and Amy’s tummy did a quick flip-flop. She swallowed, opened her mouth to say something…but what?! Hell, if she knew what to say! Amy cursed her introversion and double cursed her shyness.
Sky watched the inner battle going on upon Amy’s face. She pretended not to notice, and took Amy’s hand and led her to the opposite end of the bar, where they could be alone and somewhat away from the noisy party.
Sky caught the attention of the busy bartender, he nodded acknowledgment but continued mixing two colorful, no doubt fruity cocktails for the two women sitting on barstools in front of him. He finished them off with a maraschino cherry and a tiny umbrella, gave the women a smile, and then walked toward Sky and Amy.
“What’s your poison?’ He asked.
Sky looked at Amy.
“An Old Fashioned would be nice.”
“An Old Fashioned for the lady, and make mine Coke on ice.”
Noticing the dubious look from the bartender, Sky answered his silent question, “Driving tonight, Jon.” She smiled at him and added, “…had my fill earlier.” Jon chuckled, and then without a second glance, he left the two women.
“Oh…yes but please call me Amy, everyone else does. Besides, it sounds friendlier than Amelia.”
“Hmmm…not so sure about that. I find Amelia quite beautiful.” Sky replied smoothly.
Amy blushed a little, but then realized Sky was referring to her name.
“Reminds me of Amelia Earhart.” Sky paused a moment and then added, “She was a beautiful woman too.”
Amy’s blush deepened. She opened her mouth to reply but could think of nothing to say.
Jon’s return with the drinks made the awkward pause brief. Amy silently thanked him for his timing. It was obvious Sky was flirting, but Amy sucked at that game. Her best attempts at flirting sounded dorky like… “Do you like cheese?” And once she fell off the treadmill when a guy came over to “talk.” Thank God there was no treadmill tonight! But there was a bar stool…so easy does it, she warned herself.
Jon smiled at Amy and placed her drink in front of her.
“An Old Fashioned for the lady…” he said, and then he looked at Sky and said, “…and a Coke for…” ahem, “…you.”
Sky pretending to be offended put a hand over her heart and held the other questionably in the air. “You trying to say I’m no lady?”
Jon laughed good naturedly, and left the “ladies” to their drinks.
Amy took a big swallow of her drink and asked, “Are you two friends?”
“Jon and I?”
“Meh…not really…just drinking buddies on occasion.”
Amy took another swallow and heard Sky ask…“How about you and Rose…just friends…or…?”
Sky let the question hang in the air as she took a big gulp of Coke, never taking her eyes away from Amy’s.
“Me and Rose?!”
“Well…yeah…why not you and Rose?”
Amy laughed at the insinuation.
“Rose is a wonderful friend. She’s kind of taken me under her wing, you might say. Helping a small-town girl adjust to the big city. On day one, she said she had seen the innocence in my eyes, and believed I would’ve been eaten alive if not for her.”
Amy smiled, “Perhaps she was right. I was still living in a hotel because I couldn’t find an apartment that was close to the university, and one that I could afford. She was able to find a lovely brownstone only a few minutes’ walk from work. The owner, Rose’s longtime friend, is a writer and touring Scotland for a year as he does research for his next book.”
Amy sipped her drink and added, “He was so happy to find someone to take care of his home. I was able to get it for a ridiculously low price…fully furnished!”
Amy paused a moment, then raised her glass, “Here’s to Rose, my hero!” Sky touched her drink to Amy’s and both drained their glasses as they toasted their mutual friend.
Sky raised her hand in the air, and When Jon looked her way, she held up two fingers. Jon nodded and started fixing them a second round.
Amy starting feel buzzed from the Old Fashioned, smiled at Sky and asked, “Soooo how about you?”
Sky wrinkled the space between her eyebrows in question… “…huh…?”
“You and Rose? Friends? Or…?”
“Or what?” Sky teased.
Amy laughed. “How did you meet?”
“Gosh, Rose and I go way back. Four…no, five years ago I attended one of her yoga classes…she helped me with my downward facing dog…yada yada yada…and we’ve been friends ever since.”
“Hmmm…downward facing dog…that sounds like…fun.”
This time Sky blushed, and in that moment, Amy thought Sky beautiful. She couldn’t help but lose herself within the blue eyes looking at her.
Sky, a captive of the brown eyes looking at her, grinned a bit slyly, “Honestly, we’re just friends…I love her like a sister.”
Jon set the drinks on the bar in front of them, winked at Sky, and then turned to attend to the other patrons.
Amy reached for her drink, and Sky seized the opportunity to change the subject.
“Rose mentioned that you teach at the university. I’m curious, what do you teach?”
“Art History…Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Watercolor Techniques on Tuesday and Thursday.”
Amy laughed and took it good natured as was intended.
“I agree, it sounds completely boring, but that’s the challenge…you see…to make it as interesting as possible and somehow applicable to my student’s daily lives. It’s a challenge I take very seriously. I’m a damn good teacher,” Amy leaned closer and pointed her finger, “and you…I bet you would love every minute of my class!”
“Well, I just may take you up on that bet! What’s the prize? If I win?” Sky waiting for an answer reached for her Coke.
Amy heard the banter in Sky’s question. She put her drink to her lips and took a long swallow taking her time to fashion a reply. “Well, if you sit in on my class and find it boring, I will take you on an all-expense paid tour of the children’s museum on meadow drive. How’s that for a prize!”
Sky quickly swallowed a mouthful of Coke, to keep from spewing it everywhere through the unexpected release of laughter.
Amy didn’t crack a smile. She swallowed the last of her drink and said, “Well…lucky for you the class is already full.” She sat the empty glass down upon the bar.
At that Sky burst out laughing again. Amy watched Sky trying to gain control and in spite of herself she too began to laugh.
After the laughter lulled, Amy laid her hand on the back of Sky’s hand and said, “Enough about my boring life, how about you? What do you do…you know…like for a living?”
Casually, Sky turned her hand over to interlace her fingers with Amy’s, and without missing a beat she answered, “I’m a bas…”
At the gentle taking of her hand, Amy felt a rush of excitement. She was so over-whelmed with the intense warmth of their touch; she was oblivious to Sky’s reply.
Sky gently squeezed her hand. Amy looked up into Sky’s inquisitive face and realized she was waiting for some kind of reply.
“I’m s…sorry…I didn’t hear…”
“I play professional basketball.”
Amy took her hand from Sky’s so she could think clearly.
“Really, you get paid to play basketball?”
“Yes, I play point guard for the Washington Mystics.”
“Interesting…so you’re like…uhm… famous?”
Sky smiled. “It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. You have to sweat your ass off and watch every damn thing you put in your mouth.”
Amy raised her eyebrows, “What about all those shots of booze you downed?”
Sky whispered, “I cheated.” She put a finger to her lips and added, “Shhhh…”
At that Amy giggled.
Feeling the full effect from the whiskey, Amy raised her hand in the air, slapped the bar with her other hand and called out to Jon, “Hey bartender! My glass is empty!”
Jon turned around in surprise as did everyone else sitting at the bar.
Sky put a hand to her mouth to stifle a laugh. When she gained composure, she leaned very close to Amy and whispered, “I think this should be your last one.”
At this, Amy turned her head to say, “Look who’s talking,” bringing their faces so close their noses almost touched. The words fizzled and died on Amy’s lips and she forgot what she was going to say. She forgot everything but Sky’s lips close to hers. They were full, warm, and inviting. Amy once again felt the rush of excitement and her heart beat loud within her head drowning out everything around them. At that moment, the world ceased to exit…there was no one and nothing but the beautiful woman in front of her. The desire to put her lips to Sky’s was so intoxicating she couldn’t resist. She closed her eyes and leaned in to close the gap, but at that precise moment, Jon sat Amy’s drink on the bar between them.
“My apologies Ma’am, another Old Fashioned for the lady.” He gallantly bowed before them.
Sky scowled at Jon for ruining the moment, but his only reply was to stick out his tongue before turning to adhere to his other potential tippers.
Amy picked up her glass but continued to look at Sky over the rim as she drank.
Sky looked back at Amy but something in the distance caught eye.
There was a man sitting alone at the table partially hidden from the leaves of an extra- large yucca plant. The expression on his seemingly-plastic face was one of rage. His eyes were hid by a pair of shaded, tiny-round spectacles shrouded within a gold wire frame. Sky turned her full attention to the strange looking man. She was taken aback when she realized he was looking at her as well. He blatantly stared without any care of being discovered. Sky sensed a primitive evil radiate from his persona, and utter terror coursed through the veins in her body. He held Sky’s stare for what seemed an eternity and then suddenly the moment vanished and the man faded behind the plant, becoming a dubios silhouette. Sky blinked her eyes wondering if she had actually seen what she thought she had witnessed. Blinking twice more proved the man behind the plant was only an anonymous grey shadow.
Sky whispered, “Amy, don’t look yet but in a moment let your gaze flow to the table by the plant, and tell me if you recognize the man sitting there.”
Amy turned to look, and Sky grabbed her hand and whispered, “I said don’t look…”
“What man?” Amy said loudly.
“Oh…for God sakes…” Sky whispered a little louder, and reached for Amy’s hand trying to divert her attention.
“What man? I don’t see any man.” Amy blurted out and took another big swallow of her drink.
Sky cringed but gave up realizing it to be a lost cause. She looked to the table to see the man’s reaction, but the table was empty. The man had left.
“What man…?” Amy tenaciously asked again.
Sky put a hand to cover eyes and slowly shook her head. “Amy, remind me next time that the bar closes after your second drink.”
She lifted her head to look at Amy and was met with a big goofy smile.
Sky’s heart skipped a beat. “Damn…” she whispered.